The Novel 2 that wasn’t.

I’m a bit behind on IKWYDLS right now, largely because I decided to do some work on Novel 2.  I’m not too far in, about 20 pages or so to be precise, but I figured it was about time I did some work on it.  To be fair, I had already started Novel 2 some months ago but I’m not really happy with it.  I looked at it, Novel 1, and a few of my more recent short stories and decided they were a little too similar: they all start with a murder and roll along with the detectives of said killing.

I’m reworking Novel 2 into something a little different now, but there are some aspects of the first draft I quite like, and will probably reuse further down the road.  You never know, maybe this draft is a sneak peak at any further novels I decide to do, should my career ever start proper.

Oh, it’s quite long.  Around about 13,000 words I think.  I don’t think I’ll go through and format it all for wordpress either, so at least the massive gaps between paragraphs should help assuade any eye strain.

Continue reading

Novel 2

I’ve already finished one novel which is currently languishing on agents’ desks across the country, but I felt that it was about time I started the second.  Very few people have seen the first book (Diplomancer) yet, but don’t worry, you don’t need to have read it for this novel to make sense.

Basically, this new novel will explain something that is mentioned a lot in Diplomancer but never really expanded.  I’m not going to tell you what it is because it won’t matter if you haven’t read Diplomancer (and you haven’t).

What you will find here is the first 1000 words, written today in fact.  I want feedback, if you would be so kind.  Does it work, is it bloated, have I cocked up some punctuation, anything really.  Preferably constructive, as that’s the only criticism that will actually be taken on board.

This is probably the only part you’ll see on this blog, but a novel needs a compelling beginning and I thought it might be worthwhile running it by whoever’s reading this.  Take a look and leave a comment if you would, cheers. 😀

Continue reading

The Power of Christ Compels You – A Croggley Steinfast Short

The inquisition had come and gone, but Croggley Steinfast was happy. His new insurance business had garnered just enough faith to deter the inquisition as they knocked on the church door, although the smell of charred flesh would take a while to dissipate. All was good at St Judy’s of the Immaculate Complexion. Until that client turned up.

Morris Smail had been trying to take out a policy every day since Croggley had opened the doors. Croggley had refused him because the guy was just too weird to deal with. He had this unfounded notion that he was a descendant of Zeus, primarily because of his affinity with lightning. When Croggley had asked for a demonstration Morris had been less than forthcoming at first, insisting that he was still developing his heathen smiting powers and wasn’t quite on the same level as his supposed ancestor. Croggley later learned that this alleged affinity was actually the uncanny ability to receive pretty harsh static shocks from metal objects.

Croggley was really quite fed up with Morris and had refused him entry on his last 3 visits for fear that his general weirdness might start to damage the church. Last thing Croggley needed was to shell out for a new confession booth because this guy had mistaken it for a wash room. Today, however, he was too slow at bolting the church doors and Morris swept in uninvited.

Physically Morris Smail resembled one of those harmless old men you often see on an allotment, the stereotypical grandfather. Mentally he was more like the mad homeless people who sidle up to you at bus stops, asking you to watch their invisible dog while they hunt the Dreaded Batvipers of Khoom in a nearby trash can.

‘Mr Steinfast, if I can just have a moment of your time!’ Morris snorted.

Croggley shuddered at the sound of his voice. ‘No.’

‘Please. I really need to take out some insurance, it’s really important!’

Croggley wheeled to face Morris as menacingly as he could. He stared at him with his best fire-and-brimstone expression. Morris did look genuinely nervous. Croggley’s expression softened briefly, then he remembered how much he hated this man.

‘Get out of my church you horrid little troll.’ he spat nastily, a gravelly undercurrent punctuating each word.

Morris’s eyes teared up. He was going to cry, and that was a very bad thing. Crying in a church tends to anger the saints. The saints (except for St Lucien the Torturer) had spent their lives trying to stop people from crying, reshaping the world into a happier, fluffier place. If someone cried in a church they believed it to be just as bad as spitting in Jesus’s drink at the last supper then turning up to gloat about it as he was hanging on the cross (an act accomplished by the exiled St Neil). They tended to overlook weddings, largely because they would also cry at them, but any other occurrence was fair game. And it was always the clergyman’s fault. Every single time.

In an effort to avoid the Wrath of the Canonised, Croggley did the only thing he could. Summoning up all his might he kicked Morris square in the chest, forcing him out of the church and sending him tumbling down the stairs outside.

Morris landed with a sickeningly wet crunch on the pavement. Croggley looked down at him from on high, slightly worried that he may have killed yet another parishioner. After what felt like an eternity Morris began to stir. Croggley breathed a sigh of relief and turned to go back inside.

‘Help me!’ Morris called from below, his hip making an audible snap as he tried to get up.

‘The Lord helps those who help themselves!’ Croggley called back cheerfully.

‘That’s not funny!’

Time and Tithe – A Croggley Steinfast Short

Reverend Croggley Steinfast had done a grand job of ignoring the Pope. He had received fifteen letters from the Pope since the end of last week, all of them unopened and crumpled into a large ball Croggley enjoyed kicking around the empty church.

He had been mulling over the possibility of taking his church private, breaking off from the Vatican and going independent. He suspected the Pope knew, hence all the letters, but he didn’t care. By the time Pope Schneider had organised an inquisition to come and “persuade” Croggley to stand down it would be too late, he’d have his new religion all set up. He’d already had the signs made.

Croggley wasn’t planning on making another normal religion, they were too difficult to maintain. Persuading people to follow a new religion was just too much to hassle. Instead Croggley had decided to start up an insurance business, Sin Insurance. Pay a tithe to Croggley, have your sins automatically forgiven as they occur. No more confessions, no more Hail Mary’s or acts of contrition. A nice flat fee giving you peace of mind when it comes to your reputation with The Man Upstairs. This could make him a fortune.

That wasn’t all though. If the plan proved successful he even had plans to move into conversion insurance. Save your soul in case you are converted into the religion that God doesn’t subscribe to. People are stupid, they’d pay through the nose for that.

The only problem Croggley faced was getting himself set up before the inquisition arrived. He thought he could do it, the inquisition being notorious for their bureaucracy this time of year, but he had to be sure. The doors opened as soon as the signs were up, that’s how he wanted it. Enough clients would keep the inquisition away. Inquisitors have a good nose for faith, even the misguided variety, and they have an unpleasant reaction to it. Burns and boils, mostly. Strange breed, inquisitors.

Getting enough faith to do deter an inquisition would take time, however, especially without some tasteful neon signs advertising the business. If those builders didn’t arrive soon they would certainly not be getting any complimentary policies…

The Ballad of Croggley Steinfast

Croggley Steinfast, Reverend of the Church of St. Judy of the Immaculate Complexion, was sat with his hair soaking in the font. This was a daily routine for him, and a much more efficient way, he seemed to think, of sanctifying the water. Besides, the church wouldn’t be opening for a few hours on account of it being Sunday, Reverend Steinfast’s day of rest.

As you may have realised, Croggley Steinfast was a somewhat lax man of the cloth, and that was why he had been assigned to St. Judy’s. His new parish had 3 regular church-goers now, 16 having been driven away during Croggley’s first stab at Confession. Only one man still came to Confession now, and he was up to 40 hail Mary’s and 98 acts of contrition. Ha Ha.

There was a loud knocking on the church’s big wooden doors. Croggley sat up, his long grey hair slopping noisily onto his back as he did so, and grumpily stormed to the door. He threw the door open angrily. The sun was shining brightly through a large stained glass window behind him, giving him the divine aura that only a pissed off priest can truly pull off correctly, and Croggley knew it. The small child at the door, however, seemed less than impressed. She was 4 or 5, her little face bordered by curly gold hair. She looked at him with her silvery blue eyes, her innocent face screwed up into a pout. In her hand was a crumpled letter which she held out to him ever so slightly. Croggley snatched the letter from her and slammed the door in her face. He heard a muffled cry as he walked away.

The letter had the Papal Seal firmly stamped all over it, a menacing bull crushing a goldfish under its powerful hooves. Croggley carelessly ripped open the letter and examined it.

F.A.O Reverend Steinfast,

Fucking sort it out.

Pope Schneider I

Clearly his congregation had complained.