Working Notes – The Book That Wouldn’t Be Short

It’s only now I’ve recalled a pithy little line I included in the special features for The Royal Talisman:

“I have also been accused of an inability to write anything short to save my life.”

Good thing a hanging didn’t depend on the turn of that phrase.  Because I blithely included in the description for the Beloved Bloody Time series this disaster of a sentence:

“The books are short.”

Was it me that really said that?

What was I thinking?   I must have been on catnip at the time.

Anyway, here’s the very good news:  I’m closing in on the finish line for Byzantine Heartbreak, the second book of the series.  I can see the checkered flag from here, and if I can finish up my blog posts for the week fast enough, I might even finish the first draft this weekend.

That’s somewhat iffy, though, as Mark is wrestling here in Edmonton this weekend, so I’m going to be spending the day at the arena, and even though I spend the day with my laptop on my knees, I don’t usually get a lot of writing done.  I do get a lot of talking done, though!

But, back to my sad tale of my inadequacies as an author.

Byzantine Heartbreak was supposed to be short.  A fast, snappy read to match Bannockburn Binding, full of hot love scenes, action, tension and suspense.

Well, it’s got all that and more.  It’s just got a lot more of it than I’d anticipated.  Like…nearly twice as much.


But, more good news.  One of the glories of self publishing is that I can take these sorts of snafus in stride.  I wrote a book twice as long as it was planned to be?  No problems.  We’ll just publish a book twice as long!  (‘We’, you understand, being ‘me, myself & I’.)

I imagine the length will shorten down a bit once I edit and tidy up the prose.  But at the moment it’s a plus-sized novel and I’m estimating it will be around the 400 page mark by the time I’m done.   That’s a hefty tome by anyone’s standard.  I think, even with hard pruning, it’s still going to be a long novel.

I’m not going to cut it in half or anything drastic like that just to maintain a series uniformity or, heaven forbid, a market price.  The story needs to take up whatever room it needs to be told well.  I have that freedom now.  So you get a fully developed story and characters, and you don’t get short-changed.

Here’s a snippet.  Warning: frank language ahead!

Copyright © TRACY COOPER-POSEY, 2012
All Rights Reserved

“Why’d’you say that?” Ryan asked.  “He’s a good man.”

“’cause he’s a vamp hater,” Cáel replied.  He shook his head.  “A great man, ‘cept for he’s flawed.”

Ryan was staring at him.  “That’s…he comes off like he’s Henry Kissinger.  How could you know that?”

Cáel shrugged.  “We were lovers for nearly a year.  Then I found out.”  He shuddered and drank.  He reached for the bottle to refill, and realized that Ryan was still staring at him.

“Lovers?  You?” Ryan said.

“Think you’ve got a corner on the market, Irishman?”  Cáel topped up Ryan’s glass.  “Not everyone goes for poetic lilts, you know.”

Ryan half-laughed.  He picked up his drink.  “So…what is this, then?  Are we on a date?”

Cáel’s stomach seemed to drop out from his body with a sickening, electrifying rush.  It had nothing to do with the whiskey.  He let his hand drop away from the glass and looked at Ryan, wishing his heart would quieten.  “Do you want it to be?”

Ryan was sitting motionless in the chair, the forgotten whiskey glass held in mid-air.  His eyes were narrowed, all emotion shielded.  After a moment, he gave a tiny shrug, and his mouth lifted in a little smile.  “You’ve gotta know, Stelios, I haven’t had a lover for centuries.  Not since—“

“Bullshit,” Cáel replied.

Ryan’s eyes widened, losing their guarded expression.  The surprise was quite clear.  He put his glass back on the bar.

Cáel didn’t give him time to pull his defense shield back together.  “You’ve had plenty of liaisons and partners, and a ton of sex, and that’s just in the 23rd century that Lyle Bean could find out about.  Do you want me to actually name names?”

Ryan opened his mouth to speak.

Cáel jumped in again.  “It doesn’t matter, anyway.  Because you’re hiding behind a distinction.  You don’t mind hot sweaty sex with whoever appeals to you whenever you feel like it, but what you really mean when you say you haven’t had a lover in centuries is that you haven’t fallen in love.  You haven’t had a relationship that lasted longer than a week.  You haven’t had the guts to try, and that’s pretty sad, isn’t it?”

Ryan was breathing hard, his eyes narrowed with anger.  But that was natural reaction.  Cáel had just kicked him in the guts.  Now he had to get him past the moment.

Cáel knocked back his drink and put the glass on the bar with a rap.  “Let’s get rid of the tap-dancing, because we both know how to do it too well, and we could talk me into a too-early grave with diplomatic waltzing.”  He took a breath, to steady himself.  “Do I want to fuck you, Ryan?  Yes.”



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