Three Ghosts: Part One

While the Christmas decorations were put away this weekend (sniff), one small tidbit of Christmas remains: a short story serial I started, with the help of a text message, a good month before Christmas. Theater productions and plague stood between me and sharing it with the world, which in retrospect, was a good thing. That said, it’s written now, and for the next 4 Mondays, it is my pleasure to present the mystery/thriller short story, Three Ghosts.

Because the content does relate to recent and potentially-touchy political arguments, I’ll remind readers this is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents are the products of my imagination, or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.


Three Ghosts: Marley

card“’The first Christmas card was sent in 1843, the same year A Christmas Carol was published,’ she says, trying not to let the baleful stare of her own unwritten cards haunt her.”

“Your tense is wrong.”

Dee – Deirdre O’Brien to those who hadn’t been her friend for twenty years – stopped gesturing with her eyebrows at the teetering tower of Christmas card boxes. She had not sent one to anyone on her list in at least three years, but that never stopped her from buying a new box or two every year. They always looked so pretty. It nearly broke her heart to pack them away with the rest of her things.

“It’s not about the tense, Cat – it’s about the grand Charles Dickens’ Christmas Conspiracy.”

Catherine Evans’ grey eyes just stared at her over the tops of her old-fashioned wire-rims. “Is this really your excuse this year?”

Leave it to Cat to bring sense to the nonsensical.

“I didn’t say that.”

A slow eyebrow arched above the glasses and Dee wondered how long her best friend could hold onto the schoolmarm look before one of them broke down into giggles.

“His story lamented greed and miserliness,” Dee insisted as she looked for the wrinkling around Cat’s eyes, which almost always preceded a smile. “Yet here we are, one hundred and eighty years later, celebrating a simple holiday for three months, munching popcorn while Kermit the Frog clings to Captain Picard–”

“And I’m pretty sure your cards can’t stare.”

“I’m not so sure,” Dee mused, fiddling with the lock of black hair that had escaped her pony tail. “See? The Christmas Fairy is looking a little feisty.”

“The Christmas fairy is looking a little tarty. Were you really planning on sending those to your mother?”

“Oh no – she gets these.

Dee plucked a battered, half-empty box covered with an assortment of beatific mothers, sighing angels and cherubic infants. That she sent one of these cards every year while the others collected dust was an irony that had not escaped her.

“And just in case you were wondering, Deirdre O’Brien, your Dickens’ Christmas Conspiracy is about as logical as your need to buy Christmas cards you’re not going to send.”

“Yeah, but it entertained you for a second – besides, I might this year.”

Cat snorted. “Not bloody likely. Explain to me again why you’re moving across the globe three days before your most favorite holiday in all of ever?”

“Because seeing London all lit up for the holidays is probably the best Christmas gift in all of ever? Besides – didn’t I offer to spring for you and Henry to join me?”


“I know, I know, your soon-to-be mother-In-law would have kittens.”

“It’s not just that – it’s just . . . well, you moving to London—”

“It’s temporary.”

“Right, I know – but it wasn’t too long ago that you were cursing the name of every person in Parliament—”

“Yeah, well, everyone in the UK does that, Cat.” Dee shrugged and ignored the skepticism in her friend’s eyes, and the flush creeping up her own neck. “Things change – the war is over. Besides, Doctor Who makes friends of us all – and now I get to watch it for free!”

Cat’s lips twitched. Dee almost had her, and damned if she wasn’t going to get Cat to smile. It was important – ridiculous, yes, but also important. If she could get Cat to smile instead of scold, then perhaps the next three days would be . . . .

She shook her head. Never mind the next three days.

She let a sly grin shade her features as she abandoned the table strewn with the detritus of her life and stepped into the loft’s tiny kitchen. “Besides, you know I’ll be back for the wedding. Planning from afar is what I do – your bachelorette party is going to be spectacular. I’ve already hired the stripper.”


There – that did it. The twitch broke into a full-fledged – albeit shocked – smile and Dee answered it with one of her own. “Leave the cards and the packing, Cat, and have a glass of wine.”

“Just one – I have to drive, and you really have to pack. You won’t get anything done after two.”

Dee bit her lip to stop it trembling. “Yeah, just one. Come on.”

* * *

“Well done, Ms. O’Brien.”

Dee put her stack of books down with a sigh. “Pardon me?”

“The little performance with Ms. Evans. I think you convinced her quite nicely.”

She rolled her eyes. It had not been a performance, and even if it had been, she would not have been able to convince Cat of anything. Dee wasn’t the terrible liar she claimed, but Cat saw through her little deceptions all the time. Of course, the suit didn’t need to know that.

“How do you figure?”

“It’s my job to know people, Ms. O’Brien.” The suit – a one Agent Marley – looked smug.

“You’ve tapped her phone then, I take it?”

Of course he did, she scolded herself. And it was her fault. She had made Cat – made every one of her family and friends – fair game just as she had made herself fair game over fifteen years ago. That they knew nothing – well, almost nothing – did not matter. Not to Agent Marley, and not to the people who talked in that little earpiece of his.

“Tapped?” Marley looked up from the pile of Christmas cards he had been restacking on the table. Her fingers itched to slap his hands away. “How very old fashioned of you, Ms. O’Brien. No, all we have to do is sort of listen in on the digital airwaves everyone makes so readily available. Tapped is what we did to you twenty years ago.”

“Got it – so, I was right all those times I teased Cat that you lot were listening in because we could hear the clicking?” She fought to keep her face bland under his raised eyebrow. She really did want to know, but she was not going to give Marley the benefit of her obvious curiosity.

“Indeed. You should be glad we keep tabs on these sorts of things. It’s what is going to keep you alive over there.”

“You really are a bundle of joy tonight, Mr. Bourne.” Damn. That had been a throw-away answer for a throw-away asset.

“That’s not—“

Dee rolled her eyes as Marley stopped himself from walking into her bad joke. Because his first name was Jason, and because he bore a faint resemblance to a certain actor, the name had stuck in her head – even though she was not certain Agent Jason Marley knew the right end of the gun from the wrong.

“Ms. Evans was right, you know.”


“The cards. You won’t be able to send them.”

“I might—”

“No – sending them could alert the wrong people.” He swept the cards in question into the waiting box. Besides the last pile of books she’d unearthed from under the bed, the cards were the last to go, but they wouldn’t be joining her in London. Nothing but what she managed to stuff in her carry-on was coming with her. Everything – right down to that stack of three-year-old Christmas cards – would be put into storage for if – no, when – she got back.

The show of packing had been just that – a show for Cat.

She stopped Marley from putting the lid on the last box and reached for two cards that had fallen loose.

“I have to send one.” She scribbled a quick note into one sporting an iridescent Mother and Child and signed her name with a flourish.

“I can’t allow—“

Her head snapped up and her cheeks flushed with sudden anger. “Damn what you can’t allow. I’m throwing myself at an organization you and your overseas friends insisted was dead – the least you can do is let me send a card to my mother.”

“Is that so? And who helped with that little subterfuge, Ms. O’Brien?”

“Little? You call faking Pearse Finnegan’s death little? Face it, you fell for it, and now I’m helping you fix it.”

It was an old argument, but she liked having it. They both knew her ‘fixing it’ had happened all too easily.

It had started two months ago, when research had brought her back to Europe after a nearly fifteen-year absence. The whole trip had been a gamble. Once, she had barely been able to escape Dublin, and there was no way she should have been allowed into Heathrow – at least, not without a lot of extra scrutiny.

Yet, the lads had been inactive for so long – hell, she’d been out of the game for so long – it was easy to pretend all the focus really was in the Middle East.

But then she’d seen her husband in London.

Her head of the War Council, supposedly dead husband.

Pearse hated London.

According to those in the know, the London Game was going to be the one that finally tipped the scales for unification and independence. Of course, that plan had been laid out before the Good Friday Agreement had brokered a fragile truce between the British Army, the Loyalists and the Provisionals – and before the Dail gave up its right to the six counties, otherwise known as Northern Ireland.

The war was over – had been over for fifteen years – and Irish unification was a distant dream or moldy memory, depending on who one asked.

And yet, if Pearce was in London, now, after all this time, then it meant he had found a way around the Agreement – or thought he had.

She’d snapped a quick, blurry-but-recognizable picture but ignored the itchy feeling along her scalp and shoulders when getting that hasty digital artistry to the appropriate people had been even easier than flying into London. There was no way Pearce’s miraculous recovery from death was a surprise to the security services, and apparently, neither was her hand in the proceedings.

Agent Marley refused to squirm under her glare. “And we are most grateful to your change of heart, Ms. O’Brien, believe me.”

He gave a slight bow and Dee allowed herself a small smile. Not for the first time she suspected Agent Marley’s blandness – and general bafflement at what he had once called her unruliness – was an act. Sure, he was an ass, and it terrified her to think she was his first field assignment – but there was also a twitch at the corner of his lips that spoke volumes for his overall intelligence – or at least, her preference for faintly dangerous men. In another life – but no, that was just it. That other life was not hers anymore. She had this one. The one she had chosen.

She shook her head. Nope. She was not going to think about it. It was done and here she was, making . . . amends. She gave Agent Marley a half-hearted shrug before flicking the signed card at him.

As he fumbled with the babe born in a manger, she slipped the Christmas Fairy into her bag.

“Send it to my mother,” she ordered. “If you don’t, she’ll know something is wrong.”

Agent Marley paused and searched her face. What he was looking for – and what he found – was a mystery, but after a few deafening heartbeats, he saluted her with the Christmas card.

“All right. It will go out tonight. We will begin routing your calls after takeoff. In the flurry of moving, you forgot to activate the international band on your phone.”

“That’s not going to keep anyone for long. They’ll start to worry.”

“Perhaps, but you don’t have very long. Our intel indicates he’ll strike Christmas Day, Ms. O’Brien.”

Agent Marley turned on his heel and headed towards the door. His footsteps echoed in the empty loft.

That’s right. Three days. That was all she had left.

Three days and three ghosts.

. . . to be continued . . .

Part 2 | Part 3


A Merry Christmas to All . . .

. . . And to all, a good night.

D, A and The Kid wish you all a very Merry Christmas, Blessed Midwinter, Yule, a very Happy Holiday and whatever else makes this time of year bright despite the cold and snow.


The Spirit of Yule
Picture courtesy: Google Images

May your days be filled with peace and joy, may your nights be filled with comfort, and may the coming year bless you and yours.

Thank you for spending your time here with us at the D/A Dialogues. Your readership, friendship and support are a balm to this writer’s soul.

And now, for a little music. Please enjoy this song, which has been my very favorite since I was a little girl.

The Sweetest Day of the Year


O, Christmas Tree! 1 of 3 that currently grace our home. We dig Christmas – a lot!

A: Aside from decorations and music, food is a big part of our Christmas celebrations. Last year, being determined to stick to my paleo-ish—

D: How can one be paleo-ish?

A: By being a real-food foodie: agreeing with the basic idea (which, I do – for health reasons) but also acknowledging that my enjoyment of food and life is not going to be overwhelmed by the foods I “can” and “cannot” eat according to some strict diet regime that is not medically imperative. I avoid wheat, grains, white potatoes and tomatoes – they all make my autoimmune/inflammation issues flare. After that, I moderate those foods that are ridiculously high in fat and sugar, and have no nutritional redeeming qualities whatsoever. Potato chips and wine are exempt from all of these rules. There’s only so the world can ask a girl to sacrifice.

D: This is what you call a first-world problem, isn’t it? Because I recall just being happy and quite prosperous if we had enough foodstuffs and game stored by to last a Highland winter.

A: Welcome to the 21st century, D. Anyway, it turns out one can be a real-food foodie and have eggnog, so long as you REALLY like coconut milk (actually, real eggnog, provided one is not dairy-intolerant, is totally a real-food thing). One can be a real-food foodie and have gingerbread. One can even have real sugar plums , but one cannot be a real-food foodie and have satisfactory cut-out cookies.

D: Cut-out cookies? This is a diatribe about cut-out cookies?

A: Cherished traditions at holiday-time, D. It’s a potentially stress-filled, National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation– debacle-filled time of year. Sweet blobs of dough that bake up nice, filled with cinnamon, cardamom and cloves are important.

D: And here I thought it was about the whole rebirth of the world thing.

A: As symbolized by cookies.

D: . . .

A: Fine, it’s not about cookies … it’s only mostly about the cookies. As I realized last year that I was not going to get a satisfactory coconut flour cut-out cookie (we can’t do almond flour variety-anything)  I was very nearly despondent, until I tried just-one-more-recipe. I didn’t roll it out – I was too tired for that – but I did use it as the base for every other type of cookie I used to make. And you know what?

D: I’m breathless with anticipation.

A: They were perfect. It made our holiday. (Alright, fine – good health, family, friends, sparkly lights and fantastic music made hour holiday – but the cookies helped).  They don’t make a lot, but they’re ridiculously simple and easy to manipulate. I did this year by turning them into gingersnaps.

D: And so, Christmas was saved?

A: Christmas was saved in a spicy-sweet puff of heated air from the oven. And maybe some spiked eggnog.

Grain-Free Holiday Cookies

Basic Dough Ingredients

Based on this recipe from Real Food Forager

  • ¼ lb butter (1 stick) or ½ cup ghee, softened
  • 1 egg
  • ¼ cup honey & 1 dropper stevia (or ½ cup plain white sugar)
  • 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
  • ¾ – 1 cup coconut flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
Apologies for the horrible photo quality, but these are the four cookies I wrest from 1 simple recipe. Holidays = saved.

Apologies for the horrible photo quality, but these are the four cookies I wrest from 1 simple recipe. Holidays = saved.


  • Blend together the softened butter or ghee and honey/sugar.
  • Add vanilla.
  • Add the egg and beat until fluffy.
  • Mix the dry ingredients.
  • Add dry to wet. Caution: Coconut flour absorbs quite a bit of liquid. If it doesn’t look thick enough, wait a few moments before adding more flour.
  • Attend to variations, below
  • Roll into 1-inch balls – flatten, turn into thumbprints or leave as-is, per recipe/desire.
  • Bake at 350 degrees F for 9 minutes
  • Let cool
  • Try not to eat all of them in one sitting. And if you do, have a lot of water on hand (see note above, re: moisture retention of coconut flour!)

Eggnog Cookies Variation

  • Add: 1 tsp nutmeg to dry ingredients
  • Roll into balls, and create divot with thumb/forefinger. Bake as directed.
  • Once cool, top with swipe of eggnog frosting, which I spied at Smitten Kitchen (best food blog ever. I’ve converted quite a few of Deb’s recipes to the gluten and/or grain free variety) – best version I’ve seen to-date. Yes, that is a lot of sugar. Yes, it’s totally worth it.

Peppermint Snowballs Variation

  • Add: 3 crushed candy-canes to wet ingredients
  • Roll into balls. Roll balls in a mix of powdered sugar (of any kind: coconut, truvia, plain ol’ white, etc) and 2 crushed candy canes before baking.
  • Bake as directed.
  • For real decadence, roll in same powdered sugar/candy cane mix after baking as well.

Cardamom Cookies Variation

  • Add: 2 teaspoons of Cinnamon and Cardamom each to dry ingredients.
  • Prepare cookie in 1 inch balls, roll in a mix of sugar, cardamom and cinnamon. Flatten rolled cookie with cookie press, bottom of a pretty glass or with forks, and bake as directed.

Gingersnap Variation

  • Add: ¼ – ½ cup molasses to wet ingredients
  • 2 Tablespoons ginger to dry ingredients (more if you’re a spice addict – I swear I should have the blue-blue eyes at this point).
  • Measure coconut flour to 1 cup instead of ¾ cup
  • Refrigerate dough for 15 minutes. Roll into balls, roll balls in white sugar (or your sugar substitute as desired) and flatten with the tines of a fork. Bake as directed.

But wait!

D: Aren’t you going to share a song?

A: Yes, I am. And it is one of the best songs – The Christmas Can-Can. Enjoy (and spike the eggnog)!

Beta Readers, get ready: Changelings is in your hands!

D: Also known as “In Which A Falls Asleep Mid Spell-Check”

A: I did not.

D: You did so. I saw it.

A: I had something in my eye. I had to close them.

D: Uh huh.

A: Okay, maybe I did nod off, but then this song came on and I perked right up again.

D: At least you were editing and not playing that ridiculous game with the rot-your-teeth devils.

A: You mean Candy Crush? Everyone needs a break, D. You’d love it.

D: I would never succumb.

A: Oh, sure. You say that now – everyone succumbs to Candy Crush, D. Everyone.

D: I am made of sterner stuff, A.

A: Or you’re just stern. You do realize that I’m planning on taking a 2-week vacation from writing, right?

D: A full 2 weeks? What are you going to do? What am I going to do? What in the gods’ name were you doing for the last two weeks?

A: Wow – I didn’t know your voice went that high. You’re kind of funny looking when you’re flabbergasted, D. And to answer your myriad of questions: Yes. Read, play, blog, play, read, sleep – not necessarily in that order, but you get the idea. Be your regular outrageous self and make snarky comments in my head and this blog. Editing. I edited and learned stage directions, D. I’m multi-talented.

D: Gee, someone has an inflated sense of herself.

A: . . .

D: Well, I suppose that plan is all right. So long as you blog.

A: So glad my Christmas vacation plans meet with your approval.

D: Is that sarcasm I detect?

A: Oh no, never.

D: (Eye-roll) Well then, congratulations, A. It’s been quite a year, has it not?

A: You ain’t just whistlin’ Dixie, D.

D: And yet, I still do not understand the words that come out of your mouth. I think it’s time to turn off your 600+ carols, A, and go to bed.

A: You know what, D. I think you’re right. Good night, all! Thank’s for reading. And if you want to be a beta reader to, and give us your two cents, give me a shout at!

I’m back. . . but not like Johnny.

A: . . . because it’s Christmas, not Halloween.

D: That you make the distinction amazes me.

A: There is a a huge distinction between Christmas and Halloween.

D: Really?

A: Okay, in terms of colors, yes. In terms of pagan-ness? No.

D: Thank you.

A: I try.

D: So you aren’t in a snow-bound hotel fielding ghosts, but you are…

A: In a lovely home lighted by a million fairy lights and sung thematically to my sleep every night.

D: . . .

A: I have a lot of Christmas music.

D: How much i s a lot?

A: Um . . . 1, 2, 3. . . 641 . . . Sorry, numbers really aren’t my thing.

D: Numbers hurt Johnny, don’t they?

A: Yes. If only Mr. King had known that.

D: (With apologies to Mr. King)

A: (Ditto)

D: (Wait, you agree with me?)

A: (Only on every other Wednesday)

D: (Ah, I see . . . are we going to stop speaking parenthetically at any point?)

A: (How about now?)

D: Indeed. So, A: what brings you to the blog? I thought you had “better” things to do?

A: Oh, don’t get all moody on me, Druid. The play was spectacular. The time with the boy was even better, and the editing? My goodness, it was  a breeze. Is it a bad thing that I liked reading the story?

D: Maybe.

A: I gave you three more scenes.

D:  Oh well, in that case, I think it stupendous!

A: Thought so.

D: Does this mean. . .

A: Yes, D?

D: Does this mean, you are actually done with Book One?

A: Well. . .

D: Come on, A . . . don’t leave an old Druid hanging!

A: I guess. . .

D: Yes??

A: . . . Book One is done!

(The heavens erupt with joyous praise. . . oh wait, that’s just D breaking out his 1-man-band).

D: I knew it!

(Dancing and singing ensue. Best get a large mug of mead. This is going to go on for a while).

A: So, I know I’ve been absent from the blogosphere, and that makes me a very bad blogger, BUT!

D: And it’s a big . . .

A: Really?

D: I have been in your head for over 13 years.

A: May the Gods have mercy on your soul.

D: Well said. Anyway. . .

A: If you ever had any interest in being a beta reader for D&A/The Changelings Series, now is the time to say AYE! PDF copies of Book One, The Changelings: Into the Mist, will go out on Friday.

D: In other words, if you ever wanted to give A —

A: Or D —

D: What-for, now is your chance.

A: Thanks, D. (Check out the “Contact us” form at the end of this to sign up for a chance to read The Changelings: Into the Mist as a beta reader!)

I also want to say, to those who are still reading after our several-week hiatus, thank you. It wasn’t easy coming out of blogging-retirement, but at the same time, the absence  of connection made it necessary. It isn’t about platform, it isn’t about some amorphous “thing” for the published-author-in-waiting that makes me come back, it’s all of you. I’ve missed you.

I purposely put away email and connection, except for Facebook (still had to promote the play locally, of course), for a few weeks and it’s been kind of lonely. I’m usually okay with lonely, but this time around, not so much. So, I’m back. I’m back and I’m focused on capturing the Christmas Spirit, whatever that means. I want to share with all of you my Christmas love, which I normally have in abundance. It starts with music. I grew up with only 2 Christmas records: The Magic of Christmas and Bing Crosby’s Christmas Classics. Since then, I’ve amassed over 600 Christmas songs. The one below, it is my current favorite. Over the next couple of days, I’ll share my Christmas song highlights.

What do you think? What is your favorite Christmas/Holiday song? I mean absolute favorite? 

PS: If you want to be a beta-reader for The Changelings: Into the Mist, let me know in the “contact me” form below, or in comments.

Cheers and much love,

Ode to Hot Chocolate

Hail to thee, molten joy!

Dark and seductive or milky sweet

You’re there in need, and never coy.

I breathe you in, your steam and heat,

I love you over any Christmas toy.


From: Google Images See what I mean, it's love in a cup!

From: Google Images
See what I mean, it’s love in a cup!

D: Seriously, A?

A: What? I love hot chocolate!

D: . . .

A: I love it so much, I’ve set a challenge for myself on Facebook.

D: Oh, pray tell what productivity this shall engender.

A: Reasons why I get to have hot cocoa for breakfast.

D: Because that is so healthy.

A: It is healthy – you know, because it’s a bean. Therefore . . .

D: Your depravity knows no bounds, does it?

A: Oh, like you didn’t indulge with the Aztecs.

D: I never crossed the sea, A – not until the 21st century and it is often that I second-guess that particular decision.

A: So, you weren’t there when the conquistadors brought it back from the New World?

D: Okay, well – maybe.

A: Right. And you didn’t sample it? Or drink down a whole jug of it and get chocolate all over your face?

D: Who have you been talking too?

A: I can’t tell you that. My informants rely on secrecy, D.

D: . . .

A: Here, D. Have some chocolate. It has tryptophan  in it – it’ll make you feel better.

D: (*grab* mumble grumble mutter slurp . . . sigh).

So, I’ve set myself a challenge: for the next five days, I will have a post on the glories of hot chocolate.

Yes, I do love it that much.

Stop by daily (or follow me on Facebook – yes me, not the D/A Dialogues because there’s nothing on that page that doesn’t end up on my own page. Plus, with Facebook’s new-to-me follow feature, you’re only subjected to that which I mark ‘public.’ Fancy.) to find out more about the season’s best drink, and the crazy reasons I’m more than willing to drink it for breakfast.

Reasons I’m drinking hot chocolate for breakfast:

Monday: It’s Monday. That’s totally allowed as a reason. Plus, I stabbed my hand yesterday while making guacamole. Yep, I’m a menace with sharp objects. (No worries, nothing vital hit. Plus, the boy gets to wash dishes all week!)

The marshmallow in your cup:

Twelve Drummers Drumming

On the twelfth day of NaNo, my true muse gave to me

Twelve drummers drumming,

Eleven snowflakes snowing,

Ten random factoids,

Nine trains a-chugging,

Eight ways of souping,

Seven shows a-sassing,

Six books a-writing,

Five Syllables!

Four pumpkin cakes

Three cough drops

Two cuddly cats

And a family that’s dear to me.


I should have known better than to use 12 Days of Christmas as my Non-NaNo anthem – I always get lost around day eight. I suppose it doesn’t help that I also get lost crossing the street – so the two together obviously means I failed to find my way to the computer/blog.

D: But you still managed to haunt Facebook all weekend.

A: Facebook doesn’t require a great deal of thought – just photos, some pithy sayings and cyberstalking – I mean enjoying some of my favorite—

D: Don’t say it. Can we please have a post without Dwarven #majesty?

A: No. The majesty cannot be contained. It must be allowed to flow.

D: You are so strange sometimes.

A: Thank you.

D: So what’s this about souping? Is that even a word?

A: No, but it fit the syllable requirement. Thanks to a week-plus of nothing but soup, the boy went on a diatribe that sounded remarkably similar to Cohen the Barbarian’s lament in Color of Magic

(particularly at 0:58 onward)

D: I see. So the whole household is crazy then, yes?

A: Perhaps.

D: Good to know. And the nine trains?

A: TrainFest. Had to work. Train Guys are pretty cool.

D: And the 10 random factoids?

A: What I call research others may view as procrastination.

D: I see – still having a hard time getting inside Jenny Mallory’s head?

A: Something like that.

D: Just write the bloody thing, A.

A: (Sigh). Yeah. Moving on . . .

YELLOW FLOWERD: Eleven snowflakes snowing?

A: That’s rather self-explanatory, isn’t it? It snowed, D. On November 11 and at roughly 11:11, it started to snow. I’m going to find out who made that wish and—

D: Careful A, you still haven’t quite gotten your strength back. You may just end up giving whoever it was a hug and that just gives out mixed signals.

A: True.

D: And finally, the twelve drummers?

The boy puts together the snare drum from his early Christmas gift . . . only 4 pieces left and a stool . . .

The boy puts together the snare drum from his early Christmas gift . . . only 4 pieces left and a stool . . .

A: Well, it’s more like one awesome kid, but I’m pretty sure he’s going to make enough noise with his very early Christmas gift to sound like 12 drummers.

D: Ah, he can beat the war drum for me any day.

A: Actually, it’s for Jazz Band, but I’ll let him know.

D: You do that, A. So, is this it?

A: It is. The 12 Days of Non-NaNo are over.

D: And what have you learned?

A: That if I ever go looking for my heart’s desire again, I won’t look any further than my own back yard—

D: I mean from blogging A – not from your journey to the Wonderful Land of Oz.

A: Oh. Well then, how about being able to blog about things other than my writing and my topsy-turvy character-rich inner-world.

D: You’re talking about me in that last bit, right?

A: Yes, D.

D: You aren’t planning on eradicating that part, right?

A: (Eye-roll) No, D.

D: Good. Just so we are both clear on that. You couldn’t live without me, anyway.

A: What are you going to do when your books are finally done and out there for the public to enjoy?
D: Well, I was thinking you should retire to someplace warm. I have these aches in my elbows – I’m thinking it’s from the sword – and really, I could do without the early arrival of winter, you know?

A: You are not retiring in my head.

D: Oh, come on, A! You’d miss me if I were gone.

A: . . .

D: You would. Just think about it, A.

A: And the final thing that I learned during my 12 days of Non-NaNo? D is as irrepressible as ever, and never ceases to surprise me. Hope all the NaNos out there are doing well as they approach the mid-way point, and that everyone else is having their own grand time! ‘Night all!

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