So you can read my books

Monday, June 23, 2014



Work In Progress

1895 Egypt --
It is a time of fermenting unrest, British rule, and ancient evils awakened to sate their unnatural hungers.
Captain Samuel McCord, his immortal wife, Meilori Shinseen, Mark Twain, Oscar Wilde, Winston Churchill, and Lady Lovelace, daughter of Lord Byron --
All find themselves attending a State Ball, fully knowing undying evil waits for them somewhere in the night.


 “As if you were on fire from within.
           The moon lives in the lining of your skin.”
           ― Pablo Neruda

The flickering light of the torches held the shadows close about Meilori.  But still she seemed an empress to me.  The dress she had left me for was a thing of myth and legend. 
Her gleaming cloak was reminiscent of the glory that had been Ancient Egypt. 
It was made of fine mastic wool with two slender bands of silver velvet, embroidered with rows of jet beads from the front waist to just underneath the shoulder-blades in back to form scarves. 
Below them hung black fringe which draped the skirt fastened on the back.  Puffy sleeves were pleated below on woolen sleeves, hemmed in rich Persian silk.
The high stiff black collar turned over into silver points.  It was fastened with a gold pendant shaped as a sphinx.  The embroidered elegant scarlet gown was trimmed in fiery gold lace. 
The low neckline was edged with double rows of glittering diamonds which draped to the waist, wrapping around to the right and fastened there with clasps designed to look like black jackal heads. 
Her gloves were gold and black, made of what looked like tender, soft lambskin.  
I studied her.  The end of many a harsh day had been made better by just drinking in her beauty.  Meilori’s jade eyes were large and seemed endlessly deep.  She smiled, and my world was whole again.
I tried to imagine what my life felt like when she had not been in it.  I could not.  She colored the whole of my existence.
I liked watching her walk, listening to her talk. It was performance art, intimate, compelling, rich with overtones, radiant with interest. I didn’t even have to know to whom she was talking or about what.
I just liked the sound of it, the way I liked the sound of music.  Her movements were as graceful as any dance I had ever observed … and more natural.
As we stepped upon the floor of the lobby, Meilori held out an arm.  “Will you do me the honor of escorting me, kind sir?”
I looped my arm around hers.  “All right, but no taking liberties with me afterwards.”
She laughed wickedly, “No promises.”

I laughed back.  “Ah, something to look forward to.”

“Always,” she murmured.

I took in the night. 

It was hard to believe how still it was after all the hustle and bustle that filled this street in the daylight.  Now, all was hush in a magical quality.  It was as if we had been transported into one of the Arabian Night tales.

A very cold tale.  Cairo nights could be almighty chilly.  Tonight was no exception.

The full moon gleamed in waves along the inlaid gold designs along the doors of the stagecoach.  The wood reflected soft fire in its depths. 

The thousand and one desert stars blinked down in wonder upon us. 

Meilori’s skin seemed to burn cold with moonfire as if her very form would burst into an explosion of moonbeams to fade away into legend. 

“Let us begin this night of beauty and death, shall we?” laughed Meilori.

“Well since you asked so nice,” I said and lifted her into the coach where I quickly followed.

“How sad and bad and mad it was - but then, how sweet”
― Robert Browning


  1. Roland, what a romantic post. I loved the description of Meilori dressed for the ball. I love the hint of humour. I love This paragraph is the essence of love - "I tried to imagine what my life felt like when she had not been in it. I could not. She colored the whole of my existence." Swoon! Beautifully written Roland.

    Thanks for sharing it with everyone, particularly WEP bloggers. Your stories always make me richer for having read them.

    Mine goes up tomorrow, early.


  2. Denise:
    I am weary from a grueling weekend, and your kind words lifted my spirits so much!

    Thank you!

    I fell in love with that gown the more I described it. Meilori approved of my choice of wardrobe for once! I am glad you liked the gown's description.

    And I like to describe the banter of Sam and Meilori in their adventures together. You understand his melancholy without her better after these novels. :-)

    Your compliment made my evening!

    I look forward to reading your entry.

  3. Sam McCord's love of Meilori's shows through the lavish description, Roland. An excellent story for the Romance challenge.

    Moonfire glow sounds otherworldly. . .just as Meilori is.

  4. D.G.:
    Sam's life as a lawman makes him notice details -- and when it comes to Meilori -- he notices everything. His love colors his whole life. :-)

    I am such a romantic.

    Otherworldly -- that fits Meilori to a T.

    I hope you are enjoying THE COLD DISH. :-)

  5. She smiled, and my world was whole again. This line. Sumptuous, the whole post, but that one line is exquisite. I am a great fan of Neruda too, so..

    Best wishes,

  6. June 24th, 2014

    Dear Roland,

    What beautiful descriptions of clothing! Most men don't even see what women wear. You have the eyes of a designer and can put it down in words.

    I agree with Nilanjana. 'She smiled, and my world was whole again'. A perfect description of what it is to love someone. I wish some man could say that about me!

    Best wishes,

  7. Only they would look forward to a night of beauty and death.
    I can't remember a time without my wife either.

  8. Love you writing! And that Browning quote ~ sweet/bad memories......

  9. Nilanjana:
    Great to find another Neruda fan. Love does make us whole in a way that is hard to describe, doesn't it?

    It seems it is only in fiction that we find such love. Sigh.

    We writers are directors of our movies -- we have to be art directors too! :-)

    Sam was looking forward to the beauty -- to Meilori, the death of the right people is beautiful, too. She is a predator Empress.

    May your own love be long and happy! :-)

    You and your husband are still in my heart and prayers!

    Thanks for the kind words about my writing. Sam tips his Stetson to you -- me, too -- we even wear the same color Stetson. :-)

  10. Hi Roland
    You amaze me. You're able to use descriptive words in a manner that most struggle with. I love your stories and I see you have many published. Way to go.

  11. I agree with the other commentators about your description of the dress, very hard to describe an item of clothing so that the reader can actually see it. I enjoyed this piece.

  12. I LOVE Pablo Neruda. And I LOVE Longmire! Henry (Lou Diamond Phillips I adore!)is my favorite character on it. And this episode made me cry, especially after what came next... Your story is full of rich detail. I got a bit lost in it, but liked their dialog together. Makes you wonder what comes next...

  13. Beautiful setting, loved the description of her dress. The romantic in you shows in this excerpt Roland.