A very good thing happened on 24th November, I met with a publisher. The result of said meeting was an interest in picking up The Garden saga of novels, beginning with book two. This will, of course, be great news to those who’ve read Seeker and eagerly await the second instalment (which, I’m happy to say, is at least 98% of the readers – always the first question I get asked is ‘when’s the next book?’). This also means I need to write, and so I am deep in the world of Jake, Sam, Celeste and the upyr once again. The book also needed a new title, and that has become Augury – a portent, an omen, but of what? Tune in next year to find out. 😉
In other Garden news, Seeker was nominated for a Rainbow Award, that of Best Paranormal Horror 2011 (Gay). Alas, it did not win, but it did get an honourable mention, and one of the judges had this to say about it; ‘ Boy, there’s quite a lot of story here. It isn’t my usual type of read, but I thought the author did an excellent job of weaving so many details into an intriguing plot.‘
Seeker has also been featured in this week’s Comic Guru TV. The Comic Guru is one of the premiere comic shops in Wales, and is based in Cardiff. The owner, Kristian Barry, has been a supporter of Seeker since it was released back in March, and has, over the last six months or so, become a very good friend indeed. So big love and thanks to him for the continued support, and the wonderful comments in the webcast.
And now, just for you followers of this blog, a very exclusive treat. The first scene of Augury…
Jake was in a good place.
True, life could still be as tough as nuts, but he’d made it. Not to say his life was now perfect, it was far from that, but he was at least in a space he could call good. Well, compared to the two longest weeks of his life back in March. He tried not to dwell on those weeks too much now, but once in a while the memories and accompanying feelings would come around and smack him in the face.
‘You still there?’ Conrad asked.
‘Yeah. Yeah, sorry, guy,’ Jake said into the phone, his ubiquitous Californian lilt as affected as ever, as he opened the front door. It was all Conrad’s fault anyway. They had been talking about how much things had changed since they’d first met, a topic that was always bound to bring back certain memories. Still, good place, he reminded himself. ‘Come on, Curtis!’ he yelled up the stairs, and said into the phone in a softer voice, after hearing Conrad’s hiss of annoyance, ‘ah, sorry.’
‘Right, ’tis cool.’
Jake could hear Conrad’s smile in his voice. Sometimes Jake reckoned that if Conrad was any more laid back he’d spend his whole life on his back. Jake grinned at the mental image that brought forth.
‘So, yeah,’ he continued, dragging his mind out of that particularly dirty gutter, ‘we’re heading off to the station now. He should be there soon.’
‘Looking forward to it?’
‘I guess. Haven’t seen each other in what seems like forever.’ Jake paused. He couldn’t back down now, either way. ‘Curtis is eager to see him, so yeah, should be fun.’ As soon as he mentioned Curtis’ name, the toddler came bobbing down the stairs. Jake didn’t even bother with the safety gate that Willem had installed anymore. Curtis was walking so much better these days, full of the bubbly life a three-year-old was supposed to have. He’d changed a lot since Jake and Lawrencia had come to their ‘agreement’. Jake smiled to himself; Will would be very happy to see his nephew, too.
‘What about you?’
‘Huh?’ Once again Jake was miles away. He seemed to do that a lot these days.
‘Are you eager to see him?’
Jake didn’t answer straight away. Sure, he was looking forward to it, but there was a part of him that…
‘Okay,’ Conrad said, cutting into Jake’s thoughts, ‘look, Jake…’ He stopped abruptly, and Jake could just about make out someone trying to get Conrad’s attention. Probably his sergeant. ‘Yes, sir,’ Conrad’s muffled voice said. ‘I need to book,’ he continued to Jake, ‘so text me soon, yeah? Let me know if tonight’s defo on.’
‘Sure thing,’ Jake said, and ended the call.
Curtis stood at the bottom of the stairs, wearing the jumper Jake had bought him for his birthday last month. He had told Curtis it was from ‘undle’ Willem, and Curtis had corrected him saying it was uncle. Getting the kid into playschool was paying off for sure. And since it was a present from his missing uncle, Curtis had decided that the jumper was his favourite and thus had to be worn almost every day. Or at least the three days he stayed with Jake, since Jimmy refused to allow the boy to wear it. Merely because it was ostensibly a present from Will.
‘You ready, champ?’
Curtis shook his head. ‘No. I get cold outside.’ He stretched up for his coat hanging on the rack by the door, but couldn’t reach.
Jake lifted the coat off the rack and held it higher. Curtis started jumping for it, but Jake kept moving the coat around, making Curtis jump and run around in circles. Laughing. Jake loved it. Such a happy kid now.
‘Come on, let’s wrap you up,’ he said, and knelt down next to Curtis. As he zipped up the coat, Jake asked; ‘Where we going?’
‘We going to Paddytum, and get some mamylade for my toast for breakfast before school tomorrow.’
Jake grinned. ‘Yeah, kind of.’ They were certainly going to Paddington, that much was true, but not to get marmalade. Jake had already secretly stashed some in the glove compartment to give to Curtis later. The kid would never know. They were going to meet someone. A very special someone, and already in his mind Jake could see the big smile on Curtis’ face when he saw who it was.
Curtis reached out for Jake’s hand, and he took the chubby brown hand tightly. Curtis smiled up at him. Just before closing the door Jake glanced across the passage to the kitchen beyond. The house, Will’s house, had his own touch to it now. He wasn’t sure how Will would like it.