ward of the rose


Well, since finishing Alderpod a few months ago, it’s been a little quiet around these parts! I’ve been very much in writing mode and, until about a month ago, I’d been working on a variety of projects that had little or nothing to do with steampunk (or, else, they do, but my reasoning for thinking of them in such ways is as long and convoluted as possible, not the sort of thing to lend itself particularly well to the blog).

But now, back into the fray. First and foremost, I’m working on The Ward of the Rose, the sequel to The Aldersgate, as we speak. But I should point out that I’m working slowly and steadily. It’s been absolutely thrilling to return back to the setting of the story, and I promise to post some snippets of the story as it progresses. I recently scrapped about 30K of the original sequel, finding that I started much too late in the book and was skirting some rather important issues. That’s been resolved.

Also, I’ve noticed a recent uptick in Alderpod subscriptions. Thanks to those out there listening to the story, again or for the first time. I think all the technical issues are finally resolved! Also thanks to the reviewers, too. I don’t know what the future of the book is, but I promise I’ll keep you posted. The support and encouragement from readers of the last two years has been absolutely remarkable. I certainly never anticipated that my little podcast would do much, but I’m so glad it’s introduced me to some of you.

I’ve also been writing quite a bit of weird west stuff lately, in short story form, and I’ll let you know if and when you can find them. While not always steampunk, they’re all definitely Neo-Victorian, since they take place in a fictional alternate Arizona of the 1880s. You can get a glimpse of that world in “The Brass Pedestal” which was in Steampunk Tales #4 (which isn’t in Arizona itself, but what’s now Missouri… but it’s not called that since… well, I won’t get into that just yet!).

At any rate, expect more in this space in the weeks to come. I’ve got lots of ruminations on steampunk to share, and am definitely looking forward to the year, and the words, ahead.

From Chapter One of The Ward of the Rose

“It is your decision to make,” Cee said with a sigh, matching that of her grand-niece’s almost tone for tone. She folded her hands and leaned on the railing, gazing across the slope into the fog. “Let no one make it for you, dear Coralie. Gem will be with you always, and Professor too, I think. For as difficult as your journey here has been, you are standing at a crossroads of fortune.”

“Fortune?” asked Cora, almost laughing.

“As you said. There is war, there is discussion, there are decisions to be made. And you are not alone in this. While Maelys is concentrating on the Ardesian threat, and the growing Soderon force, the fact that one Alderclass girl has escaped her grasp will likely pale in comparison to what she must do. For now you are safer than you were before. Though I fear Renmen and Gawen do not agree on the course of the Order of the Asp… they will likely both try to win you to their sides.”

“Because of what I can do,” Cora said, staring down at her hands. She flexed her fingers, then curled them against her palms.

“You are a boon no retinue would want to let go—a key to health and restoration,” Cee said, dropping her voice. “But listen well to their arguments, and make your own choice, whatever it will be.”

“I wish you could come with me,” Cora said, turning to Cee. Tears came, and she tried to hide them, but Cee saw and put her arm about her shoulders.

Cee squeezed Cora against her. “I’m an old woman, Cora. My adventures are at an end. For now, I will pick up the pieces of my ranch here, help those servants and workers I have left put the fragments of their lives back together again. My place is here.”

“It must be good, in a way, to have such a place,” Cora said.

“You may yet someday, Coralie. You may yet.”

alderpodlogoAlderpod #21: Chapter Nineteen – Princess, Priceless

Alderpod #21 is live! Huzzah. I had this all but uploaded right before I left for the West Coast, and then my son spilled (more) ice water on the MacBook, and we had to let it dry. Unfortunately by the time I left, I had not had a chance to finish it. As per usual, I also recorded #22, or Chapter 20, as well. I have to give it a good listen before I decide if it’s good enough to be released into the world, and it’s long. Long, long. But we’re not talking about 20, we’re talking about 19. Ahem.

This chapter, as I mention in the podcast notes, is about Ellin and Sylvan primarily, and their very odd relationship. Much of The Aldersgate is about the growing of relationships, or in this case re-kindling–The Ward of the Rose is really a little different than that, in that it’s where those relationships are truly tested. Although Ellin tries very hard in this chapter to go the way of a romance novel, as you’ll see, the outcome isn’t exactly as you’d expect in such as situation.

Again, sorry for the delay. Listen, enjoy; let me know what you think!

I’m supposed to be writing Queen of None right now, which is over 3/4 of the way there. I’ve just brought my heroine to the tipping point: the climax is the next two chapters, where everything she’s been planning and plotting is finally coming to fruition. Exciting, fun; I’ve never written as book so fast as this one (hoping that’s still a good thing).

So why was I up last night writing something else? Oh dear. Somewhere between making chili last night and tucking the kiddo in, some gears started moving. Since I finished The Aldersgate, those characters have been very polite in leaving me to Anna Pendragon and her family. But last night, they all crawled back out of the creative primordial ooze and started talking. Like, all of them.

So after a (mildly disappointing) episode of BSG, I sat down and opened up Scrivener, staring a totally new project. I tried one name, Googled, found a movie. Tried another, Googled, found it was another book series. Third time’s the charm: Ward of the Rose it is. I like the sonic play on “war of the Rose” and the fact that it has a kind of medieval tinge while using a word we associate with Victorian: ward.

With the name in place I started writing. Here we go again…