It Lives!

D: Picture it, if you will – a bent figure emerges from a nest of blankets and coffee cups. It stumbles. Its legs are weak and it is nearly overcome by the debris that surrounds it.

It is A.

She went into the weekend an uncertain warrior, and has emerged. . .

Victorious!

5 signs you’ve taken writerly hibernation too far:

Exhibit A: Coffee Cups and Cat Toys

Exhibit A: Coffee Cups and Cat Toys

1. You’ve been sitting at your desk so long, the cats start to think of it as sacred space, and start sacrificing their mouse-toys to your benevolence.

2. The furnace dies, lights start winking out throughout the house and you’re pretty sure it may be the end of days in glacier form outside your door, but damn, this is a good bit and you just can’t stop now.

3. You shun email and any other form of communication for so long that you’re thinking a ‘scorched earth’ policy might not be so bad – that can work in cyberspace, right? Right?!

4. You realize it’s a good thing you made a casserole or two before you closed the door on human interaction, otherwise your child might have been SOL when it came to dinner.

D: True story. TC came wandering by at some hour past dark declaring himself hungry. His mother’s reaction (which, remarkably was not to tell him to invade turkey)? Mumbling something resembling: Yeah, food. Just a sec. Five hours later he’s had dinner, desert and whatever else he could rustle up in the fridge, and A is still buried beneath her blankets clacking away at the laptop.

A: I was at a good part.

D: The beauty of this list is that the entire weekend was a ‘good part.’

A: I know. I’m excited.

D: Aside from the fact that I think you killed me –

A: Oi! Spoilers, Druid. And I did not. I’m still editing that bit.

5. A song that is not harmonious with the predominantly soundtrack-like playlist you’ve developed for your writing somehow pops up. Under normal circumstances, you love this song. However, during witerly hibernation, your reaction is to break into tears because you were so close, and jab at the iPod until something far more pleasing appears.

D:This may be accompanied by muttering and swearing, and it may cause your child to raise his eyebrows and back slowly out of the room.

A: He did not – only when he started singing along with one of the songs, which may or may not have induced me to snarl at him, was there any attempt to tiptoe around the writer.

D: And then someone accused you of listening to a dirge.

A: Well, it was a bit intense.

D: A bit?

A: Okay, so OD-ing on The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug soundtrack, and Florence + The Machines for three days straight may have been overkill (if you aren’t me and you don’t have a penchant for dirge-like music to begin with).

D: And then you went and added the Henry V soundtrack to the mix.

A: At least I left Braveheart out.

D: Thank the gods for small mercies – I’m not sure smearing yourself with woad and shouting “Freedom” would be all that conducive to your efforts.

A: Actually…

D: That’s an experiment for a different list, A.

A: Killjoy.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to listen to Thorin wax deeply lyrical about misty mountains cold and figure out just which Irish ‘otherworld’ D has managed to lose himself in! Good night, folks and thank you so much for reading!

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Hunted

I heard this wild cry of terror, as though hounds howled against the night.

Photo Courtesy Google Images, labeled for commercial reuse.

Photo Courtesy Google Images, labeled for commercial reuse.

The plain, Mag Mell, was empty – stripped of all lore, all magic and life – and Niamh Golden Hair’s curses rang in my ears.

I would rue the day I had turned from her cause, she had said.

As the sound caused dread to prickle my skin, a part of me laughed. There is a reason Mistress Niamh is Tír na nÓg’s greatest spell weaver and seer, though not many risk the King’s ire to say so.

The mists pressed down upon me. They started to dance. So wrapped up in my own misery – my own hot denial of her visions – was I that I did not see their grasping fingers twine ‘round my legs.

And then that cry. That hideous, desperate cry.

The King. It had to be.

I carry no weapon in the lands of the Tuatha. There would be no use – nothing man has made can harm them now. Once upon a time it was said they could be killed – that the Fae feared man’s iron and the cold touch of steel.

Fairy tales, I say. They were not driven to their hills. They did not retreat. These are bedtime stories to sooth the frightened Celtic heart, told reassure them that the Fae would trouble them no more.

Would that they had known that Fae had little interest in the world of man. Unless, of course, man came stumbling through the veils. Blundering, as I had, so many years ago.

The cry that rent the air told me I was hunted. It is always so for those who can travel between the worlds. Why did I think I would be any different?

Did it matter that I had won for him a war?

No.

Did it matter that donning the name of one I had heard since my days in swaddling – a man-god who saved his king – that I became the myth?

No.

All that mattered now was that I was a man outside of time, beyond the help of kindred, and I had just turned my back on the last of those who cared.

A haunting wail pierced the air, adding anguish to that wild cry of terror. We sang in tune, my hunter and I, and when he ripped the world from beneath my feet, I nearly wept with relief.

***

“What do you remember?”

Dubh an Suíle mac Alasdair lifted his eyes to the red-haired man before him. He looked smart in his uniform, and he was young, yet, his green eyes spoke of many battles.

Every day it was the same question. What did he remember?

Everything.

And nothing.

***

For Papi Z’s prompt: “I heard this wild cry of terror…”

Also, the 450ish words  above are a slightly different version of the opening page of Changelings: The Coming Storm, the sequel to Into the Mist.

Sometimes, giving over to D’s voice is the only way to jump start a new scene, or, in this case, a new book. Don’t get me wrong, the core of this book has already been written – it’s the second part of Maureen and Sean’s journey. Yet, this part here – with D and the red-haired man – this is new territory. And as much as I have enjoyed researching it, it was not something I had anticipated writing… yet. It has not been easy to get into the flow of the relationships forged over a very brief span of time – relationships that are key to understanding why D risks life, limb and time to keep Maureen and Sean safe.

It makes me wonder, for anyone, when you’re shifting gears in a project at work, in the home or in your writing, is there a trick you use, or a method you employ, to help you find that ‘sweet’ spot so you can move forward with it? Or do you just ‘keep on truckin’ in the hopes that it will find itself? Is this where planning comes in?

Man in the Mist

D: I’m what?!


A: Muahahaha!


D: But they think I’m what?!


A: Told you I was going to write today.


D: But I’m . . . I’m . . . I can’t say it.


A: Play nice, and I’ll bring you back.


D: You are intolerable.


A: Thanks, D.

I wanna rock!

A: I need the music loud and big tonight!

D: How about some panpipes? I have a lovely set somewhere over–

A: No, D – not any of your bard-y fireside music. I need big – it needs to be heard over a body of water – music.

D: Ah, pipes, then?

A: And drums.

D: Um, A. . . are we going to war?

A: War? Silly Druid, wars are for politicians. No, we are celebrating. You and TC are in charge of the music and probably the singing too, since I can’t carry a tune.

D: What are we celebrating – and what are you bringing to this hootenanny?

A: Me, of course!

D: Now you’re just being obscure.

A: Says the Druid. First, I’m bringing me to the hootenanny, and possibly potato chips and dip. Second, my word count for Camp NaNoWriMo has been validated.

D: How many words?

53,728

D: And the book?

A: Congratulate me first.

D: . . .That’s stupendous, A. Way to go.

A: With sincerity, and possibly enthusiasm, if you can manage it.

D: I never doubted you for a moment, A.

A: That’s better. The book is well on its way. They’re in 1745, they’re realizing that perhaps they were sent there for a reason, and Bonnie Prince Charlie is about to call the clans. All in all, good times. Word vomit, but good times.

D: I’m proud of you A.

A: Thanks, D. Me too!

D: Okay, that was nice. Get back to work, woman.

A: What about my hootenanny?

D: Don’t you watch TV? That always ends with crazy masks and zombies.

A: Right. How could I forget? No more Netflix for you, D.

A’s Telling the Tale Tonight, Baby!
IMG_0305

Ralph and the cat

The Creative Writing Challenge continues at the Community Storyboard. Today’s prompt: Pick an object in your room, and write a story. I have sleep (or lack thereof) on the brain with “Bed Head.” For the best story that popped up at the Community Storyboard, check out Ionia’s, “Polly wants a what?” Hands down my favorite of the day.

Also, huge congratulations are in order to Charles and Briana – thank *you* for letting us be a part of your respective book promotions. It was a lot of fun. Wishing you both a ridiculous amount of success!

Finally, here’s a little something from Part 3 of The Book, i.e. something I salvaged from the word vomit:

Silence.

It beat at her. Tiny movements bombarded her. Breathing hurt her ears, so complete was the absence of noise.

Maureen opened her eyes, slowly acknowledging that this was no dream – no nightmare to be avoided by deeper dreaming.

Nothing met her gaze. The darkness absolute. Her shriek rose from deep within her gut.

“Sean!”

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.