Hi all! So there's some news I've been sitting on for months, and I'm so happy to finally be able to tell you about it! Back in the spring I took a tiny break from DREAMS OF GODS & MONSTERS to write a novella ... about Mik & Zuze! It was so much fun. All along, I've wanted to tell this story. In DAUGHTER, I tried to find a way to work in the meeting of Mik & Zuze, but it was just way too off-track from the urgency of the narrative. And then in DAYS I kind of snuck it in, when Karou tells Ziri how Mik & Zuze met (it's chapter 63: Luck Friction):
"Well, since she was too afraid to talk to him, she drew him a treasure map. She hid it in his violin case when he was performing--they worked at the same theater, but they'd never spoken--and she left early that night so she wouldn't see him get it. In case he got all pained-looking or something, you know, and she just couldn't take it. She'd already decided that if he didn't follow the map to the treasure, she would just never go to work again and that would be the end of that."
"What was the treasure?"
"She was." Karou laughed. "That's Zuze being shy. She won't talk to him, but she'll make herself the object of a treasure hunt. Right in the middle of the map was a drawing of her face."
Originally I had Karou tell him a slightly longer version of it, but I scaled it back, knowing I'd like the write the full story some time, and that time came! Introducing NIGHT OF CAKE & PUPPETS, the story of that night, that treasure hunt, that first date!
I love these covers. Thank you publishers! I only wish they were book-books that I could hold and pet. It's an e-novella and come out November 26; you can pre-order it at Amazon and B&N (in the US; for Amazon UK go here). I'm not a reader of e-books, so I don't know how else it might be purchased, or how to support indies while buying e-books, but I'll find out.
The offical announcement and AN EXCERPT can be found HERE. (YAY!)
It's funny, the treasure hunt idea is something I've been wanting to use for a WHILE. In my earliest efforts at cracking DAYS OF BLOOD & STARLIGHT, before I found and struck the proper [dark] tone, I actually had Karou invite Zuze to the kasbah by way of a treasure hunt she planted for her in Prague, with the final clue being inside the coffin at Pestilence in Poison Kitchen. It was terribly fun, but there was a big problem with it: Karou would never invite Zuzana into danger, and the kasbah and the chimaera army were certainly that, and also, Karou hardly had time for such hijinx!
It's funny, looking back, how dumb I was about how to start DAYS. I tried to recapture the spirit of fun and magic that I had enjoyed so much about writing DAUGHTER, but I gradually realized that it could never ring true, considering the situation I'd set up for myself. DAYS had to be grim.
Which just made it all the MORE important to make sure Zuzana found her way into the story, because her levity was so deeply needed. But the fact remained that Karou wouldn't have ever considered inviting her, so I had to have her figure it out for herself, and that was fun in its own way. Monty Python sleuthing and all!
But the treasure hunt idea stuck with me, and this was the perfect place to use it.
Also, for something a little different, NIGHT OF CAKE & PUPPETS is in first person. I've played around with first person before but I've never written an extended piece in it, and never for publication. The viewpoint switches back and forth between Zuzana and Mik, all in the course of one evening, and it was so dang much fun to write. Would that writing could always be such a delight!
I can't wait to get it out into the world, occupying nebulous electronic space, impermanently, on e-readers ...
Hope you enjoy it!