So when I asked Patrick for a story prompt and he said, "Secrets," I launched myself into a just-for-fun YA Victorian gothic fantasy novelette, full of eerie magic, mystery and brooding atmosphere...and just a touch of romance!
It was so much fun to write, and although I took a long time to revise and edit it over the course of the last year (as I went back to it again and again in-between work on my novels)...
...It's finally ready to be shared, so you guys can read it too!
Just check out the gorgeous cover:
(You can click on the image to see a larger version.)
Megan Crewe at Another World Designs created it for me after she read the story, and it is Just Right. It captures the mood perfectly!
Here's the official description:
Raised in hiding in the country and knowing nothing of her mother, Lily has been taught from birth that her existence can only bring shame to her wealthy father. But when she nears her seventeenth birthday, she is finally summoned to her father’s house in town…and discovers that everything she thought about herself was wrong.
And now she is a prisoner.
Locked among all the other mysteries in her father’s grand house – including one young man who could be an ally or an enemy – she may finally discover the truth about her own nature…and exactly why her father considers her so valuable after all.
It's going to be published as an ebook on July 13th, and you can pre-order it now from Barnes & Noble, Amazon, Kobo, Smashwords, and iBooks. For those who prefer not to read on an e-reader, it's also available via Smashwords as a PDF file that you can print out yourself to read it on paper. And of course you can add it on Goodreads, too.
I really hope you guys enjoy it!
And I've already gotten some lovely blurbs:
"An atmospheric tale of family, dark magic, and the thirst of one girl to determine her own destiny."
– Aliette de Bodard, author of The House of Shattered Wings
"A perfect gem of Gothic fantasy."
– Beth Bernobich, author of The Ghost Dragon’s Daughter
Here's the opening of the story, to give you a taste:
House of Secrets
My father’s house is full of secrets. They cling to the thick, dusty curtains that he keeps tightly drawn all day and night, muffling the sound of his friends’ low, intent whispers and blocking out the sunlight. I can hear the dull echoes of carriages outside, rattling past at all hours, but I never see them. Since I arrived here eight days ago, I’ve become a creature of shadow, as dim and hidden from the outside world as everything else in this house.
Back home in the country, where I lived with my nurse, the sunshine poured in all day long. Bessie’s cottage might have been a tiny, insignificant thing compared to my father’s great house in town, but hers led out onto fields and woods where I could wander to my heart’s content. The local girls were forbidden to talk to me, but the wind brushed against my skin like a caress whenever I stepped into the meadows, and distant bells always seemed to ring in the air whenever I walked in the woods, although Bessie claimed she couldn’t hear them. In the summers, I spent nearly every day outside, coming home only for required meals, or when Bessie managed to pin me down to study my letters.
“You’re the daughter of gentryfolk,” she always told me, “no matter who your poor mother might have been. I’ll not have your father disappointed when he finally summons you to live with him.”
Back then, of course, my father was only a name, scrawled hastily at the bottom of his brief, infrequent letters: William Norton, Esq.
William Norton, Esq., hoped that my health was well and that I was behaving for my nurse. William Norton, Esq., would summon me to town when I was older, for my coming of age.
I always tried to think of that as a promise rather than a threat...
I hope you guys enjoy the full story in July! And of course, if you're a book blogger, you can always contact me to get an advance copy for review.
I'm so glad to finally be able to share this story with you guys!