Pubbing today, DEAD MAN’S DEAL is the second Asylum Tales from Jocelynn Drake! In a gritty urban fantasy world where elves, faeries, trolls, werewolves, and vampires Read More
It’s here–a sneak preview of Kim Harrison’s latest Hollows novel EVER AFTER! Chapters two and three coming in the next few weeks. Stay tuned for more!
Angel’s Ink is the first full-length novel in Drake’s exciting new series, The Asylum Tales! It’s out on 10/16 officially (however, we will have copies for sale at NYCC, signed copies, nonetheless), here’s an exclusive sneak peek! And while you read, why not take a listen to our Spotify playlist inspired by Angel’s Ink?
PS: Be sure to catch Jocelynn at NYCC later this week! Click here for her schedule of signings and appearances.
Angels Ink excerpt (click for pdf)
DEVIL SAID BANG is on sale tomorrow, August 28th! (This also means that Richard Kadrey will be on tour–see bottom of post for dates in next two months.)
Here’s another little peak at Richard Kadrey’s fourth Sandman Slim novel DEVIL SAID BANG. And if you haven’t already go to i09 to read the first 40 pages and also read our other previous excerpt here.
It’s afternoon and the senior planning staff is waiting in the palace meeting room. The place looks like Bring Your Clown to Work Day at a Masonic lodge. The slick suits and Hellion power dresses aren’t the problem. It’s everything else they’re wearing. Ceremonial aprons covered with old runes. A morbid rainbow of colored scarves and gloves showing everyone’s place in the food chain. Blinders. Gaggers. Masks.
They’re all giving me the pig eye as I roll in. I take my time getting to the head of the table. The dirty looks aren’t just because I’m late. I’ll always be that sheep-killing dog Sandman Slim to most of them, and now, just to rub their ugly noses in it, I’m their boss. At least the armor is doing its job. No matter how much they hate me, they keep their hex holes shut with my devil armor shining like the mirrored belly of a chrome wasp.
There are twelve on the planning committee. With me there’s thirteen. A cozy little coven. Buer is there. So are Marchosias and Obyzuth. Semyazah would be here but none of the generals will put up with this shit.
Technically I’m supposed to be in ritual drag too but I have a hard time picturing Samael dressed up like a Brooks Brothers Pied Piper, so I follow his example and skip the wardrobe call.
There’s a silver circle in the center of the table. Lines radiate out to the edges, cutting the table into twelve sections. Each trick-or-treater steps up and sets down a different ceremonial object. The junk looks like leftovers from a Goth-club garage sale.
Obyzuth sets down a green rock, like a Templar meditation stone. The Hellion next to her sets down an athame knife that cuts through ignorance or butters magic toast or something. Buer drops a snake carved from the leg bone of a fallen Hellion warrior. It goes on and on like that. I’m supposed to light a red candle at the end of the ritual but things are going too slow. I fire it up now and light a Malediction off it.
“Don’t take it personally, but if I have to sit through one more of these meetings, I’m going to gut every one of you like catfish, shit in your skulls, and mail them to your families. This isn’t Hell. It’s a PTA meeting. Maybe all we need to save Hell is a bake sale.”
I flick my ashes over the candle.
“Here’s how it is from now on. Do your projects any way you want. Fuck the budgets. Fuck the schedules. When it’s done, you get one minute to tell me about it.”
The room is silent. It’s not like regular silence. More like the kind you get with a concussion.
“In case anyone thinks letting you off the leash is a license to steal or stab me in the back, let me introduce the newest member of our team.”
I go to the doors and open them. A hellhound clanks in on its big metal claws and looks over the room. The hound is bigger than a dire wolf, a clockwork killing machine run by a Hellion brain suspended in a glass globe where its head should be. They’re terrifying on a battlefield but in an enclosed space like this, the whirs and clicks of its mechanics, its razor teeth and pink, exposed brain, are enough to give a Tyrannosaurus a heart attack.
The hound follows me around the table, folds up its legs, and settles down on the floor next to me. A dutiful guard dog.
“This is Ms. 45. The new head of HR. Any of you upstanding citizens that do less than your best work, conspire against me, or sell supplies to the black market can explain it to her. She works nights, weekends, and holidays, and if she’s indisposed, Ms. 45 has a few hundred colleagues downstairs. In fact, the hounds now have the run of the palace, so watch your step. I hear stainless-steel turds stain bad.”
No one says anything. Besides the hellhound, the only sound is people restlessly moving their feet.
“Now get to work and leave me the fuck alone.”
All twelve of them file out, right into the other two hounds I stationed outside. It would have been a hoot programming them to eat each Council member as they left. A little counterproductive, though. I need them to do the work I’m sure not going to do. But If I can’t have a little fun being the Devil, why bother?
Now I can get back to figuring out the rest of Lucifer’s power so I can get the hell out of here.
_ _ _
PS: Richard will be doing a mini tour for the book:
8-28, Mysterioous Galaxy, San Diego. 7 pm
8-29, Dark Delicacies, Burbank. 7 pm
8-30, Poisoned Pen, Scottsdale, AZ. 7 pm
9-2, Decatur Book Festival, Decatur, GA. 1:15 pm
9-4, Boston Public Library, Boston. 6 pm
9-8, Borderlands Books, San Francisco. 3 pm
9-14 Booksmith, San Francisco. 7:30 pm
10-4 Tattered Cover, Denver, CO. 7:30 pm
10-11 to 10-14 New York Comic Con, Javits Center, times/dates tk
This is my Fort Knox, my office, and my panic room. I’ve laid the heaviest protective hoodoo I know around this place. Of all the hideouts I ever thought of running to when things got weird, a library was right behind a leper colony and a burning garbage truck. But here I am.
I haven’t paced the place off, but the library looks about a football field long, lined with two floors of books in hundred-foot stretches of ornate dark wood shelves. The ceiling is domed and painted with scenes illustrating the three tenets of the Hellion church. The Thought: God and Lucifer arguing that if humans have free will so should angels. The Act: the war. It’s pretty but stiff and trying too hard to look noble, like a Soviet propaganda poster. The New World: Lucifer and his defeated, punch-drunk Bowery boys in Hell. He looks like a tent revival preacher selling snake oil to rubes, but in his own fucked-up way, the slippery son of a bitch is trying to do right by his people.
I’ve made myself a comfortable squat over by a wall of the Greek wall, the stuff Samael told me to read. In a copy of a half-falling-apart Reader’s Digest condensed large-print book on Greek history, I found his notes (it’s embarrassing that he knows me well enough that he left the info in a book written for shut-ins and half-blind grandmas). He included names of people I could think about for the Council. If they’re the Hellions I can trust, I’m not ready to meet the ones I can’t.
I dragged a plush red sofa trimmed in gold, a big partner’s desk, and a few chairs over to my squat. Sometimes I even let people in to use the chairs. Not many and not often, but anyone who comes in is on my turf. I know which carpets cover binding circles. I know which books are hollowed out and stuffed with knives and killing potions.
The desk and nearby shelves are covered with books, paper, pens, and weird little machines. Stuff you can only find at an Office Depot doubling as a night school for amateur torturers. There’s a spongy red clamshell that growls when you squeeze it and spits out what I think pass for Hellion staples. They’re sharp and thick, like they’re designed to punish the paper and not just hold it together. There’s something that looks like a set of brass teeth. The teeth chatter sometimes. Sometimes they don’t do anything for days. There’s a gyroscope that when you spin it talks in a deep monster-movie voice in a language I’ve never heard before. On one of the bookshelves is a gold armillary sphere. When I touch any of the golden rings, I feel like I’ve fallen out of myself. Like I’m nowhere and being pushed through empty space by a freezing hurricane. There are stars far away and beyond them a mass of pale boiling vapor streaked with lighting. I think it’s the chaos at the edge of the universe and that this is the deep void that separates Hell and Heaven. Wherever and whatever it is, it’s a lonely and desolate place.
In L.A., I lived with a dead man named Kasabian who worked for Lucifer and could see into parts of Hell. I don’t know if he can see me here, but sometimes I scrawl notes and leave them on the desk for days. Some are to friends. Most are to Candy. We’re a lot alike. Neither of us is quite human. And we’re both killers. We try to forget about the first as much as possible and try to avoid the second as much as we can, which, the way things are, usually isn’t long.
There’s a click behind me. I put my hand on my knife and turn.
Two Hellions come in through a false section of bookcase that slides away like Japanese paper doors.
Merihim, the priest, bows. He’s in sleeveless black robes. Every inch of his pale face and arms is tattooed with sacred Hellion script. Spells, prayers, and, for all I know, a recipe for chicken vindaloo.
The guy with him, Ipos, is big and blunt. Like a walking fire hydrant in gray rubber overalls. The heavy leather belt around his waist holds tools that range from barbarian crushers to delicate surgical-quality instruments. From a distance you can’t tell if he’s the palace’s maintenance chief or head torturer. His job in the palace makes him a useful agent. No one pays attention to the janitor.
“Did we interrupt playtime with your toys, my lord?” asks Merihim.
“Go harass an altar boy, preacher. I’m working.”
On a table near the sofa there’s a line of peepers projecting images from around the palace onto an old-fashioned home movie screen I found in a storeroom. I pop out my right eye, drop it into a glass of water, and stick a peeper in the empty socket, rolling back the images the eye picked up like a video rewinding. Like I said, I have a few of Lucifer’s powers but mostly Vegas magic-act stuff.
DEVIL SAID BANG is on sale August 28th!