It’s all down to this

“Do you want that?” she’d asked him before, expecting his answer to be no, not realizing that he would rather die, would rather be a sacrifice. “I have a friend in there – a dear friend that I betrayed – and I can tell you, he doesn’t want that. He didn’t want this. He would rather live. He would rather be far from this and live in peace.”

“Then he is already dead. There will be no peace so long as–”

She slapped him. He stared at her, silent, gingerly holding his cheek. Maureen clutched her stinging hand and fought the urge to shake him, make him see. 

 “And that is why you failed.” Her voice was low, savage. “Angry boys die for your vision, your lie. Sean will not be one of them; you don’t deserve his sacrifice.”

D: I was not expecting that.

A: Nor was I.

D: Did she really? I mean, wow.

A: Yup. Big grown-up moment.

D: I’m wondering if I recruited. . .

A: You picked the right one, D. But she needed her character arc early in order to serve as Sean’s witness.

D: Sure, character arc. I wonder how well she handles a sword.

A: D, where are you going? D?! You leave Maureen alone – you’ve done enough!

D: What? Oh. Certainly, A. Don’t mind me. . .

A: Watch it Druid, I control the delete button. . .

D: Empty threats, A. Empty threats.

The Druid Tells the Tale:

A: CN Faust has author services – and they’re awesome (A, what are you doing in my accolades? Stealing them, D. I want bookmarks! Then finish the bloody book, A! Fine…)

D: This one is mine! Epic poetry and mysterious beasts are my favorite things, and so I highly recommend the Bestiary of Blatherhorn Vale.  These are some spectacular poems. Get them!

A: A curious experiment is underway . . . http://seancookeofficial.wordpress.com/2013/06/01/bloggers-assemble-a-blogosphere-experiment/ . . . we joined up, because what could be better than us participating in some mysterious blogosphere experiment?! Not much, I say. Not much. (A, I’m scared. Oh, buck up, D.)

Claude – A Life in Four Parts

A: Alright, D – I’m just warning you now, this is in no way related to you. You’re not in the story, so you can stop berating me now, ‘kay?

D: What do you mean, A?

A: It’s about Claude the dog. He was a character in 24 Hours, a lovely little story written in turn by Ionia and Green Embers. I loved the dog so much, and bugged everyone about his origins that it was suggested that perhaps I should write it! And very happily, I did.

D: HA! That’s the way, folks! I have to wonder, however, why you are warning me. Is there some sort of problem with me not being in the story?

A: Wha—Because!

D: . . .

A: Because you always demand to know whether you’re in something? Because you always insist on. . .

D: A, A, A. You underestimate me.

A: . . .

D: I’m shocked and more than a little sad.

A: You are impossible.

D: I know.

The Druid Tells the Tale:

D: Go check out the Community Storyboard folks. Also, Ionia has some great advice on writing, life, the Universe and everything on Charles’ blog, the Legends of Windemere, and The MisAdventures of Vanilla just got even more interesting!!

Stealing the spotlight

. . . There was no moon, no sun, no point of reference. Only the mist was alive with light and movement, revealing his way even as it sought to disorient him.

Dubh walked faster, slicing a path through the haze. Although more than five hundred years had gone since he had passed this way, he remembered. He remembered the hut – a mere speck on the horizon – and he remembered the girl.

She was waiting. Niamh had grown to womanhood in his absence and she was waiting for him.

“Dubh an Súile,” she announced lightly. At the chime of her voice, the mists – the all-pervading mists that shrouded this world, that softened that which was not soft – bloomed with color. Golden yellow, blue and green danced within the current . . .

D: Oh, A. I knew you could do it!

A: Do what? Wait, do I want to know?

D: That scene – it’s new! I like it.

A: Gee, thanks, D. I think.

D: No, I really do. Finally!

A: You seem rather more excited than I would have expected. What’s up?

D: The sky. Birds. Is that a plane?

A: Helicopter. They’ve finally found me.

D: What?

A: You get to be obtuse and I get to be random. It’s a thing.

D: I thank the gods that you write better than you speak.

A:  You and me both! I repeat, what has you so excited, D?

D:  It’s a scene. About me. I mean, being a “god impersonator” is all well and good, but I’m looking for a little depth, A. Some substance. Gravitas!

A: Does personality count?

D: . . . Not as much as you’d like it to.

A: Believe me, D. You have gravitas. Even a little panache. But this scene is to introduce a smidge of background. I couldn’t have you showing up as Commander Declan—

D: Still hate that name.

A: You don’t have it for long; Maureen will recognize you.

D: Thank heaven for small mercies.

A: Can I continue? I couldn’t have you showing up as Commander Declan without a little bit of history – not real history, your history. You were a bit too mysterious to me, so you were an enigma to the story.

D: Well, enigma no more, I have a back-story!

A: Oh, that was bad, D. Even for you. It’s not funny, and I don’t think it makes sense.

D: I know; I picked it out of your brain. You’re welcome.

A: That’s just swell.

“. . . But first you must find them,” Niamh repeated, taking her hand away and rising. Her insistence struck a deep chord in Dubh’s belly. “You must bring them home, before–”

“Niamh, since when are you concerned with the fate of mortals? I know my duty, and I will do it, but this urgency . . .”

“They must be tucked up in their little convent school before he acts. They are a risk – your history is not safe with them blundering about out there. You led them through, Dubh; it is your duty to finish it.”

“You know where they are, don’t you?”

“I do, and I wonder at how they got there. . .” 

Monday, Monday

Is this the true face of D??

D: Oh no. No, A – who is that?

A: What do you mean, D? Can’t you tell?

D: You must be joking. A, please tell me you’re joking.

A: Does this mean you don’t like it?

D: If you mean to tell me that this is m—

A: (Giggling) Sorry, D. I couldn’t help myself. (more giggling . . . now it’s laughter. . . minutes pass . . . still more laughter).

D: Thank heavens. Hello? A? You can stop that now, A.

A: I’m sorry, D. I needed that. No, that is me. With a mustache. At my birthday party.

D: Before or after the sangria?

A: Before. . . just.

D: . . . I fear for you.

A: Thank you, D. Your concern is touching.

D: I see you’re not writing tonight (ahem) . . . do you have a reason for calling me out of the ether?

A: Goal setting.

D: You? Do you have goals?

A: Lots – and most of them are none of your business, Druid! I mean writing goals. I failed at most of them this week. Holiday weekends tend to do me in.

D: Okay, I’m listening, what are your writing goals?

A: Well, last week, I wanted to complete Part 2 by my actual birthday (which is really this week). That’s not going to happen because I realized my entire mechanism for getting Sean and Maureen to Dublin from the west coast was flat-out wrong, and had to re-write two chapters to make it right.

D: I could have told you that.

A: No, you couldn’t; you weren’t even there, D. If you had been—

D: Okay, okay, I get it. So no Part 2 – did you do any writing this weekend?

A: I did; I wrote two small fiction pieces based on prompts and a short story about Sean and Maureen, that are on the Community Storyboard, fixed the two chapters and drafted two other short stories. It’s been very productive, just not in the direction I intended. This week I’m making focus my keyword, and perhaps moderation, too. I want to finish two more chapters, which will put Sean and Maureen in the heart of the conflict in Dublin.

D: And?

A: That not enough for you, D?

D: . . .

A: Fine. I have to update this blog with some added features to keep things organized and maybe write some more things that aren’t part of the Out of Time universe. Writing for the Community Storyboard was fun. I haven’t done that in a very long time.

D:  Congrats, A. Expanding your universe and reasonable goals that might not make you crazy . . . er.

A: Cheers, D!

D: Are we going to do our accolades tonight, A? Or are you still recovering from sangria?

A: Cheeky. Nope, I wanted to congratulate  Charles Yallowitz for the publication of his book of poetry, the Bestiary of Blatherhorn Vale.  Fantastical creatures, beautiful poetry and incredible cover art – this book has it all. Check it out.

D: Since poetry is more my venue than yours, A, allow me to share the Community Storyboard’s poetry prompt: creature creation.

A: Are you sure that’s not my territory? I could call you the creature or monster of my mind.

D: Nice, A.

A: I do what I can. And that is all for today. I’m going to say goodbye to my long weekend with an hour of British spies. Good night!

“. . . When Eoghan confronted us – when he said his name – I knew where we were, Sean. It was a deep, complete knowing. I know this time, I know this war–”

Sean snorted. “Yes, you do.”

“Politics aside, Sean McAndrew, I knew what we had to do.”

“What’s that?” Curiosity overruled his frustration.

“Save him.”

“What? Maureen, you’re mad–”

“Hear me out, Sean. If I’m right, that boy out there goes to Dublin soon and gets himself killed fighting in the uprising on Easter Monday. He had a family here, probably a sweetheart. The Ballard farm doesn’t exist in our time . . . they—“

“Maureen, that happens. Say we convince him to stay. What is to stop him from joining the movements in Galway? He could just as easily die there, too. Besides, no one knows why he went to Dublin. I don’t think we should interfere . . .”

The history lesson

. . . Although she had been a captive, she had been safe – protected from a superstitious crew by a near-crazed nobleman. Grania and Sean had risked everything in the attempt to rescue her, and the reward was Bingham’s increased campaign to destroy native Irish power in the west. Word had already arrived of the sweeping changes he intended to make, changes that would rob Grania’s son-in-law of his rightful claim as leader of the Burke clan. The reward for their courage had been paltry, and more was to come, she knew it. Maureen felt a deep anger at the injustice . . . 

D: And did it? Did more come from Bingham?

A: Um . . . Well . . .

D: Come on, I didn’t stick around. I want to know what kind of havoc we wreacked.

A: You always wreak havoc, D.

D: And your point. . . ?

A : (Eye roll) Yes D, more came from Bingham. He . . . he really wasn’t all that pleasant, so far as Grace O’Malley and her cohorts were concerned.

D: Well, they were pirates, A.

A: Her son wasn’t. Her son-in-law wasn’t.

D: I think I may be sorry I asked.

A: He got his way in the end. He was responsible for her son’ murder and fouled up the leadership system – he was generally disruptive. It wasn’t pretty. But! He was sent to Flanders for his pains.

D: You mean, he was caught?

A: Not so much caught as the Irish started taking offense at his tone. They filed suit after suit against him—

D: And I thought American’s were bad.

A: Well, we do have lots of transplants.

D: Figures.

A: Of course, Bingham managed to put himself back into power, and even managed to thwart the Queen’s edict that Grace get her fleet and cattle back.

D: So everything he worked for, everything he set out to do, he got.

A: Almost. Grace was pretty canny herself. She kept her hand in until the day she died. She and Bingham – they were chess partners.

D: You make it sound almost nice, A. Sounds more to me like Grace was a pain in the arse.

A: Same could be said for Bingham.

D: Aye, but you’re the only one among us that has an O’Malley in her family line.

A: That’s not tr—

D: Spoilers, A! As I was saying, I’m starting to see the family resemblance.

A: Oh! Thanks, D. That’s the nicest—

D: A – A come on, I didn’t—

A: No, D. That really was swell. Thank you.

D: I have my moments.

A: Yes you do.

Introducing the D&A Shout out

D: The what?

A: Shout out.

D: What?

A: Shout out, D. Accolades, introductions, etc.

D: . . .

A: Oh come on, D. You are a druid – I can only imagine that Bard training was part of that.

D: You imagine correctly, for once.

A: And that means you tell the tale, Druid. We are telling the tale.

D: . . . Okay, you have me there. Tell away, A.

A: Well, we have The Community Storyboard. This place is excellent, and there are some really lovely writers and poets sharing their talent. Check them out! There was a weekend prompt on pearls . . . I even thought up a quirky little tale for that one.

D: Am I in it?

A: I only wish you were in it, D.

D: I don’t think I want to know. Don’t forget the Rome Construction Crew (RCC). . . did you really have to tell people why you failed at writing for 10 years?

A: Yep. It’s all about support D – in order to do that effectively, one must be honest.

D: I suppose . . .

A: And, there’s the MisAdventures of Vanilla – there’s a call for characters if any writers are interested. This is a great on-going story and everyone really should check it out!

D: And finally, we have awards, but as ever, Miss A is tardy and has nothing prepared. I think we’re making a page. Don’t worry, I’ll mentally torment her until she gets it done. I’m good at that sort of thing.

A: Thanks, D. In the meantime, we’d like to send a huge thank you to Mike at The Eye-Dancers and Patty at Petite Magique for the “Tag , you’re it” award and the “Most Influential Blogger” award. Thank you so much – you are all so very kind and wonderful!

D: Is that it?

A: Yes, that’s it – now, to commemorate the holiday, work in the garden and celebrate.

D: What are we celebrating? Can I come?

A: My birthday D. 33 this year.

D: You really do like 3s, don’t you? Weirdo.

A: Cheers, D!

Out of Time: The Race

A: Hey, D – Look at what we did!

D: And this is. . . ?

A: Our short story on The Community Storyboard! It’s a deleted scene from my book.

D: Am I in it?

A: Well . . . you’re mentioned.

D: . . .

A: It totally counts, Druid. This Community Storyboard is a great place, D. I’m glad we’re part of it. They even have a Thursday prompt. It’s a lot of fun!

D: I still think I should be mentioned more.

A: (Eye roll) I’m not going to win with you today, am I?

D: Nope.

The sweetest thing

D: Fresh-picked strawberries, still warm from the sun.

A: Pardon?

D: You were going to ask me what I considered to be the sweetest thing, were you not?

A: Uh, no.

D: Oh.

A: Although, that is lovely, and I do agree that sun-warmed ripe strawberries are pretty sweet, this is just as:Cupcake4

D: Whoa.

A: What?

D: I think my teeth just fell out.

A: Dental concerns from the 1300 year-old?

D: Oi, these are all my own teeth!

A: . . .

D: Okay, that one isn’t, but it was knocked out in a particularly nasty confrontation that I’d rather not discuss right now.

A: Um. . . Can we get back to being super sweet?

D: Certainly.

A: Thank you. Now, to the rules:

  1. Thank the Super Sweet Blogger that nominated you.
  2. Answer the five super sweet questions (below).
  3. Include the Super Sweet Blogging Award in your blog post (above).
  4. Nominate a baker’s dozen (13) other bloggers.
  5. Notify your nominees on their blog.

First, D and I want to send out a huge thank you to Jess at Waiting on a Word for nominating us for the Super Sweet Blog Award. I have really been enjoying her posts and she has a sense of humor and turn of phrase that really tickles my funny bone.

The Questions

D: Wait, I get to answer, right? This isn’t going to be all about you again, is it?

A: (Eye roll) You get to answer too, D. . . Don’t clap, D; You’re 1300 years old.

D: All the more reason to clap, A.

Cookies or Cake?

A: Cookies if they’re just gluten free, but cake if it’s the whole-paleo-hog and grain free (coconut flour cookies are just not the same).

D: I have none of these restrictions and would like both, but I’ll settle for cake.

Chocolate or Vanilla?

D&A: Chocolate! At least we can agree on something.

Favorite sweet treat?

A: Dark chocolate salted caramel truffles.

D: See strawberries, above. See A, I knew it.

A: Did your druid-spidey senses tell you that?

D: I know you’re mocking me, and ruining the English language, but I don’t care. Yes.

When do you crave sweets the most:

A: All the time. Usually at 4/5 when I get home from work and I’m faced with the onslaught of child, cats and things needing to be done.

D: Actually never. I’m more of a savory fellow. Plus, the early dark-ages weren’t exactly rife with sweet-treats.

Sweet nickname?

A: Sweetie or sweetheart. My mom also calls me Katemagerk (the spelling is phonetic; I’ve never seen it written out) but I think that’s more odd than sweet.

D: Can I go with sweetie? Please?

A: Really? You didn’t have a Pictish pet-name? Certainly your mother or Mairead had a name for you.

D: I don’t want to talk about that.

A: Can I call you sweetie-pie?

D: No.

A: Stud muffin?

D: A.

A: How about my little Jammie Dodger?

D: Now you’re just being ridiculous.

A: I know. But at least now you’re smiling!

Our nominees. . .

A: We’re actually going to wait until the end of the post for that because . . . (Drum roll, please):wonderful-team-membership-award

D: What is that?

A: A Wonderful Team Member Award. You know – a team, working together? Wait, what am I thinking? I am talking to the lone druid, the dark master of time and fate. You work with no one; you stick to the shadows, manipulate men’s lives and above all, are alone.

D: I think you’re mocking me. Again.

A: (Snerk). Sorry . . . mostly. Okay, okay – you are working with me now, and I do recall a few team efforts in your storyline.

D: Gee, A, how kind of you to remember.

A: Oh, D, cheer up. We were nominated. People appreciate us, and they’re part of our team just as they – and you – are part of mine.  Again, the rules are simple:

  1. The Nominee of the Wonderful Team member Readership Award shall display the logo on his/her blog.
  2. The Nominee shall nominate 14 readers they appreciate over a period of 7 days, all at once or little by little.
  3. The Nominee shall name his/her Wonderful Team Member Readership Award nominees on a post or on posts during 7 days.

The man with some of the most beautiful thoughts I’ve read, Mohamed at Dawn of Thoughts nominated us for this award and we are honored.

D&A: Thank you, Mohamed!

A: Now, this is where I flout the rules—

D: (Surprise, surprise.)

A: As I was saying, thanks to these two awards, I have a total of 27 bloggers to appreciate. I couldn’t decide who should be nominated for each award, so I am nominating all 27 for both/either. Whichever award they want or have yet to receive, they can consider themselves nominated. If they don’t wish to be nominated at all, that’s perfect too, because I really just want the opportunity to list those people who have either made me smile, been utterly charming/honest/raw/beautiful/informative or simply fabulous. Here we go:

  1. Tammy Salyer/Alternative Reality Engineer http://tammysalyer.wordpress.com/about/
  2. Andra/The Accidental Cootchie  http://andrawatkins.com/about-andra-watkins/
  3. Charles/Legends of Windemere http://legendsofwindemere.com/about/
  4. C.N. Faust http://cnfaust.wordpress.com/about-the-author/
  5. Comfortably Numb/Beth http://comfortablynumb7.wordpress.com/about/
  6. Green Embers/Bradley Corbett http://greenembers.wordpress.com/about/
  7. Scott Barr/Human Writes http://coyotero2112.wordpress.com/about-scott-barr/
  8. Ionia/Readful Things Blog http://readfulthingsblog.com/about/
  9. Isabella Stines http://isabellastines.wordpress.com/about/
  10. Jess/Waiting on a Word http://waitingonaword.wordpress.com/about/
  11. John W. Howell/Fiction Favorites http://johnwhowell.com/about/
  12. Julian Froment’s Blog http://julianfroment.wordpress.com/about/
  13. Kira/Wrestling Life http://wrestling-life.com/about/
  14. Jae Dansie/Lit and Scribbles http://litandscribbles.wordpress.com/about/
  15. Liz Blackmore/Little Box of Books – http://littleboxofbooks.wordpress.com/
  16. Michael Bradley – Time Traveler http://mbtimetraveler.com/about/
  17. Mohamed/Dawn of Thoughts http://moossama88.wordpress.com/about/
  18. Mrs Carlie Lee/Diary of a Country Housewife http://mrscarlielee.wordpress.com/about/
  19. Pamela Beckford/Year ‘Round Thanksgiving Project http://pamela984.wordpress.com/about/
  20. Patty/Petite Magique http://petitemagique.wordpress.com/about/
  21. Sreejit Poole/The Seeker’s Dungeon http://theseekersdungeon.com/
  22. Sue Vincent/Daily Echo http://scvincent.com/about/
  23. The Eye-Dancers http://eyedancers.wordpress.com/about/
  24. Charlotte Carrendar/Charlotte’s Web http://charlottecarrendar.com/about/
  25. Chris The Story Reading Ape http://thestoryreadingapeblog.com/about/
  26. Tamara/TIPPR Blog http://tipprblog.com/

And last but certainly not least, the Community Storyboard, which I understand has had its first posts!! Yay – congratulations!

I don’t always have the opportunity to visit your blogs and comment – I’m still learning my way around the blogosphere, and the focus thing is sometimes lacking! But know I have learned something, gained a smile, been fascinated by or simply felt moved by something all of you have written. You’re all sweet, wonderful, charming and kind. I can’t imagine blogging without you.

D: And while A uses that “I” word an awful lot, I’d also like to extend my thanks. I would have no outlet, and no voice if no one visited or gave her an excuse not to be “A” all the time. Cheers.

A: Well said, D.

D: I have my moments.

Bits and bobs

“. . . And you, love, what do you do?”

Maureen stared at Jenny Mallory – Mrs. Mallory to her and Sean – barely comprehending the question.

“What do you mean?” she asked, trying to be polite. It was only ten in the morning, but it has already been a long day.

“I mean lass, what do you do? You brought us Eoghan’s parcel, and for that we’re grateful. It’s just that I can’t see allowing a convent school chit and her young man to become involved in what we’re doing.”

Jenny Mallory was small and pleasantly round. She was Eoghan’s contact in Dublin, and he had assured Maureen that Mrs. Mallory would be amenable to the change in plans. Thinking the only thing pleasant about Mrs. Mallory was her plumpness, Maureen decided Eoghan may yet get himself killed, if only because he was a very poor judge of character. 

“We’re sixteen,” Maureen lied. It was almost true; Sean would be sixteen in only a few days. “We have information, we know–”

“Maureen!” Sean hissed. She closed her mouth and shot him an evil glare. He wasn’t supposed to be hovering; she wouldn’t be able to convince Mrs. Mallory properly if he was listening. . .

D: That’s it, A? That’s all you’re going to write today?

A: Well … I’m writing now.

D: Talking to the character in your head and writing it out doesn’t count, A.

A: Translation counts, D.

D: Don’t make me scold you A. You wouldn’t like me if I scolded you.

A: You assume I like you now. And it does count – my world, my rules, Druid.

D: . . .

A: I’m distracted. It’s Monday. It’s beautiful outside. I have no drive, D.

D: Come on, A, just 400 more words . . . on Part 2. You can do it. You didn’t get up at 4:00 this morning like you promised yourself; do it now and then you can play outside.

A: . . . Fine. I’ll put the blog away. I’ll write. I think I have an idea, anyway. But before I do, can I give a shout-out to a dear lady who had some real inspiration?

D: I’ll allow it.

A: Gee, thanks, D.

The lovely Ionia at the Readful Things Blog has started The Community Storyboard. As she says, whether you are a reader or a writer, the site promises to have what you are looking for. It will ‘showcase poems, short stories and anything else that falls into the category of writing.’ Check it out, submit your work and enjoy – it promises to be a fantastic place. I know I’m very excited.

D: Oi, Miss Fancy-Pants A, what am I, chopped liver?

A: D, just because I’m excited about that doesn’t mean—

D: No A, you should say we’re very excited. Don’t leave me out – I’m excited too!

A: Smoke bombs and storyboards, right D?

D: Yep!

When in Rome

female-writer-sepD: What is this, A? Why am I in a box? Is this your idea of a joke – mad man in a box? I find your Dr. Who references to be very inappropriate. . . . A? A, where are you?

A: It’s just for a moment, D. I need to get something off my chest. I need to explain why I took to the blogosphere to exorcise – I mean celebrate – our wonderful relationship.

D: A? I don’t think I like where this is going, A.

A: Tough, Druid. Buck it up.

D: . . .

A: D is a figment of the imagination. I know this. The only problem: it’s not my imagination.

I gave him a place to play, yes. I’ve encouraged his growth, gave flourish to his ego, and even (gasp) appreciated his finer points and smoothed some of his rough edges. But he is not mine.

D was given to me over 13 years ago. The Irishman who would one day have the distinction of becoming my ex-husband read my book and said, “Sure, it’s great. (Liar.) But I see someone else in it.” He told me about D. He was a blond then, a Celt and a Druid. His eyes were still blue but he was actually far more taciturn and far more forbidding. He couldn’t stay in my head for 13 years and stay that way, though.

Hearing his description of D, I agreed. He had a place in the story and I went about writing it in. It wasn’t bad, but it certainly wasn’t great, and I couldn’t read it without cringing in places. The story didn’t sit well with me, so I went to write another one.

It wasn’t until I was half-way through the outline that I realized that D had a place there, too; it was the tale of his beginning. I knew too that if this was his beginning, then he had his own story to tell, and lucky me, I was the one to tell it.

There was a problem, however: I didn’t like him much.

Worse than that. I couldn’t see him.

I’m a visual person. I watch a movie in my head when I read and I’m fascinated by the visual interpretations of books on screen, even if they are often semi-comic/tragic interpretations.  For me not to be able to see D was a big problem. His story is actually one I enjoy (even if he drives me crazy), and I felt like I let him and the story down.

Then, life got in my way. Not only that, but the world changed.

Facebook, twitter, ebooks – it exploded!

I had a website – 3 actually – back in the Angelfire days. One, as I mentioned in our “award” dialogue, was connected to NBC for a brief time. I chatted with Irish, Scots and Basque Nationalists and will never look at the Blue Bunny the same way again.

There are many similarities between that world and our own, but when you’ve been gone – working, raising a child, paying too much attention to the mundane details of life – getting back in the game is daunting.

But I knew I had to do it. I now work at a magazine publishing house. I know how this goes. I know I need to make myself marketable. But I’ve struggled with how. For over a year I’ve been exploring my own brain (scary place) and wondering just how to market myself when asking an avid train enthusiast to buy the latest “Railroad Maps” special issue makes me cringe.

How can I do that when the foundation for my books ticks me off and remains elusive?

So, ten years passed without a word written. Rather, I wrote, but on conservation subdivisions, water gardens and the economics of land conservation. I blocked D off. I ignored him. Friends called, said they were dreaming about D, and could I please write something, maybe?

I tried. I had inspiration. I blocked out the new outlines for a revised Book 1 & 2 that made sense, outlines that seemed right.

But I couldn’t write them.

I didn’t understand, but I knew that one day, I would. I let the frustration go, and just let it be.

Then, it was TC’s birthday. We celebrated his birthday and the world not ending by going to a movie. It was lovely; I still listen to the soundtrack. Every day. My nearly-teen son teases me. I still listen.

This is not D, but TC and I still had fun shooting the pictures anyway!

This is not D, but TC and I still had fun shooting the pictures anyway!

After the movie, I had my celebratory glass of wine (or rather my I-survived-20-hrs-of-labor-and-100-extra-pounds glass of wine). I started thinking about D and the story (because not a day went by in 10 years that I didn’t think about D and the story), and the movie.

And there he was.

In all his glory. It slapped me across the face, gave me goose bumps and made me pay attention.  He had a face. He had a voice. He had a presence that I could see and understand. He was mine. He had marinated in the morass that is my mind long enough, and he was mine.

And so I wrote. I wrote and I blew through the 3-chapter barrier. As we neared the end of part 1, re-writing the entire thing as we went, I realized that the camaraderie I had built with D was something ‘else.’

It might even be something others might enjoy.

Something marketable.

Something that wasn’t me exactly, but was the story, was D, and was faintly entertaining in its own right.

So I blogged. And amazingly, I loved it! I still think Twitter may be Dante’s 8th circle, but it’s kind of fun. I even think I could have another blog (more on that later. . . I might also be crazy!).

My trouble is staying on task, focusing. I need to maintain a healthy disregard for D, otherwise these posts may become a bit of a love-fest, and that’s no fun! I also need to write Part 2, which is hard because I’m not a rabid nationalist anymore. I’ve switched sides, become Sean and I think I might have to OD on Braveheart in order to do Maureen’s idealism justice. The rest of the story is lovely and it’s spinning itself together in a way I had never before considered. I can’t wait to get there.

And then there is D. We do chat. He has a nice baritone, so conversing is lovely. It’s not that I dislike him anymore – I have a very healthy respect for him – but honestly, try living with an overbearing Scot with an ego as big as he is old. Respect, entertainment – it all goes flying out the window eventually.

This is why I’m in Rome. This is bigger – so much bigger – than I had anticipated. But I want to do it. I want to tell the tale and I want to be marketable. D is my brand. Having the support of like-minded people is incredible. And I am so thankful to be a part of the Rome Construction Crew.

D: So, if I’m your brand, does that mean you’re going to stop talking soon?

A: Yes, D – get ready to shine!

Living in interesting times

Interesting Blog Award

Interesting Blog Award

D: Confucius never said that.

A: Um . . . what?

D: That {pointing}. Your title – it’s not Chinese. It’s not old. And Confucius had nothing to do with it.

A: I didn’t—

D: In fact, he didn’t say half the malarkey you all like to heap on his head.

A: D? Calm down, D. First, malarkey?

D: You get flibbertigibbet, I get malarkey.

A: Oh, D, you do tempt me with tangents and random obscurities.

D: That’s not–

A: I know, D. We made up the curse – some ambassador thought it sounded neat and attributed it to an ancient Chinese philosopher. I know. And I get it: you and Confucius were buds way back when in your time-travelling days, and you take exception to the malarkey. But D, this has nothing to do with whether or not the curse was real or if Confucius said it.

D: It doesn’t?

A: Nope, it has to do with me.

D: You? (Snicker)

A: Don’t laugh too hard, D. To be honest, it’s related to this blog, which we technically share. We were nominated for an award.

D: I think I’m going to refrain from my normal diatribe on the lengths to which your society goes to make itself feel good.

A: Thank you, D. It is a first-world problem, and I’m happy to have it.

D: (Grumble, grumble) So, the award . . .

A: It’s called the Interesting Blog Award. I was nominated by the very lovely Kira at Writing Snapshots  and Wrestling Life. The rules are simple: First, thank the person who nominated you.

D&A: Thank you Kira!!

A: Then, list five random facts about yourself, nominate five other blogs, answer five questions and ask five questions of our own to our nominees.

D: Who gets to answer the questions and the random facts?

A: I think we both can.

D: All right, but then who gets to ask the questions?

A: (Eye roll) We’ll split them – I’ll even let you ask the most, if you promise to keep them fairly straightforward.

D: Are you insinuating—

A: I think we’ll begin. First, our random facts:

A: I gave up Diet Coke for my 32nd birthday, and we think the stock went down because of it.

D: My name means “Black Eyes” even though they’re actually bright blue.

A: The finale of MI-5 made me cry. Fictional British spies made me sob for nearly 5 minutes. I fear for my sanity.

D: (Now she fears for her sanity?!): I was born in 670 AD in what is now the area around Inverness.

A: My son has classier tastes in literature than I do. He loves Shakespeare and has a pet name for Charles Dickens (it’s “Chickens” by the way, and it makes me giggle every single time).

D: I have several tattoos. My favorite is the stylized snake that wraps around my sword arm, but I’m also fond of the raven on the left side of my face. It was never completed because I disappeared into a sidhe mound in Ireland during my training there. When I returned, there was no one to complete it – all those who remembered me had died a generation earlier.

A: I didn’t realize that Han Solo and Indiana Jones were the same man until I was 5. And I was in love with them both.

D: I had only one love of my life, but I lost her when I left to fight a war.

A: Before this foray into the interwebs, I had a website (waaaay back when) called “Letters to Conan O’Brien.” Instead of a restraining order, NBC sent me a contract that made me promise I wouldn’t put up nude pictures, and linked it to the old old old Conan/NBC site in the fan pages section. The site died when I moved to Ireland, but I live in hope that it’s floating around somewehere in the electronic ether.

D: I fought beside fabled kings, warriors and tacticians, including Cu Chulainn, Fionn mac Cumhaill, Brian Boru, William Wallace, and Arthur.

A: Our nominees (They are all awesome people – go visit!):

  1. The Accidental Cootchie Mama http://andrawatkins.com/about-andra-watkins/
  2. Readful Things Blog http://readfulthingsblog.com/about/
  3. The Baggage Handler http://thebaggagehandler.me/about/
  4. The Eye-Dancers http://eyedancers.wordpress.com/about/
  5. Written Words Never Die http://ericalagan.net/ericalagan/

A: Now for our answers:

What’s your all-time favorite movie?

A: I have five – Gone with the Wind, Star Wars, Indiana Jones, Wizard of Oz and Braveheart. . . there are more but those are the ones I’ll watch indefinitely.

D: I’ll go with The Ghost and Mrs. Muir. Granted, it was also the last film I saw in person.

Who is your favorite author?

A: Depends on the genre, the day, my mood . . . today I’ll pick Frank Herbert, particularly the Pandora Sequence.

D: I always found the Venerable Bede to be amusing.

A: D, you do realize that Bede wasn’t trying to be funny, right?

D: Yes, A – and that’s why I laugh.

Who is your favorite character (can be from a book, movie, or tv)

A: Right now, Tuppence and Tommy Beresford (both the TV and book versions). They are so charming – I love them.

D: I’m tempted to say myself, but that may appear self-serving. I do rather enjoy William Wallace, however. Book, movie or real life, he had such a good way of rousing the troops. He was really quite useful…

A: D… enough.

White Chocolate or Dark Chocolate?

A: Dark! The darker the better!

D: I was always fond of the cocoa bean; I prefer it as prepared by the Aztec mystics, but dark chocolate is quite satisfactory.

If you could do one thing without any repercussions, what would it be?

A: I try to live life pretty close to my desires, but I can’t eat gluten, so. . . eating a Pizza Hut pizza, deep dish (I dream about this some nights – so sad) and second (one is just so hard!), taking the curb during a traffic jam and just leaving all the cars behind.

D: She’s crazy. I can’t compete with that.

A: Finally, our questions:

D: What is your favorite moment in history?

A: If you could eat one food item for the rest of your days, what would it be?

D: What is your fondest childhood memory?

A: If a mad man in a box whisked you away and said you could go anywhere and anytime in the universe, what would you choose?

D: If training, ability and money were not an issue, what would you like to be when you grow up?

A: And we’re done! Many thanks again to Kira for nominating The D/A Dialogues. It’s a giddy moment for us.

D: It looks like I rather overreacted at the beginning of this. It certainly did not go where I expected it to.

A: Well, D, you certainly made it interesting.

D: Nice.