So, I'm writing. I've got several projects on the go at the moment: two main ones, and one I'm turning over and over in my head.

First, I have my ongoing WiP, THE CROWS. 

THE CROWS is about murder, identity, and the fleech's art of getting by. [Don't know what a fleech is? See Chapter 1]. It's about the paranormal, the wyrd, and the eldritch happening in a seaside town to a woman getting over a break-up, a redundancy, and losing her flat. It involves a crumbling renovation project, a mysterious local society, and relationships.

Then I have my new WiP, THE BOOK OF DEATH.

THE BOOK OF DEATH is the fourth in the Faustine Chronicles series, and I've blogged a lot about the difficulties of writing that as an ongoing family saga. BoD is set seven hundred years after the end of the third book, THE BOOK OF CHANCE. The whole saga has been following the Celtic Hero Cycle, from the conception of the hero (BOOK OF FATE), the childhood of the hero (BOOK OF TIME) and acts of the hero as a young man (BOOK OF CHANCE). The last one in the cycle should be the death of the hero, but that's not really how I see BoD ending. So perhaps there will be another. But I don't know about that!

Both are giving me problems, for different reasons.

THE CROWS - because I am experimenting with narrative, and ways to split the narration to generate suspense and at the same time create a sense of realism. I want to swap between three scenes in one chapter, and see how that works. I want to offset a mundane or "normal" activity - like a date at a restaurant - with two other pairs of characters, each involved in more sinister actions, building to an overlapping climax. Troublesome, n'est-ce pas?!

BOOK OF DEATH - because 700 years have passed, and, due to a temporal accident, no one can ever go back. Yury, the hero, is stuck in the Underworld and when he comes back, nothing is the same. His immortal family have developed, moved on, lived their lives without him, and he barely recognizes them, or the new world into which he re-emerges. It's psychologically challenging, and it's also a real test of my world-building skills. The problems involve the dynamics of the family, whom the readers are very familiar with, changing in realistic and drastic ways, and the world they knew in the previous three books being almost completely reconstructed. Just as Yury is thrust into a world that doesn't make sense to him, and a family he struggles to accept despite their willingness to accept him, so to is the reader, but before the reader and even before Yury, so am I. And I'm finding it just as bewildering. This one may take a while.

My next idea: Haunted Forests of the Mind

A few things have really struck me. They have no place in the WiPs I've already got going on, but there are elements swirling around which don't marry up with each other either. I've been fascinated by two "real-life" stories - Hoia Baciu forest in Romania, and the disturbing tale of Lerina Garcia. Are there sensible scientific explanations for these things? Personally I believe so, but I really don't care. I don't care, because the stories are fascinating.

Hoia Baciu forest near Cluj is allegedly haunted, contains portals to other worlds, has balls of unexplained light floating around in it that apparently transmit diseases "if they enter your aura", and is generally absolutely terrifying. It has been a prime location for paranormal investigative shows like Destination Truth, which made for some pretty compulsive viewing.

Here are some links, including the alien theories:

1. It Was Aliens, Dude!
2. Official Website for Hoia Baciu, the World's Most Haunted Forest
3. Wikipedia Never Lies
4. It's Number 1 in the Top 7 Most Haunted Forests...

The story of Lerina Garcia is also weird and disturbing. Basically, one morning she woke up and found everything was slightly different, and not how she remembered it from the previous night (or indeed the previous few years of her life). It sounds a bit like a psychological condition where you suddenly don't recognise your loved ones, or think they've been replaced with imposters: but in this case, it's her whole life.

A version of her story is here on Redux.


What if a woman wakes up to find herself in a different place, with little things not the way they should be? What if she has to adjust to a new life in the wrong dimension, her office in a different part of the same building, her friends not quite the same, and the sum of all the little differences adding up to a new identity - or madness? And what if, in all of the unexplained confusion of it all, she dreams of a forest... a forest that might take her back there, or might take her anywhere.

It's kind of a suicide metaphor, I guess: finding out what it would take for her to risk everything by finding and ultimately entering the forest. Or maybe not that bleak - maybe it's a metaphor for self-discovery and the bravery to pursue the path of who you really are. Or about embracing the unknown and risking change. I don't know what it's about yet.

I don't know how to write it yet.

If someone reads this post and writes it before me, I'd be very interested in seeing how it turns out.

In the meantime... au revoir! I shall be getting back to it. If you're interested in my work, come find me on wattpad - CelticRose account for the Faustine Chronicles, CelticMedusa account for The Crows - or on Facebook, or on Twitter.