This may come as a surprise for you all to know that I have a three-year plan to dominate the known fantasy world (have at that Brandon Sanderson, where's your three-year plan you multi-million book selling, giant of epic fantasy?) Literally, I have it pinned up - stuck, more like, with blue-tack - on one of the doors of my wardrobe, leering down upon me as I sleep.
It may come as less of a surprise that I'm rather behind schedule! Rather naively on my part, I set myself the target of finishing the third book of the Phoenix Saga come the end of this year. It's probably not going to happen, but God loves a trier.
As it stands I'm currently delving into three projects, (of which Phoenix Saga #3 is a part), because why not? I might start keeping regular updates on the writing in the sidebar to keep you all informed. I'll have a think about it. That's not to say that it won't be possible for me to get at least a first draft finished before Christmas, though I can't promise it will be the third book! In a bid to increase my output however, I'm hoping to produce around two books coming into the following year. So that's something, right?
Here's a snippet of one of my, as yet untitled, (and un-edited) upcoming works:
After what must have been well over nine hours on the road, (awkward stops for fuel included), Al finally pulled the car over to a stop.
The location couldn’t have been more perfect for his captors. An abandoned mansion, dangerously decrepit to the point of near collapse, sitting alone surrounded by acres of field.
Al got out of the car and shuddered, unsure whether it was more to do with the early morning cold or the derelict building lying in wait.
How strange that he should feel such a strongly conflicting feelings, as he treaded up the untamed field, his trouser legs becoming damp from the morning dew. Foreboding, for one; the mansion’s rows of shuttered windows leaking little else but the building’s stored shadows. Yet, he remained just as oddly curious as he had the last time he’d ascended the stone steps running up the wall to the platform that kept the house safe from the environment. Though, examining the sheer state of decay that had laid claim to the place made Al wonder for a moment whether the separation was really for the benefit of all that existed around it.
What lay inside were a thousand wonders not even a hundred lifetimes could fully appreciate. But this was not a house that invited you to explore them.
Go away, this house seemed to say. Its rows of black eyes glaring menacingly.
‘Why here of all places?’ Al heard Mandrake murmur. He had his arms wrapped tightly around his torso. Though, given how his head moved rapidly to-and-fro, searching for dangers, Al thought the grey-haired man had similar concerns as he.
A sharp nudge in the back, from the pommel of Nightshade’s sword, propelled Al up the stairs a little quicker.
‘Keep walking, wordsmith, wouldn’t want you to die of cold now.’
Glancing back at the scarred man, Al saw that his sword was indeed unsheathed. Though far less obvious than his associate, Al knew the dance of Nightshade’s eyes well enough to know the man was not overtly comfortable with his surroundings either.
The front of the house was in a state of utter disrepair. Paint was slowly peeling off from the walls either side of the entrance revealing a dusty layer of red brick. Two angels, their wings forming an arch over the doors, had been sculpted into the front. One of the heads had fallen off, a sharp crack scarring the angel’s hair. The angel’s face, taciturn in its sternness, sat facing the door, as if on the lookout for whatever dangers lurked inside.
A particular story occurred to Al as he looked at the angel’s head.
‘You know, in Islamic belief, it is not the Devil who guards Hell, but an angel,’ Al said. ‘An angel who never smiles, never laughs. He just stands amongst the flames, watching.’
An eerie silence hung thick enough to catch the two other men’s breath in their throats.
His eyes snapped to the angel’s head, now split in two, dust billowing up around Nightshade’s boot.
‘Never been one for angels,’ Nightshade growled. He pointed his sword at the double doors and nodded at Al. ‘Get moving, wordsmith.’
Even with knowing what lay inside, Al could not help the turn of his stomach as he stared down the pale doors barring his path.
He took a deep breath, then leaned against one of the doors with his shoulder and pushed.
Al could have sworn there must have been someone on the other side holding the door closed, given the loud protest it made in whines and squeaks. Eventually, it gave way, swinging wide and revealing naught but a pitch-black darkness that seemed unnatural when compared to the early morning sun creeping over the horizon. A chill seized Al’s spine as he stared into the unending depths of the house’s maw.
Don’t come in, it all but said.
The poke of Nightshade’s sword pommel against his back felt less sharp this time, as though the man wasn’t really sure if he wanted to enter the house after all.
Stay safe, Tommy, Al thought.
The broken angel’s head watched the two men follow him inside.