Week Sixteen

Today is the end of the sixteenth week of the 365 Writing Challenge and I failed dismally this week in way of words added to pieces of fiction and poetry. However, I did write an impressive 2,114 words on my blog. So, that’s a win in my book.

So, what have I accomplished in the past seven days?

Let’s list it shall we and find out!

  • Added 100 words to an Iron Faerie Publishing submission piece.
  • Added 100 words to Le Fay.
  • Submitted one drabble to Black Hare Press.
  • Wrote one poem.
  • Edited a couple of short stories.

And of course, the wait for contest scores continues, as does waiting to hear back on a few – 5 – submissions I’ve sent to publishers in the last month.

Of course, that list doesn’t include my work with The Horror Tree which can often be overwhelming or my work with Iron Faerie Publishing.

Until next week (or the week after that). Happy writing.

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Happy Easter

Happy Easter

I still, even as an adult find it totally bizarre that Easter doesn’t have a set date. Every year its in a constant flux.

So, this year, I decided to read up on the reasons why Easter appears to be in a constant flux, even though in reality it isn’t. Not really.

Let me explain.

According to the Church of Nicaea, way back in 325AD, it was determined that Easter should fall on the Sunday that followed the first full moon after the Spring Equinox. Which we all know happened on March 21st 2019 (technically the Autumn Equinox for those of us in the Southern Hemisphere). Coincidentally, there was a Full moon that fell on the Equinox this year, which was excluded because Easter has to fall between March 25th and April 25th, forcing them to go with the next one which fell on April 19th.

Which is why the dates move and Easter festivities are sometimes referred to as moveable feasts.

Chocolate eggs and rabbits are something of a modern invention when it comes to Easter. Although the Goddess Ostara or Eostre is the Goddess of Spring. Easter eggs and the Easter Bunny both featured heavily in the spring festivals of the goddess Ostara. The rabbit was her sacred animal and brightly colored eggs,  baby chicks, and bunnies were all used at festival time to honour this fertility goddess.

And here’s the story of Ostara…

ostara

Already feeling just, a little bit guilty for arriving late one spring, the Goddess Ostara was appalled when the first thing she encountered was a little bird who lay dying on the forest floor, his wings frozen by the snow.

Filled with compassion, Ostara took him as a pet or, as some versions of the tale have it, her lover. Feeling sorry that the poor wingless bird could no longer take flight, she turned him into a snow hare and gave him the ability to run rapidly so he could evade all hunters.

Honouring his earlier life as a bird, she also gave him the ability to lay eggs in all the colours of the rainbow.

Whatever could the goddess Ostara have been thinking when she turned him into a randy rabbit? Eventually the decision backfired when the goddess became enraged with his numerous affairs.

In a fit of anger, she threw him into the skies where he unfortunately landed under the feet  of the constellation Orion (the Hunter).  He remains there to this day, and is known to us the constellation Lepus (The Hare).

Softening her attitude, a bit, Ostara allowed the hare to return to earth once each year to give away his coloured eggs to the children attending the Ostara festivals that were held each spring.

You Know You’re a Writer When…

…You stumble upon the fact that blood makes a good egg substitute and you decide to blog about it.

Not grossed out yet? Then keep reading.

So, in an effort to get in the Easter spirit a little bit more I went searching the internet for quick and easy chocolate related recipes today… because while I love my go to chocolate cake, I didn’t just want cake. Turns out, my go to chocolate cake is easy as to make and I can do it in my sleep… so all the other fabulous recipes I found today will have to wait.

However, in the course of looking through all kinds of chocolate recipes I also stumbled across why blood is a good substitute for eggs.

The answer? It’s full of protein.

Of course, if you are squeamish at the sight of blood you might be better sticking to banana or apple sauce as an egg supplement. But I found it fascinating all the same.

So, now that you’re thoroughly creeped out, I’m going to share with you one of the easiest chocolate cake recipes I’ve found to date. My kids love it!

Chocolate Cake Recipe

ingredients

• 1 cup self-raising flour

• 1/3 cup cocoa

• 1 cup caster sugar

• 1/3 cup butter (softened)

• 1/2 cup milk

• 2 eggs (lightly beaten)

• 1 teaspoons of vanilla

method

1. Preheat the oven to 180°C (160°C fan-forced). Line a 24cm cake tin and set aside.

2. Place all ingredients into a bowl and using a mixer, mix ingredients together on high for 4 minutes.

3. Pour into cake tin and bake for 35-40 minutes or until the cake springs back when lightly touched in the centre.

Alternatively, if you’d rather cupcakes, this recipe will easily make 12. Just bake for 15 minutes at 180°C (160°C fan-forced).

Chocolate Buttercream Icing Recipe

ingredients

• 100g butter, softened

• 2 cups soft icing mixture, sifted

• 1/3 cup cocoa, sifted

• 2 tbsp milk

method

1. Using an electric mixer, beat the butter until pale and fluffy.

2. Add the icing mixture and cocoa a little at a time until fully incorporated.

3. When this is fully combined add the milk and the chocolate buttercream will become light and fluffy.

So, what on your menu for Easter? Anything special? Share in the comments below!

WIP Wednesday

It’s time to SHARE what you’re working on!

The rules are pretty simple, if you want to play along.

Just share up to 500 words in the comments from something you’ve been working on.

 Its hard to share what I’ve been working on this week when all the stories have been sent out pending publication. To either be accepted or rejected.

So, instead, I’m sharing a snippet from the same universe as the one I shared last week. This takes place during Dragonsblood. Just prior to Queen Mab being killed.

*The asylum is modelled off Kew Asylum in Melbourne, Australia.

Ash put the key into the lock and turned the key. The locking mechanism turned with an audible click and the door was opened. Twisting the doorknob Ash throws open the main doors.

I step over the threshold and shove my emotions aside. Being back at Wellesmere wasn’t my idea of fun and if there had been any other alternative I would have gladly taken it, but Wellesmere was the only place with enough rooms and living space to house everyone.

“Ever think in a million years we’d see the inside of this place again Scarlett?” Ava asked.

I shook my head. “Nope.”

Walking inside, I can’t help but notice the fine layer of dust which coats the wooden floor boards, my shoe prints can be seen making a trail behind me. “Welcome to Wellesmere. Originally home to the mentally insane, it once moonlighted as a juvenile detention centre in lieu of a mystical holding cell for yours truly. I’d give you the history of the building as Sister Bernadette told it to me but frankly, I tuned her out within the first five minutes.”

“You lived here?” Ella asked stepping across the threshold.

I shrugged. “Three years off and on.”

“And you’re sure they won’t think to look for us here?” Mordecai asked.

“I can’t say for certain what they’ll do,” I said. “But, this place is a far better alternative than Cornwall.”

“Is it?” Emrys asked. “Because Tintagel seems really good right about now. The place is legendary.”

“And old, really old,” Robin put in. “No offence Sorcha.”

Sorcha Donovan snorted, clearly displeased. Tintagel, according to Zooey, was her grandmother’s ancestral home.

So, what are you waiting for? Bring out your WIP for WIP Wednesday!

 

Gargoyles and Grotesques

In the light of the fire that destroyed part of the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, I spent the day following the story and try to figure out a way to reflect on it while at the same time not rehashing everything that had been shared through all the various news services.

And as I was trawling through Pinterest an idea came to me.

What better way than to take a look at one of the iconic symbols of the Notre Dame Cathedral, the Gargoyle and share a writing prompt.

Gargoyles are a popular choice of architectural design on churches because of the long held belief that they warded away evil spirits, and to divert rainwater.

The word “Gargoyle” originates from an old French word “Gargouille” meaning “throat” but it also describes the gurgling sound of water as it comes down the down pipe.

Technically architects call a waterspout on a building a gargoyle. If a stone carving does not carry water and has a face that resembles a creature, it is technically called a grotesque. And a strange beast which combines several different animals is called a chimera.

As I looked up, I caught sight of a gargoyle.

Happy writing everyone!

Week Fifteen

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Today is the end of the fifteenth week of the 365 Writing Challenge and I’ve managed to write 1156 words across seven days.

So, what have I accomplished over the past week?

Let’s list it shall we and find out!

  • Wrote a further 644 words and completed Of Blood and Fire. It comes in at 5,044 words and was submitted in the early hours of Thursday, 11th April.
  • Continued work on Le Fay, writing a further 300 words. It’s now sitting at 4,000/6,000 words. I had to push the deadline back two weeks.
  • Wrote two short poems.
  • I’ve sat staring at my untitled story for the Summer Splash anthology more than I would like but I’ve managed to get 156 words down.

Of course, that list doesn’t include my work with The Horror Tree which can often be overwhelming or my work with Iron Faerie Publishing. Or any of the blogs I’ve written over the last week.

Until next week (or the week after that). Happy writing.

The Struggle is Real

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Yes. The struggle is real! And, along with struggling to find something worthy to write about tonight, I’m struggling to figure out which of my WIPs I should be focusing on.

First World problems, I know. But it’s true, and the answer should be simple, but it’s not.

Too many stories and not enough time, and even more writing opportunities keep popping up out of the woodwork. I swear, my anxiety is in overdrive, because I just don’t want to miss out, you know?

It’s hard. I’d forgo sleep, but I need sleep. There’s only so much coffee a person (namely I) can drink before I wind up bouncing off the walls. I think the official tally is about 6 cups over the course of a day.

So, in the interest of saving me from simply procrastinating and winding up following the internet down some rabbit hole… trust me it happens often. One minute I’m researching something for a story and the next I’m somewhere totally unrelated… would anyone be willing to share what they’re working on at the moment? It doesn’t have to be a novel or short story. It could be a poem or your latest blog post. Who knows, it might create a spark of inspiration for my own writing.

 

 

Five Writerly Things To Buy When You’re a Writer

Just as all writers have different writers styles, they too have a different writing process.

I, prefer to write at a computer. But I didn’t always use one to write.

I often used notebooks.

In fact, there was a time when I carried a notebook everywhere I went. Just in case I wanted or needed to jot down an idea.

Now, my phone takes the place of a notebook.

But that hasn’t prevented me from collecting notebooks.

So, without further ado… here’s 5 writerly things to buy when you’re a writer!

  1. Notebooks – I love Typo ones.
  2. Pens – If I could, I buy up all the purple pens I could find. Alas, I can’t so I console myself with black Papermate Profile ones.
  3. Book Covers – Because novels need covers. I try not to collect them unless I have a story in mind, but there’s never a time when cover art isn’t pretty to look at.
  4. Fingerless Gloves – I’ve been drooling over the ones at Storiarts for a while now)
  5. Coffee (& Chai Tea) – Because I can’t live without coffee… and Chai Tea in winter

Writers, what’s on your list? Share it in the comments below.

Of Blood and Fire

It’s done. I’ve not only finished an epic 5,000 word story, but I’ve submitted it too. It’s currently winging its way into the hands of the Dragon Soul Press editors as I type.

I just hope they like it.

I’ve spent the last forty-five minutes winding down since I did a mad dash to write what I thought was 400 words but was really 600 words in as little time as possible tonight so I could get the story finished.

It took two hours.

Sadly, it’s not much of an update but I had to share nonetheless, now that the excitement coupled with nerves has died down.

WIP Wednesday

Dandelions CoverIt’s time to SHARE what you’re working on!

Alright, so in the interest of doing something different and keep my blog from getting stale, I thought it couldn’t hurt to throw a 500 word excerpt from my latest Work-in-Progress or WIP.

The rules are pretty simple, if you want to play along.

Just share up to 500 words in the comments from something you’ve been working on.

This particular scene came about while I was writing a short story for submission to an anthology. I actually mentioned it on my Facebook page. I hate killing off characters, I really do. So much so, I either put it off, or wind up being upset for days afterwards. I don’t think there’s ever been a time where I haven’t cried when killing of a character. Funeral’s suck, by the way. In almost thirty six years on this earth, I’ve been to far too many of them. I can count thirteen off the top of my head.

In this scene which will probably feature somewhere in my Eldritch, Scarlett has just found out that her older brother, Atticus has died in a car accident and she’s chosen, to everybody’s shock, to carry on with the trip to Cornwall. Instead of staying behind and dealing with her grief. (Zooey is fey and telepathic)

Scarlett sat outside on the stairs of the deck, listening to the same song over and over on her phone. It was off, what would now become, her brother’s last ever album.

As she listened, tears glistened, but she refused to let them fall.

“You’d think she would have broken by now,” Zooey said.

“And why’s that?” Ash mused. “Red’s stronger than she looks.”

“Strong on the outside maybe,” Zooey agreed. “But I don’t know about on the inside. She’s sitting out there listening to the same song on repeat.”

“And you know that how?” Ash asked before it dawned on him. “Never mind. I forgot who I was speaking too.”

And with that he stood up and headed outside to join Scarlett. When he sat down next to her on the steps, she turned and looked at him, taking one of the earbuds out.

“Are you okay?”

Scarlett lent her head on his shoulder and Ash wrapped and arm around her.

“I am now,” she said. “You can tell Zooey; she doesn’t have to worry. I’m fine… really.”

“She said that you were listening to the same song on repeat,” he said. “Scarlett, that’s not… fine.”

“It’s a bonus track,” Scarlett said. “Acoustic. I just wanted to hear his voice without all the backing vocals distorting it.”

A lone tear zig zagged down her cheek to her chin. “I’m not going to break, Ash.” She shook her head. “I can’t afford to.”

“You don’t have to be here. It’s not as if we can’t handle the dragons without you.”

“No,” Scarlett said softly. “I’m not going home so that I can sit around and do nothing. I’ll go crazy.”

“Scarlett,” Ash chided as Scarlett stood up.

“I’m staying. End of story,” she said. “Tell Zooey she can keep her nose out of my business from now on. I don’t need a baby sitter, Ash. I’m fine. In the event that that changes, you’ll be the first to know, but until then…”

Ash sighed. “Until then, you’re just going to continue to do exactly what you’re doing and ignore your pain.”

“I’m not in pain.”

“No?” Ash asked standing up. “There’s a room full of people in there who say otherwise. They’re not stupid or blind. They see you. And he was your brother, for crying out loud. Regardless of your relationship with him, he was your brother and you loved him. You can’t just shut yourself off to everything you’re feeling and pretend it’s all okay, when it’s not.”

“Yeah, well…” Scarlett paused. “Atticus is dead. And if pretending that he’s not is going to get me through the next six days until the funeral, then so be it. I don’t want to break Ash, I really don’t.” She smiled through her tears. “But by all means, bring me back to reality, because God knows the real world hasn’t dumped on me enough already.”

 So, what are you waiting for? Bring out your WIP for WIP Wednesday!

 

Write What You Know

If you’ve been writing for a while, you’ve no doubt heard the phrase write what you know and if you’re new to writing, then this post just might save your sanity.

Write what you know.

It’s one of the most misunderstood pieces of writing advice I’ve ever come across, so what do you do about it?

Do you listen and hang on every word. Every snippet of so-called writing advice that the World Wide Web is inundated with… not to mention every book dedicated to writing. Or do you pick and choose? Using only the advice you think it’s relevant and useful.

Write what you know. Really? But do I have to?

I know, I know. I can hear you thinking: I hardly know anything, or: my experience is limited, or even: I haven’t been anywhere exciting yet.

None of that matters, and you know why? Because I can guarantee you that your life experience is entirely different from any other writer out there. It’s as unique as you are, and that’s what will shine through no matter what you write.

Funny story actually, but a couple of years ago, I was told by an author that I respect, to stick to writing what I know. It was after a conversation led me to share the setting of the book that I was working on at the time. I’ll give you a hint, it wasn’t set in Australia… and it definitely wasn’t set in Perth.

I found myself sitting there, coffee in hand, mulling over what she said and panicking and I thought to myself: I’ll never get to go anywhere as charming as Ireland in my lifetime.

And then it dawned on me… it’s not the setting of the story I should be focusing on, but the experiences my characters go through. It’s the emotions that course through them whenever they feel something so intensely… whether it be joy or sadness. If you as a writer know those emotions inside out, if you experience it as if it were you who was going through it, and not some character you made up, then there’s no doubt in my mind the reader will feel it too.

Week Thirteen and Fourteen

Today is the end of the fourteenth week of the 365 Writing Challenge and I’ve managed to write 5008 words across fourteen days. Hard to believe, I know. This of course, doesn’t count the words that go into my blog posts, if it did, I can guarantee you the word count would be higher.

So, what have I accomplished in the past two weeks?

Let’s list it shall we and find out!

  • Started work on Of Blood and Fire – I’m 4,408 words into the short story which is centred around King Arthur and Camelot. Complete with dragons and… vampires. Yep! You heard correctly. Vampires!
  • Submitted a poem, Raven Queen to Dragon Soul Press.
  • Edited two short stories.
  • Edited 9,000 words worth of articles for a client.
  • Submitted my short story, The Drowning Pool to Pixie Forest Publishing’s anthology At Death’s Door.
  • Wrote a 600 word scene that will eventually be included in the WIP Eldritch.
  • Wrote two more poems
  • Wrote two drabbles

Of course, that list doesn’t include my work with The Horror Tree which can often be overwhelming or my work with Iron Faerie Publishing.

All up it’s lead to a very busy, but productive two weeks.

Until next week (or the week after that). Happy writing.

It’s National Poetry Month!

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Yep, it’s true! I didn’t know until recently either.

So, in honour of coming out from under my rock and learning new things… as well as the fact that over the past few days, I’ve been busy writing up a storm on various projects that center around King Arthur and Camelot. I thought I’d share a poem on that very subject, which I’ve not actually read a lot of. As I do prefer books to poetry.

However, I am finding poetry a lot of fun to write of late, so I thought I’d share something Arthurian in nature to commemorate National Poetry Month and have decided to start with the one by Alfred, Lord Tennyson, which having combed through Mallory’s, Le Morte d’Arthur recently is actually a retelling of some of the earlier chapters in the book and if you haven’t read Le Morte d’Arthur, I recommend you do so, although, fair warning, it is a hard slog. I’m finding the language quite interesting though.

Fun fact: Not only was Tennyson the longest serving Poet Laureate but he was the first to be raised to a British Peerage for his contribution to the poetry world. Something which he hated and only took to ensure the financial security of his son, Hallam. 

Just a little something, I find fascinating given my love of British (particularly royal) History.

It’s such an epic poem. I think I’d get through Mallory’s Le Morte d’Arthur a lot quicker if it was all written as a poem. I’ll let you make up your own mind. While I continue to wade through the tome that is Mallory’s version of the tales.

Morte d’Arthur (1912)

by Alfred, Lord Tennyson

So all day long the noise of battle roll’d
Among the mountains by the winter sea;
Until King Arthur’s table, man by man,
Had fallen in Lyonnesse about their Lord,
King Arthur: then, because his wound was deep,
The bold Sir Bedivere uplifted him,
Sir Bedivere, the last of all his knights,
And bore him to a chapel nigh the field,
A broken chancel with a broken cross,
That stood on a dark strait of barren land.
On one side lay the ocean, and on one
Lay a great water, and the moon was full.

Then spake King Arthur to Sir Bedivere:
“The sequel of to-day unsolders all
The goodliest fellowship of famous knights
Whereof this world holds record. Such a sleep
They sleep—the men I loved. I think that we
Shall never more, at any future time,
Delight our souls with talk of knightly deeds,
Walking about the gardens and the halls
Of Camelot, as in the days that were.
I perish by this people which I made,—
Tho’ Merlin sware that I should come again
To rule once more—but let what will be, be,
I am so deeply smitten thro’ the helm
That without help I cannot last till morn.
Thou therefore take my brand Excalibur,
Which was my pride: for thou rememberest how
In those old days, one summer noon, an arm
Rose up from out the bosom of the lake,
Clothed in white samite, mystic, wonderful,
Holding the sword—and how I row’d across
And took it, and have worn it, like a king:
And, wheresoever I am sung or told
In aftertime, this also shall be known:
But now delay not: take Excalibur,
And fling him far into the middle mere:
Watch what thou seëst, and lightly bring me word.”

To him replied the bold Sir Bedivere:
“It is not meet, Sir King, to leave thee thus,
Aidless, alone, and smitten thro’ the helm.
A little thing may harm a wounded man.
Yet I thy hest will all perform at full,
Watch what I see, and lightly bring thee word.”

So saying, from the ruin’d shrine he stept
And in the moon athwart the place of tombs,
Where lay the mighty bones of ancient men,
Old knights, and over them the sea-wind sang
Shrill, chill, with flakes of foam. He, stepping down
By zigzag paths, and juts of pointed rock,
Came on the shining levels of the lake.

There drew he forth the brand Excalibur,
And o’er him, drawing it, the winter moon,
Brightening the skirts of a long cloud, ran forth
And sparkled keen with frost against the hilt:
For all the haft twinkled with diamond sparks,
Myriads of topaz-lights, and jacinth work
Of subtlest jewellery. He gazed so long
That both his eyes were dazzled, as he stood,
This way and that dividing the swift mind,
In act to throw: but at the last it seem’d
Better to leave Excalibur conceal’d
There in the many-knotted water-flags,
That whistled stiff and dry about the marge.
So strode he back slow to the wounded King.

Then spake King Arthur to Sir Bedivere:
“Hast thou perform’d my mission which I gave?
What is it thou hast seen, or what hast heard?”

And answer made the bold Sir Bedivere:
“I heard the ripple washing in the reeds,
And the wild water lapping on the crag.”

To whom replied King Arthur, faint and pale:
“Thou hast betray’d thy nature and thy name,
Not rendering true answer, as beseem’d
Thy fealty, nor like a noble knight:
For surer sign had follow’d, either hand,
Or voice, or else a motion of the mere.
This is a shameful thing for men to lie.
Yet now, I charge thee, quickly go again
As thou art lief and dear, and do the thing
I bade thee, watch, and lightly bring me word.”

Then went Sir Bedivere the second time
Across the ridge, and paced beside the mere,
Counting the dewy pebbles, fixed in thought;
But when he saw the wonder of the hilt,
How curiously and strangely chased, he smote
His palms together, and he cried aloud,

“And if indeed I cast the brand away,
Surely a precious thing, one worthy note,
Should thus be lost forever from the earth,
Which might have pleased the eyes of many men.
What good should follow this, if this were done?
What harm, undone? deep harm to disobey,
Seeing obedience is the bond of rule.
Were it well to obey then, if a king demand
An act unprofitable, against himself?
The King is sick, and knows not what he does.
What record, or what relic of my lord
Should be to aftertime, but empty breath
And rumours of a doubt? but were this kept,
Stored in some treasure-house of mighty kings,
Some one might show it at a joust of arms,
Saying, ‘King Arthur’s sword, Excalibur,
Wrought by the lonely maiden of the Lake;
Nine years she wrought it, sitting in the deeps
Upon the hidden bases of the hills.’
So might some old man speak in the aftertime
To all the people, winning reverence.
But now much honour and much fame were lost.”

So spake he, clouded with his own conceit,
And hid Excalibur the second time,
And so strode back slow to the wounded King.

Then spoke King Arthur, breathing heavily:
“What is it thou hast seen, or what hast heard?”

And answer made the bold Sir Bedivere:
“I heard the water lapping on the crag,
And the long ripple washing in the reeds.”

To whom replied King Arthur, much in wrath:
“Ah, miserable and unkind, untrue,
Unknightly, traitor-hearted! Woe is me!
Authority forgets a dying king,
Laid widow’d of the power in his eye
That bow’d the will. I see thee what thou art,
For thou, the latest-left of all my knights,
In whom should meet the offices of all,
Thou wouldst betray me for the precious hilt;
Either from lust of gold, or like a girl
Valuing the giddy pleasure of the eyes.
Yet, for a man may fail in duty twice,
And the third time may prosper, get thee hence:
But, if thou spare to fling Excalibur,
I will arise and slay thee with my hands.”

Then quickly rose Sir Bedivere, and ran,
And, leaping down the ridges lightly, plunged
Among the bulrush-beds, and clutch’d the sword,
And strongly wheel’d and threw it. The great brand
Made lightnings in the splendour of the moon,
And flashing round and round, and whirl’d in an arch,
Shot like a streamer of the northern morn,
Seen where the moving isles of winter shock
By night, with noises of the northern sea.
So flash’d and fell the brand Excalibur:
But ere he dipt the surface, rose an arm
Clothed in white samite, mystic, wonderful,
And caught him by the hilt, and brandish’d him
Three times, and drew him under in the mere.
And lightly went the other to the King.

Then spoke King Arthur, drawing thicker breath:
“Now see I by thine eyes that this is done.
Speak out: what is it thou hast heard, or seen?”

And answer made the bold Sir Bedivere:
“Sir King, I closed mine eyelids, lest the gems
Should blind my purpose, for I never saw,
Nor shall see, here or elsewhere, till I die,
Not tho’ I live three lives of mortal men,
So great a miracle as yonder hilt.
Then with both hands I flung him, wheeling him;
But when I look’d again, behold an arm,
Clothed in white samite, mystic, wonderful,
That caught him by the hilt, and brandish’d him
Three times, and drew him under in the mere.”

And answer made King Arthur, breathing hard:
“My end draws nigh; ‘t is time that I were gone.
Make broad thy shoulders to receive my weight,
And bear me to the margin; yet I fear
My wound hath taken cold, and I shall die.”

So saying, from the pavement he half rose,
Slowly, with pain, reclining on his arm,
And looking wistfully with wide blue eyes
As in a picture. Him Sir Bedivere
Remorsefully regarded thro’ his tears,
And would have spoken, but he found not words,
Then took with care, and kneeling on one knee,
O’er both his shoulders drew the languid hands,
And rising bore him thro’ the place of tombs.

But, as he walk’d, King Arthur panted hard,
Like one that feels a nightmare on his bed
When all the house is mute. So sigh’d the King
Muttering and murmuring at his ear, “Quick, quick!
I fear it is too late, and I shall die.”
But the other swiftly strode from ridge to ridge,
Clothed with his breath, and looking, as he walk’d
Larger than human on the frozen hills.
He heard the deep behind him, and a cry
Before. His own thought drove him like a goad.
Dry clash’d his harness in the icy caves
And barren chasms, and all to left and right
The bare black cliff clang’d round him, as he based
His feet on juts of slippery crag that rang
Sharp-smitten with the dint of armed heels—
And on a sudden, lo! the level lake,
And the long glories of the winter moon.

Then saw they how there hove a dusky barge
Dark as a funeral scarf from stem to stern,
Beneath them; and descending they were ware
That all the decks were dense with stately forms
Black-stoled, black-hooded, like a dream—by these
Three Queens with crowns of gold—and from them rose
A cry that shiver’d to the tingling stars,
And, as it were one voice, an agony
Of lamentation, like a wind, that shrills
All night in a waste land, where no one comes,
Or hath come, since the making of the world.

Then murmur’d Arthur, “Place me in the barge,”
And to the barge they came. There those three Queens
Put forth their hands, and took the King, and wept.
But she that rose the tallest of them all
And fairest, laid his head upon her lap,
And loosed the shatter’d casque, and chafed his hands,
And call’d him by his name, complaining loud
And dropping bitter tears against his brow
Striped with dark blood: for all his face was white
And colourless, and like the wither’d moon
Smote by the fresh beam of the springing east;
And all his greaves and cuisses dash’d with drops
Of onset; and the light and lustrous curls—
That made his forehead like a rising sun
High from the daïs-throne—were parch’d with dust;
Or, clotted into points and hanging loose,
Mix’d with the knightly growth that fringed his lips.
So like a shatter’d column lay the King;
Not like that Arthur who, with lance in rest,
From spur to plume a star of tournament,
Shot thro’ the lists at Camelot, and charged
Before the eyes of ladies and of kings.

Then loudly cried the bold Sir Bedivere:
“Ah! my Lord Arthur, whither shall I go?
Where shall I hide my forehead and my eyes?
For now I see the true old times are dead,
When every morning brought a noble chance,
And every chance brought out a noble knight.
Such times have been not since the light that led
The holy Elders with the gift of myrrh.
But now the whole Round Table is dissolved
Which was an image of the mighty world;
And I, the last, go forth companionless,
And the days darken round me, and the years,
Among new men, strange faces, other minds.”

And slowly answer’d Arthur from the barge:
“The old order changeth, yielding place to new,
And God fulfils Himself in many ways,
Lest one good custom should corrupt the world.
Comfort thyself: what comfort is in me?
I have lived my life, and that which I have done
May He within Himself make pure! but thou,
If thou shouldst never see my face again,
Pray for my soul. More things are wrought by prayer
Than this world dreams of. Wherefore, let thy voice
Rise like a fountain for me night and day.
For what are men better than sheep or goats
That nourish a blind life within the brain,
If, knowing God, they lift not hands of prayer
Both for themselves and those who call them friend?
For so the whole round earth is every way
Bound by gold chains about the feet of God.
But now farewell. I am going a long way
With these thou seëst—if indeed I go—
(For all my mind is clouded with a doubt)
To the island-valley of Avilion;
Where falls not hail, or rain, or any snow,
Nor ever wind blows loudly; but it lies
Deep-meadow’d, happy, fair with orchard-lawns
And bowery hollows crown’d with summer sea,
Where I will heal me of my grievous wound.”

So said he, and the barge with oar and sail
Moved from the brink, like some full-breasted swan
That, fluting a wild carol ere her death,
Ruffles her pure cold plume, and takes the flood
With swarthy webs. Long stood Sir Bedivere
Revolving many memories, till the hull
Look’d one black dot against the verge of dawn,
And on the mere the wailing died away.

Discovered a poem you didn’t know existed? Or have you written some of your own? Let me know in the comments below.

10 Songs That Are On My Writing Playlist

As my last post along this same vein, I thought I’d share something most writers have at least one of.

A writing playlist.

It’s no secret that writers often find music to be inspirational to the creative process of writing, and I’m surprisingly no different.

It’s a shock, I know.

Mine is however very eclectic.

So, before I get caught rambling on any further, I’ll see to the list.

(In no particular order)

1. Speeding Cars by Walking Cars

2. Roses by Against the Current

3. Red by Taylor Swift

4. Hold Back the River by Nicole Cross

5. Need You Now by Lady Antebellum

6. Tear in Your Hand by Tori Amos

7. Head Above Water by Avril Lavigne

8. Way Down We Go by Kaleo

9. Saturn by Sleeping at Last

10. September by Daughtry

That’s a small portion of my playlist. I’d love to hear what some of the songs are that feature on your playlist. Unless of course you prefer to write in complete silence.

Bye March

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Another month has come to a close. I spent most of it waiting on things that didn’t arrive and trying to write amongst the anxiety that came with waiting on those things that didn’t arrive. Suffice to say, March has been utterly exhausting.

Rewarding, but exhausting.

I was looking over my submissions for the quarter and I’ve subbed twelve stories and two poems. With five stories still pending completion. Not to mention I’ve written a whopping thirty-two blog posts. While I’ve had two rejections this year, on stories I felt had promise, I’m trying to not let that get me down.

And right now, I’m battling the clock on two projects. Le Fay is probably the most pressing, but another… so far untitled, is proving a mite more interesting. It’s what I like to call Arthurian Legends meets The Vampire Diaries. I couldn’t resist throwing vampires at fire breathing dragons and seeing what came about. Turns out even with Le Fay not quite finished, Morgan’s not letting go. Not that she ever has and I doubt if she ever will.

It’s early days but I’m hopeful I’ll be able to finish the third instalment, Pendragon, ready for a late May release.

So, that’s what I achieved. What’s something you achieved?