28 June 2013

Can you tell the difference?

I thought I'd let you be the judge.

As I've mentioned previously, I'm working on my time travel/romance story with an editor. One of the scenes I've been working on with Rosina is one that I'd posted on my blog before. This is where you can judge.

Here is the link to an older version of the scene. Below is the scene after my edits based on Rosina's initial comments. There will probably be more fixes to do, but until then...

Can you tell the difference between the two versions? Let me know in the comments.


The whisky burned on its way down, and Edison Simpson welcomed it. Some days, the drink was the only thing that kept him sane. He put down his cup and fought the temptation to pour himself more. Too much of the stuff and he’d miss what he came here for.

Chatter in the room picked up as people finished their meals. The innkeeper and his wife moved among the tables as they checked on customers and took empty bowls back to the kitchen. Travelers sat at the edge of the room. Locals sat in the middle. He didn’t belong in either group. Had he gambled on the right group when he’d seated himself with the locals?

A few of men at his table leaned back in their chairs with their bellies full. A few of them made noises about going home, yet hadn’t moved off their chairs. Soon the conversation at the table came to a lull.

Now was his chance. With a friendly tone he said, “So, I heard some strange stories about them stone circles.”

The men froze in their chairs. Not even the man at the end of the table, who had an opinion on everything tonight, said a word. He couldn’t blame them, but if everyone shut down every time he mentioned the stones, he’d never get home.
“I did not mean…”

Maybe they needed more help to loosen their tongues. Edison grasped the whisky bottle only to find that it was empty. He lifted it in the air and waited until he received a nod from the innkeeper.

He didn’t care for the innkeeper’s frown or care what the innkeeper thought. Who was he to judge Edison? If it meant plying men with whisky or pretending to be their friend, he’d do it. Edison would do what he needed to get back home. 

Home. Wife. Children. His army men. His stomach tightened into a knot. There had to be a way. After all, that stone circle here in Scotland and that cave in his Shenandoah Valley had been connected. But how? 

The innkeeper set the jug in front of him. Edison took it and poured himself some. Jug still in hand, he tossed back the whisky then refilled his cup. He took a moment to focus on the burn, then gave more to each of the men around him. The men uttered words of thanks as they drank.

One of them, the man next to Edison, raised his cup to Edison then took a long drink. When he was done, he wiped his mouth and sighed. Angus leaned towards Edison. “Leave them be, man. The stones are cursed. Dinna be looking for trouble.”

Edison stifled a snigger. Trouble? As if Edison didn’t know.

From down the table, the man with all the opinions called out. “Only fae and witches play at the stones. Which would ye be?” Edison turned towards the voice and found the Talker glaring at him.

Edison’s hand tightened into a fist as he stared back. “Fairies and witches? How would you know?” The two men locked gazes for several seconds before the man looked away.

Fairy tales and witches. He might as well be listening to escaped slaves talk about their voodoo dolls. Edison took another swallow of his whisky to drown his impatience.

The innkeeper returned and took the empty plate from Edison. “Are ye one of those witch hunters?” Another silence fell in the room.

Edison needed answers. If it was what he needed to do to get what he want, he’d utilize the tool handed him by the old man. He leveled his gaze at the innkeeper. “It should be every man’s occupation to rid this world of evil. Don’t you agree?”

From around the room, people whispered the words. “Witch hunter.” Edison wanted to seek out each person who had said the name. Read their faces. See the set of their shoulders. Watch their eyes. Instead, he was stuck glaring back at the innkeeper.

Yet, that he should be considered a witch hunter struck him as hilarious. If only they knew the truth. He bit back a laugh, but allowed a corner of his mouth to curl up. The innkeeper turned away.

Would calling himself a witch hunter help him? He’d traveled through tens of villages he’d travel through and asked about the stones. Not once had he gotten him what he wanted. He glanced around. Many of the men began to count out their coins. A few of them shifted in their chairs but cast looks his way. The Talker smiled in his direction. Already a difference. This new title just might be what he’d needed.

Edison picked up his cup again. If nothing else, at least he had his whisky.

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