Thursday, July 30, 2015

Friday Snippet

Conversation between prisoner & sheriff.

First draft. Please don't quote or repost.



He turned his head to see Walcott standing in the doorway.  The deputy looked uncomfortable.

“What is it, Walcott?”

“That groom from Gorham Manor wants to talk to you.  Says it’s important.  I told him you were due your supper, but he’s pretty agitated.”

Jonathon glanced at his pocket watch in surprise.  Where had the day gone?

“I’ll see him.  If he wants to talk, I guess we’d better listen now before he changes his mind.”

Jonathon followed Walcott to the jail cell in back of the building.  As jail cell’s went, it wasn’t much, just bars closing off an area ten feet square in the room.  The cell contained primitive facilities consisting of a sink and a portable privy.  No matter how much they tried to keep it clean, the faint odor of human waste lingered.

Eldon Wethers sat on the bench bed that sat against one of the two brick walls of the cell, shoulders slumped, whole attitude despondent.  When he saw Jonathon, he stood up and moved to the bars, facing sheriff and deputy.

“Well, Wethers?”

“If I cooperate, will you get me out of this cell?” Wethers said, voice low and intense.

“There are worse places you can be,” Walcott said, voice disgusted.

“Look, I didn’t kill Miss Gorham, but maybe I can tell you who did.”

Jonathon raised his eyebrows and grabbed a nearby chair, sitting down.  He crossed his legs and stared at Wethers.

“You have my complete and undivided attention.”

“There’s just one thing.  You have to guarantee my safety.”

“From who?” Jonathon asked.

Wethers opened his mouth, but a cry of surprised fright came from Walcott.  Jonathon turned his head and gave his deputy a look, then followed Walcott’s transfixed gaze.

The water in the bowl of the privy stood up in a column, defying gravity, and wavering about like a snake’s head before striking.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Friday Snippet

This snippet follows this one.

I need to get moving on this story.  It seems like I'm stuck in first gear.   Daniel is Anabelle's & Jonathon's deceased son.

Rough draft.  Please don't quote or repost.


“Did you know that Jonathon has arrested a groom from Gorham Manor named Wethers?  He thinks the man had something to do with Minna’s death.”

Father Ollister gave a quick frown.  “Eldon Wethers?  Did he confess to something?”

Anabelle thought that an odd choice of words.  “Well, no, not that I know of; I think it highly unlikely that he killed Minna.  She drowned, Father.  Someway, somehow, she drowned.  Only a powerful Waterwitcher could have done it.”

“Drowned?” he repeated sharply.  “That’s how she died?”

‘Yes.  It’s not common knowledge, and I doubt that Lord Gorham is talking.”

Something about that news seemed to worry him but he said nothing.  She briefly toyed with the idea of demanding, as King’s Special Examiner, that he tell her, but she knew the old priest would not reveal what he considered privileged information.

“Can you tell me anything which might help with this investigation, Father?”

He opened his mouth to speak and a board creaked outside the door.  Holding up a hand to keep the priest silent, she got up and opened the door very quietly.  No one was outside the door.  A quick look down the hall did not reveal anyone lurking.

When Anabelle turned to Father Ollister, he shook his head.

“The walls have ears here,” he said in a guarded voice. “Seek me out in my gardens.  I work and pray there of a morning, and if we are spied upon, at least we will not be overheard.”

Digesting the implications of that, Anabelle shelved the idea of asking him about the smuggling ring and gave him a slow nod.  “Mornings are not my cup of tea, but I’ll force myself to get up and come see you in the next day or two.”

As she turned to leave, Father Ollister’s words followed her.

“You need to tell Jonathon about what really happened to Daniel, Anabelle.”

She fled.        

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Hugo Winner Reviews

I'm following an internet thread created by  Basically, Josh Wimmer, with the occasional guest, critiques the Huga winners over the years.  I'm in the 80's now, but there are connections in each article to take you to earlier or later winners.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Friday Snippet - Sir Smiles a Lot

Friday comes with regularity.  If only other things in my life would be that predictable.

First draft & subject to change.  Please don't quote or re-post.

Anabelle Sturgis, sitting down to a well-earned supper, looked around in annoyance when Clare appeared in the dining room doorway and announced visitors.
“Who is it?” Anabelle grumbled.

“The king, madam,” Clare said in a deadpan voice. When Anabelle continued to stare at her with unabated annoyance, she added, “And Sir Samuel Webasto.”

“Of course the king is not here,” Anabelle said.  “It’ll be Sam having fun at our expense.  Though that’s not his usual style, and where he found someone to go along with his nonsense…..”

“He didn’t introduce him as the king, madam.  He introduced him as Sir Smiles-a-lot.  But the king is who he is, nonetheless.”

“Oh, my God,” Anabelle said.  “Are they in the parlor?  I’ll go directly there.”

“Begging your pardon, madam, but when I told them you were at supper, they asked to come in here.  They’re waiting in the hall.”

“The devil they are!” Anabelle said inelegantly.  She eyed her supper of cold ham, bread, and roasted vegetables.  “Bring them in.  Have Molly make more of the same.  Two settings.  Bring an extra bottle of wine.”

Clare, used to her mistress, didn’t bat an eye at the outburst and the thought of sitting the king down to a cold supper fit more for a merchant’s table than the king’s Special Examiner.

Anabelle gave her a meaningful look.  “And, Clare?  Bring it by your own hand.”

Monday, July 13, 2015

Galaxy Note 4

A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away --- ok, I'm done with the jokes.

I just got a Galaxy Note 4.  My last phone was a Galaxy 3.  When I got the 3, what I really wanted was Note 2, which was current at that time.  But I couldn't justify the expense.

If you don't know, Kansas City is the home of Sprint.  Right now, they are offering cutthroat deals here to try and improve both their customer base and their image.  I'm benefiting.   At last, the Note 4 is within my financial reach.

So far, I really love this new phone.  The calendar leaves a little to be desired, but I suspect I just haven't caught on to all the nuances of it yet.

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Hugo Winners

If you've ever wanted to read a review of the Hugo winners over the years and wondered why they won, or shouldn't have won, this is the thread for you.

(The link starts around 1966, but you can find links to the previous winners on the website itself.)

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Friday Snippet - The Wisdom of an Old Priest

Rain. Sigh.  More rain.  Deeper sigh.  We're so saturated, even a small rain sits on top of the earth.

This snippet is a conversation between Anabelle and a wise old priest.  They are discussing why the archbishop replaced him with a younger man.  First draft, please don't quote or re-post.


“Father Ollister!” Anabelle said, and crossed to the old priest’s side, hands outstretched.

“My dear Anabelle, it is very good to see you!  Are you feeling better since the last time we spoke?”

Father Ollister, tall and thin, back stooped with age but grip still firm and powerful, looked at her with a gentle but penetrating gaze.

Anabelle’s own gaze wavered and fell before his.

“I see,” Father Ollister said.  “Please, my dear, come into my office and we will talk over old times, shall we?”

Anabelle let the priest lead her into the warren of offices in back of the main sanctuary.  She noted that Barrington watched them leave.  The office Father Ollister led her to was not the one to which she had so often been.  This office, much smaller and crammed with the old priest’s belongings, did not seem to fit him.  Anabelle paused in dismay.

“This is rather outrageous, Father,” she said impulsively.  “The least he could have done was left you your office.”

Father Ollister moved some books from off a chair and motioned her to be seated.

“It is his right to have the office.  Archbishop Leydon appointed him as my successor.”

The old priest lowered himself into his desk chair, nearly upsetting a stack of what looked like liturgical pamphlets.

“But you’re hardly old enough to retire, Father!”

Father Ollister smiled at her.  “And you are a wonderful girl for saying so, but I am getting older.  The archbishop felt that this parish needed a younger man.  I am –semi-retired, shall we say?”

“Is this because you are an Earthwitcher?” Anabelle said.  “If it is, please say so.  We have representation before the king now, you know.   Sir Samuel Webasto.  Intolerance of any kind towards the Witchers is frowned upon.”

Father Ollister shook his head at her.  “While it is a pleasure to have a forward-thinking king, being an Earthwitcher has neither hurt nor helped my career as a priest.  If the archbishop had been intolerant, I would never have been appointed to this parish in the first place.  No, my dear, if the archbishop sees fit to replace me, it is only for the reason he states.”

“Then why not leave,” she said   “As an Earthwitcher, you would be welcomed and treated with respect at many establishments that have need of your talent.”

He sighed and leaned back in his chair until it creaked alarmingly.  “I love being a priest.  I love being an Earthwitcher.  I love being a priest more.  As pleasant as it is to encourage life to grow from the ground, being an Earthwitcher cannot save my soul, Anabelle, nor help save the souls of others.”

And he could not have said anything more unanswerable.