Hello to Lex’s readers! Lex was nice enough to let me use her blog to let out a little bit of anxiety and to tell you all about my new book. See, I’m attending my first convention as an author (in fact, since I’m writing this ahead of time, I’ll be sleeping off con exhaustion as you read this). This is super exciting for me, but also more than a little terrifying. There’s so much work!
I’m attending Geekonomicon in Biloxi, MS on Dec 12-14. It’s the first year this convention is running, so I’m expecting it to be a little small, maybe a little more friendly, and probably with a lot more hiccups than an established convention. So, basically, it will likely reflect my first con appearance quite nicely.
There is so much stuff you never think about when you first agree to work a convention. Wait, I need a tablecloth? What do you mean I’m going to need something to hold my books up so that people can actually see them? Now you’re saying I have to configure this Square thingy? Then I have to make sure I’ve got enough goodies to give away, change to put in the money box (don’t forget you need a money box), and a suitcase big enough to bring it all. Oh, and don’t forget to bring the actual books for sale.
It’s been a bit of a mess, and on top of everything I’ve also had my sewing skills put to the test by making my very first corset. It’s true–in addition to all of the usual stress that comes with working a convention, I’m doing it all in a corset.
Geekonomicon is an all-around geekery type of convention, but they’re attempting to break the Guinness World Record for the largest gathering of Steampunks, which is 185. As someone who’s been looking longingly from the sidelines at amazing Steampunk things for some time, I’m very excited to be participating. I’m legit. I have goggles and everything. I’ve also been breaking in these damn boots for two weeks. The things I put up with.
Overall, I’m exceptionally excited (and alliterative) about attending my first convention, and I hope to meet people, hand out some sweet swag, and have a blast. What’s the point of slaving away in front of a keyboard for months if you don’t even get a party out of it?
Now, my main reason for putting myself through all this: my new book! I wrote A Soul’s Worth at the urging of an extremely steampunk-oriented friend, and I’m pretty sure she’s doing her best to pull me down the rabbit hole. I’m not sure yet if I mind. I’m really excited to share A Soul’s Worth with you guys. I think you’ll like it.
What started out as a means to support Warren Hayward and his secret lover, Ben, has now become a booming business with an ever-rising price. Warren makes a good living by selling startlingly lifelike automatons to the super-wealthy of Victorian London. The only problem is that they aren’t automatons at all. They’re golems given life by witchcraft–and each one costs a human soul.
Warren’s road is paved with good intentions, but blood is the price of keeping his love secret and safe, and demand is high. Ben is a London constable with a good heart and a steady moral compass at odds with Warren’s sliding scale of ethics. With the help of two loyal Irish thugs and his first accidental golem, Warren is building an empire and keeping its inner workings secret from the man he loves. The business will lead him into the hedonism and power of high society, and being in the spotlight can drive a man to do desperate things.
With secrets, blood, and dangerous magic taking over his life, Warren risks losing himself for the sake of his love. Is there room for humanity when your business is death, and can a man remember why he started a journey when he can no longer see the start?
Sound good? Check out an excerpt below!
“Mrs. Burnham, I assure you, there isn’t anything—”
“Don’t you tell me a lie!” she snapped. “I’ve seen your kind before. It’s an abomination is what it is, and it’s a disgrace. I had hoped to tell Sir Bennett directly and have you sacked, but I suppose it’s his absence that’s made you so shameless, hasn’t it? And that man dares wear a constable’s uniform, as though someone with his proclivities could be trusted! I didn’t want to get the authorities involved—I must think of the reputation of the neighborhood and of Sir Bennett. Doubtless he has no idea of the detestable crime being committed under his own roof.”
Warren could barely breathe. They’d been sloppy. Ben had been coming and going much more regularly since Sir Bennett’s unfortunate passing, and he’d been seen. Warren tried to say something, to deny, defend himself, make excuses, but he’d lost his voice. This woman could destroy him.
“With Sir Bennett away, I’ve no choice,” she continued, turning away from Warren to shuffle back to the front door. “This can’t be allowed to carry on any longer. The constabulary will deal with you and your abhorrent pastimes.”
Warren was in a panic. He could see everything crumbling in front of him—living in this house, seeing Ben whenever he pleased, being responsible to no one but himself—all because this woman had nothing better to do than eyeball people from her bedroom. She seemed to reach for the front door knob in slow motion. She would ruin him.
His hand found the silver candlestick almost of its own volition, and he flinched at the dull thud it made when the heavy base connected with the back of her skull. She cried out so loudly he was certain someone would hear, and she collapsed to the floor and began scrambling weakly away from him. He lifted the candlestick to hit her again, and a wicked thought flashed through his mind as he watched her raise her bony hands in defense against him. A waste. This would be a waste.
He snatched the old woman up by the back of her mourning dress and put a hand over her mouth to muffle her cries, the candlestick clunking noisily on the floor when he dropped it. She could only struggle feebly against him while he half carried her up the stairs, Cam watching silently from the barely open kitchen door, and he dropped her to the floor inside the workshop door. He moved away when he saw her lying there, curled up and whimpering, and he covered his own mouth to stifle his sob.
She looked so pitiful. Just an old woman, frail and thin, who couldn’t keep her nose out of other people’s business. She was begging him, quietly, pleading with him in between prayers. He almost left the room and ran from the house. He almost went to Ben and told him they had to leave the city, that they’d make do somewhere else. Why should this woman get to decide my fate? he asked himself. This pathetic, prying creature who had wormed her way into his life. She would take everything away from him if he gave her the chance. He couldn’t let her leave now.
T.S. Barnett is the author of The Beast of Birmingham werewolf thriller series and steampunk horror romance A Soul’s Worth.
T.S. likes to write about what makes people tick, whether that’s deeply-rooted emotional issues, childhood trauma, or just plain hedonism. Throw in a heaping helping of action and violence, a sprinkling of steamy bits, and a whisper of wit (with alliteration optional but preferred), and you have her idea of a perfect novel. She believes in telling stories about real people who live in less-real worlds full of werewolves, witches, demons, vampires, and the occasional alien.
Born and bred in the South, T.S. started writing young, but began writing real novels while working full time as a legal secretary. When she’s not skiving off work to write, she reads other people’s books, plays video games, watches movies, and spends time with her husband and daughter. She hopes her daughter grows into a woman who knows what she wants, grabs it, and gets into significantly less trouble than the women in her mother’s novels.