Excerpt: Red Slaves – Dust to Blood
I’ve been up to my eyeballs in editing, lately–both my own book and as part of my freelance services. That doesn’t leave me much time to do much more than consider plot points, devices, through-lines, and other writerly things… But I’m also feeling the pressure of maintaining at least a little bit of activity on my blog. In fact, in the next few weeks, in anticipation of the release of my first novel, I’ll be reconstituting this space a little to focus more on my writing–and highlighting links to where people can find my work for sale (hint, hint!).
In the meantime, I’m actually really liking how my book is turning out. So, tonight I present you with an exclusive sneak peek:
The Moscow metro is an amazing network of antique underground trains passing through stations with magnificent mosaics, frescoed ceilings, chandeliers, and stained glass paens to the People, passed by by the prols who are just looking for a way to help their families survive the byzantine governmental requirements for everyday living.
It still takes me a good 45 minutes of rattling around and surviving the bus transfer to find my way to the side entrance of the Scientific Library and the rickety wooden desk where a middle-aged Babuschka is the acting queen dragon guarding the gates of access. After some shuffling back and forth and a discussion of whether I have the right paperwork, a young, enthusiastic intern comes to guide me through the bowels of the building. Straslavski either has no power in his bureaucratic hierarchy, or he’s a genius at avoiding oversight because his office is so buried in the basement that after many turnings I’m sure I’ll never find my way out of the building alone. In fact, I’m a little concerned that the building is more decrepit than advertised, with the rust stains and dripping water from the overhead pipes, and really hope it doesn’t collapse on me of its own decay while I’m trying to unearth factual support for Sam’s flight of fancy.
Straslavski turns out to be younger than I had imagined, given my boss’ long-standing relationship with him, but still at least a decade older than my own thirty-five years. His indeterminate age is underlined by the stooped posture and nondescript visage of a habitual bookworm, complete with wispy brown hair and horn-rimmed glasses that don’t look right on his face, but his eyes have a lively sparkle and his English is surprisingly good. I even forgive him for fixating his gaze on my chest when he offers strong, black Russian tea out of his own personal stash and fresh-brewed in the samovar in the corner of his office. Apparently he’s as stunned by my presence and appearance as I am by his, but nonetheless gets right down to business.
As you can see by my tag-happy list for this post, I’m going with Katherine Kurtz’s designation of this book as a sub-genre of fantasy she calls crypto-history, “in which the “history behind the history” intertwines with the “official” histories of diverse periods.” In my case, this book is set soon after the Iron Curtain comes down and speculates about the potential supernatural source of the Communist bloc’s power in the first place.
I hope you’ll have as much fun with it as I have been!