19 November 2013

The Bull At The Gate excerpt

I've just passed the 85,000 word mark on the w-i-p The Bull At The Gate, which means that I am on track for hitting The End at around the estimated 100k target. Although I do a lot of research planning, I don't plan out my chapters to any great degree as my workflow is organic and relies heavily on the nuances of previous scenes. I'll be talking more on this on the 25th when it's my turn to explain My Writing Process as part of a blog tour.  

But part breather, part celebration, I thought I'd share some of the last scene written. The novel is the second in the Torc of Moonlight trilogy, and each novel has three main strands, one of which is historical. This exercept is part of the Roman strand set in Eboracum, modern York, where contempory threads are set.

It'll take half a blog to set the scene properly, so I'll won't bother. Vibius, retired centurion with the Sixth Legion Victorious, is the viewpoint character. Enjoy.

Looking down at her wrapped form stretched along the lid of the sarcophagus, his memory superimposed the dishevelled Luna priestess lying prostrate on the temple floor. She’d been throwing water from the shrine pool over her head, lamenting the loss of Luna’s benevolence, Vibius had thought. But was it more? Driving her ox-led biga across the night’s sky, Luna was a constant in the heavens as was Sol Invictus. Had the priestess truly sent away the temple acolytes because of the Christ-men’s fetid approach, or had the Lady used their thieving guile to send away an anointed rival, a usurper for her role? What had she thought when she’d seen the strange garb and those starlit, night-sky eyes? He wondered if she would be there when he returned to tell of their salvation through her acolyte. Or would the ash-faced Christ-men have visited her with more than eggs?
He did not wish to think of it at this time of contemplation, but Marcus Caecidius’ warning kept repeating in his head, and the way he’d been deserted by the temple officers rankled anew. He should not have to face this alone. He was the Keeper of the Temple, he was not the Pater.
But, as it had been when he’d worn the colour, his vow was his life. Sol Invictus would have his Consort. The name of his life-friend would be spoken and the spirit of Tetricus would rise up to feast with Mithras at the gods’ table.
And if the ash-faced Christ-men ventured near, then he would use his gladius to offer up on the altar more blood than the sacred stone had ever carried.
Three guesses where he and the, er, drugged acolyte are? 
Do drop by on 25th for an in-depth look at how I tackle my writing.


  1. Great excerpt, Linda, and congratulations on passing the 85,000 mark!

    1. Thanks, Shirley. It seems to have been (has been!) a long time coming. When I mentioned that I only had 15k to go a non-writer cheerily said "Oh, by the end of next week then."

      I wish - LOL!

  2. Only 15k to go, so should be finished v.soon, eh? Great excerpt. But when are we going to get the book? That's what I want to know.

  3. Ah, well, y'see, Stuart, I have these problems, the biggest of which seems to be that I don't have a "wife".