Hello, bitches, I thought I’d drop by to tell you I’m 3,000 words behind on my NaNo project, so I should really be doing that instead of this, and yet here I am. Since 518 seems to be a hit with my readers, I wanted to bring you more of it, yet it has occurred to me that I can’t just keep posting excerpts for your entertainment, or you won’t want to buy the bloody thing when it’s done because you’ll already have read half of it on this blog.

So I have decided to turn it into a little exercise exploring how I make revisions. The first excerpt of 518 I posted was here, back in October, and featured this small excerpt exploring my MC’s first look at the internet in five years. Actually it featured an even smaller excerpt, but this is all I had written of the ‘internet scene’ before yesterday,


“Now that I had my limited access to the internet I was hard-pressed to decide what news I should look for first.

It had been over four years since I’d left Earth. Four years since I’d heard anything but the same status updates everyone else on Theory had access to on the Ark, and the occasional snippets of information in my communiqués with Leo and a few others. Four years was a long time on an Earth now all but completely under the control of terrifying space aliens.

But eventually I remembered—I had an ego to satisfy. The first port of call would be to Google my own name. This was more nerve-wracking than I’d have thought. People had to have survived the Miami Drop, of course. Paula, Karl, Mickey…

… Shirou. There was no way Shirou had been killed before I left, I’d as much as made sure of it. One of them would have told the world what I’d done. Anyone who’d known would have told the world what I’d done. The world in turn would have exploded, figuratively speaking.

Anyway, I found Google and stared at the screen for a while. The logo had been modernised since I’d last seen it, but I thought it was roughly the same layout as it had had in the past, and I felt a wave of nostalgia. Then I took a deep breath and pecked at the letter ‘i’. The very first thing to be suggested in the search-bar was ‘ira mckentish’.

Wow. I was famous.

That was when I could feel my pulse getting quicker, which was stupid, because what was the worst that could happen? I was thousands of light-years away from Earth and humanity. Taking a deep breath, I continued to type the rest of my name so I could get the whole terrible ordeal that I was choosing to put myself through of my own free will over with.

What was suggested after that was illuminating.

‘ira mckentish traitor
ira mckentish is evil
ira mckentish irascariot
ira mckentish nazi
ira mckentish fans should die
ira mckentish facebook
ira mckentish man who sold the world’

I liked that last one. They could make it my theme song, I supposed, I wouldn’t mind. It was a pretty cool song. I was also amused by the fact that I apparently had fans. I hadn’t considered that one.

The fact that the word ‘Nazi’ appeared next to my name probably shouldn’t have surprised me. It was going on ten years since I’d had regular access to the internet, but I remembered how it worked, and sooner or later, someone was going to call you a Nazi. It was the rulz. What did momentarily confuse me was the word ‘irascariot’, but when I sounded it out loud I couldn’t help but think ‘surely not? Surely no one could come up with a nickname that lame?’

Stupid of me really; of course people could come up with a nickname that lame. I was probably lucky they hadn’t found a way to stick ‘Hitler’ into my name somewhere.

I scrolled down and clicked on ‘man who sold the world’, and I was surprised by what came up. It seemed ‘Ira McKentish: The Man Who Sold The World’ was the title of a documentary that had been released about me around five months ago. I had my very own documentary, how thrilling.”


But things have changed. Orginally, Ira was going to be given access to the internet as a present from an alien captain, and retire to his room to look over it at his leisure. The structure of the story has evolved since then in order for this scene (which I wanted to put in somehow) to actually flow with the plot, rather than making it an out-of-place break. In the new context, Ira hasn’t had the chance to make use of his gift because of the exam mission he’s been sent on, and is only looking at it now because he needs to show his classmates what a certain person he used to know looks like by searching for their image online.

For that reason, his thoughts about who may or may not have survived the ‘Miami Drop’ incident, and the description of the Google logo came a few thousand words earlier. This is what the excerpt looks like now:


“So there I was with a kind of access to the internet, an almost painful kind of curiosity, and enough time on my hands to do much more than I was supposed to. For one thing, I hadn’t watched porn in five years…

Just kidding.

(Maybe later.)

No, what I was most interested in was me, and how I was now seen on my home planet. I mean I doubted I was being worshipped by the masses, but I did wonder what was generally known about my story. Leo hadn’t been very clear about it in the past.

I returned to the regular search engine and pecked at the letter ‘i’. To my surprise, the first suggestion in the drop-down box was indeed ‘ira mckentish’, just as Damien Lake was now the most popular ‘d’. Once I’d typed in my whole name though, that was where the fun began. The top four suggestions included,

‘ira mckentish traitor
ira mckentish irascariot
ira mckentish nazi
ira mckentish man who sold the world’

The fact that the word ‘Nazi’ appeared next to my name probably shouldn’t have surprised me. It may have been the better part of ten years since I’d had regular access to the internet, but I remembered how it worked, and sooner or later someone was going to call you a Nazi. It was the rulz. What did momentarily confuse me was the word ‘irascariot’, but when I sounded it out loud I couldn’t help but think ‘surely not? Surely no one actually came up with a nickname that lame?’

Stupid of me really; of course people could come up with a nickname that lame. I was probably lucky they hadn’t found a way to stick ‘Hitler’ into my name somewhere.

I decided to click on ‘man who sold the world’; apparently the world had decided it was my theme song—and why not? It wasn’t my favourite of Bowie’s, but I suppose it was fitting enough. I was surprised by what that title was really referring to though. It seemed ‘Ira McKentish: The Man Who Sold The World’ was the title of a documentary that had been released about me around five months ago.

Just how did someone make a documentary about me, I wondered. How would they have known enough about me? No one knew about what had happened with Josh outside Charleston for one thing, I knew that for a fact. Well, I was pretty sure at least, I mean, Leo and his inner circle knew, so maybe he’d given the documentary-makers an interview.

The thought made me chuckle. It was chuckles like that that were going to get me through this, like they’d always done in the past.”



Born at Midnight: Preps and Posers (Part II)



Chapter Twenty

Because the monsters can’t tell the difference between other monsters and people who have brain tumours, Derek suggests Kylie go to the healer-fairy, Helen, to see if that’s what’s wrong with her.

But first, Miranda and Della snipe at each other some more. Huh, maybe they’re in love? Kylie tells them to stop it, because if they get separated she might get stuck with Lucas’ girlfriend, who seems to have been introduced a few paragraphs ago and hates her for no reason.

Della tells her that the FBI are going to interrogate her for… some reason, and Kylie thinks that means they’re going to torture her. As you do.

Stalker-ghost shows up for no reason as Holiday leads Kylie away.

Chapter Twenty-One

Kylie is interviewed by the FBI agents, Burnett and Austin. Holiday tells Burnett to ‘bite my ass’ during the bland interview (Kylie is just shocked at the ‘foul language’) because she’s upset that Burnett thinks being a member of the FBI gives him some kind of authority or something.

The whiny interview progresses to no purpose, and Kylie is sent out to read a text from Sara. Turns out she’s not pregnant, so her reasons to be in the story are dwindling.

Chapter Twenty-Two

Lucas shows up to ‘talk’. As you can imagine, it’s boring.

Then Kylie goes off to find Helen the healer, who may actually be an interesting character, in that she’s the only person so far who isn’t unbearably smug. But surprise, surprise…

Chapter Twenty-Three

Kylie doesn’t have a brain tumour. I’m so shocked. Well, we don’t find out until after another boring conversation between her, Della, Miranda, stalker-ghost, and Derek (not that stalker-ghost really participates or anything) in which Miranda transfigures a sandwich.

Also Lucas’ girlfriend Fredericka pops by to let Kylie know she’ll be the Dawn character in this book, and Kylie almost chokes to death on the sandwich.

Chapter Twenty-Four

Holiday tells Kylie about ‘death angels’, monsters for monsters who are like avenging angel type things. Oh my. I wonder if one will appear before the end of the book?

(Spoilers: For once I’m wrong. This book is much too boring for that)

Exposition is given in droves, as it has been throughout.

Then Kylie spends some time with Helen and Jonathon. Who’s Jonathon? I neither remember nor care. Lucas shows up for a bit, as does Miranda, and nothing of any importance occurs.

Chapter Twenty-Five

Halfway mark, yes! Though again, we need shorter summaries, otherwise this will end up being as long as ToG.

Anyway, Kylie tries to figure out if anyone in her family was born at midnight, because that was mentioned as a thing in a couple of throwaway lines.

Chapter Twenty-Six

Trey the ex-boyfriend shows up. Yay. He tries to cheer her up with sex, but Kylie ain’t no slut, yo! She accidentally calls him Derek in the way no one ever actually does, and then tells him to get da fuk out.

After some more irrelevant encounters, Della asks her all about it, and on being told Trey left her for not having sex with him, offers to commit GBH, because that’s an appropriate reaction!

Chapter Twenty-Seven

After confirming that most important of plot points that Kylie is a virgin, (whoop-dee-shit) they discuss Fredericka and how her parents are supposedly ‘rogues’. I wonder if that will figure into the plot, whenever it decides to start?

Spoiler: it doesn’t.

Then Della tells how she had to break up with her old boyfriend when she became a vampire because he noticed how low her body-temperature was and was afraid she was sick, so he wouldn’t kiss her. Miranda thinks this makes him ‘a jerk’, rather than what it actually makes him—’not entirely braindead’.

Chapter Twenty-Eight

After a thrilling cliffhanger of Kylie getting an e-mail, we find out her parents weren’t born at midnight. Wow. What a twist.

Then Holiday and Kylie have a rehash of Ever and Ava’s relationship from Evermore. Kylie walks around wangsting for a few days (well, it feels like days anyway) and Derek seems to have a new girlfriend called Mandy, who is no doubt a total dumb slut.

Chapter Twenty-Nine

Kylie’s dad doesn’t show up to parents’ day because he has to work. Oh, the humanity!

Chapter Thirty

In this chapter we find out that Perry has a crush on Miranda. Thrilling.

Kylie still wants to go home though, and Della and Miranda are really mad, because Kylie’s been their friend for a whole week or something. Then she gets paired up with Lucas for the pairing up thing so they can bitch at each other a bit.

Apparently Lucas and Fredericka aren’t really together, and Kylie’s stupid for thinking that just because she saw them making out and Fredericka’s been acting like a jealous psycho this whole time.

Chapter Thirty-One

A long boring conversation about vampires lets us know that vampires can only survive on human blood, and therefore people have to donate to them, and if you don’t surrender your precious life-blood to a vampire then you’re a bigot!

Then they have an equally boring conversation about werewolves.

Then they climb some rocks.

And then they kiss.

Wait, what? I thought she hated Lucas because he killed her cat! Where did this come from, apart from one sex dream earlier!?

Chapter Thirty-Two

Suddenly Trey walks in on them and it’s a real shock… that he’s even still bothering to be in the book. As you can imagine, this leads to absolutely nothing.

Then Kylie tells Della she knows she hasn’t been a very good friend (of a week or whatever), but from now on she’ll start donating blood. Woo hoo. Mindless conversation ensues.

And now it’s vision time, and Kylie has a vision of a foreign land, which she knows is a foreign land because… she just knows. She’s reliving, or re-dying soldier-ghost’s death, of being shot by some guy who was ‘evil, she knew it’, because he went to stop a woman from being killed even though he knew he’d fail and be killed himself. S-M-R-T smart!

She goes to tell Holiday, but someone stops her…

Chapter Thirty-Three

It was……………………………………………….. VOLXEMORT!

No, it was just Sky. Remember her? I do, but only because she had such a stupid name. She takes Kylie to Holiday so she can say ‘I know what the ghost wants!’ and not reveal it. I mean, I’m guessing vengeance or whatever, but yeah…

So the next morning useless monster-camp gossip ensues. Then Lucas drops by to give Kylie a kitten, and reveal it wasn’t him who killed her cat, but his evil dad. Big surprise. Then he tells her they can never be together because it’s too dangerous. Even more of a surprise.

A while later Mulder and Scully drop by looking for Lucas, and Holiday accompanies them to complain about everything, and Kylie now believes Lucas is a misunderstood saint who can do no wrong.

Chapter Thirty-Four

I think Lucas’ disappearance might count as the plot starting, so I guess I can say Helen interrupts the plot to talk about boyfriends with Kylie, but I might be jumping the gun on that plot thing. We are only three quarters of the way through, after all, still plenty of time left.

Things that don’t seem to have any relevance happen, and then Derek gives up some more blood so he can spend time with Kylie, declaring his oh-so-bland love.

Chapter Thirty-Five

After love declarations, Derek and Kylie discuss soldier-ghost, and how stupid—uh, brave he was, marching into certain death for the sake of heroics that achieved nothing.

Kylie’s mom pops round for a visit and then leaves without giving Kylie a hug—the monster! Then her dad pops round and goes one worse—he flirts with Holiday! Burn in hell, flirty-dad!

In her misery, Kylie has an ice-cream day with Holiday, picks up some books on dyslexia, and then sees two people kissing…

Chapter Thirty-Six

It was………………………………………………………………………………………………….

Granny Goodness and the Death Dealers!

No, it’s her dad and some younger woman. And I’ll stop using that joke when ‘Born at Midnight’ stops using the same ‘it was…’ cliffhanger over and over again. Kylie immediately wonders whether murdering her dad would count as justifiable homicide.

Perfectly reasonable!

Later, Kylie and Miranda try to read the books on dyslexia, but Miranda can’t read them because she’s dyslexic. So… no one ever tried to help her with this before, then?

Anyway, Kylie returns to her room to find someone left a lion on her bed—I hate it when that happens!

Turns out the lion isn’t Perry this time, as soldier-ghost helpfully informs her when he decides to show up and actually speak for once. No, this lion is for realz. Kylie asks the most important question—what is soldier-ghost’s name?

It’s Daniel. Whoop-dee-doo.

Then she asks some more great questions, like ‘is my grandmother in heaven?’

While the lion is still there.

Daniel tells the idiot that ‘they’ only allow one ghost near a person at a time until they’re ‘ready’.

Then the lion attacks.

Shit, it’s like reading a boring conversation scene spliced with a boring action scene to create some kind of literary freak of nature. Well, this is another Evermore-Twilight incest child.

Chapter Thirty-Seven

Derek shows up so he can use his animal-empathy to save the day, and Holiday reveals that the reason the FBI are there is because someone’s been killing the animals in the local wildlife park, and the government thinks it’s someone from the camp. Holiday immediately begins complaining about supernatural racial profiling.

Well, yeah! I mean, the book’s made it very clear that the supernaturals are an elite, not an oppressed minority, they’ve caused untold death and destruction over the ages and even today a good number of them don’t give a shit about humans or human laws!

And then Holiday agrees that it’s probably someone from the camp doing it anyway! And really, the most of the characters in the book are supernaturals, so unless it’s Trey or Kylie’s parents, I’m guessing she’s going to be right!

My money’s on Socks the kitten, personally.

Chapter Thirty-Eight

The next day suspicion is high in Camp Monster, but more important than that—Miranda figured out how to get her ephebophile piano-teacher to stop turning into a toad.

Another problem solved!

Chapter Thirty-Nine

Kylie tries to get Derek to use his abilities to find out what’s going on, and decides to distract the FBI guy in order to sneak Derek and herself into the park. Derek is distracted in his task by Kylie having boobs, and therefore some random guys sneak up on them.

It’s vampires, surprise, surprise. A fight scene ensues, Della pops by to help, Kylie has an out-of-body experience, or possibly dies.

Chapter Forty

Hah. We should be so lucky.

No, the astral projection ends as quickly as it begins and the FBI show up to save the day. It turns out Sky was working for the bad guys because they kidnapped her sister.

Huh. I wonder if these guys have links with the Polish werewolf mafia from Verity?

Then after a bit more stupidity, they reveal that the camp is going to be turned into a school for more ridiculous adventures.

Derek and Kylie kiss, true love, I guess that whole ‘going to the zoo’ thing counted as the plot for this book…

The FBI guy becomes the replacement camp leader.


Chapter Forty-One

Kylie makes up with her mother. Yay.

Chapter Forty-Two

And it turns out Kylie’s dad isn’t her real dad, it was soldier-ghost. What a twist.

Then just so we know there’s going to be another book, another ghost shows up.

And we end on that one consistency this book has kept up with strong will and determination throughout its entire run…

Irrelevant bullshit.


Okay you guys, this is really exciting, because as I said before, I was indeed born at midnight, and that means I have some kind of magical power, which in turn means I can get rich! Fantastic! Now, if I only knew what it was…

Dawn: I know what your magical power is.

Really, Dawn—you do? Tell me, what am I!?

Dawn: You’re a freak! Hahahahahahaha!

Oh, Dawn—I never know what you’re going to say next. I guess my power is to talk to characters from books, though it’s also possible I might just be one of the crazy ones. What do you think, Gollum?

Gollum: *Gollum! Gollum!*

That’s right, Gollum. I couldn’t agree more.

Dawn: What a freak.

Born at Midnight: Preps and Posers (Part I)


(Condensed review on Goodreads here:

Called ‘the worst book I’ve ever read’ by… someone. At some time. I decided to pick it up (by which I mean buy it on Kindle) and see if it manages to sink to the depths of Throne of Glass.

Could it possibly be worse than ToG?

Of course not! It was only called ‘the worst’ by someone who doesn’t find books like ‘Hush, Hush’ as hilarious as I do, and after my brain exploded reading the prologue of ‘Modelland’ and subsequently re-exploded many times over as I tried to read further, what better way to return to bad comprehensible YA than this… thing?

Chapter One

We begin with our heroine Kylie suffering the very worst of all traumas: her parents are getting divorced. Oh noes! Why are they getting divorced? For, you know—reasons. They can’t be bothered to come up with a reason so they just say ‘you wouldn’t understand’, which as far as I know is code for: ‘your father was caught shagging a camel wearing a sombrero whilst playing Justin Bieber on his iPod’.

Well, the mother does barbecue the fathers boxers. Make of that what you will.

This is especially hard for Kylie, as she’s picked up a stalker with slasher-killer powers. Don’t worry, Kylie, I’m sure it’s just your One True Love looking out for you!

Also her grandma’s dead and she’s in therapy, so things just aren’t looking up for Kylie. What’s worse is that she notices her neighbour not looking at her stalker and immediately concludes that that means she’s the only one who can see him, so clearly she’s an idiot—uh, I mean, she has magic powers.

Or something.

Chapter Two

Turns out Kylie’s boyfriend Trey has dumped her as well, and she wants to go to the cool kids party, which she usually doesn’t because it’s not supervised by his parents!

But at the party, Trey shows up with ‘his new slutty girlfriend’. As opposed to his old slutty girlfriend, who I guess was Kylie. Also, some guy called John spills some beer on her. Also there’s a mention of Kylie’s best friend Sara, so Kylie can wangst about how ever since having sex with a guy called Brad, all Sara thinks about is partying and having sex.

Party cop would approve!

Then the stalker shows up, and Trey’s like ‘soz ur grandma died n stuff’. Kylie hangs around being boring until the police show up… for no given reason. Also for no given reason they take everyone at the party to jail. Wow, things is harsh in yank-land!

Kylie’s mother acts like this is the END of the WORLD, and signs her up for a summer camp. Totes right to—I mean, how dare Kylie go to a party where there were drugs, and not take any of the drugs!

Chapter Three

So, for an incredibly contrived reason, Kylie is off to juvenile delinquent camp for the rest of the summer, even though she’s never actually been in any trouble and the admin should have laughed her mother out of their office.

And the camp is named ‘Shadow Falls’.

Duuuuuuuuuh, that’s not at all ominous!

Then Kylie calls the other kids freaks because they have brightly coloured dyed hair and are goffs. Oh no! Ebony Darkness D’mentia Raven Way is on the bus! We’d better hope the Bark Lord doesn’t show up!

One of the freaks informs Kylie that the other kids call them ‘boneheads’. Because they’re all so stupid—I mean, because the camp used to be called Bone Creek. Apparently it was changed because of the old Native American Legend cliché.

Any minute now they’re going to go on a field trip to ‘Skull Island’, I just know it.

So the author of this book thinks that all goths are juvenile delinquents, does she? Well, I suppose if she learned about them from reading ‘My Immortal’, she’d think that way, but I’d suggest watching ‘Misfits’ instead.

Then Sara texts to say she’s pregnant.

*Cue EastEnders theme music*

Chapter Four

Kylie muses on the horror of teen pregnancy in a stupid and laughable manner. One of the ‘freaks’ asks her if she’s okay, and Kylie responds by thinking rude thoughts but being too much of a coward to voice them.

Great characters!

Then the girl—called Miranda after the Reavers’ home world—fends off a psychic intrusion. We’re not told this is what’s happening, but it’s pretty obvious to anyone who’s, you know—read a book or seen a movie before.

And Kylie ignores it in favour of being glad she didn’t give up her virginity to Trey, because then she might have got pregnant like that ho Sara!

During a bathroom break, Kylie sees two of the girls talking and looking at her, and immediately thinks they’re ‘ganging up on her’. But some random guy who was on the bus tells her to chill, and she’s calmed by the Cullen-esque flecks of gold around his pupils.

Chapter Five

Kylie is paranoid that the other kids are going to steal her stuff, but old gold-eyes tells her to chill again. His name’s Derek, and I’m guessing he’ll be our perfect bland love interest for this book.

They go to lunch, where the hall is filled with people with PIERCINGS and SHAVEN HEADS and TATTOOS. Oh, the horror!

Then after Kylie obsesses over eyebrows and thinks one guy might be her cat, the camp staff introduce themselves as Holiday Brandon and Sky Peacemaker.


Oh, and Sky’s a goff, and no doubt a kawai bitch as well.

Then when they ask if anyone has any questions, one of the goffs wants to know who Kylie is.


Chapter Six

For a moment Kylie considers running, but then becomes afraid the goffs will try to eat her if she does (seriously) and nothing happens. Holiday and Sky *snigger* send all the old hands out, including cat-guy, who Kylie recognises as ‘Lucas Parker’, a former neighbour her father predicted would grow up to be a serial killer.

Holiday then tells the remaining kids to split into those who know why they’re there, and those who don’t. When Kylie tells them why she thinks she’s there, even the so-called freaks laugh, and Kylie is sent away with the other morons. She’s now worried everyone is going to think she’s a druggie.

Uh, Kylie? This is (supposedly) a juvenile delinquent camp. What makes you think any of these people would care? Except that they’ll try to steal your stash, of course.

But she has more important things to worry about, as Holiday reveals they all have magic powers, and that’s why they’re goffs, or something. One guy was turned into a vampire the week before, and apparently didn’t notice. Another girl had a dream about a wolf, so she obviously has powers.

Kylie thinks it’s bullshit, because apparently she wasn’t entirely brainless, but everyone else is like, ‘hey, that’s cool’, including a girl who learns she’s half fairy.

Chapter Seven

Holiday decides to offer Kylie proof that supernatural creatures exist and asks a guy to come in and turn into a unicorn. He does so.

While sparkling

Chapter Eight

Holiday sends everyone out of the room.

Yeah, that really required a whole chapter to itself.

Chapter Nine

It turns out Kylie’s therapist is a supernatural creature who referred her over to the camp because she didn’t know what kind of magical creature Kylie was. Apparently she can talk to dead people, or something.

Holiday tells her she must accept her gift, because otherwise there won’t be a story, and they know she has a gift because they can’t read her mind (so she’s Bella from Twilight?) and was born at midnight.

Wait a minute! No lie here, guys… I was born at midnight! That means I must have magical powers too!

Then stalker-ghost guy shows up!

…and does nothing. We immediately cut to another scene of some guys telling Holiday and Sky to stop… something, or they’ll shut the camp down. Derek, Miranda, and some girl called Della show up to have a boring conversation, and Kylie swans off when she gets a phone call.

Chapter Ten

Turns out the phone call was from Trey, and he wanted to get back together with her via boring conversation, but Kylie has to go listen to ‘introductions’.

Derek informs her he’s half fae, and then Lucas shows up to tell her she dropped her wallet with her mother’s credit card—

Her mother’s credit card!?

Why the hell would her mother give her that!?

Oh, and then she reminisces about how Lucas killed her cat that one time. Wow. Never saw that one coming.

Chapter Eleven

Kylie hides out in her room, ignores calls from her parents and cries, but tells Miranda and Della it’s just allergies and like complete morons they believe her.

An asinine conversation ensues, and then they go for lunch for another asinine conversation, where Miranda reveals she turned a guy into a toad for… some reason, and Della has some Count Chocula with blood instead of milk. And also blood instead of Count Chocula.

Miranda informs Kylie that she too will have to drink blood in order to better understand her vampire friends, and that all the different creatures do presentations at the camp. Derek pops by to be boring, which for some reason makes Miranda and Della antagonistic towards each other.

Then unicorn-boy drops by to let everyone know he’s a pervert.

Chapter Twelve

Sara calls in to remind Kylie that she’s pregnant, apparently so she has a reason to be in the story. Della retrieves Kylie so they can have a dull conversation about vampires. Then another vampire shows up.

Chapter Thirteen

This vampire is Della’s cousin, and he’s evil, and tells her to accept being evil too, but Della tells him to get da fuk out and she and Kylie go to the bonfire. On the way, Della goes on some more about being a vampire and how hard it is. My heart bleeds.

Oh, and Lucas saw the whole thing. I’m sure that will be important later.

High-school cliques: monster edition is taking place at the campfire, and Kylie uses her brilliant powers of deduction to make the observation that even though Derek is a fairy, he’s definitely not gay, because… he doesn’t walk like a gay?

Uh, I’m not sure if you can really tell from the walk, dear.

Then she remembers how some guys once threw a rock at her for no reason, but Lucas saved her and I guess that means he’s the hypotenuse. So, fairy-psychic-werewolf triangle, that’s a new one.

Chapter Fourteen

Quarter-way mark; let’s hope for shorter summaries.

Anyway, Kylie finds a kitten that happened to be wandering around, and takes it in so it will be safe from monsters without wondering, you know, what the hell a kitten is doing wandering around camp monster. Of course it turns out to be Perry the pervert, and so she kicks him out.

This prompts Della and Miranda to talk about some other sex offenders they pulled dumb pranks on and a good time is had by all, until stalker-ghost shows up and bleeds the word ‘help’ onto the floor. Della and Miranda RUN AWAY! And Kylie faints.

Chapter Fifteen

Kylie wakes up in Holiday’s office so she can have a boring conversation with her. The next day Kylie muses over having had a sex dream about Lucas, and talks to Miranda about how ‘all mothers are bitches’.

No. No they’re not. Don’t insult my mum, ‘Born at Midnight’, only I’m allowed to do that!

Anyway, Miranda tells her some backstory about her being destined to be the High Priestess of witches unless she fails to overcome her dyslexia, heart bleeds, yawn.

Then some guys show up.

Chapter Sixteen

…and do nothing.

Miranda says they’re from the supernatural division of the FBI, who want to make sure supernatural creatures don’t destroy the world. Vampires and werewolves are at war, of course, and somehow started the American Civil War, and witches hate fairies which somehow lead to the Black Death.

Then Kylie has some boring phone conversations, and Della shows up to tell her that Derek gave some vampire a pint of his blood in exchange for being partnered up with Kylie for their partnering up thing.

Uh… that’s going a bit far, don’t you think?

Chapter Seventeen

Kylie tries to get Derek to, you know, not give up a pint of blood in exchange for spending an hour with her, but apparently there’s no going back now, so they go out into the woods, no doubt so he can show her what the skin of a killer looks like.

Then they have the most boring conversation yet.

Chapter Eighteen

Derek asks Kylie about her relationship with Lucas, which leads to nothing, and she asks him about his deadbeat fairy-dad, who left the family some time ago. Huh. Maybe Derek will have to go on a quest to find him, like in Degaré.

Then a random snake shows up, which for some reason really turns them both on, and they’re about to kiss when suddenly someone yells ‘stop’ so that the love triangle can retain some suspense.

Chapter Nineteen

To no surprise it’s Lucas, and his arrival leads to… nothing!

Derek whines some more about how Holiday wants him to embrace his gift of being able to read people’s emotions, and then they go back to whining about the blood deal—but don’t worry! Derek isn’t actually going to let the vampire bite him, because that would be ‘gay’.

No homo, bro—amirite?

Then Derek tells her that about 1% of the population are magical creatures. Yeah. Right. And they’re all rich because they use their gifts to become rich. And they’re all goffs because…

Well, he doesn’t explain that one. They do whine about his powers some more though.



Ira’s Visual Aids

Well, my last post was apparently very inspiring, as it got me my highest ever number of follows, so welcome–welcome all. You poor, poor people. I am just about keeping up with my target for Camp NaNo, with 10177 words so far, so with that in mind I have some more ‘518’ related goodies for you all, this time in the area of visual aids. Firstly my protagonist and antagonist, so you get a basic idea of what they look like without having to worry that my drawing skills have improved any over the last few weeks…

Ira & Shirou

I apologise for Shirou’s head looking a little funny; but that’s what happens when I try to add something like a slightly different angle to my work! As for Ira, the main points of interest in his appearence are those you probably can’t see very well; i.e. his throat and his right eye. On his throat is his vocal modifier, which should look smaller only i couldn’t draw that small. This is part of the mechanism that has replaced his voicebox so he can speak the language of his overlords; he speaks English as he normally would, a connection is his brain recognises the specific thought processes for those words, translates them into Selena and has the modifier produce the appropriate sound.

The same connection leads to a device in his ear, and that has another lead to his right eye. This eye is completely bionic, silvery-grey, and displays in text the English translation of whatever Selena is being spoken to him, hence the visual aids pun in the title of this post. It also has infra red and x-ray functions, because the Selena who designed it thought it would be cool.

Next, the Vleschwin.

518 Drawings C

Try to imagine the concept of this creature as though it had been drawn by someone who could draw. The Vleschwin has between sixteen and twenty heads, but only one brain in the centre of its armoured body. It’s a greyish yellow-brown in colour, moves by using its heads to push itself into rolling around, and is known for being one of the nicest creatures in the galaxy.

Also on this page: an upside-down list of the candidates taking the same final exam as Ira, a small family tree for Ira, and a mysterious note to myself about something that will happen in the book involving plants.

In more important news, Rooks of the Knot has been corrected so that it now has page numbers, making it the greatest book ever written. Buy it.

Or buy it on Kindle.

The Camp for April Fools

Yes, that’s right, I’ve signed up for Camp NaNoWriMo this April and set myself up  massive failure–I mean, set my target for 30k. Instead of starting a new novel I’m taking the time to write up as much as I can for 518, which has been on my mind a lot over the past week. I finally got all the chapters together in one place, so I am able to say I have written 25k of it before this month started, meaning that hopefully, by the end of the month, I’ll have 55k done.

So far I am decidedly not keeping up with my target, as I only wrote 845 words yesterday, but I thought I’d share those words with you now so you could see a bit of what 518 has to offer. We pick up in media res, as our main character undergoes a procedure to make sure he hasn’t been taken over by giant sentient viruses called ‘Blight’


And before I could decide which was more important—Hyde or the Blight Check—a screen lit up in the centre of the room between Leo and Theo. Theo stalked around the side to stand behind Leo as the person who’d wanted to communicate was illuminated.

“Captain Leo,” said the voice.

“Chief Inspector Hyde,” Leo greeted. “Thank you for having us.”

Hyde was mostly off screen; only his head visible. Said head was almost deer-like in shape, with long ears and thick, feathery whiskers like an eel’s. It was marbled, black and bright yellow, the yellow marking Hyde out as the third kind of what my evil eye translated as ‘gender’, yet probably wouldn’t have been called that by a human. I knew Wykens had up to seven ‘genders’; and that usually an individual belonged to either one of the first two—red or blue.

“Blight Check in thirty seconds, Captain. Do you accept?”

As I should have expected on meeting a new species, I didn’t recognise any Wyken expressions when he spoke. Therefore I couldn’t determine anything about Hyde’s mood, and wouldn’t be able to for a while yet. It made my pulse quicken uncomfortably.

“We do,” said Leo. Theo cringed a little.

“Very well,” Hyde replied. “Inspector Rorschach and I will board once the check is done and meet you in the Fourth Room on your ship for an updated brief.”

I’d forgotten that Hyde’s presence meant Rorschach would be there too.

“All time for the Timeless Empire,” said Leo; a standard but somewhat archaic phrase that didn’t translate well.

“Yeah, that.”

The screen darkened. For a moment I wondered if ‘yeah, that’ instead of, ‘all our years an era’ as the traditional reply was, was something that could gain me insight into what kind of person Hyde was, but then the door opened and the drones flew in.

Each roughly the size of a Chihuahua, moved by propeller and topped with a flexible spike, the drones searched us each out individually, their long metal arms reaching for our bodies. My breath caught in my throat and my fists clenched. I knew what the procedure entailed, of course, but given that the only sectors of space I’d been in up ’til now had been nowhere near Pertentia front lines this was the first actual Check I’d had.

And I suppose that meant I was the first Human to have one done at all, so this was a historic moment. A creepy, creepy, historic moment.

The first drones went for Leo and his entourage, and several dozen more flooded past us and out of the door to the rest of the ship. When the little robots finally came for us cadets, they went for the Selena first, then the Saraketeisians. Hugs was skipped over entirely due to his immunity, and Freddie and I were last.

I shut my eyes tightly when the drone landed on my head; arms clamping around my face and neck, ready to inject a poison if I failed the test. That wasn’t a worry as I knew I wasn’t Blight, but the tail was something else.

Because the drones had been designed to attach to heads much bigger than mine, the body of the one on me slumped down my back a little, and took a while to adjust its grip as I shivered, flinching under the cold metal that crept against my skin. Eventually the body and arms stilled, and the spike fumbled for my arm for a moment then stuck me.

Curious, I opened my eyes a fraction to look at the long silver tail in my arm. It didn’t hurt any worse than a regular shot, and the experience had a kind of horror movie appeal that made me want and not want to look at the same time. I could see the blood it was drawing from me run up the spike, a touch of nausea working its way behind my eyes.

Then the drone on top of Leo’s head said, “Thirteen,” and released him.

“Thirteen,” also, was the verdict on Theo.

Choruses of “Thirteen,” started around the room, and I still smiled to think that ‘thirteen’ had been the number of the Selena Empire, because talk about an unhappy coincidence!

It was a while before the drones on us examinees were done; by that point I’d shut my eyes again and was breathing heavily, but soon enough I heard eight more ‘Thirteen’s from right behind me.

“Ninety-eight,” said the one on Nate’s head, and released him. That was expected; it was the Saraketeisian number. The one we were all hoping not to hear was anything from two hundred and twelve to two hundred and fifteen, but Dan and Ruby were both declared “Ninety-eight,” as well.

“Five hundred and seven,” said the drone right next to me, which then detached itself from a very annoyed Freddie, whose head-blades tapped against each other in quick succession, backwards and forwards to show how pissed he was, enough so that I shifted away from him a little.

At long last, the one on my head pronounced me “Five hundred and eighteen,” and let go. I breathed a heavy sigh of relief.

In other news, ‘Rooks’ may be temporarily unavailable, as I am attempting to correct the error of it not having any page numbers. Fun times.