Tuesday, September 15, 2009

The Book That Wasn't (1 of 3)

Some time ago, I promised to post the proposal for the Garnet Lacey books that didn't get the greenlight. Here's the first one, which would have been book 6, which I called DEAD AND MARRIED:

Note: This is in synopsis format, which requires third person, present tense.

Do you ever have one of those days when you can’t find anything? You put down your keys for a second and poof! They’re gone. Garnet Lacey has been having one of those months. But, really, given everything she and her husband, the day-walking vampire Sebastian Von Traum have been through lately, losing a few little bits and bobs doesn’t seem like anything to worry about.

After all, everything has settled down since the honeymoon she and Sebastian tried to take to Austria (they ended up in Minneapolis and chased by an ice giant, but that’s another story.) Garnet is looking forward to just relaxing and starting fresh. Her new motto is: no looking back, only forward!

Except the past has a way of haunting you, especially when you’ve been careless, doesn’t it?

In fact, Garnet’s history resurfaces on eBay, of all unlikely places. One day, while bored at the occult bookstore she manages in Madison, Wisconsin, Garnet flips through various listings for magical items for sale online. In amongst the tarot cards and Ankh necklaces, she sees a listing for a Witch’s Book of Shadows containing spells that sound strangely familiar.

When she takes a closer look, Garnet is stunned to discover that the book is none other than her own personal journal that she was forced to leave behind in Minneapolis the night she fled the murder of her coven at the hands of the Vatican witch hunters, the Order of Eustace.

Worse, it seems that her book is already sold to someone whose online handle is “righteous1” which sounds suspiciously as though it might belong to someone from that very group. If a member of Order of Eustace has her book... well, that could mean real trouble. They have magic users called “sensitives,” who could turn her spells against her. Not only does the book contain Real Magic, but, if Garnet remembers correctly, there’s also secret information about her first vampire boyfriend, Daniel Parrish.

Garnet must get the book back!

After doing a bit more research with her co-worker William and enlisting the aid of “Slow Bob,” an employee who happens to be ABD in Computer Science at UW (and a bit of a hacker), Garnet uncovers a name and address for “righteous1.” As luck would have it, he lives only a few hours away in LaCrosse, Wisconsin.

Garnet had been planning on closing the store for a few days for remodeling work that week, anyway, so she and William plan to head off for LaCrosse first thing the next morning.

Sebastian, however, is a bit miffed to discover that Garnet plans to swan off for a few days on what seems to him to be a grand adventure. He’s been stuck at home with his no-longer-immortal-half-vampire son, Mátyás, who has been driving everyone (including the house ghost, Benjamin,) crazy moaning about his recent break-up with Garnet’s friend, Izzy. Garnet suggests Sebastian could come along, but he insists someone has to “mind the store.” Thus, Sebastian agrees to stay behind and watch over the contractors ONLY if Garnet takes Mátyás along with her. Convincing Mátyás it would be good to get out of the house is another matter entirely. Only after Benjamin, the poltergeist, quite literally pitches a fit, does he concede to join them.

Before they go, however, Garnet wants to warn Parrish about the possible breach in his security. She searches for Parrish, who has been babysitting Sebastian’s ex-fiancé, now-mostly-dead-zombie-vampire Téreza. It’s not hard to find Téreza since she all but lives in their barn. But according to Téreza, Parrish has been absent for several days. It’s just Garnet’s luck. Parrish is one more thing that seems to have gone AWOL lately.

In the early dawn of the next morning, they’re ready. The plan is to take Sebastian’s car, but Garnet can’t find the keys (again!) She kicks herself for being so thoughtless, but William offers his car. Once everything is ready, they’re off.

Garnet is a bit grouchy and groggy, having had nightmares the night before. The dreams involved the genie she loosed by accident in Minneapolis many years ago, as well as an errant faerie troop. But, she shrugs the whole thing off as her guilty conscience talking. You see, all of the spells-gone-wrong were in her missing Book of Shadows. If only she’d been more careful as a young witch!

She broods about the indiscretions of her youth until they stop for breakfast in Fort Douglas near the Wisconsin Dells and come out to discover someone’s stolen their car. It would all seem like a case of extreme bad luck except for the strange little corn dolly they find in the spot where the car had been, almost as if left in trade.

Faeries enjoy making exchanges like that, don’t they? Holy coincidence, she’d just been dreaming about faeries! And, faerie mischief would also explain all the missing baubles of the past few months! Garnet connects the dots. All her misplaced stuff started just about the time “righteous1” got his (or her) hands on the book!

After filing a police report (William insists) and while waiting for Sebastian to come pick them up, the trio ends up exploring a very strange standing rock park containing caves and caverns. As she’s wandering through a section on her own, Garnet encounters another dolly in the middle of the path.

At the same moment, William goes missing.

This time the dolly contains a cryptic message in Gaelic (faerie language, apparently,) that implies what Garnet already suspected. The new owner of Garnet’s journal has done something to send the faerie after her. Garnet knows that spending time in the land of faerie can be extremely dangerous. William must be returned to his own reality as soon as possible.

Despite the risks inherent in doing deep magic on the fly, Garnet and Mátyás try using a spell to retrieve William. They can glimpse William on the faerie side, but they can’t quite grab him – William’s leather bracelet breaks off into Mátyás’ hands – and he slips away.

Garnet determines that there’s an element to the original spell cast by “righteous1” that she can’t reverse because it must be performed exactly as she had written it years ago.

Now they’re desperate to rescue William and the book. When Sebastian arrives, they resolve to hurry to LaCrosse. Knowing William is in serious trouble, the tension is high. Luckily, Mátyás discovers that he can contact William anytime thanks to the bracelet. Faerie land is, in many ways, a dream, and Mátyás is the boogieman and can dreamwalk. In this way, they’re able to let William know that help is on the way.

However, as they drive, they must dodge faerie dust storms and the ubiquitous springtime construction of Interstate 90. Sebastian and Mátyás start to snip at each other in the way of fathers and sons, and Garnet is ready to abandon them both at the soonest opportunity.

With the help of Garnet’s inner goddess Lilith, they make it to LaCrosse mostly uninjured (Sebastian’s classic car is scuffed a bit by the dust.) Now they have to play detective to find the location of “righteous1.” Despite constant bickering interrupting her thought process, Garnet tracks “righteous1”’s campus address through a little social engineering. Seems “righteous1” has a bit of a reputation. He’s set himself up as a warlock, though it seems more to attract the ladies than anything else.

The women Garnet chats up at the college center say that Sylvan (aka “righteous1”) hangs out at a bar on Third Street every night. They give Garnet directions and wish her luck. With all the delays, the sun has set. Sebastian says he senses another vampire nearby.

It’s Parrish. He’s been on the hunt for Sylvan/”righteous1” for some time. Seems Sylvan might be a practitioner, but he’s not adept. He’s triggered Garnet’s old spells haphazardly, including the faeries and some that affect Parrish personally. Garnet used her Book of Shadows to detail everything she learned about vampires through her love relationship Parrish, and some of it is more than personal, it’s damaging.

Parrish is ready to kill. Garnet thought she was tormented by the silly tricks of the faerie, but Sylvan has been ruthlessly (if stupidly) playing with his power over Parrish.

Sebastian doesn’t want bloodshed. It’s too risky, especially since Parrish has a reputation as a sloppy killer. At the implication of carelessness, Parrish reminds Garnet that none of this would have happened if she wasn’t so casual about her magic.

Garnet sputters, but slowly realization sinks in... she’s not unlike Sylvan. She’s been very incautious about the very real power she wields. It was her that originally loosened the faerie in Minneapolis and, the more they hear from William, the more it becomes clear that it’s her the faerie have targeted – not on orders from Sylvan so much as a personal vendetta for disrupting their lives.

Later that night, they find Sylvan. He’s obviously a sad poseur, but Parrish still wants to see him dead. Sebastian has to hold Parrish back, but it’s too late. Sylvan spots them and unleashes a djinn from Garnet’s Book of Shadows. They end up fighting the djinn off and it chases them to the place where three rivers meet at Riverside Park. Everyone works together and they’re able to turn the djinn to their own purposes and retrieve the book.

Once they have the book, Garnet finds the faerie spell. She’s appalled at what she sees. She’s every bit as sloppy as Parrish proclaimed. But she puts that aside for the moment and carefully, precisely unwinds the spell to free William.

William comes through all right, though with a new penchant for Gaelic. Parrish, however, is furious at having been denied a kill and the satisfaction of destroying the book. Garnet rips the book to shreds and tosses it into the river, but Parrish doesn’t care. He’s still angry with her for having exposed his secrets. He refuses to forgive her and storms off into the night.

Garnet, Sebastian and Mátyás head back to Madison. Garnet is dejected, mostly because she feels Parrish’s point is far too valid. On the way home, Sebastian reminds her of a previous offer he’d made to teach her alchemy. She asks how that would help. Sebastian explains that alchemy is a precise science, and if she can learn it, she will learn to be thorough and meticulous.

Heartened, Garnet agrees. Mátyás, meanwhile, has hooked up with one of the women at UW-LaCrosse. Seems everything will be all right, after all.



Shelley McNeil said...

It is too bad that these stories of the whole gang will never be read. I found the first 3 in a used book store last year and have read them over and over again. I kept saying to my husband that I wished you had written more. This Christmas he bought me a Kobo. I was a very happy girl. The other day I thought, why not look and see if she did write more Garnet Lacey stories? Sure enough you had!! I purchased them right away and within 2 days I have finished both and am sad that there will be no more. Thank you for posting the other stories that you had planned to write in the series. Maybe one day you will write them anyway and I would sure love to read them if you do!!

tate hallaway said...

Thanks! I hope I get the opportunity sometime too.