Vampire hidden by Esther Sanz
My vampires don’t sweat. They don’t glitter and they don’t sweat. They’re not humans in vampire disguise. They’re made, not born. They’re the undead, faster than the blink of an eye, can hear a blade of grass growing, smell the faintest difference in the air, and heal in an instant–unless constrained by silver. They drink blood, not wine, not whiskey, not water–blood. Human blood. Nothing else.
They feel neither pain nor cold. They burn in the sun. They are unbothered by religious symbols, spells, yadda-yadda. They can hear your heartbeat, your breathing, your pulse, the rush of blood in your veins, but can only enter a human home by invitation. Crossing a threshold uninvited makes them bleed from places they’d rather not bleed from. They have the power of glamour, and some of them have the rare talent of telepathy and some the even rarer talent of empathy. And they have fangs.
Cover art for Equoid by Charles Stross
Outside appears dismal, yet the sky is suffused with light ‘though the sun can’t be seen. I’ve had a raggedy week. Last week I completed the first edit of Sleight of Hand, and now I’ve got a list of questions to answer. I must go down the rabbit hole and poke about.
I’m thinking of setting objectives again. This rarely goes well for me–my mind tends to behave as if it were an ice rink and my thoughts like skates–a lot of slipping and falling, unable to stay balanced. Anyway, I was thinking that one hour of writing in the morning should be devoted to the Austen and Valaria vampire romance, one page a day right now until I catch a groove. I’ve got the first five chapters sketched out. How hard can it be? After that, it’s time to work on Chained. The manuscript is a roughly completed first draft and now I need to get it together, make it coherent, turn it into a real novel. And then after spending time in development hell with Chained, I should start the second edit of Sleight of Hand. It all seems so clear and simple when I write it down. I’m like a drug addict determined to make it through rehab.
I’m very pleased about Sleight of Hand, despite its flaws, and I finished it a month ahead of my deadline, March 31st. At 14,725 words there is room for growth into a more fully realized novella. And I’m already making notes on a second Jerob Deal/Rafael Torrance story.
This afternoon I’m attending a workshop, Publishing and Marketing Your Book, by author and Indie Publisher Sonia Marsh, at the El Toro Library. I’m meeting other writer friends there. I’m looking forward to hearing what Ms. Marsh has to say.
Somewhere between one and two a.m. this morning, yes I was awake, I heard a bird calling out in little treble bursts. I imagined some small featherball perched on a tree limb, all alone in the well of night, singing out and hoping for a response. It was peculiar.
Productive week so far. Went through Sleight of Hand again, making corrections and line edits, and thinking about its flaws. The word count fluctuates day to day but the story is at about 14,800 words by Scrivener’s count–which is never in line with Word. I like the story generally, but now I’ve started worrying about the end of it as well as how it developed. How to write a mystery is a mystery to me.
Yesterday it was sunny and warm, a rising heat trend according to the weather folk. Looked out the bathroom window yesterday afternoon and saw the moon in the same place it’s been, a thin white glowing disk like a pale thumbprint in the sky.
I’ve decided to start writing the Austen and Valaria story next Tuesday. A bit nervous about beginning, but I’ve got the first 5 chapters sketched out.
Fiction I want to finish:
- Sleight of Hand, mystery novella
- the Austen and Valaria story (untitled vampire romance)
- A Fall of Diamonds, fantasy (in the Angharad Cycle)
- Separate and rewrite the Gaius and Annasara storyline from A Lamentation of Swans, fantasy (in the Angharad Cycle)
- Rain of Pearls, fantasy (Angharad Cycle)
- Another rewrite of Shadow Walk
I’m already thinking about a second Jerob and Rafael novella. Also spent time yesterday researching the Buffalo Soldiers for Sleight of Hand, primarily for shaping up Jerob. I’ve had to change the time period for this steampunk story from the 1870s to 1884 since the Buffalo Soldiers didn’t receive official designation until 1866, after the Civil War, when six black regiments were formed by an act of Congress (the 9th and 10th Cavalry and four Infantry regiments later combined into the 24th and 25th Infantry). Jerob belonged to the 10th Cavalry and I needed him to have served during the Indian Wars.
I was curious about how the black Army regiments received the name “Buffalo Soldier.” Found out it was a name of respect given to black soldiers by the Cheyenne and the Comanche who likened them to the buffalo for their dark, kinky hair, their brown skin, and their bravery and ferocity in battle. Black Army troops were proud of the name and It became the official designation for them all. Since the story has a steampunk setting I guess I could have left it in 1877, but it made more sense to move it forward a few years just for Jerob.
I still have much to do with Sleight of Hand, at least one more rewrite.
The days this week have been nickel-gray, with short glows of sunshine, if any at all. There is something touching about gray clouds, the way they fold across the sky, the clots of condensed mist spreading all over heaven, the chimeric images formed by ripples and piles. Once I saw what looked like a city skyline like a fantasy painting of some archaic place.
Yesterday and the day before I worked on Sleight of Hand (from 14,190 to 15,396 words so far).*** The scene I’m working on stands at 1,129 words at the moment. Despite the fact that I’ve finished the story, I’m still wrestling with doubt demons, Like worms in dirt, questions wriggle through my mind–is it any good; is the language interesting; are the characters worth reading about; is it a compelling story? How come the words are giving me such a hard time? Questions that can only be answered when it’s finally exposed to the light of readers’ eyes.
I’ve got a number of ideas floating through my mind; they fall like nuts from a tree, and I let them lie on the ground, afraid to pick them up, though now and then I gather a few and attempt to make something of them. But right now, today and next week, I must continue revising Sleight of Hand, which, by the way, is a steampunkish murder mystery. I’m planning a series of stories set in the late 1870s (1877, to be precise) in the adventurous West about Jerob Deal, ex-Buffalo Soldier, and his traveling companion, the vampire Rafael Torrance. Yeah that’s an interesting friendship!
***Had to make a correction, discovered I’d grabbed the wrong word count for the wrong manuscript. So Sleight of Hand actually grew a little.
Sorry for the long silence but I’ve been particularly busy. I finished Sleight of Hand. I’m really pleased with it. I’ve let it sit for a while and now I’ve started revising it. I hope to publish it at the end of March. It’s my priority for the time being, but right on its heels is A Fall of Diamonds and a new vampire romance that I’ve got several pages of notes on.
Michelle Knowlden has published the second of her marvelous Abishag Mysteries series, Indelible Beats. If I can get a moment’s breath, I’ll post a review of it here.
Time to get the day started! Happy writing!
2014 GOALS AND WRITING RESOLUTIONS
- Finish writing Sleight of Hand. 1st draft completed 1/10/14.
- Write A Fall of Diamonds. Complete 50,000-word draft by 3/31/2014.
- Write Tarot Tales: a story for each of the Major Arcana cards. Use the Gilded Tarot. 21 stories.
- During 1st quarter, design a Six-Week Short Fiction Workshop.
- For Short Fiction Workshop write one short story for each week. (Can be a Tarot Tale, or completing Dust, or a new fiction.)
- Write weekly pendrifter post.
- Find ways to promote Grave Shadows.
- I resolve to make weekly writing goals.
- I resolve to not be stopped by the perfection monkey and his rocks: frustration and distraction.
OTHER AGENDA ITEMS
- Writing Saturday, First Saturday of the month
- Little Fictionaires meetings
- Attend 2014 Literary Orange Writers Conference
- Plan an “at home” floating writing retreat.