I know, I know. I’ve been working on this manuscript for ages. Anyone who’s followed my blog for several years knows that the novel, Dreamdarkers, grew from “Darkness Comes to Kingswell,” an experimental short story I wrote ad hoc, each evening sitting down and pounding out the next installment in real time and posting here on my blog. Though the whole of the idea already existed in my mind, the details were filled in as I wrote each post. That was in 2006 (but don’t look for the actual story since I removed it in preparation for its offspring, the novel).
Well, after four years and many rewrites, I’m thrilled to announce that I’ve submitted the first chapter, along with query letters, to a plethora of potential literary agents. This is no small feat and no small undertaking. And I don’t recommend it for those sensitive to rejection and disappointment, hard work, or the threat of more of both.
Still, it’s off my plate in one sense, awaiting reaction and response, simmering on a back burner so I can focus on the next two novels in the series, both of them parts of one story entitled End of the Warm Season. Then I’m on to the next installment of what I’ve lazily called “The Kingswell Chronicle” for the time being.
Does this mean Dreamdarkers is bullet-proof and ironclad? Nope. It just means that I’ve tinkered with and manipulated and worked on the story long enough to feel it’s ready for the next step. Which I assume to be more rewriting. We’ll see.
Meanwhile, the first part of End of the Warm Season is already a few hundred pages in progress. But it will need to grow from there since it will need to encompass a vast history and a vast present. I intend to keep it limited to two books if at all possible.
And though I might well have to remove this as part of any publication agreement, let me give you a wee taste of Dreamdarkers by presenting here the first few paragraphs of the prologue. Without further ado, I give you the start of “The Kingswell Chronicle” (or whatever in hell it’ll be called later):
I wrote this thinking it important to share our experiences with you. Now I fear there is no one left with whom I might share our experiences. You’re trapped in this with us, aren’t you? All of you are here somewhere, just more pieces of meat suspended in this infernal cold, more carrion painted with dark so complete that nothing can be seen of you. Yes, you’re all here. I can feel you.
I’m sure everyone is gone by now. Carr Beholden has been vacuumed clean already, and I see no reason to think differently about the rest of the world. The beast has arrived, the Dreamdarkers, and the end of the era of humankind is finally upon us. How often we pondered what might bring about our extinction. Would it be an asteroid strike that ends us like the dinosaurs? Or a plague, especially one milled on the stone of human advancement? Or would it be some cosmic gesture to prove our insignificance, like a wandering black hole or an unforeseen supernova in our galactic neighborhood?
But it will be none of those things. Rather, it is none of those things, for the end of Homo sapiens has arrived as a mistress dressed in black, a black so deep that no darker hue exists. She wants to be with us only so that she might consume us. And consume us she will if what I’ve seen is any indication.
And—Surprise!—here are the first few paragraphs from the epilogue. Because I’m thoughtful that way.
How could we have known? I keep asking myself that question as though it provides an answer. I’ve always hated it when someone answers a question with a question. Still, I find myself using that same cheap exit strategy in an attempt to explain the unexplainable: How could we have known?
We all did it because it was part of who we were. A common ancestor tapped into that realm and passed down the ability through evolution. It was no more an intentional act than it was a violent one. So how could we have known? Honestly, we’d grown up doing it, so how could we have possibly known that our actions were inflicting such horrific violence on others? I can’t see that we could have known. And as dream-Beth said, even had we known, the experience had grown so overwhelmingly delightful so early in our development that it became part of a shared genetic heritage passed down as part of our collective being, a fix the body grew to need rather than desire. We didn’t decide we wanted to do it; we just did it because it happened on its own. And we wanted it, grew to need it, evolved a mind that required it.
Yet had we known what I’ve learned—what we’ve learned in the last 48 hours, could we have denied ourselves? I doubt it. In the lush forest or wide-open field that only he sees, chasing the prey that so entices him, can the dog deny his own nature? Offered the opportunity to lounge in never-ending sunshine meant to warm it to just the right temperature while insects buzz lazily about, can the lizard deny itself the opportunity? With prey aplenty and always willing to give just the right amount of chase before yielding the ultimate prize, the final catch, can the great predator felines refuse to slip into that world at every possible opportunity so they might enjoy flourishing savannas and always-comfortable trees where appetites are satisfied as quickly or as slowly as one wants? Given the opportunity to fly without wings, to be young when our bodies are old and feeble, to once again sit by the fire with a loved one long since dead, and to see the wonder and beauty of great mystery, can humans turn away from the chance to escape into that world? I don’t think any creature who’d experienced it could so easily give it up even if they understood the repercussions that eventually would follow. It’s just not our nature; it’s just not like the living to deny what is so desperately desired and readily available.
But even these considerations fail to define where I now find myself. In two days on a single planet in an obscure corner of a single galaxy, we’ve discovered the hard way precisely how much such indulgences can cost. And we’ve likewise discovered that we are not alone. That realization also carried a horrible truth: we’ve never been alone, and in that regard we are responsible for visiting horror on the world of others, terror we carried to their shores day and night, over and over again, and always with the same selfish intention. We would take from them what we wanted. We would enjoy their world as though it were ours, and we would do with it as we pleased. We would leave it in mayhem wrought with destruction made by our own hands. We didn’t think about it. Why should we have thought about it? It was ours for the taking.
So we took. From them. And we visited upon them great suffering. Now, much to our chagrin, our world is theirs for the taking. What a horrible change of positions. And what a deserved hell we now find ourselves in.
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 I have redacted both excerpts for publication here. The edits are minor and do not significantly change what you see, though the original versions would reveal more about the story, especially in the epilogue, than I want revealed at this time. Also, I changed these pieces with haste, so there might be some pedantic errors from the edits. Oh well.
 For anyone who’s followed me on Facebook for the last year, you’ll recognize the first paragraph of the prologue. I posted it without explanation as a status update just to see what you would say.
 A dear friend of mine already knows that she is the basis for the Beth character. We go way back—decades. Our friendship is important to me and she—the real Beth—is an inspiration to me. She plays a pivotal role in the novel—in the entire series—just as she has played a pivotal role in my life these many years. (For those who know who she is and can identify her, be warned: Do us all a favor and keep that information to yourself.)