Who would like a little sneaky peak from Veto Volume 2?
Well, be like that then! I'm going to post one anyway!
(This may or may not change dramatically from the final version depending on how lazy my rewriting will be...)
Ember sat in a luxurious chair in front of an enormous and even more luxurious carved wooden desk. Dwarfed behind the mammoth piece of highly polished furniture was a man of quite diminutive proportions.
Completely bald, apart from a startling ‘horn’ of hair sticking dramatically upward from the centre of his head, Dr. Hickory Emmental regarded Ember in silence. The unmoving, penetrating stare emanating from his glowing red eyes was rather disconcerting.
Ember smiled and did her best to appear relaxed under his intense scrutinising gaze but before long she found herself fidgeting, wishing he would say or do something.
“Is he all right?” Veto whispered loudly, beginning to feel a tad concerned and worrying that he may be accused of inadvertently being in the same room as an undiscovered dead body again.
“Splendid! Rather relieved to hear that,” Veto said honestly.
Again there followed a cold, empty silence.
Emmental threw his three and a quarter foot tall body out of his chair and walked slowly around Ember.
“Hmmmmm?” Ember hmmmed.
“Hmmmmmmm.” Emmental stopped in front of her. “Show me what you have chosen.” He demanded brusquely.
“I thought this one was quite nice…” she began, holding out the catalogue.
“They are ALL nice!” Emmental shouted.
“Of course they are all nice!” Ember hurriedly agreed. “I meant I thought this one would be nice for me.”
“In fact NONE of them are nice! Each one is far, far beyond ‘nice’! Every single item is a perfectly unique work of art! The word ‘nice’ insults me! The words 'quite nice' insults me doubly so, sir!”
“I didn’t mean to offend!” Ember said hurriedly, quaking a little at the man’s rage. “May I point out that I’m not actually a ‘sir’?”
“No you may not, sir!” He had clambered onto his desk and was pacing upon it in quivering fury. “The Civilised Galaxy’s elite do not come to me for ‘NICE!”
“Well no, of course not…”
“They come to me for perfection! And perfection is what they get when they pay for Doctor Hickory Emmental’s unrivalled expertise!”
He leapt from the desk towards a sculpture and waved his hands at it.
“This is a Vertigo Von Grout original piece! It is one of the most highly respected works of the last three centuries. Made from the last of the finest Serendipity Marble known to exist, it is considered to be one of the most exquisite forms of art ever to have been worked, yet it pales in comparison to my surgical creations which are on a parallel with the Divine Itself!”
Ember considered the sculpture with its fine gentle curves and remarkable yet slightly unnerving resemblance to a rather personal part of the Human female anatomy.
“Yes… It is rather… Nice.”
In a fit of self-preservation, Veto backed quickly out of the room.
Emmental shuddered but kept himself under control as he studied Ember’s choice.
“No no no no no no NO!” He grabbed the catalogue, clucked and strutted around the room. “This is not right for you at all! Not in the slightest! Are you so deranged to think this would suit you?!”
“I rather liked it,” Ember said.
The doctor fixed her with a piercing flame red eye and stood stock still for several moments until Ember began to feel rather uncomfortable.
“I am going to ask you to do something that is most likely not in your nature to do…” He whispered.
“Are you?” Ember felt decidedly uneasy. Looking around for Veto she noticed him badly concealed in the waiting room beyond.
“Yes. I am.” Emmental declared. He attempted to melodramatically tear the catalogue into little pieces with despise, however it defiantly thwarted his best efforts. After a few seconds of struggle he instead threw it to the floor in a huff of contempt. “Nothing in here will be good enough for you! NOTHING!”
“Oh… It won’t?” Ember said rather disappointedly.
“No!” Emmental continued his pacing of the room. Using his chair as a step, he pounced back onto his desk.
“Instead, I shall create something just for you! There will be nothing like it in existence and it shall be one of my finest creations! Nay! My FINEST creation!” He struck a noble pose, holding an arm as high as he could into the air, his index finger pointing upwards to the heavens above.
Watching from the comparative safety of the waiting room behind a plinth on which a large aspidistra flailed around trying unsuccessfully to swat him, Veto felt the doctor’s speech should really have climaxed with a fanfare and perhaps an indoor firework or two.
And a rather exciting post it is too! Although I've been slogging tirelessly away scribbling up the new volume of Veto Lark, (what do you mean, you don't believe me?!) I've also been up to all sorts of other shenanigans.
"Oh do tell, Magz!" I hear you all cry in a fit of helpless curiosity.
Oh, all right then, since you insist!
One of my short stories will be appearing in Valves & Vixens Vol 2 which will be published soon.
It's an anthology of Steampunk short stories edited by Nicola Gestalt.
Ok, Steampunk Erotica to be accurate.
It's funny how I never really quite know where I'll end up...
Tis Day #3 of the... Hmmm, what to call it? Detox? Lifestyle Change? Diet? Not sure. For sake of argument, I'll just call it 'Hugo.'
Well, Hugo, is already having a great effect on me. I've drastically cut back on the old boon of Dionysus. When I say 'cut back', I mean completely cut out and already I'm feeling the benefits. My one cup of caffeine tea of a morn combined with a small banana is like rocket fuel!
Also muchly enjoying the Fruity goodness and Veggie intake - which allows the odd bacon & egg sarnie to be consumed with no guilt whatsoever!
As it's Easter, things are likely to get a bit hectic. However, as I watch the snow flutter majestically from the sky, I fully intend to eat as much chocolate, drink as much Easter beverage as possible, and generally do little else.
If I could, I would smuggle several bunnies into the house, however, that would most likely be a bad idea.
In the meantime, I may even write some more Veto Lark -
'Veto Lark and the Rampant Rabbits of A Summersland.'
The spotlessly clean steam train wound its way sedately through the perfect 1:1 scale scenery of Switzerland. The grandeur that was the Alps lined the horizon, each detail perfectly crafted to the finest point.
It chuffed its way past villages, stopping occasionally at picturesque stations along the way, before continuing past gently rolling green fields full of cows that never moved.
Sitting in a first class carriage, sipping champagne from a silver hip flask, Veto Lark had noted with interest that no one ever boarded, nor departed the train at any of the stations. The few people milling around on the platforms never once glanced at the train. All merely stared in random directions, never talking, never moving.
He had also found it curious the fact there was only ever one guard at any given station; a guard who looked remarkably similar to all the other guards in every other station; one who always stood in an identical position, one hand forever raised, grasping a red flag which never fluttered. Even had there been a wind to ruffle it, sturdy plastic tended not to move much at all.
"Remarkable, isn't it?"
Veto looked up at the woman who had silently entered the compartment, and was now sitting opposite him. Disguising his sudden shock at the unexpected intrusion, he feigned the cool unflappable calm he was famous for, by taking a quick glug from his flask. The desired effect was temporarily dented by an unsubtle burp as his innards objected to the sudden rush of fermented bubbles.
"Yes. Quite. Indeed it is..." He made a mental note not to fill the flask with anything effervescent in future.
The woman wore confidence and finesse as comfortably as she did her luxurious llama-fur coat and matching hat. Her cold, slate grey eyes regarded him with mild curiosity and, quite possibly, amusement.
"You have it for me?" Only the barest flicker of an eyelid indicated a chink in her emotions, her nerves hidden well behind her perfect exterior. Veto would have applauded her control had not the situation been so serious.
"I might have."
"Do you have it, or not?" The flicker turned to anger.
"Do you have the payment?" Veto assumed his most relaxed pose, only just preventing himself from slipping off the hard, plastic seat. Sitting himself upright once more, he maintained the stand-off.
A vague narrowing of eyes before she deftly withdrew a slim envelope from her bag.
magnificent foyer of the British Museum hummed with the current cream of
society. ‘A’ list celebrities feigned knowledge of the finer points of Ancient
Egyptian civilisation as they cast critical eyes over each other’s attire, hair,
and shoes. Several leading politicians made lucrative deals over champagne and canapés,
while esteemed professors of history and archaeology debated theories and
discoveries within their respected disciplines.
all this, a vaguely handsome man casually wove his way through the gathered
assemblage. Charming both guests and catering staff alike, Veto Lark almost
drew a large number of glances. Most of those admiring looks quickly slid away
however, his features instantly forgotten. This could have been due to the fact
that his smart, yet ill-fitting tuxedo was a tad scruffier when scrutinised
further, or it may have been because his eyes revealed a hidden oddness when
looked directly into. It was, however, more likely caused by the disruptance wave
emitted from a small transmitter attached to the lapel of his jacket. Cleverly
disguised as a popular flower, the device caused anyone paying undue attention
to him to feel rather queasy, and develop the sudden urge to avert their gaze
to anywhere else.
spotted an imposing, portly man in his mid-fifties chatting animatedly to an
elegant tweed encrusted woman who appeared to be about the same age. He
immediately directed his amble toward the couple and burst into their
Herbert Schneider! Head of the Department of Egyptology, if I’m not mistaken.”
Veto grabbed the scholar’s hand and shook it vigorously. The Professor seemed
alarmed, finding himself not quite able to look the newcomer in the eye, yet
obviously unwilling to be impolite. “Sorry… One moment.” Veto fiddled with the
petals of the flower on his lapel. “Better?”
yes…” the Professor muttered, feeling considerably better. Finally able to look
at the man, Herbert wondered why the chap standing before him was wearing a
large sunflower on his jacket; particularly to such a prestigious black tie
an absolute pleasure to meet you, sir. What a coup for the museum!” Veto
Professor immediately warmed to his subject. “Indeed it is. It was most
gratifying to be successful in the bid to be the first to exhibit these
stunning new pieces.” He glanced smugly at the woman standing beside him. “May
I introduce Professor Clarissa Johnson, my counterpart at the Smithsonian.”
ignored Clarissa, his attention firmly on Herbert. “You know, I would just love
a sneaky preview, Professor.” His eyes bored into Schneider’s.
felt a little perturbed at the stranger’s gaze. “I’m afraid you will just have
to be patient…”
would really like to see it now…” Veto’s eyes held Herbert’s. The Professor
felt a little lightheaded and began to wonder why it wasn’t such a bad idea to
do as the man asked. He did seem jolly interested, after all. There was surely
no harm in allowing him to do so…
attractive young woman in a dangerously short black dress joined the group,
carefully balancing three flutes of champagne. Seeing her hand one of the
glasses to Professor Schneider, and the other to Professor Johnson, Veto took
the third for himself. Admiring the waitress’s considerable endowments, he
flashed her one of his ‘special’ smiles. She raised an amused eyebrow as Veto
gulped his champagne down in one, following it with a reverberating burp.
Clicquot ‘78, if I’m not mistaken,” Veto stated, always ready to impress. All
three looked blankly at him. Swiftly changing the subject, he addressed the
waitress once more. “How about you and I have a little fumble in the
Antiquities section later?” He winked meaningfully, confident his dazzling
smile had already melted her defences. He suspected this night would be
profitable in more ways than one.
polite cough from the Professor dragged his attention back to the task in hand.
“So, then Herbert, May I call you Herbert? Now, about this little guided tour
you were about to take me on? Won’t take long. Just one teeny little item I’d
love to see before the rest of the Riff-Raff get a chance.”
stated before, no.” The Professor’s expression had grown rather stony. “May I
also introduce you to Abi Schneider. My wife.” He gestured to the woman in the
looked from Abi to the Professor, then back again, and burst out laughing. “Oh,
you nearly had me going there, you old coot!”
was no doubt about it; the Professor was most definitely not amused. “I think
perhaps you should circulate, sir… don’t you?”
grin faded. “What? Seriously?” He cast another glance at the ‘waitress’. “Ah…
right. My little joke, of course.” He shuffled a little, but soon grasped the
situation back under control. “So. Statue, about this big…” He gestured
randomly with his hands.
away, or I shall call security,” Herbert growled.
you get yourself all upset now, love,” Abi put her hand on the Professor’s arm,
not noticing the jealous glare Clarissa failed to hide. “Some more champagne,
dear?” Moving away from Herbert, she grabbed Veto’s arm, propelling him away.
go away,” Abi hissed.
on. Let me have just a little peak?” Veto pleaded with his best puppy dog eyes.
“Then you can show me the statue.” Abi glared at him, secretly amused at his
audacity. As she stared at him, she felt a moment of dizziness.
so special about this statue anyway?” Her curiosity was piqued.
nothing much. Nothing at all, in fact. I’ve just always wanted to see it. Ever
since I was knee high to a Doltron.”
only uncovered last year,” Abi pointed out. “And what exactly is a ‘Doltron’?’”
short, nasty creatures. Tend to disguise themselves as small, excitable dogs.
You know, the little yappy types.”
Lark.” Again the charming smile.
do take you to see the statue, will you promise to go away?”
course, ma petite garde-robe,” Veto gave a delicate bow, spoilt only by his
hair flopping over his face.
are strange. Anyone ever tell you that?”
“All the time!”
no one was watching, particularly her husband, Abi slipped through the door of
the exhibition hall where the new artifacts were on display. Veto followed
close behind. She’d been inside several times earlier with Herbert as the
exhibition was being prepared. He had fussed around, ensuring everything was
perfect for the opening, driving everyone insane with his insistence on
absolute perfection. Then, it had been bustling with staff making last minute
preparations. The silent room now emanated a creepiness which made her shiver.
exactly are you looking for?” Abi whispered. Veto pulled a phone from his
pocket and flicked through a number of images until he found one of a small,
very ugly statuette. Nodding, Abi pointed towards the left of the hall. “I
think I remember something like that being over there. Didn’t like it much. It
felt… wrong. ” Veto had already set off in the direction she had indicated. She
hurried after him, suddenly questioning the reason why she was doing this.
becoming a little lost around the section of Fourth Dynasty limestone reliefs,
Abi stopped and listened. A curious buzzing sound seemed to be coming from the
far corner. Stepping quietly, she followed the noise. Peeking around a rather
plain looking sarcophagus, Abi’s eyes widened as she spotted Veto holding what
looked to be a pencil torch over a glass case containing several small statues.
are you doing?” She walked over cautiously.
Veto continued to hover the torch over the glass.
not trying to steal that, are you?” Abi halted a safe distance away.
“Nope. Just returning it to it’s rightful owners.” Veto glanced up
with a charming grin.
backed away. “Right…”
wouldn’t go calling security or anything silly like that. Would rather avoid
any trouble. Two ticks and I’ll be gone.”
turned and fled. Sighing, Veto straightened up, pulled what looked alarmingly
like a small gun from his pocket, and fired it at Abi’s back. A dull orange
beam engulfed her for a few seconds, dissipating as she slumped to the floor.
really didn’t want to do that…” Veto shook his head sadly before returning to
his task. There was a grinding crack and a piece of glass fell down upon the
statue, shattering as it did so. The statue promptly fell over, a small piece
of it breaking off. “Oops.” Veto pulled on a pair of latex gloves and reached
into the case. Carefully, he lifted the statue, shaking bits of glass from its
surface. He studied the broken piece remaining in the case and shrugged.
“They’ll never know…” he told himself, and stuffed the almost complete statue in
beside Abi, Veto quickly checked that her pulse was strong. “You’ll have a bit
of a sore head when you wake up, but you’ll be fine, ” he said softly. Taking a
business card from his pocket, he slipped it into her bag.
the foyer, Veto grabbed one last glass of champagne as he waved cheerily to
Professors Schneider and Johnson. He flirted briefly with a minor, but
glamorous young soap actress before making his way through the throng, and out
of the main entrance.
quiet alley, not far from the rear of the museum, Veto was enveloped in a soft,
lurid green glow. When the glow faded, the alley was once again empty, save for
a small Yorkshire Terrier which began to growl, bark, and jump up and down with
waltzed into what appeared to be a cross between an office, a bedsit, and the
bridge of a flashy spaceship; which is what it was; except the spaceship in
question wasn’t flashy at all; more like a wreck held together with sticky tape
and industrial strength glue; which it was. Literally.
many casualties this time?” Ember Mound, barely looked up from filing her
at all!” Veto stated proudly. “Well, no fatalities anyway.”
you get it?” Ember didn’t even bother feigning interest.
did.” Veto pulled the small statue out of his tuxedo pocket with a flourish.
bored sigh, she heaved herself from her slumped position, and thumped a
keyboard with her fist. A screen flickered into life as she began to type
laboriously with one finger. “I’ll get the invoice sent. Usual expenses?”
think so, yes. Oh, but remember to include the cost of a new tuxedo.”
wasn’t new, you pulled it off the back of a dead man,” Ember pointed out.
which is why I need a new one.”
threw himself into an overstuffed armchair and admired the little statue. “A
celebratory drink is in order, I think!” He grinned expectantly.
sigh, Veto slid out of his chair. As he did so, the statue slipped out of his
hand. Making an heroic, yet desperate attempt to catch it, he merely succeeded
in batting it faster and higher through the air. With a slow-motion effect,
Veto watched as the statue hit the parquet floored deck and shattered into a
woman sighed deeply, and deleted the invoice.
settled back into his chair, an irritated beep sounded from beneath a pile of
glossy magazines on the console. The woman swept them out of the way, and
studied an incoming transmission.
Star has gone missing. Apparently the company who created it, ‘Home Star
Industries’, want you to find it before their clients who commissioned
it, find out…” She sounded mildly surprised.
leapt up and rubbed his hands together. “Splendid! Start billing them from this
held her pounding head in her hands. Professor Schneider was in a state of
shock as the theft of one of his prize exhibits finally sank in. Security
mingled with the guests, trying to establish whether anyone or anything
suspicious had been noticed that night. Unsurprisingly, no one could recall
attempt to safeguard both her husband’s blood pressure and her marriage, Abi
had wisely decided to deny all knowledge of inadvertently aiding and abetting
the strange man responsible for the outrage.
rummaged in her bag in search of painkillers. Failing to find any, she did come
across a business card that she swore had not been there before. The lurid
orange business card was printed with blue calligraphic lettering which hurt
the eyes if looked at for too long;
Veto Lark - Scavenger of the Stars
If you’ve lost it, I’ll find it!
Success Not Guaranteed
the back, was a single, hand written word in wild, loopy handwriting. It simply
It's here! DH:LoF - Tales of Promethea was released yesterday and is available on DriveThru. Within the first 24 hours, I'm rather chuffed to say that it's sitting nicely in the No.6 spot of their fiction list. Smashing!
I don't normally rant here, but this is something that has been increasingly annoying me for quite a while now...
One of the highlights
of going to the cinema is watching a selection of films coming soon to tempt us
back into those hallowed halls of escapist fantasies.
However, what once
used to be tempting teasers, snippets of the joys yet to come, have recently
become little more than bullet points of every main scene of the entire film.
The first time this
was brought to my attention, was several years ago while watching a film on TV,
‘Associate’, starring Whoopie Goldberg. As the plot progressed, the feeling
that I’d seen it before increased, right down to the twist in the plot where
the main female character eventually had to pose as a white male in order to
convince the Wall Street Powers-That-Be to accept her financial genius, even
though she was a mere female.
Although I’d never
seen the film before, it was with disappointment that the story rolled to its somehow
The weird sense of
déjà vu was explained by the fact that the entire film had been summarised in a
cinematic trailer I had seen previously.
This left an
unpleasant realisation that not only had I wasted an entire 90 minutes to see
what could be considered a mere lengthened version of the trailer, but that at
no point had the story kept me wondering what would happen. How could it when I
had already seen the abridge version?
Yes, the point of
trailers is to pack all the good bits of a film in a nice neat package in order
to make people want to pay their money to see it in it’s entirely, however, is
it getting to the point when the trailers give most of the main plot away
before the film has even opened?
The desperation to
show all the ‘best bits’ of a given film before release is overshadowing the
enjoyment of watching the plot unfold when the feature does eventually hit the
If most of the main
shocks, plot twists or unexpected turns, not to mention the majority of the
story, have already been revealed during a ten minute trailer, the urge to
spend time and money on what can merely be regarded as ‘extra padding’, sadly
fails to motivate.
Perhaps it is a sad
reflection of diminishing concentration spans, or the ‘Need-to-Know-NOW’
culture that we must be shown a speeded up version to convince us how good the
film is going to be.
Perhaps the film
companies think potential audiences need to know what’s going to happen before
they can be enticed to go and see a film, rather than take a chance on a film
they know only a taste of. Perhaps, they are right.
Whatever the reasons,
I find myself fast forwarding DVD trailers and deliberately avoiding cinematic
attractions for the simple reason that I prefer not to know what’s going to
happen in advance.
Now, if you’ll excuse
me, I must flip to the end of the book I’m currently reading, because I just
can’t be bothered going through the whole thing to find out how it ends…
As the release date of 'Dark Harvest: Tales of Promethea' grows ever tantalisingly and tingly closer, some rather exciting news has just been revealed...
If you're of a 'certain' age group, and unashamedly geeky, (not me at all, obviously *cough*) it may be of interest that Ian Livingstone (remember those wonderful Fighting Fantasy books?) has only gone and written the bloomin' introduction!
Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm just going to have a nice cuppa and indulge in a considerable amount of Squeeeeing.