Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Teaser Tuesday - Mystic Taxi

I had no marketing news yesterday, so I decided not to post. My agent has been out of town. Hopefully I'll have something to report next week.

I do have a teaser to share with you. In this scene, Wanda is masquerading as a "spawnster" in a local bar so she can get in to a clandestine meeting that will be held by the villain later than night.

The following is an excerpt from my steampunk urban fantasy, Mystic Taxi:


Wanda stood in front of the building, glancing up and down the quiet street dotted with traffic that was as much on foot as by horse. A steam car crept by, its occupants checking her out, grinning, laughing. Had she made a mistake? Had they seen through her disguise?

"Ma'am?" came a man's voice from behind her. She turned to stare up into the brutish face of an overweight spawnster with little hair on his head and plenty on his face. He had black horns growing out from his temples. On second glance, they looked more like small thorny antlers. "Can I buy you a drink?"

He stood in the doorway of Greaser's, his goat-pupil eyes scanning her top to bottom. He grinned and stepped aside to let her pass. "I'm Emmett," he said.

Wanda blinked and swallowed her uncertainty. She had a part to play and she damn well better start playing it. Her smile deliberate and slow, she said, "I'm Wanda. Pleased to meet you."

"You're new in town. I can tell by the accent."

She started to mock a curtsy, but switched it to a bow. Less feminine. Heaven forbid she be mistaken for a whore. Thickening her accent even more, she said, "I'm from the south, relocatin' to the city. It's too borin' where I come from."

His grin broadened, showing some teeth, his incisors long and pointy. "Then I think you'll like it here. Never a dull moment in Spawnstertown. What's your poison?"

Her stomach turned at the thought of oil pooling thick and warm at the bottom of it. "I'm partial to Safflower."

He chuckled. "A lady's drink. Want cinnamon on top?"

Cinnamon? How disgusting. "No, thanks. And make it a single shot, please. I don't drink much. Goes straight to my head." She smiled and gazed up at him with what she hoped was a sultry look. She didn't feel sultry, especially not with this guy.

It must have worked because his eyes began to glow red. "Can I take your coat?"

She slid her coat off and folded it over her arm. "I'll hang on to it, if you don't mind."

He guided her to a rugged table that had seen better days in an earlier era. The top was pitted and stained, yet a thick coat of varnish made the wood glisten as though wet. She sat down on a black chair with a ripped seat cushion.

Wanda rested an elbow on the table and leaned forward, her chin cradled in the palm of one hand. "So tell me, Emmett, what's so great about Spawnstertown?"

"You name it, we got it," he said as he sat across from her. "Gambling, weapons, drugs, prostitution—"

"I have no use for whores."

"We got some handsome spawnster bucks in the stable who'd be happy to tickle your fancy." He waggled his bushy eyebrows.

Heat flushed her face and she hoped it didn't show.


sue laybourn said...

The world you have created is very disturbing (in a good way).
I love your imagination. This is another Purgie book that will be on my list!

Carmen said...

Great world-building, Karen! I want to know more about Wanda (not in this piece -- it's perfect -- just in general). Think I need to dig through some other posts!

ChristaCarol said...

Hah, loved the ending and the eyebrow waggling. Interesting world you have, can't wait to read more of it :-D

Gretchen said...

I was just watching this Steampunky episode of Might Boosh and I thought of you. :)

My only nitpick here is that Wanda's asides (like "How disgusting") seem significantly more stilted than her actual dialogue. This example really caught my eye so I thought I'd mention it!

inkwench said...

This was great! Your world is so rich in detail it's really like being in it. Wonderful.

Karen Duvall said...

Thanks, all, for reading my excerpt. And Gretchen, great catch. I changed it. :)

amybai said...

Loved it! The world is so fleshed out and vivid.

Barbara Martin said...

You have the male species pegged.

Creative A said...

Haha :p I like Wanda. Another great excerpt. I thought you weren't posting them anymore? (not that I'm complaining, just, you know, giving you a hard time ;) )