Monday, June 6, 2016

Yes, "Book Two" Has a Name – SYNOPSIS

I'm garbage at working titles. Three-day old, baking in the sun, rotting garbage.

Now, I've been told otherwise, but I take pride in being my biggest critic. Long before I ventured into the world of grown-up publishing, back in the days of journals and neopets, I'd sit at my desk staring at the garbage title for the not-garbage project and think: If they can just get past the title, they'll love it.

But we all know that's not how it works. Spines and covers are judged long before the blurb, and that is why I am grateful for the people who make me a little bit less garbage-y – the critique groups, agents, editors, publishers, and everyone in between.

^^me, alone, front flipping into a working title^^

If you follow me on Twitter, Facebook, or have ever endured more than one drink with me, you've no doubt heard me throw around the phrase "Book Two" more than a few times. "Book Two" was what I jokingly started calling the project I picked up right after getting ZHUKOV'S DOGS out the door. At that time "Book Two" was a twisted saga about hackers living with post-traumatic stress. I abandoned that project ~30k words in, at which time, I began another "Book Two" about teenage elementals, racism, and war. Got a bit further along with that one, but ultimately abandoned it, hopping over to tell the story of a pill-popping exorcist instead.

Long story short, "Book Two" was a working title for me. I have commitment issues when it comes to writing, and I defaulted to "Book Two" to make the inevitable breakup easier to deal with.


Now "Book Two" is done! "Book Two" has a beginning, middle, and end – and yes – now it has a name. It's an official working title that's likely to change as I hurdle and hack my way through the publishing process, but for now, I'm lovingly calling it THE PLIABLE RUSE.

There's a fun story behind that title. My good friend Evan, who is not a writer by any means but has supported my insane pursuits and tolerated my general awfulness since 2009, is due some credit here.

I was strangely hung up on getting a title for this one, not content to just slap a "you know what this is, amanda, go to bed" in the save bar. I think I knew this was going to be the one, so I started texting Evan, the only person I knew would be up and coherent at that ungodly hour. Evan asked what my two favorite words were out of the ~8k I'd written that day, and somehow, it worked out fittingly. He wasn't smug about it at all. I continued calling it "Book Two" as the months went on, but from day one, I knew I had my title.




THE PLIABLE RUSE is a ~117k word gaslamp fantasy that tells the story of an exiled lord prone to arson, an overworked shaman with horrible taste in men and waistcoats, ambitious spiders, and clowns. It acts as the first book in a trilogy, (working) titled PECULIAR.

Intrigued? Repulsed? Hungry? Whatever you are, here's the synopsis:

You can always go home. You can’t always leave.

It’s a miserable winter’s eve when Sterling Hawtrey is dragged home by threats of treason. The newly appointed Magister of Argent was enjoying his twelfth year of exile an ocean away, rounding up mercenaries, pirates, and bastards, when his brother’s black, lard-clogged heart ruined everything.

Shoved to the forefront of a colony he wants nothing to do with, Sterling immediately sets to work dismantling his foul family’s legacy. What should have been a simple task of numbers and handshakes takes a deadly turn as the layers peel away, and Sterling soon finds himself smack in the middle of a century-old feud with the very witches his ancestors chased off the island. With cousins catching fire left and right, and the clock ticking on his escape plan, Sterling must turn to the circus for help.

Witch doctor Wylie Rook has plenty of reasons to hate the world, and every one of them is a Hawtrey. Branded as a criminal in a land where magic is not only frowned upon, but punishable by death, the shaman has been living quietly among the gilded undesirables of Garnet & Garnet’s Traveling Spectacular since his release from prison.

When the circus sets up shop in the capitol, Rook is determined to learn the truth behind his sister’s death, even if it means breaking a few laws along the way. In his search for answers, he ends up robbing the one person who might hate Hawtreys more than he does – the new Lord Argent himself – and gets tangled up in a dangerous witch hunt he wants nothing to do with.

It will take more than herbs and potions to undo the damage Sterling’s crusading ancestors did, and Rook quickly realizes he’s in over his head. A few witches he can handle, but a few witches and a handsome lord that shamelessly defies every expectation of his birthright? Well, that just won’t do, not when someone’s trying so desperately to kill the man. Sterling is relentless in the face of rejection, though, but in his eagerness to prove to the shaman he’s not a monster, settle his family’s affairs, and flee the colony, will he get them all killed?
Right, now it's time for coffee, cookies, and queries. Let's chat again soon, blogosphere.

Today's blog is accompanied by the unstoppable musical prowess of the incredibly talented, always flawless, lovely, lovely LP.