I never thought there was that much story to tell. It was intended to be a novella, something I wrote for a lark because it's just too weird. You read last week how I incorporated my love of the Old West with some steamy technology. All that came about from watching movies like The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Van Helsing and more recent movies like Jonah Hex and Sherlock Holmes.
I gobbled up Cherie Priest's Boneshaker like it was candy, pleased with her somber world that didn't incorporate too much technology, but included zombie-like monsters and horrible gas that changed people into these monsters. Unfortunately I haven't had the opportunity to read the rest of her series. Must do that. Soon. Nor does THL put much emphasis on technology. Just a few electromagnetic coil guns and airships. Nothing too far fetched, because I simply can't get my mind around really high-tech sci-fi creations.
One thing that has always impressed me with THL is that it pretty much writes itself. There have been times when I've had difficulty getting around a scene or figuring out what happens next, especially because a lot of the story takes place on the airship Ursula Ann. Do you have any idea how hard it is to keep the plot moving while the characters travel country thousands of feet in the air? It's hard. Very hard.
Another difficulty with this novel (I can really, truly call it a novel now) is that it is/was set in Australia. Why did I do that? Because it's unique. There's nothing I love more than complicating things and oh, what a complication this was. The difficulty lies in this: I can't find an agent that will touch THL set across the world. I'll be the first to tell you and no offense to my fellow Americans, but we're too lazy to pick up and atlas or Google Australia. I'll also be the first to admit: For years I thought Sydney was on the western coast of the continent. Imagine my surprise when I learned it was on the east coast. So setting it there makes agents nervous. Thus my efforts to erase the traces of all things Aussie and move it to America. Which is fine. The big issue in THL is that the MMC and FMC are hunting a legendary snake. That's okay. We have legendary snakes in America. It's just that this one is... meaner than that one. Which requires a different climatic sequence. Fine. I'll do it. And you know what? I'm having fun doing it, so nah, nah, nah.
To celebrate my wordiness, I give to you a cutting from THL. Enjoy.
The sound level on the street rose. A gleaming horseless carriage rolled along cobbled road. A fine looking machine, but the driver didn't seem to care that he was upsetting the livestock tied to the rails. Horses fought their bonds as the vehicle rolled by. One of the animals broke free, a big, frightened—and therefore dangerous—horse. It charged down the road in white-eyed fear. “Move outta the way, lady!”
The blaring horn cut through Abel like a knife. His head turned at the warning that rose above the cacophony. A cascade of reddish curls caught his eye. They belonged to a woman on the edge of the street, her dress caught on something. A hint of stocking clad leg—red stockings that clashed with her pink skirt—showed above her black boot. Her back was to him, her face hidden. She was frozen, apparently terrified by the horse about to run her down.
Abel didn't hesitate. He covered the empty space between them in a few strides. Throwing his arms around the woman's waist, they toppled into the alley beside the store seconds before the horse whipped past in a whirl of dust.
For a moment neither of them moved. Without warning she burst into a frenzy of arms, legs and ruffles. She struggled, battling against her hair and his grip. “That imbecile! He should be issued a citation. He should be dragged from that monstrosity, publicly flogged and berated!”
“Whoa, now, darlin'. Slow down.”
“Are you holding up for him?” she demanded in a clipped British accent. “Let me go!”
Abel realized his hands were against her chest, her breasts firm against his palms through her bodice. She sat in his lap, squirming in the most delicious way. He removed his hands to help clear the hair from her face. When the tangle streamed down her back, she turned to look at him. Her face was pale and strained; her brow furrowed. Blue eyes shot sparks and luscious lips curved in a frown.
His gaze lingered on the rose petal pink mouth. Kissable. For the space of two or three heartbeats neither of them said anything. If he'd ever seen such a striking pair of eyes, he couldn't remember them. He wanted her. More than anything, he wanted to see her indigo eyes spark with lust for him. He lowered his mouth to hers. She gave a little start before melting against him, lips parted slightly. Abel's hand moved up her shoulder, cupping her jaw. Her heart pounded a fast rhythm against his fingers. A soft moan left her throat. Hands curled into his shirt.
Feverish heat swirled through Abel's veins. Her fingers slipped into his hair, gentle against his scalp, brushing his ears in a way that made his limbs tingle. Heaven and hell could've crashed down around them and he'd never know it.
With a jerk, she pulled back. A deep crimson blush crept over her face.
“Oh, my. You shouldn't have—oh.” She pressed her gloved fingers to her lips and turned her eyes on his face again.
Here's to inspiration and the write/edit/write/edit approach I'm taking to THL's second draft. Here's to hoping within the month it'll be done. Here's to hoping you can do the same.