• The Writer


    Hello! My name is Laura, welcome to my blog! I write weird stories, collect dragon plushies and stay up too late with my nose in a book. I am a wife, mom and child saved by grace. My hope is that you find encouragement here or at least a smile or too.
    God bless!

  • “Now go, write it before them in a table, and note it in a book that it may be for the time to come forever and ever.”
    ~Isaiah 30:8.

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  • Quotes

    We have come from God, and inevitably the myths woven by us, though they contain error, will also reflect a splintered fragment of the true light, the eternal truth that is with God. Indeed only by myth-making, only by becoming 'sub-creator' and inventing stories, can Man aspire to the state of perfection that he knew before the Fall. Our myths may be misguided, but they steer however shakily towards the true harbour, while materialistic 'progress' leads only to a yawning abyss and the Iron Crown of the power of evil.
    ~J.R.R. Tolkien

    "The only just literary critic," he concluded, "is Christ, who admires more than does any man the gifts He Himself has bestowed."
    ~J.R.R. Tolkien

    “Fantasy is escapist, and that is its glory. If a soldier is imprisioned by the enemy, don't we consider it his duty to escape?. . .If we value the freedom of mind and soul, if we're partisans of liberty, then it's our plain duty to escape, and to take as many people with us as we can!”
    ~J.R.R. Tolkien

    "Writers who see by the light of their Christian faith will have, in these times, the sharpest eye for the grotesque, for the perverse, and for the unacceptable. To the hard of hearing you shout, and for the almost-blind you draw large and startling figures."
    ~Flannery O'Connor

    You write to communicate to the hearts and minds of others what’s burning inside you. And we edit to let the fire show through the smoke.
    ~Arthur Polotnik

    Words - so innocent and powerless as they are, as standing in a dictionary, how potent for good and evil they become in the hands of one who knows how to combine them.
    ~Nathaniel Hawthorne

    "There are forms of insanity that condemn people to hear voices against their will, but as writers we invite ourselves to hear voices without relinquishing our hold on reality or our right to control."
    ~Writing Fiction by Janet Burroway

    Christians have sometimes been suspicious of stories, because they really can influence you. If you read the Twilight novels once a month for a year, I think you'd be a different human afterward—and not a sparkly one.
    ~Nate Wilson

To Give Up or To Not Give Up

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You have a story that you love, one that’s been around – either on paper or in your head – for a long time.  You’ve pulled it out several times, but each time the plot and character puzzle pieces never really fit together.  So you put it away and work on other projects until one day more of the puzzle falls into place.  Out it comes once more, you think you’ve got it.  Things are finally working and the whole things is outlined and ready to go, but when you sit down and start typing out the fourteenth rough draft the puzzle falls apart.

This is where I am (and have been) with my first novel, Heart of Hope, that I wrote back in 2005.  I worked on editing it on and off for a couple of years before finally putting it aside for I-didn’t-know-how-long.  It sat in my folders for a few years gathering virtual dust until the plot began to reshape itself in my mind.  Everything got a much needed over haul and the story finally began to grow up to a more un-cliched work of fiction.  I was excited to be working on it again.  Even though it had been a headache before, I still loved it and wanted to make it work.  I thought it was finally there, but as I began to construct the new rough draft it just stopped.  I fell once more into a gaping plot hole.  Once I finally crawled out of it I tumbled right into another even larger one.

I had lost count of how many times this had happened, of how many times I had excitedly pulled it out thinking it would finally work to watch it all fall apart over and over again.  When do I just call it quits?

Let it Go and Give it Up?

This story is nearly nine years old, it’s just a first novel, maybe it’s time to just let it go and give it up…but…I don’t want to.  I’ve been going over and over the debate of forgetting about it and moving on or just letting it sit for a while again or working on it anyway.  I know from experience that forcing it will only make things worse, but is it time to say goodbye?

I think we all have a soft spot in our writer’s hearts for our very first completed book.  It was our first baby, our first great accomplishment in our journey to becoming writers.  We love it, we hate it, we want to throw it away, but we stick with it.  We feel this way about most if not all of our stories/novels.  So what do we do when one just doesn’t work even though we’ve sweat blood and spend countless hours perfecting it?

Let Yourself Move On. 

I’ve come to the conclusion with this book that it’s time to just move on.  It’s not like I don’t have an army of other stories waiting to be written.  But part of me doesn’t want to move on because I think by “giving up” that I am failing in some why as a writer.  But that mind set is wrong.  When a story doesn’t work you haven’t failed, it’s just not working and we need to accept the fact that no matter how much we love it, it may never work.

For now Heart of Hope will be the story I may dabble with here and there when I need a break from something else, but I won’t beat myself up if it never fully works or ends up as a paper back in Barns and Nobles.  I’m still learning and I am far from perfect.  We don’t have to “give up” on a story that we love, but there comes a time when we may need to let it go and move on.  Don’t feel like a failure when that happens, even though you don’t have a workable draft you’ve gained that much more experience you can apply to another project.

Writing is hard and ideas don’t always pan out and that’s okay.  As writers we just need to keep trucking ahead one story at a time until something does work and we get to write those two satisfying words – The End.


Have you had any stories that just wouldn’t work no matter what you did?  Let me know in the comments. 

Like what you’ve read?  Check out other posts on writing and subscribe! 

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Magic & Fantasy: Part 2 – Good vs. Evil

art by Alan Lee

art by Alan Lee

One thing I love about fantasy is the ability to show the battle between Good and Evil in a more vivid and clear way.  In fantasy there are shinning heroes vs. great monsters, hobbits vs. dark lords, light vs. darkness, etc.  Fantasy allows you to show Good and Evil in a form everyone can easily recognize.  As a Christian, I want to tell stories that show the stark contrast between light and dark, freedom and slavery, death and salvation, fantasy allows me to do this as no other genre does.

A Light in the Dark

One problem I’ve seen in a lot of modern Christian fiction is their stories are “light on light”.  The writer’s are trying to show the light of Christ in an already light environment.  When you light a candle in an already bright room it makes no difference.  (This is true for more than just Christian fiction.)  In order to show the beautiful light of God’s grace and love, you have to show the ugly blackness of men’s hearts and the consequence of sin.  (Tolkien did this beautifully in The Lord of the Rings.  He understood the corruption of men’s hearts and show’s it with their desire to possess the One Ring, the very symbol of evil.)  Christ died a very ugly, brutal death for us on the cross, without such a sacrifice salvation for the world would be impossible.  In fiction, if there isn’t darkness, the light will have no impact.  Without the destruction caused by the Dark Lord, the beauty of the Shire and Rivendelle wouldn’t seem as peaceful and bright or worth protecting.

We Can’t Ignore Evil

There is evil in this world, and we are fighting a war with it.  Fantasy is perfect for showing us that war.  It shows us our enemies and, The One who is the ultimate victor.  I believe it’s important, especially in Christian fiction, to show people the darkness so they can better understand and appreciate the light.  You can’t tell someone they need salvation, without telling them why.  You have to reveal the sin, evil and lies in order for grace, good and truth to become relevant and important.  You can’t ignore evil in fiction, just like you can’t ignore it in real life.  It’s there, it “stalks around like a lion seeking whom it may devour.”  As Christians we have spiritual armor for a reason.  We’re in a war with evil, and fantasy is the genre that can depict that war in every detail.

Exaggerated Illusions

Fiction is the illusion of reality and with illusions you can exaggerate.  We can better understand reality through these illusions because they are meant to teach us.  I love this quote by Flannery O’Conner;

“Writers who see by the light of their Christian faith will have, in these times, the sharpest eye for the grotesque, for the perverse, and for the unacceptable. To the hard of hearing you shout, and for the almost-blind you draw large and startling figures.”

Those “large and startling figures” get people’s attention, and once you have their attention and have shown them the darkness, you can slowly turn on the lights and chase the shadows away.  In fantasy, not only can you show the exaggerated illusion of reality to better understand reality, you can show the illusion of the spiritual, to better understand the spiritual.  That’s another reason why I like fantasy, because of the higher level of spiritual.  That’s why you have magic and unearthly creatures.  Fantasy is a spiritual genre (more on that to come), hence, the battle between good and evil is so clear and vivid.

In a nut shell… a light in a bright room makes no difference.  A light in a dark room changes everything.

Missed part 1?  Just click the title! Magic and Fantasy: Part 1 – Overview 

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To the Frustrated and Frazzled Writer – It’s Okay to Walk Away

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We’ve all been there.  Your story is just not working, but you’re on a deadline!  You have to get the last 10 chapters done in the next two weeks, you just have to!  But the more you try to force creativity, the worse it gets.  Now all you’re doing is beating against a mental brick wall that refuses to budge.   It’s big, it’s in the way and it’s size mirrors the enormity of your frustration.

Deadlines can be a blessing and a curse.  Some writers flourish under the pressure of deadlines, others crack, while some are 50/50.  Deadlines are good, they help us achieve our goals, but they can also become looming specters casting shadows over our work and peering over our shoulders, striking us with anxiety.  When plot holes begin to swallow you and you’ve run down so many bunny trails you’re head is spinning it may be time to get up, put the story aside and walk away.

Everyone’s creative process is different.  Some can whip out the stories.  It’s as easy has mixing up a batch of chocolate chip cookies.  Each new batch brings out dozens of new and amazingly satisfying ideas.  Plot holes are foreign to them, woody characters don’t exist and they’ve never head of this mysterious ailment known as “Writer’s Block”.   Others are constantly plagued by creative blockage and instead of delicious chocolate chip cookies, they’re stories look more like old Swiss Cheese.  Then of course we have those who are in between.  They deal with plot holes, but it’s not too difficult for them to full.  They may burn a few batches, but in the end they have a nice gooey batch of chocolate chip goodness.

I’m of the second group.  Writing is my passion, it’s something I feel at home doing, something I was made to do, but it is also the hardest taste I have ever undergone.  I love developing new stories, it’s my favorite part of the creative process and it’s also the most frustrating.  I’m constantly falling into plot holes, frantically looking for new and better ideas to fill them.  When I first started writing I got into the bad habit of blazing ahead and writing rough drafts even thought half my outline was empty.  As a result I created more work for myself later on in the form of a cliched pile of Swiss Cheese instead of a golden chocolate chip cookies.  It frustrated me to no end.  (I’d rather of cookies then cheese any day!)

I blazed ahead because I wanted to have written.  I wanted to be the person who when asked how many books I had finished, I could proudly proclaim “Oh, fifteen or twenty.  I’ve lost count.”  As writers we tend to look at the amount of things we have finished as our status.  As Michael Kanin put it, “I don’t like to write, but I like to have written.”  Walking away is not an option, WE HAVE TO FINISH IT RIGHT NOW.

Walking away may be the best thing you ever do for yourself and for your story.  It was hard for me to finally admit this it and to actually take action on it.  It’s okay if your writing process is slow, if it takes more than a few months or a year for a story to rise to it’s true potential.  It’s okay to walk away from the draft, deadline or not.  In fact, it’s okay to walk away from writing all together for a time if need be.

Whether it’s walking away for a day, a month or a year it’s okay.  Walking away doesn’t make you a failure as a writer, it just means you need a break, a breather, some time to give your imagination a time to recuperate.  Find a good book, spend some time enjoying nature or family.  Ideas come from life and the stories we read.  If you’re lacking ideas, take a break and look around you, the answer may be hidden under an old dusty cover or in a moment with a loved one.  Where ever it is, you’re not going to find it by staring at your computer screen.

No Cheating Allowed: Creating Fulfilling Endings

Ever finish a movie or book and had this weird unfulfilled feeling?  It ended happily-ever-after, the hero’s love died but was miraculously resurrected by a healing potion the secondary character’s third cousin twice removed had in their back pocket.  It was beautiful, you almost cried, but as you closed the cover or watched the credits roll something just wasn’t quite right.  Everyone was fine, the journey over, the villain defeated, so why does it feel like it’s not really over?  Because you were cheated.  

 

The Cost of Freedom

Nothing is free, even for a save-the-day hero.  There is a cost to saving the world or those you love.  The hero can not live through a battle, achieve the story goal, came to the end of their journey or defeat the villain without losing something.  Freedom for the world or even for themselves, is not free.  We all know this, it’s part of the rules of life, which is why at the end of a film or book, if the price for that happily-ever-after has not been paid, we feel cheated.  It always annoyed me when characters would walk through fire and come out unscathed.

The cost for freedom could be a number of things, but if we look carefully in the stories we love and walked away from feeling fulfilled, we will find the price.

In The Lord of the Rings the cost for saving Middle-Earth was high.  The Fellowship lost Boromir, The Hobbit’s lost the Shire and had to fight another war to save it.

How to Train Your Dragon, Hiccup loses his leg.

Tangled, even though Rapunzel saved Flynn, she lost the healing power of her hair.

I recently finished a story where the main character lost his love.  I couldn’t believe it when it happened.  Just when you thought the battle had been won and the hero and his love were safe, the villain emerged and the hero had to fight one more time.  The cost of his victory was high, I hated it, but at the same time I knew it had to happen.  The price had been paid.  Through the tears of grief I felt for the hero I was applauding the writer because they had fulfilled that price.

 

No Cheating

I loved the movie How to Train Your Dragon, but it was the ending that really set it in my top five favorite movies.  Hiccup had fought an incredible battle and won, if he had come out of it unscathed, the ending wouldn’t have the home driving punch it has.  Not only was it the price for defeating the Green Death, but it also linked Toothless and Hiccup more closely.

I read a book series several years ago that did not fulfilled the price.  It almost did, but the writer did not follow through.  In the final battle the hero (a girl) was badly burned.  She was healed but the burns left behind hideous scars.  She was distraught because her face was ruined.  I was trying hard to like this series.  I found them cheesy and an example of how not to write several things, but finally, they were about to be redeemed, or so I thought.  Finally the hero was human, someone I could relate to, someone I felt for, then, out of nowhere, her scares were taken away.  Needless to say I felt very cheated.  

(This is why characters brought back to life really bug me.  They died, the hero mourned, the hero grew, the hero moved on.  If you kill a character, please, keep them dead.)

 

What Will be the Price?

The price the hero pays could be physical, or, it could be emotional.  They could lose someone or something.  They could have witnessed something, (maybe innocents paying the price), that has left their heart scared.  The price could even be change.

At the end of The Lord of the Rings, the Hobbits have taken back the Shire and began rebuilding it.  Life is slowly slipping into a new normal for the residents of the Shire, except one, Frodo.  Sam, Marry and Pippin are beginning new lives of their own, settling into things, but Frodo’s shoulder still hurts, his four fingered hand is a constant reminder, too much has changed for him, he can’t go on.  The Ring took something from Frodo, something the peace of a long life in the Shire can’t erase.  The price of being the Ring Bearer took too much of a toll and so he leaves.  He doesn’t just leave the Shire, as Bilbo did years after his adventure, he leaves Middle-Earth.

Sometimes the price is the hero’s old life.  After all they’ve been through, with all the scares they bare, they can not return, they can only move on.

As human beings, we seek fulfillment.  Even though we cry and don’t like it when the hero loses someone, we still walk away feeling fulfilled, (whether we realize it or not).  We can’t have things for free in real life, and even though stories are an illusion of real life, the same rule applies.  You can’t take that dream job without moving and saying goodbye to your family.  You can’t learn that lesson and grow without giving something up.  Sadly, a lot of modern writers don’t want to make their hero’s pay the price.  They don’t want to make people sad, so the cheat, but instead of just not making people sad, they take away something more important.  Stories are meant to be fulfilling in a good way.  Through their illusion of reality, they’re suppose to give us a piece of the fulfillment we seek.  They’re meant to make us wonder why that, even though it broke our hearts, we still loved it.

Whatever the price is, it’s there.  Whether it’s emotional or physical the price must be paid.  It’s a good feeling when you read the words “The End”, close the book and let out a small sigh thinking to yourselves, “That was a good story”.

Gray Skies – A Beginning

 

(Introduction for a new serial I hope to start posting on here soon.)

A gray sky shrouds a ruined landscape of twisted metal buildings that once stood high and proud. No sunlight pieces through the thick, ever percent clouds, casting the world in a premature twilight. A cold wind stirs up a gloom of dust, blowing it through the skeletal branches of a long dead tree. A lone figure steps from the shadows, stooping over piles of junk gathered here and there, rummaging through and putting whatever “treasure” may fit into a little sack they carry over their shoulder. The only sound is that of the wind, nothing else, and the occasional clink of metal created by the person sifting through the debris piles.

Then, the wind picks up and for a brief moment, the clouds are pushed aside and the sun breaks through the gray canopy to warm the face of the figure all alone. Glinting of the scraps and beams of a forgotten city, illuminating the places that once held life. The someone lifts their head, shading their eyes and looks up into the sky. As the suns warm fingers touch her face, she smiles. But in less time than it took for the sun to appear, it vanishes, and the world is once again plunged into a vale of gray and twisted metal.

Finished with her scavenging, the girl turns and heads back they way she had come. The ground is nothing but packed dust under her feet. She struggles along, but something catches her eye. She stops, bends down and peers at the ground. A tiny green shoot has found its way through the dry soil to search for the sun. Its one tinny sprout, so green, fills the girl with hope maybe, just maybe, there is still life to be lived and found out there.  The war hasn’t destroyed everything. 

 

Tell Me a Story

I scribbled away on the white pages of my little notebook, flipping filled sheets over the spiral bindings to start again.  The pastor droned on, his voice rising and falling as he preached about a topic I really wasn’t paying attention to.  Instead I focused on the little sketch in my hand.  I wrote little snippets of prose around the boarder, nothing to do with the sermon but maybe I could fool those watching me into thinking I was taking notes.  Then a phrase pricks at me ears and I look up.  “That reminds me of a time…”  With those six words he suddenly had my full attention.  He was about to tell a story.

Growing up, if you asked me on Monday what the sermon was on Sunday I wouldn’t have been able to tell you, however, if the pastor had included a story to illustrate what he was preaching on, I could.  When my dad pulled out Little House on the Prairie, Doctor Sues or Uncle Author I had to be in his lap, staring at the type as I listened to his voice make the prose come to life.  Stories made everything interesting, from school work to Sunday sermons.  If there was a story involved you could count me in.  As a young student, history was the only subject that really interested me.  English was just bearable with the books I got to read.  Math, well, I passed anyway.  Even in recent years I would eavesdrop or just sit and listen as my mom read history lessons to my younger siblings.

Even before I could read them for myself I was drawn to stories.  At people’s homes I would scan their shelves, gazing at the books that lined the wooden planks wondering what things were hidden within them.  Though reading was a daily battle for me, something I dreaded and even hated, books were sacred, thinks you could look at, but never touch.  Oh, and they smelled wonderful, the older the better.  It didn’t matter what the story was about, if it was a story, I wanted to hear it.  There are two things that could get my immediate attention, the sound of my name, or someone beginning to tell a story.

So what is it about stories that draw us in?  What is it about a story that can turn a boring English lesson into something interesting?  For centuries stories have been told to entertain and illustrate lessons and truths.  We know our history by the stories laid down by people who are long gone.  Jesus used stories to teach to the hungry crowds.  Millions of dollars are spent every year on movies.  Stories are far more than just entertainment though, there’s something deeper to them, something that pulls us in.   They’re pictures, they’re escape, they’re reality through a gilded looking glass in mirror image.

Stories are powerful tools.  They can do great good or great harm.  They influence our culture, how we perceive things and people around us.  From word of mouth, to books, to movies.  Stories stick with us too.  You might not remember details about the summer camp you attended when you were ten, but you remember that story your camp counselor told at the nightly camp fire.  You might not be able to remember Sunday’s sermon, but you could repeat almost word for word the story the pastor included.  You might not remember the name of that lady who lived down the street, but the story of her and her crazy cats has almost become an urban legend.

Through stories we are shown life in new ways.  We’re given a different perspective.  Stories can show truths and provide lessons in ways no other outlet can give us (other than experiencing them for ourselves).  We get to see through the experiences of others, and see into them more clearly because we are the witness, not the participant.  Have you noticed, if you are going through a difficulty it looks hopeless with no way out, but if you see someone else going through it you can see the way out when they can’t.  Or times when you walk away from an unexpected conversation and can think of a millions things you could have said better.  When we observe something, the outcome, the lesson in it is clearer than if we were in it.  Stories give us hope by showing us others going through what seems like impossible situations and rising through them triumphant.  Fictional or based on a true events.  Super hero or desk clerk.  Even human or animal.

Stories influence us.  The can change our thinking whether we know they’re doing it or not.  This is why we need to be careful about what stories we’re letting into our minds.  What movies we watch, what books we read.  As Christians are ultimate goal is to bring glory to God.  We want to renew our minds through God’s truth.   “…whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.”  (Philippians 4:8 KJV)

In the same way we need to think about these things when writing a story.  I don’t like preaching in stories, but there needs to be a foundation of truth.  There is evil in the world, you can’t show the light without the shadows, but you can still make it true, honest, just, pure and lovely.   Stories, show us truth, big pictures of right and wrong, dark illuminated by light.   They give us a place to exaggerate life lessons in order to drive the point closer to home.

Stories are far more than just entertainment.  In a way they’re “living”, an alternate reality.  Even if it’s just “fluff-fiction”, the author is telling you something, presenting an ideal or message and it could be negative or positive.   Stories have power.  Charles Dickens was writing to show people the things that were going on behind closed doors, exposing evil and change how things were done.   There are dozens of examples of authors who wrote to change their culture, and succeeded.  We will always have stories, they will always be a part of us, always there to give us a means of escape or a way to understand truth.  They will continue to change the culture and influence people.  Be careful what stories you allow to influence you.  

Christians have sometimes been suspicious of stories, because they really can influence you. If you read the Twilight novels once a month for a year, I think you’d be a different human afterward—and not a sparkly one.
~Nate Wilson

Why do you write?  What is it about stories that pull you in?

When Plans are Interrupted

I had planned to write a page a day of one or both of my current stories.  I had planned to pump out a chapter a week, but, writing is an unpredictable craft and sometimes, what you plan on writing just doesn’t work out.

The first chapters of both my stories (the rewrite and the rough draft) were going very well.  I was excited, enthusiastic, but things took a turn.

Plot holes.

Gaps.

Unanswered “why’s” connecting “what’s”.

I’ve learned from past experience, it’s not a good a idea for me to continue in a story with sketchy filler just to get from point A to point B.  The rewriting and editing becomes an extremely painful headache when I do and it takes forever to figure out.  So now when that happens, I have to stop, answer those questions, figure out the probabilities, fill in the gaps, follow a logical plot path, and then move on.

I have reach this point with BOTH my stories.

Heart of Hope is a mess, and that’s putting it lightly.  It was my first book and I used every DO NOT and cliche in existence.  There are a lot of holes.  The plot looks like Swiss cheese.  It’s come a long way, but I still have several unanswered questions and events that don’t quite make sense.  So it’s back to the drawing board.

My second (or fourth book…) book (WIP title Wren Fletcher), I’m beginning to think I rushed into writing it too soon.  Again, plot holes, gaps, more messes I don’t want to fix in editing.

This can be beyond frustrating, not to mention discouraging.  But it happens, and I’m trying to reconcile myself to it.  I’m still learning as a writer.  I’m still learning how I write, what works for me and what doesn’t.  It’s a long and hard process.  (I’m beginning to wonder if I will ever have a book to set before a publisher…)

So, what am I going to do about it?  I’m going to keep filling up pages of my notebook with plot hole fillings, outlines, and “what happens next” notes.  I am also going to lose myself in a new fantasy trilogy* (well, new to me) that my husband highly recommended I read.  (He told me it’s very inspiring, here’s hoping it will pull an idea out.)

Even though I really just want to have a publishable book done, this experience has not been without it’s lessons.  It’s shown me my weaknesses in development, what I need to focus more on before I start writing a rough draft.  I’ve learned what doesn’t work for me.  It’s proven my tendency to be scatter brained and not think something through in enough detail.   I am not a seat of pants writer, I need to have all the important details mapped out before I start writing.

It’s long, tedious, and at times I feel like tossing the pages to the wind, but I know all this will pay off in the end.  All I can do is keep writing.   

What projects are you working on that feel like they’re never going to be finished?  What have they taught you?  Any lessons of your own to share?

 

*If you really want to know it’s the Obsidian Trilogy by Mercedes Lackey and James Mallory

The Beginning

Twelve likes and one comment… I guess I can go ahead and post that sneak peek. 😉

 

*     *     *

Ephraim

 

Still born.  Ephraim stared at the maid who held his son.  His dead son.

“My Lord…” She didn’t look Ephraim in the eye, but stood holding the still bundle of blood stained swaddling clothes concealing the boy.

“Kathryn.”

The maid looked up.

“What’s wrong with Kathryn?”

A woman’s scream broke out from behind the drapes leading to the bed chamber.  The maid, still holding the lifeless child, hurried back into the room.  More cries and screams filled the chamber, then… the cry of a babe.  Ephraim pushed back the drapes and stepped into the room.  Kathryn, his wife, lay on the massive canopy bed, her face slick with sweat and her eyes closed.  The physician turned to Ephraim, holding a live baby girl.  He gave Ephraim a faint smile.

“Twins my Lord.  Your wife has given you twins.”

The child was covered in blood, her face contorted in an aching cry.

Ephraim didn’t acknowledge, but rushed to his wife’s side.  He knelt by the bedside and took her hand.

“Kathryn.”

She didn’t respond.

“Hector,” Ephraim spoke to the physician.  “Hector!”

In an instant, Hector was at his side.

“What is wrong?”

It was a moment before he answered.  “I am sorry my Lord.  We were not prepared for the second child, it was too much.  Something was torn, she is bleeding and I cannot stop it.”

Ephraim gripped his wife’s hand.  No.  God, You cannot take her from me.

He rose to his feet and leaned over her.  Reaching out, he gently stroked her wet forehead then kissed it, breathing in her scent.  She still smelled of mint, like the day they first met.

“Kathryn,” he whispered.  “My Kathryn.”

There was a flutter of movement under her eyelid.  Slowly, she opened them.

“My Ephraim,” she whispered back, a small smile on her lips.  Ephraim tried to smile back.

“The children,” she continued in a faint voice. “Our children… Ephraim?”

Ephraim glanced at Hector.  The physician nodded, “She, the child lives me Lady.”

“She…” Kathryn breathed out. “Our daughter….the other?”

“A son,” Ephraim responded before Hector could say a word.

“A son… Ephraim,” she took a shaky breath.  “What shall we call them?”

“Whatever you want my love.”  Ephraim stroked her forehead with his thumb.

“Wrenna and Aaron.” she whispered after a moment.  “You…you choose the rest.”

“Kristine and… Walter.  Kristine for her mother and, Walter for my father.  How is that my love?”

“Wrenna Kristine and Aaron Walter Fulton.”  Kathryn smiled.  “Fine names.”

He nodded.

“Ephraim?”

“Yes?”

She whispered something, so softly, he couldn’t hear her.   He leaned in closer.

“I love you.”

A tear slid down his face.  He laid his hand on her cheek and kissed her.

“I love you too.”

(Copyright L.E.R. Jenkins 2013)

CHOICES Sneak Peak: Dragon Landing

Here is a sneak peak of the chapter in CHOICES I just finished.  🙂

“Ready yourself,” Terren said after I don’t know how long.  I blinked and looked down.  The forest was gone; we now glided over green fields and hills, bordered by a rocky crag.

“Are we landing?”  The wind had picked up and I had to shout.

“Yes!”  Terren yelled back.

Uraeus began to beat his wings in a steady rhythm as we slowly dropped towards the ground.  Terren let out a quick whistle then shouted back at me,

“Hold on!”

Uraeus folded in his wings and dove.  I squealed, hugging Terren as tightly as I could.  Tears raced from my eyes and flew away behind me as the wind rushed by.  Laughing, Terren leaned against Uraeus’ neck, holding tight to the leather handles.  We dropped through the sky, the ground rushing up to meet us. 

“Hoe!”  Terren yelled and Uraeus opened his wings, bringing us to a jaw wrenching halt.  Much more gently, the dragon brought us to rest on the solid ground.

“Wow,” I said as I slid from the saddle.  “Now that was something.” 

Terren grinned at me, “I thought you might enjoy that.”

“Enjoy?  I’m not quite sure that’s the right word.”  I crossed my arms and gave him a cynical look.  “I don’t think leaving your heart, lungs and stomach behind is enjoyable.”

He laughed, “I suspect you’re being sarcastic.”

“Me?  Never.”  I winked.

“Right.”

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