Hidden: Dubh Súile Speaks

D: My name is Dubh Súile mac Alasdair.

A: No, it is not.

D: We’ve been over this, A.

A: I know, but how can you open a post with that? It isn’t your name (name changer)!

D: I thought you were going to give me the floor today.

A: Oh. Yeah. Sorry. Go ahead. I’ll shut myself up in this blue box over here. Gee, I wonder what that – wheeee!

D: That she roams free upon this earth startles me.

I am Dubh Súile mac Alasdair. Some know me and say that I am kind. Others say that I am powerful and merciless. Others still see a battle-scarred young man whose father – a king of his people – was slaughtered before his eyes.

Then there is me. There is the me I show to you all, the me that exists here within the mystical lines and dashes of code that make up the internet. There is the me that exists within the stories A has allowed herself to see and write thus far. Then there is the me that she has yet to write. She has seen glimpses, and she has shared them with you in poetic form as she searches for more ways to feel who I am. As she looks deeper within the soul she has carried in her head for these many years, the me that is will begin to shine.

I was born in 668 near Loch Ussie in what is now Scotland. My people and their history are gone from this world, but we were princes once. We counseled kings, and won for them wars. We were apostate, yet monks of Rome taught our young together with venerable Druids. I was raised to join them, these priests of dying gods. I was taught to be the greatest of their number, and lead them, while my brother would lead our clan.

Instead, I ran away.

I was young, foolish and in love. I was betrayed and saved in one breath. I lost and was not gracious in defeat. Time tempered my soul – time, war and a journey into myth that afforded me as much as it stole from me.

Now I no longer run.

Who am I? What is in the hidden window of my soul?

I am Dubh Súile mac Alasdair and I am powerful. I am the son of kings. The blood of old gods flows in my veins yet I alone control my destiny.

I am merciless, but I will not countenance suffering nor allow treachery to take root in my heart.

I am tender and know love well. The memory of my Mairead’s touch warms my soul, and I smile, although it is through tears.

I walk alone. Doubt brought me to my knees, and duty has torn me from the side of all those who were dear to my heart. I risk much to right old wrongs and see to it that those who come after me may walk freely upon this earth.

I am Dubh Súile mac Alasdair and I am flawed. I am human.

The heart of humanity is resilient and I have watched it beat unfailingly throughout these many centuries – and it beats within this old body, yet. It carries me through the deepest terrors of my soul and gives me hope that one day A will finish my tale and allow my journey to end. When she does, I will finally be at peace.

Hidden: Dubh Súile Speaks was brought to you by The Queen Creative’s Prompts for the Promptless: Johari Window.

Check out these other offerings for this week’s prompt:

PS: This is the last Prompts for the Promptless of Season 3. Season 4 starts up again on January 7!

 

 

 

The Man Behind the Curtain

Courtesy Google Images

The *real* man behind the curtain. At least today.
Courtesy Google Images

D: Who is behind the curtain?

A: You.

D: But – are you accusing me of being a hack who subs sawdust for brains?

A: You’re rather attached to that reference, aren’t you?

D: It comes in so well with you.

A: Cheers, D. And while that was part of the allusion, I was more referring to these shots and videos of Benedict Cumberbatch doing the motion capture work for Smaug.

D: That’s it?

A: Yep.

D: Really?

A: Just not feelin’ it today, D. It was either this, or rant about darling killing and how much I want to rip Part 2 to shreds right now because I can’t get the kids to Dublin in any fashion that resembles believable.

D: Believable? From you, A? Honestly, woman. I have four words for you:  Time-Traveling Pict Druid.

A: Yeah, and?

D: You blog with a figment of your imagination.

A: . . .

D: Believability ain’t got nuthin’ on you, to paraphrase my favorite hillbilly bounty hunter.

A: Really? Your favorite?

D: Considering that ‘A the Bounty Hunter’ is the only hillbilly bounty hunter I know, yeah, I think so.

A: Gee, D – that’s the nicest thing you could have said to me!

D: You have some very strange ideas on what ‘nice’ is, A.

A: Consider the source.

D: . . . Fair enough. Just do this old Druid a favor, please?

A: Maybe.

D: Have fun with this story. If you do – then like as not, so will everyone else.

A: I’m not even going to ask what you did with my Druid. You’re calmer, older, timey-wimey D, aren’t you?

D: Shhh. Don’t ruin the moment, A.

A: Cheers, D.

And there you have it ladies and gentlemen: every once in a while, the Druid has something decent to say. I’ve done three iterations of this ‘dialogue’ – all with the reproach to keep it fun. It’s something I need to remember for the introduction to 1916 Dublin. An uprising timed to piss off the Brits in the midst of WWI isn’t really lighthearted fare, but over-thinking on my part is really going to kill the momentum for the story. So, that’s what I’m doing right now – I have at least three different versions of the six chapters in question . . . and this is why beta readers and sounding boards are so very important!

Anything to which you give the greater part of your heart can sometimes swallow your reason, too. What do you find most difficult to remember – even as it is necessary – when in the process of creating something ?

The Druid asks the Questions of Jack Flacco

D: It is my pleasure, nay, my grave pleasure—see what I did there A?

A: (eye roll) Yes, D – I see it. Very clever.

D: You don’t sound very impressed.

A: Sorry, I was saving the ticker-tape for a special occasion.

D: What could be more special than this? Ladies and Gentlemen, it is my grave pleasure to welcome Jack Flacco, author of Ranger Martin and the Zombie Apocalypse, to the D/A Dialogues.

D: Jack, give us a quick, spoiler-free overview of Ranger Martin and the Zombie Apocalypse.

jack flacco - zombieJ: After finding his family had succumbed to the ravages of the zombie apocalypse, Ranger Martin, a shotgun-toting former truck driver, makes a life mission of eradicating as many eaters as he can with the little resources he has at his disposal. Making things complicated are a group of kids tagging along, aiding Ranger on his quest to discovering the truth regarding the zombification of humanity.

D: Why zombies – what is it about them that drove you to write a book?

J: Zombies are fun. They’re Horror’s little Terminators. No matter how much we try to get rid of them, they keep coming. They replicate. They take a beating. They never surrender. Their unrelenting pace brought me to the genre, and I’ve always wanted to read a book where zombies scared me to a cold chill.

D: So many components go into writing and then publishing a book – which was your favorite?

J: I enjoy stepping into the story to experience what the characters are experiencing. The role-playing aspect interests me the most, as it’s a brief opportunity to live someone else’s life. Is there such a thing as method writing?

D: I think so – my presence on this blog may be a side effect of such a phenomena. So, do you have any traditions or rituals you invoke when you complete a draft?

J: Without fail, I’ll take the family out for dinner. It’s a tradition I’ve kept since the very beginning. Funny thing about it, the draft doesn’t come up in conversation. I guess we’re too busy enjoying the sushi to talk about it.

D: Which of your characters character were you rooting for the most?

J: Randy. Here’s a kid who’s stuck in the wrong place at the wrong time with very little to live for and dream. Yet, hooking up with Ranger may have been the best choice of his life—even if at times Ranger dances on the threshold of insanity.

D: The threshold of insanity seems to be a thing with writers. Ranger and A have a lot in common. Speaking of, which of your characters did you enjoy torturing?

J: If you consider zombies as a character, then I think every zombie kill was my idea of fun. I kept track of the kills so I wouldn’t do the same thing twice.

D: Sometimes writers go into a novel with one idea/favorite and come out the other side with a completely different idea or favorite character – did this happen to you, or were you able to remain true to your initial vision?

J: I wrote it with the idea that not everything we see is what it seems. As humans, we have a tendency to make up our mind about things before getting all the facts. It happens to me all the time. For instance, the line at checkout has five shoppers, so I switch to the other line with the two shoppers thinking I’ll get out of the store faster. But I didn’t see the shopper ahead of me having an item needing a price check. Next thing I know, I’m stuck waiting longer than the original line I had stood in. Perception makes for an interesting bedfellow.

D: What’s next for Jack Flacco?

J: I have two other books I’m currently writing at the same time.

D: What is your favorite genre to read?

jack flaccoJ: I’m reading John Grisham’s full bibliography in chronological order based on date of publication. It’s something I’ve wanted to do for a long time, but put it off for a reason or other. I suppose for now, the legal thriller is my favorite genre.

D: You discus movies quite a bit on your blog – do movies play into your creative process at all?

J: I grew up on a staple of Spielberg, Lucas and Cameron movies. As much as I try to avoid adding references to these film titans, something manages to slip in. It then becomes a game for me to find the references. I suppose it happens as my own version of a subconscious homage to these great directors.

D: Provided it’s not a spoiler, what is your favorite name for a zombie – either in your own work or in other works out there?

J: Eaters. I’ve heard this term used before and it describes the zombies perfectly. The undead do nothing other than hunt and eat. If I had my way, though, I’d call them sharks. Then again, confusion would arise whenever a story took place in shark-infested waters. Isn’t there a movie about that?

D: What has been your favorite visual interpretation of the zombie genre?

J: The ability to survive a catastrophic event such as the annihilation of humanity can come in different flavors. By far, AMC’s The Walking Dead is as close to a zombie apocalypse as anyone can get for now. I can’t seem to let go of Season 1’s imagery from my mind. Zombieland is another one of my favorites, even though the electricity still works in that universe. Then again, with so many automated backup systems in place nowadays, who’s to say the lights would go out in an end-of-the-world scenario?

D: Who would you pick to play Ranger Martin in the movie version of your book?

J: I draw a blank whenever asked this question. I left Ranger’s description vague on purpose in order for readers to imagine their own interpretation. I’ll say this though, if Ranger Martin does get optioned for a movie, the actor playing him would have to be strong enough to lift a soldier off his feet.

D: What do you think the odds would be on a time-travelling druid vs. a zombie hoard?

J: I fear for the zombies’ safety.

D: Hear that, A?

A: Of course, with the right equipment, a three-year old could destroy a zombie.

D: A zombie maybe, but we’re talking zombie hoards, A. A swarm, a multitude a veritable throng of zombies.

A: . . .

D: A mob, A.

A: No more reading the thesaurus for you, D. If you want to see if you could pit your wits against Jack’s zombies, pick up his book, Ranger Martin and the Zombie Apocalypse at Amazon.com, tomorrow, October 22 (Wait, that’s TODAY – Buy your copy now)! You can also stalk him on his blog, and on Facebook.

D: Also, check out A’s review of Ranger Martin. . . even if it is Druid Free.

A: Ha, Druid Free. I like that – kinda like Gluten Free, but for my sanity instead of my stomach.

D: . . . Ignore the woman behind the curtain. She’ll offer you sawdust and call it brains!

A: Mmmmm . . . Brains. . .

D: And with that, we bid you all good day. Thank you for stopping by the D/A Dialogues.

Please give a warm Hobbit welcome!

A: Hey, looky here – D and I are going to be doing Entertainment News at Green Embers Recommends! Thank you for the warm welcome, Green! We can’t wait to get started!

D: He called me a scalawag.

A: Is that a problem, D?

D: Nope, not at all. Quite apt, I think!

A: Plus… Hobbits!! 🙂

D: Oh for the love of the gods, don’t encourage her!

A: Too late, D. Too, too late!

In Review: Ranger Martin and the Zombie Apocalypse

jack flacco - zombieWhen picking your ‘team’ for the zombie apocalypse, Ranger Martin should be high on your list. When picking a book to read – for the sheer fun of it or for the love of a good story – Ranger Martin and the Zombie Apocalypse, by Jack Flacco, should also be high on your list.

A tightly-knit story, woven together with humor, pathos and just-around-the-corner danger, Ranger Martin, was everything I wanted out of a thriller. It starts out with a bang, and doesn’t let up until the final page.

As I read, I felt as though I was riding along with Ranger Martin and the kids: I felt the desert air, felt the fear and thrill of adventure. Jack’s words made their struggles and fears mine as I read. Additionally, the camaraderie between the characters, and the relationships – kid-to-kid, and kid-to-adult – flowed naturally.

Ranger himself was, at turns, wild, mysterious, heroic and just plain fun. Frankly, I read the book wishing I had a Ranger Martin in my life growing up – zombies or no. While the book is humorous at times, Jack never lets you forget that the zombies are a very real danger. I found myself holding my breath in some sequences, fearing the worst but hoping for the best.  I also loved the twist on the genre that Jack employed. As a newbie to the zombie mythos, I enjoyed it quite a bit.

Of course, you’ll have to pick up the book in order to find out what that twist is, and I highly recommend that you do so. Ranger Martin and the Zombie Apocalypse is due for release on October 22, 2013, and is available at amazon.

This review was based on the digital ARC, provided by the author.

Ranger Martin and the Zombie Apocalypse from the Author:

jack flaccoNever call them zombies. That was one of the rules. So much for rules, everyone who made up that garbage is either dead or undead. It doesn’t matter anymore. They go by other names—chewers, eaters, maggot bags, the changed. Whatever they’re called, they’re everywhere. And they’re not giving up until every last human becomes a single serving entrée to satiate their uncontrollable appetite.

Enter shotgun-toting Ranger Martin who is determined to end the zombies’ all-you-can-eat buffet. In an abandon military silo on the outskirts of the Nevada/Arizona border, he and his specialized team of assassins plan their assaults. Who’s he kidding? His team consists of three kids in their teens, and a boy barely old enough to wipe his own nose. But when a secret air force base in the Mojave Desert proves there’s more to the change than anyone knew, the temptation is too great. Now Ranger and the others set out on the road to overthrow the center of the infestation—a frantic race that will either destroy the hunger-prone zombies or cost him and his friends their lives.

Use your zombie prowess to stalk Jack on his official website or on Facebook.

The Druid Dazzles with Daring-do

By Green Embers

By Green Embers

A: What exactly are you doing daringly that dazzles so much, D?

D: Wouldn’t you like to know.

A: Well, that was the point of asking the question.

D: . . .

A: I mean, you have something back up all that hype, right? Or you just a flimflam man?

D: Flimflam man? Are you calling me a sham?

A: With yams.

D: You are ridiculous.

A: Yes, I am. And see, I have proof, right here. In writing. Back it up, D!

D: Could I just get on with the tale-telling?

A: Certainly, my dazzling drivel-meister.

D: There is something wrong with you.

Celebrate it

D: John W. Howell, he of Fiction Favorites fame, has been published in The Paperbook Collective. Congratulations, John! Hey, A – do you think he’ll forgive me for mistaking him for that other guy?

A: That other guy?

D: Yeah, you know, that other John guy – John Milton?

A: Maybe if you ask real nice and offer to do a real interview with him, he’ll consider it.

Promote it

D: The Literary Syndicate, your resource for all things helpful in our literary world, has established a “Features” section on his blog. Want to showcase your work – look no further, as Features are Wanted!

A: And check out Papi’s first feature, Angie Skelhorn.

D: I have it on great authority – if one considers A’s assertion a fact (and I’m not sure I do, as she once insisted that fuzzy socks were a requirement for breathing. Her authority on anything has been mighty suspect after that), it can be more than a little nerve-wracking for writers to go beyond the borders of their heads, but Twitter at least allows one to do it while still in your bathrobe–

A: And fuzzy socks.

D: (Sigh) Legends of Windemere scribe, Charles Yallowitz offers up these tips to de-beak the Twitter-beast and instead, utilize the tool as an effective weapon in your promotional armory. Enjoy.

A: With fuzzy socks.

D: Seriously?

A: It’s cold.

D: Moving on.

A: Kill joy. You don’t know what you’re missing. And neither do you, out there in the blogosphere, if you haven’t, check out Green Embers. Green is this week’s Blogger of the Week at Readful Things, and frankly, there is no one more deserving.

Read it

D: there are more than a few talented wordsmiths here on the blogosphere – talented and prolific. One is Jessica Bell, who writes at the behest of Helena Hann-Basquiat. Check out the latest installment of the Bayou Bonhomme serial, In the Shadows.

A: And once you’ve shaken off the shivers and anticipation, check out Charles Yallowitz’s poem, Yesterday, She Was, at the Community Storyboard. It is beautiful and touching.

D: In other words, break out the hanky.

A: Finally, Sue Vincent has some great news – you can download The Initiate, adventures in sacred chromatography, to celebrate the upcoming launch of her books, The Living One and The Osiriad. Find out more on her blog, Daily Echo.

Debate it

A: Helena Hann-Basquiat has a thought-provoking and entertaining piece at the Outlier Collective, Euthanasia is Sexy

D: Did you just use the words Euthanasia and entertaining in the same sentence?

A: Yep. And don’t just think it’s for real people, D. . . characters can—

D: Don’t say it, A. Don’t even think it.

A: Then you know what you have to do, don’t you?

D: Take over the world and ensure that you are slave to my power for all time.

A: . . . .

D: Yep, thought so.

Write it

A: Only 14 days until NaNoWriMo!

D: I think there should be care and feeding tips for owners of writers embarking on the NaNoWriMo gauntlet.

A: Really? Aside from the pejorative terminology, that almost sounds like you care, D.

D: You think I want you going off the rails? I’m all for you trying to write series 2 in 30 days, but I’m afraid if you aren’t kept well, part of it might happen from a hermit cave or worse, a jail cell.

A: . . . your concern is touching. I think.

D: Don’t say I never did anything for you, A.

A: Never would I ever, D. . . .(Insanity is doing something, right?)

D: (You bet your aunt fanny it is.)

A: (eye roll.) Speaking of writing (and not from a jail cell or otherwise) Catherine Ryan Howard, from Catherine Caffeinated, asks, How Much Time Do You Need to Write?

D: And while you’re writing, here are some words to avoid like the plague

A: Do cliché’s count?

D: Maybe…

A: You’re hopeless.

D: Thank you. Keep in mind this list doesn’t apply to all but it is a helpful guide.

Publish it

A: Every once in a while, we do aim to educate.

D: Every once in a while? A! I educate all the time.

A: Pray tell…

D: I’m a time travelling Druid. My very being is educational.

A: The scary thing is, you believe that. But since you don’t know anything about the publishing industry (and I know precious little myself), check out this 2-part series from Critical Margins:

D: If you like your publishing tips a little on the funny side, check out Fiction Favorites and 1WriteWay’s simu-published “Top 10 Things Not To Do When Trying To Get Published.”

Prompt it

D: that doesn’t make sense, A.

A: People can infer, D. I’m pretty confident that the intelligence level around here is capable of that. . . well, maybe not you.

D: I will fong you.

A: . . . .

D: You aren’t the only one who can make tv and movie references, woman.

A: Fine. Fong away. Meanwhile, at the Community Storyboard, the prompt of the week is Yesterday. Check out the offerings, including mine, and submit your own!

D: And The Queen Creative’s Prompts for the Promptless this week is Kintsukuroi. A wrote a lovely piece here.

A: You thought it was lovely?

D: Of course I did. You thanked me at the end. I can hold that over your head for the rest of your days. It’s beautiful.

A: I will fong you!

D: And with that, we wish you good night, ladies and gentlemen – thank you for catching up with us here at the D/A Dialogues.

A Date with A Druid, Part 2

Is D ready for the modern world of dating? Is the modern world of dating ready for D?

It started out as a desperate cry from lonely Druid – let me have a date with your character, 1WriteWay (Marie Ann Bailey), I promise I’ll behave. Yeah right, said the writers. Nevertheless, the date happened. Read on for the exciting conclusion to “A Date with A Druid” as D attempts to woo Mary, a contemporary woman in a series about three widowed cousins who start a private investigation firm.

Previously. . .

The Druid picked up the bouquet of roses and held them out to her. “Has your lover ever given you flowers as beautiful as these? Has his lips burned a kiss onto your hand, as I have. Oh, yes, dear lady, I felt you shiver with that kiss.”

Mary took another gulp of wine. She was going to have to have a long talk with 1WriteWay, her author. She studied her glass, wondering why it was empty so quickly and, more importantly, how to extricate herself from this large, overbearing, egotistical hunk of a man . . .

By Green Embers

By Green Embers

“Come, my lady – don’t tell me you haven’t wondered what it’s like to live outside the lines your writer has given you.”

He gestured to the gentleman behind the bar for another round. Mary twisted herself around to shake her head at the man but he was already gone. Damn. She turned back to D. He was still talking. Well, he certainly enjoyed the sound of his own voice, didn’t he? Too bad she did, too.

“She doesn’t give me – I mean, she’s very good at interpreting my story–”

“Don’t you want to feel for yourself? Feel alive in ways no one else can possibly imagine?”

Mary had a hot denial at the ready but paused. She lifted the new glass of Chardonnay and eyed D over the rim. He had a point.

But he was far too pleased with himself to give in.

She touched her lips to the glass – just a small taste this time. Her cheeks were already flushed with the heat of the alcohol and it would not do to let that heat encourage those ridiculously blue eyes any further than she already had.

“I suppose you can help me do that, then?”

A slow, wicked smile spread over the man’s face and his eyes drifted to her lips. A cool tingle of wine still lingered there and Mary resisted the urge to lick them.

This was not fair. What was it about Druids that made them special? Was it magic? 1WriteWay should have warned her to brush up on her history before allowing this date to happen. And that A – she had a lot to answer for, letting this man loose.

“Not magic, my lady – just several centuries of watching man’s progress and interaction with one another.”
“Oh.” Mary frowned. Had she said that out loud? She didn’t remember speaking. No more Chardonnay. “You know, you’re making this very difficult for me.”

“And what could I do to make it better for you? I do only wish to please.”

“Why is it when you say that, it sounds so . . . so . . . naughty?”

“Only if you wish it so, my lady.”

“Why, I  – Oh for heaven’s sake, put on a shirt.”

The Druid burst out laughing and Mary covered her cheeks with her hands. Her face was burning.

“Alas, all I have is a rag from my days as a pirate – I did not wish to embarrass you with my poor wardrobe.”

“Pirate?” Mary fanned her cheeks. Visions of swashbuckling heroes flickered through her mind.

No. No swashbuckling. No pillaging of her honor. No. No. No. Overbearing, that’s what he was. Overbearing, egotistical and . . . and . . . deeply affecting . . . No!

Mary gave herself a mental shake. Chauvinistic. Yes, that was it.

Perhaps his naked torso was better. “Maybe, um, you could just button up your coat,” she muttered.

“As my lady desires.”

“And stop with that – my lady this, my desires that. My name is Mary, and I would prefer you use it.”

D bowed his head. She couldn’t be sure, but she thought he was laughing silently. His eyes were far too merry for him not to be. Honestly, this was just too much.

“And what’s this about not wishing to embarrass me? Quite frankly D, I think you’re enjoying my discomfort far too much. My God, if Randy ever said—What? Why are you laughing?”

“Your lover’s name is Randy?”

“Yes?”

D was giggling into his stout. Giggling.

Druids shouldn’t giggle, Mary thought as she sipped her Chardonnay.

“I’m sorry, my lady – much of my life was spent in the British Isles,” he said. He was gulping at the air, trying to catch his breath.

“What does that have to do with it?”

“Oh well, it’s just that – excuse me – the word ‘randy’—“

God, he was snorting now. Mary rolled her eyes.

“The word ‘randy’ is slang for – for–” The Druid took a deep breath and managed to compose himself. He arched an eyebrow at her but the effect was lost in his ruddy face and the tears that were still coursing down his cheeks. “For the sexually excited – well, for you my lady.”

His smile turned into a leer and he reached for her hand again.

“Why, you conceited pig! You are the worst kind of – of man!”

Mary yanked her hand from his heated paw and bolted from her seat with enough force to rock the chair on two legs. D stared up at her and she thought she caught a glimmer of surprise in his face before the mask of suave confidence smoothed his features.

“I am the only kind of man—“

Before he could even finish the sentence, Mary smashed the bouquet of roses in his face and stomped to the door. Of all the—1WriteWay owed her for this, that was for damn certain.

But even as she reached the door, the Druid’s words echoed in her head. “Don’t tell me you haven’t wondered what it’s like to live outside the lines.” She paused, her hand wrapped around the handle. She did wonder.

Against her better judgment, Mary spared the Druid a glance over her shoulder.

Oh, for the love of—not only had the waitress rushed to his aid, but D was also smiling graciously at the barman as he stooped to clear the scattered rose petals. As she watched, D turned those deep bedroom eyes on the girl until she twirled her hair.

Honestly. Man or woman, it didn’t matter to that randy—Mary caught herself and grinned. It was funny – somewhat. Perhaps she should go home and teach Randy what his name really meant.

Broken

Courtesy Google Images

Courtesy Google Images

I am a collector of broken things. Usually I’m the one who did the breaking – butterfingers is a kind term for what happens when breakable objects come within reach of my hands. And broken things linger; I have a spot for them – a home – to wait until I get around to applying the glue that will make them whole again. It can take years before that happens, however. Once broken, it takes me a long time to find edges that match and patterns that connect. The piece waits to tell its story.

This is the story of a book I broke.

I didn’t know I was doing it at the time. In fact, I thought I was fixing it. I thought that the character that had been handed to me would make the book. I thought he would save it.

I wasn’t fond of him, that Druid interloper, but as his story spun itself out in my head, I knew he belonged. It was his story, just as much as it was mine – just as much as it was the story of the characters that populated it long before he made his appearance.

So I broke it – even as I kept writing the second and then the third book in the series, I was working with a mutilated thing, a limping shadow. It had so much potential, but I couldn’t find it. He felt out of place, as though he hadn’t had time to come to love the other characters as I did. And they – well, they resented him almost as much as I did. His edges and patterns did not match. I was afraid they never would.

I relegated it to a dusty corner of my mind, to wait with all the other broken things, until I could see it fully. It took a decade.

When the Druid stepped out of that corner, fully himself, I realized the book could be whole again. I sat down right away and started typing. I called it a revision at first, but it became obvious, as I wrote in my 500-word-a-day chunks, that it was more than that. I was putting the story back together, the way it was supposed to be told.

The edges – where the Druid started and the story he adopted ended – were mended. The patterns – the weave of his life as it affected the clan who made him – burned brightly. Instead of a jumble of pieces, it became a tapestry. Each thread was lovely but the tale they told left me breathless. Good or not – quality fiction or not – that it gave itself to me, and waited for me to fix it, means a great deal to me.

The story that was broken is now whole – and I love it. I even admire, just a little, the Druid who trusted me enough to wait until I was ready. Thanks, D.

This was for Prompts for the Promptless at Queen Creative: Kintsukuroi is a Japanese noun meaning “to repair with gold”; the art of repairing pottery with gold or silver lacquer and understanding that the piece is more beautiful for having been broken.

Check out these other “Broken” prompts:

The Druid Asks the Questions of Briana Vedsted

Me and Billy the Kid, by Briana Vedsted

Me and Billy the Kid, by Briana Vedsted

A: D. D, put down the hat.

D: What are you talking about? Briana’s coming!

A: Yes, but she does write other things besides westerns featuring Billy the Kid. Besides, the hat just looks–

D: Don’t you say it, A. Billy liked it, and that makes it just fine.

A: Whatever. Just make sure you don’t smack Briana in the face with the fringe on your shirt.

D: (eye roll). As if it were long enough to do that, sheesh. With that, ladies and gents, it is my great pleasure to welcome to the D/A Dialogues, Ms. Briana Vedsted.

D: You are a prolific writer, Ms. Vedsted – tell us a little bit about your upcoming novel, Me and Billy the Kid.

B: Me and Billy the Kid is fictitious tale about the infamous western outlaw Billy the Kid and some other characters from the time, including Jesse Evans, Richard Brewer, and the legendary Sherriff Pat Garrett. New to the tale is Billy’s young girlfriend, Angel, who quickly becomes the object of Garrett’s fascination.

D: I hear you have a publisher for Billy – what has been your experience with indie publishing versus traditional publishing?

B: Tate Publishing, the company who I’m working with for Billy, is more of a vanity press, and so far, I admit that indie publishing is my favorite. It’s a lot more stress-free and I have more control. I still have my hopes on publishing the traditional route one day, but for now, self publishing is the best I’ve found.

D: Where do your characters come from? Are they people you’ve known all your life, did they come knocking on your mind’s door, demanding to be written, or is it a combination of all of that?

B: My characters are a combination of people I know and people that just popped into my head. It is by far easier to take real life people I know and make them into characters, for me. With most of my characters who are imaginary, I usually see them very clearly when I start writing, but after awhile, appearance starts to change and I have to make a list of each color’s eye color, hair color, age, etc.

D: Of all your characters, who would you rather spend a day with? What would you do?

B: I would of course love to spend a day with Billy the Kid! Even though my character is slightly different from the really William H. Bonney, to be able to hang out with a legendary old west cowboy would be amazing. And I would just sit and listen to him talk all day long. I’d want to hear the stories he could tell!

D: Who is your least favorite character? Who, if they were to be in the middle of a stampede of cattle, would you save last?

B: The character I’d let the cattle trample would probably be Maggie, the main character in The Untold Story of Margaret Hearst, alias Maugrim Valletta (a.k.a. The Ballad of Margaret Hearst). She’s a foolish, rebellious teenage girl who falls in love with the wrong man and does everything she can to be with him. She is the only character I have that I don’t like. And actually, she turned out just the way I planned. I think I hoped she would have developed a new personality, but alas, she was a very obedient character and went alone without arguing.

D: What genre would you like to try – if you haven’t already?

B: I’ve actually tried writing every genre I could think of. But so far, my favorites are fantasy and western.

D: I hear there is a vampire-and werewolf-like story in your future? Care to share a spoiler-free sneak peek?

B: Here with the Wolves is about werewolves and the human-like Slayers who kill them to protect humans. Here’s a piece from the first book in the series:

 “Well, well, well, if it isn’t Ness, the conquering hero.”

My hand dropped to my knife blade, and I had to remember that it was kind of illegal for an alpha to kill a member of her pack, no matter how annoying he was.

“Hello Malcolm.” I turned to face the dark faced aggressor. His blue eyes took in my bloody appearance, my bandaged arm, and the don’t-mess-with-me-right-now-or-I-just-might-rip-your-head-off look with amusement.

“I guess I was wrong about you: you were able to kill a wolf after all.”

You could have knocked me over with a feather. Was Malcolm actually giving me a complement?

Then he opened his infuriating mouth again, “Or did Kenneth do it for you? Were you scared? However did you manage to spend three whole nights out in the woods? Did you have to borrow your little brother’s teddy bear, or maybe his security blanket, huh?”

He laughed coldly, and again, the only thing keeping his head on his shoulders was Dustin’s hand on my arm.

Kenneth started to stick up for me, but I waved him away. I wanted to show him I could handle myself. I shook off Dustin’s arm and stepped right up in front of Malcolm. The sound of my own voice surprised me, it was so low and gravely, I don’t think it even belonged to me. “As your Alpha, I command you to hold your tongue. If anyone is going to do any lecturing, it will be me. Unless you are severing the bond, bow before me so as to prove your loyalty to our pack.” This was the first time I’d ever pushed anyone. Never before had I summoned up my alpha ability of dominance to order anyone around.

And now Malcolm was faced with a dilemma. He could choose not to bow (which I probably would have done) and be turned out of his pack (okay, maybe I would have bowed, for Kenneth’s sake), or he could bow to his mortal enemy and remain in the pack.

He chose the second option.

Falling to the ground, Malcolm groveled. (It was a bit much, in my opinion.)

Embarrassed and a bit ashamed for pushing him so harshly, I cleared my throat, “Uh, okay then. Rise Malcolm. You have proven your loyalty.”

Blue eyes like daggers, his dark face shockingly pale with humiliation, Malcolm got to his feet. His voice dripped poison as he said, “I honor no alpha but Kenneth. The day his reign is over, I’ll come after your life.”

A Girl Named Cord

A Girl Named Cord

D: Thank you for sharing that with us, Briana. How much of your family’s work on its ranch has influenced your storytelling?

B: All I know about horses and cattle I learned from experience. Living on my family’s ranch has helped inspire the majority of my stores, western or other genres. Ranching can be a dangerous occupation. I know what it feels like to get bucked off a horse, come face-to-face with a lion, and get lost in the middle of nowhere. Great joy comes with the territory, as well, and so does sorrow. Living the life I do has given me lots of opportunities, and I try my hardest to accurately describe all events I write about.

D: A and I both loved your post I am an Author. What advice would you give to other young and aspiring authors out there.

B: Really the only thing I would say is that you’ve got to love this craft. I mean it. If you don’t love writing, it might be the wrong job for you. But if you do love it, then just keep writing. Everything gets better with practice. Yes, there will be naysayers along the way, but you have to be strong.

D: All right, Briana – I love asking this question of people who have a myriad of characters at their disposal: It’s a Druid showdown – me vs. a character of your choice. Who do you think can take this time-travelling Pict warrior down?

B: I’m going to have to say Kenneth, alpha of the Slayer pack from Here with the Wolves. He’s the most level-headed character I’ve ever come up with, and a born fighter. I’m not sure he could actually take you down, D, but he is an archer, as well as an extremely good swordsman. And if necessary, he’s all for flaunting his martial arts skills. If you bother his protégée, Ness, be prepared to face the wrath of Kenneth!

D: Yikes, I think I’ll leave Ness alone!

Well, there you have it folks, Ms. Briana Vedsted. To learn more about Briana and her work, head over to When I Became an Author. You can also buy her books, The Night I Walked Off Boot Hill, A Girl Named Cord and The Ballad of Margaret Hearst
on Amazon.

Me and Billy the Kid will be released on November 5, 2013.