Monthly Archives: July 2015

The Reluctant Prophet

Hill of Cashall

#BlogBattle brought to you by Rachael Ritchey, author of the Beauty Thief

The prompt this week is prophet.
Genre: Fantasy YA
Word Count: 1000

The Reluctant Profit
By Tracey Delaplain

Moiré lifted her cloak and stepped over the beckoning puddle, hesitating just long enough to catch her reflection. “Don’t look. Do not look,” she chided in the direction of her reflection. Failing to heed her own advice, her gaze locked on the water which was now swirling in the stagnant air, a vision taking hold against her will.

The small boy was ashen with rasping breath, sweat dripping from his brow and his life light fading. She had seen this child in the village but didn’t recognize the woman kneeling at his side wailing. The mother’s grief, however, was unmistakable and universal.

Moiré reached a hand toward the reflection but the vision cleared and the child disappeared leaving her spent and bereft. Falling to the damp ground Moiré begged, ” Why me Auntie? What good is a vision with half the pieces missing? Why?” The air was thick and fetid; Clara, cold in her grave, did not answer.

A fortnight had passed since her Aunt’s death and Moiré’s visions had increased in magnitude every day since. Thinking their time together would be endless, she had skipped out of her lessons with Clara more often than not. All the pleading in the world couldn’t compete with Moiré’s reluctance to carry the mantle, “I am no prophet,” she had insisted pushing back at her beloved Aunt.

The silence of the burial ground was breached by the snap of a twig and a vaguely familiar voice. “A vision was it?” the traveler extended his hand offering assistance, “May I?” Moiré shook her head no and rose from a crumpled heap of skirts and cloak with as much dignity as possible, swiping at a tear.

“Do I know you Sir?”

“Did you not see me coming?”

“You have me at a disadvantage I’m afraid, my head was down when you approached, I did not see you.”

“That’s not what I meant and you know it. I have frequented your dreams many times, Moiré. “I am at your service ma’am,” not offering his name. He extended his hand palm up in the same manner he would approach a skittish horse. The man was dressed in a dusty black cloak, his boots scuffed and well-worn; a costume of sorts she sensed. He was too tall and broad for an ordinary traveler. He was out-of-place in space or time; she wasn’t sure which and was convinced that she could care less.

“You have the look of a bard,” turning away dismissing him with the insult, “your tale does not ring true. Good day Sir.” His handsome face and piercing violet eyes were perhaps familiar but she did not dream. Dreams were pleasant escapes for other people, a charming manifestation of ordinary wishes. She had been cursed with visions. “You know nothing of my dreams,” her voice cracking with a deep sadness, for she had once dreamt of a normal life with ordinary thoughts and every day challenges.

He continued as if he’d read her mind, “You aren’t normal and it’ll do you little good to deny your destiny. You’ve scarcely learned anything, wallowing in your childish rebellion.” Moiré kept walking, her heart pounding, “How did he know my name, only Clara called me Moire?” she wondered.

His voice softened, “Are they not painful Little One, the visions?” Her steps stuttered and he knew she was listening, “The visions will keep coming, as will I. You can learn to control them.” Under his breath he whispered, “If you weren’t so pig-headed.”

“I heard that. Be gone,” she commanded and waved a hand in dismissal.

“Call me when you grow up, Sweetheart, if there’s still time. I fear your gift may well destroy you.” He could not walk away despite his anger. Clara had warned him that she would be his greatest opponent.

She will test your patience but you are the only Teacher who can reach her. Our people will be lost without a prophet. I have failed, my love was too protective. She needs your warrior’s strength to succeed.

He reached deep for a weapon she would understand, “Silence, let the lessons begin. You will learn or perish.” Showing no mercy for the willful Priestess, he bent his visions in her direction, firing in rapid sequence. As he suspected she was helpless against the onslaught.

Her neighbor, Mrs. Fitz, crying and rocking alone in silence where Mr. Fitz should be.

Mick lying face down in the mud, a hoof print on his back.

Her best friend, Kate, lying in a pool of blood, an empty baby blanket clutched to her breast.

Images of death and secrets and vile crimes whipped in and out of her head leaving her breathless.

“Stop, please make them stop,” grabbing her throbbing head she collapsed under the burden. “I can’t help them; I’m nothing in the face of their suffering.”

Her despair tugged at his heart. He reached for her and she accepted his hand in temporary surrender. “Moiré, we mortals suffer, it is known. You can’t stop the suffering but you can learn to control what and when you see. Together we will set boundaries. You were born to bridge the gap between man and the Gods. Without limits your visions will destroy you. We do not ask this of you.”

“You see things and invade my dreams. Why don’t you play the Prophet?”

The traveler lifted a brow, pleased, “So I have not broken your spirit, I see. You have a warrior’s blood and I will show you no mercy,” he promised.

“More fanciful tales, Bard?”

“Enough, Moiré. You must learn to close your mind to our people’s daily lives but open yourself to receive the messages from the ancient elders and to translate the prophecies of the stones. Our ordinary burdens are made lighter with guidance from the ancestors. You are the channel. I can not go where you go. You alone can save our people. Let me teach you, for it is written, you are The Prophet.”

Whiskey For My Men

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PHOTO PROMPT © G.L. MacMillan

Whiskey For My Men

“Whiskey for my men, beer for my horses,” a sleeve against his mouth Max swallowed the fire and reached for his guitar. The usual camp noises were muffled: a rustling of bedrolls and saddles, the horses chewing on the day’s events, a soft bellow from a calf. The bottle passed wordlessly from man to man, their shared grief masked by the slow burn of whiskey and the soulful guitar notes. Continue reading

6 Emotional Stages Experienced With An Unsuccessful Blog Post #blogger #blog #writer

In no way should this influence (aka blackmail) my friends and family who occasionally “like” my posts on Facebook but can’t seem to find the “share” button. It’s not as if I obsess about it or anything. 😉

BlondeWriteMore

You excitedly tap out a blog post. In your head you see this post as the one which will catapult you into the blogging hall of fame. Your blog notifications will go into meltdown. Cue big grin, cheeky wink at a passing loved one and an air punch as you press publish!

Here are the emotional stages experienced as this post tanks:

1. Optimism – You remain hopeful despite your stats tool flatlining. You happily check the clock to see whether international readers are awake (always assume their lives revolve around your blogging schedule), check google for world holidays, festivals and celebrations. There must be another reason why your amazing post has tanked. Always remain positive. Those international readers could be having a cheeky lie in!

2. Denial – You ignore the fact that your post failed to attract readers and do what I do – put it down to…

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A Party for Annie

Friday Fictioneers

A Party for Annie

“Annie wants a birthday party with balloons. Six year olds like pink cake and ballerinas,” Jill instructed, her voice trailing off in a drug induced slumber.
Owen peered over the bed rail at his crumpled wife and he dialed his sister’s cell phone.

Answering on the first ring Cheryl’s speech was pressured, “Tell me it isn’t time. Oh God, no. It’s snowing but I can get there.”

“No, stop. The doc says she has three days. Will you make a ballerina cake for Annie’s birthday?’

“Of course but her birthday isn’t until June.”

“Tomorrow, we will have a party tomorrow at the hospital park. Jill can see it from her window.” he sobbed.

For more Friday Fictioneer, flash fiction visit here.

“Pierre’s Secret” #BlogBattle, #FlashFiction

blogbattle-award-1
My first blog competition and I won, actually Piere won. It was his story.

A new writing challenge from Rachael Ritchey author of The Beauty Thief.
The theme is Musk. Fancy a challenge? Try writing a short story starring musk.

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Pierre’s Secret

Pierre ducked beneath the ancient wooden counter as the beaker exploded, spewing its contents and shards of glass over his cowered head. The air was acrid with musk and bergamot. Head in hands he knelt in the wreckage, the fragrance assaulted his senses and the broken glass tore at his flesh; sharp reminders of his carelessness. He had taken a chance, pushing her past her flash point. Minette was lost in the wreckage. Her scent, rose, rich vanilla, musk and Earl Grey filled the air but she had taken the subtle top notes and lingering finish with her. The bergamot would soon disappear too, taking the promise of afternoon tea with it. He would never again sense the caress of soft rose pedals fresh from le jardin against his flesh, nor be enveloped by the swirl of warm vanilla as she entered la maison. The hint of lazy afternoons spent in warm embrace would recede as she faded, the musk being the last note to disappear from the pillow. A bolder more passionate combination had never existed. Continue reading

Sailing in Alaska with Sound Sailing, The Princess Addition

Tracey Delaplain, MD

 

This grand show is eternal. It is always sunrise somewhere; the dew is never all dried at once; a shower is forever falling; vapor is ever rising. Eternal sunrise, eternal sunset, eternal dawn and gloaming, on sea and continents and islands, each in its turn, as the round earth rolls.
John Muir

There is no better place on Earth to experience the grand show of nature than in Alaska and no grander way to witness marine Alaska than from a sailboat. It’s safe to say that this vast wilderness will mesmerize you as she slowly unfurls her wonders. A trip with Sound Sailing into Glacier Bay National Park will bind you to Southeast Alaska in a way that is difficult to express in words or to capture in photos.

Your complicated life may seem less complicated away from your phone and the Internet. Glacier Bay National Park remains unconnected and untouched much as it was in John Muir’s day.

 

Life is simpler in Alaska.

You will learn to be still, watching a brown bear and her cubs. You will embrace the quiet, as you listen to the creaks and groans of a calving tide-water glacier. You will be humbled in the presence of nature’s royalty, as you watch a hunting pod of orcas glide past you in utter silence. You will understand team work for the first time while listening to the “killing song” that rallies a dozen humpback whales to the surface in a feeding frenzy within a coordinated bubble net. You will welcome renewed faith in nature’s families while observing a raft of otters nuzzling their fluffy pups, protected on their mothers’ bellies. You will hold your breathe as a mountain goat kid descends a sheer rock face under the watchful eye of its nanny. Everywhere you look there is renewal and the messengers are juvenile humpbacks, orcas, and bears. Oh my!

 

Sound Sailing
sound Sailing
Sound Sailing
Sound Sailing Alaska
This trip is for anyone with an adventurous spirit but you should consider your own limitations before booking. You don’t have to be an uber athlete to enjoy yourself but reasonably good mobility and a love of the outdoors will serve you well. There are only 6 guests aboard and you will either love or hate the intimacy. We have been blessed with amazing strangers who left as friends on both of our trips. You can book as a couple, a group or a single passenger.

Thankfully Sound Sailing does not compete with cruise ships. The only nightly entertainment is fishing, a rowdy dice game, paddling a kayak, a shore hike or a good book. There’s no shopping or real towns to visit. There’s no dress up night or dance club and (un)fortunately on sailboat BOB you will get dirty, wet and up close and personal with nature. An orca or a sea lion may be close enough to touch from the cockpit, a bear may join you on its beach and a breaching whale may splash you. If that’s too close then by all means take a cruise ship.

I fully admit that I am a luxury traveller with a bit of “Princess” in my blood. I booked my first trip with Sound Sailing as a gift for my husband’s birthday. I’m nice like that. The second trip was for me, because I have fallen in love with Alaska.

There are several luxury ways to not really see wild Alaska, aboard a cruise ship or ferry for example. I chose the path less traveled and booked a cabin on BOB, a 50 ft sailboat owned by Captain Blain and First-mate Monique Andersen operating as Sound Sailing . BOB is cozy yet comfortable. The cabins and heads are small but functional. The bed is comfortable but not luxurious, I’m a bed snob and I slept well on the firm mattress and flannel sheets. The accommodations are best described as a luxury RV on water. You have everything you need but no excess.


Pack for comfort and adventure.

The weather is unpredictable and you could experience four seasons of weather together on any given day. Plan your packing around layered dressing, and expect to wear everything at least twice. Yes really.  Pack 1/2 of what you think you’ll need, you will thank me when you are carrying your “no wheels” duffel bag through the airport. There is no place to store hard luggage.

Comfortable easy dry pants, Columbia, North Face and Patagonia are brands to check out but be advised that they only come in ugly natural colors and black, cotton or dri-fit t-shirts, long sleeve SPF or bug proof button down shirt, fleece vest and a fleece jacket can be combined to keep you warm or cool. Throw in underwear, wool socks, a pair of shorts and a yoga pant to complete the wardrobe.

It rains in Southeast Alaska. A lot! A waterproof jacket and pants (I prefer Gortex because it breathes) and knee-high rubber boots are non-negotiable. Most of our adventure clothing came from Sierra Trading Post where bargains can be found. Rubber boots are essential but they don’t need to be expensive. You will need them to explore tide pools and glaciers on shore, hiking the wet forests or fishing on deck. Fur lined slippers and a small fleece blanket are my go to luxury items, definitely not needed but oh so comfy when I’m cold.

Even a princess will only need simple toiletries: shampoo, facial wash, sunscreen, deodorant, colored Chapstick for formal nights :-), hair ties, and a hair brush. Need I say it? A cute baseball hat for “hat hair days”, which are pretty much every day after you leave your hotel. You will not be taking long hot showers or blow drying your hair. I have perfected the two basin wash and rinse, “good enough” daily clean up. I brought disposable wash clothes that can be moistened and used for a quick clean up if there’s no hot water or you’re too lazy to shower. Don’t be surprised when the men go native without shaving or scrubbing for a few days. 😉 This is luxury camping on the water at its best. Water conservation is a necessary inconvenience.

Nature’s gourmet food
The food on board is designed around your personal tastes and requests. Our meals were abundant with fresh produce, crab, salmon, halibut and shrimp. There’s plenty of snacks and dessert every day. You are welcome to bring alcohol aboard but plan accordingly because there’s no place to replenish your wine supply en route.


You come to Alaska for the adventure but the people will bring you back.
The crew is gracious and knowledgable. You may feel like family at the end of a 7-10 day trip and it’s hard to say goodbye to Alaska even though you will be craving a loooong hot shower and a fluffy king sized mattress. After the shower, I guarantee that you will begin planning your next trip aboard BOB.

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This is not a sponsored post and the opinions expressed are my own. The only payment I’ve received is the treasured new friendship with BOB and The Andersens.

Exit The Page – Friday Fictioneers

Photo prompt@Sandra Crook

Photo prompt@Sandra Crook

Mr. Edwards stumbled over a capital letter as he retreated. He had been written as a one-dimensional minor character and the dusty pages had tormented him for a century. A hasty decision, he exited exactly 100 words past his introduction. Continue reading