Author TR Goodman, of the [amazon text=Abigail Abernathy&asin=B00ET8F7IE] series of shorts, was kind enough to tag me in this blog hop on serials. (That link is to the first in the series, presently free! You should consider clicking on it.)
First, what is a serial? Most traditionally, it’s a series of short fiction pieces released sequentially as a part of a whole. The Hound of the Baskervilles, for example, was published a bit at a time but formed a complete story. In modern times, a serial’s individual “episodes” (for the serial has acquired television terminology) may form smaller individual stories while continuing to build an overarching plot. We caught the villain-of-the-week, but the Big Bad is still out there!
That’s the form that my serial-in-progress will be taking. I don’t have enough yet to launch, but the story (working title The Thief and the Scholar, though I don’t like that enough to keep it) will follow characters through short, personal adventures and build to a world-shaking finish.
But since that’s not ready yet, I’m going to talk about Smoke and Peers, a story I’m presently serializing online. Each chapter is only a chapter, not a complete “episode,” but that allows for more frequent updates.
Like a serial installment, this blog hop is short and to the point!
Smoke and Fears, and its sequel Smoke and Peers, are gaslamp stories set in an alternate Victorian era. Now the Victorian era actually covers a lot of ground, as she reigned a long time! but I’ve tried not to get too specific about exactly what year it is. Normally I’m a stickler for accuracy in a historical, but I don’t want readers concentrating too hard on political chronology, because this is an alternate universe where magicians hold ministerial posts and magic is taught to the brightest young sons at the best public (boarding) schools.
What matters is, Victoria is on the throne, the Prince of Wales is an adult and in the peak of his sowing-oats phase, and magicians are not uncommon. The details — the fascination with American heiresses, the customs of gloves and dances — are generally quite accurate to the time.
What can you say about the main characters?
Since Smoke and Peers is a sequel, I don’t want to say too much that could be spoilers! But Marsden, our hero, has been having a rough go of it. In Smoke and Fears he found himself an amnesiac valet to a magician’s schoolboy son, but he worked out pretty quickly that more was wrong than just his missing memory. In Smoke and Peers, he’s having to work through the fallout — personal and social — of those events, and this is an era where personal emotion is supposed to be kept personal.
Lady Amelia was only barely seen in the first story; danger to her was used to threaten Marsden, only he had no idea who she was. So I didn’t have much opportunity with her then, but she plays a larger role in Smoke and Peers and I’m quite beginning to like her.
And of course we still have young Abel, the boy Marsden served in Smoke and Fears. He’s facing a tough new situation now as well, but Marsden is doing his best to make it easier.
What is the main conflict?
Lady Amelia, presently unwelcome in society, arranges a “chance” meeting with Marsden to ask him to look into a courtship which she hints could be politically disastrous. She refuses to offer details. Marsden, still suffering from a patchy memory, has little framework for his investigation but finds the brilliant American heiress Amelia warned of to be enchanting — as do most of the other eligible young men in society.
But Marsden has learned to look beyond the surface, and Amelia insists there is something to be found. And so he plunges into the Season to see what he can discover.
Smoke and Peers is presently being serialized at Wattpad. [amazon text=Smoke and Fears&asin=B00EU9AWMI] is available in complete form.