Monday, December 30, 2013

In Lord Shadow's House, the finale

Read part one here
Read part two here
Read part three here
Read part four here
Read part five here
Read part six here
Read part seven here
Read part eight here
Read part nine here

In Lord Shadow's House, the finale
As he walked a fear came upon him. Would the lane be there or would he be stuck in this new reality he had created for himself? His fears were unwarranted, as the lane was just as plain as the river running beside it.
     The Manor was present, although to Jarius, it did not appear nearly so perfect as it had the day prior. Instead, he was caught with longings for his own estate, although not as large as Eveningside, still suited him.
     Jarius rapped on the door, but on this day there was no Mr. Taylor to admit him. Mr. Taylor was far too happily engaged, doing his best to forget his own encounter with the Lord Shadow.
     After several minutes of nothing, desperation made Jarius let himself in.
     There were aspects of the house that Jarius noted now, that he had not seen the day before. The house itself, although large and well appointed, was dirty to the point of dinginess. His eyes that had only been longing to see the Lord of the Manor, to have his request be granted, had noted none of those things that were more than apparent to him then.
     Eveningswood Manor was a ruin.
     Jarius stepped carefully forward, aware of each creak of the floorboard, noting well the ones that were too precarious to walk upon. Every part of Jarius wanted to run, and forget all about the Lord Shadow and live in the shambles that his life had become, and if he hadn’t seen Miss Eliza looking herself so fine, he may have done just that.
     There were no other rooms, there was only one room. There was no other door, there was only one door, and Jarius walked towards it.
     He did not knock upon it, or pause in hesitation. No, our Jarius walked boldly in and stood in a place that exists only in dreams, or nightmares, if that were.
     The day prior Jarius did not see the source of the voice that promised to give him his desire. He only saw darkness and shadow. That day the shadow had lifted and Jarius saw with whom he was indebted.
     “Well now, if it isn’t our Mr. Knigglesby,” the gaping mouth said. Jarius stayed fixed where he was, staring at it. For it was an it, and nothing more. 
     “It is me,” Jarius whispered. He was surprised when he heard the words, having assumed that all speech would fail him.
     “And you are here because…?”
     Jarius swallowed deeply, knowing he should look away, desperately wanting to look away, but that is not the way with the Lord Shadow. If he wants to be seen, you have no choice but to see him.
     “Forgive me, sir,” Jarius began, the words coming out like a stream. “But I was wanting to return the gift you have most kindly bestowed upon me.”
     Lord Shadow seemed to be smiling. “My gifts cannot be returned, Mr. Knigglesby; they must be passed on.”
    “Passed on?” Jarius asked, revealing his ineptness.
     The Lord Shadow’s smile became a certain thing, just as death and hell are certain.
Jarius left the Manor, with the calling card in his hand. It appeared very fragile, as if the slightest breeze could shatter it. He cupped his other hand over it, sensing how his very life was tied to this one simple piece of paper.
     Thoughts rolled in his mind like waves; thoughts of home and happiness, followed by the grimmer realities of what he’d just experienced. Not once did the thought occur to him that he should not look for another, that he should accept his lot and stop this chain that was a thousand years, at least, in the making. But you must not blame poor Jarius, for as you must now have guessed, such thoughts are rare.
He traveled to the town on foot, going slowly, watching, listening. He thought he knew how it was to be done, after all he’d witnessed it with his own eyes. Twice he came upon groups engaged in a conversation that appeared promising, only to see contentment in the potential victim’s eyes. Contentment was not something Jarius could use. 
     As the sun set the second day, Jarius walked the road that led to his estate. He knew that there was more than a fair share of trees to sleep under in the village green, but something inside Jarius wanted to go home.
     Jarius settled under his oak and it was not desperation that filled his dreams that night, but plans as dark as the Lord Shadow himself.
     The man who awoke the next morning no more resembled Jarius Knigglesby than you or I do. He was haggard and disheveled, and around him there was an odor that was a cross between human waste and cow dung. Even still, this was not the most disturbing change in our Jarius. It was in the person himself. He was so altered that his own mother, God rest her soul, would not have recognized him.
     He proceeded to walk towards the town with a brilliant gleam in his eyes.
Jarius was determined that he was done sleeping under trees.   
     The very first gathering he came upon were several young men of his acquaintance. He knew they would not recognize him in his current state, and indeed they did not.
     “Did you happen to see the production last evening?” one of them asked the others. They all nodded their acknowledgements, all but one.
     Jarius moved in closer.
     “And what about you William, did your mother permit you to leave the house last night?”
    The young man blushed deeply but did not answer. Jarius, although never having met him, recognized him immediately as the young man who had been walking with Miss Eliza the day prior.
     “Leave him alone,” another said. “You know as well as I do that he has no choice in the matter.”
     William glanced past all of them towards the town. Jarius knew that look. It was a look that wanted something.
     “If mother were only well…,” William whispered to himself, not knowing how carefully he was being listened to.   
     Jarius smiled as his finger grazed his coat pocket. He waited until the party had dispersed and it was only William who was walking back towards his home.
     Jarius smoothed his hair and straightened his jacket and approached the young man just as he was about to cross the threshold into his house.
     “Excuse me, sir?” Jarius called out with all the grace of a mule. He did not have Mr. Taylor’s style or patience, but none the less, William turned and gave him his full attention.
     “I do apologize for intruding on your person,” Jarius said, rocking back and forth on his heels. “But it has come to my attention that you want something; nay, that you need something.”
     “Are you not Jarius Knigglesby?” William asked, because unlike Jarius, he was both wise and observant.
    Jarius froze, not expecting such a question. After a long pause he laughed and carried on with his schemes, hoping that the need would be greater than the fear.
     “It is neither here nor there who I may be; the matter at hand is who are you and what do you want?”
     “That may be known to any man, sir,” he said. “I want my mother to live,” William answered, standing taller.
     The card was out and placed in William’s hand before the sentence was completed.
Jarius ran ahead towards the Manor, assuming he knew how this should work.
     He opened the door and waited just inside, not wanting to travel deeper into the house than was necessary. In less time than he expected a knock came at the door. Jarius opened it eagerly, expecting anything but what he found there.
    Miss Eliza Fearby, clutching the name card in her hand, raised her eyes to meet his. They were neither bright nor lovely, instead there was a desperation there that Jarius had never seen before.
     In that moment the thought occurred to him to take that card and rip in into a million pieces, or burn it, or send it back to the abyss that it came from. He did none of those things. He held the door open and let the lady pass and showed her the way to the door that would bring with it the unspeakable. When the door closed behind her, Jarius Knigglesby left to go back to his warehouses and his estate and a number of young ladies who longed to have his last name, as well some mothers who had secret hopes of acquiring him for their daughters.
     He indeed received back all that was lost, except for himself. For the other side of the card is always this: What good is it to gain the whole world if you lose your own soul?

Friday, December 27, 2013

Five Year Project, Best Reads 2013

Hello, today is the last Friday of the month, so it's five year project time. This is a lovely little motivational tool brought to the blogging world by Misha Gericke, you can find out more about it here. 

My five year goal is to see The Newstead Trilogy and it's follow-up books be the Next Great American Novels- high hopes, I know, but I figure dream big or go home. 

How it's going:
Well. Not great, but well. I'm working on Blackbird, the first book in The Newstead Anthem, which is set to be released next November. The Revenge of the Rephaim is in the hands of my editor, and is still on track for it's May release. I've been working with artist Allen Waite, for what I hope to be the most amazing cover in existence. Like I said, dream big or go home. But seriously, I'm completely in-love with what he's creating. As far as the story itself goes I couldn't be happier with it, it came out exactly the way I wanted it to. Now marketing has always been my weak point, I'm just not a very salesmanny (is that even a word?) type of person. I figure if a person likes the book, they'll tell other people about it. That's about it as far as my marketing strategy goes. And a lot of trust in God. That about does it for this month. How are your goals going?

And this Friday, I'm participating in John Wiswell's Best Reads 2013, you can find more information here     

Basically, you're supposed to list the books that have influenced you the most this year.

I know this sounds terrible, but I haven't read a lot of books this year. I've started a lot, but my internal editor is so high strung right now that I haven't finished many. Those I have, I've generally liked, you can find their reviews sprinkled on my blog. But that's not the question here, it's not about which books I liked or didn't like, it's about which ones have influenced me the most in 2013, and those are:

1. Knowledge of the Holy by Tozier. This is a short read, a Christian classic that was supposed to simplify Saint Augustine's earlier works. This book is anything but simple, but it is beautiful, and gave me a new appreciation of who and what God is.

2. The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell. This profound book got my mind thinking in about a hundred new ways. Very intelligent and thought provoking.

3. Little House in the Big Woods, by Laura Ingalls Wilder. This was a book I shared with my seven year old daughter this year, but I think I felt the bigger impact. I didn't realize until I read this book again how much of me longs for a homestead; a sweet simple home filled with family and love. Reading this changed the way I interacted with my family, prepared my meals, enjoyed my garden, and celebrated Christmas. If that's not influential, I don't know what is.

How about you- which books have influenced you the most this year?

Monday, December 23, 2013

50 States of Pray

Thanks to Mark Koopmans for setting up this 50 States of Pray
My prayer for all of you, for me, is God's richest blessings on us this coming year. I am still in awe that He came, here, as a little baby. If God was willing to do that- what wouldn't He give to us? I know the best is yet to be. And that is my prayer tonight; God's best for each of us.
Have a very Merry Christmas.

In Lord Shadow's House, part nine

Read part one here
Read part two here
Read part three here
Read part four here
Read part five here
Read part six here
Read part seven here
Read part eight here

In Lord Shadow's house, part nine

There was an old oak on the property that Jarius spent his night under. It was a wretched time for a man who was used to sipping his brandy by his favorite fireplace before retiring to bed.
     The sun rose the next morning and dried the dew that dampened his coat and his disposition. Initially, he attempted to convince himself that he’d just imagined the previous twenty-four hours, but one look at his estate convinced him otherwise.
     Jarius Knigglesby is many things, but a quitter is not one of them. He stood up, stretched out the kinks in his back and his legs and proceeded to walk back towards (place), the same as he did every other day of his existence, only on that day, he skipped his coffee.
     His offices were still locked, and dark, but at least they were still standing. He determined he would call on a few of his friends until it was time for his foreman to arrive. Then he would fire him, only after he let him in.
     The first stop he made was the dwelling place of his dearest friend, Miss Eliza Fearby. He and Miss Eliza had known each other for years. At times Jarius thought of Miss Eliza in more tender ways than one would of a friend, but her hair was not tawny, nor her eyes bright.
     It was Miss Eilza herself who answered the door.
    “Good morrow to you,” Jarius said. Normally he would’ve walked right in, for Miss Eliza’s home was familiar to him, but normally Miss Eliza wouldn’t have been blocking the way.
    “And to you,” she answered, tightlipped.
     “Are you not going to invite me in?”
     Her face went white, which was soon replaced by the redness of rage. “I most certainly am not, sir.  I am to understand you already have a lady, who will be more than happy to ensure you are well cared for.” With that Miss Eliza Fearby closed the door right in Jarius’s face. 
    His reception at the second and third stops were much the same, although the closing doors didn’t wound quite so deeply.
     Jarius went to the park and found another tree to sit under. He was hungry; he was cold; he was missing his hat. He was missing everything that had once been his. He saw that now, that he really was blessed, or at least had been.
     He reached into his coat, hoping to find a crumb of cake or a two-pence to buy said cake. Instead his hand grazed a card, a name card.
     He pulled it out and gazed down at it. It looked older than he remembered it being, yellowed and cracked, like it had seen many days, instead of just one. He flipped it over.
Giving you the one thing you desire.
     As before mentioned, Jarius was not wise, nor observant, but even the biggest of fools can have his moment in the sun, and for Jarius, this was such a time. It may have been prompted by Miss Eliza Dawert, taking her customary morning stroll, only this time she was accompanied by a young man that Jarius did not know.
     Jarius watched as Miss Eliza smiled and realized that her face could be bright as well. And he realized that her hair, though not tawny, was a lovely shade of auburn that appeared almost red in the morning light.
     As she walked towards town, getting further and further away, Jarius realized what he had lost. He had lost everything, only to gain the one thing he had desired, and now having it, he no longer wanted anything but what he had lost.
     He stood and made his way back to Eveningswood Manor.
The final installment of In Lord Shadow's House will be posted next Monday.
Come back tomorrow when I participate in Mark Koopman's fifty states of pray. You can find more info here. Merry Christmas to you!

Also, for those who won a copy of The Newstead Project kindle book, I apologize that you did not received a copy over the weekend. Turns out ice storm=no power=no computer. So I will forward those on to you after Christmas, unless we get pelted with another couple of inches of freezing rain. :)

Friday, December 20, 2013

Celebrating Survival, Express Yourself, and Rafflecopter

Today I'm celebrating the small stuff: survival.
For some reason I knew all along I would be the one to officially close my unit. And I was. And somehow I survived it.
For those of you who don't know, I am a psychiatric nurse, and I just found out the unit I've worked at for the last five years was closing. At 0401, early Thursday morning, I helped our last patient up onto a gurney and watched as he was wheeled away. Someone else will be taking care of him now, of all of them.
Change is a very hard pill to swallow.

On a much lighter note, the question for this week is: When you attend a get-together what dish are you likely to bring to share? For me this is always different, because I tend to cook seasonally, aka: from the garden. But there are a few staples I tend to fall back on: My sweet and sour cream cheese pepper dip, and my horrible for you potato casserole. You don't want to know what's in that one, trust me.

What are you celebrating this week? What is your staple food to bring to parties?

Also, today is the last day for the rafflecopter give-away. I will be announcing the winner tomorrow. Have a great weekend everyone!

Also, I participated in Milo Fowler's book giveaway. And the winners are: Katie Cross, Linda Dickinson, Carole Avila, and Jason Reyes

Congratulations! I will be emailing your kindle book copy of The Newstead Project to all of you sometime over this weekend.

Monday, December 16, 2013

In Lord Shadow's House, part eight, and Newstead book giveaway

Read part one here
Read part two here
Read part three here
Read part four here
Read part five here
Read part six here
Read part seven here

In Lord Shadow's House, part eight

There was still daylight left, so Jarius decided to go back to his offices to complete the work that had been left undone from the morning. The path, once he made it back to the coffee stand, was familiar to him.
     Mrs. Beacher, his mother’s best friend, passed him on his right, and he had just reached up to remove his hat in greeting, when he recalled that his hat was still on its hook in his office. It was no matter, because Mrs. Beacher was already hurrying past, determined to not been seen by him.
     He turned to watch her as she quickly crossed to the other side of the road. Jarius, who made it a point to obey every social rule, was overwhelmed by her rudeness.
     She wouldn’t be the last. By the time he made it to his office door, he’d been snubbed by three others that he’d noticed, four that he hadn’t.
     Jarius reached for his handle and pulled. When it did not come free he pulled again, only to be disappointed. He bitterly longed for his key that he’d left in his desk in his haste. At long last he was reduced to ringing. This, to Jarius, was the biggest insult of them all. Imagine having to ring on your own office door!
     When no one came, Jarius peered inside the windows that were on either side of the door, only to find the shades drawn. He pulled out his pocket watch. It was only three-thirty in the afternoon, and his offices appeared to be closed for the day.
     On the walk to his house, Jarius contented himself with all the firings he was going to issue in the morrow.
     Jarius’s estate was on the main road, heading out of town. It was a place of some importance in the previous century, and Jarius prided himself on his acquiring it. The road never felt long to him, he enjoyed the time he had each day walking to and from his occupation. It was the main reason he went on foot. It was his only time to be alone.
     The house was dark when Jarius approached it. This did not immediately alarm him, as he knew he wasn’t to be expected for at least another hour or two. In fact, Jarius didn’t get alarmed until he was halfway up the drive and realized exactly why the house was dark.
     The roof that Jarius had taken much pain to reinforce was caved in in several locations. The windows that had been glazed in London were broken or absent, and the dressed stone that made up the structure was crumbling, some of it already to the ground.
     Jarius sank to his knees.
Come back next Monday for part nine

Also, I am participating in Milo Fowler's book giveaway. Now, through Friday sign up for a chance to win a kindle copy of The Newstead Project. I'll be announcing the winner(s) Saturday morning. Merry Christmas!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, December 13, 2013

Celebrate the Small Things and Express Yourself

Today I'm celebrating snow. I like the stuff, at least until about mid-January, then you can have it. But for now, so close to Christmas, I say let it snow!

The topic for this week is to list something I always look forward to this time of year:
Christmas. We spend the whole month getting ready, between decorating, and cookie baking, and everything else in-between. This Sunday, my sisters, mom, and I are going on our annual Christmas shopping outing. Very little shopping ever gets done, but we spend all day doing it. And there's usually food involved. And wine. It's lovely.

Speaking of wine. I mentioned last week that I was going back to school starting this January, and I am, to the new Culinary Institute in Niagara Falls. I am going to become a Winemaker. Seriously- how fun does that sound? My classes will be things like food and wine pairing, where we'll go to local restaurants and the chefs will make specialty dishes for us to sample along with local made wines. I think I may have picked the only college degree available where you need a designated driver to get home from your classes. Needless to say, I can't wait.

How about you- what do you look forward to this time of year?

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Indie Life

Today is the second Wednesday of the month, that means it's Indie Life time, time for us to share with one another little useful bits that have helped us along the way. For most of us the initial writing process, the outlines the quick first draft are all fun, but it's the editing, that long journey through the pits of hell that takes up most of our time. I know editing is fun for some of you, but for most of us, it feels like work. Period.

Two suggestions: Grammarly. It is an amazing source to help find those grammar errors you didn't even realize you were making. You can find it here.

And your Kindle. I send all my final drafts to myself and read it on my kindle. You would be surprised at all the typos and misspellings I catch this way.

Both of these suggestions are not for fixing plot flaws, but they can be very helpful with copy edits.

How about you, any editing suggestions?

Monday, December 9, 2013

In Lord Shadow's House part seven

Read part one here
Read part two here
Read part three here
Read part four here
Read part five here
Read part six here
                                                        In Lord Shadow's House part seven
The bright sun that had illuminated the sky was covered with clouds as Jarius left the Manor. His walk back to the center of town was hastened by his desire to see Bridget O’Fallen and see with his own eyes what his mind had imagined.
     That no one stopped to address him in his journey did not surprise him; his friends and acquaintances knew him well enough to guess at the nature of his quest. 
     At long last he stood outside the shelter that contained his lady love. Boldly, he approached her.
     “My lady Bridget O’Fallen,” he said. It was the first time he’d spoken her name aloud.
     She glanced up, and seeing Jarius, proceeded to fulfill one of his most common dreams. She dropped her jar of coffee, ignoring all the other customers, and ran into his open arms. She smelled as sweet as the sun and more.
     She pulled back, blushing. “You must forgive me, sir,” she began hesitantly. It was more than Jarius could’ve hoped for.
     “There is nothing to forgive,” he began, ready, now, to say his speech about her beauty and many charms, but once again he was stopped. Only that time it was for the most excellent of reasons, for Miss Bridget O’Fallen’s mouth had found his, making speech impossible.
     Jarius, although not being a natural born gentleman, still felt the impropriety of this public display, therefore pulled back.
     “May I have the honor of escorting you home?” he asked, releasing all but her elbow.
     She nodded, wrapping an arm tightly around his midsection.
Miss Bridget O’Fallen proceeded to lead Jarius well past the respectable section of (place) towards another part that Jarius had never been to before. There were no spaces between the houses there, and more than a few of the people looked very undignified, in Jarius’s opinion.
     Miss O’Fallen stopped right outside one of the buildings that needed no introduction to Jarius. Not that he had ever been to a brothel before, he just knew one when he saw it. He was at least perceptive enough for that.
     Women, clad in clothing or lack there-of, sauntered past them on their way to the establishment next door. Other women were coming back towards them, only they were not alone. Men with wandering eyes and hands were being held around the waist by these women, much the same way Miss Bridget O’Fallen was holding Jarius. 
     He jerked back, seeing his lady love with new eyes. “You…Is this where you live?”
     Bridget O’Fallen was better with her hands than with her words, so she let them do the talking for her. Jarius stopped her when her meaning became clear. He shook his head and turned to go back the way he had come. And that, dear readers, is where the lovely Miss O’Fallen leaves our tale, important though she was in the creating of it.
Come back for part eight next Monday.
How was everyone's weekend?

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

ISWG. What's Up Wednesday


What do you do when your character dies in real life?

I’m going to get a little freaky here, so forgive me, but I’m having a bit of a hard time with Paul Walker dying. It’s not that I was a fan or anything like that; it’s that he was Gerrard, one of the MCs in my Newstead books. I’ve looked at pictures of his face almost every day for a year. And now he’s dead. I can’t get my arms around it. I know a lot of you do what I do- have pictures of who your MC looks like to refer to for inspiration, but what do you do when that person dies? If you know, please tell me, because I am at a total loss.


What I’m reading: I won the complete Thirteenth Floor series by Christine Rains during the Realms Faire, so I’ve been reading The Dragonslayer. So far I really like it; just what my mind needed after Malcolm Goodwell- some good old-fashioned  paranormal romance.

What I’m writing: The Guardian- which is The Newstead Project from Steven’s perspective. It was my NaNo novel so that means I’ll spend the next 4-5 months filling in all the plot holes and inconsistencies.  All that being said, I still love it- might be my favorite so far.

What’s inspiring me: Music. I’m feeling a little soulful lately, so I’m back to listening to Warren Barfield.

What else I’m up to right now: Writing, finishing up the last month of working as a nurse, and- will you believe it- registering to go back to school. You’ll never guess what for. I’ll tell you in next Wednesday’s post.

Sorry this is so late in the day- I can only blame this crazy life of mine.


Monday, December 2, 2013

In Lord Shadow's House part six

*Sorry about the late post- worked last night- just woke up.:)

Read part one here
Read part two here
Read part three here
Read part four here
Read part five here
In Lord Shadow's House part six
“Well now, who is this here?” came a voice deep in the room. It had a very pleasant ring to it.
“This is the one I told you about, a Mr. Knigglesby,” Mr. Taylor said before leaving the room, closing the door behind him.
Jarius peered into the room, but failed to see where the voice had originated from.
“Mr. Knigglesby…you wouldn’t happen to be of the Merrington Knigglesbys would you?”
“Not that I am aware of sir,” Jarius answered, still searching in vain for the source of that voice.
“No matter. Mr. Taylor informed me that you needed something, is that true?”
Besides being not very observant, Jarius also wasn’t very wise. It was a sheer case of being in the right place at the right time that had landed him in his situation of trade, and he had always seen himself as most fortunate. But, in this particular case, the opposite was true. Jarius Knigglesby was in the very worst place at the very worst time.
“Yes, sir,” Jarius answered, clearing his throat and then answering again, louder that time. “Yes, sir.”
“And what is the nature of this request?”
Jarius thought back not to that morning, but to every other experience he’d had with Bridget O’Fallen; the children they’d had, the holidays they’d taken. In Jarius’s mind his perfect happiness was only one moment away; the moment Bridget O’Fallen agreed to be his.
“It involves a young lady…,” Jarius began, but never finished his speech as to Bridget’s many graces.
“And is she the one you want?”
“Oh yes, sir,” Jarius said, nearly bursting at the seams.
“The only thing you want?”
To Jarius the questions were one and the same. He did not note the difference.
“Oh yes, sir,” he repeated.
“Very well then, she is yours.”
Jarius stood by the open door, unsure is he should stay or take his leave. The nature of Lord Shadow’s response had been dismissive, yet vague enough that Jarius wavered.  
After several minutes of silence from the other end of the room, Jarius determined he had been dismissed. Mr. Taylor was not there to show him out.
Come back for part seven next Monday.