*flops dramatically down on sofa*
Smelling salts! Bring me my smelling salts, Jeeves!
Because I just finished an 88,000-word manuscript that I’ve been working on since FEBRUARY, and I am EXHAUSTEDDDDDDDDDDDDD.
So, without further ado, allow me to present my newest book baby . . .
Water Horse is a YA historical fantasy novel set in the Wild West, starring:
- a demented dream-eater
- a girl on the run from an insane asylum
- some killer shapeshifter horses imported from Ireland
- and . . .
- a whole passel of Very Confused Cowboys, Trying Their Best™.
ALLOW ME TO EXPLAIN FURTHER. (Informal blurb incoming.)
Eighteen-year-old Meg O’Shea comes from a long line of women with “the gift.”
She can see monsters in her dreams.
Usually, this “gift” leads to confinement in a mental ward, and Meg is no exception. She’s been locked inside the Colorado State Lunatic Asylum since she was thirteen. But when the asylum administrator’s talking cat (don’t ask) turns traitor and helps Meg escape–and when a gruff, hard-bitten rancher offers her marriage out of nowhere (who does that?)–Meg O’Shea is on her way to a very different future.
It’s all fun and games, until the monsters in her dreams come to life.
Now Meg must decide how much she’s willing to sacrifice, to save the man who took a chance on her.
I had tremendous fun writing this book. I really, really did. I’ve wanted to try my hand at a marriage of convenience story for a long time, and I’ve had the characters who eventually became Meg O’Shea and George Calhoun kicking around in my head since I was, like, 13?
I always knew Meg and George belonged in a Western setting. For many years, though, I couldn’t figure out how to write a Western that wouldn’t be unutterably boring. Don’t get me wrong, I love me some classic Western shoot-’em-ups, I love reading them, but I don’t know how to write those conflicts in a way that gives them life, that makes them spark. It’s like I’ve got this mental block: “but what are they gonna fight about?? cattle?? land?? water rights??? SOMEBODY KILL ME NOW MY LAST BRAIN CELL JUST DIED.”
Then I learned historical fantasy was a Thing, and I was like, “oh . . . magic.”
Then I read Maggie Stiefvater’s brilliant novel The Scorpio Races, was introduced to the capaill uisce legend, and was like, “oh . . . magic HORSES.”
Now, since I know you’re dying for snippets (heh heh hehhhh), here you go:
“No, sir, I don’t know how to use American money,” I hiss at the red-freckled clerk behind the ticket window. My patience is wearing thin, and my meekness with it. I’m running from an asylum, I’m hiding a dead monster beneath my clothes, and to top it off, I have to keep an eagle eye on the man in the brown hat as he hovers, ready to pounce and interfere. I plunk the velvet purse on the counter. Shake coppery coins out in a glinting fan shape. Plink, plink, plink-plink-plink. “Just tell me how much is here and what kind of ticket it will buy. The farther west, the better.”
And of course, we’ve got this little disaster of a meet-cute:
From the crumpled way the man stares at me, I know what his answer will be, even before his tense lips split to let the sound through. I know he’s planning to report my hallucinations back to the asylum authorities; and I shake from head to foot as he says, the gravel in his voice washed to a kind of softness, “Ma’am. You need some help.”
“N-n-no,” I sob.
Tears pour down, down, down, as my captor’s words rise in frustrated bewilderment. “Hey! Not fair! You can’t stick me with this! You weren’t—you weren’t supposed to start CRYING!”
*dreamy sigh* Don’t you just love romance? 😛
So . . . yeah! That’s my story, and now I’ve got to do all the lovely adult-y things that go into getting it PUBLISHED (yeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeesh). Oh, and I’ve already started writing Book 2. *cue screaming and pulling-out-of-hair*
There’s gonna be five books, y’all. f i v e. What am I doing. Where is my sanity. If you find it, please return by mail.
JUST KIDDING. I love writing, I love being an author, and I couldn’t be happier with this weird, wacky little universe I’ve created. Or with my screwball misfit characters. Or their Dumpster Fire™ fish-out-of-water romances.
In the meantime, I leave you the following wee hint re: my next book . . .
Ta-ta for now, loves!