What is Victoria currently working on?
(working title and cover)
Primal Moon is an Urban Fantasy novel aimed at Young Adult readers. Ever since Victoria wrote A Tale Of Two Princes, Malcolm has been hanging out rent free in her mind, so she decided to write his backstory so he would leave her alone, and finally got him trapped on paper thanks to NaNoWriMo. His story told, Malcolm is now satisfied, although his best friend Ameera has now started to grumble about the unfairness of not having a book of her own…
In Primal Moon we discover how Malcolm became a fox, how he ended up at Magmell hospital, and why no one visits him there.
Extract from Primal Moon
Malcolm woke up a full minute before his alarm went off, just as he always did, switching it off before it could wake Dad. He remembered it was Friday before he remembered it was his birthday, the realisation that he had double maths hitting him seconds before the realisation that he was now 16. An adult, but not quite an adult. He toyed with the idea of joining the army, running away from everything, seeing the world, being a valued member of a close knit team. People he considered friends, family even. Then he recalled that there was a reason he was always picked last in PE. Malcolm was tall, one of the tallest in the school, but painfully thin, with arms that resembled overcooked spaghetti and oversized feet that conspired to trip him up at every opportunity.
He didn’t allow himself to think about his mum. Just pretend it’s any other day.
He pulled his uniform on under the quilt so he didn’t have to get out of his warm bubble, before finally throwing the duvet back and forcing himself out of bed. He couldn’t miss the bus again.
He crept down the stairs slowly, hugging the wall to avoid the worst of the creaking stairs. Dad hadn’t got in until gone three the night before; he’d be furious if he was woken with a hangover, birthday or no birthday.
Malcolm paused outside the living room door when he heard the snore. Dad had fallen asleep on the sofa again. Malcolm dithered for a second, but his school bag was on the kitchen table, he couldn’t go without it.
He pushed the door open slowly, inch by painfully loud inch, pausing every time his dad’s snore changed in tone, until it was wide enough a gap for him to squeeze through, breath held. Imagining himself a spy, he tiptoed through crumpled beer cans, abandoned crisp packets, and the remains of a savaged kebab,to the kitchen door. Dad snorted and scratched his belly before turning his back to the room.
Malcolm slipped into the kitchen, let out a breath he hadn’t realised he had been holding, and headed to the fridge. There wasn’t any milk for cereal, but there was leftover pizza. He grabbed it, shoved a slice into his mouth and turned to get his school bag. There was an envelope propped up against it.
Malcolm eyes filled with tears, he bit the inside of his cheek instinctively to prevent them falling.
Dad had remembered his birthday. The card hadn’t been there when Malcolm went to bed, Dad must’ve bought it on his way to the pub and hung onto it all night.
It was simple, sunshine yellow envelope, and a card with a football and the words World’s Best Son on the front, “love dad” scrawled inside. But it’s the thought that counts. And it was much better than last year.
“It should’ve been-“
No. Don’t think about it.
He hadn’t meant it, he had been drunk.
Malcolm slung his bag over his shoulder, and set the card on the middle of the table.
“It should’ve been you that died, not your mum.”
Malcolm thumbed his earphones into his ears and left through the back door, Primal Moon drowning out his thoughts.
Ameera and the Ice Killer (working title)
Ameera is back home, but things don’t seem the same anymore. Malcolm has a new girlfriend, Bushra has gone to uni, and she can’t even talk to her mum and dad about work – they think she is just a nice, normal, everyday junior detective. Her usual partner and mentor, Lu, is undercover, so Ameera has been stuck with Hank. His winning personality and exemplorary personal hygiene usually made rookies quit within a week. Ameera would love nothing more than to take some of her annual leave and wait for Lu to come back to work, but one of her solved cases is suddenly looking a lot less solved. Some brand new victims have just shown up…but the killer was already safely in the Supernatural Correctional Facility. He had confessed, extensively, after being caught red handed at the crime scene. There was no way they could have the wrong guy in jail, right?
An extract from Ameera’s story:
“Welcome to Fairypuck’s coffee house. Can I take your name for your cup?”
“I’m the only person in here.”
“It’s like…store policy?” the little elf sounded unsure.
“Ameera. Double shot latte please.” If she stuck to the script, she might get the precious coffee quicker.
“Are you sure you don’t want to hear the specials? The crazy confidence cappuccino with caramel is on offer today. Two shots of confidence, two shots of charisma, and a sprinkle of glamour glitter that’ll give you a trust inspiring smile til lunch?”
“Just the latte please. Double shot of caffeine.”
“Would you like cinnamon, chocolate or sex appeal sprinkles?”
Ameera gritted her teeth. “No thanks, just as it comes.” She had a theory that when it came to baristas – whether human, supernatural, fairy, or alien – the more desperately craving caffeine you were, the slower and more frustrating a process they made it. It was like some kind of curse.
She sat in a leather tub chair near the window, and shrugged her way out of her leather jacket. It was still really early, she hadn’t yet adjusted to being back on UK time, having landed in the small hours two nights ago. Or was it only one night? Ameera really was very tired. Maybe the adreneline of the last…well the last three years really, was catching up to her now she was finally on a break.
“Human style double shot latte for Amina,” the elf girl called out. “Oh you’re drinking in? Let me bring it over to you.”
She danced across the room, in that tip toeing fashion all elves and woodfolk tend to, a detail Ameera wouldn’t have known before she joined the Academy.
The barista tried not to look at Ameera’s eyepatch, which of course made it really obvious she was. Ameera tugged at her hijab instinctively, as if to shield the scar from view. Not that anything could, it ran from above her left eyebrow, down through her eye, and almost down to the corner of her mouth. The surgeon who had repaired it and done his best, and done a good job too, but when your face has been ripped open by a werefox, there’s only so much a surgeon can do, even if he is magical.
Ameera took a huge gulp of coffee and sighed as the warmth flowed through her. It was strange to be so close to home after so long. She had spent the last few years travelling all around the world, starting in the USA for her initial training and exams, and then spending a year as a mentee to her idol, Lu. It had been Lu that had seen the potential in her, when she was just a scared girl in a hospital bed with her face destroyed , trying to deal with the existence of monsters. It had been Lu that recommended her for the program, an honour rarely offered to humans. It had been Lu who had argued that she should get to pass the course despite failing on the Use of Special Ability module. Since then she had taught Ameera loads, they’d travelled to eastern Europe hunting a nest of vampires who hunted children. They’d been to Australia to consult with The Great Truth. They had been to Norway and met The Fates and busted the Hag of Haunted Hill in Ireland, for selling dodgy spells to gullible humans.
And now Lu was deep undercover, and Ameera was getting her first ever bit of leave. She wasn’t really sure what to do with it. She knew she should go home, visit her mum, check in wih her sister…but instead she was here, in a Fairypuck’s in the FeyMarket, under her home town, having spent the night at The Inky Squid rather than going home.
Ameera stared out the window at the hidden street. She had lived in his town her whole life but had never suspected there was a whole market under the market, accessible via a troll guarded door to the end of a twisting alleyway. Once through the door the steep stone steps lead down to what Ameera thought of as the undertown – all the bits of the magical community that couldn’t be hidden in plain sight, or didn’t want to be. The fey markets, Fairypuck’s coffee house, Siren’s Lounge. A place where werefoxes could get their hair down, where boogie men didn’t have to hide in the closet, and a vampire could get his fangs sharpened without having to answer awkward questions.
Before Digital Dreams
Long time followers might remember that way back in 2012 Victoria wrote a short story called Before Digital Dreams, which she later spoke about expanding into a novel. That project hasn’t been forgotten.
Originally a short story, Victoria began developing Before Digital Dreams (or Digi, for short) into a trilogy of short stories after a few readers asked interesting questions that made her ponder the wider universe it was set in. 10,000 words into it she realised it was a novel.
Victoria did think that once she typed “the end” on that novel, the story would be over, but during edits she realised that for the full scope of Before Digital Dreams to be realised, it probably needs to be a trilogy of novels. She is currently in the process of splitting what she has into two novels before she starts work on the concluding volume of the trilogy.
There will be updates posted on this and Victoria’s other projects here but in the meantime, you can read the newly polished version of the short story that started it all here: Before Digital Dreams.
Victoria is also working on a collaboration, but it’s a bit of a secret at the moment. All we can say right now is that it encompasses and expands on two of Victoria’s short stories, The Rot (which you can read here free) and After The End, the zombie short story that appears in Strange Worlds.
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