Friday, December 28, 2007

Friday Snippet, December 28, 2007

Things are slowing down a bit from the hectic pace I kept through Christmas. I do have a New Year's party coming up, and that should be it for awhile.

In case I didn't already say it, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

This snippet follows right from last Friday's.

First draft. Please do not quote or repost anywhere. Thanks!

The carriage ride back was mostly quiet. Hedi maintained a sulky silence and would not look at Sabri. Mother looked but did not speak, her face full of sadness.

Sabri recalled the fascinated stares of the Miller children. Only Winn had seemed nonchalant. Mrs. Miller’s elderly mother had said, “It is a gift from God, sent to us in our need.”

And Mother, grabbing Sabri by the sleeve and pulling her toward the door, saying, “God does not gift the disruption of lives, and the pain and confusion of children.”

Hedi had attempted to sit by Mother instead of Sabri, but Mother had been fierce. “You will sit by your sister!”

“She is not my sister.”

“She is as much your sister as she ever was, despite the poor soul she now carries within.”

And silence reigned within the carriage.

When they came within sight of the house, Hedi sat on the edge of the seat as if anxious to be out of the carriage as soon as it stopped moving. The carriage jolted to a stop, and Mother put a restraining hand on Hedi’s shoulder.

“We cannot keep this from getting out, but you will refrain from speaking about this to anyone. We will live as normal a life as we can for as long as we can.”

“My life is ruined and you want normalcy!” Hedi burst out. “I can’t have my coming out party. Surely you see that!”

Mother’s grip tightened, along with her lips. “Not everything is about you, Hedegrine Shiana. Try for a little compassion and understanding.”

Hedi tore from her grip and jumped from the carriage, nearly knocking over the driver who had come around to that side. Mother and Sabri faced one another for an instant before Mother took the driver’s outstretched hand and descended from the carriage. Sabri jumped out as she had before. Hedi had already disappeared within the house.

Mother paused, looking up at the house with pensive gaze. Sabri stopped beside her. The sound of the carriage moving off broke the silence first.

“I know you must have many questions, but I beg you will not ask them in front of others,” Mother said.

Many questions did indeed swarm in Sabri’s mind, but only one emerged. “Winn Miller knew when I touched his hand. You knew. How did you know?”

“To some of us, the touch of a Vagabond is unmistakable. There is a jolt, and a quick sense of disorientation.”

When no other questions came, Mother moved away slowly. Sabri looked out over the ground and into the distant fields. The wind had switched while they were at the Millers, and now it blew from the north with Autumn’s chill.

Sabri shivered, and hugged herself to stay warm.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Friday Snippet, December 21, 2007

Wow. What a busy week, and no end in sight yet. I'm solid busy through the New Year. But I'll get to see a lot of family in the next few days.

This snippet takes up at the point where the last one left off and finishes up the first chapter.

First draft. Please do not quote or repost anywhere. Thanks!

“It’s all right,” Sabri said, solemn. “Sometimes I feel like howling myself.”

The boy looked puzzled, and opened his mouth as if to ask a question, but a woman near Mother’s age stepped forward to greet them.

“Lady Reeves, Miss Hedegrine, Miss Sabriella. So nice of you to visit. You are most welcome.”

“Mrs. Miller,” Mother said. “When we heard of your son’s illness, of course we came at once. We have a few things that I hope you’ll find helpful.”

As the carriage driver removed packages and containers from the boot, a little of the tension in the woman’s face relaxed. Lines around Mrs. Miller’s mouth and eyes spoke of a harder life, perhaps, than that of Lady Reeves.

The older children fell to with a will, helping the driver carry packages and containers inside. Mrs. Miller escorted Mother into the house, followed by Hedi. Sabri trailed behind. She saw the boy with the flyaway hair glance back at her once, but he had a basket with several loaves of bread in his hands and didn’t pause. Sabri could feel the nose of the dog, Stiles, pushed up against the back of her knee.

The dog stopped at the door, looking on with mild eyes as an elderly woman, Mrs. Miller’s mother, respectfully greeted Mother. Sabri glanced around the room, taking in the furniture, slightly shabby and well-used, the enormous fireplace on one side, and the faded tapestry that hung on the wall opposite the front door. An inside door to another room caught her eye. Sabri could see the foot of a bed, and movement under the bedclothes. She moved in that direction.

A boy, obviously the sibling of the boy with the flyaway hair, lay in the bed. Or rather, sat up in the bed, straining to see what went on in the living room. When Sabri moved into his line of sight, he motioned to her.

Sabri looked over her shoulder, but Mother, Hedi, Mrs. Miller and the elderly woman still talked. She moved to stand just inside the bedroom.

“You’re Sabriella Reeves, aren’t you?” he said.

“Yes,” Sabri said. “And you are Winn Miller?”

“Yep. I’d shake your hand if you were closer.”

Sabri grinned and stepped forward to take his extended hand.

His eyes widened and his eyebrows raised. “Oh. You’re a Vagabond.”

“I beg your pardon?” Sabri said.

“But you wouldn’t know that, would you? You haven’t been here long, I’ll wager.”

Complete silence in the other room alerted Sabri. She turned.

“My sister is not a Vagabond,” Hedi said in a high, peculiar voice.

But Sabri looked at Mother’s expression, and knew that Winn spoke the truth.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Busy--Message for Friday Snippet Gang

Check back on Saturday and I'll have a snippet then. Been doing house cleaning and baking and going to parties.

Monday, December 17, 2007

White Gloves and Black Light

This is the best video I've seen done with reflective gloves and a black light.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Friday Snippet, December 14, 2007

This snippet takes up where the last one left off.

First draft. Please do not quote or repost anywhere. Thanks!

Hedi gave her a raised eyebrow. “You are a funny sister.”

Sabri watched as Hedi gave her skirts a jerk to straighten the folds of cloth. The thought came to her that Hedi didn’t have a sense of humor. Sabri stored that thought away for future reference. She studied her sister. Hedi had blond hair that she wore pulled back from her face, secured by a barrette and allowed to fall in loose coils on the back of her neck. She wore a green jacket and skirt to complement her eyes, and she sat in a composed, poised manner on the carriage seat, as if others might be watching.

Mother sat opposite, facing them. She wore blue, her blond hair lightly streaked with silver. She exuded a sense of comfort and serenity. A feeling moved in Sabri’s throat—a fleeting emotion difficult to identify—joy? fear? hope? The sudden desire to touch Mother made Sabri’s hand give an involuntary twitch.

The carriage started with a jerk, nearly dumping Mother in the girls’ lap. She made a sound of annoyance. “I don’t know what possessed your father to buy that team.”

Sabri peered out the small window as the horses drew the carriage to the end of a long, winding drive. The carriage turned out onto a road of pressed dirt and scattered shale. She could see the manor at the other end of the driveway. Square, three stories, built of a light-colored, hewn stone. The windows sparkled in the late morning sun.

The carriage lurched over a protruding stone in the road. For a moment, Sabri had a vision of a carriage running on a smooth black surface with nothing pulling it along. She frowned, and the vision left.

“Girls, a word of caution,” Mother said. “You’re not to give Winn Miller any excitement at all, do you hear? He’s to have bedrest for at least a week, or the doctor says his fever may rise to a dangerous level.”

“If he has a fever, why are we going?” Sabri asked. “What if we catch what he has?”

Mother stared at Sabri, and Hedi gave a faint shriek. “Mother, we won’t catch anything, will we? I have my coming out party. I can NOT have a fever and be in bed just now.”

“You needn’t worry you’ll get sick,” Mother said. “The doctor has said Winn is not infectious, or you can be sure we wouldn’t step foot in the house. We will do our duty.”

Since she could think of no way to answer that, Sabri kept silent through the rest of the drive. The carriage stopped in front of a house much smaller than the manor, but still built with the same light-colored stone and appealing to the eye.

Several people emerged from the house, many of them children. Dogs surrounded the people and the carriage. The driver jumped down from his seat and opened the door for them.

Sabri waited for the driver to hand out Mother and Hedi, then jumped from the carriage on her own. One of the dogs sniffed at her hand and let out a mournful howl. The other dogs picked up the sound and amplified it until the whole of the yard sounded like an eerie dirge.

“Siles, what are you about!” A boy with flyaway brown hair yelled at the offending dog. He turned an apologetic face to Sabri. “Sorry, he’s never done that before.”

Friday, December 7, 2007

Friday Snippet, December 7, 2007

Pearl Harbor Day. Our parents' 9-11. With all the rhetoric flying around, it's easy to see how we don't learn from history.

I've made a tough decision. If I want to become a commercial success as a writer, I need to start tailoring my work to what's commercially successful. Right now, juveniles are experiencing a renaissance because of Rowling.

I still wanted to deal with the theme of identity and choices, but I've restructured my current WIP to (hopefully!) appeal to a younger audience.

First draft. Please do not quote or repost anywhere. Thanks!

The first thing she remembered was the cut stone walls of the manor, and the way the sunlight crept across the marble floor. She narrowed her eyelids against the flood of light through the large window in front of her. A sidelight of colored mosaic on each side of the window cast fantastically mottled shades of color on her skin.

Outside, she could se the tops of trees. Upper floor, then. She moved closer to the window and looked down. A garden, meticulously laid out, with a hedge labyrinth at its end, farthest from the house.


“There you are, Sabri. Why have you hidden yourself away in the ballroom?”

Sabri? Somehow that name sounded strange—wrong.

She turned to see a girl of about seventeen years standing in the doorway. She stared while the girl watched her in turn with impatient green eyes. She opened her mouth to say something to the girl, and forgot what she would say. She looked at the room with its high ceiling and shiny floor and thought how it looked exactly as she expected a ballroom to look.

“Sabri? Sabriella? Are you even listening?”

She smiled a little. Sabriella. Of course. She had been Sabriella for fifteen years now and saw no need to change. So she opened her mouth and said, “Of course I’m listening.”

“Good. Mother sent me to fetch you. We’re leaving as soon as the carriage comes ‘round.”

“Where are we going?”

“Sabriella Charmaine, don’t tell me you’re listening when plainly you’re not! Mother told you not an hour ago that we are visiting the Millers. They have a sick child.”

“Hedi! Have you found her?”

Hedi turned her head and shouted. “She’s in the ballroom, Mother!”

“Well, both of you, come! The day progresses.”

Sabri followed Hedi from the ballroom onto a balcony that overlooked a grand entry hall. She saw that they stood on the third floor. She looked over the railing and saw the face of an older woman looking over the railing and upward from the second floor balcony.

“Coming, Mother,” Hedi said.

They descended a stairway wide enough to hold five people side-by-side. Mother met them at the second floor landing, giving them both a critical glance.

“Sabri, couldn’t you have combed your hair?” she said, and reached out her hand to brush Sabri’s hair away from her forehead. Sabri felt a jolt of something. Mother snatched her hand away with an exclamation.

“Ooh, static electricity!” Hedi said.

Mother shook her hand as if it tingled. She gave Sabri a searching look, then said, “Yes, of course. We should hurry before the day flies completely away.”

While they were being helped into the carriage by the family footman and settling onto the hard leather seats, Sabri whispered to Hedi, “Who are the Millers?”

Wednesday, December 5, 2007