So, things are ticking along here and for this St. Patrick’s day I am mainly vegging on the sofa doing edits following a lovely walk in Glen of the Downs. As a treat for you, here’s an excerpt from A Hollow in the Hills and a belligerent leprechaun called Art.
‘Don’t say anything, okay?’ he told her as they approached a stall staffed by a small red-haired fae dressed in a green hoodie, with the shiniest shoes Izzy had ever seen. ‘He’s a lep, and if they lose it there’s hell to pay.’
‘A lep? Do you mean a leprechaun?’ She smiled. ‘But aren’t they… I don’t know… lucky? Jolly?’
Jinx looked at her as if she’d never said anything so stupid in all the time he’d known her.
‘You saw them at the museum didn’t you? Cudgel and his mob? Did they seem jolly? Look, ever seen a poltergeist?’ She shook her head. ‘Well, anyway, doesn’t matter. He’s way worse.’
The leprechaun scowled at them and proceeded to shove more things into a backpack.
‘Where are you going?’ asked Jinx.
‘Puck’s Castle,’ he said. ‘It’s the only safe place. Something terrible is happening in this city and I don’t want any part of it.’
‘Oh, come on, Art,’ Jinx began, but the leprechaun glared at him, then stared at Izzy, as if noticing her for the first time. He shook his head, blinking and took a step back. Afraid. It was unmistakable.
‘You need to stay away. I don’t know what it is but it feels wrong and it all centres on you. On the two of you but mainly on you, Cú Sídhe. You’re all about Hollows, kith and kin, but we’re not. My kind, I mean. We’re solitaries, only tolerated because we’re useful and do the jobs the mighty Aes Sídhe don’t want to sully their hands with. When the shit hits the fan we’re first against the wall. That goes for all the wanderers, the outsiders, the ones who don’t belong. But listen, mate, the Cú Sídhe are usually next to get it.’
‘But why Puck’s Castle?’
‘Don’t you know anything? Puck’s Castle? Puck? The Púca, Jinx, king of the wanderers, lord of wild magic. First among us? Hell’s bells, Holly did a job and a half on you. Did she beat our stories from you? The Sídhe had their gods and we had ours. They’re all gone but they linger on. They can be called back. Sometimes. Some say they’re just sleeping under the earth or in a Hollow in the hills.’
‘The Púca’s a story.’
‘Yeah,’ said Art, zipping up the rucksack and swinging it over his shoulders. It was almost as big as he was but didn’t impede him in the slightest. ‘And I’m off a bleedin’ cereal packet. There’s a lot of it about. Try to keep up, doggy.’
Just remember, they’re all dangerous. Even if they’re cute and grumpy.
Book 3, A Darkness at the End, is coming along and due out in September. I’m deep in edits. At the end of the month I’m off to Eastercon where I’ll be moderating the “True Love and Trophies” panel at 7pm on Friday. Should be great fun.