Here There Be Monsters

This is Part 9 of an on-going serial I’m writing called, “Lyr the Enchanter”. To read the story from the beginning, you can find the story index, here.


I walked along the shore of the Isle of In-Between, cautious not to get too close to the water’s edge. Even on the foreshore I wasn’t safe from the monsters that dwelt beneath the indigo waves.

Gazing out over the water, I saw the skeletal remains of the island’s guardians turning to quicksilver as the sun set. They shimmered, and glimmered, and transformed; nothing was ever static here. It waxed and waned according to an ancient magic I could not see nor hope to understand.

The only spellcraft I understood was enchanting. And now my wife wanted me to use it to take another’s life.

My dark thoughts were disturbed as something broke the surface of the water, rearing up high above me.

‘Lyr the Enchanter,’ it hissed, snake-like, turning its dead face towards me. ‘I have a proposition for you. What would you bargain in exchange to leave this island?’


Written for Crimson’s Creative Challenge #9 – And this week, I’m only 1 word over the 150 word limit – woohoo!

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Unearthing Secrets

I had never built a brick wall before so was unsure how far down the foundations needed to go.  Was it as deep as the wall was to be tall?  Or was I confusing that with a tree and its roots?

I paused, momentarily muddled, before resuming digging.  Better to have more foundations than not enough.

When the trench was two foot deep, the spade struck something with a sickening sound.  White bone gleamed from out of the soil.  That’s when I realised I would have been happy with a fence.


Written for Weekend Writing Prompt # 88 – Foundations  |  Word count: 91

A Little Exciting News…

A random, sort of spooky photo…

A few months ago, I entered a Tudor Ghost Story Contest hosted by authors Natalie Grueninger, who runs the wonderful website, On The Tudor Trail, the Talking Tudors podcast and is the author of a number of Tudor history books, and Wendy J Dunn, author of a number of books of Tudor fiction.

Last week the results were announced, and I’m excited to share that I placed joint second!  On Christmas Eve, the winner and the second and third place getters’ stories were published on On The Tudor Trail.  You can read the post announcing the winners by the judge of the competition here, where you will also find links to the first, second and third place stories.  The direct link to my own story, The Thorns of A Tudor Rose, can be found here.

The Thorns of a Tudor Rose is a story of Anne Boleyn being visited by the ghost of Katherine of Aragon during the days leading up to her downfall…only she doesn’t yet know it.  If you do have a read of it, please let me know what you think!

UPDATE: The first, second and third placed stories have also been included in a sample copy of Tudor Life Magazine, the monthly magazine of The Tudor Society!

Looking Back at NaNoWriMo 2018

A week has passed since the end of November, giving me a few days to think and reflect on this year’s NaNoWriMo challenge.  I didn’t win, but I got a lot more done than I thought possible, which is no doubt due to me being a NaNo Rebel this time around, meaning I could focus on anything I wanted…the theme this year was a multitude of little projects…

Let’s Look At The Numbers

  • 39376 words in total
  • 4 short stories completed
  • 382 notes left on phone
  • 6 book reviews written
  • 5207 words written on One Christmas novella
  • 2572 words written / edited for Oath Broken
  • Creative Writing spreadsheet updated
What I Did v’s What I Hoped I’d Do

Naturally, I’d hoped to reach the 50,000 word target, even though I knew before November started it was going to require a monumental effort.  Realistically, it was never going to happen, especially when I picked up a cold at the beginning of the month.  That being said, I’m happy that I hit 39,000 – and this included 9 “no writing” days.

On my NaNo list, I aimed to complete 4 unfinished stories from my (ever-growing) list of incomplete projects, one a week.  I managed to do this.  Yay!  And I did manage to lavish some attention on another 3 short stories (but didn’t finish them), edit a small collection of flash fiction / short stories and write a detailed plan of another story.

And, in the spirit of trying to finish unfinished stories, I also came across a novella I had started writing a few years ago.  It’s not the sort of story I typically write, but I’m having fun with it and I think it’s sometimes worth writing outside of your comfort zone, just to see what happens.  Anyway, for those interested, it’s called “One Christmas”  and is a contemporary romance, with a bit of humour and (hopefully) suspense thrown in for good measure, and you can read it here, via Wattpad, as I write it.  I’ll post more about it at a later date…

I had wanted to reduce the number of creative writing notes (including scenes, chapters, short stories, flash fiction and poetry) on my phone to between the 125 – 150 mark.  I failed at this, epically.  Although I began with 526, there are still 382 notes waiting to be written somewhere I can’t easily delete / lose them.

I had started November seriously behind my book reviews over on my book review blog, Sammi Loves Books.  So, I thought it would be a great idea if I added this to my list of organisational tasks to complete in the month, as motivation to get back up-to-date.  I wrote and posted 6 book reviews; I had hoped to clear it completely before I added anymore books to the pile, but I didn’t.  There were still four books left over, plus the books I’ve finished since then.

Oath Broken, the story of Oathbreaker told from a different character’s POV, was supposed to be one of my main focuses for November.  In reality, I didn’t get much done on it at all, only 2500 words, a quarter of what I had hoped.  So, I am a little disappointed with this, if I’m honest, but the story feels like it’s in a good place now so I shouldn’t grumble too much…

I got just under 3900 words written for what I’ve been calling Novel #3 on my WIP list (Oath Broken is Novel #2).  I didn’t manage any words at all on Novel #1, which again is a little disappointing.  One chapter would have been nice…

Another task on my list of organisational projects was updating my Creative Writing Tracker, a 20 page spreadsheet that helps me keep a track of all and everything to do with my writing.  I started it back in 2015 and after a few years it needed a little bit of TLC.  Things needed moving around, layouts needed changing, sheets needed updating / deleting / replacing.  So, I gave it a bit of a makeover – it might be a spreadsheet, but it can still look interesting as well as being functional!  I am pleased to say, this task was also completed as part of my NaNo gaols 2018 – although it only earned me a nominal 1000 words towards my total word count.

The idea of the NaNo journal was good one, and I enjoyed keeping it for about a week…*Sigh*  But with feeling unwell, exhausted and trying to find time to write, this probably wasn’t the right year to try and implement it, at least, not in terms of daily entries.  If I do have another go at it next year, I will try may be twice a week.

So that’s the rundown of my NaNoWriMo 2018.  In no time at all, April 2019 will roll round and with it Camp NaNo.  😉

Soul-Searching

This is part 4 of an ongoing serial I am writing, called “Lyr the Enchanter”. To read the previous parts, follow these links:

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3

‘You don’t need to look into my face to know my soul, Boatman,’ I whisper, my voice surprisingly level. ‘You’ve looked into it before.’

‘Yes, I have, Lyr,’ the hooded figure agrees. He says no more for the time being, keeping his thoughts on the state of my soul to himself.

I blink and miss him moving back to his seat in the front of the boat. I breathe a sigh of relief. Close proximity to The Boatman should make all sane people uncomfortable.

We continued on downstream. The current was getting stronger, and we were moving faster. This meant we were almost at The Isle of In-Between.

We passed through a diaphanous haze, and the world momentarily sparkled. Suddenly the shapes of buildings loomed above us, their shadowy forms towering up into the night. Their vastness, even in the darkness, was oppressive.

‘Are you ready to pay what’s owed, enchanter?’


Written for Crimson’s Creative Challenge #4

Not to Everyone’s Taste

The estate agent paled. Bright pinks paired with blood red; an unusually bright, garish colour scheme that flowed hideously from room to room. How was she supposed to sell that? And to whom? A vampire?


I suspect my thinking is greatly flawed in this little piece of flash fiction…I can’t even imagine a vampire approving of this colour scheme 😉

This was written for Weekend Writing Prompt #23 Taste

Colourless

I look out of the window on to a black and white world. Where did all the colour go? I used to think sepia tones were dull and morose, hearkening back to a time before, tainted with nostalgia, that required the wearing of rose-tinted glasses. Now I long for those insipid hues…

The shadows outside lengthen as the sun dips lower and lower in the sky. The black and white world is now more dark than light as day slowly fades into night. The cracks in the ground, of which there are many – when was the last time it rained? – are shown in stark relief. Nothing grows here any more.

My mother has a painting of a dandelion over the mantelpiece, its bright yellow head an affront to the greyscale space it inhabits. I wonder how, when everything else has lost its colour, that one painting of a weed is as bright and as vibrant as when it was first painted…

Mum says, if she could, she would pick the seed head from the painting – it’s there lurking to the side of the bright flower. Thinking me still a child, she says she’d ask me to make a wish and then together we’d blow really hard and disperse all the seeds. Of course, my wish would be granted, she says. It’s magic. I’m not convinced, but I know I would do it any way.

And I know what I’d wish for: a secret doorway that would appear in our living room, one that could take us back in time to when the world was still gleaming and awash with all the shades and colours of an artist’s palette.

I hate the plainness here. It stifles hope.


Written for Weekend Writing Prompt #35 – End of Year Challenge