So you can read my books

Monday, May 17, 2010


Let's talk.

It's a bit early I know. But spirits of storm and lightning are flying and crying in the dark skies above me right now. At any moment, the power may cut out, leaving me without a cyber-voice. And I am on first call. A bleeding child may need me to drive in these heavy rains. And I have promises to keep.

At least my life is not boring.

Today I'm entering FICTION GROUPIE's LET'S TALK blogfest :

And no one I know can talk like my protagonist, Samuel McCord. This entry comes towards the chilling finale of RITES OF PASSAGE. Sam is on the deck of the cursed DEMETER, not too long after the time of my PAY IT FORWARD entry of yesterday.

He is staring off into the horizon, trying to see in its silver sheen any hope that he will live to see the next dawn. His new-found love, Meilori Shinseen, has a twin sister, Maija. And like Meilori, she is lovely beyond legend, her spirit warring with ambition and passion. Maija has been toying with the ship's doctor, Jason Stewart.

And so the board is set, the pieces begin to move :

I wandered the decks alone. Much of my life had been spent alone. And tonight, I knew I would meet my fate that way. I always knew that when I died, it would be at night -- and alone.

My past was reaching out from the mists for me. History, it seemed, could kill. If it was my history, that is.

Time was stalking me from the future. And that was a mystery. Would I solve it before all went black? My enemies and my answers awaited me at the "Ball of Death and Mystery." If I died then, it would only be appropriate.

The Will behind the world had placed me here on this ship. I had to believe it was for a good reason. One worth dying for. Trouble was, I felt a thought ahead and a move behind.

An embarrassed cough sounded to my left. I turned. Dr. Stewart, looking gutted.

“Maija,” he said and explained everything.

“What about her?”

“I - I thought we had become --”

“Maija is like the sea. You never know all about her.”

“I was an old fool.”

“Lot of that going around."

“Your lady, Meilori, is her sister. I thought you would have some idea of how -- I mean -- just what I might have done to offend Maija.”

“How do you know you offended her?”

His eyes flinched at the memory. “Because she told me not to come to tonight’s Ball.”

I stiffened. “I’ll be damned.”


“She actually does care for you, doctor.”

“I don’t understand.”

“Things are set to get awful ugly tonight at that Ball.”

“Maija knows this?”

“She’s part of it, doctor.”

He paled. “I knew she had a dark past.”

“Her present’s kind of black, too.”

He looked anguished off into the horizon. “I sensed that. Good Lord, how can I be attracted to such a woman?”

“People are never one thing, doctor. There are always several faces behind the mask they show you.”

I reached out and squeezed his shoulder. “One of those faces cares, truly cares, for you. Just be glad it exists -- and that whatever you two shared was real.”

He swallowed hard. “But if something criminal is being planned for that Ball, I should be there.”

I shook my head. “No. Let Maija have the knowledge that she saved you, and that in your heart, at least, she is still someone worthy of being loved.”

He smiled as if that heart were breaking. “You are not the typical policeman. You are a romantic."

I put my gloved forefinger to my lips. “Shhh. You’ll ruin my reputation.”

He straightened as if a heavy weight had been lifted from his shoulders. “You’ll be there, won’t you?”

“Yes. I’ll stand in for you.”

He nodded and walked away. I watched him turn the corner about the deckhouse. I sighed, and it felt like blood oozing from an open wound.

Fingers tugged lightly on my sleeve. I caught a whiff of jasmine and spice on the breeze. I turned.

Maija. Odd how she could look so much like her sister and still strike me as appealing as an adder. She looked at me intensely for long moments.

“T-Thank you.”

“De nada.”

“This changes nothing between us, you know. You will still be destroyed by the end of this evening, and I will play my part in it. Play it most wholeheartedly.”

“I would expect nothing less from a future empress.”

She looked hot into my eyes. “Fool! You will hold back against me for my silly attachment to the good-hearted doctor, will you not?”

“I imagine so.”

“It will be your undoing.”

“Probably will.”

“Then why do it?”

I shrugged. “Don’t know any other way to be.”

She studied me. “I shall feel the emptier tonight after what must be done is accomplished. Yours is a face I shall miss, strong without the cruelty of toughness, kind without the bruise of weakness. When I have rid the world of that face, I shall have deservedly earned the hatred of my sister -- and of the name monster.”

“Then don’t do it.”

She smiled with wooden lips. “I know of no other way to be."

She moved with a fluid grace after Dr. Stewart. I wished the two of them some small measure of peace and love before the hell of this evening. I smiled bitter at the realization that I was standing all alone again, drifting silently through the darkness towards my destiny.

And to end with a bit of haunting beauty, echoing Samuel's memory of his love for Meilori, here is Blackmore's Night :


  1. I loved the lines "I know no other way to be" Coming from both of them it shows a parallel of honesty at least. A degree of respect without changing their character or purpose.

  2. Wow, I'm first?
    So you know I'm honest, so I have some honest things to say.
    The non-dialog part at the start was kind of yawny. Self-introspective content doesn't really accomplish anything story-wise. He doesn't even make a decision.
    On first read I had some confusion figuring out who said what. At least every other line by a character should have an attribution.
    The dialog felt stiff at times. Think about body language, and how it convey more than words. It was hard to get a sense of the emotion behind the words.
    Other than that, it really makes me want to find out what happens at the ball. You're really setting up a tense event. Sounds like good times!

  3. Charity : Thanks for noticing that symmetry in the same line. It means a lot that you appreciated it.

    Andrew : There is nothing for poor Sam to decide. Enemies from his past are coming back to kill him. He is at sea. Nowhere to run. And there are innocents to defend.

    Thank you for your honesty. I, myself, get irritated by endless "Sam Said" "Stewart said." But now, I will go back to see if I can unmuddy the waters. I have been told that removing the endless said's make the dialogue sound more natural as if you were listening in to a real conversation.

    Thanks, old friend, for your honesty. What did King Solomon write? The wounds of a friend are faithful.

    Betty : Thanks for enjoying my dialogue. I now head out into a stormy night to deliever blood to a premature baby. It is horrible out there. Say a prayer for me. Roland

  4. Oops. I misspelled deliver. I misspell when the power flickers, and I have to head out into the storm. Roland

  5. @Roland: I just realized I only have 1 dialog tag in my whole piece, so, you know, don't take that seriously I guess.

  6. I always take your comments seriously, Andrew. You are insightful and intelligent -- and my friend, Roland.

  7. Well I, for one, liked the introspection at the start. So I guess it's a matter of personal preference. I especially liked My past was reaching out from the mists for me. History, it seemed, could kill That bit really hooked me in.

    The dialogue felt like the calm before the storm to me and I really liked that. Also I agree with Charity about that line. They seem to spend time sizing each other up and then, without speaking it, acknowledge the others strength... just by that little reflection in dialogue.

    :~) Hope the storm lightens up and the power stays on!

  8. Wonderful snippet, Roland! I thought your dialog was very natural and well paced. Even though I'm a new reader here, I had no problems understanding the story and following along; so you had enough information and backstory woven into the piece.

    I loved this line: Odd how she could look so much like her sister and still strike me as appealing as an adder. A wonderful look into the chemistry of love :)

  9. I've always loved the ending of this story. Samuel's so sad and wistful. Beautifully done.

  10. I like the way you've mixted introspection with pure dialogue (honestly I didn't miss the tags...). It worked really well, also sets a certain pace that works perfectly for this scene. I like Samuel, he's such a deep the bits of wisdom he parts with, too:

    "People are never one thing, doctor. There are always several faces behind the mask they show you.”

    That's a great bit of speech, right there. And so true.

  11. I love the line, "Her present's kind of black, too." You've painted such a vivid picture of her, and of McCord, too. Great job!

  12. Great job Roland. I think this line is my favorite- “This changes nothing between us, you know. You will still be destroyed by the end of this evening, and I will play my part in it. Play it most wholeheartedly.”
    I just like it. Beautifully done as always.

  13. Like Charity, I like "I know no other way to be." I like that your hero is a man of many scars who still fights on. And still manages to have a touch of the romantic.

  14. I like the ping-pong speech. Fast-paced, and you reminded us of the speaker every few pongs or pings via an action, rather than a stoic "said" tag. It got a bit too one-liney in places, but overall it flowed well and realistically.

    I enjoyed the opening soliloquy thing. So that's an opinion to keep or cut that part. I agree that it did not advance action, but it did add depth to your character. I like that guy, though, Capt. Sam, so I didn't mind getting into his head.

    - Eric

  15. The non-dialogue section was a little slow, but overall this was great!

    Have just begun hosting my own blogfest, so I hope you'll join in!

  16. I really enjoyed this... as always ;o) Your writing is wonderful! Love the ending lines...

    Visit My Kingdom Anytime

  17. This is a nice bit of dialogue. It has a very melancholy tone which really sets the scene.

  18. Loved the subtle tension in this scene. Very realistic dialogue. Great job! :)

  19. No, I most definitely would not say your life is boring dear friend. I loved the descriptive nuance of the tempest outside your door.

    As for this writing piece - you set the tempo of foreshadow perfectly. Alluding to a major flux in the storyline, drawing your readers in to want to find the end results. Well done. (Hugs) Indigo

    P.S. I've got an email winging your way. Indy

  20. I love how all the characters are haunted by forces outside themselves in this scene. I sensed the power of destiny in this story, and how all are challenged to meet their fate with head held high and heart intact.

    The dialog was fluid, and I loved Maija's voice.


  21. The dialogue here is outstanding. I had no problem discerning who was speaking. I do think a bit of a rhythm is created with short lines ping-ponging back and forth and you might consider combining a few single liners. For example Sam's "What?" and "I don't understand?" are essentially repeating the same thing.

    Superlative writing as always, Roland. But I expect no less from you.

  22. I had a nice, well thought out comment last night; and blogger ate it even before clicking "post comment". I was so pissed I went to be and didn't try again.

    I liked the bit of introspection; it wasn't overly long or depressive. Worked well with the conflicted dialogue. Maija is a formidable adversary. I liked all the mutual respect and threats so well delivered.

    Very good scene; the dialogue was character building and moved the plot along nicely too.

    I haven't had time to comment on my own blog - respond to comments. I did appreciate your feedback. Thanks.

    You know, I come here just for the awesome music, right? (lol) Sure made my lunch hour pleasant.


  23. donna, it's doing the same to me... and worse... for the past 2 - 3 weeks grrrrrrrrrrrrr

  24. Oh but he's not really going to die is he? Is that fair to Meilori? :-)
    Love the line " a thought ahead and a move behind".

  25. I really like the complexity of these relationships and the insight into deeper emotion that you've put in the dialogue. It's quite moving, even when one is just dropped into the end like this. This scene will stick to me and I'm not even invested in the characters, not having read the rest of the story. Good work indeed.

  26. I thought this all worked pretty well together, but I definitely thought the ending had more spunk than the beginning, but I feel that was a natural progression. I definitely want to know what's going to happen next!

  27. Oh--and definitely, you don't have a boring life!

  28. Your comments give me reason to keep on. I mean that. They give me light in the dark.

    I have worked 10 hours straight, driven 300 miles on basically two STAT blood run over rural roads where I expected to meet Mulder and Scully kneeling over an alien-carved victim in the fog banks. That or Leather Face waving me over to join the family for a bite.

    In between all the loveliness, I did the usual filtering and computer work. All in all, exhausted is too peppy a word for how I feel.

    Sarah, Deniz, Charity, Andrew, Betty, Mia, Janet, Anne, Tessa, Susan, Christine, Mary Anne, Eric, Sangu, Courtney, Angie, Abby, Indigo, Nicole, Lsaughing Wolf, VR, Donna, and Tricia

    All of you, thanks is too small a word for your insightful, kind, and helpful comments. As VR is now officially unplugged {good luck with the revisions, by the way}, I am just seconds from being unconscious.

    Sigh. But I'm still on call. Life for me is never boring, Roland.

    Thanks again everyone!

  29. You know, I have to say, I liked it a lot. I didn't need the tag lines. The dialogue between Mailori and the guy at the end is perfect!! Really good. And I love music, so you having a song to finish is excellent too. =D

  30. Rolan, this was great! I loved this part, "I felt a thought ahead, and a move behind."

    I see what you mean about the tags. I'm still on the fence here. Where only a small section of the whole gets to be read, it can be confusing to read without tags. But in the script as a whole I probably wouldn't ever notice it. Thank you for the comments on mine as well. I should probably get a bit more creative and play with not using the 'said' so much.

    I like what's going on in the scene you posted. I would definitely read more. Your characters are so emotionally intelligent, I like that.

  31. Wow! There are so many great lines in this passage! I loved “Her present’s kind of black, too” as one example. I also love how much I learned about your story from just this bit of writing. I feel like I know what's happened in the past and what will happen in the future! Very well done!

  32. Very interesting. I found the characters appealing, despite a little stiffness in parts. You definitely did a good job of showing the relationships between the characters "on-screen" as it were.


  33. Roland, excellent as always. I thought the dialogue was fantastic. And I loved the scene.

    Fave line:
    "I sighed, and it felt like blood oozing from an open wound."

  34. Roland,

    This was a beautiful piece. I would gladly read more.

    Except that I wouldn't call this "sparkly" dialogue. Something this powerful seems instead to shimmer. :)