Working, working, working… get those fingers working…

One of the things that you don’t really think about when you are NOT a writer is what they do when they are between books. Or at least I didn’t before I started…

Being a mother of three, I tend to grab time to write when my kids don’t need me. At the moment, that time is limited because PW’s only 17 months old and needs my attention a lot! As a result, I don’t think I’ve finished anything since… December 2014 – and that was a WIP that I’d been writing for over two years!

Late at Night / Early in the morning are the best times for me to write, mostly because the baby is either asleep or playing quietly in the playpen. At the moment ( 8 am) she’s fast asleep because she had a bad night – this of course meant that I couldn’t sleep either and as a consequence, we ended up getting out of bed at 5 am!

Anyway. Enough meandering. Back to the subject.

What does a Writer do between books?

I know that Sir Terry Pratchett was never between books because he always started writing the next one the same day as he sent the last one off to the publisher – he was very proud of that.

I have to write because if I don’t get something down then after a while I feel it’s going to bang the side of my head off.

Terry Pratchett
I know if I have a day where I can’t write for some reason, I get grumpy and not very nice to live with. I’m never sure if it’s because I have all these words lined up inside my head waiting to get onto the page or because I miss the time in my own head – the time where I don’t have to be Mummy…
Anyway. I’m between books at the moment. “The Tower and The Eye” is with the Editor, so I can’t do much on that until it gets thrown back at me covered in red ink to fix. This causes a vacuum of sorts because I have so many WIP’s lined up to get done that I can spend half a day reading through each one trying to pick which one to work on.
Quite often, I’ll be attempting to finish a WIP and a brand new story will tap me on the shoulder and say “How about working on me?”
And because I am all fired up about the new idea, I can churn out a couple thousand words on it – enough to know where it is going. At that point it joins the list of WIP’s… eventually, the net effect is that the Things to Get Finished list gets bigger and the Things that ARE Finished list never gains anything new.
The world map - all books

Don’t bother looking for the section I am talking about – it’s on the wider world map that I don’t have a picture of… *grins*

Case in point: I was working on “The Ballad of Pigsnout the Wanderer” recently and had finished recovering a section which a virus had caused me to lose. I sat there looking at the maps of Quargard (Pigsnout is one of the Chronicle stories; set in the time before I’Mor Barad was ever conceived) and my eyes were drawn to a section that I’d never explored before, not even in my head.
At the same time,  my partner in crime was talking about me trying out a new genre or two while I was waiting for TTATE to come back. One word – Romance – stuck in my head and before I knew what was happening, I’d opened a new word document and was writing about a young couple, in the geographical location I’d been looking at, in the FUTURE of Quargard, about a thousand years after the Lych Mistress meets her end – and no, I haven’t written that one out yet
So now I have two adventure stories happening – one in the far past and one in the far future. This is not only confusing, but the characters are alternately yelling at me in my head for primacy.
Honestly, if you could see inside my head, it’d be like looking into the Houses of Parliament at Prime Minister’s Question Time when they’re debating the Moet & Chandon , Goose Liver Pate and Jacobs Cracker budget…
So I thought I’d share with you a short excerpt from both stories; just to get it out of my head somehow… Enjoy!

“The Ballad of Pigsnout the Wanderer”

Andren could feel the compulsion in his bones. I’ll do absolutely anything for this woman, give up anything she asks me to and do it gladly with a smile and a song, but what she wants now is for me to tell her what happened. Despite the insistence in the back of his mind that there was something awry, he continued, “I’d finished washing and was drying my fur when something huge and black swept in from the south west.

It brought with it the stench of rotten flesh and dripped black fluid from great rents in its body as if something had attacked it and it hadn’t healed yet. It screeched as it flew above me and one of its massive clawed feet hit the back of my head, knocking me flying into the bucket of water. The last thing I remember is the thump as it landed and the screams of the passengers as it attacked them.”

Geregor shuddered “Sounds like a Vzorg.”

“I thought I’d outlawed that beast.” Galaia sighed. “Unless the one that was loosed is a male. I destroyed all the females after that incident with Urargh losing control of a brood of them in Linjar.”

“Well he wouldn’t know. He was unconscious.” Geregor jerked his head at the silently sitting Autochthon.

“That may have been his saving grace. Vzorgs are blind and sense only the activity of the brain. Andren being comatose fooled it into thinking that he was already dead. Those creatures need life-force as well as flesh to regenerate.” Galaia took pity on the noiseless Andren, whose eyes were blank as he relived the period he was insensible. “Andren, what happened when you awoke?”

“I woke up in a puddle of water and blood. The creature had gone and all the deck lanterns were out. I listened hard to find out if there was anyone else alive, but there was nothing but the wind in the sails and lines, the sea slapping against the side of the ship and the shifting of some kind of cargo as the ship moved.

My nose told me that there was a lot of meat and blood around, so as soon as I had the nerve, I got up and went looking for a lantern. I found one in the captain’s cabin. I wish I’d never taken it on that tour of the ship.” He fell silent again.

“What did you see?” Galaia prompted him gently.

“There were a lot of limbs and heads rolling around the decks and cabins. I couldn’t find anyone alive. I went down to check on the feline and it was like she’d disappeared into the night; there was nothing in sight or scent to say that she or her cub were active.” He sighed. “So I grabbed a sack, bundled up some food and water and launched one of the small boats the ship carried. I rowed for days until a storm hit me just as I sighted the coast and was washed overboard. Then Geregor found me.”

Galaia shook her head and put the completed skein of silk into her basket. “Well we know what happened from there on in, so you can rest now, Andren.”

* * * * * *

The Saga of Aranya and Illuan

The inn at the bottom of Gate Road was still quiet, despite the bustle of the Coach Office beside it. Aranya’s spirits lifted when she recognised Illuan standing beside the Shrine of Ailliana, deep in conversation with the priestess that ran it.

The morning Coach to Soulin stood beside the Coach Office, the four huge six legged horses stamping and tossing their heads impatiently. When the two young women reached the front of the Inn, Louella pulled her mistress to a halt.

“Wait here, Miss. I’ll go get him for you.”

Inwardly impatient, Aranya kept herself still and quiet so that she didn’t attract the attention of the group of men who had just exited the inn. “Very well.”

Louella hurried across the square to Illuan. She waited for a break in his conversation before she curtseyed to the Priestess and related her errand. Aranya watched as Illuan turned toward her, his hat in his hand and surprise on his face, before following Louella back to her.

“Dearest, I wasn’t sure if you would be allowed to come.” He smiled as he took her hands and drew her into a quiet corner between the Inn, Coach Office and a stack of crates. Louella followed discretely. He pushed her hood back and stroked her cheek with his bare hand, gazing into her eyes.

“Mother insists that I keep my face covered in public.” She said, catching his hand with hers and kissing the palm.

“Very wise, your mother. Such beauty as yours would cause a riot if seen by unprepared mortals.” He said, pulling her against his body.

Aranya caught a breath as their bodies connected. Why have I not noticed how hard his stomach is? I remember touching his muscles yesterday, but they were soft and relaxed. He’s tense. Why?

“The beauty I have is fleeting. The Gods and time have seen to that; but such as it is, it is all yours.” She whispered and slipped her arms around his neck.

“Aranya, if we had more time I would take you up to the Park and marry you now; then you would legally be allowed to accompany me.” He said, pushing her back against the stack of crates, his hands roaming her body under the cloak.

“Can’t you get the next coach then?” she asked breathlessly moulding herself to his body and feeling something stir against her stomach. What’s that?

“If only I could.” He groaned.

Luella coughed politely.

With a sigh, Illuan pulled away. “I must think of your reputation, beloved. If I do not return, you may be required to marry someone else.”

Aranya sighed. “I hope it is not so. I only wish to marry you, Illuan.”

His eyes flashed with some emotion she had never seen before. “Light that candle my love and if the Mother is kind, we shall be married.”

She nodded. “I will. Shall you write to me?”

“If I can. I may not have time or be allowed to.” He smiled at her moue of irritation. “Come now, Aranya. Smile for me so that I might have a happy picture of you in my mind to inspire my heroics.”

Aranya wondered if she would ever be able to smile again. “You must kiss me first; then I will have the memory of your kiss to sustain me in our separation.”

 

The bell outside the coach office rang and the Coach Driver called out: “Five minutes to departure; make sure that your ticket is in order please.”

Illuan leaned down toward her. “A kiss you say?”

Suddenly the gleam in his eye and the way he leaned her into the crates scared her, but before she could say anything, his lips touched hers and all thought fled her head.

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