In the “it never rains but it pours” department of major life changes, it looks like we’ll be moving to Dublin in the next few weeks. Ted’s gotten a job there, and a commute from our current location is out of the question. (He’ll be doing X-Box tech support; the hours and pay are better than chefing!)
However, as moving is expensive and we’re caught a bit flat-footed financially in the face of suddenly needing to, I’m doing a “help Kit and Ted move” novella (in all likelihood, anyway, as given the subject it’s unlikely to be only a short story) of the Old Races commission*.
This will run differently from the last one in that there’s no minimum subscription rate/buy-in, but I’ll retain the exclucivity factor: anybody who buys in over the next six weeks will get a copy of the story, and then it’ll be permanently off the market until I sell it to a traditional publisher. No second chances, this time.
And so, an excerpt from “Year of Miracles”, the story of Janx, Daisani, Sarah Hopkins**, and London burning***:
“From whom would I buy two dozen cows, a dozen pigs and as many sheep, and, oh, a flock of chickens for dining on?” A man’s voice, cultured voice; too cultured even to be a servant, and they were the ones most often sent to the slaughterfields. Sarah wiped her hands on her skirt–useless gesture; the fabric was damp and black with blood, and her fingernails crusted with it–and answered as she turned.
“Anyone along here, m’lord. Slaughtered and dressed and brought to yer table, m’lord.” She was self-conscious, as she was not with servants, of the differences in their accents: of the broadness of hers, and the refinement of his. Worse when she shaded her eyes, taking the sun’s glare down enough to see the man. Tall, slim, red-haired and green eyed, with a cloak only a fop would wear, its colors garish and bright in the sunlight. Layer after layer of fine cloth, reds and golds in no fashion she’d seen before, and the vest beneath it of cloth softer than she would ever touch.
His eyes widened with mock dismay. “Slaughtered and dressed and brought to my table? Now why would I want that, when it’s so much more fun to make the kill myself?”
She rubbed a finger in her ear, squinting at him. “My lord? You’ll want a farmer for that, if it’s for hunting them yourself…” Hunting boar: the wealthy did that, she knew. But hunting cows and pigs was an oddness, even for the rich, and this man was.
“Oh no.” He kicked a foot up, displaying a boot of dark red leather, rich and beautiful and covered in the worst a slaughterfield could offer. “Hunt cows? And ruin these boots?”
She stared at the muck and offal ruining the fine leather, then lifted an incomprehending gaze to the bright-eyed man displaying the boot. “M’lord?”
“Your name,” he said gently. “What is your name, slaughterfield’s daughter?”
“Sarah,” she said after a moment. “Sarah Hopkins, m’lord.”
“Sarah.” He cut a bow, deeper than she imagined a man would give even the queen, and when he straightened again it was with a wicked grin. “All I wanted, Sarah Hopkins, was an excuse to speak to you. My name is Janx.”
Because I am not (completely) insane, the delivery date for this story will be on or before December 31, 2010.
Please note: I’ll use your paypal account email address as the one to send the story to unless otherwise directed, so direct me otherwise if necessary. Also, if you do subscribe to the story, please immediately add firstname.lastname@example.org to your email address book so that when I send the story out it actually gets through to you!
*This doesn’t count against time off, as it’s not a book under contract. So there. :)
**…and Alban, and Hajnal, and…ok, if this turns into a novel I reserve the right to do another sales run on it, ok?
***Yes, I know, Chicago burned in the last novella I wrote. What can I say, things catch on fire when Janx is around!(x-posted from the essential kit)