I was tagged by two — maybe even THREE lovely ladies – Marie Ann Bailey got me first, and then J.S. Collyer called me out to play, and then Katie Sullivan lamented that she had encountered me too late, but I’ve never been one to play by rules, so I’m mentioning all three in my post today.
Today’s all about what I’m working on, and darlings, you know your favourite dilettante is working on a number of things, usually all at once.
I am currently working on four different projects, all at varying stages of completion, and have actually just laid the groundwork for the next project, but I’ll only be giving a teaser on that one. The first is CHUK, a gothic horror novel I wrote in public over the course of a year, is now in the hands of my friend and editor Katie Sullivan.
There is a room in Hereford House; a secret room that few know about and even fewer has set foot in. There are strange markings on the walls, some of them dating back a hundred years or more, written in the hand of Jeanette Hereford, the wife of Bastien, who built the house in 1853. The symbols belonged to no religion known to man, but to the Faithful alone, and were the result of the communion that the Matriarchs took with the god in the bayou. When they took the flesh and drank its sacred blood, they saw visions, received messages and prophesies, and these were inscribed on the walls of this room, sometimes in ink, and sometimes in their own blood. There was a giant, antique claw-foot tub in the middle of the room, for the god of the bayou loved the water, and took the pleasure of his servants in this tub.
Olivia Hereford sat in her bathtub and wept. She was frightened, and alone, and for the first time in her life, she did not want to take the communion of her god C’thuN’Chukyygl’eh-R’yleh. She was afraid of what she would see; afraid of what he might tell her; might ask of her.
I’m also working on a Shakespearean play, a sort of satirical tragi-comedy very loosely based on true events – my literary revenge on a villain known only as the Empress among all who know her.
Excerpt: a little snippet from the end of Act I, Scene Two. Helena & Penelope have just read a letter from the Empress, calling Penelope to a meeting to discuss dire matters. But Helena thinks it’s a trap, and warns Penelope not to trust the Empress (Claudia).
Thank you, darling.
Twas late mid-winter and the ground was barely thaw’d,
And Claudia did fancy herself above the common throng.
Elevating herself just a hair’s breadth lower than a god,
She hired minstrels to immortalize her lofty works in song.
In truth, she was full of fear and weak as a helpless child.
Whenever questioned she would always deflect blame,
For fear of losing power of which she’d become beguiled.
Truth be told she was the Empress but in name,
And yet she took upon herself to free the malcontents
Without the fair agreement or the council of her peers,
And lied to the Countess, which made not a lick of sense.
For Penelope gave documents confirming all her fears
To her Society compatriots, who looked with chilly dread
As Penelope cried havoc and called for the Empress’ head.
And yet her head remains safely on her
Weak, shrugging shoulders. I fear nothing can
Be well as long as she draws breath and that
All will be ill.
Methink’st ‘tis safe to assume that she draws
Breath still. Is’t too much to hope she draws this
Breath in Hell?
If she draws breath then nothing can be well.
What is’t you would have me do? Shall I fill
Her bed with snakes?
And what would that accomplish, but to bed
Her down with kin? No, I must discover
How much mischief she has already caused,
Though I fear the worst: that all my records
Have been destroyed, or else doctored to ensure
That even I cannot help but look
Upon them and declare me guilty.
What wilt thou do?
Lady, I know not.
I am also working on stories to make up Volume Three of Memoirs of a Dilettante
He asked me to dance.
It was like something out of a dream, and I’m not trying to over-romanticize it, darlings, but it was like we were the only two people in the club.
He asked me to dance, even though no one else was dancing.
He didn’t care about that, he said, when I mentioned it. He just wanted to dance with me.
I’m not talking about the Charleston or the Foxtrot, darlings. I’m talking about the type of dance where he could hold me close and tell me all the things that he’d been wanting to say, and where I could ask him exactly what he was thinking, and was he crazy, and what did he expect from me. You know, all that romantic stuff.
And at the same time, I’m also writing a trilogy of quasi-historical strange horror novels, the first of which I wrote during NaNoWriMo and is in the editing pile. The second I’ve begun, but is currently taking second fiddle to all the preparation I’m doing to promote the release of Memoirs of a Dilettante Volume Two and the Pubslush campaign for pre-orders.
Excerpt from Book One:
It was mating day for Krii.
He completed the ceremonial washing in the sacred spring, and was waiting in his chambers for the arrival of his shiivu – the woman to whom he was assigned. He had been with Aliina for two weeks now, and they would perform the Liis until it was confirmed that she was with child, and then she would be taken away, and Krii would likely never see her again – or the child of their union, for that matter.
Excerpt from Book Two:
The cries of the two young lovers could be heard across the entire mountain.
The walls of Mother Duala’s kanayii could not contain the sounds of their punishment, and a group of curious Sisters gathered outside, crying their protest at being kept out. Two tall, muscular women stood by the door at the older woman’s command and refused all entry, by force, if necessary.
My next project is a collaboration with one of my favourite writers, turning a script I once wrote about a debauched, aging rock star into a prose novel… look for the first installment sometime in the Spring.
Right now, Memoirs of a Dilettante Volume Two is available for pre-order, with special added incentives, as well as combo bundles including the yet-unreleased Penelope, Countess of Arcadia. Click the picture below to find out more, and to pre-order!
The work-in-progress blog tour rules:
- Link back to the post of the person who nominated you.
- Write a little about and give the first sentence of the first three chapters of your current work-in-progress.
- Nominate some other writers to do the same.
And now, the tag-ees.
J. S. Collyer is a Science Fiction writer from Lancaster, England. Her first novel Zero was released by Dagda Publishing Aug 2014 and was listed in Northern Soul’s Magazine Best Reads of 2014. The sequel, Haven, is due out Oct 2015.
Zero is available in paperback or for Kindle through Amazon: http://a-fwd.com/asin=B00MRACF86
Beth Teliho is a writer, artist and tree hugger who lives in Texas with her husband and two, adventurous sons. Restless in the mundane, she writes about the abnormal, paranormal and otherwise fantastical because that’s what quickens her heartbeat. She laughs at inappropriate jokes, and prefers spicy food and margaritas to almost anything. Beth hopes to one day live in a tree house, where she can be an eccentric introvert and no one will care or notice.
Honourable Mentions: Katie Sullivan & Mandi Lite, who both got tagged by other people before I could get to them — but you’ll hear more about them later!