In early 2009, I completed a very short story that I entitled Dollmaker, an eerie little piece rather difficult to explain. It simply has to be read. It was picked up by the magazine Aoife's Kiss in March of that year. It is also going to be republished in the anthology, Fossil Lake II: The Refossiling in February, 2015.
Interestingly, Dollmaker wouldn't leave me be. The ideas generated by the short kept coming back to me and in early 2013 I wrote a somewhat related story, In the Image of the Father, which was published by Morpheus Press in their Ethereal Tales Special Edition in February, 2014.
A related tale followed immediately and Rowan Dreaming has never been published as there is no market for novellas.
My ultimate goal was to write a braided novel, that brought the three stories together along with a central 50,000-word novel
The first chapter is In the Image of the Father and takes place in London, England in 1961. in the tale, Arianna Winters, a 16 year-old teen, meets two cursed lovers, Collette Heartstrom and Joshua Wakefield, and becomes trapped in their ongoing tragedy.
The second chapter is Rowan Dreaming, another dark fantasy tale that takes place in modern-day Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. It's two main characters are Auden Gray, a phlegmatic owner of a pawn shop, and Rowan Corday, a young woman whose quest for peace of mind has taken a seductive and deadly turn.
The third unwritten "chapter" is actually a full blown novel, but more about that later.
The final portion is the super short, Dollmaker, that reveals the fate of the main antagonist introduced in the third section of the book.
It was that middle chapter I struggled with. Having a 50,000 word-length goal, three times I have set the novel aside because something simply was not working. Finally last week, I recognized my difficulty that I could not see until I stepped away from the novel to work on other projects.
In the Image of the Father is in its purest essence, a love story. Agreed it's a dark love story, but it's still a love story. Likewise, so is Rowan Dreaming.
My problem came with the disconnect between the emphasis on dark romance in the first two stories, but yet the third section was going to be an epic fantasy war between rival mages who used child-sized animated ball-jointed dolls as their warriors. I was looking forward to this one. At the end, Harrisburg was little more than smoking ruins.
And it took awhile for me to realize why it all wasn't working, something that you, dear reader, probably just did. The third section with its themes of battle and blood simply didn't fit.
And there was only one way to make the third section fit. I have no choice. The third section must have, as its main theme, a dark fantastic love story.
And as soon as I realized that, it all fell into place. The third installment is now a love story, albeit a very dark one (and there is still a body count), but I will reveal what three people from London, England and two people from Harrisburg, Pennsylvania in the U.S.A. unknowingly have in common with a secret society from 19th century Florence, Italy.
So now there shall be bloody violence and death and destruction mixed liberally with professions of passion and kissing and the making of goo goo eyes.
Personally, I think it's going to be a fun ride. ;-)