Teaser first chapter of Enzili

Debra Dunbar and I exchange messages every now and then, y’know: S&M clubs, vampire hangouts, getting away with murder, how to hide bodies, etc. Usual writer’s stuff.

Last year we got to talking about vampires in the Caribbean. She had a short story that filled in some early history of one of her characters. We talked about soucriants (local vamps), and I said I’d write something in that setting if she put together an anthology. I sketched a couple of ideas in my notebook.

Didn’t think anything more about it until she actually went ahead and put together a group!

I came up with a final idea quite quickly. It’s set in the 1790s on the island of St. Mark’s, in the Leeward Islands of the Caribbean. It incorporates vampires, slavery, voodou, the position of women in that era, politics, the sugar industry, the British class system and emerging technology!

The name of my story, ‘Enzili’, refers to the voodou goddess of love and women, who is also the goddess of witches.

It was hugely enjoyable to write. I used the opportunity to experiment with 3rd person narrative, two points of view and British historical dialogue, all of which I hope gives it a very different feel from Amber in the Bite Back series and Amanda in the Outsiders series.

It was even fun to have to rein myself in—yes, yes, I know Amber would just punch him in the face, but Lady Margaret can’t do that!

‘Vampires of the Caribbean’ was a success and, as planned, was withdrawn for each author to use their story in other ways. My story, ‘Enzili’, is now available as a novella on Amazon.

(There was a sample here of chapter 1, but that potentially gets me in trouble with Amazon, so I’ve taken it down. You can still get a sample from Amazon.)




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About Mark Henwick

I was born in Africa and left out in the sun too often. An early interest in philosophy and psychology was adequately exorcised by tending bars. And while trying to enroll in a class to read Science Fiction full time, I ended up taking an engineering degree which splendidly qualified me to move into marketing. That in turn spawned a late onset career in creative writing. When not working, I get high by the slightly less conventional means of a small light aircraft. My first books are available on Amazon at https://www.amazon.com/Mark-Henwick/e/B008SBO5YK/

16 responses to “Teaser first chapter of Enzili”

  1. Sarah L says :

    Not my usual reading era, but as usual your writing sucked me in and it was riveting. Looking forward to this one being released. Here’s hoping it’ll get some new readers in with the anthology.

    • Mark Henwick says :

      Thanks Sarah. Anthologies do seem a good marketing strategy. I think I will be writing more short stories alongside the series, and some of them I’ll release chapter by chapter like the Long Island Athanate. (And marketing & presenting that better!)

      This combination of female perspective and era is a challenge! It made me think hard about how a character can be an agent (in writing terms, a cause of change) while remaining ‘disenabled’ by the culture & society in which they live.

  2. Justin says :

    Not as captivating as Amber, but still seems good.

    • Mark Henwick says :

      You meet Lady Margaret in the next chapter…

      • Justin says :

        Ok Margaret is way better as a protagonists. You’re forgiven for that wonderful twist at the end bravo.

        • Mark Henwick says :

          Lol. I thought you might enjoy the twist and the PoV of Lady Margaret.

          I guess I am setting a pattern for myself of having to come up with a good twist for every short story.

          • Justin says :

            That just means your readers are going to enjoy them even more, like myself.

          • Michael Orton says :

            I also appreciated the twist.

            This story is evidently set a long way in Amber’s past.
            Yet Enzili could easily live long enough to meet her…

            Also, human organisations often outlive individual members.
            Have you set up another complication for Emergence in Amber’s era?

            Or perhaps Enzili will deal with this threat in a story yet to be told.

            I’m not sure which resolution I would prefer.

          • Mark Henwick says :

            Slight spoilers ahead obviously.

            There are a couple of links that I had in mind that are possible…

            1. The doctor from Winter’s Kiss is from the Caribbean. That might provide a sort of target for a follow up of Enzili to aim toward.

            2. If I ever hear of Amber getting some time off, St. Mark’s in the Caribbean is the sort of place she might like.

            I guess that if Agnes and Margaret had managed to make an Athanate-friendly paradise in St. Mark’s, then I’d have mentioned it in Bite Back already, in the same way I mention the supposedly neutral city of Istanbul a couple of times. This leads to two options: that they failed, or that they succeeded and decided they wanted no part of the rest of the Athanate world. (Like diazoun or the Long Island Athanate).

          • Michael Orton says :

            This is actually a reply to your post of the 21st, but there is no reply button there…

            1: I had forgotten the origin of that doctor, but I can’t see Enzili herself becoming subordinate to another house in that way.

            2: I disagree. There is no reason for you to have mentioned a Caribbean sanctuary earlier in the Bite Back series. Anything you mention becomes defined. Failure to mention something cannot define its non-existence: if such were the case nothing could ever come into existence in the first place..

          • Mark Henwick says :

            I wasn’t suggesting Enzili would become Dr. Upjohn, but that Dr. Upjohn might be from St, Marks.

  3. Pyoro says :

    Unrelated to the quality of the stories therein, but the cover makes me want to run away and not look back.

    • Michael Orton says :

      There is a downside to many Kindle books in that you can’t enjoy the cover art work when it’s on the bookshelf.

      This book does not have that problem.

      When reading any book, virtual or real, I can’t see the cover.
      I’ll get on with enjoying the text.

  4. amper5andrew says :

    I would totally have bought this is it was on Amazon.co.uk. As it is they won’t sell it to me.

    • Mark Henwick says :

      It will be available Andrew. I released the story in an anthology (Vampires of the Caribbean) which has run its course and been withdrawn from sale. I’m just organising a cover and will release it as a novella called Enzili shortly. I’m probably going to amend the final chapter – being as it is only a novella, not all the threads were brought to a close. I will make it obvious that the remaining threads will be concluded in a second novella sometime later in the year.

      I’ll post here and on Facebook when it’s available.

      • amper5andrew says :

        Cool. I pop in here every couple of months looking for the next instalment of Bite Back. I enjoyed Change of Regime a lot. I’m looking forward to reading Enzili when it becomes available.

        The only problem with your short stories is that they’re short — I always want more 🙂

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