This would be about my writing.

Chapter 16: When We Gave the Healer a Pink Slip

New to the story? Need to catch up? Catch up here: Chapters of Our Party

“There is no way in hell I am going to get our worthless healer from someone with a dragon fetish,” the paladin said. “She can damn well stay with him.”

“I thought there was some reason before we couldn’t just leave her,” Seamus said from the floor.

“Map,” the berserker mumbled into his pillow.

“Ah shit,” Ailbhe said. “Fine, we’ll get her, but I’m waiting until tomorrow.” She rolled over. And snuggled under the covers. “I’ll just slide the address under your door,” the wizard said as he made a strategic retreat.

When the party woke again it was late morning. Thankfully Iain had recovered enough from his small berserkgang the previous day to order breakfast on his own. After searching for Fandango, Ailbhe gave her order to Seamus and left by herself in search of the town’s blacksmith. What she found did not impress her.

Obviously a mom and pop kind of place, it only offered armor for men. She was forced to take a chainmail shirt. It was a men’s version. The female version was less shirt and more strategically placed bits of leather and metal.

“It’s quite popular with the ladies!” the blacksmith insisted as she glared at him.

“Yeah, I’m sure that’s exactly who it’s popular with. No thanks, I like my internal organs to stay internal,” she said. “Give me the shirt already.”

Breakfast was over when she finally made it back to the inn. Outside Iain and Seamus were loading the carriage that was miraculously still in the stables with all of their stuff.

“Chainmail dress?” The berserker asked with a raised eyebrow.

The shirt was a little long on her. “It was better than the alternative, and I don’t want to talk about that,” she said.

He shrugged. “Riding in or out?”

“Out,” she said. “But you drive. I need to split the skirt on this thing.”

And so it was that they headed out with a badly drawn map, a paladin cutting a hole her chainmail dress, and a berserker driving. They didn’t get as many stares as Iain thought they might, though. That was probably partially due to the fact that it was harder to identify Ailbhe as a paladin without her armor. Thankfully she was done by the time they got to the next town.

The place was a mess. Debris covered the ground, hung up on corners and poles. There were posters plastered to every still standing wall declaring the missing and the dead. Townspeople stood together in shell shocked clumps as the carriage rolled through. “Damn,” Iain muttered.

“If Fandango were here, I’d make him repair every single one of these buildings,” Ailbhe said.

Iain grunted. “Well he’s not and there’s no way we can, so let’s just grab Ciardhe and get the hell out of here.”

Somehow they managed to navigate the maze of streets with their almost indecipherable map. It was more through sheer luck that they didn’t have to knock on every door looking for her. Luck and a phallic object that had fallen out of a second story window. “The only person I know that would have a sparkly purple one of those is Ciardhe,” the ‘serk said as he reined in the horses.

“I very much did not want to know she had one,” the paladin replied. “Good gods that’s nasty. And kind of disturbing.”

“And that’s our healer,” he said. “Better not let Seamus see that or we’ll have to fix his brain again.”

“I promise I won’t use enchanted tea of questionable origin on him again,” she said as she hopped down. “Not that we have any other type.”

“Or we could, you know, not use enchanted tea on him,” he said, jumping down as well.

Ailbhe banged on the side on the side of the carriage. “Seamus, we’re going to go get Ciardhe. You wait here and guard the carriage.”

“Guard the carriage? He’s about as useful a guard as Ciardhe is a virgin sacrifice,” Iain said as they walked up to the house.

“It’s better than saying ‘Stay here so your brain doesn’t break’,” she said as she knocked on the front door.


“Besides, I hear some gods Like their sacrifices to have some experience,” she said.

Before Iain could respond, the door opened and an older woman glared out at them. “Can I help you?”

Ailbhe cleared her throat. “I beg your pardon for the intrusion, but I believe you have given shelter to our poor healer who was swept away by the flood.”

“That thing belongs to you?” the woman asked, making a face. “Who the hell are you people?”

“I am the Paladin Ailbhe, and this is my boon companion, the Berserker Iain.”

Her ‘boon companion’ looked like he wanted to throw up.

“Whatever,” the woman said. “Just as long as you aren’t going to freeload off us too.”

“We’re here to take her away,” Iain said.

With a sniff, the woman turned and led them inside. There were clear signs of the healer’s presence in the house. If there had been signs of water damage, Ailbhe would have thought someone funneled all the debris brought by the flood into the house. The woman walked past the mess without pausing and led them up the stairs.

“Treabhar, get your lazy ass out here!” the woman yelled. “And bring that freeloader with you.”

There was some scuffling from inside the room before Ciardhe and the greasiest man Ailbhe’d ever seen came out. The healer stared balefully at the party members.

“How’d you find me?” she asked.

“A wizard and something sparkly and purple you left lying in the street,” the berserker said.

The paladin glared at her. “It’s time to go, Ciardhe. Say goodbye to your little boy toy.”

“But I love him!” the healer wailed. “You can’t separate the two of us, you just can’t!”

“Ciardhe, we are not bringing someone with no skills into the party,” Ailbhe said.

The healer grinned. “Oh, he’s got skills.”

“Willingness to have kinky sex does NOT count as a life skill,” Iain said.

“But I don’t want to leave my boyfriend!”

Ailbhe turn on her heal. “Fine, stay with him. Get married if you care that much. Been nice knowing you.” She and Iain walked out the house as Ciardhe watched them go, open mouthed.


The Day that Wouldn’t End

I actually wrote this a while ago, but never got the chance to post it, so it’s been sitting on my phone collecting virtual dust. Yesterday, however, was “one of those days”. And since I’m sure you’re as tired of hearing me bitching as I am about having something to bitch about, I decided to post this today. This is my rant in poem form; while it isn’t 100% accurate to yesterday’s circumstances (at least I hope not) there were certainly homicidal thoughts. Here, without further adieu, is the original poem, The Day that Wouldn’t End.

The Day that Wouldn’t End
Saturday was the start of it
And I an unwilling part of it
Though we all did our best
There was not a moment’s rest
There were problems and complaints galore
Until we threw up our hands and said: “No more!”
But it just didn’t stop the whole night through
(I was lucky to leave before two)
Then, just when we thought it was done
We came back and found it was only begun
The world gave the worst it could send
It gave us the day that wouldn’t end

It wasn’t until sometime Sunday,
Or maybe even as long as Monday
That we realized it was the same day
(The changing time caused the delay)
It was the same bitching and griping
The exact same petty sniping
We changed people and rooms
But the new ones were the same goons
They were just going by a new name
Like they were playing some sick game
Trying to make our fragile minds bend
Here on the day that wouldn’t end.

And we were affected, it’s true
Or at least those that weren’t were few
Our tiredness started to show
Though our service didn’t slow
Normal people would be astounded
At the homicidal thoughts that abounded
We’re lucky no one was killed
Or a drop of blood spilled
That we won’t, though, I wouldn’t bet
It just means we haven’t yet
I guess it will all depend
On if this day will ever end.

It’s Here! It’s Here!

Yes, that’s right, my first anthology is here!

Isn’t the cover beautiful?

There are fifteen stories included, all about archaeology of alien sites. I wrote the story “Relevant Information From the Tel Najmah Site”. It’s an “edited” diary of a rather blustery archeologist as he uncovers an ancient crash site. Interestingly enough, my favorite parts are probably the editorial intrusions. I got to snark at my own character. Here’s an example:

“I have removed several paragraphs of nonsensical hypotheses as to how Martha could have removed the monument. His theories include American spies, Papal conspiracies, teams of magicians, or perhaps angels or some other supernatural phenomena. These theories transition back to the day’s events when Mr. Fletcher recalls how one of the hired men tells him a native story of strange occurrences all over the region.”

If this sounds like something you might be interested in, you can buy it outright in it’s various forms: http://daganbooks.com/2012/07/10/in-situ-is-now-available/

Or, if you are low on funds (like me), you can try to win a copy over on Good Reads! http://daganbooks.com/2012/07/07/enter-to-win-a-copy-of-in-situ-from-goodreads/

I just can’t get over how amazing it is to have one of your works in print.

May Has Not Been Kind

This really has not been a pleasant month for anyone where I work. Between employee and guest accidents, people breaking down on the road, and family emergencies, I don’t think anyone has been happy. The people at our corporate office think we’re nuts with how many accidents there have been. Thankfully no employees have died (though one almost cut off his thumb with a table saw). We have had some loose family members, though.

There have been plumbing disasters and people who couldn’t get into their room (the lock broke and there wasn’t anyone from maintenance on duty. We had to put them in another room for the night.) It really seems like it’s been one thing after another all month long.

That aside, there have been other, small things. Things that guests do that really annoy me. Like demand a room with a view on a holiday weekend. When they booked a week in advance. I’m sorry, some of the rooms have trees that have grown up in front of them over the years. When you cut it so close on a holiday weekend, that’s what you’re going to get. Of course I would never actually say that to a guest, but sometimes I wish I could.

My muse also seems to have taken the month off. While I did finish up/submit two stories this month, I didn’t really write much besides a flash for the Shock Totem contest. I don’t know where she’s vacationing, but she’d better hurry up and get her muse-y butt back here. I have another story I need to finish and polish for Dagan Books. (Yes, I am going to try to do more than my usual very last minute edits this time.)

I am starting to think that every year just picks a month to be bad. That at the beginning of the year Father Time spins a wheel and whatever month the wheel lands on is going to be bad news. Maybe he spins multiple wheels for multiple people and places. Maybe my allergies are getting to me. Or maybe I’m just nuts. Hopefully with this month (mostly) out of the way, things will be better around here, and I won’t keep bitching about stupid things. We’ll see how that pans out. I’ll keep you posted. Or I’ll keep writing blogs. Or something.

I can’t think of anything else to say, though I was kind of hoping for at least another 200 or so words. Instead, here are some pictures I took while bored at work.

The amazing card castle.

It’s weight bearing too!

Remember, life’s not always fun. That’s why there are card castles.

Chapter 9: Horse Thieves

New to the story? Need to catch up? Catch up here: Chapters of Our Party

Ailbhe and Iain looked at one another. “Okay, but who are you? And second, there’s the matter of a horse. If you haven’t noticed, sir, neither of us have one,” the now healer said.

“I am the ranger Arth and I’ve just come from the village of Shropshur where your berserker is ravaging. And the second is problem easily remedied,” the man said. He turned in his saddle and whistled towards the trees. All was silent for nearly a minute before something crashed through the underbrush towards them.

Ailbhe grabbed at her sword and Iain at the spear strapped to his back as the bushes before them shook.

A large, black stallion emerged and stepped out onto the track. Miraculously it wore a bridle, though no saddle. It snorted and pawed at the earth before thrusting it’s snout against Iain’s chest, much to the former berserker’s dismay.

The mounted man watched with amusement. “You do not seem acquainted with horses and yet you are a paladin.”

Iain glared. “I’m not a-” he was stopped mid sentence by an elbow to the side.
“What Iain is trying to say is that he has not been a paladin for long,” Ailbhe said. She took hold of the stallion’s bridle and gently pulled its head towards herself, whispering to it.

“An honorable job choice, sir,” the man said.

“It wasn’t exactly a choice,” Iain muttered.

Ailbhe swung herself up onto the stallion and offered a hand down to Iain. He took it and used it to help pull himself up behind Ailbhe.

Arth swung his horse around. “I suppose there is an interesting story behind that statement, but now we must ride.” He spurred his horse and took off back down the track.

Ailbhe followed with Iain bouncing along behind her. “I hate horses,” he muttered as he clung tightly to her waist.

They rode for a few minutes before she asked. “Where do you suppose he got this one?”

“What do you mean?” Iain asked. “Maybe it was wild or something.”

“I hate to break this to you, but horses don’t come with bridles, or trained to take riders,” she said.

“I knew that,” he muttered.

“So,” she said, ignoring him, “We’re still left with the question of where this horse came from.”

“Since when have you ever cared where something we needed came from?” he asked. “I swear you’re acting more like a paladin now that you’re a healer.”

Ailbhe grunted. “I just don’t want whoever’s horse got stolen coming after us,” she said. “I don’t know if we could take them right now.”

Iain grunted. They rode in silence and soon Arth’s horse slowed its pace. The ranger looked around, twisting in his saddle.

“What’s going on?” Ailbhe asked.

Arth swung his horse around. “There’s something in the woods. Can you not feel it, paladin?”

“Er, sure I do,” Iain said. He whispered in Ailbhe’s ear, “What am I supposed to be feeling?” He held on tighter as the horse they sat on flattened its ears against its skull, and sidled up away from the direction which the Ranger looked.

“Judging from our horse’s reaction, it’s probably a demon,” she murmured.

Arth nodded. “Ride quickly. Even with a paladin, I should not want to fight with a demon.” He spurred his horse forward again and Ailbhe followed suit.

They rode for another ten minutes before they came to a village. A gaping hole marred the wall surrounding it.

“That was not there when I left,” the ranger mumbled as they approached the gates.

Inside was worse, with whole buildings collapsed and others in flames. Even with such destruction, it seemed none of the residents were too grievously injured. Several were forming a fire line to try to put out the blaze.

“What happened here?” Ailbhe asked.

“This is all the work of your companion, Ciardhe the Berserker,” the ranger said.

“She’s not a ‘serk,” Iain said. “Well I mean I guess she is now, but she’s not supposed to be.”

Arth gave him a hard look. “Then what is she ‘supposed’ to be.”

“A healer,” Ailbhe said as her fingers brushed the hilt of her sword. “I’m supposed to be a paladin, and this is supposed to be your berserker.” She put an arm around Iain’s shoulder and ignored the death glare he gave her. “It’s my fault we’re like this. I was in a fight with hellspawn and well,” she shrugged.

“Demon sorcery! I should have known,” he said. “That certainly explains the way she was acting.”

Iain slithered off the horse and looked around. A few women moved quickly from one building to the next. He approached them. “Where’s Ciardhe?”

“We’re sorry, good paladin, but you have arrived too late. Ciardhe left when she had finished raping and pillaging.”

“Well damn,” Ailbhe murmured, “She might be the worst healer in the history of existence, but she’s a better ‘serk than Iain.”

“And the horse you road in on, Ailbhe,” Iain growled as he stalked back. “You’re the worst paladin ever and I don’t know how you keep your job.”

“I didn’t mean it that way, Iain, and you know it.” She turned in her saddle and offered him her hand. He ignored it. She shrugged. “Which way did she go?”

Arth pointed to a hole in the wall. “That was not there when I left.”

“Great, let’s go,” she said and turned the horse.

They continued in silence for several miles before Iain let Ailbhe pull him up. Afterwards they sped up and cantered through the forest, following the distinctive trail. Ciadhe hadn’t run through the forest so much a bulldozed her way through it.

“I wonder if hellspawn is still with her,” Ailbhe muttered.

“Of course it is,” Iain said from behind her. “She might be a ‘serk, but there’s no way in heck she could do this all on her own.”

“Great,” she said. “Just great.”

They rode a while longer before the woods opened up into farmland and the trail abruptly ended. It looked like Ciardhe had changed tactics. That did not, however, explain the angry mob that stood in their path.

One of the men pointed at them and yelled, “That’s it! That’s my horse!”

Did and To Do

So it might have been a while since I last posted. And by a while, I mean..way too long for me to write here without feeling embarrassed. Some things that have happened since my last post:

June ended (thank God) and I’m still alive
I’ve finished and submitted a story to the FISH anthology over at Dagan
I’ve started another short story that doesn’t’ want to stay short
I still haven’t gotten back to work on the novella/novel
My old computer blue screened
I bought a new computer I’ve named Bathshiba (it’s a Toshiba)
Worked the busiest days since the beginning of the year. Still not as bad as fall, though.
Cleaned out the last of my uncle’s crap from the other house.
Ripped up carpeting, tack strips and carpet padding from over there.
Cleaned and tried to do some general maintenance
I’ve lived through a (comparatively minor) earthquake
I am looking forward to a hurricane while I’m at work on Sunday (not)

So there you go. My life for the past two months condensed into a short list. There have also been several books read and a lot of cartoon watching (don’t judge, The Real Adventures of Jonny Quest was an awesome series, not only because Jonny and Hadji were awesome, but Jessie actually did stuff!). I do feel a little bad that I haven’t gotten more done (like that novel) but working, both at my paying job and at the other house seem to have eaten a lot of my dwindling free time (I’m holding steady at one day off a week, but when that one day falls can vary). I’m hoping, though, that I will be able to get some serious writing done before the really busy season starts, though.

Supercharged Immune system, ACTIVATE! Work has been beating down on me, and is currently trying to infect me. I refuse to be sick. Do you hear me? I refuse! /random interjection

To compliment my “Did List” I suppose I should put up a “To Do” list:

Survive work
Finish cleaning/remodeling the other house
Refuse to get sick from work (Let’s just say there’s crud going around at work)
Finish my Fat Girl in a Strange Land story
Get a friend’s blog up and running
Try not to be driven insane by work
Clean our house, lord it needs it
Work on shiny things
Read more books
Try not to commit homicide at work (I’m joking. Most of the people I deal with are lovely. Most of the people.)
FINISH THAT NOVEL! (This really shouldn’t be so far down on the list…)

I promise I’ve got oodles of pictures I need to post (some other time) and other blogs I need to write (again, some other time). Someone please be sure to smack me once in a while and make sure I actually do so? Thanks.

Remember, just because you did it doesn’t mean it’s done. And yes, I mean you, cleaning!

Return of the Revenge of the Mad Gardener

It is once again weed ripping season, and it seems I’m the only one who has even a minimal amount of time to do so (despite being the only member of the household that works 40 hours a week). I am not writing this post to complain, however. I’m writing it to show off my new hat! I can’t remember if I ever showed you all the old mad gardener hat. I loved it to death. The only problem with it was that it actually belonged to my mother. For some reason she didn’t seem to want me decorating it or wearing it around the house or anything fun like that. I might or might not have mentioned that I was given my own hat for Christmas. Now, it’s not as nice a hat as the one my mother has, but I that’s okay since I can decorate this one.

This is the hat in question. As you can see, I haven't done that much to it, just added a chin strap and a bit of decoration. Nothing too much, right?

Nothing outrageous, just a little fashion. Though I suppose I should let you see the decoration I added to it.

Yes, those are peacock feathers. They make me incredibly happy.

I attached the peacock feathers to a beautiful broach given to me by one of my friends. I love my hat more than I can express; I just have to be careful not to take it out when it’s windy.

As an aside I’ll talk about writing for a little bit. My interview over at Dagan Books is live. You can read it here. I’ve written a novella for a contest. When the contest is finished, I’m going to turn it into a novel. On a related note, I’ve discovered I can write 30,000 words in a month if I try. At the same time I have to ignore the little things, like friends, family and regular bathing (that last one was a joke). Back to the point of the matter, though. What I’m trying to say is that hopefully by the end of summer I will have the completed first draft of a novel I never intended to write. Yipee!

Remember, the novel you end up writing is probably the one that ambushed you and draged you off by the throat.

Please comment; comments make me feel loved.