So you can read my books

Friday, August 26, 2011


It is midnight. The moon's face of shadows coyly hides most of it from me.

As the ghost chimes from the distant clock tower toll, she masks even that small glimpse with the SMOOTH SAILING of storm clouds.

SMOOTH SAILING. The prompt from today's romantic challenge from Denise and Francine :

My entry :


Samuel McCord is alone. Meilori is off selecting her gown for the night's festivities, the Ball of Love and Madness. It is to celebrate the DEMETER entering the legendary Devil's Triangle.

Samuel is admiring the molten, sleepy head of the dawn peeking up over the horizon. Dr. Stewart, the ship's doctor, approaches him.

Footsteps to my left. I turned. Dr. Stewart. He looked 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.”

“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?”

“She told me not to come to tonight’s Ball.”

“I’ll be damned.”


“She actually does care for you, doctor.”

“I don’t understand.”

“Things are set to get awfully 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 rather 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 share is 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 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 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. Soft footsteps behind me. I turned. Maija. She looked at me intensely for long moments.

“Thank you.”

“De nada.”

“This changes nothing between us. 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 myself.”

“Then don’t do it.”

She bled a smile. “I know of no other way to be.”
Below is the evocative STANDING THE STORM by the piano genius of William Joseph. Endure the darkness at the beginning, and you will reap the light and beauty of the tune -- much like what happens when you find the courage to "stand the storm." Reading my post to the music adds to the enjoyment I think.
For a fascinating interview with
classical pianist and composer Fiona Hawkins :


  1. This is really captivating, Roland.
    I'll enjoy it!


  2. I agree with Robyn. This is a scene filled with impending doom or new possibilities, truly calm before the storm! You reveal the characters' complex nature in the dialogue.
    Best wishes,
    Anna's RFW No.16 'Smooth Sailing'

  3. Mmm, creepy. I really liked the line “Her present’s rather black, too.” Also, the part about people being more than one thing. The echo of "Don't know any other way to be/I know no other way to be" is excellent.

  4. OMG, I'm having hot flushes. I don't know if its the wine or this post. I'm betting on the post accelerated by impending inebriation. LOL

  5. There is an urgency to your voice in this piece. I like the idea of using dialogue to create the scene and loved the line 'she bled a smile...' it speaks volumes.

  6. Oh my gosh. What I would give to live in that world for just a night. The Ball of Love and Madness? I have the perfect dress for that!

    Kind without the bruise of weakness. I love that.
    Edge of Your Seat Romance

  7. You have a wonderful way of putting tension into dialogue. It's something not a lot of authors can do well and you're brilliant at it! Loved this!

  8. Robyn :
    I hope you will enjoy ADRIFT IN THE TIME STREAM. It even has a prologue and epilogue "by" William Faulkner in the New Orleans of the Roaring Twenties!

    Anna :
    Thank you. What I love about dialogue is that the reader can fill in the blanks of the world around the pair talking -- so you make of the reader a co-conspirator so to speak! LOL.

    Ruth :
    I like echoes in my dialogue, suggesting that the protagonist and the antagonist might have more in common than it appears.

    That thought also mirrors my belief that we all are like jewels with many facets to our nature. I'm glad you enjoyed this snippet.

    Wendy :
    Enjoy your wine. You did a marvelous interview with the classical pianist & composer, Fiona Hawkins. My video spotlights another fantastic pianist and composer, William Joseph.

    Madeleine :
    Too many times in life I have "bled a smile." Haven't we all? I hope things in your world settle down soon.

    Raquel :
    I like to see that dress. And, I, too, would like to live in that world for a time. But with Sam at my side, mind you! LOL.

    Heather :
    Thank you for the high praise. Sam tips his Stetson to you! I've always felt that dialogue can make or break your novel. Raymond Chandler and Robert B. Parker were my teachers. I try to be a worthy student! Have a beautiful weekend.

    Me? I'm working, of course! LOL. Roland

  9. That was lovely, always a pleasure to believe that in such dark evil still lies a glimmer of everflowing love. Obstacles are placed to make and break us, but it's up to us to choose the way. I hope the doctor doens't get his heart broken. :)

  10. Hey Roland,
    Just stopping by to say, "hello" from the campaign trail - already a follower :)
    I really love your writing! *shivers*

  11. Laila :
    I try hard to make my antagonists three dimensional in that there is a "humanity" even in the most inhumane individuals in some aspect.

    It is a Lakota belief that storm winds come into our lives to teach us that even then we can find the strength to take one small step against them, growing stronger. Missed you.

    Lady Gwen :
    Yes, despite all the drains on my time I have decided to try to be a challenger. Thanks for visiting and saying HI, Roland

  12. Unlike Raquel, I don't have the dress for a night out like this Roland but I adore reading about it, you romantic you!


  13. Thank you Roland. Especially for taking the time out to read it and then even highlighting it here as my plea. It was rather a long interview but I had such a hard time picking what to discuss I eventually left it as is.

  14. Denise :
    As the Ball turned out, combat fatigues were more in order! LOL. I have always been a romantic under my shy exterior and Stetson! :) Roland

    Wendy :
    It was a pleasure to spotlight your delightful interview. My free time is so little as a rare blood courier. In fact, a distant hospital has just sent out a plea for me to drive the lonely country roads once more.

    I wrote a Science Fiction alien invasion novel, BLOOD WILL TELL, with such a rare blood courier as narrator. I wonder where I got that idea from? LOL. Roland

  15. Hmmmm... dastardly deeds afoot later .... Deep, riveting read.

  16. Your dialogue really sets and builds the tension of this scene. The doctor and Maija certainly have a complex love relationship, which is intriguing.

  17. Hey man. Just stopping in from the campaign trail to say hi. I'm sure I'll be stopping by often.

  18. Daydreamertoo :
    Ah, there were dastardly deeds prior to that scene, too. It was not a pleasure cruise for poor Sam.

    Then, again, he found imnortal love. How bad could the voyage be?

    Marsha :
    And Maija has an affair with the legendary Lady Lovelace, Ada Byron, as well. It was quite a cruise!

    Glad to see you here. I'm heading your way, too, Roland