Weekend Writing Warriors ~ A Sacred Realm

Hello and welcome to Weekend Writing Warriors. The sun is shining, the birds are singing, and last night, I listened to live music outdoors and even did a little dancing, for the first time in over a year. Here’s to signs of life returning to your world, wherever you are.

I’m sharing from my work-in-progress, a gay fantasy inspired by the tale of Snow White. In this scene, Prince Gabriel is visiting his mother’s old chambers before heading down to the grand feast hall, looking for a little peace and comfort. Instead he discovers…

***

He slowed his pace as he approached his mother’s door. His heart ached as he thought of opening it to an empty room.  How many times had he raced there, eager to throw himself into the arms of his indulgent mother? How many times had he approached with trepidation due to some trouble he’d fallen into, only to be laughed at and congratulated for being adventurous? How many fairy tales and ancient wisdoms had he collected at his mother’s feet, curled up in front of the hearth as she embroidered and rambled on, almost as if he wasn’t there at all as she became lost in memories of her own childhood?

He touched the door with his fingertips, gently and took a deep breath.

“I miss you terribly,” he whispered, and pushed the door open.

The large wood-paneled sitting room was exactly as he remembered it, except for one thing. A strange young woman in red stood in the center of it, a book in her hands.  She startled at the sound of the door creaking open.

That’s the official ten. Here’s a bit more:

“Oh, I’m sorry! Pardon me!” Gabriel exclaimed. “I had not expected these rooms to be occupied.”

The woman gave him a sharp look, and then as she took in the crown and the scarlet crest, quickly rearranged her features into a soft smile and downcast eyes, closing the book and pressing it to her ribcage, arms folded across it.

“No, it is I who should apologize, Prince Gabriel.” She performed a perfect curtsey.  “These are not my rooms. I come here on occasion to draw comfort from the memory of the queen.  Please forgive my intrusion into what must be, for you, a sacred realm.”

“That’s quite all right,” Gabriel said, although he felt the opposite. It was not all right to have a stranger rummaging through the queen’s personal items.  “You have me at a disadvantage.”

***

***

Blurb in progress for Snow:

Following the death of his mother the Queen, Prince Gabriel returns home for the first time in three years, hoping for a reconciliation with his estranged brother, the new king, but all is not well at Castle Rosenthal. King Tristan has fallen under the sway of a mysterious noble woman with a dark past, and all along the border of the Black Forest, magical denizens are on the move. Gabriel begins to fear for his life. Is the handsome huntsman in on a plot to assassinate him, or is there an even darker, more evil power afoot? A forced flight into the Black Forest may expose ancient magic at work, if Gabriel can survive long enough to uncover it.

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Weekend Writing Warriors ~ Acceptable

Hello and welcome to Weekend Writing Warriors. Thank you for joining me as I continue to share from my WIP, a romantic gay fantasy inspired by the tale of Snow White. In this scene, Prince Gabriel is getting ready to attend the grand feast, where he’s expected to make a speech in support of his brother Tristan, who recently became king after the death of their mother. You can read last week’s snippet here if you like.

***

Gabriel gave himself one last glance in a mirror against the wall. Acceptable.

He headed for the door.

“Are you headed down already, sir?” Webster asked, eyes wide.

Gabriel looked at the arrangement of cloaks, scarves, gloves and other fancies that Webster had pulled out of the cupboards. No doubt he’d spent the afternoon spinning fantasies of how he’d dress his prince up like a proper gentleman for the first time.

“Yes.  I’m not a doll here for your amusement, Webster.”

“Of course not, sire! It’s just that you look, you look absolutely wonderful, sire, in proper clothing.”

“Thank you,” Gabriel said, and pulled the heavy door shut behind him, effectively blocking a phalanx of servants ready to chase after him.  He wondered what they’d do. Count to ten and then race after him?

That’s the official ten. Here’s a bit more:

He grinned and stalked off, not down to the hall but round the corner to the next flight of stairs, to his mother’s suite. 

That would confound them for a few minutes at least. He shook his head. Less than an hour back and he was already sick of the pomp and annoyance of being treated like a prince.  Tristan’s accusation that Gabriel might have his eye on the throne came back, and he laughed out loud.  It was the last thing he wanted. He’d rather be a pauper living in a hut in the Black Forest than endure the miseries of being a king.

***

Watch out, Gabriel, this might fall under the category of “be careful what you wish for.” Insert>evil author laugh<

***

© Jakub Krechowicz | Dreamstime.com

Blurb in progress for Snow:

Following the death of his mother the Queen, Prince Gabriel returns home for the first time in three years, hoping for a reconciliation with his estranged brother, the new king, but all is not well at Castle Rosenthal. King Tristan has fallen under the sway of a mysterious noble woman with a dark past, and all along the border of the Black Forest, magical denizens are on the move. Gabriel begins to fear for his life. Is the handsome huntsman in on a plot to assassinate him, or is there an even darker, more evil power afoot? A forced flight into the Black Forest may expose ancient magic at work, if Gabriel can survive long enough to uncover it.

***

Don’t forget to check out all the awesome snippets at Weekend Writing Warriors!

Weekend Writing Warriors ~ Bad Form

Greetings and welcome to Weekend Writing Warriors, the blog hop where writers from a wide variety of genres share from their work in excerpts of ten sentences. I’m sorry I missed last week, and even sorrier it wasn’t for a fun reason, like a writers’ retreat, but because of the multiple day jobs encroaching on my weekend. I’m always scheming to work less, but somehow, I keep adding jobs instead of shedding them.

Enough whining! On to the snippet. I’m sharing from my work-in-progress, a romantic gay fantasy inspired by the classic tale of Snow White. Last week, as Prince Gabriel is made presentable for the big feast, he decides he’d like to wear his mother’s brooch, but alas, it is not to be found.

***

“I did not see such an item.” Webster whirled around. “You there! Finley? Farley? Search the cabinet for the prince’s silver brooch! If it’s gone missing, someone will answer for it!”

The tray of baubles disappeared and a ruckus ensued as every drawer, trunk and cabinet in the room was opened and searched.  By the slant of moonlight hitting his floor, Gabriel knew he was pushing his luck. He couldn’t afford to arrive at the great hall after Tristan. It was bad form.  

That’s the official Ten. Here’s a bit more:

He forced down his sudden nervousness.  He needed the weight of his mother’s history to bolster him. The silver stag had been crafted over two hundred years earlier. Although crude by current artistic standards, it would help remind Tristan that Gabriel had not just pulled a fairy tale out of thin air and that he’d been right not to kill the stag.

***

But will Tristan appreciate the reminder? I’m thinking not, but then what do I know? I’m just the transcriber of events here 😉

***

Blurb in progress for Snow:

Following the death of his mother the Queen, Prince Gabriel returns home for the first time in three years. Gabriel hopes for a reconciliation with his estranged brother, the new king, but all is not well at Castle Rosenthal. King Tristan has fallen under the sway of a mysterious noble woman with a dark past, and all along the border of the Black Forest, magical denizens are on the move. Gabriel begins to fear for his life. Is the handsome huntsman in on a plot to assassinate him, or is there an even darker, more evil power afoot? A forced flight into the Black Forest may expose ancient magic at work, if Gabriel can survive long enough to uncover it.

***

Don’t forget to check out all the awesome snippets at Weekend Writing Warriors!

Weekend Writing Warriors ~ A Circlet of Gold

Hello and welcome to another round of Weekend Writing Warriors. I missed last week, but I had a very good excuse; a three night writers’ retreat on the coast. I can’t tell you how good it felt to get away with like-minded folk to do nothing but write, write, write. And chat of course. It’s great to be around people who “get” me and don’t blink an eye when I talk about characters taking over the story and doing their own thing, plot be damned.

So far Prince Gabriel is acting like a well-behaved character should, but there are others lurking in the coming pages who just refuse to cooperate. We’ll be meeting one of them soon, but for now, Gabriel is still preparing for his big speech at this evening’s feast.

***

Gabriel and his unwanted retinue clamored up a wide, winding staircase and soon arrived at his chambers on the third floor. He was stripped, washed clean of mud and dressed in a close fitting tunic quartered in dark blue and black panels. His father’s family crest, a lion standing on its hind legs, was embroidered in red silk thread over his heart. Around his hips he wore a thick leather girdle that held the ceremonial sword he’d been given on his sixteenth birthday.  Wearing this rich attire, he felt slightly less self-conscious about the crown, which was merely a circlet of gold, after all.  It did, unfortunately, serve to set off how much closer to white than blond his hair really was.

Servants held up mirrors, and despite the manly outfitting, Gabriel recognized his mother staring back at him. He shared her blue eyes and slight build, which was fine for a queen but less than desirable for a prince.

“Enough of that,” he said, waving away the attendants, who all seemed very busy though he couldn’t imagine why. At Craigmoor, he’d managed just fine with one manservant.  

That’s the official ten. Here’s a bit more:

He turned to face an array of adornments Webster held out for him on a silver tray. Gabriel was about to wave those away as well when a thought occurred to him.  “Where’s my mother’s brooch?”

“Which one, sire?” Webster asked, face sagging. A dozen fine pendants and pins glinted in the candlelight. Gabriel had left them all behind when he left Rosenthal, tucked away in the black lacquered chest in his sitting room, and he was sure Webster had been delighted to discover them.

“A silver stag’s head.”

Blurb in progress for Snow:

Following the death of his mother the Queen, Prince Gabriel returns home for the first time in three years. Gabriel hopes for a reconciliation with his estranged brother, the new king, but all is not well at Castle Rosenthal. King Tristan has fallen under the sway of a mysterious noble woman with a dark past, and all along the border of the Black Forest, magical denizens are on the move. Gabriel begins to fear for his life. Is the handsome huntsman in on a plot to assassinate him, or is there an even darker, more evil power afoot? A forced flight into the Black Forest may expose ancient magic at work, if Gabriel can survive long enough to uncover it.

***

Don’t forget to check out all the awesome snippets at Weekend Writing Warriors!

Weekend Writing Warriors ~ A Most Alarming Rumor

Hello and welcome to Weekend Writing Warriors, the blog hop where writers from a wide variety of genres share from their work in excerpts of ten sentences, with maybe a few more for those of you have the time.

Happy Spring, everyone! The turning of the seasons kind of crept up on me while I wasn’t looking, and Sunday is Easter! How did that happen? I feel like the little bunny coming out of its burrow, cautiously sniffing the air, munching a dandelion or two while wondering where the winter went.

Today I’m sharing from my romantic gay fantasy, tentatively titled Snow. This scene continues directly from last week. Prince Gabriel has returned home on the evening of the festival of the Hunter’s Moon. As he’s swept up into castle life, he remembers how much he dislikes the politics and pomposity.

***

The courtyard buzzed with activity. Tristan had wasted no time disappearing into the great hall. Servants swarmed around their sodden, inebriated lords, guiding them away toward blazing hearths and dry clothing. High above the inner ward, the clock tower, crowning glory of the new residential wing—new meaning built fifty years ago by his grandfather—chimed eight o’clock. Webster had exaggerated. The feast wouldn’t begin for another hour at least.

Gabriel headed for his old rooms and along with Webster, a flock of unfamiliar servants flustered and cooed after them.  He supposed he’d been assigned a retinue and was again disappointed that he recognized none of them.

“Oh, sir, I did hear a most alarming rumor that you’d been set upon by a centaur and—”

That’s the official Ten. Here’s a bit more:

Gabriel laughed sharply. 

“Five minutes back and the tale has grown taller than the castle walls. I wasn’t set upon by anything.”  He knocked a bit of moss from his cuff as he entered a long corridor, muscle memory guiding his feet as his thoughts went hither and yon.  The common appetite for myth and magic could both help and hinder the Rosenthal family. Wonder and devotion battled with fear and superstition.  In spite of that, the queen had been well loved.  Would he be accepted? The people in the town had seemed happy to see him.

“Thank the gods for that,” Webster said. “I set out the pale blue silk your aunt Wren sent for your twentieth birthday. That with—”

“That’s for weddings and parties. I need to look more serious.” He thought of Falkner, dour and intimidating all in black. “Something darker.”

“You’re absolutely correct,” Webster said, “How foolish of me.” 

Gabriel doubted if what he wore actually mattered, but he hated anything that hinted at frippery.  It was bad enough he’d have to wear a crown.  He hadn’t done so in the three years he’d been gone.

***

Photo 97165497 © RealchemystDreamstime.com

Blurb in progress for Snow:

Following the death of his mother the Queen, Prince Gabriel returns home for the first time in three years. Gabriel hopes for a reconciliation with his estranged brother, the new king, but all is not well at Castle Rosenthal. King Tristan has fallen under the sway of a mysterious noble woman with a dark past, and all along the border of the Black Forest, magical denizens are on the move. Gabriel begins to fear for his life. Is the handsome huntsman in on a plot to assassinate him, or is there an even darker, more evil power afoot? A forced flight into the Black Forest may expose ancient magic at work, if Gabriel can survive long enough to uncover it.

***

Don’t forget to check out all the awesome snippets at Weekend Writing Warriors!

Weekend Writing Warriors ~ A Man of Action

Hello and welcome to Weekend Writing Warriors. I’m sorry I missed last week. I had computer issues, and now I return to find WordPress has once again “improved” its interface. Why is it improvements always seem more like irritations than anything actually helpful? Could it be my old brain doesn’t like change? Nah…

So on the snippet. I’m back to sharing from my fairy tale revisited, a reimagining of the Snow White story with a male character in the title role. Last week, Prince Gabriel returned to his family’s castle for the first time in three years, during the autumn Festival of the Hunter’s Moon.

***

The moment Gabriel slid from Tempest’s back in the castle courtyard, his servant pounced.

“Sire! You are due in the great hall in mere moments! Your boots are full of mud and your clothing is inappropriate!” In his panic, Webster impetuously reached out and plucked a twig of holly from Gabriel’s hair.

“I see you’ve recovered from your bee sting,” Gabriel said as he handed Tempest’s reins to a stable boy. Other servants swarmed around them to gather Gabriel’s packs from the horse. “Old Aldous hasn’t lost his touch.”

“Oh, yes, nothing a healing poultice and a brandy couldn’t cure. Although the healer you knew is no longer here. Retired. Gone to live in a cave or whatever it is old alchemists do.”

That’s the traditional Ten. Here’s a bit more for your reading pleasure:

Webster cleared his throat and stared at the cobblestones. “I’m sorry to have abandoned you at such an inconvenient time.”

“Nonsense, Webster. You would have hated tramping through the muck after game anyway.”  Gabriel brushed the remaining petals from his sleeve, disappointed to learn another trusted member of his mother’s court was gone, but determined not to dwell on it.  “I thought I’d remain dressed as I am. Gives me more the appearance of a man of action, does it not?” He ran his fingers through his hair and found another twig, this one still attached to a leaf.

Webster gaped at him in abject horror. The servant himself had donned his finest blue tunic with silver trim and tied his long brown hair back in a tidy bun. He looked more like a worried old woman than ever. Gabriel smiled and Webster let out a breath of relief.

“Oh, sire, you had me—ha, ha—naturally, you wouldn’t—you were joking, weren’t you?”

“I was, but I’m only submitting myself to your tortures because I have to make a speech.” 

***

© Olgasyrova | Dreamstime.com

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Blurb for Snow (working title):

Following the death of his mother the Queen, Prince Gabriel returns home for the first time in three years. Gabriel hopes for a reconciliation with his estranged brother, the new king, but all is not well at Castle Rosenthal. King Tristan has fallen under the sway of a mysterious noble woman with a dark past, and all along the border of the Black Forest, magical denizens are on the move. Gabriel begins to fear for his life. Is the handsome huntsman in on a plot to assassinate him, or is there an even darker, more evil power afoot? A forced flight into the Black Forest may expose ancient magic at work, if Gabriel can survive long enough to uncover it.

***

Don’t forget to check out the other snippets at Weekend Writing Warriors!