How to Tackle NaNoWriMo: My Advice To You (Day 4 of Countdown) #NaNoWriMo #Writing

Token 4: KEEP A “SPICE RACK”  OF IDEAS  AND SCENES IN A SEPARATE WORD DOCUMENT

A while ago, when I first started this blog, I made mention of separate documents that I keep alongside each novel that I work on. Now to be clear, this document is NOT an Outline. It is what I call a “Spice Rack.”

pexels-photo-256318Assuming (again) that you are already a seasoned writer, I am pretty sure you are familiar with the process of your creativity “jumping ahead” of your story as you write it. For example, you may be working on chapter five when suddenly some thrilling scene pops in your head that has nothing to do with the current flow of the story BUT it somehow fits, like a glimpse into the future. You just don’t know where.

SO WHAT DO YOU DO WITH THIS SCENE?

If you are smart, YOU WRITE IT DOWN IMMEDIATELY! and you store what you have written in the, you guessed it, spice rack document. (And when I say write it down, I don’t mean write ABOUT it, I mean actually WRITE it as if that is where you are in the novel. This will save you time later and give you the full feeling of your characters’ future selves.)

These scenes may not fit immediately into the storyline, but they do count toward your daily word count and overall word count goal. As you continue writing you will surely find out that this ‘homeless’ scene you took a pause to build early on around ‘chapter five’ was actually the climax of Chapter twenty-seven! (Glad you wrote it down when it came to you, aren’t you? )

WHEN DO YOU USE YOUR SPICE RACK?

Keep in mind that writing a novel is kind of like making soup from scratch. You have all the basic ingredients, but as the stock is cooking there are times that you taste test it and find that it just needs something to give it that little extra kick. What do you do? You go to your spice rack.

As you grow deeper into your novel during NaNoWriMo, you will draw toward moments where you just feel like something is missing. This is where you open up your spice rack document and grab one of those seemingly out of place bits of writing that you cranked out of nowhere.

For me, there were conversations, heated ones, that my characters who hadn’t even met yet, were having somewhere in the future, and as I kept writing I subconsciously built my way into each one of those Spice Rack scenes.

I have actually been doing the “Spice Rack” since I was fourteen years old…I am now old enough to have a fourteen-year-old.

So here is another brief recap of NaNo Tokens:

TIP 1. Write anything. Let your imagination take control. (Click HERE for full article)

TIP 2. Have a reader who will look over your daily progress with an honest reader’s eye, and give you feedback. (Click HERE for full article)

TIP 3. Set a daily word count goal that you can manage. (Click HERE for full article

TIP 4. Keep a “SPICE RACK”  of ideas  and scenes in a separate word document

BONUS: Need a creative Springboard? Try this Monday’s Muse Writing Prompt to help get your NaNoWriMo Story going. Click HERE for the opening line! *REMEMBER TO OMIT THE OPENING LINE WORD COUNT FROM YOUR TOTAL WORDCOUNT*

Cheers! and Happy Writing!

~Dream. Imagine. Believe. Do. CONQUER!

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The Music Go Round: Flash Fiction Results for Monday’s Muse Writing Prompt October 5th

Hello all! Thursday is here again, and with it comes my results for Monday's Muse Writing Prompt. Always feel free to do any past prompt you like. To see the original prompt please click HERE.

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The Music Go ROUND

Eyes locked on the yellow chair, perspiration began to pepper his palms. They had been dreading this meeting for weeks.

“Please do come in Mr. Crawford,” Dr. Langley smiled and waved him in. She had such a nice smile. That was about all that was nice about her when it came to auditions.

Palmer swallowed down the golf ball sized lump in his throat and with wide, fearful eyes, entered the room. He felt his knees knock when Dr. Langley offered him the yellow chair. He really preferred to stand, but he knew that was not an option. He had heard once that a soprano from several years ago had asked if she could stand for the audition…needless to say, the woman was never heard from again.

She had completely given up her gift.

Palmer gripped his Viola with slick hands, passing it from palm to palm in order to wipe away some of the liquid nervousness that had coated them.

The chair gave a jerk back as soon as he sat down, forcing a startled yelp from Palmer’s lips. Dr. Langley gave a disapproving glance. Again Palmer swallowed.

Dr. Langley withdrew herself from behind her desk and slowly approached him, stopping just a hand’s breadth away from her knees bumping into his. Palmer resisted the urge of using the yellow wheeled chair as a means to push further back from her.

How it was that such a lovely woman could be so dreadfully intimidating, Palmer had no idea.

Dr. Langley took a turn around him. “Are you comfortable?” She asked.

Palmer’s chin bobbed. He desperately wanted to do well. This audition meant the world to him. “I intend to do my best, if that is what you mean.” He let out a nervous chuckle, one that Dr. Langley did not join in.

“I meant what I asked. Please. Get comfortable or I will be led to believe that this was not only a complete waste of my precious time, but years of your short life, years you will not get back.” She stopped, standing directly in front of him and did not move until he had shifted in the yellow chair, straightening his back and repositioning his feet.

By force of habit he propped the Viola under his chin and held his bow at the ready. His face then flushed red. He prayed he had not been too presumptuous.

Dr, Langley’s brow rose and she gave a satisfied nod.

So far so good. Palmer thought as he held his breath. He held it tighter once he felt Dr. Langley’s hands resting upon the back of the chair. The wheels gave the tiniest jerk at her touch. Palmer’s heart skipped.

“You may begin,”

Like lightening Palmer set his bow upon the strings and played with such pleading that it was as if he was cleaving to every note for dear life.

He was.

With each decrescendo he lifted his feet and felt the chair move with him as Dr. Langley shoved it. What was she about?! Still he played on.

He played until the pomade in his perfectly parted hair released his bangs to fall into  his closed eyes. He played until he trembled, but not from fear but from the spinning of the notes that he had grasped so tightly to, twirling in his soul.

He played until he heard laughter erupting from Dr. Langley, and still he played on until the final not was strung and the chair ceased to spin.

“Bravo!” She said with applause. “Bravo!”

Palmer cleared his throat and made to stand only to find himself dizzily swaying from the movement of the yellow chair. Dr. Langley said nothing more only walked back to her desk, her head down as she wrote.

Several moments passed before Palmer tucked his tale and headed for the door, failure of his dream dragging him like a leash.

“Rehearsals are every Monday, Wednesday and Thursday at 6am sharp, Mr. Crawford. Tardiness is never accepted.”

Heat flushed his face. Palmer touched his heart. “You mean…”

“The music is inside you, Mr. Palmer. Nothing inhibits it. Not even a silly yellow wheeled chair. Welcome aboard.”

THE END

I went over by 6 minutes, but I had a wonderful time dreaming up Palmer and Dr. Langley. I hope you enjoyed the short tale.

Cheers!

The Purchase: A Potential Novel In Progress

Around 3 in the morning, as I was preparing for bed, these lines came to mind, and played out as if they were a movie. I don’t know what will become of the rest of this tale, but what I see beyond what is written below could possibly be a full length novel. The characters and their “character” must first shed a bit more light before I can really move forward. Until then, here is what I imagined. 

*  *  *

“His name is Lucien. He is of the Carnastrier Circle.” Urtha’s lips formed a grim line, the tone of his voice grave.

“Carnastrier? Truly?”

“Yes, Ma’am. I know this is not what was expected, but he was the only male.”

Her eyes stared at the man, Lucien, before connecting again with the one to whom she spoke. “No, no he being a of Carnastrian blood, is-is better than expected, much better.” She bobbed her head, saying the words as if they were meant to convince herself more than her attendant. Really she was feeling suddenly more terrified of her circumstance than before.

Carnastrians where a vicious lot. Only fools played at war or offense with them. Ardice had now desire for war…with anyone especially not this man.

Urtha touched her arm, his brow creased with worry. “Are you sure about this, absolutely sure? It may be best I dispatch him now while he sleeps. His kind are dangerous.” He studied Ardice’s eyes, probing them as if he could see through their dark depths, hoping to uncover any inkling of doubt within her. He found none.

“What other choice do we have, Urtha?” Urhta’s brow creased deeper at her question. That was not the response he wanted. “Yes I am sure.” Ardice finally said, much too sharply, nearly wakening her slumbering prisoner, the man called Lucien, the one she had purchased at a hefty price.

“The seller, you took...care of him didn’t you? He won’t be able to claim our purchase of this man?” She hated to think that Urtha had killed the slave trader. She hoped that payment was enough to keep things hush. But slaver’s, especially from Estivall were not to be trusted. Just as they bought and sold humans, so to could their lips be bought and sold.

Urtha removed his hand from his mistress’s arm. “I purchased him out of Dureth, far from this system. The seller was blind, mostly deaf. He only dealt in the sale of female slaves, but had come across this man. His other slaves had found his ship. It was completely destroyed. They all thought he was dead, none could tell that he was breathing. He didn’t even know he was Carnastrian.”

Ardice swallowed the dryness in her throat. “So how did you acquire  him if they believed he was dead?”

“The Carnastrier ship wreckage, I purchased it. As part of the deal I had to take the body, or in this case your groom-to-be.” He shook his head and handed Ardice the purse still brimming with coin. “In case you did not know, the people of Dureth are very superstitious when it comes to the dead. He almost paid me to take the ship just to be rid of his ghost and the bad omen attached to him.” He cocked an eyebrow. The implications he was making about Lucien being a bad omen went without direct words.

Ardice scowled and turned to walk away. There was no other way around this. She needed a King to stand at her side when the Yidives came to negotiate their terms. They would not negotiate any peace with a woman. No king would mean surrendered to them, and Ardice would not surrender. She would secure her empire at all cost, even if that meant using a decoy as her groom, even if the decoy was Carnastrian.

Her head began to pound. Danger on every side! She thought. “Get him cleaned up and secured,”

Urtha cut into her path. “There is no guarantee this will work. It is not likely he will comply. It is more likely we will have a nasty fight on our hands, a war of one. He is Carnastrian-”

“All the better that he is Carnastrian! They are much feared and greatly respected. All the better…” Was it all the better? The more Urtha mentioned the slumbering man’s origins, the more chill flushed through Ardice’s blood and bones.

“But what if he-”

“Just tend to him, Urtha! Find out what you can from his ship logs, and leave the politics to me. Maybe we can bribe him with whatever you find. This will work…it has to.” She prayed it would work.

*  *  *

So that is it! A desperate queen, willing to do anything to secure her lands from the misogynistic Yidives,  ends up holding a very dangerous man at her side. We shall have to see what happens when Lucien awakes, when we find out more about the man he is, what is so terrifying about his people, and what exactly will his presence mean for negotiations with Ardice’s enemies?…assuming he will help her at all. Oh, the Purchase won’t be the title either. 

Cheers!

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Imogen: A Freeflow Write Short story

She held his hand so tightly she felt the circulation in her fingers run cold. As far as he knew, as far as any of them knew, she was cleaving on to him for love.

They were standing at the altar, weren’t they? They were just on the brink of saying their “I dos.”

Imogen swallowed down the groan that threatened to betray her before God, the congregation, and even this man who she had promised to wed til death would they part.

Death? Perspiration tickled her temples and her eyes batted in a game of faint or flight. Both would give her the same end…fainting at least would win her sympathy.

Klein’s thumb rubbed against the back of her hand, his head barely turning in her direction. His thick brow raised only subtly as a wan smile pulled at the corner of his mouth.

His mouth. It drew Imogen’s mind away from her poorly planned escape plans. Klein Marks had a nice mouth, one that was probably really good at kissing, not that Imogen knew anything about kissing.

She had practiced a few times on the back of her hand whenever she lay awake at night pining over Tover Lendhide. Tover was a charming looker, but Imogen couldn’t argue him up against Klein. Klein David Marks was fine as frogs hair!

Heat ran up the back of Imogen’s neck and blossomed over her light brown cheeks. Klein must have noticed because his wan smile shifted and began to expose milk white teeth right before he winked at her.

Wide eyed, Imogen stared forward at the Parson. She hadn’t heard a single word the man had said, all on the account of staring at Klein’s lips that not even once had she ever paid a lick of attention too.

In all truth she had spent the last two weeks screaming her head off about how she didn’t want to marry the man. Her Daddy, for once in his life, held his ground to Imogen’s chagrin saying, “Propriety demands it, Buttercup! You are the one who got your fool self locked in this tangle. I told you not to be on his property. I told you that watering hole weren’t ours no more and to stay out of it. But no! You are just like your bull-headed Mammy-God bless her in glory-and you just had to have things your way. Well here is the price of it!”

The watering hole. Imogen’s eyes closed again as sweat beaded on the bridge of her nose the same as it had the day she met Klein’s acquaintance. The sun was so sharp and the heat was so high that hell might have felt cool compared to it. All Imogen wanted was one little skinny dip, just like she used to take when the watering hole had her name on it and not Marks.

Well the heat rushed away into an icy cold when she dove in, bare as a babe on its first birthday, right into the arms of Klein, who also donned nothing but his birthday suit. Obviously he’d had the same idea about the heat.

This was all his fault…and Lloyd’s!

Imogen’s eyes twisted into a scowl towards her little brother. The twelve year old twerp had followed her, planning another prank at her expense and if this wasn’t the mother of all pranks, Imogen didn’t know what was.

Lloyd moved like lightening when he saw her and Klein falling over each other trying to get out of the watering hole.  But by the time he finished telling the tale, even though Daddy didn’t believe it the way he narrated, Imogen was doomed to marry.

Doomed. Locked for ever at the side of East Hawk Counties finest piece of chiseled man candy. It could of been worse.

“Imogen?” Klein’s voice tickled her ear squeezing out a yelp and a “Yes” that was meant to be a question, but as far as the Parson was concerned it was good enough to stand for an ‘I Do.’

The congregation began to clap wildly as the Parson announced, “You may now salute your bride!”

Imogen’s mouth fell open with horror, Lloyd gagged, Daddy cried, but Klein dove right in same as Imogen had that watering hole, kissing her until her knees went weak and she  felt like a feather on the wind.

Drunk on the moment, she peeled her eyes open and watched as slices of gold in Klein’s hazel brown eyes sparked. Imogen…fainted…but at least she got her watering hole back.

THE END

This story shifted several times as I wrote it. That tends to be the way with freeflow writing…it does what it wants when it wants. At first, I thought this would be somewhat somber and far less humorous. Imogen went from being one who seemed helpless to one who was a firecracker who Klein might need help with in the future. She put a smile on my face and I am glad she introduced herself to my imagination. I hope you enjoyed it.

Sorry about the abrupt ending. I did go over the 15 to 20 min mark by 5 minutes.

Cheers!

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With These Hands: A Short Story…Of Sorts

His hands were beautiful, perfectly formed, visibly strong.

She nibbled her lip, devouring her smile as she gazed upon them.  Exquisite masculine fingers, wrapped tenderly against  and around the spine, balancing its weight with capable fingertips, as if it weighed nothing. Touching ever so softly that which was precious to him.

She could just melt, turn into a puddle of malleable submission right in that very moment, watching the way he turned and tenderly touched the pages of his warn bible with awe and reverence, his full lips mouthing the living words out loud.

Faith comes by hearing, she watched as the words formed, drawn again to those lips, by those hands that touched them.

Oh how she loved him. How she loved that heart that beat first for the God of Heaven, the God who was his King…and then for her.

She loved his hands.

She loved the way he used them to gently nudge the thin wire frames of his glasses back up the bridge of his nose. She loved the way those very hands would raise in worship, tears of adoration glistening like the rain and anointing oil from heaven’s wellsprings down the sides of his chiseled face, out of peaceful eyes.

She loved the way those hands held her close, cradling her against him, in the good, the bad, in sickness and in health, til death and even then his hands would keep them from parting.

His hands…

With these hands I thee wed.

With these hands I uphold thee.

With these hands I worship.

With these hands.

She waited until he whispered his “amen” as she said the words with him. Coaxing a smile from his eyes and a kiss from his lips as he caressed her cheek with his hands.

THE END

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Hiccups: A Free Flow Write Short story

“Hiccups! I hate them. I always have.”

“Don’t worry my love. They will soon pass.” Martin patted his bride’s arm and reached again for the oars. They would soon be on land which was  a very good thing.

Not only was Martin’s blushing bride red of face because of sun exposure, but she was also over baked from far too many glasses of champagne. He smiled at her and shook his head as another hiccup escaped her pouting lips followed by a moan.

“Darling, I promise this will all be over soon. You will be solidly planted on ground and right as rain.” Well she would probably need a nap which meant the honeymoon suite and all its promised adventure would probably have to be postponed–

Lily suddenly bolted forward, her face washing in a pea soup green before her head slung over the edge of the boat. Martin stopped the oars, and watched helplessly as Lily wiped her mouth and sunk back down in her place with a less than attractive belch.

Resuming his rowing, Martin also continued his thoughts. The honeymoon suite and all its promised adventure would have to be postponed indefinitely.

By the time they reached land and Lily, even with the help of Martin’s strong arms, managed to toddle up the grassy slop towards the paved walk way, the sun had dipped behind, thick ominous clouds with the threats of rain, threats that they surely made good on.

Martin quickly pulled his jacket and hung it as a canopy over his bride’s head. A sinking feeling assaulted his belly. He did so want their first day as man and wife to be special, and it had started out that way, but with the alcohol, the turning over of guts, and now the rain, Martin was beginning to think that his hopes were in vain.

“I am sorry about the rain, my dear…and the champagne…and your stomach,” He looked at her overly rosy cheeks. “And your sunburn.”

Lily blinked deeply under the shadow of Martin’s coat, having still not made a move for better cover. Her eyes wondered to his nose as a drop of rain slid down its slop and fell to the ground.

Lily erupted with laughter, unable to resist the urge to flick the next drop away with her fingers. Martin sneezed. Allowing him to daze in his confusion, Lily broke away from the cover of his coat and twirled in the rain. Blonde curls that had once sprang with fantastic spring, plastered limply to the side of her smiling face.

She giggled all the more before falling dizzily in the muddy grass. Martin rushed to her side, Lily pulled him down beside her, wrapping her arms around his neck she said, “Don’t worry my love. This too will pass soon.”

THE END

I have  had a lot of irons in the fire so to speak, and as a result I have neglected my freeflow/ stream of consciousness writings. I almost nearly forewent writing this one, but I am glad I made myself press forward. 

New week. New mercies. New hope. New adventures!

Cheers!

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“Grandma’s House” Results For Writing Prompt: Heads, Tails, Center

Yep! I am cutting it close folks, posting this near 10pm. Alas, I went to the movies and FINALLY saw The Avengers: Age of Ultron.

Okay, before we begin, allow me to add a link HERE that will lead you to the original exercise and rules.

NOTE: As you read, I will highlight each word I used from my Heads, Tails, Center list. Each word will be color coordinated with the list it came from.

I hope you enjoy my results!

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Less clutter would have made the dirty  house more of a home. As it stood, the place was a mess, swelling from inside out with goo-gabs of useless junk. “That’s all it is, useless…just like you.”

Terralyn unfolded her arms from around her waist, smacking the dingy dishtowel in her hands against the worn edge of her grandmothers old couch. She had been trying to get the place in order for days, to no avail it seemed, but even her exhaustion couldn’t get her to sit, or maybe it was all the boxes stacked on the sofa that kept her from it.

She blew out a breathe and stepped out onto the back lawn. It was really more a patch of packed dirt that turned into mud whenever it rained. Terralyn scrunched her nose and peered out further across the rustic property. It had once been so beautiful. She prayed that it could be again.

Narrowing her eyes deeper, she noticed the golden patches of hair peeking up from a dog’s head on the far side of the yard. “The property manager never said anything about a dog,” She mumbled, wondering if she should take the chance and investigate the intruder on her newly acquired property.

The sudden whimper of the mutt answered that for her. There was no way she was going to leave him stuck. She rushed back into the house and snatched open the old fridge door. She was never good with dogs but she figured if she gave him a treat maybe he would be more inclined to let her help her, assuming he had no inclination of doing so in the first place.

Lucky for her, there were a few chicken legs left in the fridge, dried through and near petrified for having been left so long. She wouldn’t eat them, but she was sure the dog wouldn’t mind.

A sudden sound of shifting chain link fencing and the barking of the dog made her startle in her steps. She heard the sound of a man grunt as heavy booted feet smacked into the soil. Dear Lord, she had no care for intruders. First the dog and now this and to make matters worse, she couldn’t even see out back from where she was to get a view of who was out there.

Why didn’t Grandma ever get bigger windows? The check Terralyn had received shortly after the funeral let her know she could have more than afforded some.

“Note to self, get bigger windows. Bring in more natural light. Earn a greater return when you sell this dump.” The dog was still barking as she headed for the door, but the barking didn’t sound at all like that of an animal on the edge but more of a creature rejoicing over his pending rescue.

Terralyn glanced down at the chicken leg in her fist. She had gotten a treat and everything, but by the way she was holding on to the thing one would have thought she meant to use it as a weapon.

“I can see it now, Junk House heiress fends off intruder with petrified chicken leg.” Shaking her head again she walked outside. At first the only thing she could see was Grandma’s old tabby cat, Hyde, walking across that mossy fence post. Well that was a lucky thing…maybe. It was lucky because she had found Hyde, not so luck because Hyde had never liked her.

“Hey, you Ms. Helen’s granddaughter?” A deep voice called out from behind her, startling her. Terralyn jumped and the chicken leg went flying, the dirty, golden mutt leaped for it, snatching himself free from the man’s hold and colliding with Terralyn.

Dazed, and embarrassed, she looked up into the bluest eyes she had ever seen, and a smile that near stopped her heart. “I’m so sorry! Jack Prince,” He said, as he pulled her up from the ground and steadied her. Realizing she was going to live he extended a hand.

Terralyn shook it. “That your dog?” She asked glancing back at the mutt who was happily wrestling with the chicken leg.

“Yes, ma’am. He’s called Albert. And you are?”

The way his face looked, ruddy red with dark freckles, those sapphire eyes and black hair that looked soft as silk, nearly made Terralyn giggle. Handsome men made her giggle. She did giggle!

Jack laughed with her. “What’s funny?”

“My wipe out is all,” She lied. “And yes, I am Helen’s granddaughter. Nice to meet you and your dog.”

“Pleasures all mine.”

Maybe she wouldn’t sell so quickly.

THE END

This prompt started out a bit tough with writing out my lists of 10 for each column. It also immediately took a turn because I, the creator of the thing, used the Center list for the first word by mistake. I immediately fixed it by picking a word from the proper list right after. All in all, I had a good time doing this. I spent roughly 20min.

Cheers!

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The Wall: A Free Flow Write Short Story

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She gently feathered her fingers against her full lips, recalling his kiss again. The sweetness of it had been so heady that she now absentmindedly played against her mouth as if her touch would rekindle the sensation.

Her first kiss.

Pulling her fingers away, and drawing in those suddenly lonely lips, Everdean let out a sigh so wrought with longing that she was certain she could have made every flower in her mother’s rose garden wilt.

It was all truly absurd, she had to admit to her self. Wenton Iveprow had never been a candidate for her affections, never. And she was certain that she, of all the eligible darlings of Oakvereaton, was not to be listed upon his calling card.

Neighbors. They had always been neighbors, and certainly not the fondest of such. The term was even too intimate to describe their dealings. Their encounters were as sudden and overbearing as weeds that sprang up over night.

Things had grown so foul between them that their fathers decided it was best they erect a wall between their properties, “Best to keep the peace,” Everdean’s father had said,  “And to make it harder for war,” Wenton’s father had added.

It was only recently that the door had been added, and that only because of happenings far more tragic than Wenton and his weeds. With a gust of the wind the joints in Everdean’s broken leg began to ache and her shifting upon her wheeled chair let out a moan that matched that of her lips.

She pressed her eyes together and curled the toes of her propped leg, grateful that she could finally manage such a task. After her run in with the horse no one had thought she would ever walk again, it was the cost of her heroics,  never mind that Wenton would come calling on her and even kiss her.

A swarm of butterflies danced within her belly as a scent so close to grapes waft through the cut face of the door in the wall, the lovely purple heads danced from their stems propped up by bronze, masculine fingers.

He breath caught. He had come back so soon, and oh how sent a ripple of joy through her that no one else had managed. Catching Wenton’s chocolate brown eyes with the lovely flecks of caramel, flicker with light as he smiled, only made her smile in turn.

Gazing upon his lips, she couldn’t help but touch her own again as he came beyond the door of the wall.

THE END.

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Thaylon’s Prayer: #Blogbattle Week 13 Keyword “Rope”

Blog battle time again, and this week’s word is “Rope.” It truly amazes me how such a simple word can be a seed that bares much imaginative fruit. As for the story below, due to the great comments I received about Chorus, the raids on Tamier, and the Ibrian’s, I have decided (my imagination as well) to put forth a bit more of the story. Also, once the first few chapters are nicely put together, just enough to tease for the completion of a future novel, I will add a link to a blog battle for you all to take a deeper peek. Until then, here is Thaylon, the youngest brother.

For more entries for blog battles, visit Rachael Ritchey’s blog by clicking HERE. To read the first installment where you meet Chorus and his other brother, Aiolyn, click HERE.

Thaylon’s Prayer

Thaylon held his face heavenward, eyes closed against the warmth of the sun and the salty mist of the sea air. It was amazing how well balanced he was, how at ease his fortitude when at the mercy of the buoying ship.

1427208625nao5dIt seemed the closer the Ibrian army got to Odwaht, the harsher the waves. Smiling, Thaylon spread his hand against his belly, eyes still closed, and knees softening enough to keep his balance. Yes, he was indeed created to be a man of the sea…or at least a fisherman. Although he had a gift for honing wood, and constructing fine ships, he didn’t care at all for the splinters that peppered his calloused hands.

“I said the rope, Thaylon!” Leedrah’s raised voice finally broke through his trance. She growled in resignation. “Never mind. I should have known I would be stuck pulling these sails alone. This is exactly why the Rights of War are reserved for Ibrian’s of 20 years, and not those barely 18.” She jutted her chin towards him before pulling the rope into place and watched another sail catch the wind, buffering against the force of the waves.

Whispering, his amen, Thaylon took his place by the other rope. A tinge of red colored his brown face, more from embarrassment and less from the sun. He had only turned 18 two days past, but unlike other Ibrian youth’s his age, who would have stayed home and worked on forging roots for their future crafts, and waiting until they were old enough to take place upon a warship, Thaylon was on a warship.

How the Father King had made it so that he was the only one born in Ibria during a season that made him odd man out, he could not comprehend. But if Argaso and Chorus had not petitioned the Cheiftains to give him a place on a warship to earn his right to a bride and land, he would have been 27 years old before he saw a raid. Twenty-seven! to everyone else’s 20 to 24. And even if there weren’t a land to raid he still would have had to wait until an Ibrian girl was of age before he wed her. Still he would be…old.

“Forgive me, Leedrah. I didn’t mean to abandon my ropes. I was just—”

“Standing about daydreaming with your head in the clouds, while the rest of us prepare for war.” She shook her head and wiped sweat from her brow. The tight, red curls of her wooly head had drawn up from the sea mist and the sweat from working the sails, her drawn forehead at least two shades a deeper brown than it had been three days ago.

“I wasn’t daydreaming, I was offering prayer to Father King.”

“Oh?” Her countenance suddenly changed. Prayer was obviously more acceptable.

Thaylon narrowed his dark eyes at the sun again. “Yes. I was praying that things in Odwaht-Ibria be such that there is no need for bloodshed,”

“A worthy prayer, and one we need. If the reports are true and the naturals of Odwaht have decided to resist, the streets will run with blood. They were offered peace for assimilation. There is no forgiveness for such a break in the covenant. We will war. It is the Ibrian way.”

Thaylon watched her, listened to her words play over again in her mind. It is the Ibrian way. If Thaylon had not known that Leedrah was the adopted daughter acquired out of a raid herself, he would have thought she was natural Ibrian herself. “I was also praying for favor with the raid on Tamier.”

Leedrah snorted. “What could you possibly pray for that? Breaking through the foundation of Tamier will be easier than breaking through a zoweiss egg. The men or boys of Tamier are as renowned as the warriors of Ibria,” She propped her muscled arm over Thaylon’s shoulder. “The only difference is they are known for leaving the women to do all the heavy lifting while they keep their hands and faces pretty. That raid will be over long before it starts.”

She rolled her shoulders. “Now when Rodden-Ibria, my home, was raided, that was a different story. Bloody business, but sometimes deliverance cost just that.” She put her fist over her heart and gazed heavenward to the Father King in thanks, before a smile spread across her broad face.

Thaylon turned away, his stomach fluttering. He had always had an eye for the woman, though she was much older than he and married to the son of her Ibrian father’s brother—securing her place in her adopted father’s clan by blood of future children. This was to be her last war campaign before she was placed in reserves, same with Argasso and his wife who also were aboard the ship. Then, Leedrah, like his older brother and sister-in-law, would return home and deepen their roots with family.

For Thaylon, it was the start of several more campaigns with the promise of a young bride acquired by Chorus’ large hands.

“But I bet you are praying for a lovely bride as well, eh? No shame in it. The more adept she is to convert to the way’s of Ibria, the better. And good for her to have such a handsome bridegroom!” Leedrah pinched his check.

Thaylon blushed all the more. “I just pray she loves the sea. I would love to have land on the water and Tamier, I hear, has beautiful ocean boarders.”

“I pray in agreement, for the Father King’s favor upon you!”

Thaylon brightened, more than he thought possible hearing the only woman he had ever fawned over wish him well living almost forever away with a bride all his own.

-“Ready your sails and your weapons! We reach Odwaht-Ibria in three quarter hours!” Argasso’s voice boomed overhead.

War. Thaylon gulped and pulled upon his sails hoping the tug would knock out the sickening feeling that had suddenly hit him.

THE END FOR NOW

Made it in in exactly 1000 words! Hope you liked it 🙂

The View From Our House: A free flow write

The chilly kiss that played against her skin was a sweet contradiction to the stifling early summer heat that had hoovered all month long. Even in her almost thread bare tank top, that draped loosely over her body was her skin still perspiring.

Riley swapped her forearm across her top lip, where evidence of her discomfort rested, before waving at her neighbors across the street. A lovely couple, Mr. and Mrs. Hinde. They were well into their 70’s and flirting happily with their 80’s. 1422171619hyhs8

She had been by to visit them when she first moved in with her husband, August Guffard. Mrs. Hinde said she and her husband had married young too, “Younger ‘n fifteen, we was. Orval just had that gleam in his eye and such a golden heart.” Mrs. Hinde sighed, her gaze waxing nostalgic. “And believe it or not, a smile that was just down right irresistible. I promise he had a head full of teeth then.”

Riley had laughed so hard that the lemonade she was drinking almost came straight out her nostrils. It didn’t help at all that Mr. Hinde had given her a cheeky, toothless grin and wink, just as his wife mentioned his teeth.

Mrs. Hinde continued. “Times was differn’ back then. I ‘spose you being young as you are and married to August don’t seem too far off from me and Orval.” she squeezed Orval’s hand and beamed at him, before turning her smile on Riley.

Riley silently took another sip of her lemonade.

She and August didn’t really know one another when they decided to jump the broom. Really it was Riley’s mother and her backward ways who had decided that she marry August Guffard. The trailer was being foreclosed and Mama had had her last run in with the law.

It wasn’t so much the three strikes kind of thing, but it was enough to have her sitting in a cell, feigning penance for the next 10 to 15 years. That left Riley, barely 18 and hardly graduated from high school, in a bind tight enough to squeeze the little hope of life and a future right out of her lungs.

She had determined to get her high school diploma. Something no one in her family had managed to do for the better part of 40 years. She even had plans for college. Her guidance counselor had told her she had great potential and shouldn’t waste it.

Riley had hidden several applications to local universities within her things, waiting for the moment she had enough extra change to properly apply.

Well she had the applications, they were gone. Riley had happened upon one of the brochures oil stained and in one of the old cars August was fixing up. Her heart sank when she saw it sitting saturated and abused.

She had cried all night over it.

She hadn’t understood why August had taken them. Just like she didn’t understand why he had taken her. He was nearly a decade older than she, was a far cry from hard on the eyes, with a solid build standing at six feet even, nice dark curls and beautiful eyes Riley liked to think were the color of smoke. He even had a nice little home he had been sharing with her and enough extra cash to give her a weekly allowance; $50 every Friday.

Under different circumstances she could have fancied herself mooning after him. But not just out right marrying him just because her mama said so, converting herself into his maid and cook, because that is all she had been for the first four months of their marriage.

August hardly said a word to her, outside of prayer and bible study. That was up until two months ago when he asked her why she hadn’t been back to school. “I got a call from your guidance counselor today,” He speared several lumps of mac and cheese with his fork, grimacing before choking them down. Riley wasn’t even a good cook. “She said, you ain’t been to class in a week an’ a half.”

Riley felt her stomach knot, she didn’t know if it was from nerves, fear or anger. August had never hit her. He had never even touched, although Riley knew he wanted to. She dared not tell him the feeling was mutual. But she didn’t know how to respond to him about it either. Wasn’t he the one who had swiped her college dreams away?

August pushed his plate away and folded his thick arms across his chest. “I told your mama that I would make sure you kept your love for the Lord a priority and that you finished up with your schooling. Then I have to leave work to go and talk to some stranger about why you ain’t been to class and I don’t even have an answer for her.”

He paused realizing Riley wasn’t going to say anything. Instead, she had slipped further down into her seat the same way the beads of condensation slipped down her drinking glass.

August rose from the table. “I told her you would be in class tomorrow morning, and that you would have all that work made up before the end of the month. Don’t make a liar out of me.”

Feeling more beholden to him than anything, Riley got on the bus the next morning and hit her books with a mighty vengeance. Each morning she watched the Hinde’s as she left for school, and even watched them from her front porch at night, wishing she could have had what she saw from the view of her  and August’s house.

What she would have given to have what they had, wrinkly skin and missing teeth and all. The view from their house was perfect, even with stifling heat, and Good Will furnishings. They had a selfless love, a love that kept the other from making fool decisions and getting locked up, a love that only grew even as hair fell out, a love that was solid even when the skin cracked.

Yeah, Riley wanted that. She would even take it with August.

She let her eyes drift closed and took in the sweet smell of the air. The sun was setting just down the way and another day was ending drawing her further away from the life she had once known and into the greater unknown, beyond her marriage to a beautiful stranger, and dreams she thought she would never see breathe life.

“You make a decision yet?” August’s voice called at her from the window of his pickup truck as he parked it behind the old Camry he had fixed up for her. He  stepped down from his truck, the door slamming shut behind him. He was unconsciously heavy handed. “We ain’t got forever.”

Riley still hadn’t wrapped her head around it, even though her heart had eaten it whole with one bite, that August had taken her college applications and sent them all off the very day he had found them.

She shrugged and shook her head, and found herself accepting the offer of his arm stretched out like a protective wing that pulled her close to his side. No, she hadn’t decided on what university she would attend that fall, but she had decided that she would have what the Hinde’s had across the street, and the smile August Guffard gave her seemed a sure sign that his golden heart agreed.

THE END

This story was fun to write. It played at pieces in my past, by the view of the image that is shown of the street. No, its not of anywhere that I have been, but it reminded me of my childhood, when I would spend weeks up north with my 3rd cousins. I also spent nearly an hour writing this as apposed to the usual 15 to 20 minutes that I set aside for free writing. I hope you enjoyed it half as much as I did writing it. 

Cheers!

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