Shade in a mist

Diana has a prompt for this novel-writing month, to write a short piece of prose or a poem from the POV of something from a different world. It so happens, I’m doing that more or less, and anything that helps the WIP along is welcome.

The image is one I found in my gallery. It’s from a reblog of one of Kerfe Roig’s posts.

owl close up 2

He sees through the mists now, the shade that was a child once before becoming a giant, a colossus, a warrior. He sees what the men don’t see, with their living eyes full of mist and their ears full of the fluttering of wings. Shades. Owls perhaps. They see in the dark, through what isn’t there. The shade thinks like the child he is, but he is wiser than the men because he has seen death.

The men look up, and the shade realises he has been fluttering among the leafless branches, letting papery sounds like words fall from his non-existence lips. One of the men is full of fear. His eyes roll. The shade sees the whites, smells the sweaty smell of terror. The other is not fearful. His face shows sadness. He understands what the mists do, how they change people and twist things until nobody sees the truth behind the illusion. This man left his pride behind, the shade thinks and watches curiously.

All around him shades gather, fluttering, papery, not like the silence of owls. The big fearful man casts about again and suddenly he sees, the trees full of shades, children with outstretched hands, arms turning into wings, papery, owl-like growing silent as they grow stronger. The proud sad man clasps the other’s hand, the big man bows his head and the shade knows that he is weeping. Like the parents wept when their children were chosen. Shades now, ravelling up the mist, taking its strength, growing strong, winged, like owls.

“Go,” the proud, sad man says, “fly. This place is dying. Take your memories with you and forgive us.”

The shade blinks. The man is right, the mist is shrinking and the wings are growing, beating. He feels light, a little sad, but a tremor of excitement runs through him, through all the shades, gathered, whispering in their papery voices, and he beats his wings, leaps, soars, scattering the mists. The men look up in wonderment. The shades fill the sky that fills with light, and somewhere inside, a child laughs.


WIP update

I’ve finished the second draft of my WIP. Chopped out a lot and added almost as much again. Maybe I ought to get straight back to the second part of the story, but the last three weeks of digging about in Medieval minds, speculating on motives and reactions, emotions and lack of them, has worn me out. I need a break from it, to get back to earth (this one, this time) and do something simple like dig holes to put flowers in.

‘On the Quilleboeuf, a man clings as the sea rages and the tide rises and falls. In the morning, he is the only survivor of the wreck of La Blanche-Nef, a butcher from Rouen. He knows nothing of what happened to the Adelin, but jabbers incessantly about a woman, dressed in white who stood on the shore, singing as the ship went down, a woman with the lower body of a serpent. Was it MĂ©lusine or one of her kin, he saw, or the spirit of the vessel? He doesn’t know. But when the flower of the English nobility lies battered and water-bloated on the seashore, who is listening to the stories of a butcher?’


NaNoWriMo update—finished!

I have just passed the 50,000 word mark  of words written since November 1st. Although I haven’t been a participant in NaNoWriMo, doing write-ins or chatting to ‘writing buddies’, even getting any writing buddies, it has provided the discipline I need to keep at it.

The daily word target has been 1666, which seemed daunting at first but I’ve been keeping to it, and overtaking it this last week. Since I started with 19,000 words already written, I now have almost 70,000 words towards my WIP which is a great start. I’ve no idea how far along the story is—the two main protagonists haven’t actually met yet. This could be a long one.

In the shadows of the tide

It’s now 30 days since I started the last volume of my trilogy, and I have written just over 64,000 words. I’d have qualified for my NaNoWriMo victory medal. I’ve stuck to my 2000 words a day goal plus some, catching up when I’ve had distractions like visits from children, the men who came to mow, and the fact that it’s been very hot, or stormy or both.

I’m living and breathing in the Tenth Century. It’s a strange experience, but I’m pleasantly surprised that momentum hasn’t slowed. Another month bar accidents and acts of God, and the first draft will be finished.


In the shadows of the tide,

In the hollows of the dunes,

In the windswept yellow sedge,

The forgotten creatures hide.

When the night is deepest dark,

At the hour of the wolf,

Twixt dog and wolf, when cats

Are grey, then you must heark

To the voices in your head—

For the tales told by the fire,

Whispered low as flames leap higher,

Are the voices of your dead.

Cover reveal: Devastation

You probably already know that writing poetry and pieces of short fiction is not the be all and end all of my existence as a writer. I write novels too. They are unashamedly escapist, with elements of magic, fantasy and mythology, romance and humour, probably because that is how I would like life to be. The characters are young, full of energy, not little plaster saints, opinionated and courageous. I’ve come to like them as if they were not just my spiritual children, but flesh and blood.

The first series, The Green Woman, starts in a miserable, grey dystopia, violent and oppressive. You’d hardly expect it to be like Disney World, would you? It’s the story of Deborah’s journey to find herself, her mother and save the bit of the world that actually wants to be saved from itself. It ends in…well, you have to read the story to find out where it ends. Or if it even does.

The second series, The Pathfinders, is very different. Carla and Tully are caught in the Apocalypse. The story isn’t post-apocalyptic—the world is teetering on the brink waiting for the final act. Wormholes that loop through time and space run through the story like garlands on a Christmas tree but without the joyful connotations. Things travel through the wormholes, and most of them you wouldn’t want to meet, not even if you had a few anti-tank missiles handy.

The first volume, Abomination, was published in March by Finch Books. If you haven’t read it yet, you should. You’ll see why you should be preparing your plan B for the apocalypse right now.


I have just received the cover art for the second volume, so I’ll post it here. If you thought things couldn’t get any worse than the Abomination, I’m afraid you’re in for a shock. Or maybe just a pleasant surprise. There are people like you, I know.


Devastation will be available on early download from June 22. That gives you plenty of time to read Abomination first. If you like having the bejaysus scared out of you, of course. I’ve been told I write good horror stories. If you can stand the pace, you should look into this series.

You can find links, blurbs and extracts from all the novels here, or sign up for news about further publications here.