Tuesday, 20 September 2011

BIG SECRET PROJECT TEASER #3

Hello and Happy Wednesday, Dear Readers (whoa, a lot of capitals in that line)!

Today, as the faintly golden fingers of dawn crept through the gap in my curtains, I blinked, stretched, sighed - and experienced that sinking feeling known as 'Oh Cr*p, I've Got To Blog Today' which descends on a hapless blogger when they have completely forgotten to think of anything to talk about. This was not, I hasten to add, because I don't love you all with a deep and passionate devotion. It's because I wrote eighteen notebook pages of the first draft of Big Secret Project yesterday and that pretty much sucked my creative juices dry.

So since my lack of a witty and sparkling blog topic is really all Big Secret Project's fault, I thought it was only fair that Big Secret Project help me out of my blogging dilemma by providing an intriguing snippet. As always, since I'm still working on this book and it has not been sold or edited, everything you read in a teaser is subject to massive change or even deletion. An interesting fact about this section: the character name comes from a lovely blog reader who bid in the Authors for Japan auction. She won the right to have her namesake in this book, and if she checks the blog today, this will be her first sight of the result.

Teaser hidden there under the cut. Let me know what you think...

Bel Downing swore when the lights in her tiny office started to flicker. Her finger slammed down on the ‘Save’ icon, and she sighed with relief when the command executed successfully, without the computer crashing.

She reached for her mug of tea, found it contained only cold dregs, checked the time and swore again. No wonder her back was killing her. She had to stop doing this. It wasn’t like the British Museum was going to spring for overtime when she was writing her own dissertation.

When the lights stopped blinking she shut down her computer and had a long, spine-cracking stretch, trying to decide what takeaway to hit for dinner. She was weighing up noodles versus pizza when she heard a sound echo down the empty corridor outside.

“What the – ?” There it was again. That was definitely a meow. How had a cat gotten into the museum?

Remembering the chaos wrought by a trapped pigeon a few months before, Bel got up hastily and pushed the door of her office fully open. She peered up and down the shadowy corridor, but there was no sign of any living creature there.

She debated going for one of the night watchmen, to help her search. But what if the animal was on the move? In the five or ten minutes it would take to fetch help the stupid animal could have gotten into anything. Another meow made her mind up. The sound was coming from the Japanese rooms. She headed in that direction, passing the shadowy statue of Kudora Kannon as she entered the first room. Her footsteps echoed softly, and Bel debated putting on the powerful overhead lights. She couldn’t walk around in the pitch dark, but then again a sudden flood of light might scare the cat into hiding. After a moment she switched on the display lights instead. The soft spots highlighted the exhibits and gave her enough light to move around without falling over anything.

Bel heard another pitiful meow and felt a momentary pang of pity for the lost cat. She wasn’t much of a pet person, but all this noise must mean that the poor thing was frightened, and wanted to be found.

“Here, puss,” she said, making kissy noises as she moved deeper into the gallery. “Here, kitty. Where are you? Come out.”

There was another meow, right behind her. She turned quickly and gasped, mouth falling open.

One of the exhibits – an ancient grave offering, a stone roughly carved into the shape of a cat – was broken. Shards of rock glittered in the display case amid a pool of dark liquid.

The viscous fluid, thick as blood, flowed down the sides of the broken exhibit’s pedestal and somehow squeezed out under the sealed glass of the case, dripping onto the floor. As she watched, it seemed to bubble, spreading further. Torn between disbelief and fasination, Bel hesitated, then took a step back.

Her shoe squelched. She looked down and saw that in the few seconds she had stood gaping, the black liquid had circled her feet.

The hairs all over Bel’s body raked up as a low, wicked chuckle echoed through the gallery. One by one, the display lights all over the room began to wink off, plunging the room into deeper darkness.

This can’t be happening. This isn’t real.

Bel turned to run.

26 comments:

Vivienne said...

OMG! That is awesome! I want more. Hurry up and finish this book!

Zoë Marriott said...

Viv: I'm hurrying, I'm hurrying! Although whether you'll actually get to read it when it's finished is another kettle of fish.

She Known As Jess. said...

say what? debatable whether we get to read it? Well, if they don't want Zoe fans marching at their doors, then they will publish it for sure =D

Sounds Great!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Zoë Marriott said...

Jess: Ha ha - I'll set you on them if there are any hitches!

Jenni (Juniper's Jungle) said...

Well I'm hooked already! Really looking forward to being able to read more in the future :)

Anonymous said...

Ooooh, exciting!

-Hobbit

Zoë Marriott said...

Thanks, Jenni and Hob :)

AmieSalmonYAWriter said...

This looks great! I can't wait to read it, because it has to be published for sure =]

Zoë Marriott said...

Amie: Thanks - and I hope you're right!

A.J. Mullarky said...

Ooh, exciting :D hope you had a good time in the Lakes!

Zoë Marriott said...

Alex: I did - you can see my holiday pictures in the last blog post!

Butterfly_Ghost said...

o_O I need moooore! What a cliffhanger... this definitely needs to be published! I need to know what's really going on.

So, um... yay for your creativity bursts on this project! ^^

Megha said...

Wow, that's awesome, Zoe! Your writing style is so different in this! There's less of the angst, which isn't bad! (Not that I didn't like the angst - I loved that too!) You're such a flexible author! :P But seriously, I hardly knew there was this whole new side to your writing! I love all your styles anyhow, though! You rock! =D

Zoë Marriott said...

Butterfly: Clearly I chose to cut the snippet off at just the right point. I'm quite pleased with myself! *Evil Laugh*

Megha: Well, there's a bit of angst in this story too! But because it's a book set in contemporary London the style IS very different, and there's more humour, which I'm loving.

Anonymous said...

This isn't really a comment on your post (but it is awesome by the way, I hope that Big Secret Project can someday see the light of day) but I have a question that I'd like to ask; I thought I'd ask you because you're one of my favourite authors and you're really nice so I thought you would be able to answer without thinking I'm being stupid or something.
I've just started college; I'm 17 years old next month. I'm taking English Literature because it's my favourite subject, but I feel like a baby because I discovered yesterday that most people in my class read 'adult' books and I'm still in the YA section. Is it stupid that I feel like crawling into a hole and dying, to never pick up a YA book again? I feel like such a baby, should I stop reading YA and move on to 'older' fiction?
Sorry, I know you're not an Agony Aunt but I didn't know who else to ask.

Zoë Marriott said...

Anonymous: This is absolutely the right place to ask this question! Talking about books and reading and writing is what we do here. I'll do a Q&A post Monday next week and post my reply then, OK? But in the meantime, please don't feel that you want to crawl into a hole and die! Most of my best friends and the smartest people that I know (including fellow writers!) spend between 50-90% of their reading time on YA novels. Including me! YOU ARE NOT ALONE!

Sophie said...

I love this already...#hooklinesinker. Yes, by that I mean you've hooked me.

Zoë Marriott said...

Thanks, Sophie! In that case my work is done :)

whispering words said...

That really was a teaser... I wanna know what happens next! (Shows pouty face in hopes for more)Really though it sounds awesome,different to your other books but totally just as brilliant :)

AmieSalmonYAWriter said...

Anonymous...I do understand what you mean. When I was in a training session for xmas temp at a book shop, people seemed to look down at me for being a fan of YA/even children books in general. I do however also read 'adult' books as well; I am a fan of literature no matter what its age label.
I do think there is a big judgment against YA books, but I don't understand why. I've read so many 'teen' books that are just as beautiful, well written and full of great drama/comedy. Sometimes even more so than a book aimed for the older reader.
Don't feel pressured to read something, you won't enjoy it. Be true to your own personal interests.
YA is a great place to be at the moment. I mean look at Zoë’s writing, her (or yours if you read this Zoë) books are some of the most intelligent I have read.

Really sorry for rant there everyone.

Isabel said...

Wow, this is so different from what you usually write, and I love it!! Can't wait to read more. You are so talented!

Zoë Marriott said...

Thank you Whispering and Isabel (and Amie, tangenitally)! I appreciate the Big Secret Project love so much, especially as I'm waiting to hear stuff about it now, and it could probably go either way...

Rebecca Lindsay said...

Don't stop, don't stop, don't stop, don't stop lol. This is so different from what you usually write but it sounds ace! /can't wait to read it!
Also, I'm sure you've probably answered this question at some point, but when is Frostfire coming out? :)

Zoë Marriott said...

Rebecca: FrostFire should be out July of 2012 here in the UK :)

Rebecca Lindsay said...

Aaaa! Can't wait!! :D

Isabel said...

Anonymous: I know I'm still a kid myself, but I agree with Zoe! :) YA literature is for EVERYBODY, and I don't ever intend to stop reading it, so don't panic! There's nothing wrong with it. :-)

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