The Broken Bell

Relax!  I'm not going to talk about my new book, All the Paths of Shadow.

Instead, I'm going to talk about the new Markhat book The Broken Bell, which won't even be published until December 27.  So fear not, gentle reader -- no sales pitch today.

The good people at Samhain Publishing sent me the final digital version of the book.  We're done editing.  The cover is in place.  This is the first time I've seen the book in the form you'll see, and I have to say it looks amazing.

Especially the cover.  I can't post it yet, but when I do, you'll see what I mean.  One of the many things Samhain has done right is cover art.  Every book has been nothing less that beautiful.

Heck, look for yourself -- here are my Samhain covers:

Am I right? And you bet I've got these framed and hung.  Each one of them is a work of art.

Pretty soon, the cover for The Broken Bell will be right beside them.  I think Markhat fans are going to love this new one.  All the old gang is back, with some fresh new faces and a huge twist at the end.

To whet your appetite, I'm going to post a short excerpt from Broken Bell below.  It doesn't contain any spoilers -- it's just a brief sample of Markhat's voice.


There’s a trick to hiding young women in fancy hotels. If you ever need to do so, never mind the reason, there’s a right way to do it, and a wrong way.

The wrong way seems the best way to honest folk. They think that by slipping furtively into the hotel and speaking in hushed tones to the desk clerk and paying in cash and calling yourself Mr. Smith you’ll simply sink down into a blessed state of total obscurity.

That’s why honest people are so easy to find.

Taking the sneaky approach just brands you as one of two things, in the minds of hotel staff. You’re either sneaking around on your spouse or you’re hiding from someone. So when inquisitive sorts start asking questions and perhaps handing out coins to the talkative, the hiding place is revealed as surely as if a giant hand reached down and ripped off the roof.

That’s the wrong way.

The right way?

Tamar rushed into the hotel lobby a dozen steps ahead of me. The pillow she’d placed under her blouse did a credible job of simulating the middle stage of pregnancy. She let me get in the door and take a single step before she turned on me and let loose a stream of loud, heartfelt invective that turned the heads of everyone in the lobby.

Once all eyes were upon us, she took off her wedding ring, which was actually a bauble purchased moments ago from a shady street jeweler for a couple of coppers, and flung it at my face.

“I told you if your mother didn’t leave I would,” she screamed, putting just enough screech into it. “I will not spend another hour under the same roof as that mean-spirited old warthog!”

“Honey,” I said, raising my arms in surrender. “It’s just another week—”

“You said that last week. And the week before.”

Right on cue, Flowers rushed in, freshly scrubbed and wearing the first new shirt he’d ever seen, much less worn. I didn’t trust his accent or his diction, so I’d told him to keep his mouth shut, and he did.

“Come, Reginald,” said Tamar to Flowers. “See? He can’t stand your mother either. Now pay the man, and pay him enough to keep me here until you remove that awful woman from my house!”

And with that, she turned and stormed up the stairs, Flowers in tow.

The room was suddenly filled with barely-suppressed snickering. I made a heavy sigh and approached the desk clerk, a grinning little man in his early hundreds, with my hands in my pockets.

“Trouble to home, is that it, sir?” he asked.

“Guess you could say that.” I leaned on the counter and lowered my voice to a whisper. The room went as silent as a tomb, as two dozen ears strained to hear something that wasn’t a bit of their business.

“How much for a room for the wife and son, for, let’s say, a week?”

“Might be cheaper to just rent one permanent-like for your mother.”

Laughter rippled through the lobby. The old man cackled.

“Have a heart. How much? I can’t move Mother now. She’s taken to her bed. What am I supposed to do?”

He cackled and named a price. It was a quarter again too much, but I didn’t haggle.

I did tell him my name was Smith, which touched off another round of laughter, and that I’d also want to purchase extra meals for the boy and laundry service for the wife. More coins changed hands. My next sigh was very real.

But it had worked. Anyone sniffing around for word of a single young woman who kept to herself and never left her rooms would be greeted with shrugs and shakes of the head. Tamar was an angry pregnant wife with a son in tow and a milksop for a husband.

And that, my friends, is the right way to hide a woman in plain sight.


It's a lot of fun, writing as Markhat.

Oh, and remember when I said I wasn't going to plug my new book?

Yeah.  I lied.  The new book is All the Paths of Shadow, and you can get it through Amazon for your Kindle or through the publisher Cool Well Press for your Nook. It has a great cover too, which is below: 

One last thing today -- I'm on Facebook and Twitter, both as Frank Tuttle.  Look me up!