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?

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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.

Fickle Friday

A: So D, are you feeling better?

D: Better than what, A?

A: You had a few sniffles the other day; I’m just asking after your wellbeing.

D: I thought we agreed never to speak of that.

A: Admit it; you have a soft spot for Claude.

D: Despite that he is not a warrior’s hound, I may.

A: That is the best image ever.

D: What?

A: A Druid warrior with a pocket pet. That just made my Friday.

D: Do you want to know what would make my Friday?

A: No.

D: Oh, come on A, play along.

A: Fine, what would make your Friday, D?

D: You to get over your hang-ups with the 1916 Rising, give Maureen her head, and fill in the rest of Part 2.

A: I’m working on it – I’ve outlined, story-boarded and drafted as much of the ending to that part as I can.

D: Good girl, A.

A: Don’t congratulate me until it’s complete. Besides, I know the real reason why you want me to get on to Part 3.

D: I’m breathless with anticipation.

A: You get a starring role – or at the very least a strong supporting role.

D: And I don’t have to change my name!!!

A: (To protect the oblivious).

D: I heard that.

A: Don’t you have a tale to tell?

The Druid Tells the Tale

D: Head on over to Kira’s My Pen, My Sword for “Add a line Poetry.” A and I would participate, but she’s deplorable and it is difficult for me to carry her and translate my own prose from my native Pict.

A: He’s not wrong. . .for once. And in that vein, Charles at Legends of Windemere has a lovely poem about friendships and Melissa Janda – The Buzz on Writing has a very fun Dr. Seuss-inspired piece of prose . I may not be able to craft a line, but I do love those who can. Even those who can only do it in Pict.

D: It’s not that I can’t—

A: Just accept the compliment, D.

D: Fine. Ms. Briana Vested at When I Became an Author, who is a time-traveler in her own right (D has a soft spot for cowboys. . . She’s not wrong. They’re American Druids, A. With Cows. And horses. Um, sure, D.), is looking to sell 100 books by July 1. Check out her post.  

Double, double, toil and trouble

. . . Sean stood in the doorway, watching them, hating them. He didn’t want to care – their fight, their belief – he wanted it to mean nothing to him.

“You would hate them for their love of country?”

“Pardon?” Sean tried to turn around, but something in that deep voice forbade it.

“Your face, it speaks volumes. You don’t like them. You don’t even respect their fight. They are prepared to die and you despise them. Is there nothing in your life worth that sacrifice? You don’t have to help them, you don’t have to share their belief, but save your contempt for yourself.”

The voice faded and Sean spun, angry words on his lips. The voice and its owner were gone however, and there was no evidence that anyone had been in the hall. Sean swallowed, his words stuck in his throat. He thought back to Maureen, facing Mrs. Mallory and the leaders of the Irish Volunteers by herself.

She was probably having the time of her life, even if she was terrified.

The voice and its message slid from his memory. With one last glance at the men who would soon make history, Sean made his way back to the drawing room. . .

D: What was that, A? Who is chatting up Sean’s mind?

A: I’m not sure. It just sort of happened.

D: A, you may be taking this ‘inspired’ thing a little too far.

A: Perhaps. Are you sure that’s not you?

D: Uh, no. Now, I’m not usually the one to tell you this, but I think what we have is an attack of the darlings.

A: I know.

D: You know what you have to do, don’t you?

A: Find out who that is and thread it better through the story?

D: . . . You could . . .

A: Or I could beat my head against a wall and hope it doesn’t leave a mark.

D: Also an option.

A: I suppose I could just delete it, too.

D: Save it in that overstuffed outtakes file you have. At least until you figure out who it is. And in the meantime, A?

A: Yes?

D: Please figure out where all the home-staging points were for the leaders of the rebellion. If I see the (SOMEWHERE) tag one more time because you have no idea where they might have been, I’m going to take over your hands and start typing for you, too. Take a tip from TerribleMinds and Google Street View the location. There’s no shame in admitting that you’ve forgotten what the city looks like.

A: I have not! I just didn’t have time to put in the descriptions.

D: Right . . .

A: Fine, it’s a good point. Oh, and D?

D: Yes?

A: Who are you and what have you done with my Druid? You’re so . . . so . . . helpful!

D: It’s early yet, A. By the time you get to the breakdown of the rebellion tonight you’re going to be wishing for your fortress of solitude all over again.

A: Gee, can’t wait, D.

The Druid Tells the Tale

D: This is wild, and fantastic and good ol’ Liz would probably have had a fit. A and I love Michael Bradley – Time Traveler’s blog, and between the Conspiracy Theory that Queen Elizabeth I was really a man in drag and the pictures of an abandoned Wizard of Oz theme park, we’re both hooked.

A: And Charles over at the Legends of Windemere has some excellent advice on how not to force the reader to suspend belief about your characters’ ability to take a hit: Don’t ‘Black Knight’ Your Characters (Yeah, A: take notes. Bugger off, D.).

D: She’s just so charming. I don’t know how I survived all 1300 years before being cast into the pit that is her mind. For those out there with manuscripts ready for submission (hint, hint, A . . . . ignoring you, D . . . ) Fight for your Write has found some publishers seeking manuscripts. Since not all of you can be wandering Druid/Bards with every hearth eager to hear the tale you tell, it’s a resource worth checking out!

A: I think he’s up to something – he’s being too nice. Anyway, check out The MisAdventures of Vanilla – there’s a new character in town and he gives me the willies: Stan: The Man Comes to Town.

Thank the bead it’s over

D: A, I think you spelled “Bede” wrong.

A: What? No, I didn’t.

D: You mean you weren’t giving thanks to the Venerable Bede even though he has nothing to do with this particular book?

A: That is really random, D. You’re giving me more credit than I deserve.

D: Oh, wait, I know what this is – bad pun in reference to your sparkle-tastic (see what I did there? Very nice, D.) work extravaganza.

A: Yup.

D: It’s over?

A: Yup.

D: Thank the Bede.

A: Well done, D.

D: Wait, don’t go yet!

A: Pardon?

D: If I’m man enough to wear a kilt when the occasion/century calls for it, I’m man enough to admit that maybe it was a little boring around here without our . . . banter.

A:  . . .

D: And I was just wondering if you were going to get back at it, you know, with the story.

A: Get back . . . D, I didn’t stop writing, I just did it locked up in a room for nearly 24 hours so no one could disturb me. Part 2 is drafted and awaiting some in-fill – I think I have at least two pages worth of “GET DESCRIPTION” “FILL IN HERE” “FIND OUT WHAT THE HECK YOU’RE TALKING ABOUT” tags.

D: Wait, but I – but you! A! How could you!?

A: Sometimes, silence is golden, D.

D:. . . .

A: There’s still a lot of work to do. You can help. You’ll like it, I promise.

D: Promises, promises. Bead there, done that.

A: I’ve created a monster.

Telling the tale

Aside from Green Embers’ epic song dedication for TC (the child)’s last day of school on Friday, we have no tale to tell today – mostly because there are 200+ emails waiting to be read. We don’t know which tale to tell! Locking oneself up in a room for a day and then working all day the next is great for writing and overtime pay, but not so much for communication with wider world!

There is, however, a guest post pickling in my brain, and something for the RCC running around my head, and they’ll be done this week – along with another entry into the life of Claude. In the meantime, there’s this (one of the few bits that doesn’t have a “I have no clue what I’m doing” tag… yet).

“. . . Gerry mentioned in his note to me that you might have more information than you were letting on, that I might find you useful. Prove it, be useful.”

Sean glared at Mrs. Mallory. He didn’t let go of Maureen’s arm and when she made to speak, he squeezed. “I told you–”

“And I told you that I could find many to do for me. Remember Master Sean, I know quality when I see it. You two are, I don’t deny it, but I need more than that right now. Those are the conditions for staying with me. Help me, help the cause and I’ll clothe and feed you. You may even be able to earn a bob or two of your own – pay your way out of my service, if you will, since it is so distasteful to you.”

Maureen shook off Sean’s grip. “Would you mind leaving us to discuss it, Mrs. Mallory?” Maureen’s voice echoed Mrs. Mallory’s mouth – hard and cool.

 Jenny Mallory nodded silently and left the drawing room, closing the door behind her.

Sean turned on Maureen. “Maureen, you promised . . .”

A mark of distinction or distraction?

“. . . I had the idea before Eoghan reacted the way he did to your revelation – and between you and me, Maureen, we need to decide together if we’re going to announce that we’re time travelers. That kind of information could be dangerous to the wrong people.”

“Sean, they stopped burning witches over two hundred years ago.”

“Aye, right around the time they started putting people in insane asylums.”

Maureen rolled her eyes and grinned. “Go on, then.”

“Eoghan’s reaction confirmed it: Rockfleet is too small for someone like Dubh. Grace and her ilk don’t rule here; it’s not the port it once was. It’s a tiny village of fishermen and farmers, with the convent and the occasional French cyclist adding a bit of color. They all know each other – too well. He’d stick out. Christ, we’d stick out. Even here, we’re different; we’re strange.”

“And he’s even stranger. I don’t think he can hide the tattoos.”

Sean snorted and Maureen allowed the swaying cart to push her into his shoulder.

“Ah, but in Dublin…” she prompted.

“Aye, in Dublin, he’ll still stand out – you’re right about those tattoos – but not as much. He may have a better chance at reaching us there . . .”

D: Ah, that Maureen, she’s a canny one.

A: How’s that? It was Sean’s idea.

D: Both had the idea to go to Dublin, but they want to go for different reasons. Still makes me wonder . . . she might have been a firebrand on the battlefield.

A: D! Don’t make me change it.

D: Don’t worry, A. I’m just speculating on what might have been. She’s right about the tattoos, though. They were a bit of a distraction.

A: Well, not so much now.

D: A, when I stepped out of time, only military men and criminals had tattoos. It was a distraction. Of course, now everyone has them. Actually, reminds me a bit of home.

A: So would you have gotten Maureen a tat if you’d picked—

D: A! She’s a young woman! I know everyone now has tattoos, whether or not they’ve earned it, but I have my limits.

A: Um, D, your chauvinism is showing. I have tattoos.

D: . . . My point exactly. In my day, the tattoo was a part of your training, a mark of pride, learning, strength.

A: In your day . . . never mind. Each one of mine represents something too, D, and I wear them with pride. I can also hide them when I want to be a “ young lady.”

D: Ingenious. I tremble for mankind.

A: (Eye roll) Go back to your speculating, D. I have a story to write!

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.)

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 . . .”