Yes, I'm finally talking about the new series!
You may or may not be aware, but for the past few months I've been sporadically posting preview chapters of the new Steampunk Fantasy book to Wattpad while I'm working on the next round of edits. (We're just diving into the cluster-fuck that is Chapter 6, I believe.)
Songbird of Souls is slated to be next in line for the chopping block.... err I mean publishing, so you'll be seeing a lot more about it around here in the next few months (but don't worry, the last Crow book is getting warmed up for it's editing massacre as we speak, just as soon as I've gotten a few other loose projects wrapped up and out of the way).
So, I figured I'd make a more formal introduction to the new series and give you guys a little teaser beyond what's been slowly going up on Wattpad.
Songbird of Souls takes place in a walled island city called Kenmor. The citizens are divided into castes - the main being The Fair in the upper district who are mostly comprised of the Politicians, Merchants, Money Lenders and those blessed to be born into wealth. The lower district is the domain of the common folk, laborers and artists in The Gray - where our main two protagonists are both born and raised as actors and entertainers in the renowned Veridian Theatre.
There's strange mechanical devices that can drive a man violently insane, musical mayhem, political intrigue, smart-ass prostitutes and cannibals with a sweet tooth. There are the obligatory airships, creepy bone-filled catacombs, lavish concert halls, and an isolated observatory filled with macabre experiments and overly-chatty automatons.
That's book one. I'm already having maniacal giggle-fits thinking about my plans for the next two in the series. (Have I mentioned how much I love my work? Yeah..... <3 )
Today's teaser comes from the first time Linus and Syrene see one another - face to face - after many years apart:
Songbird of Souls -
Masks and Machinations: Book I
The richly dressed servant ushered them into the palatial drawing room where several other Fair were already gathered. Fair Falco immediately waved at a young man, barely through puberty, who hovered near the bar in a crisp white suit with ash-blond curls.
“Fair Lummings! Allow me to introduce you to Syrene.” He said as the man crossed the floor, effortlessly circling through the gathering in their direction. The young man bowed his head over her outstretched hand, brushing his lips lightly over her skin.
“A pleasure, Syrene. I’d been hoping to make your acquaintance ever since I’d heard you were returning to the city.” His voice cracked slightly as he spoke, and Syrene nodded compulsively as she panned her eyes over the unfamiliar faces of the guests around them.
“Where’s Michele got off to?” Gervais asked.
“She’s upstairs entertaining one of her new musicians.” Lummings said with a chuckle, winking suggestively at the other man as he spoke.
“I’m sure she is.” Syrene grumbled under her breath and rolled her eyes. The young Fair’s intent stare widened with surprise, and Syrene issued a beaming grin and shrugged innocently. Syrene and Fair Kayn’s mutual distaste for one another was well known by then, and Fair Lummings laughed delightedly at her response.
It seemed Syrene wasn’t the only one who held Michele’s boastful antics with disdain.
Gervais laughed heartily, smacking the other man on the back of the shoulders, “Will she ever learn to leave those hapless servants alone? What was it this time? She liked the cut of his jaw?”
“Who know?” The man said, shrugging with a sly grin, “He said his name was Nicolo - you know, like the play? She thought it was cute.”
Gervais shook his head in amusement. Syrene’s ears perked up at the familiar name and a slow, sickening dread began to boil in the pit of her stomach.
“He wouldn’t dare…” she thought - but knowing him as well as she did, Syrene quickly ascended the steps towards the master suite.
“Syrene? Where are you off to?” Gervais called out, only a few steps behind. She could already hear the soft hum of the violin through the door, and Michele’s voice raised with ardent laughter.
There was no doubt left in her mind.
Syrene grinned wickedly as she stepped up to the wide double-doors carved with ivy motifs up the sides. It would be just like him to show up as some Fair’s arm-candy at a time like this.
And he picks Fair Kayn, of all people!
“It’s rude not to greet your guests - and you said yourself, we shouldn’t allow her to be unmannerly.” She remarked to Gervais over her shoulder, yanking the doors open wide in front of her to the mortification of her escort.
There was music playing softly from inside the suite, and as the doors banged unexpectedly open, the soft sound of the violin stopped abruptly.
“What is the meaning of this?” Michele snapped when she saw them both looming in the doorway. Syrene stood just on the other side of the threshold, her fists planted into the sides of her hips with a wild-eyed expression that made Michele both gasp and blush at the same instant. She was reclining on the edge of her four-poster bed, the front of her dress half-unlaced and loose about her shoulders. A lean, shirtless young man was propped up beside her on his elbow, the violin pressed up against his opposite cheek. His face was obscured by the thick red velvet drapery hanging above their heads from the bed-frame, but Syrene knew the shape of his bare shoulders from memory, the way he’d tilt his head into the instrument, and the particular way he’d bend his knee so that his leg was pressed up against the warm curve of Michele’s body beside him on the bed.
“They said you were locked up here with some rascal from the lower-city! I wanted to make sure you weren’t being manhandled by the brute.” Syrene said with a sharply raised brow.
At the sound of her voice, Linus suddenly sat upright, the violin dropping away as his eyes widened over her face.
It was her.
He couldn’t believe his luck.
Gervais chuckled behind Syrene’s back where he lingered just behind her in the doorway, covering his mouth with his white-gloved hand.
“Manhandled… She’s too much!” He said under his breath in amusement.
Michele shot him an annoyed glare and hurriedly worked to tighten the laces on her corset, sliding her ruffled sleeves back up into place.
Linus hadn’t moved. He couldn’t pry his eyes off Syrene’s face, standing there like a vengeful goddess, her own blue-gray eyes alight with anger as they narrowed over his features in recognition.
Michele huffed in irritation, her arm held out towards Linus expectantly. When he didn’t respond she snapped her fingers loudly in his face to break the daze.
“I was simply measuring the boy’s talents and lost track of the hour. Wanted to make sure he was up to my high standards before I hired him for the evening.” She said with a cruel smile as he finally grasped hold of her hand and pulled her up off the edge of the bed onto her feet. Michele wiped her hands over the sides of her skirt, then prodded her fingers carefully around her elaborately coiled hair to make sure nothing had come undone. When she was satisfied with her appearance, she made her way towards the door, leaving Linus standing alone in the bedroom as she sashayed down the steps to greet her guests.
Linus and Syrene remained on either side of the door-frame, staring each other down. He wanted so badly to speak with her about everything right then and there, but her escort gently touched her elbow, and Syrene spun around, following them downstairs without another word.
Well, there you have it!
If you've enjoyed this snippet, please spread the word about my new series! Also, check out the first few chapters on Wattpad and let me know what you think. It's a bit different than my urban fantasy stuff, but you'll likely find my particular flavor of fantasy-writing pretty continuous no matter the sub-genre I'm playing with.
As always, thanks for reading!
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