Friday, May 22, 2015

Writing... the journey of it all

Have you ever read a book that you just couldn't put down.  Did you ever see a work of art that took your breath away?  Have you ever thought... I just wish I knew how to do that?
I have.  All the time in fact.  It is one of the most frustrating things to doubt yourself and your abilities.
I have these stories and images in my head, but I struggle to get them to come out.
I still remember the first time I sat down to write, and how the story seemed to pour out of me.  It felt so liberating, but then came that dreaded moment.  The one when you realize that you have to go over what you just wrote. You have to analyze it to see if what made so much sense in your head sounds as spectacular as you hope it will.
The first time someone said to me..., "You have a great start, but I think you should write it again", well, that just about broke my heart.  I was convinced that that person was a jerk.  I told myself that I would never ask for their help again. However, once I pulled my tail out from between my legs, stopped crying, and punching my pillows long enough to stop and think about why they said such a horrible thing to me... I got it.  He was right.  He knew better, and more than that... he believed in me, and he believed that I could do it better.
Admitting that everything we put our blood, sweat, and tears into might need to be looked at from another view is sometimes one of the HARDEST things we as writers have to do.  I don't like it.  It does not feel good.  It suddenly feels like you are pulling your feet through mud, not to mention that it just plain sucks.
I describe it as one of those moments when you hear someone in the room screaming, and then it is that horrible realization that it was you.  You might even suddenly hate this journey that you have found yourself on, but that does not mean that you should give up.  
Think about it... how many times did J.R.R. Tolkien write and rewrite the Lord of the Rings?  He didn't get published until he was about 65 years old. My point is... that he did not give up.  He did not give up on his dream of telling a sort of history that he always felt was missing.  Maybe people thought him crazy.  Maybe they thought him a fool.  Maybe they thought he had no chance.  It didn't matter.  He did it anyway, and he inspires me.  
J.K. Rowling received an insane amount of rejection notices.  That is nuts.  But she did not give up.  Just look at what happened... many of us can label a huge chunk of our personal histories as the years we grew up with Harry Potter, the years we suffered with him on his journey to figure himself out, and just survive.  There were many reasons we struggled to survive growing up also, but at least we did not have to do it alone.  How brilliant is that?  
I'm struggling to make my dream come true, but honestly, I don't regret the journey.  I want to be on this path.  I have wanted it for as long as I can remember.  Do I want to quit sometimes... of course.  Do I wish a good fairy would come down and make it easier... sure.  Do I wish a wizard, wand and all, would come to me and gift me with a perfect, eloquent mind?  Abso-freakin-lutely, but will that happen?  No... If it could that be cool, but it is not going to happen, so I have to keep going. 
So what do I do?  What is my game plan? Well, I set aside time in the day to write, and maybe stare at the wall for an hour.  I tap my pencil a few times (sorry I tend to be old school, at least for part of it).  I gaze longingly out the window at the beautiful day I wish that I was doing... anything other than this in, and I tell the kids one more time to just give me just a few more minutes, and I do my best.  I pull my feet through the mud.  I bang my head on my desk.  I cry for a little while, and then I start all over again until something comes to mind and makes sense.  
Writing is not an easy process, and I don't think that ANY author would say that it was, even the ones that make it look effortless. So, I will just keep plugging away, writing and rewriting over and over until it all makes sense.  I will slave over my laptop and try very hard not to drive myself absolutely crazy.  I will continue to dream, and no matter how long it takes... I'll keep trying.
I just want to encourage you not to give up.  It is is not an easy journey that we are on, but it is a good journey, one worth taking.
I would love to hear how you are doing?  Write me... get it... write me. That is lame, but I would love to hear how you all are doing.  Really.  
Good luck my friends.  May your muse be with you.  (Sorry, I could not resist.)

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Virginia Woolf Quote

“Every secret of a writer’s soul, every experience of his life, every quality of his mind, is written large in his works.”
—Virginia Woolf

I liked this quote because I found it to be true.  I cannot help but see my life and my experiences in my work.  The names may have been changed.  The circumstances and obviously different, but my heart and soul goes into each line.  I even find that at times I write something then go back and read it and think... who did that? It is bewildering to say the least.  I love it though, even if sometimes pulling out a thought can be be like pulling out a tooth, and editing can be like pulling your feet through mud.
What would I do without it though?  It is who I am.  It is what I have to do.  It is my passion and my dream.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

The Journey of Being a Writer

What is it like when you sit down to write?
Do you flow, or do you flounder?
Do you need inspiration, or does it just come?
Do you find yourself at the beginning of a fantastic plot line, or do you find yourself in lost among the waves of the writers ocean?
Are you a wash in a breeze of words, or are you dried up, buried in the sprays of the rolling sands?
Sometimes I feel all of these things.
Sometimes I want to scream.
Sometimes I want to quit.
Sometimes there is not enough time in the day, or speed in my fingers to get it all out.
Sometimes I just stare, and sigh, wishing it would come.
Today... I just stare.
Today... I just sigh.
Today... I wish.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

The Writing Process

 We are in the edit phase of my manuscript still, but my hope is that someone might benefit from my experiences. 
  I am finding that writing is not something you can force yourself to do, well technically I think you can, but I know for me... I need to be in the mood to write.  I need to be inspired.  I love watching the behind the scenes features from my favorite movies.  I don't know why, but my thinking is that the process of being creative really helps me to find my own.  If I really want to be triggered... I find that any of the "Harry Potter" movies or "Lord of the Rings", or the "Hobbit" really get me going.  I guess because of the fact that they are in my genre range, but nothing does it for me better.
  I'm always curious about what makes other writers write.  It used to be that I wrote the best stuff while laying on the floor of my children's room as they slept.  I would write by nightlight.  Crazy, but true.  Getting time away for that sort of moment seems so impossible now though.  I know I need to make time, but it is hard to justify taking time from my family.  I guess I just need to make time, if I want to be any kind of writer.
  I illustrate too, and I have so many pictures that I thought it might be fun to write children's poetry to go with them, but again... time.  Uh... this isn't easy.  I love it, but it is not easy. I also have a sequel to my first novel, and another novel I started, with a female lead, very supernatural and magical.  I am excited about it.  I have to find time.
  I don't know if any of you deal with physical pain, but I do and it is chronic.  Anyway, I take A LOT of medications.  I clouds my head and sometimes makes it hard to concentrate.  It is a struggle.  So I write for my blogs and I try to keep up some of my skills.  
  I dream of one day having a real office... like one of those converted sheds that look like something out of a fairy tale.  I would love that.  I dare not do it while we are in Arizona though.  Imagine 115 degree weather and your stuck up in a shed.  Not my idea of a good time.  Maybe one day.
  I make a vow right now though that I will get back to my writing, as soon as possible.  I know I have good ideas, and stories to tell, at least I am trying to convince myself that I do.  I've had good feedback so far.  So anyway... Wish me luck!  I wish it for you. Later.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Still Editing

  I'm still in the editing phase of my manuscript preparation process.  Sometimes it feels like I am pulling my feet through mud.  I don't know if you have gone through that process, but it is not easy especially if you have read, reread, and read again while writing the manuscript in the first place. The thing that also makes it difficult is that my editor lives in another state.  We have to do everything over the internet and via emails.  I hope that one day, maybe this spring, we will be done, but I am not holding my breath. I tend to be optimistic about life, but when it comes to the book, it comes a little harder.
  I wonder how many other authors go through that.  I know I can't be the only one, only I struggle a little more because I had to work a little harder than most.  I barely graduated high school, and although I did graduate, I really struggled with English class and grammar.  You may be asking why or how I might have become an author, but it has been a passion of mine for as long as I can remember.  When I was a little girl, before I even knew what the alphabet was, I was scribbling out line after line of what was a story in my head.
  It has taken me years to complete this first manuscript, mostly because I was a stay at home mom and along with my four healthy children I cared for and lost three of my seven children to a rare form of Muscular Dystrophy.  Needless to say, I had some setbacks and moments that left me without thoughts of my own, or left me too tired and sorrowful to continue.  However, here we are.  I am in the editing process, and I am so excited to see what my friend does with it.  She is very "in my head" as it is.  I am blessed to have her help, and I understand that we will get there one day soon.
  I want to encourage everyone that is trying to become a writer, whatever that means to you, I encourage you not to give up.  Keep going and don't be discouraged by advice and critiques.  Seriously, if you want to get better, you have to ask for help, advice, and opinions.  You don't have to accept them all, but you should listen at least.  I was so angry the first time I had someone tell me that it was good, and I really had something, but that I should re-write it.  I was ticked off, but eventually I calmed down and realized that they were right.  Once I did that I was able to grow. I have also re-written it many, many, many, sigh... many times, and every time was worth it.
  So all I can say is, keep going and don't give up.  If you really believe that you have a voice, go for it.  I will keep going too and let you know when I am done.  Until then, I will just keep posting.  Later my friend.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Find Your Smile

Norman Rockwell was not a writer, but like the old saying goes, "A picture can say a thousand words." I have always found that to be true with his art.  Nothing can evoke a poem, a thought, a writing, a story, or memory like he can with the images that he has created.  What a gift he had.  I only wish that I could pass on, through words, the way that the holiday season makes me feel.
As I have gotten older I find myself becoming aware of so much more that I can be grateful for.  Despite the fact that there is so much sorrow, pain, concern, frustration, struggle, and fight that goes on in our lives that it can be difficult to remember.  It may be hard to see the joys, find the moments of laughter, the moments of love, or the moments of kindness that happen everyday around us.
We rush past the holidays, buying each others affections with that one great deal, or sale that comes only once a year, but why?  Why don't we celebrate the small victories?  Why don't we celebrate those who love us?  Why don't we see that something good happened today... even if it was just a small, seemingly insignificant thing?  There is so much to be grateful for.  Answered prayers, and even the unanswered ones, the laughter you shared, the sun shining, a cool breeze blowing across your face and through your hair, or a hug from a loved one, or a friend, an accomplishment that has been accomplished, another day that you stuck to your diet, or a choice you made that was hard, but was right.  Those are the things that we should remember, and make a point to see. The traditions we have shared in the past, or can create can help us to find the joy that should be felt at this time of year.
I have sorrow, just like anyone. I am far from home and loved ones, I have three children who are no longer with me in this life, I have worries and concerns that plague my mind and clutter my thoughts,  I have chronic and never ending pain, but yet I still have joy.  I heard my daughters catching laughter today and it made me giggle, even from two rooms over.  I saw my son do something for my other daughter (an act of kindness) without being asked.  I saw my husband playing on the floor with one of our new puppies, and his joy was contagious.  I watched an old movie, that always makes me smile, and I felt like I had escaped for a little while.  The sun was shining making the cold fall breeze more bearable, but I also got to where one of my favorite slouchy sweaters, a rare treat for Arizona.  I broke my diet with one of my favorite treats today.  Not an accomplishment, but a delight all the same, especially because I know that I can forgive myself, and do better tomorrow.  I am going to appreciate that my kids did the dishes without being asked, and the house though slightly disheveled, is not bad enough to be embarrassed about if someone knocked at the door unexpectedly.  These are the things that I am going to be grateful for today... and tomorrow I will have to watch out for other blessings and I might have to remind myself that not everything sucks all the time, but I will do my best.
The only thing that I ask of anyone at this time of year is... Please don't hurry past Thanksgiving Day, instead find something that you are happy about, grateful for, or made you feel relieved, and share that with someone you love.  Slow down and find your smile, and if you are a writer, write about it.  Don't let life pass you by... not yet... there is still so much joy to be had.
I hope that you all have a very Happy Thanksgiving!
More soon.

Friday, October 25, 2013


I am so excited!  My book is under construction... FINALLY...  I am working with my brilliant editor and I cannot wait to get it released.  It's crazy when you have a dream on the brink of coming true. What a blessing.  I don't know how many of my fellow writers have had the opportunity to get your work published, but I haven't and this is monumental for me.  Besides being a mom, this is the only thing I have ever wanted to do.
Does anyone else ever get so many ideas that you have a hard time keeping them organized?  
I see my stories like movies in my head and I just can't type fast enough... So frustrating!  
I'm not going to give up though.  My goal is to stop playing facebook games so much and find time to meditate, and organize my thoughts.  I know it won't be easy, but I am going to give it my best effort.
Do you all have things you do to find inspiration?  I am always open to suggestions.  I love watching interviews with other writers.  It triggers something in me that makes me want to write.  It is just like behind the scenes parts of DVD's.  So cool.  It just flips my switch.
I actually have three novels in the works at once.  When I get mental working on the same novel...AGAIN... I start on my other one.  That is probably a writers no, no, but I can't help it that is how it works for me.
I heard someone say that you cannot start a story with once upon a time and not have a great story to follow.  I hope that is true.  I did not start mine that way, but I dream of writing a fairy tale one day.  I dream big, but we will see what happens.

Saturday, May 25, 2013


I am beginning the editing process.  I just hired an editor, a wonderful woman who seems to be right in my head.  She is awesome and I can't wait to hear her advice.  I am nervous of course and I have to have an open mind, but I know that it will be worth it.  I think one of the hardest part of writing was getting over my pride.  I had to learn that I did NOT know everything, and I could grow from advice or critiques given to me with the best intentions, although I realize that once the public gets a hold of my novels, they may not all have kind critiques to give.  You cannot please everyone, though I will give it a try.
I will confess though that I had taken a break from my manuscript for a while, because I had gotten to the point where I had worked on it so hard and for so long that I just could not look at it again.  I love my story and I believe that it has value as a book, but it is like trying to fix an essay question on a school test.  It begins to wear you out.
I am happy to find though that after a long hietus I am ready to get back to it. Only when the opprotunity finally came, to pay for and hire an editor, I had to get over a wave of fear that overtook me.  It had been so long since I had written and I was scared that I would not be able to do it again.  Luckily, it seems to be much like riding a bike.  After a few days of soul searching, and reasurance from my husband and children, I found that I could do it, and it felt quite natural.  I am very excited to get started again.
I guess that is the key... you have to believe in yourself, practice, be willing to work hard, and take advice.  It is difficult to get over the initial shock that you are not as brilliant as you hoped, but once you get over yourself, magic can happen.
I have listened to a lot of interviews of various authors, because I think that we can learn a lot from each other, and each of our experiences, and all of them have said this, "If you want to be a great writer, you have to read a lot, and you also have to write, daily..."  I admit that I have struggled with that one, but I am working on improving my habits. I also want to add my advice to thiers, TAKE ADVICE, be open minded and listen to those around you.  If you look to those people who have your best interests at heart, and truly support you.  That will help... at least it has helped me.
I will admit that I am still a bit nervous, but I am also VERY excited.  I believe in my story.  I know that I have worked hard to get to where I am, and to learn as much as I can.  I believe that I have not dreamed my whole life for this for nothing.  I feel like I may have a talent (though I may need to refine it for the entirity of my life), and I believe that God has a plan for me and my life.  Yes, I said God.  I trust in him, I believe in him, and I need him in my life.  If you do not believe, I do not hold it against you, however, for my sake I need Him.  I know that without Him nothing is possible, and that I feel like He believes in me too.
My faith aside, I hope that if you are a writer, you will find yourself able to reach out to someone you trust to give you advice on your work.  Writers can be brilliant, but it you are humble, you may find your work blessed by those who also believe in you.  I wish you luck and success.  Truly I do.  Put in the effort and it will pay off.
P.S.  I will keep you up to date on my progress. 

Sunday, March 24, 2013


I have found that if you want to understand the writing, you need to understand the writer.  So much of us is reflected in the words we use and the way that we use them.  The human heart is an ocean.  It is deep, vast, and complicated, and it can create magic.  Words are one of the most wonderful and important tools that we have at our disposals.  We can use them to create and destroy, depending on how we choose to use them.  I hope that I can use my abilities, which I am working hard to improve on everyday, for good.  I want to inspire, and create my own kind of magic.

Thursday, February 28, 2013

My Current Struggle

Okay,  so is anyone else finding it impossible to get anything done with Facebook, and Pintrest keeping the distractions coming?  Aaaahhhhhhhh!!!!!
I cannot get anything done!  Is this the pain caused by addiction?
I don't like it, but I can't force myself to stop.
I am a writer with SEVERE writers block. There is nothing more difficult than feeling like you can't get your thoughts straight, or keep them coming long enough to have purpose.  I am frustrated.  There is plenty of time in the day, but my priorities are totally miss placed right now.  I have tried meditation, and sitting down with a notebook, then my computer, but then the temptations were too much.  I feel like such a waste of skin right now.  The new year is not going as smoothly as I thought it would.  Uh... I want to do great things, but there are just to many days when I don't push myself hard enough.  Maybe I can blame it on the winter blues.  I should get some sunshine.  I live in Arizona after all.  Anyway... wish me luck.  I am going to try again.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

I loved this quote!

Donald Miller
“Writers don't make any money at all. We make about a dollar. It is terrible. But then again we don't work either. We sit around in our underwear until noon then go downstairs and make coffee, fry some eggs, read the paper, read part of a book, smell the book, wonder if perhaps we ourselves should work on our book, smell the book again, throw the book across the room because we are quite jealous that any other person wrote a book, feel terribly guilty about throwing the schmuck's book across the room because we secretly wonder if God in heaven noticed our evil jealousy, or worse, our laziness. We then lie across the couch facedown and mumble to God to forgive us because we are secretly afraid He is going to dry up all our words because we envied another man's stupid words. And for this, as I said, we are paid a dollar. We are worth so much more.”
― Donald MillerBlue Like Jazz: Nonreligious Thoughts on Christian Spirituality

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Introductions To My Novel

    In a world where hero's become legends, and Dragons roam the skies, a young boy will narrowly escape an abduction that separates him from the only family he knows, his parents.  To free them from unimaginable evil, Aeron will be sent on a fated journey back through time, where he must cross the many kingdoms, and face countless dangers that can only exist in an enchanted world such as his.  Will he survive, or will he be yet another in a long line of victims lost to the horror that resides deep in the Spirilian Caves?

Chapter One

One brisk autumn evening, the fatigued travelers and farmhands of the neighboring villages gathered at the local tavern, a seedy place with plenty of rough edged character, for their nightly ritual of drinking away their troubles, discussing their day, and purging their frustration with a lively, yet sometimes brutal game of cards.  This usually brought some comfort to their aching bones and weary spirits.  However, something would happen on this particular night that would make this evening different.
The sun was just beginning to fade in the west, when a slender, frightened woman, plainly dressed in a pale blue cotton gown and faded, yellowed bonnet, burst through the door with her young, sandy-haired son in tow.  Upon entering the dimly lit room, they were immediately met by the overwhelming smell of musty, swirling pipe smoke, and the pungent odor of warm ale.  As she looked around, the boisterous, overlapping conversations, scraping of forks on metal plates and clunking of mugs being smacked down on the table were gone in an instant. 
With a quick glance, she assessed the blank expressions on the faces of the patrons in the room.  Cold, lifeless eyes, set deeply into hardened, sunbaked faces stared back at her and caused her to instinctively pull her son closer to her, briefly rethinking her choice of action.  A tavern was not a proper place for a humble farmer’s wife, but her need for help out weighed her need for propriety.
Mustering her courage she pleaded, and anxious catch in her throat, “Please, I need help!”
Upon hearing her plea, almost all of the patrons looked away.  A few even shrunk down in their seats and averted their gaze, reluctant to get involved; others simply did not care one way or another, and coldly refused to pay her further notice, returning instead to their games, discussions, and meals. 
Looking down at her son, still too young to understand her concern, she rushed toward the nearest man to her.  He was sitting at one of the square, wooden dining tables.  He was tall and lanky, with long fingers wrapped around a large mug of cider. He looked up at her with a staggered, anxious expression, his eyes pleading for her not to speak to him. 
“Please… I need your help,” she pleaded, but he looked away, sipped from his mug, and turned her back toward her.
She could see that he was not willing to come to her aid, so she looked around for anyone else that she should plead her case too.  She hurried to another man sitting nearby.  He was stocky, unshaved and disheveled, and smelled of body odor.  He glared at her with his one good eye in a way that spoke volumes as to his unwillingness to even hear what she had to say.  She wanted to approach a man who seemed to be cowering in a corner, a small man, with a kind face, even if he was a Montique (part man, and part mouse).  His kind was known for their big-heartedness, but this man seemed to be a whimpering shell, emotionally damaged, as well as physically.  There was a large chunk taken from his left ear.  Out of pity she looked for someone else, though he was the friendlies face in the tavern.
Turning away, she approached a portly man sitting just to her left.  He held a half-eaten turkey leg in his hand.  Again, she reconsidered, for he shook his head slightly, his eyes wide and pleading.  Her eyes found the tavern keeper.  He was a stout man with a scar on his cheek, the neglected scruff of whiskers on his chin, and a worn soiled apron covering his potbelly.  He stared from behind the bar, taking notice of her humble appearance and panicked expression, but made no gesture to show her any willingness to come to her aid.   His wary gaze pinned her in place as he spit into the bottom of a glass mug, which he proceeded to wipe with a cloth that he had tucked in his apron.
She wavered a moment, fearful, and unsure, but decided that even if he was indifferent that she would have to get someone’s attention.
She launched into an explanation, “Please.  I need help.  Someone has taken my husband!  Some…men took him off the main road, large men… sort of!” She hesitated, looked down at her son, too young to really understand what was happening and then began again, “Some men took him!  He is gone and I just don’t know what to do.  No one in town will help me.  I’m frightened and I don’t know where to turn.”
With her words unleashed she lost her composure and sobbed into her handkerchief.  At her side, her young, brown-haired son stood fiddling with a bit of her skirt, his grey eyes wide with fear. 
               “Huh…,” the tavern keeper grunted.  His voice was cold.  “What would you like me to do about it?”
Horror stopped her tears.  She could not believe she had heard him correctly. 
The tavern keeper continued, his voice sounding hollow, “There is trouble all around, after all.  I can’t run to check on everyone.”  He resumed his work behind the bar. 
Just then a shadowed figure hulking near the tavern’s hearth roared with an animal growl, “Palen!”
Everyone in the room turned to look in his direction.  His bulky, fur covered body was silhouetted by the fire burning in the hearth just behind him, and the soft light from candles, which hung from the ceiling on a wagon wheel, reflected in his solid black eyes.  The tavern keeper took a shamed step backward and lowered his gaze.
The woman looked up hopefully.  The ancient-looking figure who watched her had charcoal grey gone white at the temples and twisted into long, tight braids that hung down his back.  He wore a deep green cloak with velvet trim and traces of dirt at the hem.  He stood and his robe, which flowed down to the floor, cascaded down.  He tightened the rope belt around his stout, furry body, and grunted as he patted his extended belly.  After adjusting the wire-framed glasses on his broad snout, his pointed ears shifted, as he looked over the woman and her son.  With a slight limp in his stride, he approached the woman and took her hand gently between his clawed paws, and escorted her to a chair near the hearth.
“Lily?” He beckoned to the barmaid.  “Will you please get this woman some water?”
“Of course Grandier,” Lily replied as she rushed to do as he asked, leaving behind a pungent trail of honeysuckle perfume. 
Grateful, the woman looked up into Grandier’s solid black eyes.  When the barmaid returned, the woman took the mug and drank deeply.  While she did, Grandier asked Lily to take the boy to get a slice of pie while he spoke to his mother.
               Lily nodded and stretched out her hand to the boy.
               “Come along, sweetheart.  It will be okay.   Would you like a treat?”  She smiled to coax the shy boy away from his mother, but he fiddled with his fingers, twisting them in his mothers’ skirt.
               “I’ll be right her,” his mother reassured him.  “Go and enjoy some pie with the lady.”  She tried to hide her fear briefly with a small grin. 
               The boy looked up with brighter eyes, took the barmaid’s hand, and eagerly followed her to a distant table. 
               “Now, why don’t you tell me what happened?” Grandier’s gruff voice was compassionate, his expression concerned.

Still, it took a moment for the farm wife to compose herself and gather the hazy details of the event into a coherent tale.  She wiped her nose with a handkerchief, pulled from her pocket, and then began.
“It was my husband.  We were going to the market down the road, to get some supplies, and a man approached us, asking my husband some information.”
               “Can you tell me what the man looked like?” he asked her. 
               She thought hard for a moment, but shook her head slightly. “It is so difficult to remember.  I was just so frightened.”
               Grandier’s voice was patient.  “Just think a moment.  Was there anything unusual about him?”
               The woman looked at him with a surprised expression and replied urgently, “Everything about him was unusual.  I have never seen his like before.” She shuddered.  “He was a rough-looking man, with dark eyes and stringy black hair, and his face, he very odd features.”
               “What do you mean?” He leaned forward, curious.
               “Well, he had mud brown eyes, but they were deep and dead.  And he was big, very big- but not just tall.  He was wide.  His face was strange, with the features of a wild warthog, and he had short tusks on either side of his crooked mouth.  He smelled like the black mushroom roots in the Muskin Fields, dirt, and sweat.  Leery of the stranger, my husband asked me to wait inside the grain shop with our son.  I was reluctant to leave him, but I did as he asked.”
               Grandier looked at her with a stern furrow in his thick brow, but he waited quietly for her to continue.
               She paused to think again, and then she said, “It was strange.  I noticed as he approached that he had a mark on his hand.  It was some kind of birthmark or something.”
               “How do you mean?” Grandier asked.
               “Well, it looked like a misshapen red spider,” she replied innocently.
               The barmaid gasped from where she stood beside the boy, who was hungrily eating a generous slice of mixed berry pie.
               The woman looked back at her in surprise.  Her anxiety deepening, she asked, “Does that mean something?”
               Grandier’s reply was casual.  “To some.”  However, he cast the barmaid a disapproving look and then added, “It has long been believed that the mark of the spider is borne by those who should never be trusted, and in fact avoided.  The beings that bear it usually practice the dark arts and use malicious tactics to get what they want.  But please, I need to know more.  Go on.  What happened next?”
               She took a deep breath and began again.  “I went inside, but I kept an eye on them, watching them through the thick, wavy glass in the storefront.  It was difficult to make out the details, but seemed to be having a normal conversation, but then, quite suddenly, it seemed to change.”  She sniffed into her handkerchief.  “My husband’s demeanor became aggressive.  He began to argue with the man as if he had insulted him, but then as the man began to step toward him, my husband suddenly seemed to notice something behind him.  My husband struggled with the stranger, and as he backed up, he was lost from my view.  I rushed to the window, but I could not see him.  I asked my son to wait inside till I got back.  I ran out to the street but could find my husband.  I looked around, and even called to him, but there was no sign of him.  Then I saw the creature who had been talking to my husband a moment before, hurrying out of a nearby alley.  He rode away with two other men, of his kind.   They charged away from the town, all three on horseback.
               “One of them held a large sack over his lap.  That made me suspicious, but I became even more frantic when the thing in the sack struggled.  I saw Argus’s shoe and legs sticking out from the bottom of the sack.  They had my husband!” She broke down again, sobbing into her hands.
               When she collected herself, she continued, her voice rough with suppressed tears.  “I ran after them, but their horses were too quick.  I called after them.  I pleaded for help, but everyone else there on the street just threw me frightened looks and hurried into the closest place of business.  I yelled, and yelled, but no one would come.  I ran here when no one else would help me…”
               She unleashed her tears again as she took her by the arm and helped her to steady herself, and he called to the boy to come with them.  Together the three of them left the tavern, but not before Grandier turned and glared at the other patrons.  He shook his head with disapproval and followed the woman out the door.  The farm wife took Grandier to the market, briefly pointing out where the incident had occurred.  After interviewing the clerk, Grandier escorted the woman and her son to the guardhouse where she again explained what had happened.
               Grandier stayed with her until she had told her tale.  He reassured her that all would be well, but as the door closed behind him and he looked out into the darkening street, the moss roofed and faded grey, wooden building disappearing in shadow, as the lamplighter was lighting the torches along the dirt main road he wondered to himself if it would.  Nothing he had heard of the growing number of missing person reports made any sense.  There had even been stories of conflicts arising between the rulers of kingdoms that had until recently been peaceful allies.  Grandier knew that he had to do something.  He would have to speak to Zimm.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Great Quote

"Invent your own mythology or be a slave to another man's."
-William Blake