“Tell me about the wray your mother recovered.” We’re walking up the wide steps to Harun’s door. The marble planters on either side have been left to dry in the sun, the plants desiccated and given over to weeds. At least this time there are no scrawled obscenities, no hurled excrement. “Not all of them were bought out from the rookeries, I take it?”
Jannik pauses before the door, but doesn’t touch the brass knocker. “She stopped all that when I was still very young. There’s little I remember.”
“Were they runaways?”
“Some of them, I suppose.”
“So what Houses did they run from?”
He’s being purposefully sulky and unresponsive, as if I am somehow to blame for his infidelity and it’s beginning to wear on my nerves.
“Mata,” he says, finally.
I raise one brow. “They kept their own–” I’m about to say whores, before I remember that the Houses who like to keep vampires mostly use them as untouchables – the servants who do the most revolting work. “I see. Only them?”
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“My lady?” The coachman wants to close the door and take me back to my house and to a set of rooms where my loneliness will be thrown back in my face a thousand times over. Master Sallow’s face, so paternal in its worry, is set in lines. The darkness only makes them look deeper.
“No,” I put my hand to the door to stop him from closing it. “Wait.” Jannik has disappeared into the Guyin house and right now he is making plans without me. What will he and Isidro do? Will he turn back to his family and beg for their involvement? He will have to. If this law finds footing in MallenIve, it will surely filter downriver to Pelimburg.
I leap down from the carriage step. The night is still warm and scented with green leaves and damp earth. Morning cannot be far off. Above us the stars are growing dimmer and sliding down to meet the edge of the world. I should be heading to my empty bed, the covers turned down in readiness for me. The dawn could creep up on me while I lie on my back, watching the ceiling and wishing I knew what to do.
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I‘m not planning on sitting around waiting for Harun to extend an invitation, however. There are other people to whom I can speak. The servants prepare a carriage for me – not the ostentatious drag, but a small chaise with the laughing dolphins of House Pelim only a faded marking on the doors, and pulled by a single roan nilly.
My family name hidden, I travel to the rookery on the Mata-side of the river – Glassclaw. MallenIve is home to three rookeries; the places where the bats – vampires work and live, and I suppose, occasionally die. Any vampires outside the rookeries need to have travel papers, or be House-owned. I will show Jannik that I am not afraid of what he is. That nothing about our marriage is convenient. I might not be Dash, but that doesn’t mean I don’t care for him.
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I’m very excited about the next Patreon project. I’ll be serialising my Hobverse novel House of Sand and Secrets on the blog and here. For those who haven’t read When the Sea is Rising Red, that’s not a huge obstacle. House of Sand and Secrets was written to stand-alone, and though I think having the knowledge of the world and events in When the Sea is Rising Red does make the reading a richer experience, it’s not essential.
I’ll start with Chapter One on Wednesday, and post every Wednesday after that.
My special thanks to the wonderful crew of readers who beta-read, critiqued, cheered me on, and generally helped beat the novel into shape. But most of all, to Brianna at Folded Wherry, without whom House of Sand and Secrets would probably never have left the dusty confines of an abandoned folder. Thank you, darling, you are a Very Special Potato Indeed.
So if you’re into House factions pitted against each other, underhand dealings, people in complicated marriages, magic, drugs, vampire-murder, cities built on magical fault lines, or just generally want to know what happens to Felicita now that she’s had to move on to a new life after murdering people, read on.
And now, as a wee teaser, the opening lines.
The city stinks of death. High summer has MallenIve by the throat and my apartments in the House Pelim holdings are stuffy and humid. We are miles from the Hob slums where a plague is currently raging, and still the air reeks of burned skin from the pyres.
Hardly an auspicious start to the season’s round of parties.
Through the Black and Back Again;
A Story of Oreyn
Now this happened before the high-Lammers started using unicorn horns like scriv to help their magic along, before they thought they might be able to do the same to the vamps, and grind up their bones like magic dust. And don’t ask me how they get these fool notions anywise, because there’s no answer to that better than, “they’re a bunch of coves, gentry or no.”
This is back when some people were still calling the unicorns by their old Hob name, before the Lammers made it a word you get burned over. They stole the word from us, like they did the rest of our language, and soon hardly no one would even remember that once the unicorns had two horns and were called taji. Back then the Lammers were still working on killing everything about us, from root to branch, burning out our natural magic while their own stinking Lammer-magic fallout was still settling uneasy over the land, and the taji with only one horn were nowt more than inbred sports. They were kept alive because the gentry-dells fancied that having their coaches drawn by a unicorn was somehow better than having goats like any normal person.
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I’m not sure which strikes more terror into the heart of a writer – editor’s letters or book signings.
So far, my only experience has been with the former. I shall now be donning my Stompy Boots of Doom, and heading out into the real world where humans live, and finding out what the other is like. It’s all in the name of science.
Cavendish Exclusive Books is hosting moi at a book signing. Obviously, you want to be there because there is nothing more hilarious than a writer out of its element, staring wide-eyed with fear at shoppers. This is how you will get your kicks on Saturday the 29th of August. After which you will go have lunch and wonder if it would have been kinder to shoot me.
I’m kidding. 😉 A little.
In all seriousness, you’re invited, and if you’d like to come join me there please RSVP cavendishdeputy at exclusivebooks dot co dot za.
Yesterday, I received a mysterious package.
Upon opening it, I found that When the Sea is Rising Red is now out in paperback, the cover has been tweaked and improved, and it has a sexy sexy new tag line.
Voila! The pretty!
So if you’ve been putting off buying my book because hardcover be pricey, yo, then hie thee to Amazon or B&N or your local bookstore. Because you’re worth it!
So I actually tweeted this then I realised I am thickety-thick and I should just blog about it because 10+ tweets about the Hobverse is asking to get twitter-punched.
I noticed on goodreads that someone has changed the title of When the Sea is Rising Red to include the words (Hobverse #1). Which is cool and awesome and also makes me feel like a tit for not actually bothering to stop calling them that. A long long time ago, I wrote a book called Hob an Lam. (Some people read it, they liked it, it made my agent at the time suggest I look for a new agent. LOLLERSKATES.) Then I wrote some other books set in the same world and I started calling them the Hobverse books. Because: lazy.
Anyway, since the hobverse books are not an actual series in the traditional sense of the word, and more a collection of related stories set in the same world with some shared characters, I never really bothered to create a “series” name. (There is one now though: The Books of Oreyn.)
But yes, Hob an Lam *will* be coming out (next year, I’m hazy on stuff) and it got renamed about two years ago so it’s now called Bones Like Bridges so if you have a vague memory of Jek and Sel and Calissa and Mal and Iliana and the great invading Mekekana ships…well um, yeah, it’s that one. The one that starts with a burning on Lander’s Common.
My precious. *pets book in an unhealthy way*
And there’s another that has been first drafted and revised and is ready to go on the editing merry-go-round, called Empty Monsters and yeah I kinda love it. Sorry.
*gets inappropriate with some words*
And as you can see, none of the books have Hob in the title anymore so…. yeah. Hey. Hobverse works for me. 😀
And yay, that person is me!
Over on The Book Fairy’s Haven, the lovely Tammy February is doing a cover reveal for House of Sand and Secrets, the next instalment in the Hobverse books.
And add it on goodreads or something because authors are like neurotic kittens when it comes to that crap and it makes them feel safe and stuff.
Sometimes on twitter I have this excellent work-avoidance strategy where I take #twitterdoodle requests.
I’m sticking this one here because I got asked for a doodle from When the Sea is Rising Red, so I drew a unicorn.