Wednesday, 19 August 2015

"Rimmer, you couldn't pull a rotten tooth out of a dead horse's head with that one."

It's done. I finished the final draft of Ascent last night - third time lucky, hopefully. And if you've been paying attention, you'll know it's been a hard slog to get to the end. The phrase 'pulling teeth' comes to mind. Well over a year which is a lot longer than usual even with the break between the first two drafts to take care of Die Laughing and the break involved with moving house. Usually, I've got a draft I'm happy with within less than a year. As Ascent began life as a novella that ended up pretty crap before morphing into an equally crap novel, getting to the point of having a finished version that needs a bit of fixing and editing rather an entirely fresh approach feels like quite an achievement.

In any case, it's done. Time to leave it alone for a couple of weeks before I read through and come up with a list of areas to improve/cut/mend. After that, it'll be out in the world by autumn which I'm not looking forward to even though I think I've come up with something decent. After that...who knows? Publication or a quiet death on my hard drive. We'll just have to see. In the meantime, my tale of strangers trapped in an office block with their most private secrets come to life is finished.


Kelly Wells crashed to the polished marble of the floor, the impact shoving all the air from her lungs and turning her body into a ball of pain. Crying out, she slid to a stop against one of the pillars stretching from the ground floor to the high ceiling. Directly above, the open space of the stairwell glared down at her, and a great stream of sunlight shining through the wall of windows at the building’s front turned the reception of Greenham Place into a greenhouse. Kelly lay utterly still, staring at the dull grey of the front of the lift, not daring to breathe in more than tiny puffs of air, praying she hadn’t broken any bones.

A voice inside that could have spoken from an old memory muttered: the bomb went off.

At once, denial gave a furious argument back. If the bomb had detonated, she wouldn’t be here. The building wouldn’t be here. The whole city of Willington would be nothing but a burned hole in the earth. She was on the ground; she could see the lift doors and she was all too aware of the pain from the impact on the rock hard floor. Therefore, the bomb hadn’t exploded and she wasn’t dead.

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