Five. I’ve got five novels brewing in my head right now. I have some other ideas too, but they just have to wait because like five puppies, five novels is plenty to keep busy with. This little post is an update with where things stand at the moment.
Most important is Cog which is undergoing revisions while I work with my agent to get it ready for subbing. I need to update the information for it since it’s getting a little out of date. However, my one sentence synopsis still holds true.
When thirteen-year old Cog stowed away on an airship, she never imagined she’d sneak her way into an apprenticeship with the Queen’s master engineer, but now she needs to foil a plot to assassinate the Queen and keep her identity secret with nothing more than her wits and a set of precision screwdrivers.
Cog and the Copper Dragon
This is the sequel to Cog and will probably be the next novel I work with my agent to submit. Obviously, its future is completely contingent on Cog. The entire book is outlined in a fair amount of detail.
The revision to Cog means I’ll have to change a couple of things, but not very much. The first couple of chapters are written and are unaffected by what I’ve changed in the first book. The description of it goes along these lines:
A decade ago the best master engineers in the land were commissioned to make little metal clockwork dragons by a mysterious benefactor. He never did come to collect the machines he’d paid for and the dragons were sold, stored away, or put on display. Now, one by one, they are starting to go missing.
One dragon was never finished, though. The plans and its half-constructed body rest under a pile of dust in the store of the absent-minded master engineer turned shopkeeper, Esmond. When Cog discovers it, she’s determined to complete the strange machine not realizing she’s plunged herself into the mystery.
I choose to think that my agent wanting me to work on the sequel to Cog is a good thing.
This is a working title and will no doubt change once I get further along. It’s going to be a middle-grade fantasy tale and more traditional than Cog’s Steampunk setting. A big part of the setting decision is because my daughter likes that kind of setting more. Recently, I’ve done some rethinking about this story based on both things my smart and helpful agent pointed out and some personal reasons. Here’s the description as I currently have it.
In the western mountains, chaos demons and the sickness they inflict have crept into the world, spreading strife and fuelling war. Only one great wizard stands before the darkness that threatens all the world like an all-consuming storm–the very same wizard that fourteen-year-old Trine has vowed to strip of his power.
Driven from her mountain home by the incursion, Trine finds an inhospitable welcome in the strange new lands she finds herself in. Enslaved, she’s forced to work tending to magical creatures destined to slaughter. Trine has a way with animals who, unlike people, don’t find her need for routine strange and don’t overwhelm her with talking and emotions. When she comes across a baby dragon who needs her help, she realizes why the once mighty dragons are being hunted to extinction–they’ve lost their fire.
Trine sets out to restore the dragon’s fire, collecting an unlikely army along the way: a lost elf-child, a failed wizard’s apprentice, an exiled princess with a penchant for tavern brawls, and a mischievous dog. The path puts her and her friends up against the most powerful and beloved wizard in all of the five lands along with his army of heroic knights. Of course, she also has to deal with pirates, slavers, and all the kings and queens who see the wizard as their only salvation to hold back the demons. Perhaps most difficult of all she has to deal with her own odd compulsions and inability to communicate with people.
Nobody wants Trine to succeed and bring back the dangerous beasts’ greatest weapon, but if she doesn’t, then the world will learn that the dragons have kept more than the chaos demons at bay. The demons are only one half of the threat, and the other half is secretly on the move.
This is an adult (though I might recast it as YA) fantasy book and is actually my first novel. It has been written and re-written, revised and re-revised. I tried to cut it down to about 120,000 words to make it more marketable, but I’m not really satisfied with that version of the manuscript. I’m working on a longer version at the moment that matches better what my original vision of the book. Once I have a manuscript I’m happy with I expect I’ll run it by my agent and figure out what to do with it. Being a back-burner project, I expect Dragonfire will beat it out to that point, though. The description of Dead Mountain goes like this:
Humanity, hunted by demons and a savage race called the Fari, huddles within the mystical barriers that protect the few remaining cities. A mad priest threatens their survival when he reawakens the Dead Mountain’s ancient power to bring forth an apocalyptic battle.
Mira Fallon, a sheltered creator of magical gadgets, discovers a mysterious artifact—the key to stopping the Mountain’s magic—and joins an expedition to destroy the threat. On the journey, she is betrayed by those she trusts and abandoned in hostile Fari lands with a forbidden lover who comes to falsely suspect her of murdering his kin. Mira’s only hope for help is an assassin whose tongue is as sharp as her knives and who nearly killed her once.
Dead Mountain is a fast-paced adventure with heartbreaking tale of love and loss, featuring a female hero who relies more on her wits and determination than on swords and spells.
Shore of Night
This is a YA science-fiction novel that is fairly well along in some regards. My short story Discipline is based on this novel idea and a more refined version of that story will be in the novel. I have a rough draft of another chapter and a basic outline done. Had Cog not come bursting into my head like an out-of-control locomotive, I’d probably be done with this one by now. Anyhow, it stands on hold while other projects are underway.
In the story, a day-sider, Lexi, makes an unexpected journey through the wild twilight lands to the night side. There, she finds a totally alien culture based on Randian philosophy. Much like the communal ideal of the day-side culture devolved as the systems that maintained the colony failed, so has the night side devolved into an oppressive oligarchy that resembles the company towns of the robber baron days. But Lexi’s journey has given her independence and she has no intention of giving it up again. The question isn’t whether she’s ready for the night-side of her world–the question is the night-side ready for her.
More information about Shore of Night
Anyhow, that’s were things stand. I’ve got plenty to keep me out of trouble not to mention the beta reading I’m behind on.