The Dreyfuss Trilogy

Changeling * Lucifer's Stepdaughter * Moonchild

Contact Morgan

Saturday, 26 March 2011

Chapter 2, Changeling

Chapter Two

She was aware of a vague feeling of disquiet as they walked across the Square.  She wasn’t quite sure where she was going, what time it was.  Fumbling, she looked at her watch, to be met in turn with his smile and those eyes.  She forgot why she had wanted to know the time, returning his smile and wondering if she was boring him with her chit chat.  He seemed so relaxed in her company and she responded to his confidence.  He hailed a taxi and she found herself staring at the West End as it passed.  She felt warm, rested, secure.  He smiled and nodded at her, patting her hand, caressing her shoulder.  It was all so very wonderful, so very exciting.  To find such a companion by sheer accident, to have such a relaxing evening in the face of the earlier disappointment.  She studied the lights as they passed, wondering if perhaps she’d had a bit too much to drink.  There was something niggling at the back of her mind, something uncomfortable.  She tried to put it away from her as the cab stopped, she didn’t want to lose him for lack of giving him her attention. 
They were in the sudden quiet of a back street.  She smiled as he opened the cab door, inviting her out with a dignified flourish.  He was so romantic.  She thrilled inside, a secret smile of pleasure at the thought.  In the shadow of tall buildings the air was cooler, cleaner.  As he paid the taxi driver and his face bent away from hers, she felt her mind once more straying.  There was something she was worried about, what was it?  It was lost as he smiled again, encouraging her to walk with him.  He opened a door, ushered her in.  There was the faintest scent of citrus, something tangy.   Small, enclosed, yet neither intimate nor comfortable.  Where was she?  It was a lift, moving silently up.  She giggled as she watched the lights on the panel flicker.  Oh dear, she had better not have any more to drink.  She didn’t want to appear sozzled, leave a bad impression.  The disquiet returned as she stood outside a heavy wooden door, her companion pressing buttons on a glittering steel panel.  Something about what he was doing made her realise how expensive the door was.  Expensive doors were heavy, solid: immovable.  That door was expensive. 
She turned, to look back for the lift, see if she could work out where she was.  His hand reached down and touched her chin, pulled it gently towards him.  He kissed her then, for the first time, and the ground swayed under her feet.  Oh yes, this was it, this was it!  He was the one, the one she had been waiting for, longing for.  She smiled, leaned into him, felt his clothing against her.  Smooth, sensual.  The door opened and she was walking inwards, his hand gently covering the small of her back.  She could feel his coolness through her dress, excitement flooding her.  She took a step forward, hesitated, stopped.   Something was wrong, something was very wrong.  It was dark where they were heading.  She turned, to move back, but his hand was on her shoulder, cool and demanding, what was it she wanted to say?  She opened her mouth to speak, and he was there again, kissing her, swallowing her up.  There really wasn't anything wrong; it was all rather exciting.  She was as light as a feather, dancing, being carried through the air by his charm.  Pale colours flowed around her, lights moving as they walked.  The stars above her head were swirling, dancing with them as they moved.  Dark green splashes of colour whizzed by.  Her head lolled back, losing contact with his body.  He tipped her forward again, and she snuggled onto his shoulder.  This was so very fine, so very very fine.

Friday, 18 March 2011

Interview With Me

Another interview, if you're interested.  Sibel Hodge writes romantic comedies and mystery. I think she conducted a lovely interview and am very pleased how well it's come out.  Do click the link, even if you don't read it all, to say 'thanks'.  :-)

Thursday, 17 March 2011

Vampire Quiz - Win an ecopy of Changeling

Fangopedia, a vampire news and review site, is hosting a vampire quiz for Changeling.  Answer all five question correctly, and you go into a prize draw.  On April 10th, launch day, 5 lucky winners will receive a coupon to download Changeling.  It doensn't matter if you don't have an ebook reader, such as a Kindle or a Nook, as you can download to a PC with an add-on.

Pop over to Fangopedia, and have a look, here.

Here are the 5 questions:

  1. What was the name of the ship that carried Dracula to Britain, and crashed into the foreshore at Whitby?
  2. Which US author wrote the 1954 novel “I Am Legend” about a disease that mimicked vampirism?
  3. Which French actor played a sexy and compelling Count Dracula in the 1977 BBC television production of “Dracula”?
  4. Which vampire is this: “Allow me my significance! I am the symbol of evil; and if I am a true symbol, then I do good.”
  5. Which vampire-kicking human heroine beds Jean Claude, Master Vampire of St. Louis?

How many did you get?

Chapter 1, Changeling

As we're now in the run down to publication, the next thee Sample Sundays will be the first three chapters.  Whole.  Enjoy.  :-)

Chapter One

The door slammed shut with the deadened finality that comes with the emptying of a living space.  Silence filled in behind her, flooding the rooms with despair.  The air in her bedroom, thick with deodorant, hairspray, floral shower gel and perfume, settled into scented layers around the debris of her work clothes.  The cat, nonchalant about her absence now it had been fed, climbed onto the front room window sill, looking out on its domain of kebab shops and off licences.  Endless traffic piled the corners, hooting and groaning as it snuffed along, pouring stink into the already sickly late afternoon air.  It felt more like the middle of September, than that of April.  The cat preferred the view over the back windows, endless roofs, tantalising birds and other cats to snarl at.  It would wait until the acrid chemical smells in the other room faded, before proceeding to settle in its usual spot, angled out to the inner square of the backs of the houses.  It would mewl and scratch fruitlessly on the glass at the outside wild life: desperate to be free to attack, to chase.  Or so it thought.  Once, a pigeon had settled on an open window sill in the summer’s heat, and the poor cat, comfortable and safe in its window glass world, had hissed in fright.  It was so big, so aggressive, compared to the small fluttering victims of its day dreams, tiny and fragile on the roof spars opposite.  The bird had eyed him coldly, without fear.  The cat had hissed and growled its warning, but it had had no effect.  It was a stand off until the bird flew away, unruffled.  Since then, the cat went into a frenzy any time a bird landed on the other side of the window.  The other side of the closed window.
Had she known it was the last time she’d abandon both the cat, and her flat, she might have washed the dishes.  As it was, she had rushed around the flat, ignoring the smell from the sink.  That morning, as she’d fallen out of bed to find that only her best suit was wearable, she’d planned to come in tonight and clean, ridding her life of the guilt the week had scattered around her.  The resolution had been spurred on by the blissful thought of a Saturday morning lie in.  A pristine flat all around her, requiring no effort on her behalf.  Her change of plans, however, had left her with less than twenty minutes to bathe and change: she had once more ignored the chaos. Stopping only to throw some biscuits in the bowl (tinned food stank the place out) she vowed her allegiance to the hum drum of living; tomorrow.  She’d do it all tomorrow.  Clean out the cat litter, empty the bins, do the laundrette run and find her bedroom carpet under the skin of peeled off clothes that she kicked out of her way to find a matching shoe. Tomorrow would be good enough, and Sunday morning would be the sweet spot, as she lay in bed wondering how to fill a lazy day.  She grabbed her keys and ran, heading off down the stairs at full pelt.
After four days unexplained absence, during which all answer phone messages had been ignored, her boss finally called the mother of her erstwhile assistant.  Mrs Maitland, to the embarrassment of all concerned, exploded into tears at the thought of her only child’s fate.  A day later, after some hemming and hawing, the police were called, forcing open the flat in absence of anyone with a spare key.  They found the dishes partially in the sink, partially on the floor, courtesy of an exceptionally hungry cat.  The cat took its revenge on the probationary policewoman, leaving a trail of claw marks across her cheek.  The sergeant, who had cautioned against such inappropriate action, handed a clean handkerchief over and called in the RSPCA.  Their elbow length leather gauntlets would handle the animal, which had conveniently hidden itself inside the fold down couch in the living room cum kitchenette.  He had never had any truck with people who took free ranging creatures and locked them into tiny fourth floor flatlets, or patted them as if human sentimentality could mitigate a completely empty stomach.  He left his charge dabbing at the blood and had a good look round.

Interview With Me

Author Jerry Hanel kindly interviewed me earlier this week.  Please click the link, even if you don't have time to read, just to say thank you.  :-)

Sunday, 13 March 2011


Because someone asked me to.  :-)  He's not perfect as Dreyfuss, but for a stock shot, he's as good as you could imagine.  Morwenna Rakestraw, my cover artist, 'warmed' him through to match Joanne.

Saturday, 12 March 2011

Back Cover Blurb

Please choose, and comment, between the two.  Click to enlarge.  Many thanks.  :-)

A Side                                                                                                      B Side

Sample Sunday - March 13th

As I mentioned last week, I’m presenting a second vampire biography for this week’s Sample Sunday.  Again, as people are interested in the nuts and bolts of writing, particularly with such an epic backdrop as a vampire trilogy.  This character, Lucia (Loose-ee-ah), is featured in Lucifer’s Stepdaughter, and in Moonchild.  She is an important character in that she carries function within the narrative.  She is not a main character in terms of the emotional context of the story, but she is in the background, doing work, in both novels.

I’ve included her so you can see what I meant by biographies dovetailing between characters.  If you haven’t done so, you may wish to read the biography of The Lord of the Rivers, before you read Lucia’s.  Then you can see how much each character biography informs the other.  The previous relationship between them is but the work of a moment in the novel.  Just a mention in the stream of things, with no real detail or weight.  Again, such detail informs the characters, makes them three dimensional.  It gives them flesh to their bones, more than it serves narrative.

That their joint story is not part of the trilogy, is how I can present it here.  There will be no more vampire biographies until Lucifer’s Stepdaughter is released.  No one else can be presented, without giving away narrative in the novel.  I hope you like Lucia.  Whilst not the most approachable person in the world, I’m quite fond of her. 

Test Cover B

Pretend you can see Test Cover B here:
Oh look, it arrived!  :-)  Click to make large.

Wednesday, 9 March 2011

Test Book Cover

Comments sought.  In particular, about leaving the blank space on the bottom left, or trying to squeeze some sort of bio info in.

If you single click it, it should enlarge to your screen size, so you can see detail.  I hope.  :-)

Amended Cover

Tuesday, 8 March 2011

International Women's Day

You'll find lots of post out in the 'Net today, about International Women's Day.

A lot of it won't be about much, and will just be the meme carrying on through.  But the truth is, the poorest people in the worlds, are women, and they are often raising children who die, or are crippled, from diseases and conditions fixed for a few pence.

Everyone will want you to send money to someone.  I'd like you to consider sending a fiver - be it pounds, dollars, yen or rubles, to Women Against Rape.

These women work hard, and have done for decades, to protect all women, and to help them raise their children in safety.  They don't get much funding, as the word 'rape' makes people back off.  Please don't back off: protect women, protect babies, protect kids.  For instance, the Black Women's Rape Action Project, supports women in asylum centres, who have been raped as a weapon of war, and are being faced with deportation back to where their rapists, usually militia or soldiers, are waiting for their return: they were told to go and never return, when they were raped and beaten, and their family killed.  This support is also practical, and many women seeking refugee status, go there for a meal, and to see if they can get donated clothing for their kids, and shoes for their feet.

Support women, in supporting women.  :-)  And have a good day: happiness is what we all want, need and deserve.  Celebrate women, by giving someone some help, today.

Saturday, 5 March 2011

Sample Sunday - March 6th

For this week’s Sample Sunday, I’m presenting a character biography, rather than a sample of fiction.  Doing so, has meant I’ve had some interesting reflections upon the difference between such a biography – which is, of course, essentially a work of fiction – and a sample of narrative writing.  I think the main difference between the two pieces, is that of show, not tell.  Show, not tell, is a rubric of good writing.  Whereby you describe a scene, a character, a section of narrative development, and allow the reader to piece together elements in their own mind.  You don’t tell them a character is in love, you allow them to see it for themselves, through the world you construct with words.  ‘Tell’ is usually sloppy writing, or used sparingly as a technique.  A biography, which is seen only by the writer, and is part of their concordance, does not need to be ‘show’.  It can be ‘tell’.  You are fleshing out character for yourself, and no need to dress it into hard won ‘show’.

I therefore present a ‘tell’ piece – the biography of The Lord of the Rivers, a central character for books two and three of the trilogy.  He appears for one glimpse, un-named, in Changeling.  He is my most adored male vampire.  Whilst I do not have a crush on him, as it goes against his personality, I would, if I could.  I do have a slight crush on his current partner, whom you will meet in book 2.  But that’s another tale, for another telling.

Thursday, 3 March 2011

How I Write - Sharing Ideas And Such

Well, since sharing what I do, seems to be going down so well, I thought I'd share today with you.  And since it's you, I've done a little research fun for you.

The past week, we've been driving across country on a short break.  We started from our home in the Scottish Borders, on the East Coast of Scotland, on the shores of the North Sea, on Saturday, and have driven down to Oxford, from whence these words are being formed.  Today, we went to Avebury, one of the most spectacular places on the planet, a World Heritage site, no less.  We've been visiting Avebury for decades, and it's where my son's naming ceremony was held.  But this visit, today, was one of the most special I've ever had.  The second half of Changeling, features the area around Avebury.  Savernake Forest and Marlborough feature in the narrative.  And whilst we used to live very close, and visit the area a great deal, we've not had much direct contact with it over the past decade.  Since our move to Scotland last year, Wiltshire has seemed a long way away.

So today, driving down to Savernake from Oxford, and them across the A4 through Marlborough and up the Avenue into Avebury.. I was in a different space than I've ever been in before.  So much of the road I was travelling, is named in Changeling.  And Changeling has now been read, and is about to launch.  It was filled with collywobbles and goosebumps.  Anticipation and happiness, and some trepidation, but mostly, just sheer excitement at the route.  I drove off into Savernake for a few hundred yards, to breathe in the forest's scents, and remember how it feels to be deep in its embrace.  And to think of Joanne, and her journey out of the forest, and how I'm finally sharing that journey with people.  :-)

So I thought I'd bring you all a gift, from Avebury.  In joy of the day.  Something I'd noticed on the walls of the church in Avebury, many years ago, and had been meaning to incorporate into a story many times, and have never done so far: a story carved in stone, in one of the Churches.

This gift to you, carries on from my post about naming characters.  And this is the gift...

On the wall of Avebury St James, there is a wall plague.  It is in Memory of a John Mayo of Bath, who died on 3rd May 1830, aged 86 years, and his wife Jane, who died in 23 Nov, 1836, aged 76 years. John was the son of a previous vicar of the parish.  The plaque also remembers his 5 sisters, all deceased.  They are:

Barbara, died 1793, Elizabeth and Thermuthis, died 1797, Mary, died 1819 and Lucy, died 1820.

And that's my gift to you - Thermuthis.  The daughter of a vicar of Avebury St James, who died in 1797.

Why was she called Thermuthis?  It's such an odd succession... John, Barbara, Elizabeth, Thermuthis, Mary & Lucy.  How did that look in the day?

And she died the same year as her sister, Elizabeth.  Twins?  Some joint disaster, disease?  And the wall plaque - raised after 1830, no doubt, and then the predeceased sisters named.  Did none of them marry?  Did they all die 'Mayo', and that's why they are on the plaque?  Or was the memory of their father, who had been vicar at the parish, so strong, that all his children were named, after John died and his estate bought the plaque?

Such a little slice of stone, with a few words carved on it.  And a whole world of mystery opened up by it.  This is how I write... I take small things I notice in the world, and ... wonder... how did that come about...?

And why, was she named Thermuthis?  And who is Thermuthis?  Have fun with it.  I have, for decades!  :-)  Thermuthis Mayo, it's a bit of a shock when you google and find out there was more than one....

Tuesday, 1 March 2011

How I Write - Concordance

Many years ago, I read a series of essays by Stephen King, where he explained out what a writer's concordance was, and how every writer should have one.  I will be eternally grateful for that advice, and for Stephen King, actually.  Good writing comes from good reading, and Stephen King is a great writer.  He crafts at his trade, and anyone who has raw talent, as he does, and who then also crafts, will write well.  And if you are Stephen King, at times, you will write brilliantly.  Likewise, as he also comments, if you have no talent, no matter how hard you will work, and craft, you will never get there.  No matter how hard he crafts at guitar, says Stephen, he will always be a mediocre guitar player - no talent.

But for writing, he had talent, and then added craft.  And part of that craft, is a good concordance.  The side dish book to your main book.  The one with the timelines, character studies, and various details of your story as you go along.  The place you stick all the research and somesuch stuff you need, to flesh out your narrative and your characters.

The place where your timeline is.  A timeline is vital to good crafting.  If you don't have a timeline for your narrative, you're making work for yourself, and perhaps for your editor.  Even, if like Hitchcock, you excel in narratives that take place within the space of four consecutive days, you need a clear timeline.  Writing can eat  up time on the page.  You can spend months on one scene, which, in the linear timeline of the narrative, is only  three hours.  Equally, you can flip past six months, with one paragraph, or even a line.