Monday, Another Short Story, also Monday. Always Monday.

It was a busy week last week, a busier weekend, but I’ve come out of it with a child who is now six years old, a houseful of groceries, the new Beauty and the Beast movie watched and enjoyed, a lesson learned that I should not give my three-year-old son M&Ms at any movie theatre for the foreseeable future, and too much ice cream cake and pizza consumed in the last 36 hours.

And here I am, trying to get back into the usual Monday routine. Dishes, schoolwork with the kids (we learned about clouds and condensation today, and Freja wrote a “commercial” for her latest favorite book, Penguin and Pinecone), and baths for everyone (and hopefully a quick shower for me).

I have a few more in-depth posts slated for later in the week, but to make sure I don’t slip away and forget to leave my mark here, I’m going to post the third werewolf short story I wrote recently. The prompt for this one was to focus on the transformation into a werewolf, and the word count limit was cut from 2000 words to 1500, so I had to be fierce in cutting out what wasn’t necessary. I have another story set in the same world in the works for the weeks ahead, and with a longer word count (2k-5k) so I should be diving into that one before the end of today or tomorrow.

For now, enjoy Pale for Weariness, and I’ll be back soon.

(If you’d like to read my previous short stories about Lady Drummond and Mr. Muir, you can check out Dust and Silver and Sleet and Shadow.)

Palefor Weariness

Pale for Weariness

At the bottom of the stairs, the candle gutters and nearly goes out. I turn my head in anticipation of a noise that will lead me onwards. But there is nothing. The thump that pulled me from my bed is proving itself an aberration, and I fear I’ve come all this way to find a mop slid down from its place or one of the children tucked into the housekeeper’s room, sneaking a midnight helping of jam. 

I could return to my room. My feet are bare, the marble floor that leads a checkered path towards the vestibule like a block of ice against my skin. But curiosity will be my downfall. The candle sheltered behind my cupped hand, I scurry further along the corridor, chasing shadows that remain always a few paces beyond my reach.  

Several steps more and the gun room lies ahead, along with the doorway that will lead me down to the kitchen and the laundry rooms at the rear of the building. Still, I hear nothing aside from the pulse of my own blood through my ears, the click of my jaw as I swallow over a lump of apprehension that wasn’t there moments ago. I steer myself towards the gun room. Like a fool, I’ve left all manner of weaponry upstairs. If I’m to venture further, a defense greater than a dripping candle will be needed to lend some manner of self-assurance to my search.

I open the door and step inside. My gaze dances across shadows that I recognize, the polished wood of shelves and the shine of glass in cabinet doors. I could arm a legion of men with the armaments on display, but they’re all beyond my reach. For between myself and the nearest pistol or sword or mace, lies a figure sprawled across the rug. Continue reading “Monday, Another Short Story, also Monday. Always Monday.”

It Was a Week (And Another Short Story) (And a Release Date) (Woo-Hoo!)

Yesterday was Tuesday. Somewhere in my brain, I knew it was Tuesday, and yet another – much more optimistic – part of my mind kept trying to tell me it was already Friday. That I had already survived a week that had begun quite inauspiciously with a severe stomach bug (nothing like spending your Sunday night/Monday morning curled up in the fetal position on the living room floor), with my oldest daughter and then my husband catching the same bug (to lesser degrees than me, but of course I was hit the hardest because I’m awesome like that), and with the weather changing its mind every five minutes.

So because of that, this is going to feel a bit more like a weekly round-up type of post, when in reality… It’s Wednesday morning.

Now, to sum up. First, my next book, The Firstborn, has a release date! On May 5, it will be available in both ebook and paperback! I’m excited about seeing this story that began as a failed attempt at NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) find its way out into the world.

So it will have its own shiny new cover (the only cover I currently have for it is a placeholder that was used for its time on Wattpad) and you’ll get to hear me expound on all things about it here over the coming weeks. (Yes, please. Contain your excitement.) And to start things off, I’ll give you the description of the story (like what you would read on the back or on the jacket of the book):

Sophia has sacrificed everything for her younger sister, Lucy. She has removed them from the only home they ever knew, taken on the care of Lucy’s illegitimate son, George, and even assumed the role of a widow and mother in order to erase all hint of scandal from the boy’s birth. But rumor continues to follow them like the darkest of clouds, and Sophia must adapt to her new existence as a false widow with no prospects beyond the doors of her small cottage.

Lord Finnian Haughton will stop at nothing to prevent the slightest hint of scandal from tainting his family’s name. When he learns of his younger brother’s latest indiscretion-one that leaves a bastard child in his wake-Haughton rushes across the country to offer the boy’s mother a comfortable living in exchange for her silence about the child’s true parentage. But he arrives only to have his generous offer thrown back in his face by Sophia Brixton, a sharp-tongued and sharper-witted woman who proceeds to toss him out of her house. But just because he is banished from her home does not mean he is so easily banished from her life.

Also, I wrote another short story since I last posted in here. This one also follows the adventures of Lady Drummond, when she encounters someone on the streets of London who may not be quite what she seems…

Sleet andShadow

 

Sleet and Shadow

There is nothing for it. I am alone. In a city teeming with life, the mingled breath of thousands rising upwards as their waste drains away beneath my feet, there’s no one to protect me. I have only myself, a pitiful blade tucked within my sleeve, and a rapid prayer remembered from my childhood, the words falling from my lips with a greater speed than the strike of the sleet on the cobbles around me.

Water runs into my eyes, ice stinging my forehead and cheeks as I press my back against the wall behind me. There is no shelter from the weather, and so I can do little more than lower my chin to my chest, my breath coming out in brief, steaming gasps as I close my eyes and listen.

There are no carriages. I will wonder at that later, but for the moment, I cannot decide whether to praise or lament the lack of traffic. From a distance, the sound of a horn reaches my ears. From the river, I think. But it’s far to my left, if the weather and the cold and the abnormal absence of pedestrians haven’t disturbed my sense of direction. I breathe again, reveling in my renewed orientation, and on the exhale, there is a step. Continue reading “It Was a Week (And Another Short Story) (And a Release Date) (Woo-Hoo!)”

Things I Did This Week (So You Don’t Have To)

I want to say it was a busy week. That’s always the default response when someone asks about my day/week/month/life/etc., but it really wasn’t. The kids missed dance lessons on Monday because of the Nagging Cold From Hell, but they were still well enough to do school work and just… be kids.

Because of the impending snow storm barreling down on us, and all of the panic-inducing news reports to flash across the television screen (DID YOU BUY YOUR MILK AND BREAD AND EGGS YET???? DON’T YOU KNOW A BLIZZARD WILL KILL YOU UNLESS YOU CAN DEFEAT IT WITH FRENCH TOAST?????) they created their own newscast.

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Probably more accurate than the paid weather forecasters.

I was also interviewed on Carolyn Astfalk’s blog. She asked some great questions, and I was reminded (by myself) that I probably need a new author photo.

I wrote, some, but not a lot. A couple handwritten pages here and there, and not much more than that. I hope to finish the first draft of this chapter over the weekend, while my husband fixes the dryer and my kids recover from playing outside with some cups of Swiss Miss and those tiny little marshmallows.

Dinners were nothing amazing. Lots of potatoes and carrots were involved, so it was potato pancakes, potato waffles, steamed carrots, mashed carrots, and so on. Which is what happens when I go to the store and all the huge bags of root vegetables are buy one get one free.

I did make a new brownie recipe, these “Sweet Heat” Mexican Hot Chocolate Brownies from The Cozy Apron. With cinnamon, cayenne pepper, and instant coffee, they are absolutely delicious, and I love their texture.

And then, because of the snow and the inability or desire to go anywhere (beyond the confines of our patio and yard), there will be reading this weekend. Oh, so much reading.

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