tombstone blues


jo got her card today HURRAH so here is her last birthday present: one lottie talgarth, courtesy of my dubious artistic skills :)
hope you’re having a fabbo day, dear


jo got her card today HURRAH so here is her last birthday present: one lottie talgarth, courtesy of my dubious artistic skills :)

hope you’re having a fabbo day, dear


an early present for my jobird because of her amazingness


an early present for my jobird because of her amazingness

I was not having Feelings until I suddenly remembered that some time ago I decided that 1 May, at sunrise, is when I’d decided the ritual in which Lottie removes Malephas’ mark and he chooses to become human takes place, and now I’m moaning quietly to myself. 


if it makes you feel any less daunted: weird USA is an epic supernatural road trip novel and i have only been to illinois, florida, and texas so i basically wrote an entire roadtrip novel about a country ive never really been to. *HUGS*

yeah but I mean… at least you have a major intuitive understanding of how the US works and cultural tensions and what roadtrips would actually look like and


of course my landscape also includes “shifting fey dimensions and pockets of otherreality” but still

zombres said:


because learning-to-be-human and Mal and Lottie switching roles and ROADTRIPS and neuroatypicality and shifting dimensions and the building of found families and also I’m really scared of it because how am I supposed to write a roadtrip novel about a country to which I have never been

marwick: this is a story about girls who save each other.

a NaNo snippet, because it’s been too long, in which Lottie attempts to tell Kat about magic. (this is, as much as it is a story about the tentative UST partnership between Lottie and Malephas, also a story about best friends who protect and support each other instinctively, no matter what, and about a girl who will go to any lengths to save the best friend who was always there to save her.)

   “Lottie, you’re not making sense,” she said, gently, so gently, and Lottie pressed her face against Kat’s collarbone. 

   “I am! It’s all making sense now. Oh, Kat, you have no idea—“

   Kat smoothed Lottie’s hair away from her face. She said, “Shhh,” and Lottie felt soft and slack and childishly frightened, and Kat rocked her, very gently.

   “I think it’s a trap,” she said desperately. “For something. I don’t know what. It’s a trap. They set a trap for me, for you, for us. It’s a trap.”

   “Lottie, “ said Kat. “You need to lie down.”

   “I’m not mad, Kat!” 


   “There are demons and I talked to one and I broke your alarm clock, Kat, I’m sorry—”

   “Lottie, there’s—”

   “There is such a thing as magic,” Lottie said desperately. “Please don’t tell me you don’t believe me. You have to. I’ll show you.”

   Kat looked skeptical and frightened and pale, but she pulled back a little, to let Lottie show her, whatever that might mean.

   Lottie didn’t know what that meant, either. Her head was burning, her hands and body were burning, and she felt sick, as though she were holding something in that she didn’t know how to let out. Was that magic, trying to get out? She didn’t know how magic worked, but she could feel it, crushing and expanding at her both, and she dove for that feeling, tried to make herself open open open to whatever it was that was so angry about having been shut in. 

   She thrust out her hands, almost an involuntary gesture, because a force was leaving her, and the pillow at the head of the bed caught fire.

   Kat yelled and fell off the bed. Then, swearing, she pushed herself to her feet again, grabbed a blanket, and threw it over the burning pillow, muffling the flames away.

   Lottie wished she’d moved. “Sorry,” she said thinly. “I don’t know what I meant to do, but it wasn’t that.”

   Kat opened her mouth and closed it again. She shut her eyes, clenched her fists in the smoking blanket, took a deep, long breath, and opened her eyes again. “Okay,” she said, voice very solid and very firm. “Okay. I believe you. I am freaking out, and I believe you.” 

   “I didn’t mean to set the pillow on fire,” said Lottie.

   “I know,” said Kat, and sighed, and sat back down, and rested her head on Lottie’s shoulder.

redheadbouquet replied to your post: redheadbouquet replied to your post:…

OH WAIT I JUST SAW THE EXCERPT but also hey tell me what’s going to happen you can’t just say “ask me what’s going to happen” and then NOT ANSWER WHEN I VERY OBLIGINGLY FOLLOW DIRECTIONS

but it’s FUN TO RUIN YOU :))))))

okay so it occurred to me that book two is all about destroying and reforming Mal and Lottie’s relationship (such as it was in book one) and their roles reversing so that now it’s Lottie who has the power between them and who is in the position of guide to an unfamiliar world. only Mal, as a human, is far more dangerously reliant on her than she was on him — he adopts her as his code of morality and his compass, doing things not because they’re right but because he thinks it would be what she wants or what would serve her best (while also being unstable and occasionally angry because he’s not supposed to feel this way, or at all, and also sleep and injuries and food), and he basically has no life in which she does not burn at the centre, because literally she is ALL THAT HE HAS. Lottie had friends and family to ground her and he has none of those. and she’s half flattered, and then more and more concerned, because she’s seventeen/eighteen, she’s always messing up, she can’t be moral compass for both of them, and it puts too much responsibility on her shoulders which is frankly terrifying. makes her feel like she’s answerable for everything he does, and responsible, then, for everything he feels, and for him, in general.

which leads to her making a decision at the end that she recognises is tantamount to betraying him. it isn’t something she thinks of as a betrayal, something she has a moral qualm about, but it is something she knows he would take that way. but the not doing of it would be worse and she’d never be able to live with herself. and I don’t know what it is yet or what it means, except that there is only one thing  know that Mal would at this point see as an irreconcilable betrayal, and that would be: leaving him alone

an excerpt because I like being mean to Elise. :)

   “Yes,” said Malephas. “You are magical, and this school is steeped in magic, and your roots are here, at Marwick, and blood is very powerful, and you and the school together make a lovely great spark and tinder.”

   “Ha ha,” said Lottie. “As far as I know, all I can do is make things be on fire sometimes, and not usually on purpose. For all I know, you could be flattering me right now, telling me I’m so powerful and special just to keep me from asking ‘why has nobody else agreed to do this thing that you want me to do’, and I’ll do it for you, because you made me feel special. Well, I don’t know anything about magic, but I’m not stupid enough to take everything a demon says as gospel. Sorry.” 

   He raised an eyebrow. She was irrationally furious that he could do that; her eyebrows only ever rose in perfect tandem, completely usual and un-intimidating. “But you’re asking me,” he said. 

   “Well, you’re the only one who’s answered my questions thus far. That doesn’t make you an unbiased resource.” She took a breath, because she was doing none of this diplomatically and she wished she knew how enough to backpedal and say things with planning and intelligence and cunning, but she only knew how to keep going forward. “But you haven’t been much more helpful than anyone else, to be honest. You haven’t yet managed to convince me you care about my well-being enough for me to trust you with anything.”

   “I did save your life once,” he said, without expression.

   “I don’t think that counted,” she said, and wished she could bite her tongue. What a thing to say, true or not. “If you wanted me to know and be happy and… and things… you would have just told me up front, instead of occasionally dropping by and giving me bits of cryptic information to ponder and then float off to wherever it is you hang out when you’re not lounging picturesquely in cemeteries. I don’t think you care about my welfare. You’re not even good enough at pretending you are. I think you just like being in control of things, and you have all the time in the world for me to learn about my… what I can do. You don’t want to get your hands dirty if you don’t have to, and watching me fumble my way through is amusing. In which case you’re a bit worse than Belham, aren’t you? At least she’s human.” Several thoughts occurred to her at once, and she shuddered. “…I think.” 

   “You’re very analytical,” Malephas remarked. 

   “I like to know things,” Lottie said. “Before I get tangled up in them.”

   “Is that your price, then? Knowledge?”

   “I haven’t got a price!” Lottie wrapped her arms around her stomach, tight, willing herself not to shudder. “I don’t work like that! You can’t just work out how I tick and then command me from there. I want to know things, but I’m not going to do you a favour, and if that’s the only way for you to tell me anything worth knowing, then I want you to leave me alone now.” 

   “Do you think that by saying this, your will shall be done?”

   He said it lightly, with little expression, but Lottie went cold and still in her circle of salt. Of course not. She couldn’t just expect a demon to say, “oh, very well then,” and leave her alone. She didn’t know what ways he had of convincing her to do what he wanted, and she didn’t want to find out, did she? 

   But she wasn’t just going to cave and say, yes, yes, don’t hurt me, I’ll do whatever terrifying demony magic thing you want me to, either.

   What she needed were options. And time. Where was Kat? Kat was the mastermind, Kat did the talking; she wasn’t any good at this and she had never needed to be so good at this as she needed to be now. 

   “I am not,” said the demon, “going to harm you.” Lottie let out a long breath and looked into his eyes again. They weren’t human eyes, so she couldn’t read them for truth. 

Came because someone reblogged a picture from you and I followed it to your blog and then stayed because I loved your blog and Marwick interests me although I'm not fully sure what it is. Are you writing a book?

oh, my dear, no, a book is writing me.

Marwick is a YA paranormal boarding school demonology folklore trilogy that ate my soul about a year and a half ago and hasn’t let me go since. I’m currently working on actually writing the first book and having immense and improbable amounts of feelings about the next two (I just realised what needs to happen at the end of book two and had to flee to the dressing room at work to bang my forehead against the mirror until the emotions subsided; it was bad). 

this is a more coherent explanation. inasmuch as such a thing can exist.

all right, I said I was writing this, and I’m stupidly happy to have written this even though I am quite sure it is VASTLY PURPLE, but here it is anyway: ~our introduction to Malephas~. it’s very… reassuring. and also contains one of my most hilariously unsubtle folklore references yet.

   Who gets buried in a school graveyard?, was the obvious question, and Lottie knelt in the wet grass trying to puzzle it out. A great deal of Marwicks, to begin with – she half remembered having read things in the introductory pamphlet about the school having been named for its founder, three centuries ago or so, and made a note to trawl the library for more solid information later. (Immediately afterwards, she made a note to find out where the library was kept.) She supposed that a fair amount of village folk would have wanted to be buried here as well, though there were an awful lot of graves. Three hundred years, she reminded herself.  

   Most of the graves bore crosses: large elaborate one of intricately carved stone, or tiny simple ones worked in between lines of text. Well, it was a chapel graveyard. Still, something about it did not seem quite right.

   Some of the gravestones bore symbols she did not recognize. 

   She was still trying to decide whether or not she wanted to think about that when a glint of dark caught at her eye, and she looked up from the grave she was studying (Hestia Marwick, 1913-1926). At the furthest edge of the graveyard, against the low stone wall, beneath the low boughs of a rowan tree, all of the gravestones were black. They did not shimmer and they did not reflect light; they were dull and dark like a clouded night; and they were rowed in precise and unvarying lines. Fascinated and uneasy, Lottie scrambled to her feet and headed for them. 

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lol actually you were totally meant to see that, sweetheart

lol actually you were totally meant to see that, sweetheart

Elise is begging me for Marwick and I’m afraid she’ll start employing .gifs against me if I don’t comply with her desires. Unfortunately, a lot of what I’ve written today is a MESS, but here is something early on, with Lottie and her closest-in-age sister.

   The argument ended, as usual, with both of them crying and Lottie slamming doors and finding something inconsequential to break once in the safety of her bedroom. As usual, she fumbled for her phone to text Kat, and as usual, guilt over having ruined Kat’s schooling made her put it away again. When her sister Mo came home from work, Lottie lay under the piano while Mo played and didn’t say a thing.

   “Viv actually did set things on fire on purpose,” Mo said later. Lottie was still under the piano, her head on a stolen couch cushion, though Mo had moved to the sagging armchair at the corner of the music room with a novel. They had worked out a fairly comfortable pretense that Mo wasn’t going to fuss at Lottie and if they happened to talk about the fire it was completely by accident and Lottie didn’t have to respond to anything. “She got over it.”

   “Viv set sticks on fire. In the back yard. That’s hardly the same as an entire school.”

   “One, she also set things on fire in the bin in her room. Remember when Sergei broke up with her and she printed off pictures of the two of them together just so she could set them on fire? Two, you did not set an entire school on fire. You set one room of a school on fire. That is hardly the same thing. Don’t worry, Mum and Dad are probably not fretting that you are in danger of becoming a volatile art student with terrible taste in boyfriends.” 

    “Mrrrrrr,” said Lottie, and put the sofa cushion on top of her face. 

oh wait I added in lurking

    A sound made her turn, and for a moment she thought she’d only been startled by the ordinary sound of leaves catching against leaves, but motion caught at her eyes, and she thought – no, she did see a great black dog standing sentinel on a hillock, oh, twenty feet away. She thought of wolves, and took a step back, but the shape was wrong for a wolf, and there weren’t supposed to be wolves in England any more, even in brazenly gothic school grounds. Then she nearly shouted out, “Hello! Are you a stray?” and called the creature to her, but she thought even more ridiculously of phoukas and Grims and Black Dogs luring travellers into the dark, and didn’t. The dog lifted its head, regarded her a moment, and then turned and vanished into the trees, and Lottie let out a breath she hadn’t meant to hold.  

   Go on with you, she told herself with gentle sternness.  



according to Danielle, it is Post A Bit Of Your NaNo Day today. so I am posting a bit of my NaNo. with some reservations, as bits of it don’t entirely make sense and I wanted to have her find something (NOT A BITING JAR OR A CROSS MADE OF BONES TIED TOGETHER SHUT UP I’M NOT GOING TO BE THAT OBVIOUS) — not even a MacGuffin something, just a wow okay this is weird token something, but it forgot to happen in this draft. anyway, this is after Lottie’s first bewildering morning at Marwick. she’s been trying to explore the school and for some reason can’t seem to go anywhere but hallways.

   When one of the hallways finally deposited her out into a room that wasn’t also a hallway, it had windows to outside, and a door. She felt, ridiculously, as though the school were shooing her out like an exasperated mother. Go on, stop poking about, get some fresh air, you little idiot. All pale with your hair sticking out everywhere, you look a fright, stop fretting. Outside! Put some colour in your cheeks! 

   Lottie shoved her hands deep into the pockets of her cardigan and went. 

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