Thursday, September 06, 2012

My Novel's Journey: Sins of the Brother & Charity of Others

This past week, I finished "Sins of the Brother," which I submitted to Weird Noir.  It felt good to finish the novella.  It will feel even better if I get accepted.  Here's an excerpt.  This is a noir story, not comedy, and is from before Vern met Sr. Grace.  Here, he's checking with a source about a kidnapped mage:

The lighting was low, but not dim, and scented candles filled the room with lavender. A simple but comfortable chair faced a large gilt mirror. I pushed the chair aside and sat on my haunches.
“Mirror, doomed to affirmation, I’m looking for some information.”
The glass smoked, then a face appeared—noble, compassionate, understanding radiating from its eyes…
Then it saw who was talking to it and dropped the façade. “Vern! By all that is clear! What a relief. Get me out of here.”
Oh, no. I was not carrying this conversation in rhyme. “Bad day at work?”
His jowls drooped and circles darkened around his eyes. “You have no idea what it’s like—having to find nice, truthful things to say all day long. These people are so...needy!”
I shrugged. “It’s this or back to the vaults in the Vatican.”
“It’s not fair!”
“You’re the one who took a confident queen and turned her into a megalomaniac—“
“Hey! I warned her beauty was fleeting, and she was the fairest in the land until her stepdaughter just…blossomed. I mean, seriously! Did you ever see Snow White? What a dish. But you know, at least the Queen believed me. The losers I get in here are always doubting me! Me! The Magic Mirror who sees all and speaks truth. But no! It’s always, ‘I still think my nose is too big,’ or ‘You haven’t seen me without make-up’—“
“Babbling mirror of affirmation, I came here for information!”
Shiny huffed, but he could not resist a command in rhyme. “Fine! At least it’s a change of pace. What do you need, O Great Dragon of the Church?”
 I hated when he called me that. “Mage Willard Whitehaven—what have you got?”
“One moment, please.” The face disappeared, replaced by an hour glass that kept flipping. Cute.
After several long moments that I spent dozing off the food, alcohol, and pain, he returned. “Willard Whitehaven, Mage of Natural Magics, Seventh Level, theorist more than practical. Wonderful beard—quite vain about it, too. Has some very nice mirrors in his office as well as at home. Quite popular at university—particularly with his fifth-level interns. Likes them smart, but not too much—“
“Annoying mirror, full of gossip; cut the crap.”
The mirror raised his brows.
“That’s it.”
“Well, what are you looking for?”
“He was doing research on the transference of magical energy across the Gap—large scale, generalized transfer, is my guess, not contained in relics or artifacts. How close was he to a breakthrough?”
The mirror laughed. “Depends on who he was talking to-- Sorry, no gossip, just facts.” He released his mirth with a sigh and spoke slowly as he pulled truth out of the complexities of university politics and (apparently) romantic pursuits. “He has some interesting ideas and much confidence, but they still know too little about the Gap. No one’s even sure that magical energy does spill from Faerie into this world. I mean, it stands to reason there is, or I would not continue to function and you would not be able to do whatever magic it is you do when not harassing honest mirrors like me. However, some say we carry that much magic within ourselves and our time is running out.”

I also raised $234 for the victims of the Colorado Fires through my serial story fundraiser, "Coyote Fires."  You can read the story at, although I'm no longer taking submissions.  I'm actually a little disappointed in how much we reaised, but I have to remind myself that if I'd sold the story, I'd have never gotten that much for it, anyway, plus it's something for the victims.  I still need to see what we made via book sales.

Even though I didn't do as well as I'd hoped, I will be having another fundraiser around Christmas.  the story will be a Neeta Lyffe one, "Shambling in a Winter Wonderland."  I enjoy doing these and it does raise more in donations than if I sold the story outright and donated the profits.

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