Friday Snippet: Warpaint … Cady’s Back

This is the first draft intro to WARPAINT, the second Cadence Drake novel. (As with all snippets, I’m posting these as I’m writing the novel, so while this is what I have at the moment, if I come up with something in revision I like better, no snippet is guaranteed to see the light of publication.)

But right now, I like this. 😀

NOTICE: This material is copyrighted, unchecked raw first draft, probably buggy. Please don’t post typos or corrections (I do my edits at the end of the first draft of the project and will not see your comments when I revise). This material may not survive to publication. Do not quote or repost anywhere or in any format. Thanks.

Crazed, starved, they clung all over my shuttle’s hull, bashing at it with anything they’d been able to grab. Those crammed up against the moleibond forward port were trying to bite me, unable to understand why they could see me, but couldn’t reach me. The screeching and clicking of their teeth and claws on the hull made my skin crawl.

Insane, all of them. Staring, mindless monsters—Legends, they called themselves when they were functioning normally, or vampires, though in truth they were neither. They were humans who’d changed themselves into horrors.

They’d bled dry the little moon I was trapped on, and without fresh human blood to drink, hadn’t been able to hang onto their sanity long enough to escape. Starvation had stripped them of their pretense of humanity, revealing their pure essence. But it didn’t kill them. It couldn’t kill them. Ever.

I would have destroyed them, had there been fewer of them, had there been more of me, had I had a way to shoot them with the one weapon that would have destroyed them—my blood. Only by my best guess, there were a couple thousand of them on and around my shuttle, swarming over it and me like ants on sugar. Like rats on a corpse. Like…name your own nightmare.

They blocked my sky.

My shuttle hull was moleibond. Best stuff in the universe, moleibond: light, impervious to radiation, indestructible. You can shoot massive shock waves through a moleibond hull and turn the entire contents into pudding, and a cleanup crew can come along with a big hose and a pressure sprayer and have the ship ready for resale in the time it takes to wash out the goo.

Moleibond is impenetrable unless you have moleibond cutters—but even a little resort moon will have moleibond cutters on it.

So my theoretical outside survival time was limited to the arrival on the moon of a dinner wagon—a transport full of live tourists. The second one of the Legends got fresh blood, his mind would start working, he’d realize that my survival was their destruction, because I had seen what they were, and he’d go get the damned moleibond cutter and come after me. All he had to do was cut a hole in my hull. One hole.

My real survival time was a couple of days, because I’d failed to fully stock the emergency rations. Carelessness on my part, or exhaustion, maybe. I had three days worth of water, and almost no food. It would have been enough had I been hoping for quick rescue from my home ship.

Only problem there was that my home ship belonged to me, I flew alone, and at the moment, I was on the damn shuttle.

And I couldn’t call out via com-link for help from anyone else, because once I landed, I discovered that all live com to and from Tropica Petite had been cut. Tropica Petite was running a stream of programmed fake chatter through its com, making the resort seem like someplace real people would still want to go, and someone had set its autodrone handling shuttle landings.

No rescue would be coming.

Meanwhile, I was—judging from the appearance of my attackers—the last source of living blood on the verdant, terraformed moon, and at least two-thousand mindless monsters were determined to have me for lunch.

In my favor, I had myself, my shuttle, my wits and my rage.

I was, in other words, in deep shit.

And this had started with a job I took just because I had to keep my ship in the air, had to pay my docking fees and refueling, had to pursue the monsters I hunted. This was not supposed to have anything to do with the damned Legends. This was supposed to have been a milk run, a simple job of locating two women who’d extended their vacation without notice and getting them back home to their worried, waiting husband.

WARPAINT first draft, © 2012, Holly Lisle. All Rights Reserved.

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43 responses to “Friday Snippet: Warpaint … Cady’s Back”

  1. Claudsy Avatar

    This is going to be a terrific sequel, Holly. I would never have considered doing what you’re doing. But then, I’ve not been in the game for long, so it wouldn’t occur to me.

    Love the different dynamic of hostage and captive modes between this and the last book. The locked room element works very well for you. It always has.

    I’m dusting off the Kindle app right now and ready to receive the latest in the Cady’s sage.

  2. Julian Adorney Avatar
    Julian Adorney

    Very cool, Holly!

    ….does this mean you’ll get back to doing the Walkthroughs soon?

  3. Aynslie Hanna Avatar
    Aynslie Hanna

    Wow! I just got a chance to read your snippet and now I’m as hungry as those vampires for more! Can’t wait for the whole book!

  4. Terry Avatar

    It puts my first drafts to shame. Just seeing what a snippet of first draft from a successful writer looks like…immensely helpful. Thank you.

  5. Mary Avatar

    Wow, that just left me wanting more. Yep, that’s an opening that grabs the reader. I’ll be looking for this one when it’s finished.

  6. WandersNowhere Avatar

    Daaamn. True to form, raw, in-your-face, uncompromising action, seems to be a Holly Lisle trademark. I remember taking the impression of ‘this writer doesn’t dick around or pull punches’ from my first encounter with your work, the Secret Texts trilogy, and it’s definitely present here. “Vampires in space” can work when done right, and it’s done right here. I love the take on them as blood-crazed, starved monsters crawling all over a shuttle. Really makes me want to read the first book – and I’ve just gotten a new Kindle, so…

    1. Kassandra Avatar

      I really liked that! I haven’t read Candace Drake yet but I’m definitely going to pick up the first book now.

  7. Tracy Avatar


    This is terrific and I’m so glad you decided to resurrect Cadence Drake. I can’t wait till the book is done and while I realize it will be awhile I want you to know that once it’s live you have a guaranteed sale. Keep us posted and keep delivering teasers like this one 🙂

  8. Sheila Avatar

    Holly, every time I hear from you I learn something new. Whether it is direct information passed along to help a struggling writer or just by reading your books, I learn.
    I can’t wait to read all of Warpaint.

  9. Meg Avatar

    Terrific opening! I just read Hunting the Corrigan’s Blood and loved it. Can’t wait to read Warpaint.

    A shame there is no app for either Kindle or Nook to read those formats on third-party readers like the Sony or Kobo. Do you plan to release in DRM epub?

  10. Justa Avatar

    For some reason, this section reminds me of the Hunger Games…

  11. Benjamin Avatar

    I listened to you podcast on writing where you told the audience how to make a killer opening to a novel that has the reader wanting to turn the page. You example was from Hunting the Corrigan’s Blood and the opening sure was killer because I immediately ordered the book and read it.

    I wanted more, and I look forward to this next book. I am a science fiction reader and nothing scares me away from reading a book faster than a wizard or a horse on the cover. I love your excellent science fiction story and can’t wait to read the next Cadence book. I hope this is the next great series.

  12. Dawn Avatar

    Great opening! It really makes you want to find out how she gets out of that predicament!

    Cover art is really nice too!

  13. Tori (wildheart90) Avatar
    Tori (wildheart90)

    As always Holly…your writing is giving me shivers. I’m now inspired to continue my own WIP and get to the meat of my revision on others. I was stuck in the same spot for way too long, but now I think I know the way out.
    I’m buying this as soon as it comes out, just as an extra thank you! Then again, I buy your stuff anyway 😀
    Thank you so much for posting this. And when I was really needing it too 😀
    *Runs away to work on a HTTS lesson*

    P.s. If my revised material will be as amazing as your first draft…I will be pleased. Very much so.

  14. R.C, Mann Avatar
    R.C, Mann

    Ok,why would her blood be deadly to them? I confess I haven’t read the previous books in the series yet. *Beats head on table*

    Kind of a variation on the classic locked room problem in a tradition mystery story, but this time the sleuth is inside the room and trying to figure things out beforehand. This is wild.

    1. Holly Avatar

      Only one previous book in the series, Hunting the Corrigan’s Blood, and that shows why her blood is deadly. No spoilers, for those inclined to read it. I cover it later in this book in a quick bit of exposition so the book will stand more or less alone, for those NOT inclined to read the first one.

  15. Jennifer Avatar

    Oh, and thanks for the links to the free Nook App… I didn’t know that was available (I have a Kindle, though, so all the book I read are on it).

    Also, whenever you edit your beginning, please keep my favorite line of the whole thing: “In my favor, I had myself, my shuttle, my wits and my rage.” Awesome description that conveys lots of information. Good job!

  16. Jennifer Avatar

    Science-Fiction is my favorite genre to read and this is very, very good. I write crime/mystery fiction, but I wish I was brave enough to attempt scy-fy since it’s my fav to read. Like someone else already said, this makes me want to go get the first Cadence novel and read that first. Your snippet beautifully illustrates how to “hook” the reader and “reel her in.” LOL Also, thanks so much for the heads-up about Kobo… I’m planning to self-pub in digital format by the end of the year and I’m glad to know about that price-matching issue!

  17. Lisa Avatar

    I enjoyed this quite a bit. Love a preview. 🙂 Thank you so much. I do have a question though if you have time and/or inclination to answer it. While I understand that this is part of the beginning of the book, how do you decide what to use in snippets further along in the process? I like the idea of doing this so much, but I’d be worried about either giving too much away or not enough so that it is out of context and meaningless to potential readers. Thanks.

    1. Holly Avatar

      I choose the bits I love, and always end them with a cliffhanger.

      I’m just trying to give the flavor of the characters and the problems they face. I’m not trying to tell a shorter version of the story in the snippets. So context really doesn’t come into the equation.

      1. Lisa Avatar

        Thank you. Very useful thing, I’m thinking.

  18. Skipper Hammond Avatar

    Thanks for the information on Kobo. It’s important for all of us to know.
    Think I’ll switch from mystery to scifi. You make it look like such fun.

  19. Susan Kelly Avatar
    Susan Kelly

    Delicious! Makes me want to get back to my own WIP, and makes me think I’ll be looking up the first novel.

  20. Denise Avatar

    Wow! Love your voice, the story, the female lead. And the artwork is impressive. This series is added to my mental Wish List.

  21. Tim Avatar

    Usually the word “vampire” will make me put a book down faster than setting it on fire, the subject having been beaten to death in recent fads. This neatly side-steps around my new phobia and I’m hooked. A definite addition to my buy list when it comes out, although your name on the cover would be enough to make that happen.

    1. Holly Avatar

      Figure, I wrote the original about 15 years ago. Wanted to do something that was scientifically plausible, given a high enough level of science. Mine are not really vampires…

  22. Erik Avatar

    I agree with DragonsLady — this book will be joining my collection as soon as it becomes available, whether ink on paper or digital. That’s guaranteed. {:o)

    1. Holly Avatar

      It will be available as both. You’ll be able to pick your preferred format.

  23. Texanne Avatar

    Every time I read Holly, I get a lesson in storytelling.

    And often, I get scared witless. Good show!

    For anyone who hasn’t seen the Legends, they’re explained and described in Hunting the Corrigan’s Blood. I’m looking forward to the new release of that, too. :)TX

    1. Holly Avatar

      Thank you. Glad you like. I’m so excited about this book.

  24. Rabia Avatar

    FUN! This sounds really really good.

    I have to ask: is the graphic a cropped part of the cover of Warpaint?

    1. Holly Avatar

      Yes. The graphic is Cady from one of the … er … hotter scenes in the book. You can see a bigger slice of the cover art on her new blog:

  25. David Nelson Avatar
    David Nelson

    Oh sure, just when you had me hooked you ended. Great writing that pulled me in the first few paragraphs. I hope they find the cutters at blast off and fry a few of them! Thanks for sharing

    1. Holly Avatar

      😀 That’s why they call ’em “teasers.”

      I’ll post from time to time as I write my way through the rest of the novel.

  26. Chandra Avatar

    I havne’t read the first Clarence Drake novel but I have to say, this grabbed me from the opening line, and now I must read the first book!
    I don’t considerd myself much of a sci-fi fan but I just might change that because now I am intrigued!

    1. Holly Avatar

      Hoping to have Hunting the Corrigan’s Blood out in print/Kindle/Nook/iBook in a couple of months.

      As noted elsewhere, I’m shooting for November 15th for WARPAINT.

  27. Sara Johnson Avatar
    Sara Johnson

    Super excited for November. I sure hope you’ll put this on along with some of the other items from amazon!

    1. Holly Avatar

      Hi, Sara,

      It won’t make it to Kobobooks, because of a Kobobooks policy I can’t live with. Kobobooks discounts. That is, they take the author’s set price, then drop it. Unfortunatley, Amazon price-matches, which means Amazon will find Kobobooks’ unilateral (meaning not author-approved) discount, and match that price. At which point Kobobooks will discount the book again, and Amazon will price-match again, apparently on the theory that the faster they get to zero, the happier everyone will be.

      Except, of course, for the writers who are having their livelihood cut out from under them. Considering I’m publishing reprints at $2.99 (Kindle’s bottom 70% royalty price) and will be publishing new works at $3.99, my prices don’t need to be discounted.

      Since Kobobooks is, when it does this, discounting products it did not purchase in the first place, and since it does so at its whim, and does not honor the author’s set price, I won’t publish there. Probably more than you wanted to know—but I wanted you to know WHY I won’t put my books or writing courses or anything else on Kobo.

      1. Jackie Avatar

        It’s not more than I wanted to know! Thanks for that. I’m also wanting to self publish this year and for a first tim, electronic format is probably the only way to go.
        Hopefully looking to get more helpful tips like this as I continue down HTTS.
        BTW loved this start. I havent read any of your fiction yet but I’m now tempted. Made me think of firefly – and I could only ever mean that as a compliment.

  28. gabby Avatar

    Can’t wait to read the book! thanks for posting

    1. Holly Avatar

      😀 You’re welcome.

  29. DragonsLady (aka Francine) Avatar
    DragonsLady (aka Francine)

    OMG – If I had read that in a physical book I would have immediately purchased it. Now I have to wait. And, even worse, I don’t do Kindle or Nook or any sort of electronic reader. May have to change that.
    As usual – Holly jumps into the fire on the first page and flips the frypan with all the grease on top of her just for fun.

    1. Holly Avatar

      You don’t have to have an e-reader. First, I’ll be bringing out ALL my novels in both print and ebook formats.

      Second, if you want the ebook format, you can get either the free Kindle or Nook downloadable app for any device you own, including your computer.

      Here are the links:
      Free Kindle App
      Free Nook App The Nook download links are at the top of the page on the left. Oddly harder to find than the Kindle download links.

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