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Wednesday, October 12, 2011


The iron tongue of midnight tolls. It is Renaissance time :

The murky waters of the bayou bordering my apartment know. The veil is unraveling. Soon THEY who once ruled this world will slip through. One portal is in the nexus called Renaissance.

Three heroes stand in the breach. Captain Samuel McCord, the Texas Ranger with the blood of Death in his veins. Victor Standish, the young Ulysses of the French Quarter. And his Victorian ghoul friend, Alice Wentworth.

Tonight, the shadows will listen to the 600 words of Victor Standish as the three face the mysterious Maija under the sneering eyes of Renaissance's mayor :

There were echoes of hurt to Captain Sam’s eyes as he studied Maija. I knew he wasn’t seeing her but her twin, his wife, who was seven years gone.

Was he looking for some trace of Meilori in the dead-soul eyes of her sister?

“You said you needed my help with a murder.”

Maija, despite her sneer, somehow looked like a jilted girl. “Yes. Yours.”

I forced a laugh to perk Sam up. “He and I knew that.”

Alice went stiff. “You knew and yet you came? Is your hubris truly that great?”

I shushed her. “Don’t talk about my anatomy in front of Maija.”

Alice slapped her sides. “Idiot, dolt, knave! Hubris means pride.”

I winked. “I just love it when you talk dirty.”

Maija fought a smile. She had a sense of humor? It must be the end of the world.

Sam said, “She is better than she believes.”

Maija’s face softened, creeping me out more than her usual razor eyes. “No, Samuel, I am far worse than you could possibly imagine.”

Aw, man, her eyes were wet as she murmured,

“I shall feel the emptier tonight after you are … gone. 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 earned the hatred of Meilori -- and of myself.”

Suddenly, I saw Maija for what she was. A haunted woman, withered by countless wrong choices that had swept her far beyond her beginnings, beyond betrayed friends, long lost from the lands of her youth, the dreams of her childhood,

beyond being the kind of woman the man she loved could ever love back.

I didn’t think even she knew where she was coming from … or where she was really going.

There are no round-trips across the Rubicon.

I looked at the mayor, things rippling under his cummerbund like knotted ropes,

at the partiers turning as one towards Maija’s unsuspecting back,

at Captain Sam’s gloved hand, suddenly holding a Colt the size of the National debt.

I said, “To achieve, you need thought. You have to know what you are doing, and that’s real power.”

The old Maija returned, “You read Ayn Rand?”

“She’s a pain, but suffering builds character. You know me, a real character.”

The mayor rumbled in a voice, that had it been a face, I would have slapped, “Nonsense words.”

Alice eyed the partiers whose faces suddenly had fanged mouths literally from ear to ear. “It means, scion of an Old One, that you two should mind your surroundings.”

“I know my surroundings, ghoul. I know that the murderer of my cousin stands before me!”

Maija raised an eyebrow. “You killed a half-breed Elder?”

“He was trying to make Victor tartar out of me. I took it personal.”

The mayor turned his shadowed face to me. “And I will personally take your life.”

Sam’s eyes became windows into Hell. “You try. You die.”

“No weapon made by Man can hurt me.”

Sam smiled like a wolf. “Lucky thing that Hephaetus made this just for you.”

The mayor edged forward. “You lie!”

Sam cocked the Colt. “You’ll have to pay to find out.”

Alice grimly eyed the flowing bodies of the partiers getting ever closer, unseen by Maija or the mayor, then turned to Sam.

“This region of Renaissance is still a ghost town, is it not, Captain?”

Sam nodded his Stetson at Alice. “Afraid so, princess.”

Maija turned in a whirl. “No!”

“Yes!,” laughed the partiers as they rushed us.
All 4 prompts were utilized :

1.Someone is killed or almost killed.
2.One of the characters is revealed to be not who he or she is.
3.A relationship becomes complicated.
4.A character lies to another on an important matter


{Please email me your addresses to receive your prizes!}

1.) Wendy Morrell won :

Alexander Skarsgard's autograph!

2.) Francine Howarth won :

Megan Fox's autograph!

3.) Hart Johnson won :

Brad Pitt's photograph.

(These 3 got entries because they put up posts about me BEFORE they even knew the rules!)

Please, guys, write a review of THE LEGEND OF VICTOR STANDISH so you, too, can be eligible to win. WRITING A REVIEW is the FIRST STEP in entering his contest!



  1. Your characters are always so complex, Roland. Loved the use of all the prompts :)


  2. You have a cast of complex characters and a lot of mystery. Good job.

  3. Hahahaha I love Victor's voice. He has an awesome way with words. ;-)

  4. Donna :
    It's a complex world. There are always several faces under the mask you are looking at. I'm happy you like that aspect of my characters.

    Thanks, Richard :
    Their complexity springs from most of them spilling over into all my other books in some form or fashion. And what's a beautiful femme fatale without mystery?

    Misha :
    For most of his life, Victor only had attitude as a shield between him and the dangers he faced on the mean streets. He has a T-Shirt stating, "Snarky? I invented it!"

    So very glad you like Victor's voice, Roland

  5. I'm not convinced that the ghosts that are bad for Maija and the Mayor are necessarily good for our heroes.

    Who do we get next week?

  6. That is a chilling excerpt. The tension and malice drip from the page~or screen in this case. Ah, if only I could hold a copy in my hand. ;)

  7. Well! That was nicely creepy. Some great lines in there, as usual. The one about creating characters from suffering was fascinating. :)

  8. Kurt :
    You're right! They are equal-opportunity devourers. But as Victor says in the next installment, "Boy, did you guys pick the wrong dance partners!"

    It is Alice through whose ghoulish eyes we see next week. And as she tells the ghosts seeking to kill her Victor :

    "I am the far end of the graveyard where the nettles grow. I am the jester in the theater of bone. I AM HELL TO PAY!"

    Heather :
    As you can gather from my response to Kurt, next week becomes even more chilling. Maybe one day, I will be able to afford publishing THE LEGEND OF VICTOR STANDISH in print - with the 4 Renaisance chapters in the back. Thanks for liking my latest chapter, Roland

  9. Carol :
    I believe that suffering either builds character or destroys it. It all depends on your response to it. I'm glad you liked my latest chapter. Roland

  10. I just love the humor built into the phrases, words, and description. Great wit, Roland. I'll have to wait another week to find out if old Victor, Alice, and Sam can wheedle out of the mess they're in. And oddly, I hope that Maija escapes, too. Hmmm.

  11. Been by to have a read – sorry I can’t say too much while judging! But I can say this: well done on using all four prompts!

    Oh, and congrats to the winners!


  12. I love the humor mixed in with the tense, serious parts of this story--beautiful writing!

  13. Li :
    Yes, I chuckled when I wrote that part. There is no moment so dark that Victor won't tease Alice!

    Nadja :
    Maija is the original Dragon Lady. There is no trap from she cannot find an escape. Thanks for appreciating the hard work I put into this piece to make it fun while tense at the same time.

    J C :
    Using all four was a challenge. I don't know if I will be able to next week. We'll see.

    Golden Eagle :
    In my favorite movies, humor and danger always seemed to go hand in claw! Thanks for the kind words. Roland

  14. Humor, mystery, and use of all 4 prompts. Go, Ronald! :)

    And congrats to all the winners!!

  15. Very complex. All 4 prompts..nice

    Looking forward to round three.

    Tale Spinning

  16. wow you got all four prompts in. this is a fascinating piece of Renaissance you're crafting here.

  17. Congratulations to the winners!

    Love this line "She had a sense of humor? It must be the end of the world."

  18. Oh-oh, they're in a tough spot now!

    You managed to use all four prompts? Amazing!

  19. Sorry I'm delayed in commenting on Part 2. Last week was a bit hellish. Excellent section. So glad I made it over today.