Friday, 3 July 2015

SFFS 4/7/2015 Impcatcher

To my American friends, happy Independence Day - but there are more important matters afoot! There are imps on the loose!

This is my snippet this week for SFFS. SFFS is a place where a number of authors post snippets from their written works, and give the opportunity for comments, support and encouragement. Please also explore the other blogs that are part of this set - you can find the information here.


This is the second snippet from Impcatcher, carrying on from last week's opening. Tal Djandiss, the Impcatcher of the title, is in a pitch dark cellar trying to capture - well, take a guess...


There was a swishing sound in the still air as another choice vintage spun towards where my head currently was. I ducked, tripping against one of the wooden wine frames and jamming the neck of a bottle into my ear painfully. I swore, the epithet drowned by the latest bottle smashing on the arching stonework behind me. The smell hinted that this had been a sherry or a port. Another titter of laughter gave me some idea where my tormentor was lurking. If I lunged for it through the darkness, odds were either I'd slam into one of the rough stone pillars holding up the low ceiling or I’d bring another rack of bottles crashing to the rough tiled floor. My employer would not be amused if I wiped out half the vintages stored down here. Of course, if she’d warned me what this monstrosity was like, I would have been better prepared. My net was draped over a crate of wine somewhere in the gloom. I suspected my catching a Vildani red from 2744AA wouldn’t qualify me for my fee. Come to think of it, if this little bastard’s aim improved, my only reward would be an early arrival in the hereafter.
I love my job. Honest.

As always, comments welcomed!

Friday, 26 June 2015

SFFS 27/6/2015 Impcatcher

This is my snippet this week for SFFSat. SFFSat is a place where a number of authors post snippets from their written works, and give the opportunity for comments, support and encouragement. Please also explore the other blogs that are part of this set - you can find the information here.


Today I reveal the first snippet from Impcatcher, the new novel I am in the process of releasing. I haven't yet got a release date, and the cover is still in preparation, but hey, it's progressing! The manuscript is complete and edited - expect to see more about Impcatcher in the next few weeks!

 Without more ado or further explanation, I reveal for your entertainment the first dozen or so lines of the novel.




A high-pitched, manic giggle cut through the velvet blackness of the wine cellar as the echo of breaking glass faded. I took a deep breath, and the alcoholic fumes from the shattered bottle left me feeling light-headed for a moment. I had dropped the lamp when I dodged the missile. Doing this job, there's no way I'd use a modern bound-imp lamp, so I'm stuck with an oil lantern. The glass had not survived the accident, and now the old stone chamber was stygian. A slight clacking sound to my left, like a big rat in tap shoes, hinted at my quarry’s location. It was trusting to the darkness and my lowly human eyes to conceal it. I glowered into the gloom. This had been supposed to be an easy job. Lady Varra had said the tyke was only a recent arrival, a weak little refugee without the experience to be troublesome.
A sudden rattle of movement warned me that said weak little refugee was endeavouring to be thoroughly troublesome.

 Comments welcomed!

Friday, 19 June 2015

SFFS 20/06/2015 Before Sorrel 4

This is my snippet this week for SFFSat. SFFSat is a place where a number of authors post snippets from their written works, and give the opportunity for comments, support and encouragement. Please also explore the other blogs that are part of this set - you can find the information here.


This week's snippet is the last from the old file predating Sorrel. My charter pilot heroine is trying to get her seaplane and her passenger, Alory, off the water and into the air, despite the efforts of a gang of orcs. She has managed to repair the faulty engine, and gets back into the cockpit and starts the engines...



I swung the Duckling around. We had full power, and an aeroplane in reasonably good shape, and relatively clear water. I throttled up… and something slammed into the back of my head. I gasped, trying to keep my grip on the stick. Allory wrenched a dagger from a sheath on his arm and flung himself at the orc in the cabin behind us. Typical noble, weighed down with deadly weapons. Not that I was complaining. I felt sick and dazed, and there were lights dancing in the side of my gaze. I could taste bile rising in my throat. 
 
But there was clear water ahead, now. We were past the rest of the orcs. I increased our speed, angling slightly to give us wide open water to take off. The Duckling was singing along the water, now, moving faster, already starting to lift. I still felt sick and woozy, but clear air and flying speed is a miracle cure for concussion. In my opinion, anyway. 

  As always, comments welcomed! When I was writing this, I had a clear image of the Duckling in mind, mostly courtesy of an old Airfix kit I made. The Duckling was an amphibious two-engined plane based heavily on the Grumman Gosling. It was only when I scrapped this and began work on Sorrel in Scarlet that I chose to have my heroine flying a triplane.

Expect something different next week - the first sequence from my new book, which is well on the way to publication. More news next time!


 

Friday, 12 June 2015

SFFS 13/6/2015 Before Sorrel 3

This is my snippet this week for SFFSat. SFFSat is a place where a number of authors post snippets from their written works, and give the opportunity for comments, support and encouragement. Please also explore the other blogs that are part of this set - you can find the information here.


My snippet this week follows on from last week's sequence. This isn't Sorrel - this is her older sister, metaphorically. She is a charter pilot, on a lake in a jungle, and a gang of orcs are endeavouring to stop her and her passengers taking off. One of the two engines on the flying boat won't start, and she is making a hasty repair...



The orcs were trying to reach us. Some of them were going deeper into the water, struggling to swim out towards us. Most orcs don't swim too well, in my experience. Unfortunately for us, this bunch obviously had a few of the exceptions.

Ignore them, I told myself firmly, and pulled the spanner out from the tool-pouch at my belt. Easy task - no problem - just concentrate. Pipe... nut... injector-valve... sword... Sword? Volging lafquass! The orc's first blow missed - she was trying to pull herself out of the water, left hand on the wing strut, right hand gripping a vicious looking blade. She hacked again, this time connecting with my arm. A leather flying jacket makes pretty good armour, actually, fortunately for my left arm. Not to mention it being a glancing blow. I lashed back at her with the spanner, but she was out of reach. My spanner was only eight inches long - her sword looked more like eight feet long. 
 
 As always, comments welcomed!

Thursday, 4 June 2015

SFFS 6/6/15 Before Sorrel part 2

This is my snippet this week for SFFSat. SFFSat is a place where a number of authors post snippets from their written works, and give the opportunity for comments, support and encouragement. Please also explore the other blogs that are part of this set - you can find the information here.


My snippet this week follows on from last week's sequence. This isn't Sorrel - this is her older sister, metaphorically. She is on a lake in a jungle, waiting for her passengers - and she suspects there is trouble approaching.

The port engine spluttered and the prop began to turn. The starboard engine, on the other hand, spluttered and went silent. The Duckling won't get airborne on one prop. I can manoeuvre, if the water isn't too choppy (and this lagoon wasn't too bad), but there wasn't much space. I cursed (I've got a vocabulary that would impress most orcs - not something to be particularly proud of), and yanked the cord of the starboard starter again.

The port engine was running up to speed, the prop spreading growing ripples across the clear blue water of the lagoon, and making the verdant greenery of the jungle rustle as though a thousand chaggers were lurking, ready to pounce. Hmm - not an idea I wanted to think about. Where the volg were my passengers? I had no doubt that they were the cause of the impending trouble. 

The starboard engine coughed, coughed again, and then settled back into slumber. I ran my eyes over the cockpit indicators, trying to remain calm. I had seen movement on the trail down through the jungle. Quite a lot of movement, actually. Not quite a herd of vinbani, but not far off. That had to be my passengers, and whoever was chasing them - most probably orcs - could not be far behind. 

 As always, comments welcomed!

Friday, 29 May 2015

SFFS 30/5/2015 Before Sorrel

This is my snippet this week for SFFSat. SFFSat is a place where a number of authors post snippets from their written works, and give the opportunity for comments, support and encouragement. Please also explore the other blogs that are part of this set - you can find the information here.



My snippet this week is an old piece I worked on, before I wrote Sorrel in Scarlet. There are a number of similarities - the central character is again a pilot, but here she is a charter pilot who suspects she is in big trouble. As I say, lots of similarities! This sequence never ended up in a final work - I might well rewrite it as a Sorrel short story. You have been warned!



I pride myself on being able to spot the early warning signs of impending trouble. Hints like screams, the odd orc spear slamming into the ground near my feet, and the sound of running feet are usually enough to give me two minutes' advance notice of danger.
Of course, it can take anything up to ten minutes to get the Duckling ready to fly.
I could seen movement on the trail down through the jungle towards the lake. Quite a lot of movement, actually. Not quite a herd of vinbani, but not far off. That had to be my passengers, and whoever was chasing them - most probably orcs - could not be far behind.
I flung myself up the flimsy gangplank like a startled djinn, through the cabin and into the cockpit. The Duckling's a good amphibian, dependable, with a high wing and two props. I hauled on the starters for both engines - four years ago I paid an exorbitant price to Charyk Venth, a dwarven engineer I know in Muugral, to build starter motors for the two engines. They've saved my life twice, since, and this looked likely to be a third time. Mind you, even saving my life three times the price was higher than it had any right to be.

As always, comments welcomed!

Friday, 22 May 2015

SFFS 4th Birthday!


This is my snippet this week for SFFS. SFFS is 4 years old! Happy Birthday!

For the last four years SFFS has been a place where a number of authors post snippets from their written works, and gives the opportunity for comments, support and encouragement. I've been a part of SFFS for well over two years, but there are other authors who have been here from the beginning.

Please explore the other blogs that are part of SFFS - you can find the information here. Congratulations to everyone who has been a part of this group!

This week, I'm going back to Sorrel in Scarlet, the book I first posted from on SFFS. As is often the way, Sorrel, my pilot heroine, is in trouble again. She is in the clutches of a group of graalur - unpleasant, orc-like thugs...

 
The female graalur sergeant's eyes were on me, studying me coldly. "What use can you be to me?" Her voice was hard and final – I could tell without a doubt that my answer to the query would determine my fate. If I was not of any significant use to her, she would enjoy watching her minions torturing me, assuming she didn't decide to join in. What could I do to be useful?
Squum that! The critical issue was whether this lafquass could be useful to me. She was less than two paces from me, and her only weapon looked to be a long knife in an open sheath at her belt. I let my eyes flicker past the woman's right shoulder - just a fractional move, nothing so obvious as telling her to look behind her. Enough for an experienced soldier to think there was something there. She turned instinctively – I grabbed for the blade at her belt, jerking the slightly curved bronze out of the sheath and against her neck in a swift, smooth movement. At the same moment I slid my other arm around part of the vast expanse of her waist, dragging her to me – or more accurately me to her, so that her fat, flabby chest was pressed against mine. Not a pleasant experience – she really wasn't my type.
"Not a move!" I snarled at her minion, who had responded two heartbeats too slowly to my lunge. "Or your sergeant gets demoted to corpse!"

As always, comments welcomed!
(I can't claim credit for the cake, by the way - an image I borrowed from elsewhere on the internet, and adapted appropriately!)