Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Dead Line Chapter 20

Today's piece was interesting. Tom's Dad turned up. Odd, since he died two years ago - I always swore I'd never write a zombie yet here he is. I just want to avoid comparisons with Pratchett's Reg Shoe.

Monday, July 30, 2007

In Plain Sight

Mrs. Plunket closed the curtains and lit the single black candle. “There,” she said, laying out the lexicon cards on the parlour table, “We’ll see if your Wilfred’s up to a chat from the Other Side.”

She had the knack, that ladies achieve when they’ve hit seventy or so, of pronouncing capital letters. Her friend Edith nodded. “That was his chair,” she said, pointing to a sagging wingback next to the unlit gas fire. “He used to sit in that for hours.”

“Let’s pull it up to the table,” Mrs Plunket said. “He’ll feel at home then.”

The task completed, Edith went to the sideboard. “Would you care for a tipple?” she said. I’ve got Sherry, port or amaretto.”

“I don’t mind if I do.” Mrs Plunket smiled and helt out her thumb and forefinger. “Just a small amaretto, please.”

Edith poured that and a glass of sherry for herself. They sat on opposite sides of Wilfred’s chair and Mrs’ Plunket began the incantation. “Is there anybody there?” she said, her voice rising into a falsetto trill. “We’re looking for Wilfred Penkerton. Are you there, Wilfred?”

“I am, as it happens.” The voice came through clearer than any she’d ever encountered. Mrs Plunket opened her eyes to see him sitting at the table with them, though Edith’s form had become almost transparent.

“You’ve bin’ at my amaretto, haven’t you?” said Wilfred patting her hand. “She’s a sly one, my Edith. She worked out that the best way to hide the taste of bitter almonds was in almond bitters.”

© Rachel Green 2007
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Sunday, July 29, 2007

Sunny Laverstone

Harold opened up the tourist map of Laverstone. It was a simplified birds-eye view of the town with the major attractions picked out in larger drawings. The two churches, the museum and the manor, with its original seventeenth century mausoleum , were depicted with a cartoon gargoyle pointing out the best features.

“Wait a minute,” he said. “The Tattered Moon is on here.”

“Why shouldn’t it be?” Jasfoup asked. “It’s almost as old as the Manor.”

“But it burned down in 1756,” said Harold. “Only those with the Sight can see it.”

“That’s right.” Harold reached across and flipped the map over so that Harold could read the front page. “It’s the supernatural Tourist’s Map.”

© Rachel Green 2007
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Saturday, July 28, 2007

Say It With Flowers

“I don’t believe it.”

Harold skimmed the remainder of the letter and waved it at Jasfoup.

“What’s up?” the demon asked. “Have they cancelled your subscription to the butt-ugly dating agency?”

“What?” Harold’s forehead creased. “No. This is from the Lawn Bowling Federation. I’ve been banned.”

“For what?” Jasfoup stood up and read the letter over his shoulder. “Complaints have been made? By whom?”

“It’ll be that Mrs. Redd,” said Harold. “I was the only one to criticise her taking over Laverstone Bowling Club.”

“I thought it was her husband that ran it?”

“Ostensibly yes,” said Harold, “but he does whatever she tells him to. He takes his husbandly duties very seriously.”

“Ugh.” Jasfoup held up his hand and turned away. “I don’t need to know any more.”

“Sorry.” Harold looked at the letter again. “She claims that I’ve insulted her by suggesting that it’s her that runs the place, so she demanded that everybody send me to Coventry and bar me from playing.”

“Thus proving your point, yes?”

“Exactly.” Harold laughed. “That’s ironic.”

“So you’ve been banned from the bowling club?”

“Unofficially, yes, and there’s a move to ban me from every other club in the country, including the ones run by the Crown Green Association.”

“She can’t do that, surely? What about all your friends in the club.”

“Ah.” Harold sighed. “There’s the crux of the matter. Mr. Redd has stated he’ll disband the whole club if I return. I can’t allow my friends to suffer because she has a problem with me.”

“It’s a tough one.” Jasfoup patted him on the back. “Just a month away from your championship match, too.”

“I think that’s rather the point, isn’t it?” said Harold. “Stop me achieving something I wanted.”

“Send her an orchid,” said Jasfoup.

“Good idea.” Harold smiled. “Everybody loves orchids and she might reconsider.”

“Exactly,” said the demon. “There’s one in the potting shed all ready to go. Her name’s Audrey.”

© Rachel Green 2007
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Chapter 18

Done after three days and still only 1700 words. Sometimes non-writing life just gets in the way.

I do like how Vixen is shaping up, though. Saying prayers over those you kill is definitely a quirk.

excerpt from 'Dead Line'

Inspector White looked at the mud from the relative safety of the road. “What’s in this field?” he asked.

“Well…” DS Peters was uncertain of the question. “The body, sir, obviously.”

White scowled at him. “I know that,” he said. “The police cars, crime scene tape and coroner’s van give it away. I meant what crop?”

“Oh.” Peters looked down where several stalks still adhered to the mud on his Wellingtons. “Wheat, I think.”

“And a veritable bog after last night’s rain.” White looked up at the sky and back at the field. “The grass-”

“Wheat, sir.”

“-Wheat has been flattened for quite a distance around the body. Give the Met boys a call and ask them to send a chopper up, would you? I want to see the pattern.”

“Yes sir.” Peters reached for his radio.

White looked at his feet. “Before you do that, Peters, What size shoe are you?”

Peters looked down. “A ten, sir. Why?”

“Then lend me your wellies, lad. I haven’t got any with me and I’m damned if I’m going to ruin my brogues.”

© Rachel Green 2007

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Alphabet Project

“What’s this?” asked Harold, looking at an extensive 3D model Jasfoup had spent all night working on.

“I’m designing a housing estate with buildings made of the alphabet,” said Jasfoup. “Look! Here’s an A-frame building, here’s a bee-hive maisonette.”

Harold, examined the model further. “You know this alphabet project…”

“What about it?” Jasfoup looked over his shoulder.

“You’re not the first to make these H-block units.”

© Rachel Green 2007
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Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Chapter 15

Writing today went slowly. I have a nagging suspicion that all this chapter is filler up to the point where Winston sees the loa. We shall see. I'd rather have to cut during editing than fill.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Chapter 14

I'm still feeling crappy from this cold, but manager 2400 on this chapter today. I haven't analysed it yet, though. Tomorrow will be taken up mostly by reading.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Bookarazzi is an interesting site. It's a home of sorts, or rather an anteroom, of bloggers with book deals. The very kindly let me join even though my book won't be out until next year. I go through the site daily, finding the articles interesting or amusing, nodding my head as words jigsaw with experience.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Chapter 12 (2K)

1. Winston on the canalside - sets up the existence of the canal
2. Dredging - bottle - Winston's interest in bottles affirmed
3. Latitia and Winston - Latitia mothers him even though he's the elder
4. Mother's secret recipe - establishes an 'us and them' between the male and female members of the family
5. Winston's voices: hook
6. Winston steals a cake anyway - naughty boy
7. Sam - knew where Winston lived - stole the fetiche bottle - was stupid
8. Winston 'big brothers' sam - takes him into town - leaves him alone with Latitia in the bath

Questions:
a. Why has Winston got a plate in his head? Backstory?
b. How will Winston save Sam from gaol?
c. Winston's voices. Alcoholism?

Answers:
none

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Dead Line Chapter 11

2270 words

Alas, Harold is in love with Gillian but she isn't in love with him, though she recognises the relative safety of being with him. His treatment of Felicia is tempered by the fact the werewolf is Gillian's lover; besides, John the imp will dry the car out...

I try to run by the medium of every scene is there for a purpose. Since I often write by the seat of my pants, this often means that I have to have a reason, later in the story, for exactly why something happened. Sometimes I don't know at the time. This chapter, for example, shows:

(a) Harold so-very-human jealousy and spitefulness towards his partner's lover, despite their professional and familial relationship (note that he cooks Felicia's dinner)
(b) his warped sense of humour from association with a demon
(c) Julie siding with Harold against her sister because she depends on him
(d) Jasfoup's love of the arts and his cleverness.
(e) Jasfoup's easy friendship with Harold, and his sense of justice when it's him suffering
(f) Harold's unease with Gillian's diet
(g) His love for his mum
(h) Gillian and Felicia's heightened senses
(i) Gillian's genetic fear of mobs with torches (links her back to the cinematic tradition of vampires)

It also raises questions:
(1) Who wrote the crossword and how did they get it into the paper
(2) Where did the opera tickets come from? How convenient that the demon be missing.

and answers one:
(1) Harold stole the first victim's phone.

Only the omniscient view of the reader, and their knowledge of Vixen and her real name reveals the truth of the crossword- Having seen Mackenzie answer it, we know to read it 1 across, 1 down; 2 across, 2 down and so on. H&J don't know this.

I only wish I knew what Harold intends to do with the cream cake he put in his pocket in chapter 9.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Laverstone Manor

I had to sketch out a plan of Harold's house in order to plot Vixen's line of attack. I may end up having to plan out the whole town.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Stick Fighting seminar

A little Vigny stick technique - wow do my shoulders hurt - and then, since Neil and I had been talking about it, Canne: Italian stick fighting. What utter fun. We ended with a little Bartitsu, and a couple of throws, and how-to-get-out-of-having-a-knife-at-your-throat. What splendid fun.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Sales Target

“Hello there!”

Jasfoup gave a little wave as the door opened and flashed a set of perfect, white teeth.* “I’m Mr. Mugoto and this is my friend Virginia.”

“Virginia?” The woman looked at Harold with confusion all over her face. “That’s an odd name for a bloke.”

Harold coughed. “It’s represents me being born again in the purity of spirit,” he said.

“Born again?” The woman’s tone turned suspicious.

“Indeed so!” Jasfoup waved a pamphlet off her. “If you make a lifetime subscription today you can be born again too, or else spend eternity in the fires of Hell.”

“Not today, thank you.” The door slammed.

Jasfoup made a not in his book. “Another one volunteered for the pits,” he said. “That’s 317 today.”




*Harold still felt sorry the bloke he’d got them off.

© Rachel Green 2007
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Thursday, July 12, 2007

How odd.

I'd outlined a chapter of Dead Line to write today which involved Vixen, in plain clothes, going to the church to look up records about Harold. I'd allocated 300 words out of 2000 for this. What actually happened was Vixen and the local vicar, Rev. Mackenzie end up fliting and spending the whole 2.1K in each other's company. It advanced the plot, so I let them be.

I say, did you hear the one about the vicar and the technomage assassin...

Drifting

Harold waved to the passers-by, their oars dipping into the water against the heavy current. “Lovely day, isn’t it?”

He was oblivious to the hard stares and the terse replies. He was happy to just lie back in the boat.

“More tea, Harold?” Jasfoup had brewed another pot in the bow. “I’ll have the bacon sandwiches ready in a minute.”

“Thanks, Jasfoup.” Harold sat up and accepted the cup. “Do you think the imps need refreshment?

Jasfoup looked over the side. “Nah,” he said to the panting faces. “They’re good for another ten miles.”

“Excellent” Harold sank back again and drifted gently upstream.

© Rachel Green 2007
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Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Revenge

Harold gated into the front room where an lady was sleeping in a chair in front of a muted television. Seconds later three imp gates opened at various points in room and Devious, Delirious and John dropped to the floor, their hooves muted by the faded Axminster.

“Split up and find it.” Harold looked at each of them in turn. “We’ll take a floor each. I’ll take the cellar. If this old lady wakes up she won’t be able to see any of you lot but she’d see me.”

Devious prodded the woman. Ruby Blesset shifted position and began to snore. Harold narrowed his eyes. “You had to push it, didn’t you?” he said. “No pudding for you tonight.”

Harold had hardly begun searching the cellar when Delirious appeared with the shell in his hand. “Where did you find it?”

“Up yer’ bum.” Delirious grinned, showing his triple row of sharp teeth. “It was on his bedside table. Easy peasy to just take it back.”

“Excellent.” Harold paused, his gaze lingering on the eight foot battlefield set out with troops of elves and goblins. There was something familiar about the terrain depicted, but he couldn’t think what. He shook his head and went up the stairs into the kitchen to let himself out of the back door. Portal use was tricky and he didn’t want to wake the old lady.

The three imps followed him.

One thing left to do,” said Harold, handing Devious a large sack from the back of his van. “Nip inside and put that in Tom-tom’s bedroom.”

“Is it dangerous?” asked the imp. “What’s inside?”

Harold smiled. “Cats.”

© Rachel Green 2007
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Tuesday, July 10, 2007

An Ungodly Child

An excerpt of "An Ungodly Child" is online at Discovered Authors
click on 'Library' and look for 'Regional Winners': Rachel Green

Monday, July 09, 2007

Dead Line

First draft of chapter five done. It was a bit of a mundane chapter - lots of talking and I kept thinking: "What's the point of this chapter?" The answer was to introduce the character of Julie, Felicia's sister, the existence of imps and to establish the idea that ghosts were self-sentient beings, able to socialise and gossip.

An Old Cliché

now online at Norm Blog

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Lucrative Trade

Coliniel flicked through his book, a frown creasing his normally beatific features. “That’s odd,” he said, a lopsided grin of anxiety curling his lips. “You don’t appear to be in here.”

“P’raps I’m not dead then.”

The angel looked down at the mangled corpse. “I think we’re safe in assuming you’re dead,” he said. “I just don’t understand why you’re not in the book.”

“Nor mine.” Jasfoup scrolled through his pocket PC. “He’s not due downstairs.”

“I can answer this.” Harold Waterman, the businessman mage, held up a handwritten sheet of paper. “He sold his soul on e-bay for £1.76, collection only. I was the highest bidder.”

“Impressive.” Jasfoup nodded, kicking himself for not setting up automated notifications on search criteria.

“Stupid.” Colinial glared at the spirit.

“Come on,” Harold said. “I’ve already got you a six month contract with Disney. They pay me £200 a day to hire you.”

© Rachel Green 2007
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Saturday, July 07, 2007

Polite Company

“One should never do anything that can not be talked about after dinner.” Jasfoup smiled and stirred his tea three times counter-clockwise.

“So you’re not going to have sex with my sister again then?” Felicia’s face was a mask of innocence. “Ow!” She glared at Julie.

Jasfoup laughed and shot a glance at Harold. “That rather depends upon who I have dinner with,” he said. “Certainly I should avoid eating with those of a sensitive nature.”

“That’s a relief.” Harold held out his plate. “Dump a few more tentacles in there, would you.”

“We call it calamari here,” said Julie, dishing out the battered squid. “Tentacles are most certainly never discussed in polite company.”

Felicia caught the glance she shared with Jasfoup. “Not before lights-out, anyway.”

© Rachel Green 2007
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Friday, July 06, 2007

cignette from Dead Line

Harold shrieked when the demon sat down and slid to the far end of the bench. Jasfoup sat in quiet contemplation for several minutes, watching the ducks squabble over bread that a small boy was throwing inexpertly into the water.

“I can’t begin to understand what’s happened if you don’t talk to me, Harold,” he said at last. “You’ve changed so much over the last twenty four hours.”

“I wish you’d just leave me alone.” Harold stared moodily at the edge of the water, where the waves from the rowing boats were more like piebald donkeys than white horses.

“But why? What’s happened, Harold? We used to be so close.”

“No we didn’t.” Harold stared at the demon. “I’ve never met you before in my life.”

© Rachel Green 2007

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Dead Line.

Should chapter two be this boring? It's 1700 words about Tom and his ailing mother, his desire for magic to return to the world (He doesn't know that it never went away) and his love for Ruby, though he mistreats her to stop her carping at him. He comes across as a little simple but cunning, which is good.

Maybe it'll liven up when I go back to it.

Scene 73

Scene 73

Julie crouched with her back against the low wall and glanced at the demon. “Did you get the firecrackers set up?” she asked, accessing her well and readying a sleep dart.

“You’re joking.” Jasfoup peered over the parapet, waiting for the explosions to distract the guards. “This is England in September. You can’t get fireworks until at least next week.”

“Yes you can.” Julie tried to remember where she’d seen them. “There were some in the Chinese supermarket.”

“Were there?” Jasfoup hunkered down again. “I wish I’d known.”

“Why?” Julie felt suddenly afraid. “What did you use instead?”

“Claymore mines and thirty wind-up robots.” Jasfoup grinned. “That should take their minds off us.”

© Rachel Green 2007

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

‘Like a Native’

“Tea? Before I even asked for one?” Harold was pleasantly surprised but took the proffered cup and saucer. “Thank you Devious.”

When he finished it, the empty cup was whisked away to be replaced by a full one, sugar already added and a little froth in the centre still rotating from the stir.

This went on all day.

“Pinch me Jasfoup,” he said. “I must be dreaming. No sullen looks, protestations of being too busy or grumbling about menial tasks.”

“From whom?” Jasfoup pinched him.

“Devious.” Harold rubbed his arm. “You didn’t have to pinch me that hard.”

“You asked me to. Devious is on vacation, anyway. You’ve got an impostor.”

“I have?” Harold looked carefully at his servant. “You’re not Devious,” he said. “Who are you?”

“Anna, sir.” The woman, indistinguishable from the imp apart from the increase of 4’ in height, the skin colour (Caucasian rather than grey) and the species (human instead of imp), smiled. “I’m from the Domestic Agency.”

“I’m glad you pointed that out, Jasfoup, said Harold, smiling at the woman. “I might have embarrassed myself by not noticing.”

© Rachel Green 2007

Dead Line

I re-wrote the prologue that I wrote yesterday. Now it's leaner, tighter writing. I then went on to write chapter one, which turned out to be 1840 words. I'll edit that tomorrow and see how it pans out. So far it's quite exciting, though I've glossed over a lot of the police work and concentrated on the characters instead.

Monday, July 02, 2007

A Long, Long Road

Harold looked out at the featureless plain. A road stretched from where he stood to the far horizon, lit by an ochre son and bordered on each side by arid brown plains. He gave a long sigh and looked to the ancient walnut of a man beside him.

“I’ve got to walk that?” he asked. “It seems awfully long way.”

The man gave what appeared to be a laugh, although Harold worried that he might have an asthma attack instead. “You sure do.” the old man said. “Either walk it or stay put.”

Harold clapped the old man on the back. “Thanks old-timer,” he said. “I don’t know where I’d have been without you.”

“You’d be right here,” said the walnut. “Just as you will be when you’ve finished.” He moved off, his body still juddering with laughter. “You can get here from anywhere,” he said, his voice fading as he walked back to his shack. “You just can’t get anywhere from here.”


© Rachel Green 2007

A Shilling Wasted (170)

A Shilling Wasted.

Jasfoup laid the book on the top of Harold’s tomb. “He loved his books,” he said. “Let’s hope he enjoys this one from beyond the grave.”

“It’s unlikely.” Frederick looked at the title. “I don’t think he’s read Mills and Boon since he was in junior school.”

“It’s the thought that counts.” Jasfoup turned away and began to walk back to the house. Gillian hurried after him. “Weren’t you bound to Harold?” she asked.

The demon nodded, extending his chin forward in a show of solemnity. “That’s right,” he said. “I was bound to him until his death.”

“Then why are you still here?”

Jasfoup’s brows furrowed. “You have a point, you know.” He looked back towards the tomb. “While he was alive I could coma and go as I pleased. Now that he’s dead…” He frowned at looked at his arm as if he expected it to disappear. “I should have gone straight back down again and only come back if I was officially summoned.”

“Which means that we’ve buried him alive.” Gillian turned and began running.

© Rachel Green 2007

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Competition result

This was the prize for the competition I set yesterday.
30-06-07 Watercolour001s
It's an A4 watercolour entitled 'Jasfoup's Find', over a printed page from 'Nephilim's Child'.

The winner, chosen at random by Kat but coincidentally the best answer, was swweeks. Congratulations Stephanie.

It was indeed a spiny murex seashell.

Stake Out

The gibbous moon threw everything into stark contrast, the brightly lit walls of Park Hall casting shadows so dark that the dead would be afraid to enter them. Not so Felicia, who crouched at the edge of a buttress in this Victorian folly. Her i-pod on a belt around her furry waist, she used her keen sense of scent to detect the presence of men and beasts.

The wall to her right gave off a faint wisp of ozone, indicating a fluctuation in the technographic field. Someone was coming out.

Claws flicked the music off. There was no need to warn her quarry with the sound of thrash metal.

© Rachel Green 2007