Seventeen and Thirty-Seven

Inspiration:  If It Makes You Happy – Sheryl Crow

Thirty-seven has a  way of forgetting what seventeen feels like.  Especially when seventeen shows up and bludgeons you right between the eyes.  Thirty-seven has a way of looking at seventeen and asking  “what the fuck were you thinking?”    At times, this can mean  just about anything from questionable fashion choices to choices that impact and, perhaps, change the outcomes of the rest of our lives.   I will be the first person to admit I did stupid shit.  At seventeen I had big dreams but was so ill prepared to meet those challenges that I chuckle now.     So seventeen smacked me upside the head tonight in the form of this photo:  (Sandra’s note:  If anyone that did not know me when I was seventeen can find me in this photo, brownie points to you.)

Senior Class Photo 1997

I no longer really keep up with the people I sat near in those days.  I naively thought they would be the kind of friends that would be around forever.   I could not have been more wrong.  I lost track of everyone.  The person I was then and the one I am now are very different people.     In a way,  I think that is how it was supposed to happen for me.  I do not mean to say my growing process was different or more difficult than anyone else’s.  Everyone’s journey is different.

I was a kid then.  A kid who could not be certain what she wanted.   A kid who was always afraid to say what she really felt because she did not trust herself.  A kid who tried too hard to make everyone else happy and tried too little to figure out what made her happy.  The kid I was probably could not have imagined me now and that’s okay.  That growing up,  I think,  started my senior year but did not really gain traction until my early twenties.  Having children forces you to grow beyond yourself.  At least, I think it should.  The girl I was could not understand that disappointment is a natural part of living,  so is failure.    That girl had not yet learned to pick herself up from those things.    She learned the hard way, to be honest.

That girl expected it all to be sunshine and roses.  I just smile at her now because I see her so often in my daughter.     I see her uncertainty.  I see her willingness to hide in her sarcasm rather than tell anyone what she really thinks and feels.   I see her struggle “not to hurt anyone’s feelings”  and hear her regret when she says things she “didn’t mean to” because she just couldn’t take it anymore and exploded.  Yeah,  I know that kid.

I  am not at all ashamed of the girl I was.   The girl I was,  in a way, makes me the woman I am.  The woman is wiser.  The woman rushes less, thinks more.   She trusts less,  analyzes more.   At times, she analyzes too much but hey,  I am only human.  So, it was hardly my intention when I wrote this to turn it into a depressing diatribe about the past.  I just find the whole thing amusing and sad at once because, in hindsight, I see wasted and missed opportunities.   When I look at it that way,  I look at my husband and think,  “Okay, maybe not wasted,  those misses had purpose and brought me here. I wouldn’t trade here for anything.”

So, to end on a higher note.  I looked up the top 100 songs of 1997.  I graduated the summer of ’97.   I look at this list and cringe a little because I am painfully reminded that popular is not always good. This chart is according to Billboard music.    So be honest readers, did any of you jam out to any of the following top twenty songs:

1 Elton John Candle In The Wind 1997 / Something About The Way You Look Tonight
2 Jewel Foolish Games / You Were Meant For Me
3 Puff Daddy and Faith Evans I’ll Be Missing You
4 Toni Braxton Un-Break My Heart
5 Puff Daddy Can’t Nobody Hold Me Down
6 R. Kelly I Believe I Can Fly
7 En Vogue Don’t Let Go (Love)
8 Mark Morrison Return Of The Mack
9 LeAnn Rimes How Do I Live
10 Spice Girls Wannabe
11 Backstreet Boys Quit Playing Games (With My Heart)
12 Hanson MMMBop
13 Monica For You I Will
14 Usher You Make Me Wanna…
15 Meredith Brooks Bitch
16 Keith Sweat Nobody
17 Third Eye Blind Semi-Charmed Life
18 Duncan Sheik Barely Breathing
19 Az Yet feat. Peter Cetera Hard To Say I’m Sorry
20 Notorious B.I.G. Mo Money Mo Problems

 

I have to admit I rocked out to Meredith Brooks and still do at times.   I still love Semi-Charmed Life,  Foolish Games, and  Don’t Let Go.   Did anyone else do the Macarena at senior homecoming? For the record, I still don’t dance.  What are some of your favorite 90s tunes?    This is just a snapshot  of a year in my life.  What does your snapshot look like?

 

 

 

 

 

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Just an ordinary day.

….where I get to participate in my first blogger interview.

Check this out:

Blog Interview

Let me know what you guys think.   Also,  for the time being,  the Maeseloria Monthly will be on hiatus, possibly until I finish revising Shadow’s Journey.   Let me know what you guys thought of the interview.  Take care!

Because I haven’t had enough coffee for a title…

Current reading:  Prophecy –  Cassandra Morgan / Mage: The Awakening,  2nd edition

Inspired by:  The Chain – Fleetwood Mac

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Books and roses, two of my favorite things. 

 

So a first happened for me on Thursday…

I got asked to speak at a writer’s group.

For those of you that know me well,  I am not at all comfortable with being the center of attention.  I am always stepping back for more knowledgeable,  more eloquent people.  I come across better in my writing than I do in person.  I have an inordinate fondness for the word fuck. I am not always appropriate or fluent.  I’m just me and, at times,  I feel that’s inadequate for the task I am given.  Do I bite the bullet and do it anyway? Sure. It just comes out kind of awkward.

Public speaking is a concept that terrifies me.  Hell, at my first book signing I was too keyed up to do a reading .  My teenager graciously agreed to do so.   So being invited is a big deal to me.  To the friend that invited me, thank you.  To the people that graciously listened and asked questions while I tried to stammer through a coherent explanation to my process, getting published and everything involved with that craziness,  thank you in duplicate.  It really mean a lot to me that you feel like I have advice to give.   And honestly,  I’m  a firm believer in paying it forward.  When I started a support group did not exist.  I knew no other writers in my local area to connect with.

Until I met my husband,  people did not get that need to create inside me or respect the fact that it was a need in the first place.   I did not understand the need half as well as I do now.  I take that back.  One person understood but at the time he was so mired in his own situations that I did not lean when I needed to.  You know who you are.  M’bad.  ❤

I meant what I said at the end.

No matter what,  keep going.  Don’t hesitate.  Life’s going to keep right on moving whether you do or not.

What have you got to lose?

So, in a nutshell,  I got to meet some new folks who suffer from a lot of the struggles many of us do.  Lack of time,  stories fizzling out,  ideas that always seem stuck in work-in-progress land.  In truth, it happens to all of us.  I have two or three unfinished, unfollowed through on ideas.  Maeseloria takes up a great deal of my time and focus.   Admittedly, the single track for my creativity helps with my focus.   And, in truth, Maeseloria evolved from multiple stories that I played around with for years.  I just found a thread to tie them together and it worked.

At any rate,  to those in the group that may be reading this…thanks for having me.  I’d be delighted to join you again sometime soon.   If you need feedback, brainstorming,  even a pep talk…or if you just want to shoot the shit,  you have my email address.

In other related news,  I see the light at the end of the first-round revision tunnel!  The last chapter has been hand revised and needs keyed.   That should be tackled this weekend.   I’ll keep you posted.     I am going to try and post more often here but life has been crazy as of late and the motivation on my part lacking.   So with that being said,  I am requesting feedback from all of you.  What do you like to see on this blog? Do you enjoy the snippets and potential storylines?  Do you like the life updates? The social commentary?  Do you wish I would post more often?   Throw me some feedback in the comments guys or email, or tweet or Facebook me.   I’m pretty easy to find.

 

 

Cut me from the Light…

Current Reading:  Prophecy –  Cassandra Morgan

Inspired by:  Shatter Me – Lindsey Stirling

Yes.  I readily admit to being a slacker about my blog as of late.   I have been busy with Shadow’s Journey revisions and work and life.  I recently had a local author event at Gathering Volumes.  The event went well in spite of the freezing cold and rain.  If you want to see photos, check out the May edition of the Maeseloria Monthly.    For those that have been waiting for the next installment of Alex and Marc,  allow me to proceed. If you missed the first installment leading up to this, check out the blog post Reunion.  Happy reading!

 

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How appropriate.  Alexandra thought when she observed the dawning daylight. She turned towards her brother.  He leaned against the wall next to Emma’s front door with his arms folded over his chest.   The look on his face was thunderous.  “Years ago,  Fate above, we must have been children.”  As he spoke he pushed from the wall and fell into step with her.  The path led away from Emma’s home.  “I made you a promise that I would never leave your side again.  Do you remember?”

“We were not children, brother-mine.”  Alexandra responded as he took her hand.  “Just naïve.”  Her words were gentle,  thoughtful.  The warmth of his hand was much missed.  In those dark catacombs the thought of her loved ones kept her alive and allowed her to keep fighting.  She suspected admitting such a thing though would simply fuel the fire that burned within her brother.  Emma was  a curious puzzle that she would address with him soon.  For now, however, Alexandra savored the warmth of Marc’s hand in hers and the familiar comfort of his mind occupying her own.

“Perhaps naïve but since we retook the kingdom,  have I ever failed you?”    He murmured as they took the path away from Emma’s.  With a minute flex of will, he pulled them both away into the early morning light.  He knew she allowed him to exert that level of control and power over her.  Marcus understood her better than anyone but Nicholas,  he felt.   When he realized the old man was in on her scheme,  the thought infuriated him that much more.   The training clearing of their childhood sprawled before them when they reappeared.    “I have of much to lose in light of your passing as you do.”  He jerked her to a halt and turned her to face him.  Marc never used force on his sister but the grasp on her shoulders bit into the skin.  “What compelled you to believe you could not trust me with this?”

Their gazes clashed like fire and ice.  “Are you done whining, love?”   Alexandra spoke on tones so gentle that they further provoked his ire.  “I did what must be done.  This consequence included you and yours.  I could not change that.  The tale had to be believe.  This was a consequence of that choice. What would you have me do?  Risk the kingdom at the consequence of your tender heart?”

“For fuck’s sake Alex, do  not patronize me.”  He rounded on her and growled.  “I have someone to lose here beyond you and she might not fucking survive my passing any more than I would survive yours.”  Marc raged against the calm emerald of her eyes. Fate above, he wanted to shake some emotion into her eyes.  How could she not regret this choice and all the pain the decision had caused?

“I would not insult your intelligence Marcus, however tempted I may be.”   Alexandra shot back and arched a white blonde brow.  “Now who is being patronizing?  Riddle me this, Marcus.  Were you so blind as to see that you were not the only one with a life to lose?”  Without a word, Alexandra flexed her will and brought Lily to the clearing.   You may be angry with both of us but you need to understand.   “I have a daughter, a husband, a family just like you.  Must we revisit this lesson because you now have someone so beloved to you that it terrifies you to consider losing her?”

Marc could not find words and struck as their fights so often erupted into when they disagreed. Alexandra dodged the blow and met him stride for stride by countering his physical force with her mental.  “I did what I must Marcus.  I will not allow you to guilt me for so difficult a decision. Yes,  I could have told you but then to what end?”  She asked as his knuckles pounded against the physical shell she set around herself.  He would be bruised later.  “What purpose would it serve beyond easing your own conscience?   You were safer not knowing and we both know it.  Your nature could not have kept you away from me no matter what state I was in.  Your power could have been a detriment to my survival.”  Alexandra scowled as she lectured him.  Fed up with his constant battering of the shield instead of listening, she shoved him hard enough with her mind to send him skittering across the clearing.  The temperature around them was rising as her brother, at last pushed her towards anger.

Glancing beyond them to Lily,  Alexandra whipped the dagger from her belt and buried at the girls feet. The ward was activated with no more than a though.   I will not have you harmed when I brought you here. Least of all by my temper.  “More the fool you are to your own nature Marcus. My point was proven when you tore the realm apart because you realized I lived.   The poison worked against our magic,  Marcus.  The same poison that killed Devin accelerates at the touch of Jade bloodlines.  Of the two of us,  you simply cannot allow matters to be what they will.”

“Do you hear me?  Tessa could have saved him.  Nicholas could have saved him but I could not and I will carry that ghost until I die. Forgive me for excluding you.  Fate gave me a duty and I fulfilled it.  Her brother was picking himself up from the ground and cursing.   His words and his bruised pride did not move her in the least.   “I will not ask you to agree with the choice or the consequences.  I never have but I will be damned if you will not respect them or me and the courage it took to make them. “   Her eyes narrowed.  “You promised, your honor is not harmed by my choice.   You did not leave my side for you were in my thoughts every day for the last year.  The thought of you and those in my care enabled me to survive.”

Marc glared though he saw both her reason and felt the air’s temperature rising between them.  He did not see Lily until Alexandra build the dagger’s ward around her. His heart broke to see her standing there before he turned his attention back to his sister.  “I get it, Alex.  You did what duty required…truly but you have lost before sister-mine.  I have not and do not intend to.  Your secrets might put her at risk and I cannot abide that.”  He turned towards Lily.  Anger bristled in her green eyes.

As he stepped towards his beloved, Alexandra spoke.  Her words were intended to turn his blood cold.  “And what would you have done if it had been her and not Devin?”   When he froze,  she nodded to Lily and vanished from the clearing.  Her dagger remained as an invitation for him to locate her later.    Fate had best believe he would and they would finish their discussion once calmer heads prevailed. His was not.

“Lily.” He murmured as he met her eyes.   With a thought, he disabled the ward.  Once it was disabled, she came at him with a flurry of kicks and strikes that caught him off guard.  He wrapped her up in his arms.  He absorbed each blow though he would be bruised later.  She could stab him at this point for all that it mattered.

“You’re an idiot,  my lord.  A Light blasted fucking idiot.”

 

 

Why Introverts Make Good Writers

I thought this was fascinating and very apt. Let me know what you guys think. 🙂

A Writer's Path


by J.U. Scribe

I return to blogging because I like to write. Never did it cross my mind that my keen interest in writing had anything to do with who I am on a fundamental level until recently. After you read this you’ll understand the connection I started to make with introversion to writing.

It is estimated that at least 1/3  of the population are introverted. For a significant portion of the population, including myself we felt largely misunderstood. We felt something was wrong with us. I may not have been able to articulate it during childhood, but I learned early on that being outgoing, sociable, and assertive were more socially acceptable than being reserved, quiet, and passive.

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Reading habits

Hi everyone!

I suffer from an innate curiosity that is sometimes a blessing; sometimes a curse.  At times,  I cannot help but ask questions and pursue an answer further.  I’m the one that researches while watching historical fiction or if I want more information.  I like research.

So I got tagged in a recent Facebook post and it got me curious about those of you who follow the blog.  The list was simple but I wanted to expand a little.  The why’s are always important to me.  So give me your list, tell me your why if you’d like. Or just present the list. 🙂  (I may or may not have responded to a similar blog post from a fellow author a few months back)

Here’s the Facebook post:

Ten Books

I’ve been tagged to name 10 books that have meant something to me.
Rules: In your status line, list 10 books that have stayed with you in some way. Don’t take more than a few minutes and don’t think too hard ~ they don’t have to be the “right” or great works, just the ones that have touched you. Tag 10 friends, including me, so I’ll see your list.

I don’t tag people for stuff like this, so please feel free to consider yourself tagged if this is your kind of thing. I’m curious to see what some of my favorite bookworms respond with.

1. It – Stephen King
2. The Stand – Stephen King
3. Sleepers – Lorenzo Carcaterra
4. The Constant Princess – Philippa Gregory
5. Hamlet – Shakespeare
6. The Diary of a Young Girl – Anne Frank
7. North and South (1 & 2) – John Jakes
8. A Farewell to Arms – Ernest Hemingway
9. I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings – Maya Angelou
10. No Greater Love – Danielle Steel

So here’s my why:

Books  1 and 2:  Well worn, well loved favorites.  I read It for the first time when I was sixteen.  The Stand, 17 or 18 I think.  These two books got me turned on to the concept of epic storytelling.  They made me want to write.  Looking at it later in life,  I think those two things got me started. I’m sure King gets a lot of authors started but those two books are special for me.  Besides, they’re just damned good stories.

Book 3:  This book made the list not only because it is a favorite but it’s about survival.  This author really takes you into the minds of these characters and their motivations. I won’t spoil what it’s about but if you have ever seen the film they made from it–the film doens’t do the novel justice.

Book 4:  I read this book after I saw the film The Other Boleyn girl and watched The Tudors.  I love my history. I love my Tudor England. What gets me about this particular book is Katherine of Aragon’s story and the quiet strength she resonated in the face of many adversities.  The story unfolds from her childhood through her first marriage and her life with Henry VIII.  Through many hardships and heartaches, she remained true and as constant as the title of the book suggests.

Book 5: I read this in high school.  There is a copy of this book on my shelf and it still gets taken out from time to time and read.  Hamlet’s tale is amazing and, in many regards a story within a story.  This above all to thine own self be true.   – One of my favorite quotes ever as well as a constant reminder. The more I age, the more that quote impacts me.

Book 6:  Okay, who did not read this book at some point in their high school/middle school existence?  About two years ago, my daughter brought it home again because they were reading it in school.  I picked it up and read it again for old times sake.  Anne’s story is important to me because, to me, all she had left was imagination and in many ways I think that imagination may have gotten her through those long, terrifying days.

Book 7:  This is the only two-fer that made my list.  The reaso n I love these books is because they put a very human face on war.  They explain how people can grow and exist on both sides of the battle lines.  They address the horrors of the Civil War and what happened to families before, during and after. If you have never read these books and enjoy either historical fiction or the civil war–check them out. They’re worth the read.

Book 8:  I read this book in high school much like Hamlet and Anne Frank but this was the first war story I ever read and it left an impact on me at 16.  I think I loved the love story wrapped up in the middle of war torn Europe.  There are other books that have that same style but lack Hemingway’s depth.  I also think this book had a big impact on my love for history and wanting to track down the history behind the story.

Book 9:  I could write for hours about this book. If you have a creative mind and love a powerful story,  read this book.  Her words stay with me. So does the power of her story.  If you are unfamiliar with Maya Angelou,  go look her up.

Book 10:  I have not picked up this author in more than a decade but I will pick up this story and Message from Nam any day over a lot of other authors.  No Greater Love is a story of self-sacrifice in the face of tragedy.  The story, to me, is about putting the good of others ahead of your own, doing what you have to do regardless of the cost,  because it is right, because it needs doing.   For me, the main character’s will to see her family not just survive but thrive touches me.

 

Okay, so those are my ten.  To my readers,  tell me what you guys read.  Funny thing is there is not really a single Fantasy novel on that list.   Share your suggestions with me!  I’d love to hear you.  In the comments, via email, Twitter or Facebook.  I’d love to hear from you!

For my regular readers,  my sincerest apologies on the delay of April’s newsletter.  Life got ahead of me and, well, some silly author did not click the button to actually schedule the campaign.

Hope to hear from you soon!

Reunion

Current listening:  A Poem for Byzantium –  Delerium

Current reading:  Stephen King,  It.

So,  many of my regular followers have been tuned in for the story line with Emma.  I have yet to decide if she will be featured in a future book. Your feedback on her character is welcome.  I don’t know that I’m completely satisfied with this passage because it feels rough but I hope you enjoy it!  Happy Reading!


 

Emma woke what felt like hours later on her own couch.  Her red-to-gold hair was a tousled mess and she was in a nightgown before a woman that could only be deemed royalty.  Emma suspected this in the woman’s manners.  Quiet power and authority were traits that were hard to hide no matter how skilled at deception one may be.

Night was still upon them she noted as she lifted her head to glance about the small parlor. The hearth now blazed and her compassionate invader sat beside her.  “Only minutes.” That patient voice answered the flushed to the roots of her hair.  “Forgive me, your guards were down for a moment. When was the last time you ate, child?”

When Emma moved to sit up,  a force pushed her back down to the couch.  “I could not say but could you stop mentally restraining me. I do not have the energy to try and break your hold. Clearly you’re not leaving.”  The woman responded with a nod.  “Very well then since you appear to be more stubborn than my last visitor and, based on your accent, from the same area.”  Her words for some reason made the woman chuckle.  Though her body was weakened, Emma’s mind worked just fine.  “Emma Jacobs.”

“Alexandra Jade.”  In the ensuing silence,  the woman could have blown her home from kingdom come and left her for dead.  Emma’s surprise was that complete.  “And that was why I did not give you my name before you fainted. I dislike that reaction.  I am as human as you are.”   Though she was chiding the girl, Alexandra could not help but smile. What she felt of the girl was a stubborn sort of fortitude she admired.   This girl was a survivor, Alexandra suspected. That nature was not foreign to her.

“What brings the fabled Lady Jade to my door?”  Emma asked on hesitant tones as she pushed herself up on her elbows into a seated position.  The hesitance in her voice and the concern were clear.  She did not want this. This woman should not be here.  She could guarantee her discovery.  Emma knew she would have to leave the home she has always know after this encounter.  No choice remained.   She grew up in this house.   Emma scanned the room.  The structure was far from the grandeur of the noble seats of royalty that stood at each distant corner of the realm but it was home.  Here she could still connect with Edward’s memory though she hid from his darkness.

A gentle hand on her shoulder stirred her from her tumbling thoughts.  “Be at ease. I reinforced your wards when I arrived. The door will open to no one but you. Your safety is ensured. I will force nothing from you.  If I did, I would be no better than what you hide from.”   Alexandra’s eyes were a mix of curiosity and kindness as she spoke.   “You bring me to your door, if you must know.  You’re important though I am uncertain why.”   Her own frustration surfaced in her voice as she spoke.  As of late, her dreams had been a scattered mess. Two paths kept appearing in her dreams and neither answer was clear.  “A single shadow haunts my dreams.  That shadow turns to a light so bright I cannot fathom its origins. That beacon pulses here.  I know you are a Starson by blood.  I can sense my own magic in your wards.  Who taught you?”

Alexandra burst into laughter when Emma eyed her with the shrewdness of a fishwife dickering with a docks man over the price of his catch.  The Sorceress could tell the girl was taking measure of what information she chose to share.  Alexandra could understand. “Fair enough.   Allow me to  feed you before we talk.  You are quite correct that I am far more stubborn than your last guest.  He found you when he was out looking for me.”

The woman stood as Emma absorbed the shock and moved through the house in search of the small kitchen where she could prepare food for her charge.  When Emma attempted to stand, the room spun for a dizzying second.   A few more minutes, she decided. Once she found the strength to rise,  Emma found her bustling about to put together a simple repast.  “Your brother?”  One could not know of Alexandra and be unaware of her brother.  The rumors that swept the land about the brother and sister were both frightful and awe-inspiring.  Like many, Emma thought so much power should not exist within a single being.

“My brother.  Our power has its pitfalls and the rumors tend to misplace our humanity.”  Alexandra explained with a small smile.  Emma was deliberate in what she allowed her to see. The thought almost  prompted her to laugh once again. That telepathic care was so deliberate that it reminded her of her own dealings with fellow telepaths.   Alexandra was not unaware of the whispers and opinions of the world around them.  Such things were difficult to tune out after a time.

Soon enough, a plate of bread, fruit and cheese sat before Emma.  The terse order that she should eat reminded her of her mother.   Decades of habit prompted her to do just that.  Her mother’s terseness was never disobeyed by she or Edward.   The information she provided was minimal.  The woman was clearly not going away until Emma gave her some bit of information.  “Very well, I do suppose I can do you the courtesy of answering your question before I send you on your way. My grandmother was Sarina Starson. She passed the knowledge down to my mother.  Mother had a few gifts.  My brother and I, however, were born full blooded with the Starson gifts.”

Alexandra nodded before speaking on thoughtful tones.  “My lineage is no mystery to most of the realm.” A wry smile curled the woman’s lips before she continued.  “So,  what would you choose? Return to the capital or stay here amid the terror that haunts your eyes.”   Her perception was so sharp that Emma dropped the roll she had been tearing into.  “Neither one of us has time to mince words, I suspect.”

“I…need to stay here.” Emma spoke after an awkward pause.   How much could she divulge? What called her was not a duty she could dispense to another nor a burden she could share.  Much to her reluctance, Duty called her all the same.  “Something here is unresolved. I feel it.  I also feel if I fight through and find what keeps me up at night that I will obtain some measure of peace. You will not force me?”  At Alexandra’s laughter, Emma raised  a curious brow.  “And what have I said to amuse you, my lady?”

The laughter ceased at use of Alexandra’s formal title.   The title reminded her of what awaited her in the capital, if not sooner.  Her brother’s return, would not be kind, she suspected. “Nothing, dear girl,  but the idea that I would attempt to force a practitioner of your caliber amuses me.  We do not force our own.  We do not force Fate’s chosen.  All things occur in the Her time, no sooner. You hide who and what you are for your own reasons and I will not press you about them.”  Patience reflected in Alexandra’s eyes. Years ago, that patience did not exist.  “Come to us in your own time.  I will say this, however.”  Patience fled in the wake of mirth.  “You would give our cousin,  the Grand Cleric, a run for her money in stubbornness.”   With that statement,  Alexandra rose.  “I have reinforced your wards,  Emma.  No one will get to you here.  Call for me if you have need of me.”

With that statement,  a puzzled look crossed the Sorceress’ features.  “Another matter appears to have come to my attention.  I look forward to seeing you soon.”  And with that,  the woman was gone.  The Jade siblings both perplexed and intrigued her.   The woman, at least, was not as fearsome as the rumors spoke.  At the same time,  Emma could see the restraint Alexandra used with her.   The puzzle was interesting, to say the least.  Distantly, Emma heard the front door close and settled in to eat and mull over the curiosity of her dreams.

Dawn was just cresting the horizon when Alexandra stepped out into the night beyond Emma’s home. A small smile curled her lips at what greeted her.

“Hello, sister-mine.”

 

Emma

Inspired by:  Sinking – Jars of Clay

So in my last blog post I promised a conclusion to Alex and Marc but that I had a character that demanded fleshing out. At the ass-crack of dawn on a Saturday,  my brain decided now was the appropriate time.  If any of you remember Emma Jacobs, you’ll be getting another look at her today.   Enjoy!

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“No, I would appreciate you not displaying such talents in my home.”

Her guest had come and gone three short months ago.  As of this moment, her brother had not discovered her but Emma Jacobs suspected she was on borrowed time.  Fate’s ever meddling presence has begun to interfere with her plans. Fate and her bloody hand was going to draw her forward whether she wanted to go or not.  The interfering deity would continue to harass her until she retrieved the item requested.  Hell, she had taken her clerics vows and obtained Fate’s blessing because her mother and grandmother required such things.

Dawn had not even crested the horizon, she noted with a scowl.  With a huff, she sat up in her bed. Only more nightmares would taunt her if she chose to sleep again.  Reluctant duty beat like a pulse at the back of her head. As the days passed the throb became louder than her heart.  Emma bit back a curse and swung from bed.  When I her feet hit the floor, the curse she restrained fell from her lips. Her mother would have boxed her ears for such oaths. Though Adryn was near,  the mornings were still frigid in this part of the realm.

“Cold, cold, cold,”  She hissed until her feet found the slippers she kept near her bed and her hands pulled a heavy wrapper around her body.   A trail of sleepless nights lingered in those hazel eyes and, in that moment, she realized she was not alone.  “Fate damn it all. I am tired of visitors.” She growled as a faint knock sounded at her bedroom door. How the devil had they gotten into her home and past her wards without her knowing?  Was she truly that distracted?  “Troublesome Fate.”  The muttered whisper indicated her annoyance with the whole affair and the temper that was bubbling just on the horizon.

In her mind’s eye, she reached to see if anyone had left any tell-tale markers on her wards. Nothing.  Her brow furrowed as she grabbed the club she kept under the edge of her bed and padded for the door.  Of the many things her grandmother taught them as children, how to track and how to hide was chief among them.   She wove this knowledge into her wards to keep herself safe.  Though her brother knew the mechanics of such things,  he could never weave wards like she could.   Her grandmother explained that the holy arts would always lean more heavily towards the women of their lines.  The men could draw elements and their skill with weapons and fluency was positively frightening.

She raised the club and opened the door to address her invader only to find her motions frozen in mid-air.  Her hands slowed to a stop as she tried to swing through what felt like a thick honey.  Pert, sea-shaded eyes regarded her with a casual calm sparkle.  “Forgive me.”  The voice that came with those pert eyes was gentle.  “I did not mean to cause you alarm.”  Warmth radiated from this woman as an impish smile curled her lips.  “Can you please put the club down?  I managed to get out without an escort and I would never hear the end of it if harm came to me.”

Suddenly, Emma could move again.  She had not seen such warmth in anyone since her grandmother’s gentle grace passed on.  A memory flickered of she and Edward no more than toddlers. Her grandmother would play that game with them often.  Freeze tag with magic.  The woman’s holy blessing may have suffered with the kingdom’s  fall, her mental talents had not. They were early lessons for children young enough to play with these gifts and not question their existence.  “Who are you and why are you in my home and how the devil did you get past my wards?”  The rapid fire of questions came as reason resumed and the tides of memory receded.  With numb, frightened fingers,  she dropped the club.

The woman burst into laughter at her questions.  “Before we address that, let’s get you warmed up.  I never knew the east was so blasted cold. I promise I will be no threat to your existence.  I picked the location from my brother’s mind.”  Marc would have a conniption were her of a mind to look for her.  They had not quite mended fences yet but that was on the horizon.  Until then,  Alexandra looked to seek out this little beacon in the east that was nagging at the back of his mind.

Emma just stared in utter shock at the woman who had so ruthlessly invaded her home and now sought to comfort her.  The patient inspection on the woman’s features brought another curse  to Emma’s lips.  Clearly the woman was not going until she had her say and clearly she was strong enough to get around any wards or protections she may have put in place.   The woman was not leaving until she had her say, either, Emma noted.  Behind that patient, pert look was a woman given to Fate.  Sorceress.  Her mind whispered.  The woman took no trouble to hide what she was and that frightened Emma even more.  If she could sense this, what could her brother see from the south?

Panic nagged her.  That was when the woman linked her arm through Emma’s own and murmured.  “I reinforced your wards.  No one will find you here if you do not allow it. Your skills are amazing.”  The compliment meant to ease the woman, Alexandra noted, seemed to infuriate her that much more.

“Look, I have no light-damned idea who you are, why you are in my home and clearly you’re not leaving until you’ve given me your reasons for being here.   I only wish to be left alone, nothing more, nothing less.”   Emma spat as she jerked away from the companionable arm.  The warm comfort of this woman would damned well make her crumble and that was the last thing in this world Emma Jacobs wanted.

“None of us wanted this.  Fate had other designs.”  The words were so gentle that Emma shook and tears welled.  “You can continue alone if you wish but you do not have to.  That choice Fate has not taken from you. The rest…” The woman spread her hands and gave a casual shrug.  “The rest if out of our hands.”

Exhaustion, fear, and a host of other troubles surfaced as she looked into those patient eyes.  What was ahead frightened her and suddenly, she could not remember when she had eaten last.  With that last thought, darkness took her. She did not hear Alexandra’s muttered oath or feel the thud of her body hitting the floor.

Storms

Inspired by:   Hallelujah – Lindsey Stirling

Current Reading:  Stephen King’s-It  (One of my favorite books,  read it for the first time when I was 16. Readers, what was your first favorite, best loved adult read?)

So forgive the radio silence for the last little while, everyone.  Life showed up and took a big old chunk out of yours truly.  My daughter has hit a major change in her health.  Not world ending, or life threatening but a new normal is how I am going to choose to put it.   So, that has taken me off the creative grid for a while, put revisions on hold,  and basically leaving me with the dire need to write or go nuts.  So here we are.

I am not going into details because well, that’s just not how I manage life. The people that need to know do.  So I have been thinking lately and came across a photo writing prompt that got the gears turning.  At this time, the photo cannot be included in this blog due to copyright and I don’t feel like tracking down the photographer to get permission to use it.   At any rate the gears got going because a the image was of a winding path and a tree set back from the road. Overhead was a beautiful storm cloud either rolling in or rolling out.  It felt like either the calm right before or the calm right after the storm. I feel like I am in the calm after and things are starting to still.  To quote Alexandra, “Light knows I’ve been wrong before.” We’ll see where the path leads.  Some times, it just comes down to weathering the storm.

So the image and the song got me going but before I get to the more creative endeavors,  I have a small announcement to make.  On April 29th,  our friends at Gathering Volumes will be hosting a massive event for Independent Book Store Day celebration featuring a whole slew of local authors from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.  I will be on hand with my handsome assistant (read: husband) signing and selling books.  There will also be a gift basket available for a drawing. The latter I’m still putting together. When I figure out what is in said gift basket, I will let you all know.   Also, cupcakes.  Because well,  cupcakes are awesome.

At any rate,  if you’re in the Ohio/Michigan area and fancy a road trip,  go check out the Facebook event.  That will list times and what other events will be on hand. It promises to be a fantastic time.

With that being said,  I know some of you are probably waiting on the next installment with Alex and Marc.  It’s coming. I have a character that is demanding to be developed.  But not tonight because well this little writer feels bedtime calling. To you faithful readers,  leave me a little comment below of what you think about the story arc if you’re following along.  Take care!

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