Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Is It Too Late to Say Happy New Year?

Sanity begins to coalesce around me at last. :) I've been awfully remiss in attending to this little corner of things. First there was the GHOSTS OF ALBION book tour. Then a trip to NYC for the premiere of KING KONG. Then Christmas. New Year's. My son's birthday.

I recently finished THE BORDERKIND, the second book of THE VEIL, and turned that in at last. If you've read earlier blogs, all I can say is that it continues to be the sort of story that I could get lost in. I could write a dozen novels (or three 1,500 page books) exploring the concepts and the worlds here, but that's not my style. What I love in this story are the characters. New ones continues to pop up and force themselves into the story at will. In THE BORDERKIND there are two or three unexpected visitors who appear briefly, but that I know I'll return to in the third book.

But that's for later.

At the moment, I'm working on STONES UNTURNED, the third book in THE MENAGERIE, the series Tom Sniegoski and I do for Ace. It had a different title before. We actually both like the original title better, but our editor asserted, rightly so, that the previous title (GHOST SONATA) only reflected one element of the story. Tom and I didn't mind, just because we liked the title so much, but . . . she's right. So, STONES UNTURNED it is. I like that one too, just not as much.

THE MENAGERIE is a crazy bit of business. Once upon a time, Tom created a comic book called TEMPTRESS and I created one called FACELIFT. We joined them together in another comic book pitch called TERRORISTS (obviously, this was pre 9/11). The first couple of issues of TEMPTRESS saw print, but the other stuff never did. We had deals in place two or three times, and it didn't happen.

We spent YEARS creating this world and these characters and storylines. It was so rich and so filled with stuff we loved that we couldn't imagine never being able to tell these stories. So we decided to turn it into a novel series. THE MENAGERIE was born. Temptress became Eve, Facelift became Clay. You've got the mysterious Mr. Doyle, the leader, a magician who was, once upon a time, a famous British novelist. His ex-lover, Ceridwen, an elemental sorceress and princess of the Fey. Dr. Graves, the ghost of a famous scientist/adventurer who is still trying to solve his own 1940s murder. Clay, a shapeshifter who is, quite literally, the clay of God, and who has a certain mystic skill in tracking killers. Danny Ferrick, an angry teenaged boy who has recently discovered he is not a boy at all, but a demon who was switched at birth with a human child. Squire, the shadow-walking hobgoblin who is armorer to the Menagerie and valet to Mr. Doyle. And, of course, Eve . . . mother of humanity and mother of all vampires.

Creating the series and expanding upon that character roster, introducing monsters and villains and threats, has been an incredible experience. It's second nature to us by now. Writing these characters is, in a strange way, not unlike writing BUFFY was for me. We know them so well, as if we've been watching them on TV for years, that it all flows very easily.

It's also a cool experiment. The series started with THE NIMBLE MAN, which, by its climax, introduced a threat to the world called The Demogorgon. The Demogorgon, you see, is COMING. That plot thread continues throughout the background of books two and three. Various parallel, mystical worlds all FEEL the changes in the universe. They can all sense that something terrible is coming. That's one of the catalysts that causes many of these other stories to happen. It builds up in the background, and continues right into book four.

The plan, for the moment, is to do at least six in total. The plots vary, focusing on some of the characters more than others. I won't give away what they are, but you'll see Faeirie Wars, demon fathers, sixty year old murder mysteries unraveled, a return to Eden, and a whole lot more . . . and then in book six, The Demogorgon arrives. And then, of course, it gets really unpleasant. :)

So there you have it. STONES UNTURNED, a novel of THE MENAGERIE.

I'll post more often. It's my New Year's resolution. Now that I can breathe again.

LISTENING: The Neville Brothers, YELLOW MOON