Tor has posted the first chapter of my new book here for your reading pleasure. It begins thusly:
Sophie Hansa had barely worked out that she was falling before she struck the surface of an unknown body of water.
First, there’d been a blast of wind. A tornado? Rushing air, pounding at her eardrums, had plucked her right off the ground. Howling, it had driven her upward, pinwheeling and helpless, over the rooftops of the houses and shops, carrying her up above the fog, in a cloud of grit and litter, trashcan lids, uprooted weeds, discarded heroin needles, and a couple very surprised rats.
Those of you who’ve read “Among the Silvering Herd,” and “The Ugly Woman of Castello di Putti,” might notice that the novel starts about a dozen years further on. Gale Feliachild is older, and Garland Parrish is no longer the first mate of Nightjar–he’s the captain. (Then again, chapter one doesn’t quite get us to Parrish, and Gale’s got a lot on her plate, including a near-fatal stab wound and a niece who overshares when stressed, so maybe that’s not obvious.)
I’m so excited to see this book making its way out to you all! If you have any questions or comments, throw them my way–either here or at the Tor site.
A couple of you have asked about things that inspire me, so I thought I’d mention that this trilogy owes a huge debt to the BBC Nature team and particularly the various series presented by Sir David Attenborough. The moth migration and resulting prey bonanza described in this chapter were inspired by any number of real-world natural events. Here’s one such event, from Life in the Undergrowth. It’s sardines, and not insects, but it’s amazing footage, the kind Sophie Hansa aspires to shoot one day. You can see the predators gathering, above and below, to take that bait ball apart.
The BBC videographers lavish resources on photodocumenting parts of the natural world I can only hope to visit one day, along with parts I’ll never see, either because they’re inaccessible or, sadly, likely to disappear in the not too distant future. I transmute their work into fiction. Inspiration, like everything, is an ecosystem of sorts.
As you can see, I have a cover now for my upcoming Tor.com novelette, “The Ugly Woman of Castello di Putti.” It’s small here, but if you want a better look there’s a link here you can use.
This story is the second of the series I’m calling The Gales. The first was “Among the Silvering Herd”, and like that story, this one features Gale Feliachild, ship’s Captain Royl Parrish, and their ridiculously handsome first mate, Garland Parrish. Their first adventure took them to Redcap Island, where Gale realized that Royl was considering turning the ship over to Parrish, because he’d like to retire. The second takes them all to one of her favorite island nations, the volcanic island of Erinth, for something of a holiday. Unfortunately, there seems to be a conspiracy afoot against her good friend, the ruling Conto.
The story will be out in early March. I will keep you posted.
(But wait! There’s more! Buy now and we’ll give you… um… forks?)
These stories cover certain events on a world called Stormwrack many years before the opening of my upcoming novel, Child of a Hidden Sea. I hope to be unveiling that cover soon… it is not quite finalized, but what we do have is gorgeous.
My wife, my niece and my brother-in-law all have birthdays this week, and so does Tor.com. To celebrate, the latter has collected all of its original fiction into one great big free download of love. You can get it here by registering at the site. It includes three stories by me: “The Cage,” “Among the Silvering Herd,” and “Wild Things.”
Back in Sunnydale, meanwhile, it’s Halloween, and Dawn’s feeling all the way frisky, if you know what I mean.
I began this blog entry in Cafe Calabria at about 7:30 this morning, having had an amazing brainstorming session. I’ve decided I will have a draft of the new novel, the third set in Stormwrack (where “Among the Silvering Herd” takes place), by June 28th. The idea is to have it Frankensteined by the time Kelly and I go to San Francisco for, among other things, Les Contes d’Hoffmann featuring deitylike tenor Matthew Polenzani.
There was an incredible sunrise pouring over the roofs of the buildings across Commercial Drive, but I wasn’t positioned to take advantage of it, photographically. So, since I can’t share today’s dawn with you, here’s Matthew:
I spent the afternoon looking over copy-edits to my other-world fantasy novelette, “Among the Silvering Herd,” which will be appearing on Tor.com in, I believe, late January. I am very pleased and excited about this sale: Tor is a wonderful showcase for fiction, and when “The Cage” appeared there last year, I was blown away by how much people liked the story. I was also dazzled by Marcos Chin‘s cover art.
(“The Cage” can be Kindled, by the way, as can my Hallowe’en appropriate dark fantasy “The Sorrow Fair.”)
“Among the Silvering Herd” is the first of The Gales, a number of stories I’ve written and/or intend to write in this setting, a world most commonly known by the name of Stormwrack. They feature the redoubtable Gale Feliachild, who sails the nine seas poking her nose where it emphatically isn’t wanted. Her partner in troublemaking is the terribly handsome first mate of her sailing vessel, a young man by the name of Garland Parrish. They’ve been fun to write and I hope they’re fun to read; I also hope to make many such announcements about The Gales in the future.