28 October 2011

#FridayFlash - I've got to leave. (Edited)

Akeva stared at the closed door, unmoving, still processing what had just happened. It wasn’t the swirl of skirts that carried the housekeeper out the door or even the hateful expression on the woman’s face that had shocked Akeva. No, it was the woman’s words.

The food in Akeva’s stomach congealed into a cement brick. The universe was still playing with her, still dropping her into difficult situations without a hint as to which way was up.

One thing she did know: Jean was right, she had to leave. Not because she planned to hurt these people or that she shouldn’t impose on them, but because she didn’t belong here. She belonged with her own family, where they were only a phone call away, and not some strange freak-of-nature-lightning-strike away in who-knew-where.

She glanced at the folded bundle of clothing on the bed, probably Meriel’s own dress, then looked down at her t-shirt and shorts, both spotted with dirt. Shaking her head, she decided that no matter how awful her own clothing looked and how tempting that clean pile was, she wouldn’t take it.

Jean’s words now fueled her. As she tied her boots, she wondered where the hell she’d go. If she retraced her steps back to the stone circle, then maybe she could be transported back home. She snorted, not that she knew where the stone circle was or even how to get back there. She’d just have to ask Meriel.

She entered the hallway outside the bedroom and heard a gasp. At the other end of the hallway stood a woman dressed in similar clothing as Meriel and Jean, holding her hand to her mouth as she gaped at Akeva.

“Do you know where Meriel is?” The woman’s eyes widened as she shook her head, then disappeared through the door next to her.

Before Akeva could search after the woman, footsteps on the stairwell drew her attention. As the person came into view, she recognized the dark hair and ice-blue eyes and her heart thumped. The Kilted Man.

Before she knew it, he stood in front of her, glaring at her. “Have ye no decency?”

Decency, what did wanting to go home have to do with decency? “Where’s Meriel? I need to talk to her.” He pursed his lips as he clutched her arm and firmly guided her back to the bedroom. She glared at him. “What are you doing? Let go.”

“Get yerself in there and get properly dressed.”

“Properly dressed?” Akeva yanked her elbow out of his grip and made for the stairs.

He blocked her path and shook his head. “Ye canna be walking about like that. The servants are already gossiping, aye?” He reached for her arm.

“Touch me again and you’ll be wearing that skirt for a good reason.” She lifted her knee to make good on her threat. He lowered his hand, but didn’t back away.

“For all that is sacred, get back in there.”

“Just tell me where I can find Meriel, then I’ll be out of your hair.” She looked at his unmoving form, then added, “Please.”

He shook his head and pointed to the bedroom. Her blood boiled, not even Tim treated her like this.
She ducked around him and jogged to the stairs. He let out an exasperated breath, then his footsteps came from behind her. Let him follow, but if he touches me again …

Turning her focus to finding Meriel, she descended the narrow staircase. At the bottom, she opened the first door and stepped right into a medieval kitchen, complete with a fire burning beneath a pot in a large hearth. Two women standing near the hearth stopped talking as they saw her at the door. Jean glared at her while the other woman’s eyebrows lifted in surprise.

Akeva backed out of the kitchen, closed the door, then ran into the Kilted Man. Turning to face him, she said, “Either help me or get out of my way.”

He stepped aside and waited for her to move past him. Akeva sighed. So much for gallantry, or simple courtesy. As she moved past him, he said, “I did help ye when I told ye to dress.”

“Some help that was.”

She glanced around and found another door across the hallway. Might as well try this one. Inside a rustic living room, she found Meriel talking to another kilted man, not nearly as impressive as the one following her. Maybe it really was Scotland with all these kilts. Meriel furrowed her brows and the man’s face turned red and his lips puckered when the saw Akeva.

The Kitled Man’s voice came from behind her. “I found her at the top of the stairs. Against better judgement, she insists on speaking with ye. Now. As she is.”

Akeva could feel his disapproving gaze on her. What did she care what he thought? She threw him a dirty look, then turned back to Meriel.

“Sorry to interrupt, but…” Akeva strode into the room, ignoring both men, and stopped before Meriel. “I appreciate all you’ve done for me, but I’ve got to leave.”

 Edited to add:  If you'd like to read previous posts in this story, check out this link.

25 October 2011

Meme: Teaser Tuesday

Sylvia had this meme on her blog, looks like she got the idea from Miz B of Should Be Reading I thought I'd play along.

 From Miz B's site:

"Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB ofShould Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

 So, one of the books I'm reading is 1635: The Eastern Front by Eric Flint. From page 252:
"... I won't do it again."
Jeff chuckled, in a dry sort of way.

Leave a comment if you've been teased to check out this book or add your own teaser from a book you are reading. I'm always looking for good books to read.

14 October 2011

#FridayFlash - Just Go.

Could it be true?

Akeva’s hands shook as she placed her belongings back in her backpack, not that it mattered if she damaged them now. The most important things in her life were nothing but the most expensive and technologically advanced doorstops in the world.

Was it even probable? Statistics weren’t Akeva’s strong point, but she knew the chances of time travel were infinitely small. Yet here she stood wearing some old fashioned nightgown in the middle of what they said was Scotland, 1661.

Too anxious to do nothing while she waited for Meriel to return, Akeva ignored her protesting muscles and left the comfortable bed. But once out of the bed, she didn’t know what to do, so she paced the cramped space of the tiny room.

“This can’t be happening.”

If she could think this through, she’d find a logical explanation for all of it, the lightning, getting lost in the forest, waking up here.

She moved through the small space, touching things, making sure they were real. The rustic chair, check. The dresser, check. She pulled at the nightgown collar, check. All real. Even the cold wood floor under her bare feet felt real. So if everything was real, then she had to be somewhen else, not 1661.

Wait a minute. She pulled out a dresser drawer, searching for metal rails and ball bearings, but shook her head when she found only wood. Running her fingers along the dovetail joints, she couldn’t find any evidence of wood glue.

“It could still be a luddite community of sorts.” She slide the drawer back in. “A community that kept a weird calendar and believed they were in Scotland.” She shook her head at the thought. “Right.”

To accept that she’d traveled in a lightning flash, had landed in the middle of some strange parallel universe, stuck in what would’ve been Renaissance times was crazy. “Not possible, it had to be dream.”

Remembering that people couldn’t read in their dreams, Akeva searched the room for anything to read. Not even finding a magazine, she hastily pulled out her camera operation manual and read the page introducing aperture priority mode. She threw the book on top of the bag. “Not a dream.”

Akeva stared out the window at the large hills beyond the green fields and trees of the large. She’d spent spent three miserably long days in those hills, wandering and looking for help. When she couldn’t even find the Big Dipper in the sky, she’d assumed once she’d found people that everything would make sense. And now that she’d literally tripped upon help, she couldn’t come up with a plausible explanation. And no closer to getting home.

Someone cleared a throat, startling Akeva. She turned to find Jean carrying a tray piled with food into the room. At the thought of food Akeva’s stomach grumbled.

Placing the food on the dresser, she said, “For yer wame.” The housekeeper wore the same guarded expression as before.

Akeva didn’t care that she stuffed her mouth, or that the dry biscuit stuck to the roof of her mouth. It had been three days since she’d had a decent meal, she’d eat just about anything at the moment. However, the old woman’s scowl deepened as Akeva reached for another with one hand and for water with her other hand.

After devouring another biscuit and a long drink, Akeva wiped her mouth with the back of her hand. “This is almost better than a double bacon cheeseburger.” The woman’s silence hit her like a sledgehammer. Without a word, the housekeeper left the room. “Whatever. Just trying to be nice.”

Alone again, she resumed trying to make sense of her situation. By the time she finished the cheese and apples on her plate, she still had no better handle on what to do.

Then the door opened again and in walked Jean, again, this time carrying a bundle of clothing. The woman kept her distance as she placed it on the bed, “Put these on.”

Akeva said, “Thanks.”

With barely a nod, the housekeeper acknowledged Akeva’s appreciation. Then, still keeping her silence, Jean retrieved the tray. The woman shook her head as she noticed all the food was gone.

Akeva couldn’t find it in herself to be embarrassed at her gluttony, especially after three days of only trail mix and water. Let the old woman sit in judgement, it wasn’t like Akeva could stop her. Besides she had larger issues to deal with, like figuring out what to do.

At the door, Jean turned back and glowered at Akeva. With her stone hard voice, she said, “I dinna ken who ye are or from where ye hail, nor do I care. But that Meriel has a soft spot for folks, always assuming the best of a person. Dinna be taking advantage of the lass’s trusting nature.” Her cold, grey eyes glared at Akeva, “This family doesna need yer kind of trouble. So, it would be best for everyone that ye leave this place. Soon.”

05 October 2011

Hi-Jacked by NaNoWriMo

Remember my time-travel romance story? Or how 'bout my techy romance novel? You know, the ones in revision limbo, the ones I was finally making headway on? Yeah, well, see, they were hi-jacked this week. Big time.

Instead of working my normal writing schedule, the story I'm developing for NaNoWriMo has taken center stage. Apparently, Ms. Muse, who doesn't show herself these days, is dropping questions all over the place as she swooshes her sword through the air. Like who is this Moragayn, no-last-name-thank-you-very-much, and why does she avoid everyone, which is pretty difficult seeing as her job requires constantly dealing with people? Why is Tanner, not his real name, such an ice hockey fiend? And why does Mr. B'alam, emphasis on Mr., loathe everyone? And how do they fit together? Really, who would want to wordsmith when these questions beg to be answered?

It doesn't help with all the blog posts out there about NaNoWriMo either. LynnViehl, who isn't even participating this year, has blogged about the event here and here with more wisdom planned. Larry Brooks has committed to write 31 posts, one per day for the month of October, to help us plan for NaNoWriMo on his blog, too. (My favorite so far is this one.) And while they haven't mentioned the writing event of November, the folks on the latest Writing Excuses Podcast recently discussed The Hollywood Formula which certainly ties into story planning. All this and I haven't even logged on to the official NaNoWriMo site.

No wonder my writing has been hi-jacked.

One small consolation: I know my story hostages will be released on 1 December at 12:00AM.