I’m here to share myself on the web. To communicate with my family, friends and hopefully readers. I have stories from my life and stories from my imagination.  I believe I have some good stories to tell. Bear with me while I remember and conjure them.

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Gloom despair and troubles untold

I woke up this morning my mind chock full of ideas for my Grey Knight series. This plot twist. That interesting tidbit. The identity of the Lady I just introduced in the latest episode. So, I got up made myself a cup of coffee. Then I made my first mistake. I sat down in the living room with my laptop. I can write on it. Hitting the right keys takes a little more thought, but I can do that.  Then, before I began, I checked my emails. Well, after that, looking over Facebook would take only a moment. Somewhere between my first cup of coffee and Carrie getting up, all those fantastic ideas evaporated like a morning mist. They were gone with just a tickle in the back of my mind of what had been there.  I wasted another hour trying to get an image for the Kindle Vella “Rumors of Dragons” series “From the tales of the Grey Knight,” don’t you know. Ideas abound by nothing quite yet right.

The Grumble story is calling. The Dragon’s Spine series is upset about being on the sidelines. What’s a poor man to do?

I know I’ll write a post for my blog. I know all of you want to hear about my bad writing habits.

By the way, Grumble has informed me that the world where I am reporting his escape attempt is not the only place his influence is expanding. He wants you to know he is busy on our plane of existence, in case you hadn’t noticed all the disgruntled grumbling.

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Treehouse on my mind

I related before where my dad and I gathered the materials for my treehouse. I want to refresh the story.

We tore down an old barn that stood on the other side of the alley that ran behind our house. It wasn’t much of a barn. In my recollection, it was twenty feet long and ten feet wide. The walls stood about ten feet tall. The east side was open to the weather.

Someone had built the old barn solid. It was stable enough that some neighborhood boys managed to get on top of it. That in itself would not have been a problem. What they did after they got there was.

As I remember hearing the story, there were three boys. One of them was the grandson of Mr. Crawford. The man who owned the barn. The boys tied a rope to the tree that had grown up next to the barn. They put a loop on the loose end. One of the boys was placing the noose around his neck. The others seemed to be encouraging the foolishness. That was when Mr. Crawford discover them.

Right then, Mr. Crawford decided the barn needed to come down.

When my dad heard that Mr. Crawford wanted the barn down, he volunteered us to do the demolition. The destruction of that barn supplied us with the building materials to build me the best tree house ever.

The demolition is vague in my memory. My dad may have enlisted an uncle to help.

I do remember the days of pulling nails from the old boards. Those that were not too rusty were straightened and thrown in a bucket to use in the new construction.

The builders had constructed the barn with 2x4s and 2x6s for the framework. They covered the sides with 1x12s. At the time we acquired the lumber, time had weathered it to a lovely gray. The native elm boards were solid and tough.  More of that later.

Once we made the lumber nail free and straightened the last nail. We turned to construction.

On the south side of our yard was a substantial native elm. Sometime in the past, a solitary tree was chopped down. From that stump sprung five or six trunks. The trunks deviated from each other about two feet off the ground. Space was there where a person could sit or stand.  About fifteen feet up, they had spread apart. At that height is where my dad and I began to build.

On the west side, the largest trunk did not lean out as much as the others. You couldn’t wrap your arms around it near its base. South of that large trunk, one leaned at an almost forty-five-degree angle. Between those two branches, dad nailed in the 2×6 that was destined to be the primary foundation.

To the east of the main branch stood two more. Dad placed the next support stretching from the foundation beam across to the Easternmost trunk.  At the perfect height was a branch coming out of that trunk. This crook was where dad secured that support. Running north to south, We ran another 2×4 to the southeasternmost trunk. We nailed the last one into place on the southside between the East beam and the West beam.

With the foundation laid, we began to place the floor. We got a few of the 1x12s in place when mother called us in for supper.

It was Sunday evening, and the Wonderful World of Disney called. The treehouse could wait for the next day. As darkness fell, a thunderstorm moved through. It must not have been much of one. We slept through it without the thought of tornados.

I woke up early the next day. The treehouse was calling me. The storm had passed, and the day was beautiful. Even though it was a workday, dad walked out with me to look at what we had accomplished. In shock, my eyes widened. The treehouse was gone. In the place of our work was a pile of boards. The foundation beam had pulled loose from the large trunk, and everything had fallen. We would have to start over once we figured out what we had done wrong.

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Verin – Newborn

Raja sat outside the door, shivering. The cold winds of winter blew through his coat as he waited, as tradition required, outside while Ema gave birth to their first child. She had assured him that it was a male kit. How she knew he did not understand.

She roared once more in agony! That shattered his resolve. Standing, he shook off the snow and turned and opened the door. It would be easier to carry the shame than to ignore his mate’s cries.

Ema was squatted on the floor, holding a bedpost for support. She looked up at him with a defiant glare. Slamming the door behind him, he strolled over to her and knelt beside her. Another contraction gripped her, and her free hand found his shoulder. Her claws pricked his skin through his thick coat. A growl rumbled in her chest. Then it passed, and she addressed him. “If you must be here, be of some use.” She took a deep breath, knowing a contraction could come at any moment. “Pull that pot of water from the fire. The water’s too hot.”

Before he could rise, her hand tightened again. Another grow escaped her lips. Then she pushed him away with enough force that he toppled over. She chuckled before she roared, “Hurry!” as her voice lost all meaning.

He pulled the pot from the fire and saw a towel floating in it. He realized that Ema intended to use the towel to clean the kit after its birth. He used a meat hook to pull it from the boiling water. His eyes cast about for someplace to hang it as a stream of water escaped. There! She had a drying rack standing near the fire. During the summer, they had smoked their meat on it. Now it served to cool the towel. No sooner had he lain the towel on the rack than she roared again. He turned just in time to see his kit spill from his mother onto another towel she had laid beneath her.

Her hands moved over the squirming child deftly. She moved her hand over its mouth and nose, clearing them of obstructions. Then she lifted it to a teat and encouraged their new male kit to nurse with a sigh.

A few minutes later, Raja determined that the wet towel was cool enough to clean the kit. As Ema wiped her boy clean, she grunted, and the afterbirth passed. According to custom, she wrapped the towel the kit had landed in around it. Ema then dropped both into the cooling water. Crawling onto the bed with her kit, she indicated that he should move the pot to the fire once more.

 Raja pulled the blankets over her and the kit. Then he turned to complete the task she had given.

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Grumble disturbs the world once more

I’ve been neglectful. Amazon has proposed a new service that uses episodes. This looks as if it could be an opportunity for more people to see my work. So, I’ve been in the process of adjusting my Grey Knight series to that possibility. If I go that route, you will not see any of that story here. Amazon insists that I can’t give away anything appearing in their new service.

Then a grumble disturbed my lazy morning today. The first paragraph you may have seen before. I hope to update Grumble’s story on some regular schedule of which I am not now aware.

Grumble

The great demon Grumble poked at the edges of this prison. It carefully examined those parameters. Even after sleeping ten thousand years, Grumble feared what those guards might do if they caught it trying to escape. Two hundred of the time bound’s years passed. He was now confident that those beings who guarded the gates were gone or distracted. Grumble’s servants, the fools, having been persuaded by promises, began preparation for his return.

*

They were at it again. Those erstwhile followers of an aspect Grumble had presented to other temporal fools. The rituals they were using had no real attachment to the ones those earlier fools had performed. The fact that they were summoning her was all that Grumble needed. Across the planet in this particular cosmos, another group was performing similar rituals to a male aspect. They were much less dedicated and did not present as much opportunity for escape. Grumble left them to their imaginations and would lend them no part of himself for now.

These women now were bending nicely to his desires. The trickle of force Grumble allowed them, let them think they were in control of the potency they attempted to manipulate. Just a bare trickle was all Grumble allowed, lest the One notice. The ones that so long ago decided that they were Grumble’s guards would not notice until the flow was a stream. By the time they were aware, even if they returned to make sure Grumble was securely confined, they would not be able to stop what Grumble was starting. Grumble did not think that it was misjudging the One’s response. Grumble would be entertained even if Grumble had no escape. Escape was Grumble’s desire, so once more, the limits of the cage Grumble was in would be tested.

The One perceived something. An infinitesimal part took notice. What weakness would come forward to defeat the creature that called itself Grumble this time? Foolish thing, pushing against perceived limits. Its struggle would attract champions that had the evil defeated before they started. The dance they performed would be because of their need, not as many imagined, the need to call the trouble to the One’s attention.

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Politics in Alfheim

The Chancellors chambers

The meeting had started with a debate about the King ‘s establishing the Boar Akarn landskap. Of course, the Traditionalists were against it. Those arguments had taken up the better part of two shadows. Chancellor Alfsson, in the end, had to table that question. The King did not have a deep investment in establishing a landskap there. He didn’t need a recognized landskap to station a small garrison in Boar Akarn. After all, there already was a trade route of sorts there. The additional revenue generated by the increase in trade would soon pay for that garrison’s presence.  The whole debate had been a waste of time.

Chancellor Alfsson wanted to discuss the more significant proposed landskap. The one that was to border the Etunazi hills needed the Hilmir Vorth’s approval. It would never generate the funds that would pay for the garrisons. But that border was unstable and needed a military presence. Under the covenant without a trade route to protect, the King had no authority to station garrisons there.   Since several of the Traditionalist nobles had lands that bordered this region, there should be little debate. Then perhaps they could discuss a few more items and adjourn before lunch. That was not what happened.

Some fool among the Loyalists thought bringing up the Yetann raid was a good idea. Something that Ingofson had purposely avoided. So chaos enveloped the assembled nobles.

“Doesn’t it concern you that the King has fallen under the influence of that redhead?” Hilmir interrupted once more.

“That’s utter nonsense, and you know it. The girl was the victim. Not the perpetrator.” Fra Ulfdot replied.

“I have it on good information that she does not practice magic according to the proscribed manner.” Thane Geirr interrupted.

“Red hair, green eyes are sure signs that she is not Vanier. No, she is Æsir.” Bondi Oxusveiga almost shouted. “And that is proof enough for me that she is a huldra plant.”

“You see conspiracies in the date the maples turn red,” Eldon Alfsson retorted. “And she’s not one of the gods. You’re mixing up the myths worse than those Thor worshippers in Laugar.” Eldon frowned. Most of the time, when he gave that frown, the arguments stopped. To his chagrin, the hysteria in the chamber continued another shadow. He and the King intended this meeting to begin the process that would lead to an orderly Hilmir Vorth. Those reactionary nobles! He stopped mid-thought, best not to brand them so in his mind. He dared not start the name-calling. If he let that phrase dwell in his mind much longer, it would pop out of his mouth at the most inopportune time. No, they were just a small group within the Traditionalists. Best practice jarl Ingolfson’s stoicism.

General Ingolfson sat silently through the whole debate. The huldra were a clever lot. It was not beyond the realm of possibility that this was part of one of their complicated plans. If so, it should begin to unravel soon. What little conspiracies they had tried in Alfheim always died from their convoluted and complex nature. From what he had been able to gather, their plots in the other nations failed more often than not. Of course, most of the stories were old, and the failures might have been covers to hide the successes.

The Toad watched. He had rather enjoyed the chaos. The divisions within the nobles could work to his advantage.

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The little store on West Graham

I must have been somewhere between four and six when Mom took me into the small mom-and-pop grocery store on West Graham Avenue. An older couple ran the place. Once upon a time, I knew the name of the little store. But that’s lost in my past.

Not much larger than my living room, the little store had a chest pop machine standing near the door. First, you opened the lid to see what was available. Then you dropped your nickel into the coin slot. You selected what you wanted and, grasping the top of the bottle, slid it down the track to the front of the machine. There it entered the raceway running across the front until it encountered the exit. You would tightly hold the top of the bottle and, with a mighty heave, pull the bottle up through the gates, which released as your coin dropped into the coin box.

Cluttered about the store was the various items they sold. Near the cash register stood the candy stand. Mom stood facing the proprietor paying for the groceries she had picked out. The little boy who was me gazed upon the display with wonder. That small candy bar looked good. My little hand reached out and took one. I held it in my hand as Mom finished paying. Saying a brief goodbye, we left the store. Mom sat the bag of groceries in the back seat and then helped me into the car.

That is when she saw what I held in my hand. “Where did you get that?” She asked.

“From the store,” I replied.

“That’s not yours.” Came her retort. Then she marched me back into the store, telling me to apologize for taking the man’s candy. I sadly handed the candy back to the gentleman and told him I was sorry for taking it. A smile broke across his face. “It’s alright,” he said. “You did the right thing.” Looking at my Mom with a quizzical expression, he told me. “Here, I’ll give you this one because of your honesty. You were brave to return it.”  I don’t remember the taste of that candy bar. I do remember that not everything I saw was mine to take. And you always paid the store for what they had.

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The Arnarhvall Waterfront

Catherine and Ceri stood near the bow of the King’s barge and watched the Auselfra. The seemingly calm river had become covered with eddies and swirls, giving evidence of the currents once hidden in its depths.  The river narrowed, and for the moment, the curve of its banks hid what was ahead. A short time later, the Bølge Cataract appeared. Cataract was an exaggeration. Even small boats passed through the ripples and waves unhindered. Those waves served as a warning that ahead lay the Rif. The series of cataracts dividing the upper Elfra from the lower.

Matsveir was serving King Awrick and his guests a light luncheon as the river widened, giving the first sight of Arnarhvall. Flags and banners festooned the upper docks, and music drifted up the river.  Arnarhvall was greeting their returning King.

Portions of the ancient walls that once surrounded the city stretched out from the waterfront. Laying past the docks was evidence of where those walls once stood. The city had removed more of the rampart in recent years. This allowed the waterfront to double in size. That and the widened thoroughfare that led to the Risker docks permitted the citizens of Arnarhvall greater access to the products and produce that arrived daily.

A cheer sounded from the crowd that filled the docks near where the King’s barge would berth. Standing in the area that city guards kept cleared was a regal lady. A boy and a girl were at her side.  From a distance, their ages were hard to judge.

When Ceri asked who they were, Catherine responded, “That is the queen, and I believe Prince Ari’s siblings.”

The prince had walked up behind her as she spoke. “Yes, that’s Erling and Hilde. Don’t believe half what they tell you about me.” He smiled. “Erling imagines that I’m off on some grand adventure every time I’m on some diplomatic errand. And Hilde’s worse. She insists that I’m off on some romantic quest. They won’t believe that most of those journeys are boring beyond imagination.”

“This one wasn’t, was it, son?” The King asked as he approached.

“This wasn’t going to be boring before the Yetann interrupted the training. Thankfully, We do have a happy ending.” Ari responded to his father.

“And for that, I’m thankful,” Catherine added.

Catherine noted that Ceri was silent. She always was when some noble or official was near. When she was alone with Catherine or the felag, she filled the place to overflowing with questions or observations.

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How do I say those crazy names?

To show the Dragon’s Spine world is an entirely alien world, perhaps I got a bit creative in the names. They are all based on who the character is. I have liberally named each person from a variety of languages. Gaelic, Welsh, Estonian, Norse, Icelandic, Swedish, and others.  Some are real names from those languages, and some are not.

Take, for instance, The names of the Pyris who appear in the story are welsh based. Pryis is a plural word. A single individual would be a Rizi. So Brac is a Rizi whose name comes from the word free.

For the reader, there is no wrong way to pronounce these strange names. We probably could not pronounce any Yetann word correctly anyway. Our mouths are made so different from theirs. Each region and species will pronounce them differently. Perhaps the way you say them is with a Dzwerc accent. DZ is pronounced similar to TZ in hertz or spritz. The Dzwerc all themselves, Tz wreck

Cu Lain can be heard pronounced as Cool ain, Cool lain, K’lain. His preferred rendition of his name is Ka lain. Short ‘a’ sound with a brief pause before the lain.

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Bare’s Den on Spotify

So I found a service that working with WordPress will read my posts for Spotify. Here is a link

Spotify – Bare’s Den | Podcast on Spotify

See hwat you think.

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A scene with a question

I have a scene ending with this paragraph. The problem is. At one time I knew what the secret was. Now Karl won’t tell me what it is. Any ideas? I tried interrogating him. He remained silent. Like most immortals the Green Man can be stubborn.

Karl tiled his head. He looked at Ceri perched on the edge of her seat, trying to grasp the wonders Catherine and he were discussing. He considered what to tell them. What would be safe to reveal? He knew what he was about to say would not travel past Catherine. Ceri was another matter. She would not intentionally pass secrets. She had survival smarts for the streets of Torion. But not the fairy tale that Alfheim appeared to her to be. Asking her to leave so he could share secrets with Catherine would needlessly harm her.

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