Long Island Athanate – second last installment

This post was supposed to get the story to the end, but this scene jus’ growed and growed. So, okay, this is the second last installment of the Long Island Athanate. To come, there’s the scene that you’d expect from the last sentences of this chapter, then there’s an epilogue.

I have had some feedback in the comments, but not as many people comment as actually visit these posts…

So… some prompts. Please comment in response:
Are you enjoying the story?
Has any of it caught you by surprise?
Do you like the present tense mode of telling a story?
Do you like the split point of view, switching between Julius and Elodie?
What is the story lacking?

Or ask any questions brought up by this installment / the whole story.

I’ll post a link to a downloadable word document in the comments if you prefer to read that way.

 

< * * * >

Thank you for visiting one of the posts from Change in Regime. This novella is now available on Amazon, and to also make it available on Kindle Unlimited, I have to remove these posts from my blog.

Anyway, here is the cover copy and link:

Like an electric current, arcing from ear to ear through the New York underworld, the word comes; he’s here. The city has a new Master of vampires, House Altau, and the existing, unaffiliated community is now facing a sentence of death.

The storm builds, and one of the leaders of that community, Livia or Julius, must chose to be the lightning conductor to save the rest from destruction. But will that be an acceptable sacrifice to Altau?

And if so, which one of them will it be?

 

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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 book, 'Sleight of Hand' is available on Amazon at http://amzn.to/Sa0D3n

21 responses to “Long Island Athanate – second last installment”

  1. Justin says :

    Personally I like the jumping around between character viewpoints, it’s a good contradiction between Amber and the main storyline.

  2. Sarah L says :

    I’m absolutely loving the story. To be honest I am hungry for anything you give us from the Athanate world. I love all the interlocking parts and pieces, how there are many different opinions and people, all locked into the same world, with all the actions that lead to an outcome. As such I do really like the differing view points, it keeps everything fresh and has me second guessing. Skylur has always been a mystery for me, and this story has only deepened that. Initially I hadn’t pegged Julius as Athanate so that took me by surprise when I realised. I also have about 50/50 success with predicting where you’re taking a story and this has been no exception. I guessed where Elodie was going but still don’t know where you’re going with Livia πŸ™‚ As for that I’d like to see more of – just more of the world! I enjoyed how Amber got mentioned when informing the pack leader about the half ceremony so I guess it would be nice to see all the stories interweaving at various points and maybe characters meeting. I like the New York Houses and would definitely read more.
    I think I say this about all your books but one of the things that I like most about what you write is that it is never a passive read, I always feel challenged and engaged with my thinking.

    • Mark Henwick says :

      Thanks Sarah.
      Skylur has been acting oddly (as observed by you and others – see below). Is there a reason, I wonder? πŸ™‚
      I am immensely pleased by this aspect of the feedback, because I’ve always tried to write Skylur as someone who’s ahead of the curve and near impossible to truly read, as befits someone of his age!
      Yup, we know where Elodie was trying to get to, but where has she arrived?
      We will see some interlink with the main Bite Back threads, because what’s happening here is actually quite important, but I have to be careful how I reveal it in the main story – I don’t want people to be put off thinking they have to read everything I write just to get the full picture.
      Julius as Athanate – I intended this from the first chapter, but as that wasn’t going to be a story, I really didn’t think the background through. I now have to work out a credible way that Julius can have become a Roman Catholic priest.

      • Sarah L says :

        Personally I don’t see it as much of a surprise that an organisation such as the catholic church would have Athanate – they were and still are to a certain extent a power house of the world, and the church has always amassed much mystery in it’s history. To have some Athanate explanations seems logical. I’m sure over history, pretty much as you’ve implied, the Athante have had a hand in many events. I like Julius – he seems almost human for all his 400 odd years.

  3. Jason says :

    I love it and hate the cliffhanger just give me some closure before you stop the story.

    • Mark Henwick says :

      Thanks Jason. This thread will be wrapped up in the next installment.
      Cliffhangers are a good indication for me as a writer, because if you didn’t care, it wouldn’t be a cliffhanger. I have to say, in one series I recently recommended on the Facebook page, *every* book ends in a sort of cliffhanger. I feel that the only real cliffhanger I’ve imposed in Bite Back is the end of Cool Hand, but boy did I get some stick for that! πŸ™‚

      • Justin says :

        As is just and proper. That cliffhanger was horrible, however the timeskip understandable . I don’t doubt that Skylur has a plan, and that he knows the NYC Athante better than they know themselves and is moving them to his design.

  4. james Jensen says :

    enjoyable story and the shifting view is a nice change. thank you for the writing.

    • Mark Henwick says :

      Thanks James. Looks like it’s on track wrt reader interest. I am starting to think I should maintain the practice of a serial novel to complement the main writing, though I will not be able to promise an episode a week.

      • James Jensen says :

        There are a few authors doing this and then they take it down offline to publish some add a bit more

  5. E says :

    This has been an interesting aside within the Athanate world. To me, the present tense narration and the two view points are quite fitting for this story. Both add a sense of immediacy and reflect how harried the characters become during their various travails. I only really have two concerns:
    Skylur: In my opinion, it seems out of character for him to repeatedly indulge Livia’s recalcitrance after how he quickly and decisively dealt with political opposition in previous Bite Back novels (especially Angel Stakes). If the Eastern Seaboard Association and its leader were mere annoyances and distractions from the larger and far more important political picture, one Basilikos without an extensive power base seems hardly worth his time and effort. Likewise, unless this cliffhanger is a clever fake-out, he doesn’t seem to be the type to get his hands dirty in an arena.
    Plotting: One of my favorite aspects of the Bite Back series is the intricacy of the narrative. Each book juggles several plot lines that intersect and amplify each other: the literary equivalent of a Swiss watch. Since this story came out as blog posts, I understand that it cannot have the same forethought or tightness. It’s kind of a trade off, because instead of neatly tying concepts together, the story brings up different ideas (eg. the urban witch/were communities, Basilikos house structures, and Anthanate philology) and lets the reader imagine where they might go.

    • Mark Henwick says :

      Thanks E.
      I’m very pleased with the feedback. The present tense was deliberately chosen to give a sense of being harried, even if I didn’t intend to write more than one scene when I started. I have been working on this as a style, and I’m looking to write a book that is really non-stop from page 1. I think that will likely be my next serial on this blog.
      You are absolutely correct to question why Skylur is behaving as he is, and I will answer in the next and concluding episode.
      Yes, it isn’t possible in the time I allocate for this serial, to create the ‘clockwork’ of a main novel (thank you for that image!). It has been fun to write with less planning.

  6. Richard says :

    Looking back on these chapters I find myself viewing the atheanate more as a separate culture entirely from a human culture. This adds a greater depth to the storyline and also makes it harder to predict upcoming scenes, making the story that more engaging.

    I don’t think you should ever write scenes from skylar’s perspective.

    • Mark Henwick says :

      Yes, in Bite Back, Amber is constantly engaging with the human world and in this serial, that is limited in the narrative. It does give a more inward focused feel.

      Of course, Father Julius has been very integrated into the local community. Livia does not interact with human society much. Keensleigh and the Adirondack pack are also not integrated. The Adepts are somewhere in between.

      I might occasionally peek into Skylur’s and Diana’s heads, but from a narrative point of view, they’re too powerful.

  7. Tara says :

    Love this storyline, and really everything from this world. I do find the first person narrative a little bit awkward sometimes, but the changing points of view works for me.

    • Mark Henwick says :

      Thank you Tara.

      All the options are compromises, I guess. Both 1st person and present tense give immediacy, but 1st person makes it difficult to construct natural-feeling complexity, and present tense can become tiresome, as well as awkward.

      I’ll continue experimenting on the blog, but the main Bite Back will remain 1st person & present tense. I *may* use alternate points of view.

  8. weberse says :

    > Are you enjoying the story?

    Hell yes!

    > Has any of it caught you by surprise?

    The end sure did.

    > Do you like the present tense mode of telling a story?

    Personally I prefer past tense.

    > Do you like the split point of view, switching between Julius and Elodie?

    Switching between different points of view has the potential to become confusing. Fast. Visual pointers at the beginning of a chapter help a lot (e.g. the name of the character like you used). I saw the use of color coding for different characters once (although red and green where a rather poor choice for me because I’m red-green color blind…).
    I think 2 pov are all right but more might not be a good choice for longer texts.

    > What is the story lacking?

    A couple of hundred pages πŸ˜‰

    Your novels are an awesome read but there are long dry spells in between new releases. Don’t get me wrong: I prefer a well crafted book to an assembly line style of writing any time! But those short stories and the other novellas keep me afloat during the wait.

    I’m eagerly looking forward to whatever you are coming up with next!

    • Mark Henwick says :

      Thank you Weberse for your detailed reply and useful feedback.

      Any colour coding would be wasted on my b&w Kindle! πŸ™‚

      I prefer past tense myself, but I keep getting told that present tense makes things ‘immediate’, so I’m experimenting. Bite Back and the major companion series will remain in the past tense.

      I can see opportunities for more than 2 PoV, but I’ve got too much to do on Bite Back 6 and Bian’s Tale to worry about testing those sort of multiple viewpoints.

      I do need to get some solid progress on the main novels. I’ve been very slow this winter. I have excuses, but they’re just that.

      I’ve enjoyed writing a serial, so I’ll keep going with something. Serial writing and posts come out of ‘personal development’ time, so it’s not really holding up the main books, and it does keep my writing fingers flexible. πŸ™‚

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