So I've been working away, getting my third book worked out, part of which requires what feels to me like humungous amounts of research. I've never been to new York, but since when did that ever stop me from setting a book there? The book being 'Things Unseen'. I'm maybe ten thousand words in, getting there slowly but surely.
For research, I've been reading a history of the CIA, and flicking through a book on the Guggenheim Museum that Hal Duncan loaned me after his return from a recent trip to the Big Apple (since art, particularly abstract art, and the occult influences on many of the proponents thereof, feature strongly in the story). Also doing a fair bit of research on Reinhard Gehlen - one-time spymaster extraordinaire of West Germany, and ex-Wehrmacht General, on whom I'm basing a central character.
Curiously enough, some ideas came from flicking through The Big Book of Conspiracies (part of a series which includes titles like The Big Book of Weirdos, illustrated, highly suspect, but nonetheless very entertaining comic-strip guides to unusual areas of modern culture); not necessarily the most dependable source in terms of rigorous research, but still far enough on the weirder side of Robert Anton Wilson to keep me lurching towards that kind of offbeat, pop-culture driven narrative I'm hoping Things Unseen might become.
At the same time, I saw the new, heavily revised cover artwork for my second book, Against Gravity, and let me just say it just knocked my socks off. It is seriously, utterly stunning, and when I get a chance I'll be putting it up here sometime real soon.
It's still early days, but for the hell of it, here's a couple of lines from Things Unseen:
'Silverman cleared his throat again. “Sit down, will you? You're making me nervous.”
Guy shook his head and raised his hands in a placatory gesture. “Sorry. You just caught me a little off guard, is all.”
“Well, it's been a while, that's true.”
“You want anything to drink? There's coffee.”
Silverman grimaced and shook his head. “Whisky?”
Guy shrugged gamely. “Little early for me, but -”
“Early for you, still last night for some of us.” Guy slid open a desk drawer, and drew out a bottle of Wild Turkey. He gestured at a couple of glasses standing on a shelf by Silverman's shoulder. Guy stepped around the desk and poured the other man a shot.
Silverman tasted the whisky and winced, coughed again. “Damn, that's good.” He knocked the rest of it back.
“That's a bad cough you've got there,” Guy observed.
Silverman nodded. “Lung cancer.”
Guy opened his mouth, but no words would come, so he closed it again. An awkward silence passed. After a moment Silverman reached inside his pocket and drew out a silver hip flask. He twisted the top off, then held it up in a kind of salute.
“Morphine chaser. Cheers.” He took a couple of swallows, made a face and twisted the cap back on, replacing it inside the voluminous folds of his coat.
“I'm sorry, I had no -”
Silverman waved a hand between them. “Please. Spare me the fucking sentimentalities. Something happened last night. Someone got killed.”'
Oh yeah - and I had a terrific review in Interzone. Did I mention I have a terrific review in Interzone?