Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Meet the Characters in War of Loyalties

Haven't heard of War of Loyalties yet? Click here! 

We just hit 10% on Kickstarter yesterday, and I am so excited at the encouragement and blessing you all have been pouring into this project. I can't wait until War of Loyalties hits online "shelves" later this year. I'm trying to raise funds to make that happen, and there are some cool rewards for helping with this project. Would you consider chipping in $35 today for a chance to reserve a paperback and ebook copy of War of Loyalties this fall? It's going to be exciting, chock-full of fun characters, and I hope, well worth the price of the novel. 

War of Loyalties is a spy novel, but it's not the traditional slim, fast-paced thriller. It's my chunky, big Dickensian novel, full of character interaction and a look at how agents working together affected each other's lives on big and small levels. The story gradually looks at how spying gets tricky when love and family and colleagues are involved, and how friendship and family can stand the strain of spying and warfare (or not, depending on the case). Dickens has always been my favorite author, and this book tries to imitate the mastery of his storytelling. 

Today, I wanted to give you brief introductions to each of the characters. 

[FYI, the words "spy" and "agent" mean pretty much the same thing in this post: someone who's working undercover for Britain or Germany to collect secret information.]

/Ben Dorroll/ 
A man of few words and much duty, who resigns his position at a medical practice in order to become a new spy recruit. Loves it best when he's helping patients in Jaeryn Graham's clinic. Reluctant spy in a world where his family's fractured life is threatened with exposure. Finds ways to fulfill his longing for home and family in spite of living in the country that ripped away his childhood hopes.

/Jaeryn Graham/
An Irishman of much passion and a generous heart. An experienced doctor and civilian spy, who seems to have a knack for making enemies of his colleagues. Has a fondness for tea. Mentor of an unwilling new spy recruit. Suspected of being involved in the 1916 Irish rebellion. 

/Terry O'Sean/ 
A man of many smiles and much happiness. Has a secret job, and in spite of his chattiness, manages not to tell anyone about it. Known for being involved in the 1916 Irish Rebellion. Has a penchant for dropping in unexpectedly at a friend's house and making himself at home. Loves Acushla.

/Pearlie Dorroll/
 A twenty-year-old young woman uprooted from America and sent with her brother Ben to England because she is Not Wanted. Has never met her father. Finds holding babies and making cherry tarts to be of some consolation, especially when in company with her best friend, Alisa. Has no objection to being called Acushla. 

18-year-old tiny woman. Expecting her first son when the Dorrolls arrive in England. Has a husband in France who suffers from gas burns and shell shock. Has much love and friendship to give, as a well as a cozy parlor to shelter the Dorrolls from spies and prying Irishmen. 

/Charlotte Dorroll/  
Married to Ben Dorroll for the last two years. Has an admirable combination of wisdom, kindness, and nursing skills. Wishes her husband would realize he isn't the only one to give up dreams in order to become a spy in England. Related her strange British cousins, the King family. 

/Colonel King/ 
A man of much useful experience, suspected of knowing something about the German activity in Folkestone. The finest host of Folkestone, and the long-time rival of a dying member of Parliament. The Dorroll's landlord. Doesn't like to be given parenting advice by young doctors. Possibly trying to kill his son.

/Starlin King/ 
A boy of much intelligence and little common sense. Cherishes the hope of getting his own motorcar and running away to enlist. Considers his Stradivarius the only good thing in his life. His father, Colonel King, has plans for him to go to Cambridge and enter the political realm. 

A free agent able to acquire much Useful Knowledge in the spy world--for a price. Is willing to be hired for his ability to collect private and personal information. Has a fondness for fancy dress, French cuffs, and a foamy pint at the Brewery Tap (a real location!) 

/Samuel Ryson/ 
A British official in MI-5, known for strictness and an iron hand of justice. Prizes years of loyalty and hard work among his agents. Isn't fond of the idea of hiring an untried agent, but Ben's father is influential, so he agrees for friendship's sake. Lives in London. 

/Alan Evesham/ 
Head official in MI-6. Knows the value of a deserved word of praise bestowed at the right moment. Keeping a keen eye on the Irish rebellion and any rebels who might be working for it undercover. 

/Ann Meikle/ 
The Scottish postmistress of Folkestone, with a maddening ability to hide information and a skilled hand for forgery. Seems to have a running feud with Jaeryn Graham. 

There you have it! A brief introduction of the key players who are involved in this drama of an Irish spy ring. Which of these characters would you like to know more about in future blog posts? 

When we reach 20% on Kickstarter, we're going to unroll a sneak-peek at the first character poster. For $50, $100, and $200 levels, you'll get one or all of these special, character-themed quote posters. Can you help us spread the word on email, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, or any of your social media outlets so others can hear about this Kickstarter? I would be so grateful for your help! 

Friday, May 26, 2017

4 Fallen Heroes In Literature [For Memorial Day]

via Pixabay
Memorial Day is just around the corner, and I thought it would be suitable to post about the topic at hand on the blog. Memorial Day is an opportunity to remember the fallen heroes who have paid the price for our country's freedoms. I want to commemorate four fictional soldiers on the blog today, and extend my sympathies to all of you who are remembering fallen men and women who have stood in defense of their country.

(To help cut down on spoilers, I've put the title of the book first, so if you haven't read it, you're welcome to skip ahead.)

1.  The Inklings
While they aren't fictional, the real friendship of Tolkien and several of his friends, and sacrifice of some of their lives among the horrors of World War One, must have profoundly impacted him. Imagine losing your creative support group and some of your close friends to the horror of war.

2. At Home in Mitford
Captain Willard James Porter served in France and died there. With his death died the possibility of love for beautiful Miss Sadie. She told Father Tim about their tempestuous romance after the grace of years had greyed both their heads. If Jan Karon had written the story of Sadie and Willard at the time it took place, I know I would have been heart-broken reading it.

3. Return of the King
Theoden, King of the Rohan, died in valiant battle on the Fields of Pelennor. His life was one of courage, of deep grief, of gallant warfare, heading into the likely possibility of horrible defeat. It was him leading his men into battle that helped stem the tide of evil pouring into the city of Gondor.

4. Rilla of Ingleside
Walter Shirley, who wrote a letter just before going over the top, was one of the casualties of the tragedy of World War One. A gallant representation of the heroes of Canada and one of Anne's precious children. While it's been years since I've read this book, I think this year needs to be one of revisiting it.

They sacrificed the love of women, of family, of friendship, so that others might live in peace to love wives, siblings, and friends. And fiction is only a mirror of something that is all too real. Many people today are remembering losses of fathers, husbands, wives, sisters, and friends.

Which literary fallen soldiers do you want to remember in literature? Who from real life are you remembering this Memorial Day? I've love to hear about it.

PS. A couple of the heroes in this list died in World War One. 2017 is another year in the centennial of the war. I'm trying to publish War of Loyalties to mark one hundred years since my characters tried to overturn a ring of German spies in England. There are 26 days to raise the funds to publish this project. Would you consider sharing the project on social media and contributing to it here?  (20% unlocks a sneak peak at the first character quote poster!)

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Help War of Loyalties on Kickstarter (and get some cool pledge rewards)

On a Tuesday morning, May 22, 1917, Benjamin Dorroll stepped off the train and into a world of espionage.

His life would never be the same.

If you haven't heard yet, War of Loyalties is coming to you this year (Lord willing) and I hope it gives you a chance to experience this story on the 100th anniversary of the year of its taking place. If you've been yearning for a return of classic novels inspired by Charles Dickens and Sherlock Holmes, I think you'll love War of Loyalties.

Today, I want to ask you if you'll partner with me to make this happen. Indie authors rely on their fanbase to help them bring a book to the public. Traditional publishing pays for the editing and cover expenses themselves. But indie authors pay for it out of pocket, and while I've covered some of the costs, I still need some help to get all the way to the goal.

But help can benefit both the author and the supporter. Would you like to reserve a copy of War of Loyalties? Have some fun quote posters and jewelry? The War of Loyalties Kickstarter page is an endeavor to raise $5,000 towards the publication costs, as well as fund the making of cool things that brings War of Loyalties from just a book into a fun novel experience.

This book has had so much love poured into it by willing hands and hearts. Would you be willing to spread love into this project in one of the following ways? Seriously, everything helps, and I am thankful for your help in this regards:

1. Pray for the project. 
Pray that the Lord's will would be done--for strength to edit, for deadlines to fall in place, and for God to be glorified with the timing and quality of this production.

2. Give to the project. 
Every dollar helps, big or small. Together, we can bring this book into publication (and I am so grateful to all of you for considering a financial contribution to this project).

3. Share this project on social media. 
Twitter. Facebook. Put the Kickstarter link into an email, and send it to family or friends who love indie authors, Charles Dickens, classic literature, or BBC drama style stories.

If you can help in any of these ways, then War of Loyalties will stand on your shoulders. And I would be so grateful for your love and support.

And be sure to stay tuned for the adventure ahead. Throughout the summer, there will be all kinds of ways to get to know the characters, and there's lots more in store in this publishing journey.

Ready for this Kickstarter adventure? Then click here.

Friday, May 19, 2017

My Favorite Historical Fiction Book of 2017 (+a sneak peek of the War of Loyalties Kickstarter)

I finished my favorite historical fiction book this year. Tracy Groot is a new-to-me author that I simply can't wait to read more of. And her WW2 fiction, The Maggie Bright, is what first introduced me to her. Find out more in today's book review...

and stay tuned for War of Loyalties news at the end 

Book Synopsis (official) 
England, 1940. Clare Childs knew life would change when she unexpectedly inherited the Maggie Bright—a noble fifty-two-foot yacht. In fact, she’s counting on it. But the boat harbors secrets. When a stranger arrives, searching for documents hidden onboard, Clare is pulled into a Scotland Yard investigation that could shed light on Hitler’s darkest schemes and prompt America to action.  Across the Channel, Hitler’s Blitzkrieg has the entire British army in retreat with little hope for rescue at the shallow beaches of Dunkirk. With time running out, Churchill recruits civilian watercraft to help. Hitler is attacking from land, air, and sea, and any boat that goes might not return. Yet Clare knows Maggie Bright must answer the call—piloted by an American who has refused to join the war effort until now and a detective with a very personal motive for exposing the truth.  The fate of the war hinges on this rescue. While two men join the desperate fight, a nation prays for a miracle.

My Thoughts 
I love this book so much. Tracy Groot writes from a deep well of creativity, thoughtfulness, and historical accuracy. Her book is chock full of history--from the perspective of the soldiers fleeing their way to Dunkirk, to the life of people at home in Britian during the war. I love the British culture that brims over into all her chapters (pablum and tea, and stiff-upper-lip), and the characters full of rich personality. Murray struggles with Asberger's and has to constantly make his mind think in a logical sequence instead of wandering--but in the midst of his pain, he finds joy as he gives the world the cartoons of Rocket Kid and Salamander. Mrs. Shrewsbury, retired schoolteacher, finds fresh strength to serve and give to her nation, while wielding teakettles against a Burglar Vicar. William Percy is eaten up with his anger at Hitler exterminating disabled children, and finds Claire's ability to put his feelings into words heart-stirring. Tracy's writing is full of deep creativity, richness, and subtlety.

Perhaps the other theme that stood out so deeply in this book was the theme of the shatterer coming against Britain--and the power of prayer to hold it back. Claire and Percy--neither of them religious, but both full of kindness--encounter the prospect of the majority of the British Army trapped under German gunfire. They join the nation in a call to prayer--and realize that perhaps there is a God, and prayer is the greatest weapon to stand against this huge shattering destruction looming over their land (Nahum 2:1).

The other point of view--Jamie, a soldier who is assigned to get a wounded captain to Dunkirk is also full of richness. The character of the captain--a man who is wounded, has lost his men, and can only speak with lines of Milton's Paradise Lost--is also righ with emotion. As Jamie learns to get past the incessant Milton, he and his comrades find strength and inspiration from the lines that seem so random, but might not actually be random after all.  Fyi, his chapters contain some crude language (this book has a fair amount of it, but it's British swearing, and some readers might not consider it language).

This is historical fiction at its best--rich, packed with history, original, full of lovable characters slowly finding the power of prayer to stand against a huge enemy. It was a theme that resonated with me. While this book contains language, and there were a couple of plot lines that I would have preferred wrapped up tighter, this is a hands-down favorite, and I look forward to reading it with my mom and sister in the near future. This is truly a story you won't want to miss. I can't wait to read more of Tracy Groot's books in future. They make me happy to the core of my historical-fiction loving soul.

Check out more here: 
Tyndale Media Center page for The Maggie Bright
The Maggie Bright on Goodreads
Tracy Groot on Goodreads 

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Tyndale. All opinions expressed are my own.

(And now for a random WoL update, which has no connection/endorsement from this book.)

Upcoming WoL News
If you haven't heard of it yet, Tuesday I announced that War of Loyalties is in the process of being published this year. I've been working on paperwork and getting together details for independent publishing so that it can come to print in 2017. God has been so gracious in working out the details thus far, and I'm trusting him to work out the rest--including, what I am very excited to announce, is an upcoming Kickstarter campaign. In traditional publishing, the publisher pays for the editor and cover design. In independent publishing, the author pays for it out of pocket. I've already covered some of the costs, but I'm praying the Lord will help provide the rest through this campaign and the help of people who love history, Dickensian fiction, and indie authors. I would be so honored if you would check out the Kickstarter launching very soon. It will have exciting rewards (including copies of the book) for everyone who generously teams up with me to make this effort happen.

It takes a village to write a book, and I am so grateful to all of you who have expressed excitement for this project. Thank-you so much! Find out three ways you can help make this project happen on Tuesday, on the blog. And if you have any questions about War of Loyalties, the story, or the process, I would love to hear from you! Reach me on Twitter, Facebook, or ladybibliophileblog[at]gmail[dot]com!

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

A Very Important Update About War of Loyalties [and more details about when it's releasing]

April, 1917. A ring of German spies threatens the security of one of England’s coastal towns. Newly-recruited agent Ben Dorroll must discover who they are or risk disappointing his father. He never wanted to be an agent, but success means his first-ever chance at winning the respect of the father he’s never met. When he learns that his family identity holds a clue to capturing the spy ring, he has to choose between his family loyalties and the security of the nation he hates. Truth is what he is paid to uncover. But truth may be more painful than he ever imagined. 

the first draft, a long, long time ago
Once upon a time, there was a high school girl who wrote and wrote and wrote.

It was just her, and loose-leaf lined paper, a pen, and a bunch of characters who never quite let go.

In fact, if you talk to her today, they still haven't let go. Know her for long, and you'll start hearing things like War of Loyalties, WoL, Ben, Jaeryn, and Terry. It's kind of the fine print of friendship. Along with her, there comes an invisible crowd of these characters, because they're so loved and twined up in her heart, that she never stops talking about them for long. In fact, they've kind of become family.

It was a golden dream in highschool--just her writing about a down-on-his-luck doctor who was called to something he never wanted to do in a little town in England where spies lived. A story of betrayal (this girl loves drama) and friendship (this girl loves friendship) and tough choices (boy, does this girl love giving her characters tough choices).

Then that girl, by the grace of God, wrote the end on that stack of loose-leaf lined paper. She celebrated and posted a selfie on social media. (Who wouldn't?) A few weeks later, she started in on draft two. And the hard work just continued on. She learned how to actually write a book. She sent WoL to friends (so many best friends, who gave themselves so much to this project, reading and praying through this whole crazy adventure.) She and Ben and Jaeryn and Terry packed up and went to writer's conferences (made possible by generous, giving hands) and they kept on learning, and learning, and learning. Meeting people. Talking. Asking questions. Making mistakes. All under the grace of God. And they kept on dreaming to release this book sometime during the World War One centennial (2014-2018).

Writing a book is a bit like a fire, a flood, a famine, a romance, a hard day's work, a sleepless night all on endless repeat. You do not merely write a book. You are an instrument of carrying it, like Madeleine L'Engle says in Walking on Water, (pg. 8, 2016 Convergent edition), and you submit yourself to the process of giving it flesh and bone and being often at great cost.

The girl is still learning--about taxes and business and sole proprietorships, and all the things that self-publishing brings with it. But she wouldn't trade it for the world, because somehow, she still loves those characters just as much as she did at the beginning, and she would do pretty much anything for them.

Like a romance, that spark amidst the hard work is still there.

And here's what this girl really wants to say: the news that I've been holding in my hands these last few weeks now. By the grace of God, War of Loyalties could come to you this year.

I'll be self-publishing this novel, and my goal is to get it out sometime in November/December. That's a lot of hard work, but things are already moving forward. McConkey Press is a real-live name now. The first half of the novel is with an editor. And I'm doing my best to line up the details one step at a time (the Lord is still showing me so much grace in teaching me things I need to know.)

But like all along this journey, there are some mountains I can't climb alone. This book stands on the prayers, the advice, the love and helping hands of many dear people. And to be honest--I need just as many prayers and helping hands in the months ahead. If you would like to join me in this adventure, stay tuned to the blog. I'll have more details releasing very soon on how you can pray and support this project (including the first opportunity to reserve your own copy of War of Loyalties on Kickstarter). I hope that very, very soon, you can love these characters as much as I do--and know their whole story.

Meet War of Loyalties 
Intrigued? Want to know more? Read snippets of War of Loyalties here:

October 2014
November 2014
December 2014
January 2015
February 2015 
March 2015 
April 2015

Meet the Characters 
Benjamin Dorroll (main character)
Jaeryn Graham (more Jaeryn here)
Charlotte Dorroll 
Terry O'Sean (more Terry here)

Friday, May 12, 2017

a tribute to the brave // 4 literary mothers who never got page time

via Pixabay
Believe it or not, I didn't know what to post on the blog on Friday, until Liz Koetsier, of Ink Lizard fame, posted about literary mothers and jogged my memory. (Don't worry, I knew mother's day was coming. I just forgot to connect it to the blog.) Once I read that, and after reading another article about brave mamas by Ann Voskamp yesterday (credit to her article for inspiring this blog title) I thought it would be fun to post about something new. Literary mothers who never got page time.

Mothers aren't always around in fiction. In 2015 I did a Best of Literary Mothers post, but some books don't have mothers because their mamas died too soon. Some of the reasons for that might be because authors need to cut down the cast of characters to as few people as possible. Another reason might be that their characters need to have as many obstacles as possible before reaching their goal. For whatever reason, there are some good mamas who we never get to see in action.

Here are four that I think are a wonderful tribute to mamas everywhere.

Bertha Shirley never got to meet the irrepressible Anne. But her love for her baby, captured in letters to her husband, give no doubt that she gave Anne a secure babyhood until she passed away, and blessed her with a heritage of love, however tiny. Documenting your love for your baby (or child, or teenager) may be one of the best gifts you ever give them.

(huge spoiler for Freckles by Gene Stratton Porter next)

Mrs. O'More loved her baby so much that not only did she make the beautiful baby clothes with the tiny stitches, but she laid down her life for the chance to save her son from the fire. While he was born in poverty, and his coming put a strain on his parents, they loved and valued him nonetheless.

(end of huge spoiler)

Pollyanna Whittier's mother, who left her family to marry the minister she loved, lived a short life, but I think one she could look back on without regrets. Enduring the heartbreak of losing many babies, she named her only living baby after her two sisters, in spite of the estrangement from her family, and ended up giving her sister Polly the gift that reconciled and healed her heart.

Lady Elliot was described as an "excellent woman" in Persuasion, who helped make her husband comfortable and gave him a good reputation in the neighborhood. She found good friends, and Lady Russell thought Anne was the daughter most like her--which is a tribute in itself to the kind of self-effacing, kind woman Lady Elliot must have been. She looked well after the ways of her household, and her presence was sorely missed when she passed away.

Three out of the four women never did anything splended or dramatic. They just lived. They kept budgets, nurtured babies, endured the grief of losing children, blessed their husbands, and died all too soon. But in this tiny record of their everyday faithfulness, the small, everyday actions of love left a legacy to be remembered.

And I think it is the everyday love, the everyday brave, that deserves most to be remembered.

A special thanks this mother's day to my own mama, who read me so many books, and still swaps so many titles with me. I feel like we have our own unofficial book club, and it is a gift beyond compare.  

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

The Wind in the Willows [springtime reads]

It's still spring. Our magnolia tree shed its pink blossoms a couple of weeks ago. Green is everywhere, and once in a while, I can actually leave the house without a jacket--not too often yet, though.

Now is the perfect season for a story of outdoor adventures among the animal folk, just when we're itching to be out of doors ourselves.

(you never itch to be out of doors, schuyler, what are you talking about.)

And so, I am pleased to present to you one of my favorite childhood reads: Kenneth Grahame's The Wind in the Willows.

The Book 
When the River Rat and the Mole strike up a brand-new friendship, they little know the adventures that are about to come their way. From snowy nights in the Wild Wood to idyllic picnics along the riverbank, from going on ill-advised caravan rides with Toad to composing poetry for the ducks, there's always plenty to keep them busy. But life isn't always idyllic. When Toad takes up with the new-fangled motor cars, the animals of the riverbank stand to lose a good friend forever. Can they convince him of the error of his ways before it's too late?

My Thoughts 
For a long time, I didn't read this story because I wanted the exact right edition. I first read it in company with Ernest Shepherd's charming illustrations, and until I could find my own copy with those illustrations, I couldn't bear to read it without them. (For some reason I was always too lazy to get it from the library, but that's a less romantic reason.) Shepherd also illustrated the Winnie the Pooh books, and his delicate, whimsical drawings of animals bring this story to life in a whole new way. It's well worth the trouble and expense to get yourself a copy of WitW with Shepherd's illustrations--he met Kenneth Grahame, and wandered in the fields after meeting him, and his stories bring these animals to life in the most heart-wrenchingly beautiful way.

It's a story of homebodies. The characters would almost be hobbits, if they were in Tolkien's world. They are the hobbits of the animal kind. My favorite parts of the book were never Toad's adventures with the motor car (I disapprove of Toad and his ethics). I always loved Mole, abandoning his spring cleaning and going off into a world of river rides and unexpected friendships. His life with the river Rat, simplistic, dreamy, full of good food and ritual--living life in complete obedience and joy in the seasons, just the way God's animals should live. There's a bad word here and there, and maybe a couple of crude comments, but all in all it's pretty good.

It is a book of yearning, of beauty and nature, of seasons and comradeship, that seems to me most fitting to be read in the springtime. If you are looking for nostalgia and writing of molten gold, then treat yourself to The Wind in the Willows.

Friday, May 5, 2017

currently // May

via Pixabay

Watching // Well, we just finished a giant Lord of the Rings marathon to watch The Two Towers and Return of the King. It was my sister's first time seeing them. I enjoyed it so much...cried at the ending...loved the most epic parts...loved seeing it with her.

I also watched October Baby this week. For some reason, I have always found deep emotional inspiration from that movie, and after a huge week of projects and output, I needed to do some input. October Baby, with its emotion, the songs they use for the music score, and the relational moments, gives me exactly the creative inspiration I need.

Writing // More editing in War of Honor! Someone (we will not name the author) didn't pay attention to chronology in most of the middle section of the story, (ahem, Schuyler, ahem) which is making the second draft interesting. It's slowly becoming more logical. I'm writing new scenes to fix it, which I'm super excited about. I haven't touched Schuylock since Camp NaNo ended, and I really want to work on my country story. All in good time. War of Honor is my first priority right now.

Listening // During the month of April, I listened to a special Schuylock playlist I made on Spotify. It consisted of A Sky Full of Stars by the Piano Guys, the entire Victoria soundtrack, (by Martin Phipps, Ruth Barrett, and others) and several other random songs. I don't move on to new music very fast. I keep the same playlists for years.

Making // Well, I haven't made them yet, but I'm hoping to make these chocolate chip cookie dough truffles for at least one potluck I'm attending this week.

Reading // The Viking Quest series. They're good, relaxing novels with Irish themes, Viking drama, and the perfect books to re-visit this time of year.

Studying // How to drive a 1914 car. One of my characters is currently learning to drive, so I'm studying all the pedals and levers for him so I can have another character properly instruct him. It's so fun. So cute. Just heart squeeze.

What are you reading? Listening to? Watching? I want to know! 

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Meet Schuylock [camp nanowrimo snippets]

via Pixabay

Camp NaNoWriMo is done! And of course, snippets are the order of the day!

schuyler, is this the equivalent of a macaroni and cheese post? i'm just wondering. 

yes, miss impertinence. i had to get up at quarter-to-five this morning. 

Schuylock started out on a whim.

A friend and I were reading the Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, and I posted occasional tweets about my impressions of the stories with the #Schuylock hashtag on Twitter. But a writer is never content simply to read and have impressions. Oftentimes, reading something soon turns into a strong urge to imitate.

And of course, having a name like Schuyler, which combines so wonderfully with Sherlock, I couldn't resist incorporating my name into the working title. Thus, I began a mystery. Camp NaNoWriMo saw me fairly far along in that mystery, though I'm not quite done yet--still have the climax left to go. :) This is a murder mystery with a romance subplot, and it's proved a good challenge both in plotting out clues, and in attempting to make two people fall in love with each other.

we won't talk about the current attempt at cockney accents. no, sir. 

Without further ado: snippetttttsssss.

It was in the year 1895 that the strange murder of Edward Hastings came to our attention. The local papers handled it in their usual style, making no mention of my friend’s prowess and having only the vaguest conjectures of what became of Miss Victoria Hathaway, the fiancĂ©e of the murdered man.


Her palms were quite dry—unafraid, in the sheer, looming face of what it meant. “I did not murder anyone last night.”

“Miss Hathaway—“ The inspector cleared his throat. “Lady Fitzalan mentioned that you were seen in a different dress last night after the murder was discovered. The dress you were originally wearing was not in your things. If you could produce this, we would be more inclined to believe your story.”


“Besides the obvious fact that she showed no grief, I find it unlikely that any woman would experience la grande passion towards a violent alcoholic.”

“But women have been attracted to scoundrels before—“

“Not this woman. She said his manner was beneath her notice, certainly not a very lover-like statement. And any woman who removes her engagement ring less than twenty-four hours after her lover has been murdered is far from overcome with affection for him.”


Cold metal pressing around her finger that might as well be pressing around her throat. Constrict of air, turning her mouth dry. Pant of breath, groping, groping for oxygen. Applause. All that applause, like the rush of a waterfall over some brink of green destruction. Tink of glasses, chatter of congratulations.

How had she ended up in this place? It had all been a wild promise, late one night, when there was no way to stop the tears. Then the offering up of all her little savings, and now she was Victoria Hathaway—with only one single sixpence left in her pocket, waiting for anyone to discover.


Outside, in the dark, the Great Pearl lay, sulkily resentful in the corner of an alleyway. It was made for greatness. For ladies’ fingers, and drawing-rooms, and praise. Not to be discarding in a stinking corner of dried mud and old brick. The Great Pearl resented this treatment. It wanted to be found.


“I think you have not been honest with me, Miss Hathaway.”

She returned his gaze with a proud, frail grace. “I do not think I have been dishonest, either.”

She looked for one long moment into the fire. Then, to our wondering eyes, she loosened the fingers of her gloves with slow and deliberate movements, and pulled them off. Underneath, her arms were white, with the delicate tracery of aristocrat’s blood running through them. But mottled over the skin, horrible and cruel, were several heavy bruises and the trace of scratches that left thin lines of dried blood behind.


"Truth is greater than cruelty, and I will expose the truth, even if I hang unjustly for it."


A wronged woman will always find the truth, if she holds fast to courage.


Victoria sat and looked at the silver coin, placed precisely in front of her jewelry box. Her eyes felt heavy from crying, and she rubbed at them, trying to clear away the thick, sleepy feeling that always came after tears. Queen Victoria stared back at her from the polished silver. Victoria traced a finger down the silhouette of her face. Cold, harsh metal, comforting in its rigidity, met the soft skin of her fingertip.


"The sixpence will tell you everything you need to know."

more exciting story news coming in May. Stay tuned....
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