I’m just about to embark on a new novella, possibly novel, and after last night’s dreams, I know it’s going to be another in my growing pieces of work that encompass my Sigils and Totems idea.
It’s a simple enough concept.
There are houses like this all over the world. Most people only know of them from whispered stories over campfires; tall tales told to scare the unwary. But some, those who suffer… some know better. They are drawn to the places where what ails them can be eased.
If you have the will, the fortitude, you can peer into another life, where the dead are not gone, where you can see that they thrive and go on, in the dreams that stuff is made of.
There it is in a nutshell. There are houses where people can go to get in touch with their dead loved ones.
But this gives me lots of things to play with. To even get inside a room, you need a sigil; a tattoo or carving on your skin, and a totem, a memento of your loved one. Then there’s the fact that your loved one might be a parallel universe version rather than the one you actually know.
And where do these houses come from? What’s behind the walls? How do they work? Why do they work? And who chooses the concierges who run them? Or fixes them when they don’t work?
So I’ve got all that to play with, plus the fact that the houses can exist anywhere, at any time. They’re like lots of boxy, multi-faceted Tardis, spread across space time, places and situations into which I can hook in characters and stories.
I think I’ve stumbled into something that could keep me busy for a few years.
The first two novellas that used the concept, BROKEN SIGIL and PENTACLE were both well received. There’s two novels coming from DarkFuse that expand the idea further, SONGS OF DREAMING GODS, where a house is lying empty in the town center of St. Johns, Newfoundland after a brutal ritual murder, and THE BOATHOUSE, where the rooms are on an old whaling boat in a derelict shed and seem connected to an old chess set, and the arrival of a hurricane.
There’s several new short stories coming soon too, all exploring the idea from a different angle, including a new CARNACKI that tells another tale of the Edinburgh house, a prequel of sorts to the story in PENTACLE, another that wonders what would happen if there was such a house on a space station, one set in late-Victorian Whitechapel, and yet another that takes place in Roman times, in a fort on Hadrian’s Wall.
I’ve also got an idea for a big honking fantasy trilogy using the concept, but that’ll have to wait until the idea develops a bit better and I’ve got time to do it justice.
This latest one I’m about to head into has a burglar entering the wrong room at the wrong time. That’s about all I’ve got so far, but I’m keen to get going and see where it takes me.
Wish me luck, I’m about to knock on the door.