I am currently querying literary editors for representation of my latest Sci-Fi book tentatively titled “River is Rising.” You can read a blog post that discusses the main themes of this book by clicking on the image below.
It was a real challenge to write, although the research for all of the hard Sci-Fi elements was fun (between just you and I, I am starting to think that I really should be a researcher rather than a writer). The intent is that this book will be the first in a trilogy. The problem is that while I wait to hear back from agents, my passion for the themes of the book have gone off the boil. Not to say they couldn’t be instantly rekindled, they just need a positive push from the publishing world to get me back on track.
So, what to write in the meantime. Well, I really enjoyed writing the paranormal story surrounding the last days of Edgar Allan Poe. That story was self-published and the rights are entirely within my control. It also turns out that I left the ending open for a sequel, where the unlikely assemblage from book one (spoiler alert – most of them) get to fight another day. With at least 50% of the characters already written I just needed an idea.
I really liked writing within the atmosphere of “The Haunting of Edgar Allan Poe.” If you haven’t read it yet (shame on you, you must!), the tale carried an American gothic theme. Gas lit streets, steam ships, wet cobbles and large rooms full of ancient mirrors where beasts and secrets could lie concealed within.
You can read a sample and buy a copy here:
So, where to set book two. There was only one place – 19th century London. Where better? Massive overcrowding, crippling poverty for the masses, open sewers, narrow twisting unlit streets and Brasses a plenty to act as my unwitting victims for a new denizen of the dark to pick off in awful ways.
Brass in this context is Cockney Rhyming slang. The slang was claimed to have been invented to obscure the meaning of words to allow criminals to speak freely without being easily understood by the Ducks (see below). Only the first word of the rhyme is typically spoken, so the listener needs to already know the complete phrase to ascertain the meaning.
So? Brass? Well, its meaning has one of two derivatives. Brass Door (whore) or Brass Nail (Tail). A prostitute to you and I. And this in an era in London when the number of Victorian women working the trade was staggeringly high. Poverty and lack of opportunity for the working classes led to as many as 80,000 women and girls working the streets in 19th century London. A great backdrop for a re-inventing of the Ripper story perhaps? One where the killer slips through the shadows with ease, not because he has Royal connections, but rather because he (it) is bestowed with supernatural prowess.
I am finding that the slang of the era lends an additional element of authenticity to the time and place, which was already a dark and dangerous time and place to live, even without a murderous creature living in your midst
Here are a few more examples of popular rhyming slang words. Note of caution, this was the language of the street and so can be a touch on the colorful side.
Boat Race (Face)
Brown Bread (Dead)
Ducks and Geese (Police)
Dustbin Lid (Kid)
Gypsy’s Kiss (Piss)
Some require some minor linguistic mental gymnastics
Titfer = Tit for Tat (Hat)
Porky = Pork Pie (Lie)
Whistle = Whistle and Flute (suit)
Richard = Richard the Third (I will let you figure that one out)
And some have come into popularity through more modern vernacular, which I love, although its use for the book is more than doubtful. How about:
Rockford Files (Piles)!
So, the book is about a third written. One element I have added is much more depth around the paranormal antagonists from the first book. In book one the motives and main actors of The Dux de Obscurum were only hinted at. In book two, they play a much more central role and I am busy fleshing out two of the central characters. There will be a few blind alleys and several surprises woven through the tale as well. The plan at the moment is to finish book two by Summer and drive straight on to the final book three in the series to publish them all together by the end of the year.
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