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.

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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.

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

Weekend Writing Warriors ~ Hunter’s Moon

Hello and welcome to Weekend Writing Warriors. When last I shared from today’s story, the pandemic was young and I was still rather enjoying my new found free time (end of the world as we knew it notwithstanding). I confidently set aside this manuscript in order to finish and publish Wild, sure that I’d soon return and get the former done in time for a winter release. Well, flash forward ONE YEAR. The pandemic is quite old and tiresome, my free time has withered on the twin vines of anxiety and despondency, and Snow has sat untouched all this time. This week, I opened it up, brushed aside the digital and mental cobwebs and guess what? It doesn’t totally suck. I like these characters, and this story, and gosh darn it, I’m going to finish it.

This week’s snippet is from Chapter Three, with our hero Prince Gabriel returning to his home for the first time in three years, along with the hunting party he encountered on the road to the royal residence. If you’d like to catch up, you can read past excerpts under the obsessions category Snow. If you want to start at the beginning, scroll down to the bottom of the posts.

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The townsfolk of Emmerich didn’t seem to notice the lack of an impressive stag or elk on display when the hunting party paraded through the gates. They also did not seem bothered by the steady drizzle or the cold that permeated even the thickest cloak.

True, most of them had been celebrating the Festival of the Hunter’s Moon since midday and were bolstered by generous quantities of mead and mulled wine, which Gabriel could smell brewing in every square they passed through. Lanterns burned brightly and fires danced in open pits. Minstrels played lively tunes, young men pranced about with antlers tied to their heads, and young women screamed and pretended to be frightened.

The people were in a gay mood, and to Gabriel’s surprise, some even called his name and tossed flowers to him as he rode by. Actually, many of them did, so many that Tempest’s mane was soon bedecked with the yellow and red fauna of autumn. Gabriel repeatedly brushed petals from his cloak as he waved at blushing clusters of girls radiant in their festival finery.

No one threw flowers at Tristan, who rode at the head of the party. Those still sober enough to have the wits backed away from his huge black horse and bowed low.  The people had always thrown flowers to their mother, Gabriel recalled, and dampened his smile. He hoped Tristan was too tired and inebriated to notice the difference in their reception.

***

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Blurb-in-progress for Snow (working title), a reimagined fairy tale:

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.

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Weekend Writing Warriors is a blog hop where writers from a wide variety of genres share from their work in excerpts of ten sentences.  Click the link to check out the other writers participating today.  It’s a great way to discover your next favorite book.

Weekend Writing Warriors ~ A Steep Price

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 or less. I hope you’re all doing well in these strange times. As an introvert, a writer, and a natural hermit, I must say this stay at home business is rather working out for me, but I feel for my extrovert friends. Someday we shall gather again and make merry, but until then, we have blog hops, zoom meetings, and books. Thank the gods for books!

Believe it or not, I’ve finally reached the end of this chapter and will be moving on to other things. But fear not, I’m making great progress on Snow now that I can set my own schedule and write as much as I darn well please.  Last week, (which you can read here) Gabriel was hit hard by the affects of working magic and Gavin Falkner, the last man he’d expect to do such a thing, offered his support.

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For one brief moment, Gabriel experienced a fantasy of leaning into Falkner and allowing the man to support him.  He shrugged off the weak notion and blinked away the encroaching mental fog. “I’m fine, he said, and dug deep into his reserves to pull free of Falkner’s hand.

He made it back to the meadow where the horses were without falling on his face and was relieved to hear excited chatter about the great white stag and the blessing of the gods.  As he put his foot in the stirrup and swung onto Tempest’s back, he considered for the first time that Tristan might be right, in a fashion. Maybe the forest gods had indeed favored him— not Tristan, but Gabriel, the one who had stopped the killing of the divine emissary. Immediately, his mother’s voice interrupted this line of thought, warning him against hubris.  When the gods meddle in the affairs of humans, she’d always said, trouble is never far behind. Their gifts come with a steep price.

***

© Jakub Krechowicz | Dreamstime.com

Blurb-in-progress for Snow, a reimagined fairy tale:

Following the death of his mother the Queen, Prince Gabriel is called home by his brother, now King. Gabriel hopes for a reconciliation with his estranged brother, 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 is a blog hop where writers from a wide variety of genres share from their work in excerpts of ten sentences or less.  Click the link to check out the other writers participating today.  It’s a great way to discover your next favorite book.

Weekend Writing Warriors ~ Blood and Bones

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 or less. I hope you’re doing well,  and staying safe and sane in these strange times. For me, the sane part is the hardest. Thank goodness for writing and the company of my characters!

I’m particularly fond of Prince Gabriel, the MC featured in my waiting-in-the-wings project Snow, which I’ve been sharing from while toiling on my next Jacqui the Cat mystery in the background. I’m excited that I’ll finally be able to turn my full attention to Gabriel’s story.  Currently, he’s dealing with the aftermath of having wielded forbidden magic, and he hasn’t even arrived at his destination yet; his home of Rosenthal Castle. You can read last week’s snippet here.

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After a last look at where the great white stag had stood, Gabriel turned and trailed after the rest of the hunting party.  He found it hard to lift his feet, the physical toll of wielding magic still working its way through his blood and bones. With his gaze focused on the patch of forest floor directly before him, he walked carefully to avoid stumbling over roots. The thought of the ride to Rosenthal Castle exhausted him, and that was just the beginning of the evening. He would have to present himself in the grand hall to all the ministers, lords and ladies gathered there. He was, after all, a prince returned to his realm, expected to officially declare his support for his brother and to properly grieve his mother’s death at her tomb.

All he wanted to do was sleep. Darkness invaded the corners of his mind and he slowed.

A strong hand gripped his arm from behind, steadying him.

“Are you all right?” Falkner asked in a low voice.

***

© breakermaximus | Dreamstime.com

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Blurb-in-progress for Snow, a reimagined fairy tale:

Following the death of his mother the Queen, Prince Gabriel is called home by his brother, now King. Gabriel hopes for a reconciliation with his estranged brother, 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 is a blog hop where writers from a wide variety of genres share from their work in excerpts of ten sentences or less.  Click the link to check out the other writers participating today.  It’s a great way to discover your next favorite book.

Weekend Writing Warriors ~ Sleeping Nightmares

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 or less.  I hope you’re staying safe and sane, and of course reading is a great way to do both.

I’m sharing from my current work-in-progress, a gay romantic fantasy inspired by the tale of Snow White. In last week’s snippet, King Tristan announced that the appearance of the white stag was a good omen sent in support of his rule and Gabriel was only too happy to go along with it, in order to keep his unstable brother happy. So it appears the extraordinary events of the day will be swept under the rug. Or will they?

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“Are we to return empty-handed then?” Bryce asked.

“Empty handed but full of heart,” Tristan said, sounding almost like his old self. “We have been blessed by Astrid, goddess of the hunt.”

His men grinned, slapped each other on the back, and followed him into the trees, not one of them sparing a glance for Gabriel. Surely they looked forward to being the bearers of such good tidings. Was his brother correct in presuming none of them would spread dark rumors about the arrow stopped in mid-flight?

His mother’s voice came to him in a soft whisper: blame it on the gods.

Whenever inconvenient occurrences of magic cast a shadow over her benevolent image, his mother pointed to the new gods of the North.  The people were only too happy to have their fears redirected to a more distant, less intimate source of supernatural interference than the forest that bordered their lands.  Let sleeping nightmares lie, the queen always said.

***

© Igor Goriachev | Dreamstime.com

Blurb-in-progress for Snow, a reimagined fairy tale:

Following the death of his mother the Queen, Prince Gabriel is called home by his brother, now King. Gabriel hopes for a reconciliation with his estranged brother, 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 is a blog hop where writers from a wide variety of genres share from their work in excerpts of ten sentences or less.  Click the link to check out the other writers participating today.  It’s a great way to discover your next favorite book.

Weekend Writing Warriors ~ Truth

Hello and welcome to Weekend Writing Warriors. I hope you’re faring well in these strange times. One excellent way to cope is to seek out some engaging fiction, so don’t forget to visit the other authors participating in the blog hop by clicking the link above. You’re sure to find an irresistible story or two or three.

I’m sharing from my current WIP, a reimagined fairy tale inspired by the take of Snow White.  I’m nearing the end of this scene. I know it seems like I’ve been saying that forever, but it’s coming! And then I’ll move on to other things, but for now, Gabriel is having reality pulled out from under him. And like most victims of gaslighting, he’s just fine with that, as long as it keeps the perpetrator happy.  You can read last week’s snippet here.

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Gabriel scanned the line of men nodding their heads. They were all Tristan’s men, none of the visiting lords had lasted this long into the hunt, and so the story could be retold in a version more flattering for Tristan. Gabriel didn’t mind, and actually hoped that Tristan came to believe it himself. That jealous rage in his brother’s eyes had unsettled him deeply.

And then there was the arrow—Tristan’s arrow. He forced away the treacherous thought. It hadn’t happened, just as the stag had not appeared before him, but before Tristan.

One man was not nodding. Gavin Falkner watched Gabriel closely, and when their gazes met, an acknowledgement of the truth passed between them.

***

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Blurb-in-progress for Snow, a reimagined fairy tale:

Following the death of his mother the Queen, Prince Gabriel is called home by his brother, now King. Gabriel hopes for a reconciliation with his estranged brother, 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.

****

Weekend Writing Warriors is a blog hop where writers from a wide variety of genres share from their work in excerpts of ten sentences or less.  Click the link to check out the other writers participating today.  It’s a great way to discover your next favorite book.