Jul 24, 2014

Earth - Chapter Thirty-two


This serial is presented in draft form and will be updated each Thursday. Your comments are always welcome!

Ch 1 ~ Ch 2 ~ Ch 3 ~ Ch 4 ~ Ch 5 ~ Ch 6 ~ Ch 7 ~ Ch 8 ~ Ch 9 ~ Ch 10 ~ Ch 11 ~ Ch 12 ~ Ch 13 ~
Ch 14 ~ Ch 15 ~ Ch 16 ~ Ch 17 ~ Ch 18 ~ Ch 19 ~ Ch 20 ~ Ch 21 ~ Ch 22 ~ Ch 23 ~ Ch 24 ~
Ch 25 ~ Ch 26 ~ Ch 27 ~ Ch 28 ~ Ch29 ~ Ch 30 ~ Ch 31



They were being watched. Zephryn didn't know how he knew, he just knew it with a certainty that went right to his bones. He felt it as soon as they left the mine. Not wanting to alarm Chloe, he kept the information to himself, although he kept a sharp eye out as they travelled back to her house.

She was exhausted from the effort of digging them out. Her control of her element was still far from perfect, so she used more of her personal energy than she should have. He needed to get her home and settled into bed, then he could come back to see what he could find out about the cave-in.

He desperately needed to speak with Da'nat.

Granny met them at the door. "What happened?" she asked the moment she saw them.

"Mine collapsed," Chloe said wearily, pushing past her, Zephryn following behind.

Zephryn gave a shake of his head and Granny reigned in whatever else she'd been about to say. He kissed Chloe on the forehead and steered her towards the hall. "Why don't you use the shower first. I'd say you earned it."

She was too tired to argue, just nodded and continued on down the hallway. Granny went back into the sitting room where she'd been waiting for them and Zephryn followed. He was a little tired himself and didn't want to take the chance of nodding off if he sat down, so he leaned against the wall near the door.

"What happened?" Granny asked, once Chloe was out of sight. "Did she . . . "

He shook his head. "It's not what you think. Chloe did fine. She did great, as a matter of fact. But afterwards . . . someone set off an explosion to cause a cave-in."

"Are you sure it wasn't natural?"

"Without seeing the evidence I can't be sure of anything. But Chloe's sure, and that's good enough for me."

Granny nodded in agreement.

"It just doesn't make sense," Zephryn continued. "Why would someone want to collapse the mine? Unless . . . unless whoever it was knew we were in there and wanted us out of the way."

She mulled that over for a moment. Her next question surprised him. "Were you seen?"

"Yes," he said, running a hand through his hair, shaking some dust loose. "But not until afterwards. There was no one around when we went in, I'm sure of it. Just as I'm sure there was someone out there when we came out. Call it what you will, but I can sense these things."

"I believe you."

"But why would anyone want to harm Chloe?" he burst out. "It doesn't make any sense."

"Maybe they weren't trying to harm her," Granny said thoughtfully. "Maybe someone wanted to test her."

"Test her? You think Gannon knows what she is?"

Granny shook her head. "No, whoever it was it wasn't Gannon. It was too subtle for him - he's more the confrontational sort. No . . . this was something else. Someone else."

Zephryn pushed away from the wall. "We need to get to the bottom of this. I have to go back there."

"Not so fast." Granny held him back with her tiny hand on his arm and he was shocked by her strength. He couldn't have broken her grip if he tried.

"You need to stay right where you are. Where it's safe. If anyone's going to go snooping around, it should be me."

"You? But--" He stopped as she tightened her grip until he felt each bony finger dig into his arm.

"Don't forget, Gannon's still looking for you. This is a closed community, strangers stick out."

"But you don't --"

"Don't know what to look for?" She snorted. "This ain't my first space flight, sonny. I know exactly what to look for. Probably better than you do."

Finally letting go of him, she pushed past him to the door.

"Now you go on and get cleaned up. I got work to do."

She was gone before he could make any further protest. Zephryn rubbed his arm where she'd held him. He wouldn't be surprised to find bruises there later. There was something not quite right about that old woman, but he couldn't put his finger on what it was. Maybe Da'nat would have some insight on that as well.

If he could make contact with him.

Jul 23, 2014

Count Your Blessings

It's funny the things we take for granted without even thinking about it, like the simple act of bending down to pick something up, or climbing stairs, or reaching up for something on the top shelf.

Last week my husband had his hip replaced, and since then he doesn't bend. This means if he drops something he can't pick it up unless he has his grabber handy. And patting his cat, who likes to flop down on the floor in front of him for a belly rub, is out of the question. Of course this is just a temporary condition, and by temporary I mean it'll last somewhere between 6 to 12 months, but still, it makes you think.

And how about climbing stairs? How often do you take the stairs without giving it a second thought? This is something I have actually thought about. I have a friend with MS for whom stairs can be problematic, depending on what kind of day she's having, and she also has trouble reaching for things on the top shelf. Such simple things . . . when you have your health.

This little snippet of introspection was brought about by my weight workout. :-)

A few months ago I began working out with hand weights, starting out at three pounds, then upgrading to five pounds. Last week I started to wonder why I bothered - I didn't feel like the weights were doing anything for me and I was just wasting my time - and then I remembered it was supposed to be a progressive thing, as in once you get comfortable with the weight you're using, you increase it. So I did.

I have discovered that seven pounds is a lot heavier than five pounds. Especially when you've slacked off working with any kind of weights for several days. My left arm hurts from wrist to elbow. Looks like I'll be back to sleeping with the wrist brace again.

Oh, the things we do to get in shape. :-)

To be honest, I was tempted to slack off and skip the next weight workout, but I didn't. Instead I thought of my friend who can't reach for things and my husband who can't bend down. I can do both, and the pain I feel lifting weights is self-inflicted and will pass in a couple of days. Nothing a hot shower can't help with.

Time to start counting my blessings instead of my pains.


Jul 21, 2014

Margaric Monday

margaric ~ pearl-like

I'm backkkk. Did you miss me?

And I'm back to my old habits apparently as well. It's after 2 a.m.as I start this, and it looks like I'll be up for a while finishing it.

But it's not entirely my fault. I actually had a nice little post all finished, but it was more of a Wildcard Wednesday thing than a Monday update thing. *sigh* Of course the good news is that with a few minor alterations, I've got Wednesday's post done. :-)

My blogging holiday did not go as planned - surprise, surprise. I think the bigger surprise would be if something actually did go as I planned it.

The hubby's hip surgery went as planned - he went in, got his hip replaced, and will be spending the next several weeks left to my tender mercy as he recuperates. God help him.

It's kind of mind boggling, the limitations he has, even if they are only temporary. He can't sit in his recliner, can't cross his legs, can't bend, can't even have a shower for at least two weeks. And he can't drive for at least six weeks - in fact, he's not even supposed to ride in the car unless he absolutely has to.

But of course we knew what the score would be before his surgery, so we were prepared. He has a walker upstairs, a walker downstairs, and a cane to use on the stairs. There's a booster seat on the toilet. We had to borrow a chair for him to sit on in the living room - none of ours were high enough and the couches are completely out of the question.

So now it's just a matter of time for him to heal.

Somehow I had the naive idea that I'd get lots of writing done during my break. I even took my lap top with me to the hospital, only to end up locking it up in the car. I really should have known better. Other than an email or two, I got NO writing done, never mind extra. I didn't even catch up on my journal until yesterday.

But today is a new day, starting a new week, and I am glad I took last week off. The hubby and I are settling into a routine and I'm sure I'll be back to procrastinating getting lots of writing done normal, or as normal as I ever get, in no time. ;-)

Jul 17, 2014

Just Because . . .

You know, it just doesn't seem right to go the whole week without posting something, even if I don't have time to write anything fresh. So I thought I'd post one of my favourite excerpts from my first elemental book, An Elemental Wind

* ~ * ~ * ~ *

They sat side by side with their backs to the boulder and watched the sun set. As sunsets went it wasn’t spectacular, just the glowing orb of the sun sinking slowly below the horizon. Nakeisha shivered and Chaney put his arm around her shoulders.

“Are you cold?” he asked, pulling her closer.

“No, it’s just that this is such a desolate world,” she said. “I would not like to have to make my home here.”

“My people call worlds like this giesthenis, a dead world.”

Nakeisha looked around them, at the grey landscape in the dying light. There was no plant life, no birds or animals, not even any reptiles or insects. If it were not for the sighing of the wind there would be no sound either. She suppressed another shiver.

“There may not be any wood for a fire,” she said with determined cheerfulness, “But at least we will not go hungry.”

“How do you figure that?”

“I have dried rations with me.”

He grinned as she reached for her bag.

“Not that I’m complaining, but how did you know to bring rations with you?”

“When I work with the wind I am used to expending a lot of personal energy, which needs to be replaced as quickly as possible.”

“And now that you’ve learned control, you’re using the wind’s energy and not your own,” Chaney said, taking the ration bar she offered him.

He took a bite and chewed thoughtfully. “That’s why you fainted on the bridge, you used up too much energy pushing the Deraidne ship away.”

She didn’t answer but the animation left her face.

“Stop that,” he told her.

“Stop what?” she asked, not looking at him.

He put a hand under her chin and gently turned her face until she was looking at him. “It was not your fault. You had no way of knowing they were about to fire.”

“In my mind I know this, but in my heart?” she sighed and leaned against him. “It is a terrible thing to know you are responsible for the loss of so many lives.”

He put his arms around her and just held her, giving what comfort he could. Though he firmly believed her guilt was misplaced it was something she’d have to deal with on her own. After a few minutes she pulled away.

“I do not fancy sleeping on this hard packed earth tonight,” she said. “I think we would be more comfortable on the bed of sand on the boulder.”

“I think you’re right,” Chaney agreed, helping her up.

It was almost too dark to see by the time they settled themselves on the sand-filled hollow. Nakeisha lay with her head pillowed on Chaney’s shoulder. Together they watched the stars appear, then the moons of Anchyre started their journey across the night sky.

“Do you know the story of the moons?” Chaney asked.

“They have a story?”

“The large one is called Kandor and the small one is Shinandu. Early in its history, Anchyre was ruled by a powerful warlord in the North and an equally powerful queen in the South.”

“Their names wouldn’t happen to be Kandor and Shinandu would they?”

“Yes. Now don’t interrupt. The two were desperately in love, but a curse kept them apart.”

“A curse?”

“It was believed that should Kandor and Shinandu ever come together, a disaster of epic proportions would befall Anchyre.”

“What happened?”

“They may have been rulers, but they were only human after all, and eventually Kandor could stand it no longer and went to his beloved in the dark of night. She tried to resist, but was unable to withstand his charm. Their joining caused a cataclysmic explosion that blew them into the sky and caused Anchyre to become giesthenis.”

“You made that up,” Nakeisha accused, raising her head slightly to look at him.

“See for yourself,” Chaney said. “Every night since, Kandor has chased Shinandu across the sky. It’s said if he ever catches her, Anchyre will be restored to its former glory.”

“It’s a lovely story,” she said, laying her head back down. “I hope some day Kandor catches Shinandu.” She yawned and made herself more comfortable.

“Look,” Chaney pointed. “A shooting star. My people believe them to be good omens.”

“Hmm?” she murmured sleepily. “Mine make wishes on them.”

“What did you wish for, Nakeisha?” he asked softly.

There was no answer. He turned his head to look at her and her eyes were closed. The day had finally caught up to her and she was asleep. With a contented sigh, Chaney, too, closed his eyes and went to sleep.




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Jul 14, 2014

Multilocation Monday

multilocation ~ appearance in many places simultaneously

I mentioned to my buddy Jamie that I seem to be busier on the weekends than I am during the week. Which is odd, really, because I have more time to do things during the week.

But I think the reason for this is that I'm a right slacker during the week, which means I have to scramble to get all the things I've been putting off done over the course of the weekend. You know, so I don't feel like a right slacker. ;-)

Last week (mostly the weekend), was all about wrapping things up. I got the last few hexagons crocheted in place in the hex-ghan I've been working on - I'd post a picture but I'm still working on the border. But I also finished the baby quilt I've been working on, and I do have a picture of that:



As you can see, it's a Beatrix Potter themed quilt, and I took illustrations from the book in the picture for the embroidered squares.

The risers are in the reading nook, and I finally made the cushion for the seat. I believe I mentioned before that other than the strapping for the shelves, all the materials that went into building the nook were recycled. That goes for the cushion as well. The material is some I've had sitting around for ages, but the foam I used for padding came from a foam mattress pad we used to have on our bed. Several weeks ago we got a new mattress, so we didn't need the foam any more.

There's no picture yet 'cause I'm waiting until I get more books in the nook.

Tomorrow I'll be up at oh dark hundred to drive the hubby to the Belleville hospital where he will be having his hip replaced. So I'm going to be taking the rest of the week off as far as blogging goes.

I'm not sure how much time I'll be spending there - there's no set hours for visitors at the hospital, but a great deal of hubby's time after his surgery will be spend in physio-therapy. I'm assuming I'll be spending a big chunk of my day cheering him on though.

So have a good week everyone, and I'll see you next week.

Jul 11, 2014

What I'm Reading




I was a little busier with other things last week, so I didn't get as much reading in as I would have liked, but I still managed to get some in.

Electronic Books

Hurray! I finally got back into The Cobweb Bride by Vera Nazarian. Death has decided no one will die until he receives his "Cobweb" bride. You'd think everyone living forever would be a good thing, but it's actually kind of gruesome. Old people on their death beds linger, soldiers on the battlefield get chopped up but don't die, and even animals do not die when they're slaughtered. There's a migration of women to the north, where Death's keep is, some going willingly, some reluctantly, to see if they're the one Death seeks.

This is actually getting quite interesting. There's several story lines woven together. First of all, we're following several women on their way to the north, and then there's a lord who was killed during a battle who's decided he'd rather not be truly dead, so he sets his son the task of hunting down the prospective brides and imprisoning them. Meanwhile, it's discovered that only the food harvested before Death's decree is edible. Not only is the flesh of animals still alive, so are the vegetables. Creepy!

Tree Books

I still haven't gotten back to Hunting the Corrigan's Blood by Holly Lisle. One of these days . . .

I did, however, stumble across The Wild Hunt of Hagworthy, by Penelope Lively. I'd have to classify it as a middle-grade book - the heroine is only 13, so she's not even young adult. I'm not even sure where I picked it up - it was just on one of the shelves I was rearranging.

I love stories about the Wild Hunt, and this was an interesting little tale indeed. It centered around a young girl named Lucy who was spending the summer with her aunt in Hagworthy. The village needed to raise money for repairs to the church and decided on a end-of-summer fete. The Vicar suggests they revive the custom of the Horn Dance, which makes many of the older villagers very uncomfortable. I won't give too much more away, but suffice it to say, there was a reason they stopped doing that dance all those years ago. All in all, this was a good read. It would have been even better had I read it on a dark and stormy night. ;-)

Re-Reads

I'm so close to being done Sword and Sorceress V! So close. I should be able to finish it this week.

I'm cataloguing the sf/f anthologies (paperback) in my collection next, however, and they're going to be harder to resist than the regular novels. Guess I'll just have to start reading faster. ;-)

Jul 10, 2014

Earth - Chapter Thirty-one


This serial is presented in draft form and will be updated each Thursday. Your comments are always welcome!

Ch 1 ~ Ch 2 ~ Ch 3 ~ Ch 4 ~ Ch 5 ~ Ch 6 ~ Ch 7 ~ Ch 8 ~ Ch 9 ~ Ch 10 ~ Ch 11 ~ Ch 12 ~ Ch 13 ~
Ch 14 ~ Ch 15 ~ Ch 16 ~ Ch 17 ~ Ch 18 ~ Ch 19 ~ Ch 20 ~ Ch 21 ~ Ch 22 ~ Ch 23 ~ Ch 24 ~
Ch 25 ~ Ch 26 ~ Ch 27 ~ Ch 28 ~ Ch29 ~ Ch 30



The rumbling got louder, becoming a roar as the earth shook beneath their feet.

"Cave in!" Chloe shouted over the noise, grabbing Zephryn and holding on. "The mine's collapsing."

There was no time to run. The lights went out and Chloe braced herself for impact, burying herself in Zephryn's arms. But the impact never came. After a moment she lifted her head and realized he'd created a whirlwind around them to keep the worst of the debris away. But the vortex was faltering.

Pushing outwards with her mind, she was able to join with Zephryn's wind to keep the earth at bay. It seemed like forever but was only a few seconds more before the earth was still again. They were safe inside a pocket of space created by their combined power.

"Are you all right?" Zephryn asked.

"I - yes, I think so." Chloe reluctantly loosened her grip on him. "I don't understand why this happened though."

"Could it have been triggered when I had you trying out your powers?"

"No," she shook her head, even though he wasn't able to see it. "If it was something I did I would have felt it immediately and been able to stop it. This was something else."

Kneeling down, she placed her hands flat on the ground and reached out with her mind. She sent her thoughts deep into the earth, frowning as she began to piece together what had caused the cave-in.

"I was right, this wasn't natural. There was an explosion in the main tunnel."

"An explosion? But why?"

"I don't know." Chloe stood upright again. "This mine is used to train new workers, Gannon wouldn't give the order to collapse it like this without a really good reason."

"So you think someone else tried to blow it up?"

"I don't know what to think," she said honestly.

"I have an even better question. Do you think whoever set off the explosion knew we were in here?"

Chloe shivered at the thought of someone deliberately trying to bury them alive. "But why?"

"I don't know."

She could hear him moving around.

"What are you doing?"

"Just checking to see how big a space we have. I need to see if I can replace the air in here so we can keep breathing."

"You can do that?"

She could hear the smile in his voice when he answered. "Don't you know by now? I can do all kinds of things."

He brushed up against her and she shivered again, but this time for a different reason. "How long before they send out a rescue team?" he asked, breath hot on her neck as he spoke right into her ear.

"There won't be one," she told him. "No one knows we're here, remember?"

"No one but whoever caused the explosion."

Chloe didn't answer. She reached out with her senses again, this time following the path to the mine entrance.

"The earth around us isn't tightly packed. I think . . . I'm sure I can force a pathway to open for us to escape."

She felt his hands brush against her again. This time he drew her in for a kiss. "For luck," he told her.

Chloe grudgingly left the comfort of his arms and turned to face the way out. "Stay close behind me. I don't know how long I'll be able to keep the tunnel open. I've never tried anything this big before."

"I'm in your hands," he told her. She was humbled by his trust.

It took a great deal of focus and concentration to coax the rock and dirt to withdraw, opening up a pathway. Even though she was used to working in enclosed spaces, it was unnerving work. There was no light to see, they had to feel their way. The tunnel she created was not large, and it collapsed behind them as they inched their way along.

When it started to become difficult to breath, Zephryn called the air to them. Apparently he did his job a little too well because by the time Chloe broke through to the outside they were a little giddy from the oxygen rich air they'd been breathing.

"We did it!" she said, hardly able to believe it.

"You mean you did it. My hero," he said, wrapping his arms around her and kissing her thoroughly. "Although you're a mighty dusty looking hero."

She mock punched him in the arm. "C'mon. We'd better get out of here before we run into someone. I'm sure Gannon will have dispatched a team to investigate."

Zephryn hesitated, looking back towards the mine.

"What is it?"

"I just wish we could do a little investigating. Maybe find some evidence the mine was tampered with."

"And do what with it? It's not like we can take it to Gannon."

He sighed. "You're right, of course. I just . . . "

"Just?"

Shaking his head, he said, "Never mind. Let's go home."

Hand in hand, they followed the path that led them back to the cottage.