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  • “Why?” Christopher could make no sense of this. Neither, apparently, could Callie, but she was too tired to care.“I don’t know. We were only there for about an hour, by which time he seemed to have fully recover […]

  • Where is heWhy comes he notThe passing stepsGive such hopeEach echoing shoutAnd boats which passStill, there is no wordIs it me he choosesTo avoidAt coffee houseOr tavern withSafe friendsOr worseA merry lover […]

    • You have not only supplied thought and backstory here but mood, emotion, a longing as well. What a masterful job at creating a fully realized moment, made all the more captivating by placing the verbiage in the period portrayed. Really like this!

      • Hi Sara

        Thank you for taking the time to read my poem. I appreciate your kind words and sharing them encourages me.

        The poem came to me after reading The Miniaturist by Jessie Birton (some time ago, I have to say). The image was not exactly as I wanted. I preferred ‘The Girl in the Pearl Earring’ style, but when I looked it up, she looked a bit too jolly – not wistful enough – for the piece reflecting the book. I wrote it before confirming the image – silly me!

        Still, I found another Vermeer that did the job. There may be another Dutch master who painted exactly the image I sought, but life, as they say, is too short!

        Many thanks again.

        Martin

  • CHAPTER 28“Perhaps they took another route, sir?” said Jasper.“That’s always possible. We have no choice but to wait, I suppose.”As the time slipped by, the two men, now standing on the pavement outside the hospi […]

    • Mystery mystery mystery…. Very good and so many red herrings. We can see Murray very clearly and you capture the period and class system superbly. I was a bit surprised that Christopher didn’t demand more information and accepted that he waits at the hotel..I’m trying to guess how Murray knows so much but I can’t work it out. Also would Christopher not interrogate Callie outside the car away from earshot?
      you leave the reader gripped by the story. So maybe Callie has to say something to prevent this happening .Well done.

      • Thanks, Graham! So glad you can’t work it out! 😀

        It needs work, racing the deadline at 5 am can, despite the adrenaline rush, sometimes have its drawbacks. There are way too many ‘turnings’, ‘knees’ and misplaced sentences. Not to mention a sprinkling of incorrect tenses. I can guarantee I’ll be editing it tonight!

        Word count and a desire to get to the not-so-quite-cliffhangerish cliffhanger meant I couldn’t flesh out the conversation in Murray’s office as much as I wanted. I actually had another cliffhanger but had to settle for this one as the one I wanted put me nearly 200 words over. I did want to emphasise the railroading and the sense that there was something happening that Christopher wasn’t privy to without repeating phrases like ‘go home’ or “I couldn’t say’. But it’s currently clumsy.

        Thank goodness I can tweak this first draft into better shape now that it’s up. All the tweaks make the next edit that much easier. (Which reminds me I have to edit the chapter before with the nursing bits to add in, and a rather large clue.)

        The only time Christopher is alone with Callie is in the train carriage, so there might be more conversation next week. I’m so glad you liked it. Especially glad that you find it gripping!

        • Phew, all the changes are sorted. I feel better about this as a first draft now. I even added the nursing bits and the clue in the previous scene.

    • What a mean trick the old man played on Christopher, or was it a test of sorts? More mystery. I felt Christopher’s frustration and wanted to choke Mr. Murray and Jeffries. Even Jasper seemed to know something and wouldn’t tell. The politeness and secrecy in in this scene is so very frustrating. This was a great scene full of tension. Can’t wait for the next scene.

    • I couldn’t wait for this week to see what had happened to the old man.
      Surprise – surprise.
      Lord Sly is a very wily old man but I think he has to be with a family like that.
      I’m also pleased he has such loyal friends and servants to look after him.
      I’m warming to him. 🙂
      Excellent scene.

      • Aw, thanks, Estelle! So glad you enjoyed it. I’m behind in my reading of the teams work so will be catching up tonight!

  •  

    Over to the right, in the distance, leaves swirled up in another gust of wind, catching her eye. As she looked back to the mirror-like grey granite, a watery sun peered through the cloud behind her, enough to […]

    • Hi Martin
      Bothe the genre definition and the warning are so to the point.
      I enjoyed this wishing I could write such a piece.
      Thank you for writing this.

      • Hi Nissan

        Thank you for your kind words. I have certain themes I often revisit in different disguises (one of the others is assassination, so watch out for that!). I’m pleased my hint of a message got through.

        As for wishing to write like this. I’m sure you can and do. My secret is not to overthink it; to enjoy what I write; not to be too ‘perfect’ (for there is no such thing): and to pass a little joy and kindness in the message (even in the assassinations!).

        Best regards

        Martin

    • Hi, Martin Such a lovely piece. So thoughtful and kind. We need more of these stories in our lives. I perhaps read more into the story, but I gathered that the little girls mother had passed away and he was able to understand her loss because he had suffered also. It was beautifully written, and it is one that will stick with me. My story is about kindness also. I guess we were thinking alike this month. Thanks for an uplifting story.

      • Hi Sharon

        Thank you for reading my story. Yes, I felt the need for a little good news in the world. I also feel the need for appreciating things we take for granted. Life will end, of course, so bearing that inevitability in mind, I prefer to enjoy the now. For it won’t be forever.

        I’m pleased it was of value for you.

        Martin

  • “Did you know the margaritas here are free?” Suzie squealed with delight as she flopped down on the sunbed next to her friend and travelling companion. A woman she’d known since junior school.

    “Oh, sweetie […]

  • Scene 21Adele could not speak. The words did not form, and she could not expel them even if they were ready. After Laoise spoke her words, laden with mystery hanging right there in the room, a heaviness came over […]

  • CHAPTER 27“I wonder if he found what he was looking for?” said Christopher as they walked back to the house. Jasper came out of the French doors, and as soon as the valet saw them he turned. A footman joined him […]

    • mmm…all very mysterious. the plot thickens. Really well written and had me captivated. A few questions in my head. What symptoms did he have of food poisioning? Its usually sickness and stomach cramp. He may be moaning ? I felt Callie would be questoning him and we would know some of the answers. The reader was left a bit in the dark. does she suspect foul play.? She would first take his temperature I think and then be giving him plenty of water. You said Callie would know what to do.. but you didnt let the reader know if she did anything. Maybe a few more hand holding inserts for the reader would be useful.
      The mystery of the disappearance was really good and left us with a big puzzle. It all flowed in the right direction with a cracking pace. Loved the train scene.

      • Hi Graham, thanks for your compliments. Delighted you enjoyed it. All your notes are spot on. I need to chat to my landlady who’s also a doctor and make the necessary changes. I wanted to get to the disappearance in the scene before I ran out of word count, but now that it’s posted, I can add more.

    • This scene kept me intrigued throughout.
      I differ with Graham on the symptoms. taking his temp, etc. – I think that the nitty gritties can be seen to in the second draft but as it stands it is good with a real excellent cliff hanger at the end.
      The suspense continues. Who is in on what? Excellent.
      See you next week.

      • Thank you, Estelle! If I have time, I’ll add in the nitty gritties but have so much on my plate right now that it may very well wait till the second draft. I’ll pop a note on the MS in the meantime.

    • Gripping scene, clever cliffhanger. I was wondering why they thought Lord Sly had been poisoned? His symptoms are not very specific, are they? Like Graham, I expected Callie to take some kind of action, try to make Lord Sly throw up or something (to get the poison out of his stomach). The train ride must have been awfully long, wouldn’t a person who’s been poisoned get worse, I mean a lot worse? I realise you need the old man in London but it would seem more reasonable to get “first aid” in the local hospital first, wouldn’t it. Anyway, this is all 2nd draft stuff, the scene has all the necessary ingredients for a great 1st draft

      • Hi Eva-Maria,
        Thank you! Yes, I agree this scene does need more work. I’m meeting up with a doctor tomorrow to chat about symptoms, what Callies would do etc as it has to be right for the scene but also fit into the plot. Some poisons the patient mustn’t be made to throw up as that would cause more harm, so I do have to chat to the medico tomorrow. Also trying to find someone who can tell me how long a steam train in 1920 would take to get to London. I may have to change London to Canterbury as even on trains today it would take too long. Thanks for your comments and lovely compliments.

    • I held my breath through most of this scene. My reaction at the end was “Oh no! He’s been kidnapped. What a cliffhanger. It felt like they were trying to hurry and everything slowed them down. Great scene.

      • Thank you so much, Sandy! I’m so glad you enjoyed it. Hopefully, you’ll find today’s scene just as gripping. 😀

  • When she saw him, Callie’s mouth quivered, and she caught her lower lip between her teeth. At the sight of her reddened eyes, the sad mouth, and her distressed face, a quick frown twitched on his f […]

    • Nicely done! I like the murder mystery unfolding here and I wonder what it has to do with the main plot line. Christopher seems like a genuinely good person. Who could have murdered poor Susan? The doctor? Simon? Henry? None of them look like they had anything to do with Susan.

      • Thanks Eva-Maria. So glad you’re enjoying it! And that, while there are clues all over the place, the solution isn’t obvious.

    • Yes. Really good scene and all delicately balanced. Had me gripped. There is a baddie in the house and I guess it is one of the leading men. I don’t think the doctor will like the attention Christopher is giving Callie. All at the right pace.

    • Revealing to us real slowly.
      Now anyone could be the murderer.
      I also have a feeling it could be someone in the main house.
      Lovely.
      See you next week.

    • I really like Christopher. He seems taken with Callie and this scene felt like a romance between the two, aside from the fact that her friend was murdered. He was so gentle and kind to Calli while she was crying. Your descriptions make it all so real.

  • CHAPTER 25

    The cold, grey eyes of Mr Murray watched the door to the restaurant. Christopher, or whoever he was, was late. Murray didn’t like to be kept waiting at the best of times. He had expected this young m […]

    • The mystery continues. I enjoyed these two scenes. You capture Murray and the rules of the English class system perfectly. I did expect to have revealed a bit more of what Murray wants from Christopher especially as we got very little over what must have been a 30 min period for the meal . Is there some connection to the British museum I wonder ? More drama in the next scene and Callie is in trouble. There are so many questions here and very few answers which keeps the reader gripped.

      • Hi Graham,
        I am so glad I’m getting the rules of the class system right! And that you enjoyed these scenes.The British Museum part of the conversation revealed to Murray exactly what Murray wanted to know. There are 6 clues (or could they be red herrings?) in this post.

    • I’m guessing Christopher was in that hospital judging by his reaction to it. I find it interesting that he was mugged the same night as her girlfriend was murdered. If he had been shopping, why didn’t he buy a suit then? Also, if he was mugged, and they took his money, why didn’t the mugger take Lord Slys card also? It seems that Mr. Murray is supposed to verify to Lord Sly that Christopher is actually the missing son. Another scene full of mystery. Can’t wait to find out the answers.

      • Hi Sandy,
        Thanks for reading and for your questions. Christopher wasn’t planning on staying overnight in London, so he spent the morning buying bespoke suits from Huntsman. After he was invited to dinner by Mr Murray he booked a room at the hotel where they were having dinner. Then he says he went to the Museum and was mugged when he left it. He’d apparently only taken cab fare with him on that expedition, so that was all the mugger took. I had fun writing that scene and laying down a number of clues/red herrings!

    • Mr Murray digging like that – I enjoyed it, and Christopher, I’m thinking he is very much upper class. Knows how to order, doesn’t just agree with Murray’s choice.
      The giraffe and the lion – quite an observation for Christopher to make. Where has he been?
      Also found it intriguing that he was mugged on the same night as the killing.
      You’re making the reader think – very interesting.
      See you next week.

      • Hi Estelle,
        Hurrah! So glad to hear that my story is making people think. Just what I wanted. Thank you for reading and your keen observations!

    • Hi Elaine, nicely done, as usual. I thought the dinner with Mr. Murray was a bit short – we never found out what Mr. Murray really wanted from Christopher. I read your answer to Graham’s comment and tried to find the 6 clues (red herrings) but I am very bad at this game. Things I learned in this scene: Christopher must have been wealthy at some point. He must have been to Africa (or maybe he just saw African animals in a zoo?), he must have been a soldier and probably wounded (but wouldn’t there be scars or something?). I wonder if he could have anything to do with the murder of Callie’s friend (Susan?). Now that Christopher is no longer just a mostly unconscious body the story is getting a lot more interesting. Can’t wait for the next instalment

      • Aw thanks, Eva-Maria! You’re not as bad at the game as you think. In fact, you’re very close to the clues/red herrings. Well done. You’re definitely on the right track. 😀

  • They hear the firstBeyond the brow of the hillQuietened nowThey look to each otherWarm wet seeps down his legThere’s a sudden stenchAs man and boyThey feel the soundOf earth tremblingOf the rhythm of feetAn i […]

    • Pageantr, dread, and fear of war so well expressed! I can hear the drums and see the lances and the flags.

      • Hi Juanita

        Thank you for your kind comments. I appreciate your reading my poem and that you got to feel my meaning too!

        Martin

    • You paint the scene very well Martin. I love the descriptions and the out of place fine embroidery on a battle field makes me feel like the whole war thing is out of place.

      The short lines move the pace of war along well and leave the feeling of anger at the egos that start it but don’t participate and callously watch others die.

      Thanks for sharing. Have a great day.

      • Hi Debbie

        Thank you so much for reading and commenting. I chose the short lines to create that pace and tension.

        I appreciate your kind words.

        Martin

    • Great interpretation of the standard as a flag that defines a side in battle. Although your imagery evokes an ancient battle, your theme is just as relevant today.

      • Hi Bev

        Sadly yes. Though the times have changed, the grim reality of war is still just as pertinent. I’m grateful for your reading the poem!

        Martin

    • Hi Martin,
      Your images of the senselessness, barbarity and ego-stoking of war are sharp and shocking. It conjures up for me the charge of the light brigade and the thumping rhythm of men, horses and artillery being forced into conflict. Well done.

      • Hi Christian

        Writing the poem coincided with me watching the pageantry of the royal salute on the Queen’s birthday on April 21st in Hyde Park. The sight and sounds of the guns and the horses were stunning.

        Thank you for reading and for your words of encouragement.

        Martin

    • Hi, Martin-
      Nice job wiping the filter of glory off of the picture of battle.
      I was wondering whether “the sounds that drives them on” might not be better as “drive them on.”
      Love the image of the soldiers losing their nerve rather graphically, but then regaining it.
      Thanks for this.

      • Hi David

        Thanks for your perceptive experience. I’ll take a look at your suggestion and if it scans to my satisfaction, I may change it 😉

        Martin

  • CHAPTER 24I followed Simon, but by the time I’d reached the corner of the street he’d turned down, he’d vanished. A red omnibus pulled away on the opposite side of the road. He was probably on it, I thought. Had i […]

    • I anticipate something is going to get in the way of him having dinner with Mr. Murray. If he is going to be healed in five weeks, why wouldn’t he buy ready made clothes so he has something to wear right away? He plans to leave when he is healed, so eight weeks (which is reasonable to make a suit) seems far too long. He will be gone by the time the suit is finished. It feels as though Simon is still following him and is going to make all sorts of trouble when he gets back from London. You gave us a tiny clue that his memory is beginning to come back. Once again, well done. Can’t wait until next week.

      • Hi Sandy,
        You’re right, his ribs will be healed in five weeks. But are we absolutely sure he plans to leave then? He actually hasn’t said that to anyone. When Murray asked him how long he was staying at Wedgecombe Manor all he said was “It’ll take about another five weeks for my ribs to heal.” So yes, why would he buy bespoke suits? That is indeed the question! 😀

        Thank you for your kind compliments. Glad you’re enjoying it.

    • Yes . Excellent scene and I liked the way you described the tailor. It feels like Christopher is transforming . I wonder if you could suggest that it’s all not going so smoothly by reminding us that he has still memory loss. Like a banging in his head ? It’s all intriguing and the set up with Murray is great as it keeps the readier in anticipation of more revelations. Great stuff.

      • Ah, but does he still have memory loss? Nobody knows. (Least of all me. :D)
        Thank you for your kind words. I like Murray as well. (picture Charles Dance). I had lots of fun researching Savile Row tailors. Was delighted to find Huntsman. And not just because of the name (this being a thriller and all it seems highly appropriate) but they are, in real life, suppliers of fine suits to equestrian clients! All fits so nicely with the novel!

    • Again your descriptions are spot on.
      I particularly like Christopher’s trepidation and apprehension.
      He obviously has had a time of plenty when he said he felt more like himself with the impeccable shoes but he still will not spend money on an expensive hotel.
      He’s an excellent character.
      See you next week.

      • Hi Estelle, Thank you for your lovely compliments. I’m so glad you’re enjoying the characters.

    • Excellent scene, very easy read. The one thing that made me pause is that although Christopher has no idea where to find the taylor, after he is given the address, he seems to know the street is a place where one can buy expensive clothes: “Having never, as far as I could remember, visited a Savile Row tailor before, I took his advice.”

      • Aw, thank you, Eva-Maria!

        Christopher has dissociative amnesia. He’s lost his memories of his own life, but not general information.

        I guess I made an assumption that Savile Row is world-famous as THE place to buy the best bespoke suits in the world. If I was in New York and had been talking to someone about perfume and they had said go to Penhaligon’s I wouldn’t necessarily know anything specific about that particular store or know where it was, but if they then said it was on Fifth Avenue, I’d know it was going to be very expensive. Does that make sense? What do you think?

        • I don’t know. You’re probably right with your assumption. I had never heard of Savile Row before – but then I don’t buy bespoke suits either…

          • Lol! Me neither! I used to ‘bespoke’ all my own clothes when I lived in Zimbabwe, but it’s actually cheaper to buy clothes in South Africa than make your own. I do occasionally miss it but writing takes up so much of my time and I don’t really have the space to set up my machine and sewing paraphernalia at the moment. I desperately need an apron so I may have to make a plan!.

  • A loud sonorous bong rang around him. Six. Six bongs. Six to go. Not that Adam got that. But Man, as Adam was known at that point, had a bad hunch about unfamiliar, loud, holy sounds.  Now nothing could stop Man, […]

    • Hi Elaine. I love the way you’ve styled the language in this and this is excellent ‘Small vocabulary right now, so it will do’. The piece is full of humour and great imagery, and I think it’s because of the way you’ve used the ‘small language’. I read about the extra challenge and have to commend you on your ‘e-less’ words. Well done.

    • Mark replied 1 month ago

      lain
      Wll don vry witty lovd it

    • I loved this. And his stilted language feels natural even though I suspect the lack of “e’s” had something to do with it. 😉 This was a great challenge. You handled it beautifully.

      • Thank you, Jennifer. The lack of ‘e’s was definitely a challenge. I’m glad it worked!

    • I am so impressed with your story, Elaine, the creativity and humor is grand, and the fact that you told it without using any e-words tells much about your large vocabulary and wordsmithing skills. My hat goes off to you!

    • Adam replied 1 month ago

      Ah, two original sin yarns today. Good on you! R.L had another. Congratulations. And any story with Adam in it has to work 😉 PS I now avoid that nasty No.2 non-consonant.

      • Hi Adam! Thank you. That non-consonant is a pain! Insists on inclusion! Naturally, any story with Adam is off to a good start! Did you do said task? I will visit RL.

    • Seyi replied 1 month ago

      Hey Elaine, this is funny, smart, and feels vaguely Monty Pythonesque as well. Funny how Man’s thought processes haven’t moved on much since those heady days in the ‘small spot of bliss.’ 😀 Really well done. I wouldn’t change a word. Regards, Seyi

      • Hi Seyi!
        Aw, I’m humbled. Thank you so much for your lovely compliments. I love that you found it ‘vaguely Monty Pythonesque’. And the funny thing is – I hate fishing about as much as Eve apparently does. So perhaps it’s not just Man’s thought processes that haven’t changed. The only good thing about fishing is that it’s a great time to read a book! 😀

    • great job Elaine. Nice twist…love watching you replace words (eve! Eve was the call sign,,,oh wait. Too many e’s!
      Do you know this work? I knew i’d had that prompt in a workshop, this was from the prof.

      “La Disparicion” by George Perec–an entire book without an e. He was part of the French Oulipo movement in the 60s.

      Maybe i’ll have time next challenge!
      G

      • Whoa! A whole book without any ‘e’s! I will definitely look it up, and the French Oulipo movement. Thank you for your lovely compliments. We have 2 more short word counts to go a 500 and a 750 so I’ll save the next ‘letter challenge’ for one of those.

    • You’ve done it, Elaine! I laughed at “fruit bushy things” 🙂
      Clever story. I wonder if the way woman says thank you was what I think it is…

    • Hello Elaine,Great use of language, with which you made a fun and enjoyable story. 🙂

  • He looks around to see if anyone is watching. All clear. Another look behind him now. The opportunity still there, though he will have to be quick.Whilst she’s distracted. A squeal over to the left where young k […]

    • Very cute! I like the reflection of the addiction motif in “He’d never been able to resist the lure of that run down through France…”

      • Hi Sophie

        Thanks for reading and leaving your kind comment! Yes, that worked perfectly to create a response to the prompt twice.

        I rather fell into it, and I’m delighted it worked!

        Martin

    • O, ice-cream! Who can resist you? Love the descriptions of the holiday venue, ‘In that expensive boutique pension, by the little antique pool, stippled with sunlight and fragranced by frangipani.’ I’m tempted to go there!  

      • Hi Pam

        Thanks for reading and your generous comments – me too!

        Martin

    • You are doing great in creating your world. I can feel the temptation to just have a lick of the ice cream. What I love to hate but can’t hate to love. Essence of temptation. Great work! I have learnt a lot from your short story.

      • Hi Seth

        Thank you for reading and leaving your lovely comment. I appreciate it. Best wishes for your own writing.

        Martin

  • CHAPTER 22The brass sign bolted to the stone wall and bearing the legend, ‘Murray, Trenchard, Gillespie and Smith’ – no profession – was being polished by a stocky man in a heavy canvas apron, his sleeves rolle […]

    • I really enjoyed this scene and you took the reader with you by your detailed descriptions of time and place. I loved the servant cleaning the plate. I could visualise the setting and feel the age of the offices. I had a few questions in my mind.
      Why did Christopher not ascertain Murray’s identity when he entered the office. Maybe this could be done simply by a nameplate on the door. it was important that he handed the letter in person to the right person.
      The “go to Hell’ seemed a bit abrupt and a quick reaction to something so unthreatening as a proposition. I felt that I didn’t really understand why he would say that. I think maybe we needed more clues why he would have that reaction.
      Why would Christopher know he had exactly 5 weeks to recover. I seem to remember he wanted to leave as soon as possible. I could imagine him saying I still need weeks to recover and we don’t know that Murray has any real comprehension of his injuries unless that is explained in the letter. From Murray’s perspective Christopher looks like a reasonably healthy man sitting opposite him. Perhaps Christopher has to wince and sit down really carefully and be obvious that he has a serious injury.?
      I find the mystery’s all captivating and it’s a great little gem of a moment at the end when Simon is sneaking around.
      Great to read.

      • Hi Graham,
        Thanks for reading and for your insightful comments.
        Bearing them all in mind, I’ve made some changes, moved text from the pub scene to the proposition section which I think answers your concern about the ‘go to hell’ section. I’d would love your thoughts on the new draft.
        Just to answer one of your questions – when Christopher first meets the family, Aunt Lola asks how long he’s staying, Dr Salter says broken ribs take six weeks to heal. As there have been a few days since he was first hit by the car, Christopher knows he has about 5 weeks of recovery left.
        Thanks for your kind compliments! Glad you enjoyed the scene.

    • “All I did know was even the thought of being bribed made the hackles on the back of my neck rise.” This physical reaction to the bribe tells a lot about Christopher. He seemed surprised at his own reaction which is another tell. I agree with Graham that your descriptions bring your reader into the story. I was a bit confused in the part where you were talking about the modes of transportation. At first I thought it was one long sentence, but after re-reading it, I found it was several sentences. I love the ending. Thanks for another great read.

      • Hi Sandy, my pleasure. I’m so glad you’re enjoying it. And there’s today’s scene waiting for you as well. I think you may enjoy the ending there as well! 😀

    • I love your descriptions, they always put me right on the spot.
      I’m getting to rather like Christopher and oh dear what is Simon afraid of.
      Getting on to next scene right now. 🙂

      • Thank you, Estelle! Glad you find the descriptions immersive.
        I must admit, I’m rather partial to Christopher myself. Perhaps because I’ve had this story in mind for a number of years now. Simon is a mystery isn’t he?

    • How intriguing! What did Lord Sly ask that the answer is “yes” to? What did Murray plan to offer Christopher? And now Simon is following him?! Good thing I don’t have to wait a whole week for the next instalment!

  • CHAPTER 21I was awake at dawn the next morning. I slept with the curtains open now, and perhaps it was the pale light glinting over the edge of the window, puddling in the glass, and sliding over the carpet to […]

    • Excellent way to give back story to Amelia and beautiful description of the home and gardens.
      Loved the folly – I haven’t read or heard about one in ages.
      Another bit of mystery closing off the scene – What is the old man up to?
      See you next week.

    • I love this description. The light turned his blue and indigo throat to the shine of precious jewels. .I wonder if Amelia is fueling some of Henry’s angst. I wonder what Christopher is going to encounter in London, and who is John Murray? so many questions. Can’t wait to find out the answers.

    • Some lovely descriptive sentences here. I really felt the senes of the place and time. Also I liked the suggestion of Amelia being one to watch. Also the last scene with lord sly was super constructive and intriguing. Great stuff .

    • Interesting to suddenly look through Christopher’s eyes. I liked the description of the morning, the folly, I almost wished I could be there myself… “This was one of the times of day that I loved the most.” I wonder why it’s not “This was the time of day that I loved the most” especially because Christopher then doesn’t elaborate on his other favourite times of day… You have me on tenterhooks about the business with the stables. If this were a physical book I would not be able to put it down until I found out what it is about Christopher and horses, which, of course, is exactly what you intended, isn’t it

      • Hi Eva-Maria,
        We’ve had a few chapters in Christopher’s POV. I’m trying to keep the reader a little unsettled by switching from 3rd person to 1st. But only Christopher is in 1st.

        I’ve always loved follys. Wouldn’t they make a nice place to write? A folly, a sunny day, a flask of hot coffee and a thick slice of chocolate cake and the WIP! Perfection.

        The time of day – no Christopher doesn’t elaborate, but does he ever?

        We’re getting closer to the business with the stables. And yes, my hope is exactly that the reader wouldn’t be able to put the book down. I’m absolutely delighted that you feel that way!

  • Sophia tossed her cigarette into the hydrangeas massed on the other side of the balustrade and shook back her hair. It gleamed like expensive silk. Simon turned to Aunt Lola and said, “Who is Henry arguing wi […]

    • Poor Crabbe gets blamed for everything. It’s a wonder that Lord Sly doesn’t have a heart attack with all the arguing and shouting. We got to know a little more about Amelia when she answered “What’s the point,” when asked if she ever lost her temper. I am a little worried about Lord Sly because no one but Christopher checked on him. You do a great job of engaging everyone of your characters in your story..

      • Hi Sandy,
        Yes, it’s not a happy family. Although Lord Sly has his valet, and I’ve just remembered that I mentioned nurses in chapter 1 and forgot to mention them again, he did say he didn’t want to see anyone. Christopher was there only because Lord Sly invited him. The trouble with having a large cast is that it takes time to work through all of them in detail. Thank yu for reading and commenting.

    • I really like the ending of this scene! Henry somehow seems a bit stereotypical, does he have any redeeming qualities at all? Also, could you please remind me whose daughter Sophia is? Is she Simon’s? Sorry, this is entirely my fault, I just can’t seem to keep them all straight. By now I know who Henry and Simon are, Amelia and Lola, too. But Callie and Sophia I am never sure…
      Every time I read this scene I stumble over this sentence: “Crabbe, who had at that moment entered the room, held the platter he was carrying for Aunt Lola to select for herself some of the pork cutlets which lay upon it and were smothered in a delicious sauce said…” Maybe it would be better if you broke it up somehow.
      This, too, made me stop and wonder where everybody was at that moment: “As they made their way through the drawing-room doors to the terrace, Simon was saying,…”
      Otherwise the scene reads smoothely and moves the story along nicely

      • Hi Eva-Maria,
        Thank you for your lovely comments.

        You’re right, I must work in some redeeming features for Henry.

        No, Sophia’s not Simon’s daughter. She’s his niece. Whose daughter she is will be revealed later.

        Callie is also Simon’s niece. There’s more information about her in Scene 5. Her mother was Aunt Lola’s daughter. Her mother died giving birth to her in the hallway of Wedgecombe Manor. The family were all out and Crabbe delivered her. So Aunt Lola is her grandmother and Lord Sly is her great uncle.

        You’re right. That sentence is far too long and needs work.

        So, during the meal after the shouting and flying cutlets, Amelia and Henry went up to their room – Amelia had asked Crabbe to send a dinner tray to them. Lord Sly wasn’t at dinner so he’s still in his room and Christopher had dinner with him there. Aunt Lola went to her room after dinner. Callie helped her up the stairs. When Christopher comes out of Lord Sly’s room he meets Callie who is closing the door to Aunt Amelia’s room. They go back downstairs together and join Simon and Sophia on the terrace.
        Hope that helps.

  • A fair wind blows on the ocean tonightTaking me home cross the sea to my loveFirst, I must free from the cause of my plightThen I’ll ascend to my home like a doveThey took me off two score full moons agoIn the d […]

    • Hi, Martin-
      Definitely not your grandfather’s sonnet. 🙂
      I enjoyed this very much. I might have omitted the grunt at the end, but it works well, so good for you.
      I’m guessing that the protagonist was impressed by the navy. Perhaps even the ships that fought the Spanish armada? I understand that a lot of them died because Elizabeth would have had to pay them when they stepped of the ship, but she couldn’t afford to, so they were kept on board ship.
      Regardless, this is a story of thwarted ambitions, & it works very well.

      • Hi David

        Thank you for reading my sonnet. I wrote one of these because I was a bit too lazy to look up a villanelle, and anyway, I like the completeness of the rhyming here! You probably know more of the detail of the context I tried to portray. And yes, you’re right, I’ll dump the last word!

        Martin

    • Hi Evon
      Thanks for reading and your valuable comments I appreciate the time you took.

      I’ll try and clarify. He was shanghaiied by a press gang against his will (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shanghaiing). She did not have a choice, neither did he. Hope that explanation helps.

      In mine, the stanzas are 4lines space 4lines space 4lines space 2lines. Do you see it differently?

      Martin

    • I love this. Well written. Great point of view.

      • Hi Melanie

        Thank you for reading my poem and your lovely comment. I appreciate it. I found this quite a challenge.

        Martin

    • Hi Martin,
      Your sonnet is impressive – not least because so many of us dodged the sonnet this year and went for the villanelle! The rhymes and metre are really good and the story / tragedy told moves along at pace to the doom-ridden ending. Thanks for sharing it.

      • Hi Christian

        I rather like the structure of the sonnet! I did a villanelle last year and didn’t like it much. Thank you for your kind words and taking the time to read.

        Martin

  • He saw the plume of black smoke as he turned off the main road. 200 metres up the lane, sky-filling flames, the flashing blue lights, bright red of the fire engines and the hoses. Busy firemen running back and […]

    • very vivd description in this piece. glad he had the dogs with him!

    • Now he knows why they threw it away. Glad he had the dogs with him. It’s been fun reading you stories this month!

      • Hi Shelley

        Thank you for reading. I have the very charger on my desk. I found it two days ago (in fact, I found 2!). It is charged and working and yes, I did go out and leave it on charge and panic! But my house didn’t fall down!

        I’ve loved all the stories I’ve been reading too!

        Martin

    • What a regret. You’ve captured a dramatic scene. Makes my heart beat faster. Well done!

  • I knew he wasn’t my uncle.My mother didn’t have any brothers as far as I knew and my father, well, wherever he was, it was unlikely that so many of his male siblings would show up at our house, one after the oth […]

  • 7.30. Lies back. Awakes again with a start, 6 minutes later. Time to get up.

    Itchy ankle needs scratching. Laughter and clinking of glasses outside. Fingers feel wet, showing blood.

    Oh! Clock says […]

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Jens Grabarske

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@vorpalcoder

Active 1 day, 10 hours ago
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