A Bite of Cale Windermere…

… who just may be one of the sexiest heroes you’ll ever meet

Question 1: How much has your life experience changed you? And has it made you a better or a worse person?

That really depends on how you look at things.

I can’t say running a company, getting injured, and going through a divorce has made me a worse person per se, but it’s definitely made me cautious, even cynical to an extent. On the other hand, I never would’ve met Mickey otherwise, so you’ll never hear me complain. I wouldn’t trade her for anything in the world. Not even regaining the use of my legs.

Plus, that crazy woman challenges me to be a better person. Whether or not I succeed? You’ll have to ask her.

Question 2: Name three things that people do or say that really annoy you.

1 When people try to push my chair, which happens more often than you’d think. There are no handles. No. Handles. So don’t try to f*cking handle it. Except for Mickey. She can do whatever the hell she wants whenever the hell she wants to.
2 Tardiness is my pet peeve and an absolute dealbreaker. Again, my wife is the only exception to this rule (and every other rule). If you work for me and you miss a deadline, you no longer work for me. End of discussion.
3 “You can’t.”

Question 3: Where would be your perfect holiday destination?

This sounds like a cop-out answer, but I don’t have an “ideal” destination. Anywhere you can think of, I’ve probably been for business, or pleasure, or both. For me, it’s all about the company.

That said, I much prefer snowy mountains over sunny beaches because wheels and sand are a match made in hell. Besides, cold weather equates to hot tubs and cuddling by the fire, which leads to other things if you catch my drift…

 

Truant

 

The feeling of grass between her bare toes encouraged the young girl to run across the sunlit meadow, laughing for the sheer joy of being alive.

The black-clad child hunter watched her from beneath his woollen cowl and smiled thinly. The girl would be an easy capture, he thought, and would suffer greatly for her truancy and the pleasure she was feeling now. The equally dark-clothed woman at his side exuded menace and gloating pleasure in about equal parts. He placed an admonitory hand on her muscular arm.
“Wait,” he ordered in sibilant tones. “Waiting will make your pleasure even greater. And will increase tenfold the shock and shame she will feel.”

Although vibrating with anticipation, the woman did as she was bid, contending herself by watching the girl with hot, hungry eyes.

All unaware of what was happening behind her, the young girl sunk to her knees in the flower-strewn grass and raised her face to the cerulean blueness of the afternoon sky.
“Thank you, lord,” she said softly. “Thank you for joy, and beauty, and for each day.”
She thought she felt a breath on her cheek and a hand at her forehead.

“Enough now,” the man whispered. “You may go and fetch the child to face her punishment.”
The ugly-minded raw-boned woman strode across the grass towards the kneeling figure, with a rope halter in one hand, and her lips pulled back from her yellowed teeth in a travesty of a grin.

She reached the kneeling girl and stretched out a bony hand to grasp her prey. But she found herself holding only a sleeve of rough homespun cloth.

Her scream could be heard for a very long way and it brought the cowled figure running.
“Gone,” she bewailed, “my pretty is gone.”

For a moment, the air shimmered with the laughter of an unseen entity that seemed to have nothing but contempt for the ugliness in the souls of the black-clad man and woman.

Under their feet the white flowers opened to the sun and a butterfly took flight.

© jane jago

Wednesday Writers welcomes India Emerald

The Book Boyfriend

“He used books to spell out a proposal?!” Megan swooned. “That’s soooo romantic. Tell me you said yes!” Liberty rubbed her temples, in dismay. She knew telling Megan about it would be a mistake, they only sat together in English class twice a week. It wasn’t like they were friends, more like “friends” in the social media sense. Megan clearly hadn’t listened to a word she’d said. Liberty shook her head.

“I SAID he was a book boyfriend, you know, not real.” She waved a copy of “A Way with Words: Literary Lovers Part One” in front of Megan. She grabbed the book and raised an eyebrow at the cover, before mentioning that she “must get a copy for herself”. Liberty was about to offer hers when Megan’s phone buzzed, it gave her a moment to reconsider. Megan hadn’t even displayed the courtesy of listening to her, she sure as heck wasn’t going to let her get her grubby hands on her boyfriend. Book or otherwise. Liberty took advantage of the phone’s distraction to do a runner.

She didn’t have any classes this afternoon and the sun had made an appearance, for once. Liberty made for the nearest tree to sit under in a quiet spot. She opened the book at its final chapter and began to read.

Cam took her hands in his, as his eyes searched for an answer. He knew they were meant to be together, he’d known ever since he’d spotted her from across the courtyard. Something had drawn him to her, although he knew not what. But he had to see her, his heart spelled it out in quick, short beats. It seemed he was always waiting for an answer from her, from the moment he plucked up the courage to speak to her. Cam laughed at that first question, it had been so lame. A typical conversation starter to an avid reader, but it had worked. Hours later, and with the sun setting, they were walking arm in arm towards their first date. And now? Cam’s shoulders relaxed at the sound of one word. Yes.
The End

Liberty gave a sigh, and then nearly jumped out of her skin at the sound of the clock tower ringing 6 pm! Where had the time gone? She’d only read a paragraph. She looked at her feet and noticed leaves cluttering the grass around them, what were they doing there? The ground had been immaculate when she sat down to read, she hadn’t noticed any strong breeze coming through. And it was summer, anyway. None of it made sense… unless. Liberty opened the book, once more, flicking past the dedication and author’s notes.

Chapter One

It was a cool autumn afternoon, one that begged for Cinnamon Apple Tea and long sleeves for the shade. Under the Oak tree was just such a place, but the cold didn’t bother her as long as she had a good book. The afternoon had faded into early evening, somehow, and the spell this particular book had cast; left her out of space and time. As startling as the clock tower had been, a bigger surprise awaited her.

A movement in the corner of her eye made her almost afraid to look up, she clasped the book tighter. It wasn’t possible, it couldn’t be. The tall, handsome stranger gave her a reassuring smile and her heart flipped over itself. It gave her the courage to look up-

“Hi, my name’s Cam. What are you reading?” He cringed at the terrible opening, then stared at his shoes. Liberty gave a rueful smile back and dropped the book to one side.

“I already know that”, she chuckled lightly. “Why don’t you join me, it’s a good one.” She tapped the ground lightly. “I think you’ll enjoy it”, she continued as she nodded towards the book.

viewAuthor.at/ieamazon

 

A Bite of India Emerald

Question one:

A nice cup of tea or a cocktail? And why
A cup of tea (Earl Grey, hot) for two reasons, 1 – Captain Picard and 2 – tea lasts longer because I went off it when I was pregnant and never got back the taste for it. I can make a cup of tea last a good hour, it doesn’t matter if it’s cold. Plus, the brand I can get over here (in Germany) is called Admiral Nelson and makes me chuckle when I buy it!

Question two:

When was the last time you did something naughty and what was it?
Eating chocolate in the kitchen whilst encouraging my daughter to eat a ‘healthy snack’. I totally understand why chocolate sells to adults because I scoff in in two seconds flat, for fear of getting caught.

Question three:

Who would be your ideal dinner party guests? (Can be real or fictional, alive or dead)
Benedict Cumberbatch, so I can squeeze his knee. Dame Helen Mirren for the stories she can tell. Shakespeare because I want to know if he wrote the work he’s attributed to, and to see how he’d react to the high-brow treatment of his bawdy work. The Brothers Grimm simply because I live in the Black Forest and you can’t find a wooded area without a Grimm Diorama in it 😁

Learn more about India at:

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/15046207.India_Emerald
https://www.facebook.com/IndiaEmeraldAuthor/

The Winter Queen

Our king summoned us on his great crusade to bring right to the northern world, and to avenge his brother foully slain by the treasonous Slavs. We followed him with glad hearts and high courage, willing to endure the vicissitudes of war to serve our beloved homeland. But we found little glory and much pain. By the time we had crossed the harsh steppes of Slavia, and reached the border of Wolfland, many of us had died, many of us had run away, and most of those left were sorely afraid. There was worse to come…

Just before sunset on the day that changed many lives forever, we arrived in a broad, cold, flat-bottomed valley after running the gauntlet of the most frightening weather I have ever known: an ice storm of unprecedented ferocity in which sharpened spikes of frozen water as long as a man’s finger rained from the sky, piercing unprotected skin like vicious arrows. My companions and I were among the last arrivals as we were carrying several of those who had been injured by the cruel ice. We were cold and wet, but glad to get out of the screaming wind with its cargo of flying death. King Steven rode among us on his great horse, Deathbringer, lifting our spirits us with his very presence and promising victory would be ours on the very next day. I cheered and clapped along with my comrades, but a still, small voice inside my head insisted that our great king was lying, and that nothing lay before us except more pain and misery.

I was helping to tend the wounded, and my friends were occupied in a fruitless search for firewood, when the valley was filled with the strains of unearthly music. It seemed to be coming from everywhere and nowhere, it chilled and heated the blood, it uplifted the spirit and cast down the soul, it was beauty and ugliness, it was kindness and cruelty. I fell to my knees on the ground. A hand shook my shoulder. ‘Look up there.’

I forced my eyes upwards and I beheld her, silhouetted against a blood-red sunset. It was the Winter Queen in all her glory, mounted on her coal-black stallion, and with the Diadem of a Thousand Stars winking on her brow. As I watched, her horse rose on his hind legs and stayed there with the lady’s hair streaming behind her in the wind, and dyed crimson by the setting sun. Then I heard her voice, as cold and precise as the shards of ice that pierced our skin that afternoon. It went straight to my heart and lodged there like a dart.

‘Here is blasphemy dressed in the clothes of piety. Here is the brother of an oathbreaker bringing an army to do war on the innocent and the brave. Know that this will not be tolerated. Your forefathers in Valhalla spit upon your names. Men of Scandi, return to your homes and consider your sins, lest the wrath of the Gods fall on your heads. You have until sunrise tomorrow.’

And then the stallion rose into the air once more before disappearing as mysteriously as he arrived. The rocky promontory stood empty, and the song of the Gods slowly faded to nothing.

Our king fell back in his saddle with a face the colour of ashes. Then he rallied. ‘Trickery’ he cried in a great voice with spittle flying from his lips. ‘Trickery and witchcraft. I promise half my kingdom to the man who brings me the head of that foul sorceress.’

Some ran for the cliffside clutching weapons and ropes, but I, and many others, had heard what we had heard, and our hearts felt like shards of ice in our breasts.

It was a long night, a very long night, during which the discomfort of our bodies mirrored the disquiet of our souls. We were in a bad way, with little food, no firewood, and tents so sodden they froze as we tried to erect them. Even among the rawest recruits, it was noticed that the king and his Ox Guard did not share in the discomforts of the army. Savoury smells emanated from the tight circle of the royal encampment, a great fire burned to warm the royal heart, and the sound of drinking songs split the solemn night air. The mood in the camp grew more and more restive as the night wore on, and when the lords who had come here to support the king went to the circle of his guards to beg firing and sustenance for their men they were driven away with harsh words and sharp pikes. Nobody knew what the morrow would bring, and many of us endured a night of terror.

I sat alone on the frozen tundra with the words of the lady alternately burning and freezing in my breast. I wanted to run away, but I could not. I had to wait for morning in the hope of seeing the Winter Queen once more – even if it cost me my life.

© jane jago

myBook.to/TBFR

Monday Meme

The Things In Jim’s Kitchen

“Hey.”
“Yeah?”
“You awake?”
“Yeah.”
“‘Time is it?”
“3:00. How do I look?”
“Black. You always look black. I always look black. We look a lot alike, you and me.”
“Yeah, true that. So, how you been? What’d you do all day?”
“I was hidin’ all day, fool, same as you.”
“Yeah. I seen you.”
“You seen me?”
“Uh huh. Crouchin’ down behind the refrigerator. You never get yourself completely hid, you know.”
“Lucky HE didn’t see me, huh? So, if y’all could still see me, how come y’all ask where I been all day?”
“Just makin’ conversation, brother. But, there ain’t much ta talk about. It’s not like we got wives or kids or jobs or… shit, man, we never even leave this stupid kitchen.”
“Aw, shit, man. A cockroach just ran over me.”
“Well now, there’s something to talk about, brother! How big was it? What color was it?”
“Shhh. Jim’s comin’.”
“Shit. Hide.”
Jim turned his lights on and padded barefoot into his kitchen. Yawning he opened the refrigerator and pulled out a plate of ham and a block of cheese. Stepping over to the counter, he built himself a sandwich with wheat bread. He checked the refrigerator and sighed when he saw he was out of mayonnaise and Dijon mustard. There was plenty of yellow mustard, though, the worst mustard in the world. He settled for it and scribbled a note to himself to get some mayo and Dijon. He padded back out of the kitchen, turning the lights back off.
“Yo. You okay, man?”
“Yeah. Damn that light hurts. But, I’m okay.”
“Did Jim see you?”
“Naw, man. Jim don’t see shit.”
“So, lemme ask you somethin’. Where do you see yourself in ten years.”
“‘Long as this house still standin’ I’ll be here, same as you. Ain’t you got it in your head, yet fool? We’re shadows. We’ll never be nothin’ but shadows!”
“Just tryin’ ta make conversation, brother.”

 

Dwayne Fry

A bite of… Dwayne Fry

Today we are talking to Dwayne Fry, author and all-round good guy

Question 1: A lot of your writing has a dark side. Would you say that comes from a dark place inside you or is it purely fictional?

It’s not fictional. I write about life, the way I see it. Some of it
is light, some of it is dark. There are some lovely and wonderful things about this world, but there’s some horrible things, too. Good writing needs conflict and the characters need to be challenged and put to tests or the reader will never really see what they’re made of.

It’s hard to do that and keep the story light. Also, I am a huge fan of a number of authors who had a fairly bleak view of life and wrote some depressing stories. I’ve been listening to a lot of Hemingway, Golding, Steinbeck, and Vonnegut in my car lately, too. Not the cheeriest of writers, that lot.

Question 2: If you could have a holiday (sorry vacation) anywhere in the world where would you go and what would you like to see?

Heh. I’m nearly fluent in British English, so I knew what you meant by “holiday”. I’ve never been out of the United States and there are a number of places in the world I’d love to see, such as Spain, Greece, and Australia. But, I think my top destination would be San Francisco, California here in the U.S. I have always wanted to visit Alcatraz. I’d spend the night there if they let me.

Question 3: If you could walk into the pages of a book, which would you like to be a part of? And who would you take along as a sidekick?

My favorite novel of all time is John Irving’s A Prayer for Owen Meany, and I think it would be fantastic to sit down and pick Owen’s brain a while. Every time I read it, I’m completely enchanted by that character. If my sidekick must be a real world person, I’d choose my wife or my brother, as they’re the two people I enjoy doing things with the most. But, if I could pick a fictional character, I’d pick Claude Bonhomme or maybe Nadia Popescu from my own works.

To learn more about Dwayne visit:

https://www.facebook.com/dwayne.fry.7?fref=ts

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8471544.Dwayne_Fry

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