Archive for » May, 2014 «

Angel of the Sands: Part 5

You stop walking and turn to look at him, trying to make it obvious that you have something to say.

“What is wrong, Angel?” he asks before you can open your mouth and speak. You frown and try to think of the best way to tell him that you’re not who he thinks you are.

“I don’t think I’m an Angel,” you say eventually. Instantly he smiles and a moment later he laughs.

“You are definitely an Angel. We found you in the desert just like all the Angels who came before.”

“I understand, but I’m human, just like you.” Your stomach tenses as he lifts his hand to yours and leads you back to the seating area.

“Angel, I don’t think you do understand.” He reaches up and strokes the hair from the side of your face. “It is possible you are not an Angel, but you should not create doubt of this. It is better for you to allow the attention and the… protection I can offer.”

You gulp but don’t interrupt.

“The Angels before have all come from another land, a distant one none of us have ever seen and they have all appeared suddenly, with no warning to them and little to us. Another is mentioned, one who unites all our Khaads under one banner. Your beauty could well do this for us.”

You shake your head.

“I cannot pretend to be an Angel, if I am not one. I don’t know how to lead people.”

He frowns again but doesn’t speak, instead studying your face.

“You are from elsewhere, are you not?”

“Yes, a place called London in England.”

“And you came here suddenly, with no idea why?” You nod, seeing where he is going. “You are pale, like all Angels before, and you are of good character. We are talking of this because of your desire to be honest. This is all my people know of the Angels. No one lives who has ever met one.”

“You think I’m an Angel despite my fears?”

“Yes. If you are not one, you are so alike, you should be. And when we see our Khaadain I will present you as an angel, promising its truth to all present.” He lifts your hands and presses the backs to his lips, one after the other.

“You have a lot of faith in me.” At this he laughs again.

“In your beauty, yes. And now in your honesty, but this must never be spoken of again. You are an Angel, and for your sake, I ask you not to declare otherwise.” He lowers his gaze and shivers. “The thought of what might happen to you if the tribes decide you’re not… I would not be able to protect you, Angel. Many men would fight over possessing your beauty and you would be consumed by the victor. I cannot bear the…”

He doesn’t finish his sentence but trails off again. After a few seconds he regains his composure and looks up into your eyes.

“Thank you,” you say and smile. Although you still don’t feel sure you’re what his people think an Angel is, he has made you feel less deceptive. If he is convinced that you’re as much an Angel as the people who came before you then it bodes well that others will think the same thing.

“I have been neglectful of you. I should not have left you earlier without explaining our culture and beliefs to you, at least in part. I offer you my apology and ask your forgiveness, sweet Angel.”

“You’re forgiven,” you utter, not even pausing to think about it.

“Good.” He pulls you to your feet. “Tomorrow I will sit with you and explain many things, but the night is passing and I am missing the time for trelair and sleep.”

“Trelair?” you ask.

“There is no direct word in your language. It is the time men have with their wives and female slaves, when they give way to desire and passion.”

“Ah,” you say and find your cheeks flushing. “I am sorry for keeping you from your wife.”

“You are not keeping me from a wife.” He grins. “I have many slaves from my conquered enemies but no wife. I can choose one of them if I wish to satisfy trelair when we are done.”

“Then do not let me keep you here longer.” His calmness while talking of such a subject makes you feel even less comfortable and you almost hate yourself for being so British, and so bright red.

“Would you like to choose one of my slaves for trelair? I have many men and would be honoured to gift one to you. Or women, if you would prefer…”

“Uh, no, I’m fine. Thank you, but no. I couldn’t. Not a slave.” You shut your mouth, realising that if you leave it open, you will babble until he interrupts.

A second later a smirk crosses his face and he surprises you by moving forward to press a swift kiss on your lips as his arms wrap around your waist. He pulls his face back to look into your eyes but doesn’t let go of you. It occurs to you that he may have taken your objection to having a slave as a suggestion that you wanted something else.

What do you do?

Kiss him again and find out what trelair means.

Pull out of his arms and explain that you’re not that sort of woman.

Slap him.

This story is entirely free to the reader and will continue to be throughout, but as you might have gathered from the website around this I make my living from writing fiction. This post is just under 1000 words long and took me a few hours to write and polish. Although it’s definitely not a must, if you enjoyed this and want to say thank you in a monetary fashion please consider becoming a patron of mine at Patreon (a lot like kickstarter but more of a pledge per episode/installment sort of thing). You can also say thank you by sharing this with friends who might enjoy it or dropping me a message here or through my email address.

Jane Eyre: A Review

Another classic has been devoured in my quest for more books. This time one of the Bronte sisters fed my addiction.

I first saw Jane Eyre only a few months ago and it happened to be the version pictured to the left. Normally I try and read before I watch but teh acting was fantastic. As usual I loved the book more and found it very easy to read considering it was a classic.

I felt for Jane very easily, loving how she handled being a child and growing up in the school that seemed to double up as an orphanage. The version I saw glossed over this stage in Jane’s life which is a shame as it contained some of my most favourite parts. Her friend was amazing and presented a very interesting viewpoint in life.

The part in Mr Rochester’s house was almost identical and I found myself imagining what I’d seen. Jane was calmer and more forgiving than I could have been. I also totally adored the banter between her and Rochester. His continued teasing that she was something other than human and had bewitched him was very funny and had me laughing aloud and reading parts to anyone who’d listen.

Finally the book really excelled in making me hate the missionary near the end of the book. I won’t plot spoil but I found myself yelling aloud that he was a manipulative so-and-so and didn’t deserve even an ounce of respect from Jane. He was amazingly described and with Jane’s thoughts and feelings made clear by the author it was very easy to see how he might make her feel but I’m glad she made her way through and ended up in the right place. As all good romances should end.

I think this is going to go on my list of all time favourite classics. I loved every page and will definitely have to read it again. Even writing this makes me want to read it again and I’ve only recently finished it.

Goals, Dreams and To-do Lists

All three of the above things are a big part of being successful in any creative or business field so I thought I’d talk about all three, what they are, how they fit together and how to make the most of them, especially from a creative perspective.

Dreams are the things that make us get excited and buzzed, they’re a big part of living life and pretty much everyone has them. Often they consist of things like getting married and having kids but they also include things like writing novels, making movies and starting a business.

From that point dreams can get even more specific. You can dream of starting a business that eventually makes millions a year, or owning a bookshop chain across the country, or making the NYT bestseller list with a novel. They’re still dreams though as a lot of different factors need to come together to make them happen and not all of them are in your control.

Goals are milestone markers on the way to getting your dreams, but controllable by you. So if you were starting a business, the first goal might be to get your product and unique selling point defined, your next goal might be have your product in a shop of some kind, the next might be obtain an advertising plan so people can hear about you.

If you were doing something creative, it might be get a gallery worth of finished paintings, or write a series of novels. Either way, goals should be achievements that get you closer to those dreams, but something you can control and see yourself getting towards. It should be something relatively measureable, but it can still be a long-term thing and take years of effort to get to.

That’s where to-do lists come in. Sometimes each goal is huge and breaking it down into a list of tasks to tackle one by one can make the dreams and goals come closer inch by inch. It gives you something to focus on today in the here and now that isn’t as scary and overwhelming as dreaming of the NYT bestseller list or a million pound company.

Say that you’ve got your product and know why it’s good but you aren’t sure how to get the shop side of things going. The to-do list would make that easier. You can break down your goal into tasks, like:

  • Approach ‘this relevant’ shop chain about stocking your product.
  • Research the cost of getting a website set up to sell through.
  • Get website set up/Raise funds to pay someone else
  • Set up a facebook page that takes orders (or other useful social media)
  • Set up an Ebay account to sell through
  • Promote a launch event either physically or digitally (dependent on product)

Some of those can be broken down into smaller tasks again, but it gives the general idea, and each day when you get up you’ll have something you can work towards without worrying about how far you are from the dream. Before you know it you’ll have some of those goals passed (I fully believe in rewarding yourself at each milestone), and be well on your way to seeing your dream become a reality.

There will be tough days, there always are when you’re chasing dreams, but on those days I try to make sure a little something is done towards the goals and to-do list, even if it’s just to write a few more words of a story. Every day chipping away adds up until, step by step, you’ve reached the end. I personally don’t like making to-do lists, but time and time again, making one has helped my brain get through the fog of having a goal and feeling like I can’t get there. And there’s something amazingly satisfying about ticking things off to-do lists.

So if you have something that you’ve always dreamt of, work out what the exact dream is, break it down into milestones along the way and start making a to-do list of tasks to get you to that first goal. Then every day until you reach that goal, do something towards those tasks. And most importantly, keep dreaming.

Escaping Eternity: A Review

I was given a copy of this book by the author, Lainy Lane, in return for a review.

It didn’t take me long to work out that this was at least inspired by a true story and I felt this added a lot to the realism of the mother’s grief and pain. By far they were my favourite chapters in the book and were written incredibly well.

While I liked the chapters set in heaven, I felt there was a little bit of a strangeness to them. There was evidently some ideas about heaven that were taken from the Bible and were consistent with the Christian view of what heaven will be like, but on occasions these felt a little like they contradicted with the characters learning to be Guardian Angels, so I felt a little let down by this.

I also didn’t like the ending. I had to read the last chapter a couple of times to work out what the mother and father were actually doing. The first time I read it, it sounded like they were going to buy a new house, but on reading again I guess they probably weren’t, but I’m still not sure what they were getting up to and felt the endings from both points of view were incredibly abrupt. I know it’s because there’s a sequel, but this is one of those occasions where I really feel that it should be all in one rather than split across several stories.

So to sum up, incredibly moving and well written from an emotional perspective, but a bit confused by the plot and what the author is trying to say from the fiction side of things.

Angel of the Sands: Part 4

After waiting for a few minutes to see if anyone else intends to visit you for any reason you pad over to the entrance of the tent and push the flap to one side. Instantly the two muscular guards notice you and pull the opening material out of your way.

With a smile of thanks you come forward and look around you. Since you entered to eat, many more tents have been erected near yours, forming a sort of circle. Off to one side you see an outdoor fire with many more people gathered around it. You think you see Temullgei with his back to you, seated and eating, so you hurry off in the opposite direction, putting your current home in between the pair of you.

A few seconds later a young man notices you. His eyes go wide and he stares until he remembers something and falls to his knees before you, mumbling a phrase you think you might have heard before. An awkward pause develops while he continues to bow before you, his hands on the ground and his forehead not far off.

“Angel?” Temullgei calls from behind you. As you turn he comes up to place his hand on your elbow. “Do you not wish to rest?”

“No… I… I know so little of your people. I thought I could talk to your tribe.”

“You have my apology, angel. Only Khaads and our Khaadain can speak your language, and not even all of those. My tribe cannot tell you more.”

“Ah.” You hesitate and look away. You’ve been caught outside sneaking around.

After a nod he speaks to the man at your feet and encourages the stranger to go.

“Angel, you need not fear. I know you come from another place and feel a desire to go back, all Angels have done. Come, let us go talk. I will tell you what I know.”

Before you can reply he puts pressure on your arm to steer you back the way you came. It doesn’t seem overly forceful but you doubt the wisdom of refusing him and walk at his side.

The guards nod at you on your return and once again hold the entrance open for you. You stifle the sigh that threatens to escape your lips and pause just inside. Temullgei comes in front of you and frowns.

“I think you are frightened. Frightened of my intentions and frightened for your safety,” he says and pauses while his eyes move slowly down from your face before they snap back to your eyes. “You have no need to be scared, Angel. Your beauty will not lead to… pressure, is that the right word?”

You nod, aware he’s picked up on some of your fears if not all of them.

“I will not pressure you to give me any favours you do not wish to, and I shall not permit others to.” He smiles and comes to take your fingers. Your breath catches in your throat as he lifts the back of your hand to his mouth and presses it to his lips.

“Come, sit with me and we will talk.”

He keeps your hand in his, giving you little choice but to follow where he leads. You sit with him putting more distance between you than before. If he notices he pretends he hasn’t.

“It is true, you are the first female Angel to come to our people, but you are not the first Angel, and all those before you have been treated with respect by my tribe and many other tribes. You need not fear me, my people, or your future. I will ensure you are taken care of and protected for as long as you are with us.” He says these words while looking directly at you, his gaze steady and a gentleness in his eyes and tone, but a slight hint of something creeps in as his focus moves from your face again. If his words are true and you’re safe with him it doesn’t exclude the desire he’d hinted at several times now.

“There have been Angels before now?” You ask, wanting to steer the conversation away from yourself and find out a little more about his tribe’s attitude towards you. He nods.

“Three in our records. You are the last predicted.”

“Predicted?”

“Yes. It is why I learnt your language. The Khaadain knew you were coming. I have been waiting my whole life to meet you.” His chest swells as he gazes at you and his pride is evident. “I will have the honour of presenting you to our Khaadain when we reach them. There you can teach us as the Angels before have done.”

You look away, stunned by all he’s saying. These people think you’re a messenger or godlike creature but you’re only a human. Whatever he thinks you’re here for, you doubt you are. You contemplate telling him that you’re not what he thinks you are, but a yawn escapes you.

“You are tired. We can talk more when the sun is in the sky once again.” He places his hands under your arm, lifting you to your feet as he gets up himself. Before you can protest he steers you towards the bed.

What do you do?

Go to bed and keep your secret.

Tell him that you’re not an Angel.

This story is entirely free to the reader and will continue to be throughout, but as you might have gathered from the website around this I make my living from writing fiction. This post is just under 1000 words long and took me a few hours to write and polish. Although it’s definitely not a must, if you enjoyed this and want to say thank you in a monetary fashion please consider becoming a patron of mine at Patreon (a lot like kickstarter but more of a pledge per episode/installment sort of thing). You can also say thank you by sharing this with friends who might enjoy it or dropping me a message here or through my email address.

Crimson Harvest: A Review

I was gifted a copy of this ebook by Thom Mollohan in return for an honest review.

I was very intrigued by the premise for this novel and the blurb:

Could there be more than meets the eye in the handsome and charming Gage who has won over Heather’s friend, Jillian?

Sixteen-year-old Heather is a girl who just wants to fit in and have fun. But one night of breaking the rules sets into motion a terrifying series of events that launches her into a mystery that has at its heart an ancient evil.

Pulled into a world of darkness and fear that will nearly destroy her, her family, and her faith, can light yet overcome the darkness?

I was even more intrigued when I read the sample and found the book had a Vampire sort of twist, but still had a strong Christian element. I was impressed to find Dracula had this sort of feel so on the idea that this might be a similar style book I dove in.

The story was good and had plenty of tension. I definitely found I read through it quickly and wanted to know what happened at the end and I want a sequel. Heather was a brilliant character and there was a touch of mystery to the others I still want explaining.

My only disappointment with the book was that there seemed to be a little too much Christianity. I know that sounds a little odd when it’s that element that made me want to read the book in the first place but I felt like the author was trying to over play the God and faith side of things to make up for the dark topic, especially where Heather’s uncle was concerned, but it made the story drag in places where I wanted action. I think it laboured the point a little and would have felt more natural to not keep being reminded that her uncle didn’t quite believe and have the faith Heather did. But everything Heather went through was more natural feeling.

The ending was a little cheesy, especially with the throwback to Jesus being in the fire as a white figure in the old testament Bible story, but I can’t really say more than that without plot spoiling.

Over all I enjoyed the book and I’d read more from the author, especially in this series. I’d just like all the text to feel necessary.