2021 J : Journal

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Yes, I realize that I used Journalling for the 2020 topic, but this year focuses more on the means than the action.

What is a journal? One definition is "a daily record of news and events of a personal nature; a diary." Another way to think of a journal, is the document in which you make the periodic annotations. Before the days of computers and the Internet, a journal was several handfuls of lined or blank pages bound together awaiting your pearls of wisdom and prose. A special cover meant to inspire or enhance your environment with its design provided the basis for purchase for your own use or as a gift.

Woodland scenes, mountain vistas, or even great works of art all grace journal covers. If someone knows you love flowers, you may unwrap a birthday gift to discover it is a special pen and a journal with Monet's water lilies on the cover.

Image by Pashminu Mansukhani from Pixabay

As a writer, I am still old school enough to write out notes and first draft in longhand on paper. The word processor auto-correct frustrating. Especially its habit of turning itself on and changing words after I typed them. The predictive function on my tablet (can't say the name as the manufacturer might send me to their equivalent of jail or delete my reviews) is even worse. As a typist, my mind composes and my eyes stay on the manuscript or the notes, not on the keyboard. With the tablet I am constantly shifting my focus to finger placement to the suggested words, then up to the screen and back to the keyboard again.

Image by Amber Avalona
from Pixabay

The covers attract, calling "Take me home. I am perfect for your next project."But when you get home you say, "I cannot write in you. You are too beautiful I will save you for something special."

So there it sits on the shelf, atop of a pile of other special journals the top dog until the next shiny, glittering one comes along.

If you're following other blogs in the challenge, here's the master list of the other participants.

To make following the hop easier, here is the link to all my posts. Just remember, the next day's post isn't live until midnight. 

~ till next time, Helen


2021 I : Inns

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Inns - an establishment providing accommodations, food, and drink, especially for travelers. Wooden signs depicting name or service help direct customers to their sites. They can have different ambiance. Among the reasons to select a specific place for dinner could be they have "the best fish in the city,” or that "Their wine is always the perfect temperature and never sour.” 

Names could be selected based on their locale. Dockside inns frequented by sailors would be different than one on a trade route. Examples from Imprisoned in Stone are the Sailfish Inn and the Belay and Sail. The world of Windmaster also had places to have a cold brew, stay the night, or to have a meal. 

From Windmaster - An excerpt from Dal and Ellspeth's stop for the night and a meal while being pursued by those who would kill those with magical powers.

Her eyes still downcast as appropriate to her station, Ellspeth opened her eyelids just enough to scrutinize the other occupants. The hair on the back of her neck rose. Danger! Instinct drew her eyes to the staircase on the far wall. There! He is the source. A cleric in the long brown robes of the Oracle of Givneh plodded down the steps into her line of vision. Ellspeth’s breath caught in her throat. He was the same man who had tried to take Sea Falcon—to kill her crew.

“Dal,” she hissed, “he’s the one from the dock.”

Ellspeth’s thoughts raced. If she stayed, the cleric would recognize her. If she tried to leave, it would bring his attention to her even faster.

Dal’s strong arms wrapped around her waist. Ellspeth’s squeal as he pulled her onto his lap pierced the buzz of conversation and bounced off the rafters. His strength rendered her struggles useless. One of the men with his arms around a disheveled woman called out encouragement. Before she could object, Dal’s mouth covered hers. His right hand held the back of her head in a steel grip. Before her lungs were depleted of air, he released her just enough to catch a breath. The whiff of oxygen helped clear Ellspeth’s mind—and focus her thoughts. The cleric couldn’t recognize her if he couldn’t see her face.

One of the ways an inn's name was derived comes from their menu. The Stag and Horn in Bleve Aibheis (Imprisoned in Stone) was known for their marinated venison steaks. 

Use your imagination to figure out what the specialties for the following inns from the Dragshi Chronicles are.  Blackened Cow /  Hook and Horns  /  Fin and Feather. 

From Hatchling's Mate - Glyn and her two friends stop at the local inn for a cold drink. To the world at large (including her friends) Glyn is a male, albeit a slightly shorter, slender one.

Standing, Glyn raked the bully from head to foot. Her lips twitched in a grin. “Since you don’t appreciate fine horseflesh, what do you ride? A dog?”

Tension deepened in the inn and all conversation dropped to a low hum. Their attention focused on the slender Glyn and the bully that towered over the table. The larger man reached down, picked up Kynan’s mug and drained it in a single swig. Slamming the mug back on the table, the bully straightened to his full height.

Glyn held her breath against the rancid odor coming off the man. His attitude proclaimed his intention to fight. With a sigh Glyn shifted into battle stance. She didn’t need to look to know that even though they remained seated, Talann and Kynan were ready to join the fray.

“Only a girl rides a mare,” the bully goaded. “You never answered me. Do you like boys?”

Every eye turned on Glyn to see the response. No man with any honor would stand for such an insult. She shook her head at the inevitable confrontation. She could not answer truthfully and maintain the disguise of her true identity. Option after option was considered, until one approach stood above the others. “And you good sire,” she said with a half bow to hide the sparkle in her eyes, “never answered mine. Do you ride a dog?”

A low growl preceded the bully’s roundhouse swing.

Instincts trained by the best weaponsmasters the Ceoltier Guild could provide, instincts honed with hours of practice against Kynan and Talann, pulled Glyn into a low crouch. She exploded upward, sinking her doubled fists into her attacker’s stomach. With a loud whoosh of air, the large man bent over. Glyn added to the momentum, forcing his head into the table. A grunt and what had been a threat now slid in a boneless lump to the floor.

If you're following other blogs in the challenge, here's the master list of the other participants.

To make following the hop easier, here is the link to all my posts. Just remember, the next day's post isn't live until midnight. 

~ till next time, Helen


2021 H : Historian

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Those of you who have come along on the journey to worlds of imagination have seen references to (or at least hints about) a background in history. Much of my work involved various aspects of a  local history museum and the 17th century building that housed the collections.
Even though the museum was the site of a Revolutionary War skirmish, the collections covered the entire span of the town's history. As a result of my association, I also had the opportunity to attend conventions, learn about different eras, and have back room tours of museums. Although I admit it was hard to keep my hands in my pockets so I didn't appropriate an item that I loved or thought would look good in one of the mansion exhibits. 

Unlike Indiana Jones, the archaeological digs I've participated in were not at ancient lost temples but at sites focusing on the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Metal detectors were used to help document the flow of battle; while at other times a trowel and sifter were our tools as we cleared and investigated survey squares. In some ways even though the area was smaller, the survey digs presented more of a challenge. One time  could see the handle and part of one side of an artifact and had to resist the urge to remove. The bulk of the item was outside the marked square and the rule was to leave undisturbed ground and what it contained for future researchers.

How does this experience translate to the writing life?

I think it helps bring the historical aspects a realism I couldn't achieve without the knowledge of life in the past. Research is a fun part of history and the information gathered can be used in more than just non-fiction.

Speaking of non-fiction, I have to admit authoring works that are so far away from fiction that I call it the dark side. Around Matawan and Aberdeen, Of Town And Field: Matawan and Aberdeen, and From the Back Street to Main Street ... And Beyond are the titles of my published local histories.

Around Matawan and Aberdeen - Amazon Info & Buy Links

Of Town and Field <- Amazon  /  Info & Buy Links

From the Back Street to Main Street - Amazon  /  Info & Buy Links

If you're following other blogs in the challenge, here's the master list of the other participants.

To make following the hop easier, here is the link to all my posts. Just remember, the next day's post isn't live until midnight.

~ till next time, Helen