July Goals Progress Update

I realised I forgot to do this last week – apologies! So I’ll cover the last two weeks in this progress update. Long story short – some great bits of progress, and some definite failures…

Reading:

  • I have read 53/117 chapter of the Count of Monte Cristo. Between keeping up with Camp NaNoWriMo and ‘One Short Month’ short story project, I’ve not had a huge amount of time to read this. I need to accept that I’m not going to finish it this month, so I’ll just try and get as much read as I can next week and aim to finish in July!
  • I fell off the wagon for a few days on the ‘One Short Month’ project, but I’m back on with it, and I’ve found my new favourite story – ‘Uncle Chaim And Aunt Rifke And The Angel’ by Peter S. Beagle – if you haven’t read it you should definitely check it out! Looking forward to the last few stories of the month!

Writing:

  • Excerpts #23, 24, and 25 are finished, and I’m 212 words into #26, with the outline fully written. I will definitely get it finished this week and hopefully get started on #27 which would put me ahead of schedule.
  • I’m 41 hours in to my Camp NaNoWriMo project with only 9 hours left to reach my goal. I’ve finished my rewrite of chapter 1 and the epilogue, and now I’m on to the next part of my revision: writing full descriptions for my characters. I’ve cobbled together a list of questions to answer and have started filling them out for each of my characters. It will be a long process because I have a LOT of characters, but it will be worth it when I’m done so I can go back through the book and make sure that all of them are reacting the way they should, and that I’m tightening up my “show don’t tell.” When that’s done and I have one more recheck for grammar mistakes and typos, then I’m ready to read through the whole thing and check for plot holes, etc…

Okay that’s it for me, only one more week to go and it’s the end of July! How are all of you doing? I hope your writing is going well!

Slán!

C.x

Love Your Writing

I have a confession to make: I like the stories I’ve written; the short stories for my current project, my random drabbles, the novel I’m working on, pieces I’ve written for writing challenges. I find myself smiling, laughing, feeling giddy, content, and sad when reading them. I enjoy reading them.

Do I think they’re perfect and don’t need any more work?

Absolutely not.

Just because they’re not perfect, just because they could do with more editing, more revising, more work, doesn’t mean that I can’t enjoy them, or that I should hate them. I’ve noticed that there’s a trend of always hating what you’ve written, never being content with it, and never admitting to liking your own work. Why is this? It doesn’t make any sense to me not to love your own work – it’s yours, you created it all by yourself. It is the product of your time, effort and imagination. It’s your creation – why would you hate it?

What we need to be doing is evaluating our writing critically – yes I enjoy reading what I’ve written, but for the pieces I want to expand on or do more with, I’m always thinking, ‘How can I improve it? How can I make it even more enjoyable to read?’ Even with old pieces of writing that I find absolutely cringe-worthy, I read over them, searching for something that I like, something that reminds me why I was excited to write it in the first place.

Continue reading “Love Your Writing”

Excerpts From Unfinished Novels #4: Glass Hearts

Genre: fantasy romance

Warnings: mild sexual scene, mention of violence

Word Count: 3,051

Summary: Spurned on by diaries from her forgotten youth, Ellie travels far and wide in search of someone who can help restore the memories she took from herself, and help her find her long-lost love.

 

Excerpt is from the start of the book, around chapter 3/4.

‘I found a spell that will reveal my soul mate to me; I’m going to try it tonight.

Oh my Gods…she’s amazing; funny, clever, and absolutely gorgeous. Her name is Angela and she is an angel.’

Ellie shivered and pulled her cloak tighter around herself as the fierce easterly wind dragged sheets of icy rain with it, pelting the side of her face and extinguishing any hope of sustaining a fire; without a flame she had no hope of creating a charm to keep herself warm. She had hoped to try and find a more sheltered place in which to make camp, but the wind and rain were getting worse, signalling an incoming storm. Sighing, Ellie scanned the area around her and managed to spy a small copse where she should be able to set up a shelter for her horse and anchor her caravan. She quickly directed her horse to the copse, and once there, worked as quickly and efficiently as possible to get a shelter up, set Milly up under it with a blanket and a bucket of oats once she’d been rubbed down, and then made her way inside her caravan. By the time she entered her small home she was soaked through; her teeth were chattering and her fingers felt numb and useless as she struggled to light her lantern. She could barely grip the flint properly, and she cursed as she failed to get a single spark. She angrily threw the flint on the table and slumped into the nearest seat, curling up and bringing her fingers to her lips so she could breathe warm air over them while rubbing them together. She started shaking, but eventually the strength returned to her fingers, and she hastily took up the flint again.

This time she was met with success and she soon had her lantern and the stove lit, their flames creating shadows that danced merrily around the caravan walls. Once the flames were strong enough, Ellie shed her wet clothes, closed her eyes and pulled what heat she could towards herself, wrapping it around her body like a blanket. The effect was immediate; her body instantly felt warm and the strength returned to her bones. She revelled in the heat for a while longer, and once her body had fully dried she grabbed a pair of undergarments, britches, and a loose tunic, and quickly dressed. She held the warmth around herself as she cooked and ate her dinner, and it wasn’t until she was buried under several layers of blankets that she finally let it go, extinguishing the fire in the stove and lantern in the process. She sighed and buried herself further under the blankets, closing her eyes in anticipation of a good night’s sleep.

Which was not meant to be.

After what seemed like an eternity of tossing and turning Ellie officially gave up on sleep and gave in to the thoughts and questions banging away in her brain. Luckily there was enough heat left in the embers of the stove to allow her to light the lantern from her bed, and once the caravan was once again basking in the glow of its flame, she reached under her mattress and pulled out the old, leather-bound book that was the cause of her journey. She opened it and read through the entries for what must have been the twentieth time, her heart still pounding at the now-familiar words. She couldn’t believe that it was all true; she’d long thought it all a dream, a fantastical fantasy, that she had experienced a love beyond anything she could have hoped for. But her diary, hidden for so long, told her otherwise, told her that it was true, that Angela was real. And that it was her fault she was gone. Tears welled up in Ellie’s eyes as she read over the last few entries.

“No one believes me when I tell them about Angela. I know it sounds fantastical, that I am in love with and am loved by an ethereal being, but surely it should be obvious, surely there should be some outward sign. I don’t know why it is only I that can see her and hear her and feel her; I wish more than anything that someone else was able to acknowledge her existence so I would be justified in my insistence that I have found the love of my life.”

“My parents think I am going mad. Maybe I am? If everyone else tells me that Angela is not real, then who is really right – I alone, or everyone else together?”

“They want to send me to the sanatorium. I cannot go, I WILL not go. There must be something I can do…”

“It…it is done…Oh Gods what have I done? My love…my Angela…I’m so sorry. I have ripped out my heart in doing what I have done…I cannot bear to remember it, so I will lock those memories away with my love. I pray that my future self never finds this diary. Ellie, if you do, do not go looking for Angela; you will not find her. There is no going back from what I have done.”

“You’re lying,” Ellie whispered into the pages as she pressed them against her face which was wet with tears. “I know she’s out there somewhere; I know I can find her. I just need the right spell.”

“Why don’t you just try summoning me again?” a familiar voice said huskily, and Ellie felt a delicious thrill run through her as an arm slipped around her waist and a body pressed against hers from behind.

“Because it doesn’t work Angela,” she replied, torn between wanting to relax against the other woman and push her away. “The best I can do is summon you, and you are a mere apparition.”

“How do you know I’m not the Angela from your youth?” the apparition purred into her ear, gently licking her neck.

“Because you’re not real,” Ellie said, stubbornly holding in a groan.

“I feel real though, don’t I?” ‘Angela’ ran her hand over Ellie’s body, raking her nails gently against the skin of her belly before cupping her breasts.

Ellie whined, her body instinctively arching into the touch.

“See? Just as good as you had it before.” ‘Angela’ tugged at Ellie until she had turned to face her, and then cupped her face in her hands, stroking her thumbs along her cheeks. “Come on Ellie; be with me. Please?” she whispered, before pulling Ellie in for a kiss.

Ellie whimpered and kissed her back, before suddenly stiffening and pushing ‘Angela’ away.

“No,” she gasped. “No you’re not her, I know you’re not her.”

“How do you know?” ‘Angela’ demanded, her face thunderous with anger as she sat up. “Why can’t you accept that I’m who you’ve been looking for this whole time? Why am I not good enough?”

“Because you are not her,” Ellie said gently, sitting up and facing her. “You’re something my mind created in a moment of desperate loneliness.”

“How do you know that that’s not what you did when you were younger? It would explain why only you could see me.”

“I just know.” Ellie shrugged and pulled her knees to her chest, hugging them lightly. “Reading those diary entries…it brought all these memories back. I remember Angela, I remember her and how real she was. You’re just…a pale imitation of her; an amalgamation of all the wonderful things about her without any of the depth. I want the real Angela, I need her.”

The apparition’s lip wobbled and a few tears rolled down her cheeks before she hastily wiped them away.

“I understand,” she said gruffly. “Then why am I here?”

“Because I’m lonely. Because I miss her, and you’re the closest thing I have right now,” Ellie admitted.

‘Angela’ snorted in derision and lay back down, turning her back on Ellie. Ellie stared at her for a long while, trying to fathom just what was going on with her magic and her mind when she summoned this apparition that seemed to feel so deeply, and wanted so badly to be the real Angela, or at least, to have Ellie accept her as the real Angela. There was a small part of herself that wanted to give in, to accept this version of Angela and scrape together some semblance of happiness, but the larger part of her knew that she would never be at peace until the real Angela was back in her arms again, regardless of the cost.

Continue reading “Excerpts From Unfinished Novels #4: Glass Hearts”

Writer: Why You Need To Become Your Own Cheerleader #SundayBlogShare #ASMSG

Such excellent advice – writing is a very solitary task, and especially when you’re starting out and it seems like no one’s paying any bit of interest in what you’re sharing it can be difficult to stay motivated. And that’s where you come in – because if you can’t motivate yourself then how can you expect anyone else to?

BlondeWriteMore

Being a writer isn’t easy. Not only do you have to create, write, edit, revise, shelve, rewrite, deliberate, proof read, format, publish and promote but you also have to learn to cheer yourself on at every stage. *Gasp*.

You have to become your own cheerleader and this is a tough one to accept.

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Hooking the Reader with a Killer Opening to Your Book

Excellent advice on writing an opening – I’ve gone through the same thing with introducing my characters – making sure that I introduce them in a dynamic, interesting, but still easy to follow way (I have a LARGE cast).

A Writer's Path

by Helena Fairfax

This is another topic that has made me take a good look at my own writing. My first thought is that it’s vital to have an opening that hooks the reader. Some people say a killer opening is even more important now, since online stores like Amazon have a facility to “Look inside” the book, or to download the first few pages as a sample.

They say readers have too much choice and a short attention span, and we have to be hooked immediately or you lose us. But I think back to the days when there was no Amazon and I could only obtain books from bookshops or libraries. I used to do exactly the same thing before choosing a book – check out the blurb, and then have a read of the opening to see if it grabbed me. If I wasn’t hooked, I put the book back.

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Weekly Update (1st – 7th July 2017)

As promised, here is my progress update from the past week!

Reading:

  • I have reached chapter 46/117 of the Count of Monte Cristo. I had some great days of reading when I got lots done, and then others when I read only short stories and didn’t even glance at this. So, need to do better this week!
  • I have managed to keep up with the One Short Month project, and have read and discussed the stories on tumblr. It’s been really fun, and I’ve discovered some really great stories including: Hungry Daughters of Starving Mothers by Alyssa Wong, and Combustion Hour by Yoon Ha Lee – both are well worth checking out!

Writing:

  • I have managed to dedicate 18 hours to editing and revising Wild and Free, and am currently in the middle of chapter 9, which is taking a bit longer than the rest because it involves some pretty heavy fight scenes. I have hit one snag though – I’ve realised that I’m a bit ‘meh’ about my first chapter, so I’m going to be completely rewriting it (here’s so Wild and Free Version 3!) – glad that I’ve figured this out now though than when I pass it on to other people for reading!
  • I have send in my application for the competition; I’ll be hearing from them on August 16th about whether or not I’ve been successful, so fingers crossed!
  • I have written 2,071 words of excerpt #23 of my short story project. I’m more than half-way through the story and I WILL finish it tomorrow and get on with excerpt #24.
  • I have chosen three prompts that I want to answer – two from wordpress and one from tumblr. I am determined to answer one of them next week, so we’ll see how that goes!

That’s all from me – I will be spending eight hours on a bus tomorrow, so at least four of those hours will be spent editing/revising Wild and Free, and with the other four will be spent getting some new stuff written!

How is your writing and reading journey going? Are there any Camp NaNoWriMo people here?

Slán!

C.x

Excerpts From Unfinished Novels #3: Love Is A Strange And Tentacled Thing

Genre: supernatural romance

Warnings: none

Word Count: 1,069

Summary: Jake’s eager to explore their human side, especially the realm of dating and romance. However, their eldritch nature and…tentacles, might not be such a hit with potential partners.

 

Excerpt is from around a quarter of the way into the novel.

“Okay I’m done. What do you think?” Jake asked me with a grin as he leaned back from his laptop.

I placed a hand on his shoulder as I leaned down to read over what he’d written. I grimaced as my eyes scanned over the words. “Ummm….”

“What’s wrong?” Jake asked, the grin immediately falling from his face.

“Nothing,” I said quickly.

He stared at me flatly until I sighed and said, “It’s just a bit…much.”

“In what way?”

“Well you’re very…honest.”

“I thought it was good to be honest.”

“Not on your dating profile,” I said grimly. “I mean, it’s good to be honest to an extent but there are some things that are better left to when you get to know the person you’re dating better.”

“Oh.”

Jake stared forlornly at the laptop screen, his pitch-black eyes somehow managing to look emotionless and melancholic at the same time. “Maybe I should just forget about this whole thing,” he sighed. “It was a stupid idea in the first place, I mean, my father always said that when I meet the right person I should just drag them to the underworld and make them my undead spouse, but that just doesn’t feel right you know? I want to try dating and romance, and all the other human stuff…which is a completely ridiculous notion.”

“No it’s not,” I said firmly, squeezing his shoulder. “I think it’s great that you finally want to put yourself out there and date and try to find love in the…conventional way.” I looked back at the laptop and waved my hand at it while adding, “What you’ve got here is great, it just needs a little…editing, that’s all. Here, let me help you.”

Jake brightened up and shot me a grateful smile. I pulled up a chair beside him and turned the laptop towards me. I scrolled back up to the top of the profile and started reading aloud.

“Okay, so first of all you’ve said you’re bisexual and genderfluid. That’s definitely the sort of thing you want to be honest about, though you should be aware that it will make finding someone a bit more difficult – there’s still a lot of biphobia in the community and then gender identity is a whole other ballgame, but if you’re not honest about it from the get-go it’ll only lead to issues further down the line. Right, let’s see…okay here, this part needs to change – ‘I wake in the mornings with an urge to devour mortal souls.’”

“But I do. I mean, I never actually do it, but it is my first thought in the morning.”

“It’s just a little intense you know? Like, if I read that I would be afraid that you would end up trying to devour my soul if I ever slept over. Or I’d think you were some sort of crazy serial killer.”

“I see what you mean. So what should I say instead?”

“How about ‘I’m a bit of a grump in the morning.’ And then you could add a cheeky ‘but that could change depending on who I’m waking up next too 😉’”

Jake laughed and nodded. “That sounds good. Okay what next?”

“…Oh, right here, where it asks about your favourite food. You’ve said ‘I feast on the hearts of the mighty beasts I slay.’ First of all, again, very intense. Secondly, most of the time those ‘mighty beasts’ are mice and rats that we’ve caught in our traps, and thirdly you also eat other food.”

“But hearts are my favourite,” Jake protested.

“How about you just put down that you like rare steak.”

Jake sighed and nodded and I quickly made the changes.

We continued through the rest of his profile, editing the highly intense and revealing passages. These included his favourite childhood memory (being taken to witness and glorify ritual sacrifices with his father, an eldritch god), his hobbies (taking on an animal form in order to glory in the primal wildness of nature), his most embarrassing moment (accidentally causing a tsunami during puberty), and his favourite feature (his tentacles). I tried my best to steer him towards focusing on his more human qualities, like his love of scrapbooking, his volunteer work at the dog shelter, and how he was part of a local rugby team. Whenever we butted heads over an answer (he REALLY wanted to mention his tentacles), I would write something vague and semi-misleading as a compromise.

“Okay done,” I said proudly, turning the laptop back to Jake. “What do you think?”

Jake read over the changes that I’d made, and though he tried to keep his face impassive, I could tell that he wasn’t one hundred percent comfortable with them.

“What do you not like about them?” I asked as he continued to stare at the screen a frown firmly in place, his lips pursed.

“It’s not that I don’t like them…it’s just that they’re a little vague.”

“It’s mysterious,” I said in my most persuasive tone. “People like a bit of mystery, it gives them something to talk about, a reason for them to want to get to know you. You see, when you fill in a dating profile it’s about giving enough information to reel them in without giving too much away.”

“Why is this so difficult?” Jake whined slumping forward onto the desk. “I mastered ritualistic summoning spells and ancient blood curses by the time I was six, but human dating profile etiquette is beyond my capabilities.”

“That’s why I’m here,” I said soothingly, throwing an arm around his shoulder. “I’m your wing-buddy, your guide to human dating rituals. Whatever it is you need help with just let me know okay?”

“Okay,” Jake replied with a bright smile as he leaned against me. “Thanks Alex.”

“No problem. So, happy to leave the answers as they are?”

“Yeah.”

“Great. Just one more thing to do,” I said, pulling out my phone. “You need a profile picture. Up you get.”

Jake grinned and stood up, moving to stand in front of the wall I gestured at. I stood in front of him and held up my phone as he cocked his head to the side and sent me a roguish grin.

“Wait.” I moved forwards and gently rearranged his beard so that his tentacles were hidden from view. “Much better.”

July 2017: Camp NaNoWriMo, Submitting a Novel, Short Story Reading Group and More!

Hello all!

I joined wordpress eleven days ago, and have already found some wonderful blogs to follow, have read beautiful short stories and poems, have posted a few pieces of writing and received some lovely comments for them – excellent! Hello to everyone who’s following me, and thank you to those who’ve liked and commented on my posts!

I’ve found that without some sort of deadline, schedule, or goal-setting, I get very little productive work done when it comes to my writing, so every month I set myself some goals to accomplish, and I thought it would be fun to share them with all of you and my progress as I go along!

July 2017 Goals

Reading:

  • I have been plodding my way through The Count of Monte Cristo for about three weeks now, and it’s time I actually sat down and just READ it. It’s not that I don’t like the story (because I do, I think it’s intriguing and ridiculous and funny and dramatic), but I keep getting distracted by reading short stories here on wordpress as well as on wattpad and tumblr. I have an overall goal of wanting to read at least twenty books this year, so I need to get cracking if I want to meet and hopefully exceed it!
  • I’ve joined in with a short story reading group that’s being run on tumblr by user amormadeofbooks. It’s called ‘One Short Month’ and we’ll be reading and discussing twenty-two short stories from a variety of genres and authors. Since I’ve gotten more in to writing short stories I really want to get into reading them more, so I’m hoping this reading group will be a good starting point.

Writing:

  • My main writing goal for this month is to completely revise and edit my first novel “Wild and Free.” I’ve joined July’s Camp NaNoWriMo in the hopes that it will keep me motivated to get it done.
  • I’ve also recently found EXTRA motivation to get my editing finished as I’ve found a competition for unpublished authors to join a mentoring programme and hopefully get their work published and the application date is July 16th. So I will 100% be focusing on getting my manuscript ready for then!
  • I want to keep the pace of writing one short story a week for my short story project ‘Excerpts From Unfinished Novels’, which means that by the end of the month I should have written short stories #23 – 26.
  • And because I love giving myself too much work to do, I would like to also have answered at least one writing prompt from tumblr and one writing challenge here on wordpress.

I’ll post weekly updates on my progress – which should hopefully ensure that I keep up with my goals REGULARLY rather than cramming them all in at the last minute which is my usual M.O. hehe… Are there any other goals of mine that you would like to know – life/blogging/travel/other?

Have you set yourself any goals for July? What are your thoughts on goal-setting – yay or nay? Let me know in the comments!

Slán!

C.x

Useful Tips for Self-Editing a Manuscript

I’ve joined Camp NaNoWriMo for July with the express goal of completely editing and revising my novel ‘Wild and Free’ which I finished back in February and put away to give myself enough distance before I start editing.

I’m feeling ready now, and have a deadline to work to, so this article is a great starting point for things to look out for!

A Writer's Path

 

by Emily Nemchick

Whilst there is no substitute for hiring a professional editor, self-editing is an important skill for any writer to hone. For one thing, the more passes a manuscript gets, the fewer errors will remain in the final product. If you are using an editor, be sure to self-edit thoroughly first so they can focus on the things you have missed. If you are not using an editor, then self-editing is doubly essential. Here are a few tips to make sure you catch as many errors as possible.

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Flight – #writephoto – Dubh agus Bán

I recently discovered Sue Vincent’s Thursday Photo Prompt Challenge, and was inspired by this week’s photo to produce this piece!

Note: Dubh agus Bán is Irish for Black and White

Thursday Prompt Challenge 5-6-17

Dubh Agus Bán

1,140

“Things were never as black and white as the old stories would have you believe,” Fionnula’s step-mother Aoife told her as they climbed out her bedroom window and up onto the roof. “People are so much more complex than simply being just good or evil, victim or perpetrator, light or dark. Everyone is born with the potential for both, and everyone will make choices that will fall on both sides of the scales, and some that will fall on neither. History is written by those that would see themselves in the best light, those that would have our story twisted so that the truth of it is lost.”

“I see,” Fionnula replied, not really seeing at all.

She perched on top of the roof, leaned back on her arms and tilted her face up to revel in the first warming rays of the dawning sun, all the while ignoring the churning in her gut and the sweat pumping out of her armpits in time with her rapid heartbeat.

“The thing is though, you did turn us into swans,” she pointed out, making sure to keep her voice calm.

Aoife hesitated and then nodded. “Aye, I did. However, t’was not me that cursed you to live all those years –”

“Don’t forget about my brothers,” Fionnula interjected, unable to help the anger seeping into her voice. “They were turned too.”

Aoife sent her a sad, sympathetic smile before she replied, “You know you didn’t have any brothers sweetheart.”

“How do you know?”

“Because while your curse is to remember only the twisted version created by it, my curse is to remember the truth in very painful detail.”

“How do I know you’re not lying?” Fionnula asked, a petulant look on her face as she crossed her arms.

Aoife shrugged. “I hope that you would trust me enough to know that I would never do that. Not to you.”

Fionnula crossed her arms tighter, hugging herself as she rocked slightly. “I know you wouldn’t. It’s just…the memories in my head are so clear, and they feel so real…”

“I know they do sweetheart,” Aoife said sympathetically. “The closer it gets, the more real they will become to you. Which is why I need you to have faith in me and in what I am telling you because when it gets here, the only way we will be able to defeat it and lift the curse for good is together.”

Fionnula bit her lip as she stared into her step-mother’s eyes. Aoife took her hands and squeezed them as she smiled and waited. Eventually Fionnula nodded, squeezing Aoife’s hands back. Aoife beamed and then stood up, pulling Fionnula to her feet. The two women stood side by side, looking out to the horizon where the sun was starting to peak above the clouds.

There was a sudden shift in the air, and Fionnula felt every hair on her body rise in response to the change in temperature and pressure. It wasn’t just a physical change she could feel, no, but also a…psychic wasn’t the right word but it was the closest thing she could think of. There was a psychic change around them, a change that affected her mind and soul. Her heart grew cold, and visions of her old life flashed through her head; of being forced to fly hundreds and hundreds of miles, of having to drag her aching body around the lakes, of doing her best to keep her brothers warm and dry as they huddled under her wings, of the agony of becoming human after nine hundred years as a swan, and the sweet release of death that swiftly followed. It wasn’t until hands had grasped her face that she realised she was curled up in a ball, screaming. The hands pulled her forwards, and Fionnula instinctively reached out and wrapped her arms around Aoife’s shoulders as she wailed into her chest.

“It’s okay, it’s okay sweetheart,” Aoife said soothingly, rubbing her back. “You’re here with me, you’re not on that lake. Listen to me speak, listen to the birds singing around us, feel the sun on your back and the wind blowing through your hair. Focus on everything around you and not on what’s in your head. Come back to me sweetheart.”

Little by little, the world around her came back into focus, becoming more and more real with every word that Aoife spoke. Eventually the visions faded, and Fionnula found herself back on the roof in her step-mother’s arms, the memories surprisingly less real and more dream-like than they had ever felt. For the first time since those memories of her past life had come back to her she felt clear-headed, ready to take on the beast that was coming.

“It’s here,” she said calmly, and Aoife nodded and looked over her shoulder.

Fionnula turned and saw the clouds twisting and turning, revealing the shape of the great cloud dragon that had plagued the land during her first lifetime, and which had returned once more.

She took a deep breath, and then said, “Promise you won’t leave me?”

“Oh sweetheart,” Aoife sighed sadly. “I never did.”

Aoife stretched her arms up, looked at Fionnula, and when her step-daughter nodded, recited the incantation. Fionnula closed her eyes, feeling instantly at ease at the feeling of her body shifting and stretching; her neck elongating, her bones hollowing, feathers sprouting from her skin. When the feeling faded, she opened her eyes and looked over at the large black swan that was standing where Aoife had been moments ago, knowing that she herself was a perfect copy in white.

A new memory from her first life bloomed in the back of her head, feeling warm and soft and so much more real than any other memory she’d ever had: the curse of the swan had been placed upon her, and she had taken shelter in the reeds of Lough Derravaragh. She’d huddled as the rain beat down on her, shivering in the cold. Only then she wasn’t alone; a large black wing covered her body, and she looked over in surprise at Aoife who was huddled beside her. It seemed that her step-mother had been struck by the curse as well in the cloud dragon’s dying moments. Tears fells from Fionnula’s eyes, and Aoife pulled her close, opened her beak and sang her a comforting lullabye.

There was a roar from above, and Fionnula looked up to see the cloud dragon bearing down on them, steam pouring from its nostrils and its mouth stretched grotesquely. She looked back at Aoife. They shared a look that communicated more than words ever could, and then took to the sky, ready to fight.

***

This is sort of my take on a modern sequel to “The Children of Lir” which you can read here.

Slán!

C.x