My Next Book Project, Wonderland-Inspired "The Curious Case of Mary Ann"

I figured it would be a good idea to clue you good folks here into what I've been up to since finishing the There Goes the Galaxy trilogy. (While I remember, The Purloined Number is on sale this week only on Amazon for $0.99 and reduced similarly on international Amazon sites, so if you haven't grabbed a copy, you can get it here in the US: and in the UK here:

But as I was saying, I have a new book project I'm working on. It will still be humorous, but this time it will have a Victorian Gothic fantasy spin. It's based on characters from Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass, but with a number of people and twists you might not expect. It's called The Curious Case of Mary Ann and I'm really excited about it. I've been a Lewis Carroll fan ever since I was a kid. The stories just spoke to me because they took such a magical, playful look at life. You could find wonder and mystery in something as simple as a cake or a tiny door, the unexpected places between. I want to tap into that aspect of it.
So to give you a sense of it, I thought you might enjoy just a taste of the draft I'm working. Likely this will change a bit in subsequent drafts, but I think it sets a tone.
How many Unbirthdays was it for the Queen so far this year? Three? Four? Mary Ann Carpenter wondered, as she wound along the path to her father’s house. At least three, she tallied, the last one still quite vivid in her mind. Oh, the FUSS Mr. Rabbit made about having his uniform just so, and the gift presented thus and his coronet polished to a dazzling shine. As if Mary Ann would ever fail him in any of those tasks. As if she had some long history of negligence—of slatternly methods—and hadn’t been running the household silently, smoothly, all along.
And now the fussing had begun anew. Mary Ann only prayed the Queen’s latest gift would live up to expectations. The young housemaid had truly stuck her neck out for this. She wasn’t even sure how it happened. Her employer had been working himself into the usual tizzy over Royal gift-giving, and in a mad moment of actual vocalization Mary Ann heard herself say WORDS. And those words suggested Mary Ann’s very own father should craft the piece for the Queen’s special day. She’d baffled herself with the very sound of it. This was a land where outstretched necks met the swift, sharp chop of the executioner’s axe should Her Highness not be properly delighted.
Now she wished she hadn’t spoken at all.
Mary Ann’s father was, of course, not only a talented contractor but the finest woodworker around. He put real passion into the items he carved, and Mr. Rabbit had commissioned a piece that was likely to astound. The designs alone had been enough to send the furry gentleman’s gloved hands a-flutter, whiskers quivering in anticipation, sweet words predicting a future of royal favoritism, rich comfort and bright possibility.

The There Goes the Galaxy "Yay, the trilogy is done!" Party

With Tryfling Matters, the final book in the There Goes the Galaxy story arc complete, I thought it would be nice to have some folks over who have been supportive throughout the process. So this past weekend, I had a little party to celebrate.

Since I live in a Victorian house and it would be too difficult to space-up all of my decor, I decided the theme would be a house tour for aliens, so they could see what the average Tryfling (Earthling) home was like. I made plaques, dressed as my character Rozz to docent, and some of the information about Earth was wrong because Rozz was trolling. :)

Anyway, come take a peek at the clever costumes my good people came up with!

Your tour guide... (Me as Rozz)...

No weapons please: leave them at the door (heh, like that was ever going to happen with my characters there!)...

Some food, slightly themed toward the books (though, honestly, do we REALLY want to eat the things Bertram has consumed during his travels?).

One of two punches, with and without rocket fuel, plus a pitcher of bacontinis (people who have read Tryfling Matters already will get the significance of that).

Then the local wildlife arrived, like this very clever Altairan Daisy...

Thankfully no one was eaten alive by the daisy. I don't have homeowner's insurance for that.

 An antennaed lifeform called an "Aunt."...

A species known as "Cousins"...

 ...One of whom dressed as the book covers!

The cover artist, Dave White, and his wife Dorothy...

Dave and Rozz...

A pair of Rollies-- not sure which Rollie is the clone. They had to work that out amongst themselves.

This Rollie brought his own Feegar High Impact Bourbon..

Always so resourceful.

My character Jane Manners (also from Tryfling Matters) arrived, having just busted out of Mawdank prison.

And the cutest toilet snail ever! (er, Aquaphilic House Gastropoid.)

Some spacey sweets folks actually didn't eat because they weren't sure they could! (They could!)

And some more Earthen food...

And here are closeups of the plaques around the house. Overall, I would say it was a stellar way to end the trilogy.