Uncategorized, writing

Dubious Math and a Work in Progress

Happy Wednesday! Today is the day that our most excellent monkey maven, K.L. Schwengel, has designated as WIPpet Wednesday, which involves posting a date-related snippet of one’s work in progress. I’m working on an alternate history of sorts which takes place in a slightly different version of the world from 1880-1930. The theme is that it involves icy regions of the earth – the Antarctica and the Arctic and other desolate and fascinating places and the people who inhabit them (thus, the series is called “Icebound”). Here is the beginning from volume 2, “All Mouth and No Trousers,” currently in progress. My math is suspect, but involves: 27 lines (11+19+2+0+1+4-1)

Commandant Gorge Elderbatch didn’t actually read the letter from his wife until two days after receiving the bundle of mail. He was sitting in his office, laboriously attempting to compose and inspiring speech after delivering the latest round of orders to attain the impossible, create triumph out of disarray, and endure the unendurable for the sake of God, glory, and Shepherd’s Pie. A waft of Mrs. Elderbatch’s perfume rose from the crisp, neatly handwritten letter. She had told him the name of the perfume countless times, but he never could remember it. Something like Athena’s musk or St. Brigid’s Rose Arbor or maybe it was Henley’s Delectable Concoction. Whatever the name actually was, he conjured in his mind and image of his stately, rather prudish, carefully manicured, and pleasant smelling wife. He read the letter all the way through, blinked, wiped at his eyes – for they seemed to suddenly blur everything – and sat for a moment staring at his office wall before reading it again, slower this time.

Dear Gorge,

It is with little regret and great satisfaction that I pen this letter to you now. By the time you receive it, I will have left behind our modest home at 10 Will Bury Ln. and arrived at the sprawling veranda of Rodrigo Rodriguez Scardina’s cattle ranch in Brazil. You and I will have at last ended this farce of a marriage officially – for the vicar Williams assures me that your desertion of me and the children to that God-awful southernmost post is more than cause enough to file for divorce. If it is not, however, adultery on my part should seal the deal entirely. I warned you that if you left you would live to regret it. I imagine you assumed that threat was not something I was prepared to enact.

Miss Electra Yellowsmile appeared in the doorway, her luminous blue eyes attentive. “What was that, sir? I didn’t understand what you were saying.”

It was at that moment the Gorge realized he had been reading the letter aloud. There seemed to be something wrong with his vision, which blurred and sharpened at irregular intervals. And there was a most tremendous throbbing in his temples the likes of which he had never experienced before. A voice rasped out:

“Mrs. Felicia Elderbatch has filed for divorce.”

The voice was a man’s. Since only he and Miss Electra occupied this room, logic told him that the voice was his. It got louder.

“She has taken Phebe, Edward, Maurice, Andrew, Prudence and even Methuselah the dog to South America to live with some bloke named Rodrigo! Do you hear me, Miss Yellowsmile? My wife has left me and filed for divorce!”

“Oh,” Electra responded, a dimple appearing in her pixie-like chin as she frowned, lips downturned in a perfect half-arc. “How very unwise of her.”

Join us if you’re game.

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writing

Tempus Fugit! And works in progress ….

Hello all!

I hope November is treating you right. I’m trucking along. I joined a “mini” NaNoWriMo challenge over on Livejournal with a goal of 750 words per day. I’ve made it every day so far although I can’t say it’s always been easy. I did switch to writing a nonfiction article for several of the days in order to get me through over the weekend. Whatever works, right?

I want to let everyone know about a promotion opportunity that I’ll be participating in this year – and that you can participate in as well. It’s called READ TUESDAY and it takes place on December 9, 2014. Learn more on the website http://readtuesday.com/

Now for my work in progress (WIPpet) which is supposed to take place on Wednesday every week. I’m just a little early. And we’ll gloss over the fact that I haven’t participated at all for the past two weeks. I’ve been doing stuff. Making mosaics of dubious quality, selling cockatiels, riding bikes with my dogs, taking painkillers for an ornery hip, and eating FAR too much. Among other things. And time management? So not my forte. Or even calendar management. I should just accept that about myself and remain an intermittent participant, it seems.

Ahem.

Okay, K.L. Schwengel is the organizer of this weekly affair, which involves posting a date-related snippet of one’s work in progress. I’m working on an alternate history of sorts which takes place in a slightly different version of the world from 1880-1930. The theme is that it involves icy regions of the earth – the Antarctica and the Arctic and other desolate and fascinating places and the hunky dudes people who inhabit them (thus, the series is called “Icebound”). Here is the beginning from volume 2, “All Mouth and No Trousers,” currently in progress. For your enjoyment here is 11 sentences for the month of November and an extra sentence as a bonus. Some of you may remember Electa from previous snippets. Written quick and dirty, without editing, which is probably all too apparent. Oh, I should probably note that I know nothing about military ranks, British or otherwise, but that is something I will fix before finishing the story.

Of all the foes Commandant Gorge Elderbatch had fought in his thirty-odd years as a British naval officer – enemy combatants, pirates, insubordinates, pestilence, penury, and probably some other he couldn’t think of off the fly – one stood out above the others. One who was the most difficult, the most intractable, the most completely infuriating. That one was his secretary, Miss Electa Yellowsmile.

Oh, she looked harmless enough. Young enough to be his daughter – twenty or twenty-five at the most – all of 105 pounds soaking wet, most slender and willowy, doll-like with her perfect blonde hair and clear wide blue eyes, her long and delicate fingers and tapping away on the Smith Premier typewriter, unfazed by his rather imposing (if he did say so himself) presence. 

“You will most certainly retype that order, Miss Yellowsmile,” he instructed, jabbing his finger at the trash bin like a bayonet. She had taken one look at the order for two boxes of premium cigars and six tins of grade A snuff and ripped it down the center before depositing it in the waste can.

Outrageous! Indubitably and irrefutably outrageous!

Electa continued typing for several excruciating moments, posture erect, crisp lace collar shockingly white and open slightly to reveal the unblemished skin of her pale neck. Her eyes flicked to his scribbled notes at her right and her smooth, painted red fingernails created a discordant staccato on the keys with practiced efficiency.

“Miss Yellowsmile, do me the honor of looking me in the eye when you commit mutiny!”

That got her attention.

That’s it for this week. Join in if you like:

Uncategorized, writing

Switching Gears Yet Again

Welcome to another version of WIPpet, the work in progress extravaganza run by the intrepid K.L. Schwengel. To participate, make sure the snippet of your work in progress has something – however tenuous – to do with today’s date. I’m going short and sweet today, and switching gears as I do so frequently. Last week I posted a bit from my children’s nonfiction history book – thankfully I was able to send out the requested chapters to an agent who displayed the barest hint of interest in it, so now there’s nothing to do but wait and drive myself up the wall, or work on something else entirely. This snippet is from Whiter Pastures, the first volume of my Icebound series, which is a sort of alternate history of the polar regions of the planet from about 1880 – 1930. Here is 18 sentences (10 + 8 = 189) from the story’s beginning. All comments, reactions, whatever are welcome. Oh, and the rather unusual spellings of the names are intentional.

The coal pan in the bottom of the room heater had jammed again. Florance tried all her usual fixes: shoving it in further and yanking it out quickly, shimmying it from side to side, wedging the metal handle of her favorite scrub brush in it to pry it open, but nothing would work.

“Do you have to make such a racket, girl?” Electa said in a voice which somehow managed to communicate boredom, disdain, and irritation all at once. She didn’t bother looking up from her typewriter. She was plucking the keys one by one, hunting and pecking for each one as if she were a particularly choosy hen searching for the perfect piece of corn.

Florance gritted her teeth. Electa knew her name – Florance had informed her of it on at least three separate occasions – but she couldn’t be bothered to call her anything other than girl. When she deigned to speak to her at all, that is.

It vexed Florance that people insisted upon referring to her as a girl when eternal spinsterhood was drawing ever nearer the closer she got to 30. Florance knew the reason for it, though. She was a rather quiet person usually, not a stupid one. The help always had to scurry around – seen but not heard — while the decent people went on with the important work. Her ability to be so very invisible had brought her here to begin with, after all.

With a discordant screech, the coal pan slid free, unbalancing Florance so that she landed squarely on her bustle. Coal dust puffed up in a cloud around her. Florance sneezed. Electa rolled her kohl-lined, brilliantly-blue eyes in exasperation.

That’s it for this week. Join along if you like: