I’m releasing my debut novel as an e-book in a couple of weeks. It’s about a young man who is hired to take photographs of an eccentric nobleman murdering monsters. It’s fantasy, of course, sure to entertain preschool teachers and tattoo artists alike, as well as everyone in between. (but not loan officers. For some reason they have a hard time enjoying anything with giant horses in them. Anything else is fine, but put a twelve foot tall horse in your story and you might as well be handing them a manual on microwave ovens.) So, while I’m getting everything in order, here’s an 854 word sneak peek at the project that gave me a nervous breakdown:
“Good morning!” she said.
Billy smiled. It always amazed him how cheerful Hailey looked in the morning. It didn’t matter what the weather was; it could be dark and rainy outside, she still managed to come across as a ray of sunshine. At least he’d remembered to put on his trousers before moving to the bathroom. “It’s chilly this morning,” he said, breaking into a yawn.
“It certainly is! I wore a sweater along with my jacket picking flowers this morning and still I couldn’t get warm! It’s like winter out there!”
“I know! When I saw the clouds outside my window I almost didn’t want to get out bed!” Billy paused, waiting for the inevitable question about how that was different than any other morning, except none came. “If ever I have a lot of money, I’m going to hire somebody to keep my clothes warm while I’m sleeping.” This made Hailey laugh. “I’m serious! I’d pay someone to sit in a chair all night and wear my clothes so that when I woke up they’d be all warmed up for me. They would have to remain still of course, so as not to build up any sweat. I’d probably hire an old person to do it. You know, someone who just sits around all night and reads.”
“Why not just hang your clothes next to a fire place? I mean if you had a lot of money you could hire somebody to keep the fire lit.”
Billy was disappointed by her lack of imagination. “I suppose I could do that,” he said. “Either that or I could move somewhere warm. Hey, you haven’t seen my mother, have you?”
“I saw her just before I left to pick flowers. My goodness, but she’s in a terrible mood.”
“Don’t worry,” Hailey said. “It’s not because of you. It seems somebody’s been stealing our firewood. Eric was out collecting wood for the dining room and he noticed loads missing from the day before.”
“So that’s what she was yelling about? For a minute there, I thought it was over something I’d done!”
“No, not this time, I’m afraid,” Hailey said, giving him another smile. “But isn’t that strange? Stealing firewood like that? You’d think with such an abundance of trees there would be no need.”
“It has to be laziness. Somebody out there decided it would be less work to simply take it than harvest it themselves. Obviously they didn’t understand they were stealing from a crazy woman.”
Hailey snorted into her armful of flowers. “Oh, come on,” she laughed. “Veronica’s not that bad. Yes, she has a temper, but I’d be angry too if somebody stole from me. In fact, I am angry! It bothers me that someone would think it’s acceptable to steal. Even if it is only firewood. Oh, and before I forget,” she said, bringing her index finger to her cheek, “your mother told me to remind you to pick up the bed sheets from Bremming’s.”
Now this was something that really irritated Billy. It was bad enough that Veronica felt it necessary to remind him whenever he had a job to do, but then sending Hailey to do it too? “I know, I know,” he said, flicking his comb irritably in front of him. “I was going to go after I had something to eat. I’ve only just gotten up, you know.” And just to show how true that statement was, he made a big show of wiping the sleep from one of his eyes. “Is it just me, or does it seem like we’re sending sheets off to be washed every other day?”
“The beds do get changed every day,” said Hailey.
“But why? It’s not like there are new people staying here all the time. It’s the same people staying in the same rooms for weeks at a time. I don’t see the need for changing their sheets everyday like that. Take my bed for example. I’ve had the same sheets on my bed since October, and you don’t see me coming down with any strange diseases.” The outrage in Billy’s voice turned into embarrassment. “Did I say October? I meant March…”
Hailey couldn’t help but smile at Billy’s blushing face. Mercifully, rather than let him suffer, she chose to steer the conversation towards something she’d heard over breakfast instead. “Remember last night?” she began, making sure there was no one within earshot. “When Eric was talking about how they’d found something big? Well, earlier at breakfast, I was chatting to one of the researchers and he mentioned finding something massive on one of the mountainsides. It was only a vertebra, but judging from the size, he thinks the creature was of a scale never before dreamed of.”
“How big was it? The piece of bone, I mean.”
“Fifty feet I think he said.”
“Fifty feet?!? But that doesn’t seem possible!”
“I’m just repeating what he told me. You can’t say anything, though.”