Hunted, Part 4 (We're Almost There!)

Continued from. . . 

Hunted EbookI tried to hide my trembling legs by leaning up against the wood and canvas hide of the Mosquito which had been my chariot for the last hour.

Jamie wasn’t fooled.

“Aye, it has that effect. Did you know the first time I went up, I was green the entire time? Tossed my lunch, I did.”

I grinned at the young pilot. “Well, it’s a good think I missed lunch today, then.”

Jamie clapped me on the shoulder “Is that so? We’ll have to remedy that. To the pub, aye?”

* * *

I stared at the high-walled nooks filled with laughing men, and at the smoke-darkened beams that spanned the width of the low-ceilinged room. It was deceptively large, this cosy pub.

Cosy – and definitely more to my style. The draught may have changed some, and the method of delivery, but a fire flickered merrily along one wall and men still gathered over drink to tell tales. Here I could feel at home.

Here I could, most likely, fulfil Pat’s command that I unearth the double-agent who plagued 8 Group.

Pat ordered our supper and lagers with a shake of his head after I stared helplessly when asked what I’d like. Until Pat had wrangled my release, I’d been prisoner to the victuals deemed healthy by the good matron of Queen Mary’s Hospital.

As we ate, Jamie attempted to play spymaster himself. He peppered me with questions about the man I was supposed to be, despite Pat’s rolling eyes, and I deflected by asking him about his family – about both their families.

“Well, the girls share a cottage just outside Carrickahowley – easier with the two babes. Jamie’s aunt has been after them to come back to Scotland, of course, but Kathy’s mam is ailing. She’s not going to last the summer, and she wants to be on hand.”

I nodded – the names meant nothing to me but Pat’s eyes were shining bright in the pub’s muted glow.

“Maureen’s a bit of a terror – running already when she should just barely be crawling, her mother says.”

“She devils my boy something terrible,” Jamie added with a shake of his head at his friend. “But Sean’s devoted to her – or so Mary says.”

I grinned and let their chatter wash over me. The big offensive at the end of the month was their last for this tour, and every ounce of me wanted to find that mole and let them go home – these men who still had a home to go to.

“Speaking of Aunt Margaret – Corporal, do you know Edward McAlister of Dunn Ussie? I went to primary school with his son, Colin back in Dingwall – are they relations to you?”

I choked on the hunk of bread and cheese I’d stuffed in my mouth. They still called the keep Dunn Ussie? After all this time? And if Jamie had gone to school with a child of that clan, could he be—?

Pat clapped me on the back and I took a steadying breath.

“Distantly, sir – I believe? The names certainly feel familiar.”

Jamie laughed. “See Pat – told you I could surprise him. You’re a good one, Corporal. Welcome to the team.”

* * *

“You’re telling me the Germans just let them go?” Pat sounded like he didn’t believe a word Jamie was saying.

Jamie shrugged. “That’s the news coming over the wire.”

“Something doesn’t feel right.”

Dubh looked between the two men, hunkered over their lagers. Thick smoke filtered the pub’s already weak light, and cast shadows over everyone. One of the newly-arrived American pilots was complaining bitterly about it as he waved a bulky contraption he called a camera.

“What do you think, Doyle?”

“Pardon?”

“About the trade – have you no been listening, man? What is it – is Delia over there giving you the eye again?” Jamie asked with a wink.

I snorted. If Delia was giving anyone the eye, it was Jamie – not that the pilot would notice. He’d shown off the pictures of his lovely wife and son so many times they’d been worn thin with wear. It didn’t stop some of the younger Women’s Auxiliary cadets, or nurses, from swooning over his rakish smile.

Pat rolled his eyes. “He’s been listening, Jamie – he listens to everything. Did you know, according to our good Corporal McAlister, Johnny Hardwick snitches five paperclips a week from the supply office. And while that may seem sinister, it seems he’s building a replica of London Bridge.”

“Is that so?”

“Indeed,” I snorted. “And as you can see, Hardwick’s paperclip ode to British engineering has no bearing on your mole. You need someone in Germany, not Castle Hill House.”

“Are you volunteering?”

I hesitated, but only for a second. “Yes.”

There was nowhere else for me to go – the lands of Faerie were closed. I had tried to call the mists, to access the places where the veil between worlds was thin, to no avail.

The world was at war, and if going to Germany would help, then so be it.

Pat stared at me.

“Have you any German, then?”

“Mein Deutsch ist sehr gut. Außerdem bin ich begabt, wie Sie gesagt haben, mich gut einzumischen.”

Jamie burst out laughing and I gave him a droll stare.

“I know it is not that simple.” I kept my voice low but emotion crept into it anyway. “Yet, if by donning the armour of the enemy I help keep more of our boys safe to come home to wives and sweethearts such as Mary, I am more than willing to do it.”

Pat put a hand on my shoulder. I had only spent a month with these men, yet through their stories of home – of their infant children, their wives and boyhood exploits – I had come to love them as much as I had loved any brother-in-arms before. They were ten years my junior, but in every way they were my superior. They had lives for which to fight – and I would do what I could to ensure they could go back to those lives.

“We’ll talk about it after the run tomorrow night.”

“Then again, the war might be over after our run tomorrow night.”

Pat shook his head. “As much as I wish it so.”

His voice trailed off and he slipped a bit of paper from his pocket. It was a letter to his daughter. He wrote a new one every week.

He stared at the words scribbled on the page end then back at me. “You’re certain?”

“What is the point of a man with no memory hiding away, safe in the country while everyone else runs pell-mell into the enemy? I’ve told you – beyond your everyday rivalries and daydreamers hoping for home, there is nothing amiss here. My gut tells me my place is there.”

“And is your gut often wrong?” Jamie asked around a mouthful of lager.

I grinned. “In recent memory, I cannot say – yet I feel it has rarely failed me.”

“Then tell us, oh great magician who can see into men’s hearts, what is our fate on the morrow?”

I stared into the dark blue eyes before me. Patrick made noises for Jamie to leave off but I wasn’t listening to either of them.

Static filled my ears and tiny flashes like miniscule bursts of lightening etched jagged lines before my eyes.

“Dubh – Dubh!”

I shook my head, but it would not clear. The noise of the pub had ceased. Jamie and Pat, their hands wrapped around their pints, were still.

“Dubh Súile mac Alasdair!”

“Niamh Golden Hair.”

I spoke her name out loud without fear. The magic of Tír na nÓg had stopped time.

“Thank the gods we have found you – what possessed you?”

“Possessed me? Dear lady, I feared perhaps it was your magic that had done this to me – in retribution for my failure to harken to your cause.”

“You are a fool, Dubh Súile, if that is what you think.”

“I have been called worse by you, my lady.”

“Do not bandy words with me, Druid. You were exiled, as well you know, and not by me. I have found a way to bring you back.”

I tried to keep the incredulity out of my voice and failed. “Bring me back? For a price, I’ll wager?”

“Do you still hold onto your foolish notion that Nuada’s ways are just? That he has not changed and sullied the magic, which was his duty to protect?” Her disgust with her king and father, Nuada Silver Arm, was almost palpable. “He sent you there to die.”

“And I shall make the best use of the time I have here. These men need me more than you do, Niamh.”

“Those men’s lives will be nothing if Tír na nÓg falls to him.”

“You speak of things you do not know. They know nothing of you or your kin – their lives have meaning all their own.”

I thought I heard her snort, and I couldn’t keep the grin off my face. I had missed our banter.

“So you will not return?”

“Not until I have ensured their safety.”

“I cannot keep they gateway open forever, Dubh Súile.”

“Certainly, a day will not matter to you, Niamh Golden Hair.”

She laughed outright at that. “A year then, for you? I will see what I can do. If he suspects anything, I will have to close it, and you will be trapped there.”

“Perhaps that is as it should be – perhaps I should grow old and die, as is the fate of all mortal men.”

Niamh paused for a moment; when she spoke again, her voice was barely a whisper.

“Not your fate, Master Druid – not yet. We have need of you.”

The murmur of premonition crawled along my skin, and I shuddered.

“Good day to you, Master Druid. Should you have need of me, summon the mists. I will be watching.”

The noise of the pub came rushing back, drowning my senses in a heady wave of clanking glasses and the scrape of wood on wood. I gritted his teeth. Jamie and Patrick were looking at me, expectant smiles on their faces.

“Well, what is it man? What is our fate?”

“Ah, I do not deal in men’s fate – yet for you I see a great legacy. Your children will grow to do good things in your name.”

“Well, that’s all a man can ask for, I suppose.” Pat grinned and went back to his letter while Jamie sauntered up to the bar to order another round.

I watched the two men and wondered why my own words sat heavy in my heart.

To be continued. . . 

Hunted, Part 3 – And Some News

Hunted Ebook.pngSo… how are you liking “Hunted” so far? As with all things, I decided midway that, given how some don’t like serialized reading, I will be making “Hunted” available as a free downloadable ebook in a variety of formats! Stay tuned!

Continued from Hunted, Part 2…

“So, what do you think of her, Corporal?”

“She’s beautiful, sir.”

“You’re a funny sort, McAlister – you talk like you’ve never even seen a plane before.”

And so I hadn’t, but I wasn’t about to tell that to Sergeant Patrick O’Malley.

The twentieth century was rife with oddities, but aeroplanes were the most fantastic contraptions I had yet seen. Growing up, the Christian monks had claimed that their god ruled the heavens, but now it seemed man had invaded even that domain.

I had always been a warrior, a worshiper of the land, and student of the unseen things between worlds. Never had I dreamed to exist so high, with only the clouds and birds for company.

I tore my eyes from the twin-engine beauty called a de Havilland Mosquito to look at the young man who was now my commanding officer.

Pat’s red hair was bright in the spring sun and freckles stood out boldly on his pale skin. He was twenty-four – a good ten years younger than me, had I cared to count the number of mortal years to take their toll on my body.

“Keen for a bit of flying, Corporal?”

Jamie – Sergeant James McAndrew – nudged me in the ribs and gave me a rakish grin. He was always teasing someone, but his best friend, Sergeant Patrick O’Malley, was his favourite target. Considering they had been friends since their days at boarding school, and co-pilots for six years, he had every right.

Both men could have become officers – had they taken the offered break between their tours of duty and attended officer training. They were natural leaders and had the respect of any crew that worked with them.

Instead, they had gotten married and spent a brief leave in Scotland, at Jamie’s family home. Being reassigned to the Path Finder Force of 8 Group, under Air Vice-Marshall Bennett had been their reward. Together, the men had survived four tours of duty – two of them with 8 Group.

“You can’t take him up, Jamie,” Pat said now. “It’s against regulations.”

“Ever since they graced you with an aide, you’ve been all over these ruddy regulations.” There was laughter in Jamie’s voice and a merry twinkle in his blue eyes to take the sting from his words.

“Ah sure, and didn’t they offer you the same thing? You’ve more need of an aide than I do – your desk is a disaster.”

“Don’t tell me he has you filing papers while he’s dazzling the lasses doing loop-de-loops in the sky.”

“If anyone would know about that, sir . . .” I graced the black-haired Scot with a wry grin and Jamie barked a surprised laugh.

“The tongue on you – Pat did well to bring you on,” he said as he clapped me on the back. “Not that anyone will tell you anything, but I’m sure you have ways around that.”

“Enough, Jamie,” Pat warned. “You’re not supposed to know about that, either.”

No one was supposed to know I had been brought on to provide cover for the reconnaissance flights into Germany. There was some talk that 8 Group had a mole, and it was my job to find him – or her – and plug the leak before a big offensive set to take place later in the month.

On the train from London, Pat had explained the Intelligence Services had tapped him for work in 8 Group headquarters. He was not keen on the new role. He was still a pilot at heart, which was why he had enlisted me as his aide, and had “Corporal McAlister” transferred to the Administrative and Special Duties Branch. This way, Pat could take to the skies while I watched and listened on the ground.

Jamie nodded at his friend, but wasn’t done trying to get me in the sky. “Come on, Pat. The laddie here has been through hell.”

Pat looked between us and a small smile started at the corner of his mouth. “Ah, you’re worse than my nannie, God rest her.”

“Och aye, I’ve one of those myself.” Jamie grinned. He had won. “Just don’t tell Aunt Margaret I said so – she’d have my head for talking about her like that!”

* * *

I had no idea what it took to prepare oneself to fly, and was forced to stand by, helpless as a babe, while Jamie helped me pull up the jumpsuit, and strap on the helmet and parachute.

“Just in case,” he said with a wink and a mock-annoyed click of his tongue.

Seated in the plane, my palms began to sweat.

I had fought naked in hand-to-hand combat. I had crossed the sea between Scotland and Ireland in a tiny boat of leather hides. I had faced the boiling masses of a Fae army, which could not die, but when the ground fell away, all was noise and rattling sensation that gnawed at my bones.

The sky bent around us in stunning shades of blue as the plane soared.

My heart eased from my throat and my hands relaxed of their own accord. My soul filled with something resembling peace – fleeting and precious.

For the first time in a thousand years, I knew I could close my eyes and allow the gifts of the Goddess – gifts I had honed for years in the Druid grove and had forgotten at Nuada’s command – to flood my heart and make me whole.

I kept my eyes open.

There was too much to see.

To be continued. . . 

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 ?

Writing with myself

D: A? A, where are you? A, we have a post to write.

A: (muffled) I’m over here.

D: What are you doing over there? How did you manage to get in there, anyway? Is that a – wait, I don’t want to know what that is.

A: I’m hiding.

D: Did they finally finger you in the cookie caper?

A: Huh? Have you been reading crime noir again?

D: Maybe.

A: Okay, well you can go back to that. I’m good here.

D: No, you’re not. That looks awfully cramped, and I’m not sure your neck is supposed to bend at that angle. What are you hiding from, anyway?

A: Myself.

D: . . . You never cease to amaze me, A—

A: Why, thank you D.

D: I wasn’t done. You never cease to amaze me with the depths of your madness.

A: Why, thank you D.

D: (eye roll). Why are you hiding from yourself?

A: It’s either hide or reach through the mists of time and wring my neck. I’m thinking hiding is better.

D: . . .

A: It’s not right, D! It’s not right what I do during hand edits. Why don’t you stop me?!

D: Because it’s really funny.

Writing notes to myself should not be allowed.

Writing notes to myself should not be allowed.

A: . . . Letting me write notes to myself is funny? Not editing a few pages and then leaving me a pithy note saying “You’ll know what to do…” is amusing?

D: Well, when you say it in that tone of voice, no. But at the time, it was hilarious.

A: It’s not fair, that’s what it is – I don’t remember what I write during hand edits D. It’s like Christmas every time I turn a page to see what I did with it. When I see a blank page, I start to wonder if maybe I was just being lazy. When I see a blank page with a ‘love note’ from myself, I start to wonder if maybe I was really a sadomasochist with a death wish.

D: So that’s why you were yelling at the draft yesterday.

A: Yep.

D: Did you fix the scene?

A: (deep breath) Yep.

D: Well then there you go. You knew you could do it.

A: Don’t push it.

D: I would also like to point out that I have as much control over editing you as I do over writing you.

A: I suppose.

D: I mean, you whip out that red pen and all hell breaks loose on the page. I run when that happens A. It’s safer.

A: Coward.

D: Yep. Now what are you waiting for? Haven’t you read the part where you told yourself to re-write the first six chapters of the next section? Time to get writing, woman.

A: I did what?

D: You haven’t gotten to that note?

A: No.

D: So, I think I hear the kettle boiling. Or the doorbell – yeah, that’s it. Will you excuse–

A: D, where do you think you’re goi–

D: Sorry, have to run – it’s been swell! See you, A!

Seriously, I should not leave notes to myself in my edits, even if it is my own personal form of time travel. It’s just not nice, plus it’s a bad writing habit and more than a little lazy. Luckily, it’s fairly harmless (unless I do figure out how to reach back and wring my neck. Then I’m in trouble). What is your worst, funny and harmless, bad habit?

The Billy the Kid and D Files, Pt 2


They were found on a roadside, deep in the Nevada desert. Part of a cache of documents obviously intended for a secure location, the files have been kept secret until today. Their earth-shattering contents will amaze, possibly frighten and answer the question: what happens when an infamous Old West gunslinger and a centuries-old time-travelling Druid meet up?

 Chaos. Card games. Drinking. And chaos.

Part 2: Lover’s Walk

D: Miss Angel, Billy, it’s great to see you again!

Angel: Just call me Angel. I’ve always just been Angel. You’ll spoil me with formalities.

D: A good lady deserves to be spoiled, Mi–Angel. Now, Billy, you said you’d tell me more about your adventures with Pat Garrett and Angel here! You must begin, friend – I can’t wait any longer.

billy 500 reward

Photo Courtesy: Flickr Commons

Billy: It was the adventure of a lifetime. Anyway, it was for my Angel. I was a fool and thought she was dead. Of course, how could I have known otherwise? She’d been shot multiple times.

D: Wait, shot?! Gods, that’s horrible! Who would shoot a woman?!

Billy: Patrick F. Garrett.

D: Sounds like a dastardly fellow. I’ve known a few Pats… they’ve never ended well. Tell me he got his comeuppance!

Billy: The foolish rat! He was the only one who’d dare shoot the love of my life.

Angel: Just breathe, Billy. And thank you D! You are so sweet!

D: I do try, really I do. You sound like a brave woman, Angel. Billy is lucky to have you at his side.

Billy: I surely am! I’d have died long ago if she’d been taken from me!

Angel: You are such a darling, D! Thank you, but really, I merely followed my brave leader.

D: I know how you feel. Well, Angel, he’s lucky to have you by his side – willing to follow him into danger and brave what the fates will throw at him. Makes a man a stronger fighter, I think.

Billy: Do you have a girl out there somewhere, my friend?

D: I do and I don’t . . . she lived long ago but had to make a choice between saving our clans and our way of life, and her heart. I think fate may have given us a second chance but we’re both going to have to wait a few lifetimes in order to see if fate is truly kind.

Briana: How did this turn into a love story? I thought it was just going to be Billy and D telling tall tales and making jokes! Perhaps inviting Angel wasn’t such a good idea.

A: I know, right? It’s always a love story. D doesn’t talk about Mairead very often, but he does love a good old fashioned love story.

D: Do not. I just appreciate a good woman who fights with her man. They’re in short supply!

Billy: Well I’ll be! Briana, please do give us a moment, will you? Being a woman, I am sure it is hard for you to see how us menfolk love and appreciate our true loves. Angel and Mairead are both one-of-a-kind and it brings us great joy to speak about them. But for me, I get to hold my Angel’s hand and tell her how much she means to me. I am so very sorry for your loss, D. Your Mairead sounds like one wonderful gal. I hope fate is kind to you and you will see her again.

Briana: Um, well, I suppose it won’t hurt for me to step out for a moment. What do you think, A? Is it safe to leave these two alone to talk for awhile? I can only imagine the chaos it could cause…

A: I think it’s … well, not safe per say, but I think I can manage to step away and let the boys have their chat!

Briana: Okay, if you can do it, then I guess I can, too!

Billy: Yippie! D! We’re free!!!

D: Huzzah! . . . Wait, I’m not sure what to do with this freedom! What do we do, Billy? Is there a train to rob?

Billy: I honestly don’t know, D. I think I’m a bit rusty at the outlaw stuff. Besides, I was never much of a locksmith, and I hear that nowadays, there are some pretty snazzy ones when money is concerned.

D: So I’m told – I’m rather used to the barter system myself. What do you do for fun nowadays, Billy?

playing cardsBilly: Well, I’m hardly ever let out of Briana’s imagination, so I’m a little lost right now. Not hearing her voice is something of a mystery to me….Anyhow, I’m not going to spoil my one glorious chance at complete freedom! For fun? Well, I am sort of addicted to poker. How are you with cards, D?

D: Truly, I wish A would let me play for her when she finds herself in front of a hand. I spent some time with some RAF pilots back in WWII. I love the cards!

Billy: I can’t say I’m a professional gambler, but I’m no cheat, either! What do you say? Up for a little game?

D: Certainly! I have a deck of cards here … how shall we go about doing this?

Billy: You pick the game, my friend. I’ll bring the gold nuggets!

The transcript ends here in a mess of unreadable squiggles. Considering what happened later, we’re fairly certain they were off-their-heads drunk by the time the night ended.

Read more about Billy and Briana at her blog, When I became an Author.

Read Part 1 of the Billy the Kid and D Files.

Wondering how D and Billy met? It all started when A decided to go on hiatus

The wall

D: A? A, where are you? Why is it so dark in here? What’s going on? Why is my voice echoing? Mommy, hold me!

A: Chill, D. I’m here.

D: Good heavens, woman! Don’t do that to me.

A: Ha! Didn’t know you could jump that far, Druid.

D: I didn’t jump . . .  I was practicing my calisthenics.

A: Do you even know what those are?

D: . . . they have something to do with vigor and attempting to assuage your sedentary bodies now that you no longer hunt for your food.

A: Fair play, D. Speaking of. . .

D: Oh no you don’t. Where did you go? Why was it dark and more than a little creepy up here?

A: Are you telling me that you’re afraid of the dark? The big bad Druid, the man who made old gods real? The wibbly-wobbly timey-wimey master who is tying my brain into knots with his plot holes is afraid of the dark?

D: Does it make you feel better to think so?

A: . . . yes.

D: All right. I will fall on my sword for the greater good. It won’t be the first time.

A: And if there is a god in the heavens—

D: Oi! No wishing for my death. I was speaking metaphorically.

A: And I wasn’t?

D: No.

A: You know me too well, D.

D: {Sob} I know!

A: Well, if that’s all, I think I will-

D: Not so fast, woman. You are avoiding the question.

A: No, I’m avoiding the answer. You’ve already asked the question.

D: . . .

A: I went nowhere. I went everywhere. Despite having to re-write four chapters over the last two days, I am thisclose to finishing book 1 but hells-bells, D–

D: A, I’m a Druid. I don’ t do hell.

3u5ov3

. . . Yeah, D. Listen to Capt. Jack.

A: I would soooo beg to differ. Your shenanigans have my brain twisted all around and inside out. It hurts, D. Stuffing the plot holes alone is giving me brain cramps. So, I evacuated the land of the socially functioning and bypassed much of the rest of the world for a few days. This is my sole come-up-for-air moment.

D: I’m sorry, A. I really am. That’s a nice word, too, shenanigans.

A: What’s wrong with you?

D: What do you mean?

A: You never like my words. And you said you’re sorry. Oh my god, are you dying?

D: We’re all dying A – it’s simply a matter of time.

A: I hate you.

D: No you don’t, A. You’re tired and I think you’ve hit the proverbial wall.  And to answer your question, I’m not the D you know now. I’m an older, relaxed version of myself who has gone through the publishing process with you. We’re going to have great fun, A. Just you wait and see.

A: God, why do you do this to me?

D: Wibbly wobbly, A. Wibbly Wobbly.

A’s telling the tale tonight, Baby!

Actually I’m not because I have no tale to tell – and neither does D. Side effect of writerly-hibernation: we have no idea of what’s  going on.

D: Speak for yourself, woman.

A: Pardon?

D: I happen to know that Dean, of Dean’z Doodlez won Green Embers’ contest.

A: Oh?

D: Yes. And Charles not only has some incredible news about Prodigy of Rainbow Tower, but he’s also funny. You should take pointers, A.

A: I’ll consider it–

D: Then there is Helena’s twisted associate, Jessica Bell, who has begun a delightfully creepy series, the Bayou Bonhomme Serial, which everyone should check out.

A: Indeed. Is there more?

D: Of course. Andra’s tribute to her father’s birthday month, as well as his rather ingenious acquisitions is heart-warming and charming.

A: As is her style.

D: And finally, even though you like the man, I’d like to congratulate Ms. Melissa Janda for saying what we all think: Hemmingway can sometimes be boring, confusing and oh yeah, a drunk.

A: I don’t think she said that, D. She was talking about the ‘rules’ of writing that Hemmingway breaks with reckless—

D: Drunken.

A: Abandon as he sets out to tell a tale of the Lost Generation. I’d think you’d appreciate that, D. Besides, Hemmingway’s comments on the state of one’s first draft are, I find, spot-freaking-on.

D: You’re just mad because you don’t understand time travel.

A: (Whimper).

D: Now, where were we? Ah, yes: I encourage you all to visit The Community Storyboard, where new artwork – courtesy Dean of Dean’z Doodlez– graces the space, depicting the twelve editors  in their superhero guise. Very well done, Dean.

A: And while you’re there, take a moment to read some of the fantastic work – and even consider submitting some of your own!

Sunday . . . bloody Sunday

D: Do we have a problem with Sundays?

A: Yes, they’re always followed by a Monday.

D: And are you not ready for Monday?

A: D, no one is ever ready for Monday.

D: Are you getting a little existential on me, A? Do we need to go back and have a little chat with Camus?

A: Loved that book, said that Meursault was Christ in my paper on it, and no.

D: Moving right along. Is this the only reason you’re cursing out Sunday?

A: Um, how about my vicious sunburn?

D: Oh boy . . . you do know that the scientists of this world have a lovely invention called sunscreen.

A: You sound like TC. Stop it.

D: And yet it still stands.

A: I wanted a bit of color.

D: A, you’re Irish. Flesh tone is color for you.

A: Says the Pict.

D: I know from pale, A.

A: Point taken.

D: So, you’re sunburned and you r weekend is nearly over – any more invectives to throw at Sunday’s head?

A: No, not really. It was just a long slog of a day, but it had great rewards. I accomplished three out of four goals I set for myself last week.

D: Do tell, A – I’m breathless with anticipation.

A: Snark will get you anywhere, D! I dusted off the treadmill (and used it!). I filled in and was able to erase all those (Figure out what you’re talking about, lady) tags in part 2, which clocked in at 26,199 words –

D: So we’re already over 50,000?

A: Yes, but Parts 3 and 4 shouldn’t be more than 30k combined. There’s always the editing rounds to get rid of fluff, too D.

D: I know, and forgive me if I feel that you’d need no less than 100,000 words to do justice to my greatness.

A: Really?

D: It’s one hell of a story, A.

A: Uh huh.

D: Honest.

A: I think I just heard my fingers scream in agony.

D: I think that’s your sunburn. Speaking of Part 3 . . .

A: That’s the other goal I managed to accomplish – Part 3 has it’s first outline.

D: Dare I ask?

A: Ah, go on.

D: What does this outline say, A? I peeked over your shoulder and I’m a bit concerned.

A: Why? I was kinda proud of it myself:

  1.  Captured – Dubh gone, Maureen spastic, Sean slaps her
  2. Breakout –Dubh is rescued, Sean and Maureen are SOL
  3. The Interview – Nuada grandstands; remember monologues are cliche.
  4. Revolution
  5. Revelation
  6. Big Boom
  7. Even Bigger Problems

D: That’s it, keywords?

A: And the start of everyone’s emotional state for each section – I found that very helpful in making sure the arguing from Part 2 didn’t get out of hand. Besides I thought you’d be happy – there are at least two opportunities for you to indulge your love of smoke bombs.

D: I did see that. Thank you, A.

A: I do what I can. Oh, and before you ask: editing.

D: Editing?

A: This week’s goal: Editing.

D: That’s it?

A: I think chocolate might find its way on there, too

D: In conjunction with the treadmill?

A: Maybe.

The Druid Tells the Tale
A has yet to make any changes to this site because she is a lazy, no good—

A: Oi, Druid! Knock it off!

D: Killjoy.

Fine; she’s a busy lady and getting her to sit still long enough to complete a thought is a marvel. She hasn’t acknowledged any awards yet, so I’m going to do it for her. John W. Howell at Fiction Favorites has nominated us for the Always Here if you Need Me Award. In addition, Olivia Stocum  and Briana Vested  have nominated us for the Liebster Award. There are others, but A was lax in recording what they were, the horrible wench. There will be a full post presently, in which everyone will be lauded in full. In the meantime, however, thank you most kindly for reading, nominating and sharing the … what is this called (blogosphere) ah, yes, the blogosphere love.

. . . And Introducing: A invites Audience Participation

D: Really A?

A: Do I bug you during your Tale-telling?

D: Yes.

A: . . . Fine. Regardless, I would like to engage people a little and get some feedback. I have been blessed with some very astute, knowledgeable and charming readers and I’d like to know what you think of serializing a novel.

If Part 3 defies my expectations (and everything about my return to the writing world has defied them), I’m looking at a nearly 100,000 word young adult novel. It needs some paring (try a butcher knife – can it, D), but ever since I wrapped up Part 1, I’ve been thinking about serializing the first book. Each part comes in at a fairly respectable 25K words, and are complete stories in of themselves. It was initially written this way – to be published as independent novellas that could form a nice little collection. I abandoned that idea when I realized that it had a second and then third story (you’re welcome).

So, those who know, what do you think of a sterilized novel in today’s market, and today’s technology?

Life in the fast lane

“Why didn’t you stop her?”

The words touched the dread clawing at Sean’s throat. He couldn’t stop the tide of angry, panicky words. “I couldn’t! She clubbed Sir Nathan in the head! She’s helping them and she’s refusing to leave – she’s so deeply enmeshed in this that there is no talking to her, no reasoning with her.”

“Because you insist on using reason.” Dubh grabbed him by the shoulders. “This is not a reasonable war. These men and women are full of emotion and passion. They sing about martyrs and blood sacrifice. This is danger and love and Maureen is throwing all that she has at it. Use it; speak to her. You are stronger than this, boy.”

Sean spread his hands out in front of him, wishing they held some answer. Emotion? He had that, but Maureen was past listening. He’d lost his chance.

“No, you haven’t. You haven’t even begun to fight for her. I can’t do this, Sean. None of us belong here.”

Sean felt a finger of foreboding slide down his neck. All the questions he wanted to ask, like where Dubh had been the last two months, dried in his throat. Dubh was scared; even amidst Bingham’s men, Dubh had not shown fear.

D: 2 months? You let 2 months go by?

A: I let? You’re the one calling the shots, D.

D: I know, but 2 months?! No wonder.

A: They’re 15 – well, Sean is 16 now, but still, what did you expect?

D: (Bloody teenagers). Okay, so I may have allowed things to get out of hand, but how do you reckon it was 2 months?

A: Simple math that made my head kind of hurt because I took it too far. Did you know that because you spent a generation away from the hill that you spent 60 days in Tír na nÓg?

D: Wait, A. Slow down. You used math?

A: Yes. It hurt.

D: I can see that. Back to the two months . . . ?

A: Oh, yeah. 24 hours in Tír na nÓg equals about 6 months for us. I’d say you spent about six hours chatting and travelling when you visited Niamh. That puts you at 1.5 months, but then you still had to integrate yourself with the uprising and get your bearings. It’s an approximation.

D: I did not spend that much time chatting.

A: Then what were you up to, D?

D: You’ll find out.

A: I am not going to like this at all, am I?

D: You might. You seem to have an appreciation for the epic. You may even enjoy yourself.

A: That’s pushing it, Druid, and you know it.

D: Yes, but I can always hope, A.

A: You keep hoping and I’ll keep writing, how about that?

D: Can’t argue with you.

A&D: For once.
A’s telling the tale today, baby!

Slow down a little with Kate Shrewsday and vote for her to be a Penguin Wayfarer – then she gets to wander on foot across Britain. I recently discovered Kate’s page, thanks to Andra at the Accidental Cootchie Mama. Kate’s musings on her world make me smile. In order to help her realize her dream, click on the following link and vote for Kate (the only Kate on the page): http://www.ajourneyonfoot.com/  (Can we come, too? Not our journey, D. But I—I’m working on it, D. Between you and TC, if we don’t get over there eventually, I’m toast!).

D: Thunder stealer.

A: Do you have anything better, Druid?

D: No. I’m going to go mope in my corner.

A: You could always lurk back to your corner.

D: I refuse to dignify that with a response.

A: Cheer up, D. There’s always tomorrow.

Celebrate good times

Sean thought he understood. Maureen – proud, fearless and free – had been captive to a crazed, driven man. She’d been unharmed, but alone and afraid in the dark. Now, she was bareheaded in the sun, a pistol at her hip, fighting back. Nothing he could say would ever change her mind, but he couldn’t participate.

“You know if you do this, the army will round you up with the rest of them – if you aren’t killed first.”

“No, I’ll get out before they do.”

“Where will you go? Jenny’s won’t be safe.”

“No, but other places will be, Sean. What about you?”

She was saying goodbye.

“I’m getting out, Maureen. I can’t stay here – I doubt I’d be welcome at Jenny’s anyway. The army is going to lock this city down and I don’t want to be trapped here when they do. I’ll telegraph Gerry when I get to Kildare, see if he can put me up for a bit. I’ll wait for you there.”

Maureen didn’t say anything to that, she just nodded and slipped her arms around him for a quick hug. And then she was gone, her message – her mission – clutched in her hand.

D: What does that have to do with celebrating, or good times?

A: Nothing, I just liked it.

D: I see . . . then what are we celebrating, exactly?

A: 100 follows for the blog, 98 of which are not related to me.

D: And the tweeting twitter bird, how many on there?

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A: 125, and only 2 of those know me from the outside world. Plus, we’ve been doing this pretty regularly for two months now.

D: And you haven’t stopped writing in six months. That’s a record for you, A.  I might have to do an epic poem in your honor. In the original Pict, of course.

A: And I haven’t killed you yet, which is remarkable, all things considered.

D: I admire your restraint.

A: You should. I started this whole thing as a way to productively procrastinate, and begin learning and developing a platform for the book. I think that goal is doing pretty well – it’s a perpetual goal, of course, but I’m happy with the progress. It’s also Father’s Day – for a whole two hours yet here – so I wan’ted to send out Father’s Day greetings to all the Dads, Step-Dads, Grand-Dads, Moms-who-are-Dads: everyone. Even you get in on that love-fest, D.

D: How so, A? I was more the child’s sire, not the man who reared him. Circumstances.

A: Still, I think eventually you did well by him – or at least his many-times-great grandson.

D: That is a spoiler, A.

A: Indeed it is, but Happy Father’s Day, anyway, D. Now, if you–

D: Not so fast, A – speaking of goals?

A: Outline part 3. Add some pages to the blog and acknowledge some award nominations. Oh, and drag out the treadmill. We declared a truce over my birthday weekend, but it’s time to enter the fray again, I’m afraid.

D: Is there a war against the treadmill of which I am not aware?

A: No, the war is against my sagging–

D: I’m sorry I asked; I don’t want to know this. Go to bed, A – it’s well past time!

A: Cheers, D!

The Druid Tells the Tale

D: Head over to that virtual marketplace (the wonders of this modern world) and buy Charles’ book, Beginnings of a Hero, now for .99 cents.  It is a suitably epic read.

A: In honor of Father’s Day, I present to you a riff on the role of women in Star Wars: The Smurfette of Star Wars.

D: You have odd ideas about tributes, A.

A: I know, but it was funny and thought-provoking. Plus, I love Star Wars.

D: Fair enough.