Posts Tagged ‘writing’

(advent) – December 2nd, a little late in the day

I don’t even have my Christmas tree up.  But I went ghost-hunting last night and house-hunting today, and so I’m a little behind.  Story of my life.

But!  Here we go!  Day 2!

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“Saint Michael’s Church, Father Christopher speaking.”

The priest’s deep voice rumbled through the speaker, easily heard even over the occasional static, and Drew smiled. “Hello, Father. Did you get it?”

“Drew! Yes, Luke dropped it off earlier this morning.” In the background, Drew could faintly hear the sounds of an organ. He must have called during choir practice. “It’s lovely. Where did you find them?”

“I went and talked with Catherine Taylor at the Tin Shop to see if she could get them,” Drew said, leaning back against the wall of the cabin he was sharing with the other tech and the Gate engineer. “She suggested this new artisan she’d found – an old woman who did these beautiful little beaded bottles. I went to her studio, meaning to ask how much the bottles were, and she was working on this amazing ornament.”

“They’re spectacular,” Father Christopher marveled. “And the idea is wonderful.”

“Thank you.” Drew snuck a look out the opposite window. The sun had just come up here – his time sense hadn’t quite kicked in yet, but he thought it was about noon back at the Cove. “I know she’s had a rough couple of months, and this just seemed the best way to remind her how happy she can be.”

“You’re a good man, Drew.” The priest’s voice softened. “When are you coming home?”

Drew sighed. Not soon enough. “We’re scheduled to be done tomorrow afternoon,” he said. “That’s why I agreed to do this. Mac promised me the rest of the month off.”

“And how does it look?”

“Let me get up and I’ll tell you.”

Getting to the door was a bit of an adventure – they’d just dumped their gear before heading out to the Gate to start fixing it, and they’d come back after the sun had gone down. Drew wound his way through the piles of equipment, clothing and coolers to the door, opened it and stepped outside. The air was cold, but not as cold as Carter’s Cove, and scented with the heavy, heady smell of pine. The sky was a deep, clear blue, with a large orange sun, bigger than the Earth’s sun, hovering over the tops of the trees. Drew inhaled, drawing in the air. No taste of rain.

“The forecast looks good,” he said. “I’m hoping we can get home early tomorrow morning.”

“I’ll pray you have no issues,” Father Christopher said.

“We could use all the prayers we can get,” Drew said

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“Molly?”

Oh god, just go away, Molly thought, as she leaned against the counter in the pantry, where she was trying to figure out what she had the ingredients and the brain cells to actually do. For some reason, she was out of sorts and cranky, and it was translating into her cooking. There were already two batches of burned cookies in the trash, and she was running out of patience.

She heard Aunt Margie stuck her head around the edge of the door to the kitchen. “Molly?” she repeated. “Where are you?”

Molly sighed, counting to ten before she called out, “I’m in the pantry!”

“Are you busy?”

No, I’m hiding in the pantry napping, she thought irritably. Actually, the thought of a nap was more appealing than normal, which meant she was probably getting sick. Just what I need.

“I’m getting together some things for cookies,” Molly replied. She looked up at the shelves and grabbed a couple of canisters. “Hang on and I’ll be out.”

When she came out of the pantry, Aunt Margie and, to her surprise, Father Christopher were waiting for her. Molly set the canisters down. “Tea?” she asked, already reaching back to turn on the burner that her favorite kettle sat on. There had been talk of installing a hot water tap over the summer, but Molly had vetoed that idea. Her battered kettle had been inherited from her grandmother, and it was big enough to fill most of the tea pots in the small cafe.

“I won’t say no,” Father Christopher said, smiling his gentle smile. He took a seat at the counter, setting his leather messenger bag on the floor at his feet. “I heard you got tea in yesterday.”

“I did.” Molly smiled back, unable to resist the priest’s charm. She looked at her aunt. “Did you want some too?”

“Tea sounds lovely.” Aunt Margie sank onto the other stool with a sigh. “Is it really only December Second? I’ll never last the season.”

“You say that every year,” Molly told her, going and getting two more mugs and her large tea pot. Her own mug was still on the island, holding the dregs of her last cup of tea. She pulled out her personal tea chest and set it in the middle of the island, then went to the kitchen door and looked out to see where Schrodinger was.

The CrossCat was asleep in his bed by the wood stove, curled up with his current favorite toy, a stuffed pirate turtle with one patch over his eye. Drew had given him the turtle, which had promptly been named Scurvy, and Schrodinger had insisted it live at the tea shop. Molly contemplated waking him up, but then decided he looked too comfortable and quietly closed the door again.

“Schrodinger still sleeping?” Aunt Margie said.

“Yes, and he looks too comfortable to wake up,” Molly said. “He got far too wound up chasing Lily and Jack around earlier.” She looked at Father Christopher. “So, Father, to what do I owe this visit? Besides the fact that you heard I had new tea in.”

“That’s not enough?” The priest gave her a look of innocent astonishment that she didn’t believe for an instant.

“Not really, no.” The kettle started to whistle and Molly pulled it off the burner, pouring into each of their mugs. Then she pulled a new tea bag out of her personal favorite, the Christmas tea, and set it to steep. Then she looked over at him and her Aunt. “What’s up?”

“I’m just here for the tea,” Aunt Margie said. “And a chance to be off my feet for a few minutes.”

Molly looked at Father Christopher again, one eyebrow raised.

“You know, I used to not have to be interrogated when I came in,” he said.

She just raised the other eyebrow, and he sighed.

“Fine, fine.” He reached down and opened the messenger bag. Her eyes widened at the large, flat package he pulled out. “As you suspected, I have something for you.”

“Considering you were in on the scheme last year, I think I’m justified,” Molly retorted, taking the wrapped gift from him. It was lighter than it looked.

The Christmas ornament on the front of the package was purple today, with tiny gold beads at the junction. It matched the gold and purple fleur-de-lys shimmery wrapping paper and the gold ribbon. The red envelope looked wan against the shine.

The card inside read, “You’ve gotten so sad, but music makes you smile. Will you go singing with me?”

Molly set the card and ornament aside and carefully unwrapped the package. Inside was a book of Christmas carols. She blinked.

“Well, well, well, now you have no excuse not to come out to the church next Thursday night,” Father Christopher said, a twinkle in his blue eyes.

“And what’s next Thursday?” Molly asked him.

“We’re doing our first carol sing,” he said. “8 pm.”

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He stood at the edge of the clearing, hidden in the shadows of the towering pine trees, watching the men work on the wooden structure rising from the middle of the stone circle. Never really understood why they think they need the circle, he thought acidly. Dumb humans. Barely understand how to use their technologies unless they can use it to kill each other.

The tall blond tech stood in the middle of the arch, his arms extended above his head, fingers splayed. If the man watching cared to, he could have seen the tendrils of magic snaking out from his fingertips, probing into the mechanisms of the arch. The Gates were a marvel of technology and magic, requiring their engineers and technicians to be magically adept in seeing the path of the Roads that connected the various Realms. Of course, not everyone needed to use Gates to access the Roads. Yet another reason why humans needed to be confined to their home world, in his opinion.

A low hum filled the air as the two other men laid their hands on the sides of the arch, adding Power to the Gate. The Gate Tech in the middle continued to move his fingers as if playing an invisible stringed instrument, tugging various magical threads to manipulate the innards of the Gate.

The hum changed tone as he worked, and the man in the shadows grudgingly admired the tech’s artistry. This was someone who actually understood the delicate balance of forces within the Gate. Rare for this forsaken species. Far too rare. It was humans like these he would actually mourn for.

For one moment, he considered not destroying their Gates. Not leaving them cut off from the rest of the Realms. There were those who had asked him to hold his hand, not follow through. They said the humans could learn. They reminded him that every race had started out barbaric, had grown into wisdom. And they were right.

To a point.

The humans had had time. Too much time. And rather than learn temperance, rather than grow into wisdom, they had perfected the art of war. They had grown skilled in the various ways of killing one another, of destroying the world they’d been born into. He had watched them for years, watched the death of hope and love and faith, feeling his heart die along with the innocence of the race. No, he was right. They had had time to change. And they had – from people into monsters.

There were enough monsters in the Realms.

Old Man Winter turned away from the Gate clearing, striding further in the shadows of the pine forest, his face a mass of thunderclouds and rain, anger and sorrow warring in his eyes. It wasn’t his fault they had to be cut off. It was theirs.

It didn’t make the decision any less painful.

 

(advent) Saturday, December 1 – a new Schrodinger/Molly story!

Yes, I know, it’s after 2 pm, but it’s still the 1st!  I woke up with a lovely gluten hangover, and had to go right out and go to my nutritionist’s appointment.  I came home and crashed again, but I have too much to do today to sleep all day (with the snow falling, it’s tempting!).    BUT!

I decided to do a new Advent Story this year.

So yes, Molly, Schrodinger and Drew are all back.  It’s a slightly different story – a slightly different feel.  I have a plan, you see, for Carter’s Cove and its Roads, and this is a first step down to that plan.

I hope you enjoy it.

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“Merry Christmas, Aunt Margie!”

Margie Barrett smiled up at the tall young man who had just swept through the door. “And a very Merry Christmas to you, Drew!” she replied, then lowered her voice. “I’m happy you thought of this, to be honest. She’s been moping around for the last week.”

Drew McIntyre was well aware of his girlfriend’s current moodiness. Molly Barrett was normally one of the calmest, sunniest people he knew – everyone who knew her loved her temperament. But life had reminded her how fleeting it could be in the last two months, and her mood had darkened, mirroring the dark, dank nights of late November in Carter’s Cove, Maine. It was part of the reason he’d come up with the scheme in the first place.

“I’ll do my best,” he promised Margie.

“If anyone can make her smile again, you can,” Margie said. “Oh, while you’re going back there, you can give her this.” She handed him a large box. “This might cheer her up a bit too.”

“Tea always does.” Drew wandered back towards the kitchen, through the small restaurant area that graced the bottom floor of Crosswinds Books. Bookcases reached up to the ceiling, making a semi-circle around the six round tables. Today, they were only half-filled: Mr. and Mrs. Dorr shared one table and a pot of tea: she knitting, he reading to her in a low voice; while at another table, one of the high school students was studying for some sort of exam, a plate of Molly’s signature sugar cookies half-hidden under a pile of papers. Schrodinger, the resident CrossCat, was dozing in his bed by the wood stove, but lifted his head as Drew crossed over to the door to the kitchen.

Drew! In a flash, the large Cat bounded over to him, nearly knocking him over. Did you do it? Did you do it?

“Whoa, whoa!” Drew laughed, trying to not drop Molly’s package or fall over the enthusiastic Cat who had barreled into him. Schrodinger was about the size of a Jack Russell terrier, and weighed about 30 lbs; he danced around Drew as the young man tried to keep his balance. “Calm down, Schrodinger! We’re going to—”

CRASH!

Drew landed hard, twisting around as he fell through the kitchen door so that he didn’t flatten either the Cat or the box of tea he was carrying, and managing to smack his head against the door to the kitchen. Schrodinger was smart enough to not get stepped on, but the tea box didn’t fare quite as well: it slipped out of Drew’s hands as he went down, flying through the air and slamming into one of the oven doors.

“What was that?”

Molly’s voice floated out from the pantry; Drew shook the cotton from his head as she came out of the small closet, her hands full of cups, trays and tea. Her hazel eyes widened and she shoved everything onto the island, then ran over to him. “Good lord, Drew, what happened?” she demanded, laying a cool hand on his forehead.

“Schrodinger,” he replied, and then laughed, forestalling her from turning on the CrossCat, who was crouched down, his tail lashing and his ears flattened in shame. “No, no, it’s okay. He just got excited.”

“What else is new?” Molly said, but her tone was resignedly amused, and she extended him a hand to help get up. Drew took the hand and pressed it to his lips before he clambered to his feet, loving the slight flush the gesture brought to her pale cheeks. Even after a year, she still blushed every time he kissed her hand. It was charming.

Once he was back on his feet, Drew kept a hold of her hand, drawing her in close for a real kiss. Molly melted against him, her lips warm and tasting faintly of peppermint and sugar.

“You’re baking candy canes,” he murmured as they came up for air, and then grinned at her when she blinked at him.

“How did you know?”

“You taste like them.”

She blushed again and licked her lips self-consciously. “I was crushing them earlier for the dough.”

Drew laughed and snagged one more quick kiss before letting her go. He went over to the oven and picked up the tea box, then held it out to her. “It looks okay.”

“I was afraid it was something breakable,” Molly said, accepting the box. Other than one crushed corner where it had hit the oven, the box was undamaged. She pulled open the box and then turned to look at Schrodinger, who had hopped up on one of the bar stools. “You are lucky,” she said mock-severely. “This just happens to contain the Earl Grey I ordered for you. As well as my Christmas tea. If it had been damaged….” And she left the words hanging.

Schrodinger dipped his head. I didn’t mean to, he said, his mental voice soft. Please don’t tell Santa!

“It was an accident,” Drew assured him. “Santa understands accidents.”

He does?

“Of course he does,” Molly agreed, giving the Cat a rub of his ears. “Don’t worry – you haven’t gotten on his bad list yet.”

The CrossCat perked back up, and he leaned over, looking into the box. What else did you get?

Molly pulled the tea out: little boxes, painted bright colors. “All sorts of tea – the cold season has had people going through them at a frightening rate,” she said. “I was afraid I was going to run out!”

“You could go to the grocery store and get tea, you know,” Drew said, winking at Schrodinger as Molly turned to put the tea in the pantry.

“You could drink dishwater too, but why would you want to?” she retorted over her shoulder, and he laughed.

While Molly was in the pantry putting the tea away, Drew leaned over to Schrodinger and whispered, “It’s all set.”

Really? The CrossCat’s voice was equally quiet.

Drew nodded. “When you guys get home, you have to promise me that you’ll remember her face. Since I won’t be there.”

I wish you didn’t have to leave.

“Me too, buddy.” Drew stroked Schrodinger’s velvety back, enjoying the rumble of his purr. “Me too. But it’s only for a couple of days.”

Molly came out of the pantry, carrying the bag of crushed candy canes, and gave them a suspicious look. “I heard whispering,” she said. “What are you two hooligans up to?”

“Hooligans?” Drew said, as Schrodinger pulled himself upright, both of them blinking innocently. He turned to the CrossCat. “Are we hooligans?”

Only when you watch soccer, Schrodinger replied.

“Well, okay, yes, then we are hooligans,” Drew agreed. “But not normally.”

Molly shook her head. “I know you two are up to something,” she said, setting the bag down with the other ingredients on the counter. “But right now, I don’t have time to figure it out.” She waved her hand at the pile of cookie-making materials. “I have cookies to make.”

Drew heaved a sigh. “And I have a Gate to repair.” He eyed her. “A kiss and a travel cup of tea for the road?”

He walked out of the shop five minutes later with more than that – a package of Molly’s sweet cranberry scones in his pocket, the taste of candy canes on his lips and the image of the scene he’d left in her apartment in his mind. It was too bad he wouldn’t be there to see her reaction.

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“Are you sure you don’t want a ride?” Margie asked Molly, as they closed up the shop that night.

Molly shook her head, strands of her dark hair escaping from under her woolen cap. “It’s not that cold tonight, and the walk lets me decompress,” she said. “Besides, Schrodinger likes to walk.”

Indeed, the Cat said, sitting next to her and looking very jaunty in his black scarf, the black tips of his pointed ears swiveling to catch every sound.  And I’ll protect her.

“From every single snowflake,” Molly agreed, chuckling. “Go home, Aunt Margie. Tell Uncle Art I said hi.”

“I will.”

Molly and Schrodinger waited until Margie climbed into her little green car, festively adorned with a wreath on its grill that matched the one on the door of CrossWinds Books, and drove off. Then the two of them set off through the semi-darkness towards their own home.

The night was crisp, cold, but not too cold – the kind of night that seemed to have glass shard edges, a snap in the air that made breathing a bracing exercise. Snow had fallen the night before, and it crunched under her boots. Schrodinger, of course, glided along as silent as a ghost. The town hadn’t quite shut down – it was Saturday night, after all. But Molly’s street was quiet, lit by the street lamps and the Christmas lights hung in various windows, and the world seemed to have settled into a winter sleep. She and Schrodinger stopped to grab their mail and then trudged inside and up the steps to the second floor landing and their own apartment.

A smaller wreath was hanging on their door, adorned with small red apples and a brilliant silver bow, and despite herself, Molly smiled. Drew must have hung it after we left for work this morning, she thought, and then sighed as the thought brought back the knowledge she’d been trying to forget all day: the fact that Drew wouldn’t be back for at least three days.

Schrodinger butted his head into her calf, and then stretched up, putting his damp paws on her thigh. Maybe he’ll be back sooner, he said. It could be faster.

“It could be,” she agreed, trying to force a smile out. “We’ll hope so.”

Unlocking the front door, Molly dropped her keys in the small basket on the shelf she’d installed on the left-hand wall and then walked in, looking at the mail in her hand. A card from a friend in Boston, flyers and catalogs, mostly junk mail. She was almost into the kitchen when she finally looked at the small table tucked under her front window.

Do you like it? Schrodinger asked, as she stood rooted to the ground in shock. Please tell me you like it. Drew said you would like it.

Molly walked slowly towards the table, almost unable to believe what she was seeing. Instead of the family of snowmen she had set up that morning, there was a 3 foot evergreen Christmas, twinkling with multicolored lights. In front of the tree, which rested on top of a red velvet tree skirt, was a familiar red envelope and a little green and silver beaded ornament.

The card said, “I’m sorry I can’t be here to see your face when you find this, but Schrodinger has promised me he’ll tell me everything. I know things have been rough for you these past few months, and I wanted to bring some sunlight back into your life. I didn’t want to do the same thing I did last year. I hope you like this, and I’ll see you in a few days. Love, Drew.”

Molly?

She put down the card and picked up the ornament. It was tiny, with an intricate netting of green and silver beads, obviously hand-made.

Molly? Schrodinger put one paw on her leg. Are you okay? Drew said you’d be okay. Are you okay?

“Yes.” Molly knelt down and hugged him. “Yes, I’m okay.”

Then why are you crying?

She didn’t answer, but just hugged him again and dried her tears on his soft fur.

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I hope you like it!  Tell me what you think!

Starting the marathon…

This weekend, with the exception of Sunday, when I have Curia and then my Dad’s birthday, all I am doing is writing.  I’m up to 12k on NaNo, but I’m so far behind, and I have to catch up!

I’m having issues this year, because I’m writing without an outline.  I know where I want to go, sort of, but I also want the story to grow the way the other one did.  It’s an odd sort of way to write, but hey, it worked the last time!

More tomorrow.  I promise.

“So that’s your everyday coronet?”

Passed 11k on the new Schrodinger story today, and I hope it continues to be as fun as I think it is!  I’m now officially out of outline (eek!) so we’ll see.  I have nothing planned for Saturday but hanging out with Kate and Brian and writing.  So hopefully I can crank out oh, I don’t know, 15k so I can catch up.  (It’s possible!  Not probable, but possible!)

My favorite line from tonight’s writing is the header.  That, and “He owes me a Christmas tree.”

NaNoWriMo update

I am still doing NaNo, and I’m going to be doing daily updates from now on.  Today, my total stands at 8363 words – I’m about 14k behind, but I’m trying to catch up.  I refuse to give up!

I also received my edits for Last Rites this past weekend, so I have to start working on those.  But I really, really need to get my NaNo done, as it’s the Advent Story I’m going to begin posting on December 1st.  Yes, Schrodinger and Molly are coming back for another season!

Also, I’ve been asked about their first adventure.  I think I will be collecting the first Advent Story into ebook form (and possibly offering it on Lulu as well, for those who want a hard copy) and putting it up for sale for a small amount.  I don’t know if I’ll be able to get it done for December 1st, but I’ll try to have it available before Christmas.

So many things are happening right now.  I’m overwhelmed, and excited, and exhausted.  It’s a great time.

Sunday is made for Chex Mix!!!

And writing.  And laundry.  And cooking.  It’s one of those days.

I need to write today – I’ve got two blog posts I need to write, as well as the outline for NaNoWriMo.  I also need to answer email, and make food for what is going to be a busy week.  And there’s almost no clean laundry in my house.  It’s a scary thing.

So, on with the list!

– 2 batches of Chex Mix

– 1 batch of Egg Muffins

– Make dinner plans for the week

– Grocery list for Monday

– NaNoWriMo outline

– Laundry!

– Pack lunch for Monday

– Blog Post #1 (why do you write?)

– Blog Post #2 (Them Damn Hamiltons)

– Writing/Exercise Schedule for the week

I think that’s it. I’ll be cooking too – I don’t know what, but I’ll be cooking.

Sunday is a recovery day, right?

The investigation was…interesting.  Enough said.  Today, it’s a grey, cold day, but thanks to the Cooks’ Guild, my house smells like baking bread.  They made rolls.  It smells lovely.  I might have to make bread later this week.

Today, however, I need to write.  I have just opened a new Scrivener file for the Advent 2012 blog story.  Schrodinger will be back!  The Christmas carols are on the computer as well, and I am going to start outlining.  I’m doing the Advent Story as my NaNo novel as well, so I need to make sure that I’m doing everything I want to.  Also, I REALLY need to get this outline done.

First, I need to do my daily pages.  Then, set up the outline questions and set my timer.  I’m going in – cover my back!

Dealing with the sick

I hate colds.  I hate colds with a fiery, cottony passion that matches the gunk in my head.  Bleah.

Other than that, life is progressing.  I passed “Convoy” in and am starting work today on the new Advent story outline.  That’s my NaNo project, so I want to get it done (the outline, that is).  I suspect the rest of the year will be finishing things and starting outlines for new stuff for next year.

The Writing To-Do list for the end of the year:

1. Finish writing Tales of the Scorned Lady, season 1and then record it (more on that in a bit)

2. Revise novella for early next year

3. Write Advent 2 and get it up on the blog

At some point, I’ll get the edits for Last Rites and have to turn those in – we’re aiming for a spring 2013 release, and I have to check with the studio, but I think we’re going to try to do a combination release party/gallery showing with a friend of mine who did some amazing art based on the first novel up here in NH.  I think we’re also going to try for a spring Con launch – I just have to look at finances and see where I can afford to go.  More on that later as well, but things are moving forward!

I’m trying to blog every day.  We’ll see how it goes (I already missed yesterday!).  I’m writing every day too – really.

Deadline met!

My newest short is done and off to the editor. 5499 words. Giant spiders. Wine barrels. Demons.

What’s not to love?

Sunday morning, and life is good.

It IS good!

I’m thinking I should start inserting some graphics or something into these posts, so they aren’t all text, but sadly, I’m a writer, not a graphic designer.  We’ll see.

I got 1k written last night!  I never get 1k written in a night!  I’m so excited!  Today’s goal is a NaNo day: 1667.  (actually, it’s more than that, it’s the 5k I need to finish the story to turn in, but I’m trying for NaNo days now, so I can be in the groove for November)  I’m really enjoying the book The Busy Writer’s One-Hour Plot by Marg McAlister – it took me more than an hour (because I didn’t set a timer – bad me!) but I got the plot hammered out for Convoy and then wrote the first 1k in about 90 minutes.  For a slow writer like me, that’s amazing!  I’m so using this system from now on!

Once I finish Convoy and turn it in, I have to start working on prepping for NaNo.  The NaNo project this year is the 2nd Advent story (yay, more Schrodinger!) and I have to get it plotted out very soon, because I have to get the outline to the other folks who are helping me!  Yes, there will be OTHER STORIES!!!  (Sorry for the exclamation points.  I’m very excited this morning!)

Now, though, I have finished my morning pages, so it’s time to take the laptop into the kitchen and start catching up on podcasts while I make breakfast, do dishes, clean up and cook for the week.