The sequel to Frost & Filigree is officially off to the editor, and I am so excited, y’all. You may or may not have noticed, but this fall has been really, truly difficult for our family. A bunch of things fell off the rails, not the least of which was the writing schedule.

But I’m happy to report that Masks & Malevolence is finally written. It’s a big little novel or just a big novella, depending on how you look at it. The story takes off where the last book ended, and our heroes are now in Cairo, ten years later, chasing clues to find out where their missing companion has gone. I knew the two main stories for this book were going to be Nerissa’s and Christabel’s, but it was the latter who really surprised me.

Christabel is the Hermione of the group, and initially I had the idea that she would be our Sherlock character, finding clues and breaking codes and whatnot. She ends up, however, far more emotionally complex than I imagined. And very much in love, and wrestling with the implications of that (no spoilers, but her very nature makes romantic relationships even more complicated than usual). Christabel was originally something of a throwaway character intended to complicate the relationship between Vivienne and Worth. But she’s become a lynchpin of this tale.

It is action and adventure. There are colorful brothels, secret vampire networks, a kitsune and a dwarf. Also chases in crypts, mummies, ancient Egyptian goddesses, and an epic battle in the Underworld. In between all that, though, is a novella about friendship, of all things. And love. Love in the time of monsters, I suppose you might say. It’s about the lengths people will go to protect the ones they love, and how friendship changes and shifts as we grow as people.

Like the first book it balances humor and emotion, and I have to say it was a welcome break from the absolute maelstrom of current world politics and chaos. I have found myself surprisingly prolific this year, mostly because coping mechanisms. This book became my own little world, and I am so thrilled to finish the story next year. For Nerissa’s sake and mine, we will be traveling much further north, but I won’t spoil it yet.

Look for Masks & Malevolence in early 2018.

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