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It's a wrap!

And it's a wrap! Steel Blues is finished and off to the publisher, the wonderful David Niall Wilson of Crossroad Press. Now for edits and galleys and coming your way after the first of the year! If you read and enjoyed Lost Things, I think Steel Blues is even better. I'm so pleased with how it came out.

I thought I'd share a little piece from near the beginning. There's a party at Henry's house the night before the air race begins, but needless to say something always goes wrong at Henry's parties. In which Mitch discovers that something has gone pear shaped, and readers of my other books may notice a familiar figure...




Mitch put his empty plate down on a side table and glanced over the titles on Henry's bookshelf. It was fairly quiet in the house, most people out by the pool, crowded around the bar he could see through the open French doors. Maybe he could just pick out something and settle down and read in Henry's study for a while. His fingers walked along the shelves. Undine and Sintram by Friedrich de la Motte Fouqué....

"You like fairy tales?"

Mitch turned around and looked way down. The woman was a good foot shorter than him, with graying chestnut hair cut in a bob at the back of her neck, perhaps closer to forty five than forty, with brown eyes and a smile that made you want to talk to her. "Sometimes," Mitch said.

"So do I," she said. "There's something wonderful about those old stories we grew up with, isn't there? The watersprite who traded her immortality to be with the man she loved."

"Sprites are good, but I think I like the valkyries better."

At that her smile broadened. "Oh so do I," she said. "You must be Mitchell Sorley."

"Must I?"

"Well, you're on Henry's team and Lewis Segura is out there, and you're certainly not Mrs. Segura." She glanced toward the doors. "So that makes you Mitchell Sorley, doesn't it?"

"Guilty as charged," Mitch said. "But I've got no idea who you are."

"Beatrice Patton," she said briskly. "I know Henry through his other work." She paused. "Not his aviation interests."

"Ah." He'd known Henry had invited a bunch of Lodge people from all over the network he corresponded with, and most of them were strangers to Mitch. "You're here in LA then?"

She shook her head. "DC at the moment. But my husband is originally from LA and we're here on family business. Henry asked if we'd like to drop by." She shrugged, her eyes drifting to the crowd by the bar. "My husband is mad for aviation. He says it's the wave of the future, so of course we had to come."

"He's probably right."

"He's often right. Except when he's colossally wrong." She smiled again, her too high heels shifting on the mission tiled floor. "Are you going to win Henry's race for him?"

"We're going to try," Mitch said. He pulled the copy of Undine off the shelf. "But right now I think I'll settle for hiding from the press."

"They are persistent, aren't they?" she said. "I confess I'm a little shy myself."

She seemed about as shy as an organ grinder's monkey, but Mitch shrugged. "Do you Work with Henry?"

"Not with his group. But in the same tradition. You?"

"The same," Mitch said. "We branched a few years back."

"As so many did: Alpha and Omega, Stella Matutina, Whare Ra, Isis and Serapis...."

"Aedeficatorii Templii," Mitch said, identifying his own branch.

"Isis and Serapis." She smiled again. "That makes us almost kin."

"Kissing cousins, as my mother would say. Well, if my mother had ever heard of a Lodge."

"So how do you find the work?" she asked.

There was a racket as a group of six came through the French doors, two reporters and a group of men around a woman Mitch thought looked vaguely familiar. Her white evening gown and platinum blonde permanent was very Hollywood. She gave the reporters a brilliant, lipstick pout.

"Maybe we should move this conversation down the hall," Mitch said. "Henry's office should be quiet."

"Indeed."

It was at the end of the hall, down the long tiled corridor covered in its bright Turkish runner, the one light on a side table halfway along turned off. Mitch frowned. Henry kept a good many esoteric things in his office, but there was no prickle as they approached the door, no familiar desire to go do something else that should signal a warding to keep random partygoers out. There was no reason for anything stronger, just a simple thing to make sure that anyone wandering around the downstairs didn't find that end of the hall very appealing. And yet there was nothing. No prickle. Nothing.

Beatrice frowned as though she thought it was odd too.

Mitch put his hand to the door handle and opened it. There was no resistance.

The office was quiet and empty, leather chair behind his desk, the lights off except for the green shaded reading lamp. The curtains were drawn on the window which overlooked the pool terrace. Everything was quiet, everything in place. There was no reason for anyone to be in here tonight or probably tomorrow either, unless Henry planned to get some work done in the afternoon after the race began. He sure wouldn't be here at the crack of dawn. He'd be over at Grand Central watching his team at the starting gun.

Her frown deepened, and he saw her sway just a moment on her feet, eyes unfocusing.

Mitch came around the desk. "Are you all right?"

"Fine," she said. For a moment her eyes had looked black, the way Lewis' did when he was seeing something that couldn't be seen with outward sight. Then they focused on his face, brown and ordinary. "But there's something wrong."

Mitch nodded. "I know. There are no wards."

"Someone's taken them down." She looked at him. "In the last hour. Someone's been in here and they were up to something they shouldn't have been." She cast her gaze around the walls. "They stood right over there. I can feel the residue."

He drew a deep breath. Something was well and truly rotten in the state of Denmark. "Ok. Stay right here. I'm going to go get Henry."


I'd love to hear what you think!

Comments

( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
kickstand75
Aug. 14th, 2012 03:55 pm (UTC)
dun, Dun, DUN......and why indeed are the wards down? ;) So glad this is off to the publisher! Yay.
jo_graham
Aug. 14th, 2012 07:11 pm (UTC)
I'm so glad too! I love having the books come out close enough together to build some momentum and sustain people's interest.
azarias
Aug. 14th, 2012 06:55 pm (UTC)
SO EXCITE.
jo_graham
Aug. 14th, 2012 07:12 pm (UTC)
Me too! :)
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )