Monday, March 28, 2016

Looking Ahead


I've been busy the last couple of weeks with book signings for WHEN FALCONS FALL plus struggling with the editorial revisions (i.e., the revisions suggested by my editor) to #12, which is probably going to be titled WHERE THE DEAD LIE. I have some exciting news I still can't talk about, but hopefully soon (I should hasten to add that it doesn't have anything to do with the Sebastian St. Cyr series). I'm still working on getting my first historical novels up as ebooks--oye, but it's a lot of work and aggravation. But for those of you who are curious, here's a sneak peek at the first chapter of Where the Dead Lie, coming March 2017:

Chapter 1

Monday, 13 September 1813: hours before dawn
The boy hated this part. Hated the eerie way the pale, waxen faces of the dead seemed to glow in the faintest moonlight. Hated being left alone with a stiffening body while he dug its grave.
He kicked the shovel deep into the ground and felt his heart leap painfully in his chest when the scrape of dirt against metal sounded dangerously loud in the stillness of the night. He sucked in a quick breath, the musty smell of damp earth thick in his nostrils, his fingers tightening on the smooth wooden handle as he paused to cast a panicked glance over one shoulder.
A mist was drifted up from the Fleet to curl around the base of the nearby shot tower and creep along the crumbling brick walls of the abandoned warehouses beyond it. He heard a dog bark somewhere in the distance and, nearer, a soft thump.
What was that?
The boy waited, his mouth dry, his body tense and trembling. But the sound was not repeated. He swiped a ragged sleeve across his sweaty face, swallowed hard, and bent into his work. He was uncomfortably aware of the cloaked gentleman watching from the seat of the cart that waited at the edge of the field. The gentleman had helped drag Benji’s body over to the looming shot tower. But he never helped dig. Gentlemen didn’t dig graves, although they could and did kill with a vicious delight that made the boy shiver as he threw another shovelful of dirt onto the growing pile.
The hole was beginning to take shape. Another six inches or so and he’d—
“Hey!”
The boy’s head snapped around, and he froze.
A ragged, skeletally thin figure lurched from the gaping doorway of one of the tumbledown warehouses. “Wot ye doin’ there?”
The shovel hit the ground with a clatter as the boy bolted. He fell into the newly dug grave and went down, floundering in the loose dirt. Feet flailing, he reared up on splayed hands, found solid ground, and pushed off.
“Oye!” shouted the ghostly specter.
The boy tore across the uneven field, his breath soughing in and out, his feet pounding. He saw the gentleman in the cart jerk, saw him gather the reins and spank them hard against his horse’s rump.
“Wait for me!” screamed the boy as the cart lurched forward, its iron-rimmed wheels rattling over the rutted lane. “Stop!’
The gentleman urged the horse into a wild canter. He did not look back.
The boy leapt a low, broken stretch of the stone wall that edged the field. “Come back!”
The cart careened around the corner and out of sight, but the boy tore after it anyway. Surely the gentleman would stop for him? He wouldn’t simply leave him, would he?
Would he?
The boy was sobbing now, his nose running, his chest aching as he fought to draw air into his lungs. It wasn’t until he reached the corner himself that he dared risk a frantic look back. That’s when he realized the skeletal figure wasn’t following him. The man—for the boy saw now that it was a man and not some hideous apparition—had paused beside the raw, unfinished grave. And he was staring down at what was left of Benji Thatcher. 






18 comments:

JustWingingIt said...

I am very, very curious about your good news. Any idea when you might get to share it? I'm crossing my fingers on what I hope it's about. :-)

Oh my goodness, I was just pouting yesterday at the thought of how long the wait is going to be for the next new book and here you go and post the first chapter. Thank you, thank you! It made my day. And at least my Goodreads group is doing the series read-along (one book a month) so that will help keep me immersed in Sebastian's world and will help make the time go quicker. Where Serpents Sleep is up next in April and I'm very excited to see what everyone thinks of it. Even though Hero has had limited page time up to this point in the series everyone seems to want more of her. It's been hard for me to sit on what I know, lol.

Veronica

Barbara Butler McCoy said...

Oh. Wow. This excerpt whets my appetite with a vengeance. Thanks for all the wonderful news in this post. Love the photo. Thank you, thank you.

cs harris said...

Veronica, I'm hoping I can talk about it in the next week or two. Sitting on it is driving me crazy--although I'll admit that since it has nothing to do with Sebastian, a lot of people probably won't be as thrilled as I am!

Barbara, they're talking about using the image on the cover, but I don't know if they will. It's Pickering Place.

Anonymous said...

Wow...can't wait for 2017

Lynne Hess said...

And I have to wait until 2017 for this? I'll never survive. Falcons was terrific - Suzanne, Betty S., and I read it together - 5 chapters at a time so we could discuss it in between - and it was all we could do to stop each day. (Three very different time zones to deal with, too.) It's safe to say we all loved it. They wanted to post some comments and that's when they discovered something wrong with the site. So I'll speak for us all when I say "Well done, you!!! The series just keeps getting better and better.

Suzanne said...

I can get into the site again! As Lynne said, we absolutely loved Falcons. It was really good to have a change of scene. That village was such a claustrophobic atmosphere compared to London. Everybody knew everybody and their history and secrets, so it was very different to a big city. It was fantastic! But we still don't know who Sebastian's father is. I was hoping we would.

paz said...

Oh wow! This first peek is powerful stuff. Glad to hear you have good news waiting for us!

cs harris said...

Lynne, Sorry I didn't see your comment on the last post sooner--not that I could have done anything about it because I can't even get them to change my email address! I must admit I really loved FALCONS, too; I really enjoyed writing it (I must admit that some I don't).

Suzanne, Welcome back! And yes, it's amazing the difference the village made. I expected it to change things, but I had no idea how much.

Paz, yes, but I probably should have said it has nothing to do with Sebastian!

Anonymous said...

Well, shoot. When you said good news I was thinking PBS mini series. Alas, nothing to do with Sebastian so that's not it. Thanks for the sneak peek. Sabena

cs harris said...

Sabena, yes, it only belatedly occurred to me that my "news" might be misinterpreted. I did have some TV interest a few months ago, but it fizzled quickly. I'm hoping I can talk about everything next week. All these shakeups at Penguin have been rough--they just cut 20 mystery series (not mine!). Ouch.

JustWingingIt said...

I had the same thoughts about what the good news might be, Sabena. Here's hoping tv land comes calling one day soon. If it happened once, it can happen again.

That's awful news about the effects of the changes at Penguin. Twenty series seems like a lot. I wonder if any of them are series that I read. Is there a listing of the cut series anywhere?

Veronica

Essex said...

I know! I know! There is going to be an addition to your family! Or else you have a new series of books to launch
Anyway, no matter what it is, I suspect some kind of congratulations are in order !
Finished re-reading Falcons. I still love this series

Lynne said...

Yikes, Candy - 20 series?? I'm with Veronica - that seems excessive to me, too. Do all the mystery lovers need to move in and take hostages at Penguin Headquarters? Seriously, that makes me sad for both writers and readers, maybe because there is so much that's useless being printed. Still, I'm looking forward to your news...although a PBS mini-series would make my heart sing!

BR41 said...

Can I comment here as a total newcomer to the series,which I just found three weeks ago; now on 7, When Maidens Mourn, so so so thrilled: for the sheer elegance and quality of the writing, the short chapters which are perfect,the fascination of the characters and how much we grow to like them,the fact that good people who make mistakes and misjudgements or who are good anyway also get murdered (so realistic in that sense) the excellent sense of politics,the context from high and low, the spectrum of society,the empathy the readers feel,the growth and change and development of the characters. It is a period I so enjoy from the great Georgette on,and once I had some 3000, now far fewer and it is exceptionally difficult to find good or outstanding writers. But in this series reality and fiction are so brilliantly intertwined.
I live in London and do have a couple of geographical queries though...how can I ask them?

cs harris said...

Veronica, I haven't seen a listing. I only heard about it because another mystery publisher completely cut their mystery list at the same time, Mystery Writers of America sent an email to its members talking about the options for dropped authors.

Essex, I am about to give up on EVER being a grandmother! That's what happens when one daughter gets an MD and the other a PhD...

Lynne, and the scary part is, that's just the cozy list! So does this mean they're going to cut the regular mysteries and historicals next? They already really cut their scifi and fantasy lists. I'm safe, but it is nonetheless unsettling, and I feel so horrible for the writers.

BR41, yes, feel free to comment, especially when you say such lovely things! And you can ask your geographical questions here, in the comments section.

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