So, with the euphoria of ‘The Wood’s’ publication little more than a happy memory, what am I up to writing-wise at the moment?
Well, ‘The Wood’s ’ prequel is in its final stages, being reviewed as I write. It’s an erotic flashback to Kath’s first love that didn’t make the final cut in ‘The Wood’. It’s probably passable as a stand alone longish short (or a short novella?), though. I hope tying it in to an already published novel will increase its changes of publication. Any foray into erotica, though, is likely to be a one-off. Boy, do I find writing erotic scenes difficult!
Another novella, ‘The Well’, is already in the queue for a Critters review. It’s a tribute to Richard Laymon’s style and type of subject matter, about a woman who wakes up from a drugged sleep to find herself a prisoner in a dried-up well. Her story entwines with a teenager who is stuck up a tree.
I’m also tidying up a couple of older novels. “The Mound’ is a tongue-in-cheek story about a football (soccer, to some readers!) team who sacrifice away supporters to the gods in order to secure a win. I put some opening chapters through Critters, and got a better reception than I’d expected. I’m finishing this, and will put the whole thing through Critters.
‘The Doe and the Dragon’ is a story set in North Wales in the mid-fifth century. This time and place are, of course, thick with Arthurian myth. While Arthurian characters and events play a part – it’s almost impossible not to include them – I categorically don’t see this as an Arthurian story (even if it’s early working title was ‘Pre-Arthurian Fantasy’!). I love the time and place, which I studied at university, and I hope this affection comes through in the piece.
‘Doe and Dragon’ has been through Critters, and the feedback will be useful. I need to focus much more on the characters, especially the growing relationship between my hero and heroine. The hero in particular needs more work, feedback suggests. That’s fine, as I wasn’t certain the plot worked, but people seemed to endorse it. It’s a relief as if the plot didn’t work, that would have been terminal!
There's also a slasher set in a remote Scottish castle, mixing ghosts and serial killers, but I'm having trouble getting it to work so have put it to one side for a while after about 20k words. Maybe Critters will be able to tell me where I'm going wrong.
Also, I’m thinking about the next new work and I’ve even drafted a tentative first chapter. I’m having difficulty working up enthusiasm while there’s still a lot of older stuff needing attention, though. ‘The Bog’ is set in Celtic Ireland, and involves dark things like bog bodies, human sacrifice, Samhain (Celtic Halloween), ghosts and the like. It should be great fun to write, but at the moment it’s still being planned. It’s unlikely to be more than a novella, but I’m considering bringing it up to novel length by adding a sequel-type thing based in the modern day.