Location, Location, Location #27

Location No. 27 – Entering Lwandle Township (photo: stayza.com)

Welcome back to our literary tour through the pages of my novels. Today we’re returning to South Africa where we’re just about to enter a place called Lwandle. It’s not a usual stop on the tourist trail, although it boasts an important little museum – we’ll take a little contextual detour to it in a moment – but as far as our literary tour is concerned, it is here (or in an invented place very like it) that my character, Albertina first steps into the pages of ‘Song of the Sea Goddess‘.

Lwandle is an informal settlement (also known as a ‘location’) about 15 minutes drive from where I stay in Somerset West. It was originally established in the late 1950s to house workers who were brought in from rural areas to work in the farming and fruit canning businesses which had been established in the area. Let’s find out a little more about what conditions were like back then by visiting the Lwandle Migrant Labour Museum which is just around the corner on our left.

Lwandle Migrant Labour Museum video

With the onset of democracy in South Africa in 1994, the ANC-led government turned the hostels of Lwandle into family-type accommodation. At the same time, with the relaxation of the restriction of movement throughout the country, more people arrived from the rural areas of the Eastern Cape. As a result, the area became increasingly overcrowded.

Even now, although some residents live in brick and block-built buildings, many still live in shacks, awaiting government-approved housing projects to be put in place. Those who are working mainly have jobs in the surrounding towns of Somerset West, Strand and Gordon’s Bay, and the roundabout in the picture above, is the place where I pick up Rayno, my gardener/handyman and Primrose, my housekeeper. Primrose came from the Eastern Cape about 20 years ago, but Rayno was born here, his grandparents and great-grandparents having worked on one of the fruit farms years ago. Although their family homes are modest, they have proper sanitation and the security of an enclosed yard. Other residents live in very humble circumstances, much as I imagined Albertina’s shack – no more than a small timber shed, like you might have at the bottom of your garden. But Albertina, with her proud and positive attitude, decides to up-sticks and seek a new place to stay.

Back in February, I wrote a guest post for da-AL’s ‘Happiness Between Tails‘, in which I talked about why I wanted to ‘uplift’ my characters, some of whom, like Albertina, are based on an amalgam of people I’ve met since I moved to South Africa. I explained how the characters that I’d created deserved something more and better, and that’s why Albertina starts her journey standing by the exit to a service station with a twenty rand note in her hand.

Only a couple of weeks ago, I discovered from da-AL that she’d converted and added that post, ‘Imagining a New Place’ to her growing list of podcasts. Note to self: this really is something I should try. You can listen to Imagining a New Place here, the actual post starts three minutes in.

Now, let’s join Albertina as, fed up with the noise and the dust, and the general mayhem in the ‘location’, she packs up her belongings and makes for the N2 highway to hitch a ride in search that new and better place.

Excerpt from Song of the Sea Goddess

Albertina throws the remains of her coffee onto the dust outside the door and stuffs her little tin mug into the top of the bulging holdall which stands by a similarly stuffed canvas bag next to the open door. As she finishes chewing the crust of bread she’d saved for her breakfast, she adjusts her second best wig and looks around the shack which has been her home for the best part of a year: Time to move on.

Albertina snatches up the two heavy bags containing all her worldly goods and strides out into the early morning. She holds her head up and sticks her nose in the air as she walks past the people busy with their cooking fires and washing bowls. She will not miss them and she will not miss the location, with its noise and dust, and people fighting and drinking long into the night. Her son is settled in a farm school and he has a roof over his head. He’s with people who’ll take better care of him that she can, far away from the temptations of drugs and alcohol, underage sex and communicable diseases which seem to be all that life has to offer for young people here.

Service station on the N2 freeway (photo: sasol.com)

Fifteen minutes of steady walking bring Albertina to the edge of the freeway. She is aware of the weight of the bags that she’s carrying, but she’s used to it. Used to carrying all her belongings with her; you can’t leave anything in your shack. The traffic is heavy, and the hot dirty wind from the road tugs at her long skirt. Albertina trudges on as far as the service station where she stops near the exit to the parking area. Here she will get her first lift. She takes out a tightly folded twenty rand note from where is has been tucked inside her clothing, unfolds it and carefully smooths out the creases. She holds it up to each vehicle that passes.

It’s not long before a large blue truck pulls up beside her, its airbrakes hissing loudly. The driver leans over and extends a thick brown arm to open the passenger door for her. Albertina looks up at him. For a moment they scrutinise each other. He looks okay, she thinks, but she’s still wary. She tries to read his face. The driver breaks into a gap-toothed grin and asks her where she’s going.

Albertina shrugs. ‘Just onwards,’ she smiles cautiously.

‘I’m going up the coast,’ he replies.

Albertina nods. One direction is as good as another. The coast sounds nice; fresh. Why not? Something will turn up. She hefts her bags into the foot-well and, gathering up her skirt, climbs nimbly into the cab. The driver indicates the seat belt and reaches over to help her. His hand brushes briefly against her left breast. She looks at him sharply but his attention is already focused on the road as he pulls away.

He eases the heavy vehicle out onto the busy highway, turning the radio up loudly. Albertina is grateful for the music; she doesn’t like to chat to strangers. She looks out of the window watching the sprawl of scruffy buildings give way to a patch of open land, then more buildings, this time huge, bland industrial buildings. She briefly wonders what goes on inside them. The truck driver taps on the steering wheel along with the music, apart from when he jabs at the horn or mutters an obscenity at some other road user. She winces inwardly at the words.

The truck turns off the freeway and onto the West Coast highway. The traffic is calmer and there is only bush and scrub beyond the edge of the tarmac. Albertina gazes out across the open country; the ocean is faintly discernible, a clear azure strip below the wide African sky. She winds down her window a little. The driver turns to her – they haven’t so much as exchanged names – and suggests they stop for a break. He needs to stretch his legs. Albertina nods and leans forward to reach inside the pocket of her holdall.

Roadside Rest Stop on the West Coast Highway (my photo)

There is a rest stop a kilometre ahead: three sets of concrete tables with concrete stools surrounding them, set back from the road under a stand of shady trees. There is nobody else there. The driver parks up and jumps out of the cab. He strides round the front of the truck and opens the passenger door for Albertina. Although she is perfectly capable of dismounting by herself, he offers her a hand to help her down. Albertina’s bright pink pumps hit the ground lightly; the driver keeps hold of her hand and pulls her gently sideways, away from the door. Their eyes meet as he takes a step towards her. She takes a step back. He smiles pleasantly. ‘Come now,’ he says, ‘a little something for my trouble.’ He closes in and Albertina is caught between him and the side of the truck.

Quick as a flash, she whips out her little steel knife and holds the point against the side of his neck. The man’s eyes widen. He steps back, holding up his hands up in surprise. It is now Albertina’s turn to advance. She sets her face in a steely glare and, although inside her heart is fluttering with fear, she takes a step forward, knife raised. A long minute passes. A couple of cars go by; a bird shrieks in the tree above them. Then all is quiet.

Loud music breaks the silence heralding the arrival of a bright red sports car. It draws up sharply behind the truck, raising a cloud of dust. The driver looks around. Albertina’s gaze remains fixed on him. Car doors open and the music blares out more loudly. High female voices call out to each other. Paying no attention to the truck or the two people beside it they unload a cooler box from the car and dump it on the nearest table.

The driver holds out his hands, palms upward. ‘Sorry, sorry,’ he says quickly. Albertina glances towards the noisy group of girls. She lowers the knife.

‘I’m getting your bags,’ the man says firmly. Albertina nods. Moments later her bags are on the ground and the truck is starting up. Albertina watches calmly as he drives away. She picks up her bags and goes to sit at the nearest table, looking across at the four long-limbed blonde-headed girls who are sipping from cans of cool drink.

‘Hey!’ One of the girls gets up and walks over to Albertina. ‘Ag, no! Did that guy just leave you here?’ She looks round at her friends and back at Albertina. ‘Shame, man!’ Another girl approaches and asks where she’s going. Albertina gestures vaguely up the road.

‘Lesley,’ the first girl calls out. ‘We can fit another one in the back, hey?’

Albertina now becomes the centre of attention. The skimpily-clad young women gather round, and one of them fetches a cool drink for her; they all mutter darkly about the ‘skelm’ driver. Albertina is a little overwhelmed, but happily accepts the offer of a lift. They can’t take her to where they’re staying, of course, but the nearest town will surely be fine. Albertina nods. It will surely be fine.

And so, after a whirlwind of a drive in the noisy little sports car, with its loud music and louder girls, and the howling wind which forced her to remove her second-best wig, so as not to lose it out of the open window, Albertina finds herself back on foot, carrying her two bulging bags into a busy little coastal town. By late afternoon, she’s found her way down to the harbour. She sets her bags down and stares out across the ocean. She breathes in the sharp, salty air and looks around. She has a good feeling about this place. Something will turn up, she thinks.

Order on Amazon: USA ~ UK ~ IND ~ AUS ~ CAN ~ ESP ~ South Africa and the Rest of the World
Audiobook available from all popular audio retailers – listen to a sample here

Do you believe in faeries? ~ episode 12

Illustration from the Rose Fyleman Fairy Book

Previously

Mr Eyre paced the cell slowly, ‘we could use the bracelet to escape,’ he turned to face Bryony, ‘but that won’t help us find your sister, although in our current predicament…’ his voice tailed off as he caught a glimpse of the gallows outside the narrow window of their prison.

Bryony was about to reply when a strange, beetle-like creature came racing down the passageway and skidded to a halt in front of their barred cell. Glancing nervously over its shoulder, it reached under one of its armoured wing cases and drew out a key, which was almost as big as itself, and dropped it on the floor in front of them; then without a word – if indeed it could speak – it turned and scuttled off, back in the direction from where it came.

Bryony swiftly retrieved the key and Mr Eyre applied it to the lock; a moment later the cell door swung open. They were about to follow their strange, silent rescuer, when an ashy-faced woman appeared from the shadows of the cell opposite; the key fitted that door too.

Mr Eyre raised an optimistic eyebrow, ‘now all we need to do is get out of the building.’

on to the next chapter


Written in response to two challenges:

Di of Pensitivity 101’s Wednesday’s Three Things ChallengeSLOW, CAMERA, SHY
Denise Farley of GirlieOnTheEdge’s Sunday’s Six Sentence Story Word Prompt: ARMOUR

Bryony, Bethany and Mr Eyre first appeared in my historical fantasy fiction novel, Following the Green Rabbit. They’ve been begging to go on another adventure and now they’ve got their wish!

MORE SIX SENTENCE STORIES HERE!

Castles in the Air

The image shows shows a castle in the clouds. A surreal image created by the clouds that surround it.
The image shows a castle in the clouds, a surreal image created by the clouds that surround it.

If I were able
I’d build a castle
just for you

A pearl-white, perfect vision
fashioned from daydreams
forged in the flames
of burning desire

If I were able
I’d offer my castle
only to you

A shining cerulean citadel
sculpted from fantasies
shaped by illusions
of anxious lust

If I were able
I’d trade my castle
to be with you

A glowing golden fortress
moulded from memories
shored up by recollections
of passions past

If I were able
I’d secure you
in my heart

And never let you go.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Image credit: Google Images

Written in response to Sadje‘s What Do You See #107 photo prompt

Tom Burton is on the Launch Pad!

Tom Burton’s short story collection, ‘Pocketful of Time’

It’s my great pleasure to welcome indie author, Tom Burton to this month’s Launch Pad spot. Like me, you may have come across Tom’s vivid creative writing on his blog. I happened upon it a couple years ago, my interest having been grabbed by his episodic story following the adventures of one Sergeant Craig Harper. Since then, Tom’s readers have been treated to many well-crafted stories across many genres.

So, let’s find out a little bit more about Tom. We’ll start with his official author bio:

Tom Burton is a British author with a passion for writing magical, mysterious and historical fiction. He lives with his family in Devon, his writing fuelled by the magic of dark chocolate and Yorkshire Tea.

His short stories have appeared in Spillwords Press, Literally Stories, Dreaming in Fiction, and Whatever Keeps The Lights On.

He has published two collections of short stories so far: Wildlands in 2020 and recently released, Pocketful of Time.

Published books by Tom Burton – Wildlands and Pocketful of Time

Before we get to Tom’s latest release, he’d like to share some of his own thoughts on writing, garnered from his own experience as a storyteller. Over to you, Tom!

Tom’s Top Three Guidelines

I know, I know. We’ve all read those wonder lists of the “Top Ten Tips To Write Right!” or whatever. Who on earth am I to give advice? Eww. *retreats under couch hissing like a cat*

So I’ll just call them guidelines, NOT rules. They’re not hard and fast tricks to success – these things never are. What works for me might not work for you.

But they sure helped my writing improve.

1) Entertain One Reader.

That’s it. You and your reader. All it is. Good writing makes your reader laugh and cry. If there’s no emotion? No buy-in to the story. If your book says what you want and how you wanted to present it? Job done. Whether people like it or not is entirely up to them.

Not everyone’s going to love your book. Harsh but true. If you try to write to please EVERYONE, you won’t end up pleasing ANYONE. If your work’s out there, readers who love your style and genre will find you. There’ll be a whole lot of ‘no’s’ along the way. But it only ever takes one ‘yes’.

You’ll get SO MUCH unasked-for advice from readers. Thank them politely. Read it. Shelve it to one side. Move on. They didn’t write your book. You did. Own it. Be proud of that glorious mess you made.

Someone once sent me an actual email cordially advising me to write longer flashfics as they come across more ‘writerly’ (???) and I sent them a reply that just said ‘Chapter One: No’.

”I really liked the idea but thought there should’ve been a twist in the end to make it like a thriller.” Which would’ve been, y’know, GREAT advice … for someone writing a thriller.

2) Immerse your reader.

Use different senses to plunge your reader into a scene: what can the character hear, smell, see? Getting the setting, mood and background senses right make the scene pulse with life and draws in your reader! Smell is often underused, but it really enriches your story. “The stench of a decaying carcass” paints a hugely different picture than “the sweet aroma of jasmine”.

Immersion pulls us right in the thick of the story. We feel like we’re living these stories because the author’s ensured we’re fully captivated. We forget that it’s words on a page that another person has written. We forget that hundreds of other people could be reading the story at that very moment. It’s our story. Just us and the characters and their world.

Immersing your reader is different than just hooking them, it’s keeping them hooked. It keeps them plugging along and (hopefully) conjures some kind of emotional response. (Preferably one that doesn’t involve hate mail.)

Omit dialogue tags (I said/you said/he said/she said) if it’s clear which character is talking. Words like “said,” “asked,” or “wondered,” drag down your story telling. Instead, spice up dialogue with action! Having that back-and-forth punctuated with action makes dialogue flow smoother, so your reader never gets yanked out of the story. For example:

“Get out of my room, you brat!” Evie demanded.
Mark glared at her. “Make me!” He retorted.

VS

“Get out of my room, you brat!” Evie tried to shove her brother into the hallway but his heavy bulk ruined her efforts.
“Make me!” Mark held his ground.

3) Keep it simple.

Less really is more. The delete key is your friend! Often the best days are when you have fewer words on the page than when you started. Window Prose helps: the kind of writing that’s so simple, clear and minimal that the audience doesn’t even notice they’re reading. They never have to stop to think, so it’s just like gazing through a window at the unfolding action.

Purple Prose uses large, complicated indulgent words to over-describe simple, clear descriptions. It’s flowery, excessive and breaks the flow of the reader’s attention. Don’t slip a ten-dollar word into a ten-cent simple sentence like “scintillating” and “incandescent”. It messes up the flow and makes the reader reach for a dictionary (BIG no no). Don’t drown your reader in unnecessary adjectives and adverbs. Run-on sentences bog readers down with unneeded elaborate detail and distract from the story. For example:

“The branch on the fire burst asunder with a muted pop as the coals underneath heated the gnarled length of wood to the point where a small cache of water that had somehow evaded the sun’s rays for untold decades exploded into steam” GAAAAHHH

VS

“The fire crackled.”

Seduce your reader, don’t burden them. Never use five fancy words when three simple ones will do. Be concise. Don’t fall in love with the gentle trilling of your smooth flowing sentences. Cut out what doesn’t need saying. You don’t want to be writing with a thesaurus in your other hand, choosing unfamiliar fancy words to replace simple, clear, familiar ones. Plain, clean language is the way to go!

Want to enhance a scene? Use precise, punchy nouns and strong vivid verbs that heighten the reader’s sensations, paint strong mental images, and avoid wordy descriptions and overused adjectives.

> Smell = stench, aroma, scent, fragrance.
> Small = tiny, petite, minuscule, miniature.
> House = cabin, mansion, cottage.
> Group = horde, team, gang.
> Woman = lady, mistress, matron.

~~~~~~~~

Tom’s latest book of short stories is Pocketful of Time, a splendidly vivid collection of historical tales. You can read my review here.

The image shows Tom Burton's new book, Pocketful of Time in paperback and ebook
Pocketful of Time ~ paperback and ebook

Now, over to Tom to tell us a little more about his book and how he came to write it.

~~~~~~~

Thanks ever so much for hosting me, Chris! It’s such a privilege to be invited to a great outlet for indie authors. Really excited to be here and share my latest book Pocketful of Time on your blog. Also, thanks for giving me the opportunity to share my writer’s thoughts with your readers!

I’ve always loved history from an early age. It’s fascinating to have that unique viewpoint into the living, breathing world of our grandparents and ancestors – that shock of the intimate past that reaches out to jab us in the ribs. Historical fiction’s made such a triumphant comeback recently; Hilary Mantel’s Wolf Hall, Sarah Perry’s The Essex Serpent, Sebastian Barry’s A Long Long Way and Ian McGuire’s The North Water are all  critically acclaimed for transporting the reader into rich evocative worlds that capture the audience’s imagination.

I also studied history at Uni, which I’m sure helped.

Pocketful of Time grew out of that childhood fascination for history. Being a part of our wonderful WP blogging community for the past several years really gave me the inspiration to help my writing blossom and take the leap to self-publish for others to read via Kindle Direct Publishing.

Short stories were something I was slowly getting better at, so I thought: why not self-publish eight of these together in a collection? So I did. Big advantage of publishing a collection: if the reader doesn’t like one particular story, they’ve got plenty more to choose from.

~~~

The blurb

A world-weary cynic rediscovers his faith. A soldier is haunted by his duty. A prisoner faces her last night on earth . . .

These visceral tales dive into the depths of humanity, exploring the darkest deeps of despair and mortality. Human history is often a grim legacy of bloodshed, misery and despair. Yet still there is hope, the triumph of the human spirit against overwhelming odds and enduring courage in the face of adversity.

Poignant, gruesome, chilling and triumphant, this collection of adult short stories has a little something for every reader.

Fancy diving into William Tyndale’s struggle to publish the first English Bible? Guy Fawkes’ last days in the Tower of London? A lone German citizen’s non-violent resistance to the Nazi regime? Then feel free to check these stories out!

Pocketful of Time is available in paperback and ebook – get it here: Amazon US / UK

~~~~~~~~

Stop Press!!!

Tom’s second historical collection Only Human is due to be published in time for Christmas! Fourteen short stories including:

> the final voyage of Lady Jane Grey
> the swashbuckling life of pirate Mary Read
> a trapper boy’s childhood down the coal mine
> the last arctic mystery of the doomed Franklin Expedition
> a suffragette’s fight for the vote in pre-WW1 England.

~~~~~~~~

Tom’s social media links

Website: Slumdog Soldier

Amazon Author Page: www.amazon.com/Tom-Burton

The image show Tom Burton's new book, Pocketful of Time with a good luck message and the Launch Pad logo from luna's online
Pocketful of Time, by Tom Burton, available in paperback and e-book

~~~~~~~

Would you like a spot on the Launch Pad?

If you’re a writer with something to say about you new book I’d love to hear from you. All mainstream genres are welcome be it fiction, poetry, memoir or even non-fiction (am I the only person who reads cookery books cover to cover?). I’m particularly keen to support fellow Indie Authors, although by no means exclusively.

Book your ‘First Friday’ spot now, especially if you have a book release lined up in the coming months. Just drop me an email at chris87hall@gmail.com and in response I’ll explain what I’ll need from you and when.

Looking forward to hearing from you!

Do you believe in faeries? ~ episode 11

Illustration from the Rose Fyleman Fairy Book

Previously

Bethany stared round-eyed at Lobelia as she fluttered through the open window and landed at Greta’s feet, without doubt, the anxious creature was one of the faerie folk; Lobelia returned Bethany’s astonished gaze, ‘so the golden-haired child has returned!’

‘We thought so too, Lobelia, but she wasn’t wearing the travelling bracelet we left for her, so she can’t be,’ said Greta, looking at Bethany doubtfully, ‘she just appeared out of nowhere, and now two more Other Worlders are here; Captain Stinger and his soldiers took them away just now.’ Greta slammed the window shut, ‘you say the Shoemaker’s wife has been arrested for Word-Singing?’

Lobelia nodded, her wings drooping for a moment, ‘so many people have been taken away for Word Crimes since the Owl-King arrived: we must do something to restore justice!’ cried Lobelia. ‘All the other faeries have gone into hiding until a solution is found,’ she stared up at Bethany, ‘and if she isn’t the golden-haired child, who can we pin our hopes on?’

Greta looked at Hans, ‘I think the time has come for us to take matters into our own hands; after all, the Owl-King doesn’t know that Bethany isn’t the golden-haired child, does he?’

on to the next episode!


Written in response to two challenges:

Di of Pensitivity 101’s Wednesday’s Three Things ChallengePIN, SOLUTION, WITH
Denise Farley of GirlieOnTheEdge’s Sunday’s Six Sentence Story Word Prompt: RESTORE

Bryony, Bethany and Mr Eyre first appeared in my historical fantasy fiction novel, Following the Green Rabbit. They’ve been begging to go on another adventure and now they’ve got their wish!

More Sixes here!

The Wall

The image shows an elderly man and woman embracing. In the background, people can be seen going about their business.
The image shows an elderly man and woman embracing. In the background, people can be seen going about their business.

A country, carved into four
by the victors.

A city, divided
by ideology and
something more.

Erected in haste
assembled in the silent hours
while they slept
apart, in blissful ignorance,
concrete and iron
snaked through
their lives.

Three decades on
torn down in protest:

lovers reunite
whom time
could not
divide.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Image credit: Gennaro Leonardi @ Pixabay

Written in response to Sadje‘s What Do You See #106 photo prompt

To NaNo or Not to NaNo (2021)

An open book, Chris's author pic and the title 'chatting with my characters'

‘Misquoting the Bard, Ms Hall?’ Connor strides across the floor and strikes a dramatic pose by the fireplace. The two bars of the electric fire glow ineffectually against the foggy October day which presses around the edges of the bay windows. Feeling the chill, I pull my cardigan more tightly around me.

‘Turn the fire up, Connor,’ says Cynthia. ‘Ms Hall’s blood will have thinned after ten years in warmer climes than these. I remember when I returned from Singapore, it took me years to readjust to our dismal English weather.’ She takes an emerald-coloured pashmina from the back of the chaise-longue and tosses it over to me.

‘Spot of something warming, perhaps?’ asks Connor, looking longingly at the half-empty bottle of whisky on the sideboard. I shake my head. He frowns. ‘I sense by your utterance you are caught on the horns of a dilemma. Pray tell us what troubles you.’

Before I can answer, there’s a tap on the door.

‘It’s open, darling,’ calls Cynthia.

Gina appears. She flings herself into an armchair and grins across the room at me. ‘Do you have some news for us, Ms Hall?’

I explain about NaNoWriMo. Three years running and three books written within each succeeding year. But last year NaNo was a struggle and didn’t get me off to the same start.

‘It sounds as if you might be taking on a little too much to commit to that for a fourth time,’ says Cynthia gently. ‘Don’t pressurise yourself.’

‘But you’d be picking up our story again,’ says Gina. ‘I mean you’ve just finished writing that other sequel, haven’t you?’

I incline my head. It’s true. The sequel to Song of the Sea Goddess has passed the final editing stage and is soon to be proof-read by another keen eye. I twist the pen I’m holding. ‘Ah well, not quite yet, and I’ve been considering putting a poetry collection together in time for next year’s World Poetry Day.’

Connor’s eyes light up. ‘Congratulations, splendid idea!’ Connor rubs his hands together. ‘I’d like to think my success with the slim volumes I’ve had published has inspired you. You know I’ve had an advance to compose a third..?’

Gina shifts in her seat. ‘But so much has happened in our story since our book came out,’ she holds out her hands. ‘Each time you’ve come round something new has happened.’ Her eyes fall on the notebook in my lap. ‘You’ve noted it all down, haven’t you?’

My new notebook with notes on my YNWA characters dated 2019-2021

I look down in my lap. Gina’s right of course, I have been keeping notes… and there are a few more. I smile at three of my favourite characters from You’ll Never Walk Alone. ‘Next year will be your year, but no NaNo this time.’

Tango Videos + J.Barrow: C.Hall audiobook: Pod5 Healthy Carrot Delight

Listen here! There’s something a little different on Luna’s online this Friday.

We have a splendid sight and sound combo from da-AL’s Happiness Between Tails, in which she introduces her new podcast page. We also have a helping of carrot cake and a dancing delight: the tango – que romántico!

Then to follow, is it all about audio now??

Happiness Between Tails by da-AL

https://anchor.fm/depe9/episodes/Carrot-Delight-Cake-a-Healthier-Recipe-by-Khashayar-e175b56

Click H E R E & you’ll find my brand new podcast page! It’s on AnchorFM, where the most recent show is the audio rendition of my blog post (the blog version is h-e-r-e and it includes the full recipe written out), “Our COVID + Carrot Delight Cake Healthier Recipe by Khashayar.”

At the Happiness Between Tails podcast page, you’ll also find links to subscribe, hear, and share it via most any platform, from Spotify and Apple Podcasts and Google Podcasts and Breaker, to Pocket Casts and RadioPublic and Castbox and Stitcher, plus Overcast and an RSS feed and more.

Screenshot from video of Khashayar and da-AL dancing Argentine Tango, un-choreographed.

This week I did more writing on my novels … plus… happiness!… It’s been since forever — gulp! since quarantine! —  that my husband and I haven’t danced. No classes, no practicing on our own, no nuthin’. And as much as we’ve missed it, we’ve missed…

View original post 1,317 more words

Do you believe in faeries? ~ episode 10

Illustration from the Rose Fyleman Fairy Book

Previously

Bryony’s face itched from the thick hessian of the hood that had been forced over her head; behind her she heard the rasps of Mr Eyre’s breathing, as Captain Stinger and his guards herded them across the wooden bridge that crossed the Owl-King’s Great Divide.

They stumbled off the slatted planks and their forced march continued through what Bryony, from the late-season scent of autumn leaves, could tell was woodland, until eventually Captain Stinger called a halt; their hoods were removed and she and Mr Eyre were left blinking in the sunlight.

A towering, pink-stoned palace, surrounded by emerald-coloured lawns, rose up before them reminding Bryony of an illustration in ‘The Wizard of Oz’, a volume she’d been given as a keepsake by a favourite aunt.

‘To the dungeons!’ yelled Captain Stinger and once again they were on the move, escorted swiftly to a drab grey out-building set within a high-walled yard; ‘you will await your fate here,’ the Captain announced, glancing meaningfully at the gallows in the corner.

Dread welled up in Bryony’s stomach; Mr Eyre took a breath and squared his shoulders: ‘Surely your Owl-King will permit us a fair trial?

No reply came from their grim-faced captor.

/…next episode.


Written in response to two challenges:

Di of Pensitivity 101’s Wednesday’s Three Things ChallengeALLOW, PERMIT, SEASON
Denise Farley of GirlieOnTheEdge’s Sunday’s Six Sentence Story Word Prompt: KEEPSAKE

Bryony, Bethany and Mr Eyre first appeared in my historical fantasy fiction novel, Following the Green Rabbit. They’ve been begging to go on another adventure and now they’ve got their wish!

Join the party and read more #SixSentenceStories here!

Enigma

The image shows a dog dressed in a woolen sweater and wearing round wire-rimmed glasses, staring seriously at the camera.
The image shows a dog dressed in a woollen sweater and wearing round wire-rimmed glasses, staring seriously at the camera

What lies inside your little world?
What secrets hide within?
Eyes disguised, emotions veiled,
concealed behind a mask.

Wide-eyed, yet poker-faced,
your visage a strange conundrum
reposed, composed and tranquil
in silent contemplation.

Cloaked in mystery, unperturbed,
let me plumb your hidden depths.
What lies inside your little world?
What secrets hide within?

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Image credit: Charles Deluvio @ Unsplash

Written in response to Sadje‘s What Do You See #105 photo prompt