Sequels, Prequels and Interquels

Be careful, the note said, for I had found a phantom. Albert Price had been known across Europe for the past fifty years, although if he were real or a legend, no one knew. – The Alchemist of Rome

When your main character has lived for centuries, are your books sequels, prequels or interquels?

The Alchemist of Paris and The Alchemist of Rome – plus some coffee rings on the table, evidence of the many cups of coffee consumed during writing!

The Alchemist of Paris is set in 1820, and centres around a mysterious scientist called Albert Price. In one scene, he tells the heroine, Elise, that he had lived in Rome many years before. After I finished the Paris story, I began to wonder. What had happened to Price in Rome? Who had he met? Was there a villain who had pursued him – a bad alchemist, the opposite of Price?

Sequel – a story continuing or expanding from an earlier work but complete in itself (Lord of the Rings Trilogy; Twilight Series)

Prequel – a story describing events prior to the story

Interquel – a story describing events that takes place in a period between two other books

The Alchemist of Rome is therefore the sequel and the prequel to The Alchemist of Paris. It tells the story of Albert Price’s time in Rome in the 1760s – the era of the Grand Tour when European aristocrats were re-discovering the ancient world, and the elixir of life seemed entirely believable.

Being immortal, maybe some of Price’s acquaintances survived until this day. Perhaps a modern-day tourist would meet one of these immortals, and cross paths with some other characters from The Alchemist of Paris.

I hope readers can read the books in any order, as they are both complete stories.

Now I’ve finished, I realized three of my characters, Albert Price, Elise and Antonio, lived in England in the 19th century. Another sequel (or prequel or interquel) is forming in my mind – a gas-lamp mystery called The Alchemist of London perhaps?

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The ebook of The Alchemist of Paris is on sale for 99 cents until early next week.

Midnight in Dublin – free!

 

Midnight in Dublin - cover design by adipixdesign.com

Midnight in Dublin – cover design by adipixdesign.com

“Midnight in Dublin” is now free on Amazon until 12 December 2015.

It is also featured (with many other great book bargains) on Choosy Bookworm today!

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Flash Fiction: An exercise in POV

Earlier this week, I had a post about describing places in your character’s words.

Here is a mini-flash fiction from three POVs. The scenario, the summoning of three immortals, to a well-to-do house on a bay overlooking Sydney Harbour.

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The door fell open as Alexander approached. He entered the hall, taking in the oil paintings, the fine polished sideboard and the delicate chandelier. The interior was a perfect reproduction of a long-departed English manor. They lived well these immortals, wherever they found themselves, although they always pined for the time and place in which they were born. As Alexander entered the dining room, he saw the long table set for dinner. He pulled back a chair and sat down.

*  *  *  *

Katie scowled as she climbed the steps to the big house on the cliff. The door creaked open. She was barely two months into this immortality thing, but there was no way she’d live in an old place like this. Glass walls and a swimming pool, and a Ferrari in the drive, that’s what she wanted. Not stuck-up old furniture and old paintings, like they were really dead. They even had a dinner table. How the hell would she know what fork to use? That creepy vampire Alexander was here, giving her a filthy look. Stuff him. They were all equal now.

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“A Constable on the wall and a Gainsborough above the fireplace,” Victor thought to himself as he entered the hall, “Some of us are doing well.” Four centuries of immortal life had given him a keen eye for objects. He followed the Aubosson rug through the hall into the dining room, where the table was set, Villeroy and Boch silver glinting. The vile Alexander was there, and that frightful street-kid Katie, who had somehow become a vampire. Victor pulled back the Louis XVI chair and sat down, “Anyone seen our host?”

© 2015 M. C. Dulac

Flash fiction logo

Flash Fiction – Hipsters versus Vampires

The vampire had seen many changes over the centuries.

Born a human girl on the vast plains of Hungary in the last days of the Roman empire, she had survived the age of magic and superstition, observed the revival of Gothic architecture, been present at the birth of the renaissance and celebrated the triumph of the enlightenment. She had lived through the steam age, the belle epoque, the jazz age and the disco era, right into the dawn of the internet.

But as she looked around the hipster cafe in downtown Sydney, Australia, her heart sank. Had she finally reached the moment all vampires feared?

From the quirky typeface on the recycled paper menu, to the artisan burgers, quinoa salads and hand-foraged quail eggs, she didn’t understand any of it.

And the clothes they wore! Wild beards for the young men, plaid shirts and drop crotch pants. For the young women tight-waisted dresses, pork pie hats and yellow-rimmed sunglasses – indoors!

The vampire stared at the coffee pot in front of her, a device as elaborate as an alchemist’s alembic. A solitary drop fell into the handleless cup, nothing like the rich Turkish brew Kolschitzky had served in his coffee houses after the siege of Vienna.

Gazing at her velvet coat, that had seemed so smart a few years ago, the vampire chewed her lip. Staring warily at the hipster coffee pot, she poured herself a cup. She must not give up. Like all immortals, she had work to do in this city. It was time to join the new age.

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Flash fiction logo

23. The Perfect Age

I had a Christmas story, but didn’t post it in time – I will have to post it next year. So for number 23 in the “Fiction by Numbers” series, here’s another short and sweet piece from the vampire underworld…

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She’d read somewhere that twenty three was the perfect age.

At twenty three a person was said to have financial independence, health, love, and hope for the future. At twenty three, so it was said, a person had found their path.

Of course life is never like that. There can be wars, depressions, upheaval and rebellions. Youth can be lost to plague or worry or fear. Life was just a matter of finding your time, and seizing it.

Evangeline liked being twenty three though. She liked the smoothness of her face, the glossiness of her hair and the lightness of her step. She liked how she could wear the latest fashions and how she had the assuredness of the young.

The eternally young.

As Evangeline gazed into the sky over the city, a pang of sadness stuck her heart. It looked so different from when she was alive.

Evangeline was a vampire, and she’d been twenty three for some time now…

Fictionbynumbers

An exercise in micro-fiction – stories which run from zero to twenty four

click the Flash Fiction menu for more!

© 2014 M. C. Dulac

21. The Bet

As the year nears its end, here is the 21st story in the “Fiction by Numbers” flash fiction series. This week, a deal with a supernatural twist…

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“What’d you bet?”

A drop of sweat ran down Matt’s face. What was he betting? His home, his life, his family’s future?

How had it come to this? He looked around the barroom, at the silent patrons sitting in the dark corners, and then at the man opposite him – Willy O’Hara, moneylender of last resort.

“I said,” Willy was shuffling a deck of cards, “What do you bet?”

Matt could think of nothing except Lily, his five year old daughter, and how she’d cried after the kids at school teased her about her battered shoes. Then Tim thought of the final letter of demand he’d received from the landlord, threatening to evict the family in a week’s time.

“All I’ve got.”

“All you’ve got?” the moneylender grinned, “let me look into your soul.”

Willy O’Hara’s eyes were pale blue, and his skin translucently white. The room had a stale musty smell, like dead things. It was at the busy intersection of two highways, on the outer edges of the city centre. The bar was like something from a different era of history, not Sydney in 2014. The whole place creeped him out. Tim had no idea it would be like this, when they’d told him to come and see Willy.

“Look at me straight,” Willy said. He gave Tim a piercing stare and nodded, “Not everyone gets out of here,” he said, dealing out the cards, “It’s up to me to decide if they do.”

The strange patrons came closer, as the game of 21 began.

Tim wanted to run. Instead, he picked up his cards. He raised his brows. He had a damned good hand.

Keep a poker face, he told himself.

Round after round, the cards added up to the magic number, beating Willy every time.

Willy eventually pushed across all his earnings, enough to clear all Tim’s debts. Enough for him to by Lily new school shoes, hell, enough to buy a new car to drive her to school.

“Take it,” Willy said, “Get your family out of trouble. I told you I see into your soul. If it’s selflessness, then, maybe I let you leave. But if it’s not -” he stared at the silent patrons.

Tim picked up the cash. He fled the bar, certain never to return.

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Fictionbynumbers

An exercise in microfiction

16. The Gulls

Another urban paranormal tale…

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Seagulls normally flew ashore when there was a storm at sea, but that morning was fine and sunny.

As Ed walked across the square in front of Circular Quay, he was amazed by the number of crisp white wings fluttering in the sky and then soaring to the ground.

The gulls were assembling before a tall figure in a long black coat. The man was not feeding them. He merely raised his head to the sky and the gulls soared down. More and more came, until the square was full.

Ed could not go any further. Ed’s mouth fell open as the man strode past him, the army of gulls following.

But the man was ignoring him. Ed realised the man was focussing all his attention on a pale skinned girl standing close by. She was the same girl Ed had noticed on the train for the past few weeks. A very pretty girl, with jet black hair and a flirtatious smile. For a moment Ed forgot the seagulls, and broke into a broad grin.

“Hey there. Can you believe this?”

The girl’s eyes were bright green. So green they were almost glowing.

“I’ve never seen so many birds,” Ed said.

The girl looked with longing at Ed. The squawking of the gulls was almost deafening. She lowered her head and retreated across the quay, without saying a word.

The gulls darted around, as if they were celebrating a victory. The girl kept walking, casting the gulls a resentful glance.

The gulls rose into the sky. It seemed the man had released them as easily as he had summoned them.

Ed glanced at his watch. It was 10.16. The gulls had delayed him for a full five minutes. He was going to be late for his university lecture. He ran quickly across the square.

* * * * *

The man, known to some as Alvaro, although he had had many names over the centuries, took a piece of bread from his pocket, tossing it to the gull that remained by his side.

Ed had had a lucky escape. The green-eyed vampire girl had been following him for days.

In the shadow world of the city, every minute counted, and both the natural and supernatural had to work together. Alvaro could not let the boy fall under the sway of the girl and the vampire underworld – his own side had great plans for Ed.

Fictionbynumbers

An exercise in micro-fiction – stories which run from zero to fifty

click the Flash Fiction tag for more!

© 2014 M. C. Dulac

From midnight Pacific Standard Time 20 September – 22 September, “The Wary Traveler”  ebook will be on a three day free promotion on Amazon.