I love making happy announcements, especially in these times, and today I’ve got a really good one. I’m thrilled to announce that I just inked an upcoming quartet of novellas from Falstaff Press, building on John Hartness’s already established Harker series. His pitch included words like “League of Extraordinary gentlemen” and “dark fantasy” and “heroes” and “whenever you want” and I immediately got excited. Okay, more specifically he said: “group of shadowy folk heroes that span the globe fighting evil” but you get the gist. 

Anyway, my contribution is the Frost & Filigree quartet, four novels releasing this year, following two heroines — Vivienne du Lac (aka La Belle Dame Sans Merci) and Nerissa Waldemar (aka Lamia). Their work also includes close relationships with a Djinn named Barqan; Worth Goodwin, nee Glatisant (the Questing Beast); and Yvan Toussignant, a French-Canadian vampire turned botanist. Together, they’re working to figure out a mystery among the New York elite, or else risk exposure to the wider world and losing their way of life.

The tone of the series is dark fantasy but with a wry, witty edge, and the first book takes place in Tarrytown, NY in 1910. In my mind, it’s being narrated by the dowager Countess of Grantham, so you never quite know where it’s going to go. Sometimes, even I don’t.

Expect the first novella, “Beasts of Tarrytown,” out in a few months, and you know there will be updates wherever you follow me.

The current version of the cover is over to the right. You see Vivienne conjuring one of her ice tempter tantrums, as she is wont to do.

Here’s a bit of a snippet from Chapter Two. The creatures are behaving badly at the ball, and have been found out by a group of curiously dressed human beings purporting to belong to some sacred cult. Having frozen Worth and Nerissa, Vivienne releases them and must face the truth about their situation.

With a deep breath, Vivienne drops her pale arms, and when she does so both Worth and Nerissa fall to the ground. Worth uses the opportunity to shift back into his human form, though he is regrettably lacking clothing. Nerissa, however, decides to abstain from any glamor at the moment, in a kind of silent protest. Though she is the most talented of the group, she is glad to save her energy for a moment. That, and now free of her corset she is hesitant to even whip up a semblance of the confounded contraption.

Besides, she isn’t yet convinced that biting off a few heads won’t be in the cards this evening. And it’s been so long since she’s had a good draught of the jugular.

“I made the attempt to speak to them,” says Worth, “but the ballroom was interrupted before I had a chance.”

“You took too long,” says an old woman with the air of a vulture. Vivienne would her name, but Nerissa can’t be bothered with such details. The old crone would be sour to eat, judging by the yellow stains on her fingers and around her mouth, and at present that’s where her mind resides. She is so terribly hungry for real food.

“I took too long, madame?” asks Worth, looking quite offended.  “I’ll have you know that I took half the allotted time.”

“They hadn’t even brought out the canapes yet,” Vivienne says dreamily.