So I’m working on another novel.

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(In case any of y’all were just dying to know, I mean.)

But yeah, for the required research portion of the OU honors program (which is their fancy way of saying “do what you want, so long as you can find a professor who’ll put up with you and your project”), I’m lucky enough to get to write another novel, one completely unrelated to anything else I’ve written thus far.  I suppose I could, when faced with the inevitable “so what is your novel about?” question, just point to this tweet of mine…

…and simply leave it at that.  But that’s no fun. 🙂  So here’s my best attempt at a summary for this weird multi-genre contraption of a novel, which I’ve titled A Thousand Worlds:

Lucy Vervairs has known for a while that she has the ability to travel by jumping through paintings and sketches.  It’s how she can sneak around her castle without a trace and shirk her royal duties.  But her eighteenth birthday is coming up, and on that day Lucy will officially be next in line to the throne of Verraganzia.  Ruling the kingdom is a terrifying prospect for Lucy – and when her father the king falls mysteriously ill, she’s afraid she’ll become queen far sooner than she thought.

Then a beautiful (and enigmatic) young artist shows up at court.  Marley Sun has been hired to paint Lucy’s portrait for her coronation, but when Lucy finds a painting of a strange room in Marley’s quarters and jumps into it, she realizes there’s much more to her portraitist than meets the eye.  Not only does Marley have the same painting-jumping talent as her, but she’s also from an entirely different universe, one known as “the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City.”  The museum is home base for several more “Wanderers,” as they’re called, including Karen Sun, the museum director and Marley’s mother; Jed Hoot, the drawling, heavily mustachioed security chief; and Imogen Perrault, a dreadlocked French pirate whose girlfriend is a mermaid.

Lucy barely has time to process any of this, though, before Karen sends her, Marley, and Imogen to the world of Salvador Dalí’s paintings.  The floating knife from Living Still Life has gone missing.  At first, the girls think the knife has just drifted elsewhere.  It quickly becomes apparent, though, that this incident is one in a string of heists from various paintings around the museum, and that the mysterious thief is a Wanderer as well.  What this thief could want with a floating knife and other miscellaneous horrors, the girls have no idea, but they’ve got to put their heads together and find out.  The museum and all its thousand worlds could be at stake.

And here’s an excerpt:

The dress looks like a giant exploding oyster. Lucy’s never seen so many pearls in one place; they cascade down the dress in a fine net, dangle off the sleeves, and spurt straight up off the neckline like jets of water on a fountain. The satin under all the pearls is a sickeningly bright shade of pink. Lucy knew the castle seamstresses were getting a little… eccentric in their old age (at least, that was the most diplomatic phrase her mother could think of), but she didn’t think even they were capable of producing something as thoroughly odd as this.

But no, odd isn’t quite the right word. Not for this contraption of a dress. The only word Lucy can think of that even comes close to describing this monstrosity… is precisely that, actually. Monstrosity.

There you have it – my project for the next four months! 🙂  (And also the cause of my impending exorbitant printing charges, but I’ll deal with that part later.)

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