Thursday, 3 January 2013

A First REAL look at Lenora Lacey...

Soo, I figure I was a little mean with my last claim to give you a preview of my new novel. It doesn't exactly tell you a lot! So I'm going to make it up to you! This week on my deviantART account, not only did I release a preview from the main story of Lenora Lacey, but also a drawing I did of the leading lady herself!

I will reveal that my main inspiration for this book was Abney Park. They're a great band and their music is wonderfully steampunk! However, though there may be one or two tiny nods to their music, Lenora Lacey's story is completely original! Thanks to Captain Robert, it seems that Abney Park already have one of their own. Either way, I hope they do not mind me using them as my inspiration! Also, I'm shouting out to Emilie Autumn and Alestorm for also inspiring me with their music!

I will reveal that the novel will hopefully be availdable in the Amazon Kindle store some time in 2013, possibly around May. This is of course if all goes to plan!

Before I give you the extract itself, I'm going to share with you the first real image I've created of the protagonist, Miss Lacey. It will not be in the Guild's Gallery Hall any time soon as I am currently thinking of creating a page in the blog specifically for Lenora Lacey, but we shall see. Unfortunately, due to blogger being a moron, I can't post the actual drawing here yet, but you may view it on deviantART whilst I attempt to get blogger to like it. While you're there, there's a great deal of work in both writing and art you can view on my profile that are not featured on my blog! (mainly for relevance). Anyway, here is the link to the drawing:

So without further ado, here is an extract from Chapter 4 of the book, which is called "The New Addition". Enjoy! x

   Lenora held her breath as Saleen grasped the golden, skull shaped knocker on the door and rapped loudly on the green painted wood. Her companion must have noticed this, because she looked around and laughed. Not an intimidating laugh, but a soft, almost comforting sound.

“Don’t worry yourself so.” She said, “The Captain’s completely reasonable, I explained as much of your case I knew last night.”

“I’m alright…” Lenora managed to say, but it sounded more like the frightened squeak of a mouse. She realised this, and so straightened up and tried her best to look confident at least. Her mother had always said when she had been a shy little girl, that if she looked confident, there was nothing wrong with being scared, because nobody else would know.

It sort of hurt to think about her mother…

Suddenly, heavy footsteps could be heard on the other side of the door, along with the metallic clicking of more than one complicated lock.

Lenora’s heart didn’t even have time to begin racing, as the heavy door swung backwards suddenly and Saleen led the way inside.

The room was grand and beautiful; even more impressive than some of the Grey’s rooms in the manor that William had shown her. Even more impressive than her own rooms at home in fact, from the days of the Lacey’s wealth. The walls were lined with old and interesting maps and drawings, some of the drawings looks like fearsome dragons and creatures. There was a window the length of the back wall which looked out on the nothingness, and, if Lenora had time to concentrate to find out, may have led to an outer balcony. The room’s grandeur however, was made apparent by the vast amount of treasures and expensive furnishings that filled it. There was a great amount of gold, silver and gems which were all proudly on display; beautiful statues, swords, gems as big as somebody’s fist… And there were many books, beautiful leather tomes piled up in every available space.

There were two large, expensive looking red chairs positioned in the corner between the window and another door, which Lenora suspected led to the sleeping quarters, and there was a man sitting down in one of them.

“Sir.” Saleen said, suddenly turning to formalities now she was speaking to the Captain, “Lenora Lacey, you wanted to speak with her.”

“That I did.” Said an old, gruff voice from behind the chair. “So you are awake, Miss Lacey. Thank you, Saleen. You may go a while.”

Saleen nodded and turned to the door, leaving Lenora alone.

“Sit, child. There’s no need to be so afraid.” The captain said, and waved his hand to the second seat. Lenora hesitated, but since it seemed she had no choice, she crossed the room and sat down.

This time, she could finally get a good look at the Captain. He was not as old as she had expected, closer to her father’s age before the incident, but he looked worn, which was probably normal for the Captain of a pirate ship. He had a kind face right now, although it probably wasn’t always the state, and he seemed to have begun growing a greying beard, from under which stuck out a pipe.

The Captain studied Lenora for a moment with grey eyes, as he reached into the pocket of his long, battered brown coat for a match which he used to light the pipe. “I have to say, I’m quite surprised at you, Miss Lacey.” He said eventually, “From what I heard from Saleen and Lukas, I expected to be heading back to London by now.”

“What do you mean?” Lenora said, although she could barely whisper for her nerves.

“Saleen asked you if you’d like us to take you home, and you said no.” The Captain explained and then laughed in a surprisingly friendly sort of way, “That’s the adventurous spirit speaking inside that prim, proud exterior!”

“How do you know that?” Lenora asked, gathering her confidence now. “I didn’t see her tell you…”

“She would have if you had said yes. But never mind that.” The captain said, and took the pipe from his mouth. He leaned forward in his chair and looked seriously at Lenora, who admittedly, was terrified again. “The real question is why are you here. What is your purpose on this boat?”

“I’m sorry…?” Lenora said helplessly, “I’m sorry… I only feinted… you have to understand-”

“I understand perfectly.” The Captain said, cutting off Lenora’s babbling, “Everybody on this ship has a purpose. You, Saleen, Lukas… even Jack, although I’ve got no idea what his is.” At this the Captain laughed, and Lenora couldn’t help a little nervous giggle herself. “You don’t know it, but you chose this ship for a reason. There were dozens around it, but somehow you knew this one would take you where you needed to go.”

Lenora thought about it for a moment, and eventually let out a sigh, because she’d only succeeded in making her brain ache. “I don’t think so… I just wanted to get away… I didn’t want to know what had happened to my family…”

“That’s part of it.” Said the Captain and sighed. He sat back in his chair again and replaced the pipe. “There’s always some driving force though. There’s something you really need to do, somewhere you need to go.”

“I… I don’t know…” Lenora said, her head beginning to spin.

“Think a while.” Said the Captain, “We have plenty of time.”

Lenora did. She thought so hard that both her mind and her heart were in agony. She re lived every second of the hideous events of the previous nights. She re lived running away to the Valkyrie. She thought about her mother, Eleena, Charlotte… Ryan…

Ryan. Where was he? He needed to know what happened. She needed him, he might be Lenora’s only living family… Charlotte needed him too, maybe even more.

She needed to find Ryan, he’d know what to do. And then they’d investigate the fire.

“I need to find my brother.” She repeated aloud to the Captain, “I need to find my brother because he’s missing, and my family might all be gone.”

The Captain smiled. “I knew it.” He said, “This ship has a strange way of attracting lost souls if they have a driving purpose to fulfil. I don’t know why.”

“Wow…” Lenora breathed, although she hadn’t meant to say it out loud. She had now grown more at ease. Speaking with the Captain was like speaking with a friend. She’d even plucked up the courage to ask him the questions that had been niggling in her mind all the time.

“Do you mind my asking… if you were one of them?” She felt as if she were being intrusive immediately after the words had left her lips. She froze for a moment, praying she had not offended her new ally, but the Captain just smiled.

“Yes, I am.” He said, “I wanted to be a hero like I hadn’t been in the battle.”

Lenora didn’t say anything, but turned it over in her mind.

The Captain just laughed, “But I’m an old fool being too nostalgic. You have more questions, I can tell.”

Lenora hesitated for a moment, but she’d given up watching her words and she was in it too deep anyway. “Katie said you’re the Robin Hood of pirates… what did she mean…?”

The Captain smiled fondly, “Young Katie makes us sound saintly.” He said with a slight shake of his head, “She meant we don’t just land and loot whoever we come across. We attack other pirates, the worst ones, and we take from their ships as reward. We like to think of it as ridding the world of them, but really we’re the same, we just keep our bad business among the bad people.”

“Wow, so you really are…” Lenora said thoughtfully.

“And the other things?” The Captain asked expectantly, “You can ask if you like.”

“How do you know…?” Lenora shook her head and decided it must have been obvious, “What about the others? They all seemed perfectly happy, accept maybe for Saleen… but then I think she and Jack have troubles.”

The Captain smiled, and he looked very old and wise for a moment, or even more so anyway. “That’s for them to tell you. Don’t pry Lenora, but you may learn that from them.”

There was suddenly a loud ringing from elsewhere in the ship, somewhere below the main deck. It was followed almost immediately by a great deal of commotion outside, as if the entire crew were running the length of the ship… they possibly were.

“Ahh, breakfast!” The Captain said and stood up, “You’ll have to excuse the fact that I dine alone and not with my crew. I don’t like to be a figurehead.”

Lenora got up also, and was about to excuse herself when the captain said, “What was the last question?”

Lenora had forgotten when the bell had startled her, but there was one last thing she wanted to know, and she wasn’t entirely sure the Captain would be able to tell her.

“How does it work?” She managed to ask, feeling rather ridiculous for even believing such a thing (then, she was on a flying pirate ship, she had to keep reminding herself). “How does the ship attract people?”

The Captain just shrugged. “I have no idea. Perhaps it’s just the ship itself, Perhaps it’s Isabelle, or maybe just human instinct. I’ll probably never know.”

“Isabelle?” Lenora repeated, confused. Jack had mentioned the name before on deck, although Lenora had dismissed it to be a crew member… but she hadn’t realised at the time that Saleen and Katie were the only female crew members…

“Wait until Saleen’s summoning tonight, and you will understand.” The Captain gave a knowing smile, and Lenora decided not to bother asking what a summoning actually was.

She turned to leave, and just as she was about to step through the door, the Captain bowed low, holding the tail of his long coat as if it were a cape. “Welcome to the crew, Lenora Lacey.”


“He never bowed to me! Perhaps you’re special.” Saleen said with a laugh. She’d been waiting outside for Lenora whilst she talked to the Captain, but the main deck which had been almost crowded when she’d gone inside was now deserted. Clearly, everybody else had gone at the mention of food.

“Or lucky.” Lenora suggested and tried to act normal. She thought of something to say that didn’t involve the mind boggling issues she had discussed with the Captain. As they began to walk with Saleen leading the way, she settled on: “I hear you have a summoning tonight, should I be wishing you luck or congratulating you or…?”

Saleen laughed again, “Well I’m afraid it’s a hard thing to define.” She explained, “Not that you’d believe it if I could define it. Most people settled on wishing me luck, but luck has nothing to do with it.” At this she grinned, but it turned into a sort of distant expression that wasn’t quite a smile at all.

“How do you know?” Lenora asked curiously, determined to find out at least whether she wanted to witness the night when it happened.

“Because I’ll be dancing.” Saleen replied definitely, and as if to prove her point, she gave a graceful twirl on the swaying deck, lending perfectly without even a stumble. She was even more perfectly graceful that Eleena!

Lenora just smiled, and the climbed down the ladder to the first level of the ship. It was surprisingly easy in Saleen’s platforms; probably not as easy as Katy found it in her combat boots, but at least she hadn’t fallen off as she’d expected.

They walked along what Lenora supposed was a kind of corridor (but what did she know about airships?) and Saleen held open one of a set of huge double doors so that they could walk inside.

The room was huge. Bigger than Lenora had expected, and at least half of the crew were in there, each of them laughing and eating all manner of odd and familiar food. She hadn’t realised how hungry she was until now.

“You think this is big, you should see the other one!” Saleen said, laughing when Lenora’s jaw dropped. “Well, I’m starved, let’s go and get something.” She said and marched the length of the room to arrive at a long table. The food was of an odd variety; there were plenty fruits, all of which were typically British such as apples, so these had obviously been acquired during the ship’s brief stop in London. There was also bread and eggs and a little cheese, nothing like the grand dining of Lenora’s household, but the simplicity was sort of nice.

Saleen began to pile a plate high with food (it seemed that a lot of the crew didn’t bother with plates, however), and nudged Lenora as if to encourage her to do the same.

“Eat well while you can.” She warned when Lenora gave her an inquisitive look, “The fine dining decreases on the journey and by the time we reach a destination, we’re on a diet of grog and stale bread.”

“Grog?” Lenora repeated as she began to follow her new friend’s advice.

“You don’t want to know.” Saleen replied with a grimace, and tossed an apple to Lenora, who caught it and took a bite. “The problem is, we travel over water a lot… and we’re always really far up, so there’s not always somewhere to land and get supplies. We have to make do with what we have.” She explained as they walked down the benches.

Towards the centre of the room, Katie and Lukas waved them over. There were two empty seats opposite them, and so Saleen and Lenora ducked in quickly before anybody else could.

“Us girls need to stick together on this boat!” Katie said happily, tucking into what Lenora found out later was an ‘everything sandwich ala Katie’.

“So, have you had the talk with the Captain then Miss?” Lukas asked with a smile.

“Lenora.” She corrected him, “Yes. He seemed… nice?” She struggled for a better word but gave up.

“He’s reasonable as they get.” Katie said, “Done it all and seen it all, as he says.”

Lenora nodded and began picking at her bread self-consciously.

“No need to be polite Len, you’re among pirates!” Saleen laughed, and took a big bite out of her own Katie-esque sandwich. Somehow, and perhaps it was just because this was Saleen, it didn’t look as pig like as it was meant to. Lenora shrugged and threw her table manners overboard, polishing the rest of her plate shamelessly.

“That’s more like it!” Katie laughed, “We’ll make a sailor out of you yet!”

“Don’t scare the poor girl!” said another voice with an accent Lenora couldn’t quite place. When she looked around she had to force herself not to jump in fright. There was a man sitting there next to her, and she’d had no idea how she’d failed to notice him before because he was (frankly) huge. Not fat as such, but huge and intimidating. He smiled though, showing one gold canine which glimmered in the dim light, and then held out a hand to her. “Bert.” He introduced himself.

Lenora shook it tentatively (or rather Bert’s hand shook her), and tried to smile back.

“Shorty, you’re the one scaring her!” Katie laughed and threw a grape at him, hitting him square on the nose.

It was incredibly rude, but Lenora couldn’t help thinking… Shorty indeed!

Saleen shook her head but chuckled a little behind her hand. “His name is Robert Little. It’s irony.” She explained.

Lenora nodded and tried to focus on something other than the ideas in her head (like ‘where do I run away to on an airship?’ Which really might be a good idea to find out)

“I’m not the one eating like an ogre, Kate!” Bert protested and pretended to swat her across the table (Lenora jumped, but Katie had ducked in perfect time).

“You think I’m the ogre!” Katie scoffed, and then she laughed and picked up a tankard from the table, clinking it against the bottle Bert had in his giant hands. It was a wonder the thing didn’t break into a million shards! Katie happily turned the tankard upwards to take a gulp of the contents, but then she grimaced. “Ugh! What kind of rum do you call this?”

“The usual.” Saleen answered coolly, “You know we have water now?”

“Pah!” Said Katie, and then she shrugged and continued to empty the tankard, which she banged down onto the wooden table. Bert clearly found the whole thing amusing and began to bang his own bottle against the wood, making Lenora absolutely sure it could not have been glass. He began to sing some sort of funny shanty. The rest of the crew decided that this was a good call, and one by one, they stood up and joined him.

The song went something a little like this:

O fourteen men on the barrel dry,

Yo ho ho and a barrel o’ grog!

Drunk on the fumes and the Captain cries,

Yo ho ho and a barrel o’ grog!

Taste like shit with twice the flies,

You catch a whiff and nose just dies,

Cook would quit if he were wise,

‘Cause there’s no real rum on our ship!

Fourteen men chuck up o’er the side,

Yo ho ho and a barrel o’ grog!

Drunk or sick or some have died,

Yo ho ho and a barrel o’ grog!

Chuck the foul stuff o’erboard,

‘Cause we drink rum that’s fit for Lords,

But the bastards keep safe their own hoard,

So there ‘aint no rum on our ship!

O fourteen men on the barrel dry,

Yo ho ho and a barrel o’ grog!

Drunk on the fumes and the Captain cries,

Yo ho ho and a barrel o’ grog,

‘Cause there’s no real rum on our ship!

The last two lines were sang by one voice only, and the rest of the room immediately sat down and hushed when the heard it. The Captain.

“A fine ditty you boys have there.” He said, chortling from somewhere beneath his beard, “So there’s no real rum on our ship, it’s true.”

The crew stayed silent, obviously contemplating whether the Captain was angry with them or not. Lenora hoped for the life of her that he was not!

“But there’s a better place for rum than London!” He pronounced, and suddenly there was uproar from the crew, who had by this time made up their minds.

“AYE!” They shouted, some of them bashing tankards (including Katie), some of them throwing their fists into the thin air above them.

Saleen just shook her head and rolled her eyes. “Men!” She mouthed at Lenora, and she had to giggle.

“We’re on course for Cornwall, I know a lady in St Ives that’ll give you something to quench your thirst!”

The Captain departed, and Katie stood up, arms folded and a huge grin on her face. She was looking directly at Lenora, which couldn’t possibly be good.

“Right!” She said loudly, taking the rifle from the strap over her shoulder and spinning it expertly in one hand, “Time for your first routine combat lesson, Lenora!”

No… Of course this wouldn’t be good.

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