So you can read my books

Friday, August 19, 2011


Both hands of the clock on the city's distant tower reach up beseechingly to the stars.

Hear the ghost-chimes?

It is midnight, the dark start to a new day,


Come. Sail with me aboard the cursed DEMETER in responce to Francine's and Denise's ROMANTIC FRIDAY CHALLENGE.

Peek from the the night's shadows upon the first meeting on a 1853 midnight of Samuel McCord and the one great love of his long life, Lady Meilori Shinseen, most feared of all the Ningyos. (399 words)

{Samuel's other than human senses have felt deep pain and hollow loneliness up on the midnight-shrouded deck of the transatlantic steamer, DEMETER.

He has used the teachings of his Apache blood-brother to render himself invisible by wrapping the threads of night around his lean, horseman's body. He goes to investigate.}

I slowed as I spotted a woman, sitting right on the wooden deck by the railing, huddled over something.

I wrapped the threads of night tighter about me and stepped closer.

The faint smell of jasmine tickled my nose. She was in a long, flowing scarlet and black Victorian gown.

I stiffened as the fog thinned enough for me to make out her slanted eyes, not quite Japanese, not quite Chinese, but a beautiful blend of the two.

Her long black hair was styled up, her eyes were cast down. She was stroking a dead seagull, its slender neck bent awkward. I guessed that it had hit the rigging in the fog and killed itself, tumbling to the deck.

The woman spoke, and it was as if her vocal chords were velvet. Her accent. It sent shivers through me. It was like human speech itself was a foreign language to her. What was I getting myself into? Her words were almost lost in the night.

"Poor little creature of air. Like last month, I came upon you too late. Too late."

She spoke as if the two words were a summing up of her whole life. She was one of those haunted-eyed women you attached your own hidden fears and silent sorrows to.

Close-up her eyes weren't cold jade as they had seemed farther away. They were filled with echoes of regret. The coldness had just been a bold front to hide the fact that they'd lost their way a long time ago.
Maybe mine looked the same.

There were disturbing depths of sadness in those eyes. Depths in whose darkness swam the monsters which drive us or haunt us or both.

Those depths whispered of age more ancient than the Aztecs, more dangerous than even my past. They both called and warned at the same time.

She stroked the bird's head tenderly as if afraid of waking it up

and sighed,

"Dreams drift like clouds,

I reach to touch the moon,

I grasp but empty night."

I couldn’t take her in such pain anymore and stepped into view. “Ma’am, you were a blessing.”

She stiffened at my sudden appearance, but said calmly. “How so?”

"That seagull got to die in the arms of one who cared and cried over its passing. How many of us get to die that loved?"

Her face flinched. "Not ... very ... many. And ... too many."



  1. "It is midnight, the dark start to a new day" Nice, creepy start! Your language is so rich in sensual detail, I enjoyed it.

  2. Ruth :
    It was actually midnight when I wrote that (with those ghost chimes of that tower clock tolling in the distance) so it was easy to evoke the mood. Thanks for liking my little entry, Roland

  3. The beauty of your writing never ceases to amaze me. It was as though I was standing there looking at her, she was that vivid.

  4. Ah, that first meeting between my favourite couple. Love this :)

  5. Sighs... heartfelt writing.
    Your writing is deep, descriptive and filled with vivid pictures that paint the scene.

  6. Hi Roland.
    Just dropping by to say I'm your newest follower and I'm excited to read The Bear With 2 Shadows (thanks to Tessa's hatefest win). The genre is out of my comfort zone but that's what it's all about!
    Be well.

  7. Roland, my email is

    I sure like your writing.

  8. @Roland. A lovely Asian maiden scarred by the agony of lost love offering comfort to the corpse of an eagle...very sad, Roland, but beautiful prose. I hope Samuel teaches her to smile again. :)

  9. Dark, deep and very, very beautifully written. A piece worth reading again and again!

  10. As always, haunting and lyrical.

  11. I liked the description of her speech, being as if human speech itself was foreign to her. An interesting first look at your heroine.

  12. Is that your secret Roland? You write at midnight? And with all the lights off? Ghostly music playing? We need more explanation on how you can possibly craft your magical lyrical words, putting the rest of mere mortals such as myself in the shade. Loved this excerpt, although it would have also suited Smooth Sailing, next week's theme. Or maybe not so smooth...


  13. Heather :
    Your words about the vividness of my little snippet made my weary evening! Thanks.

    Sarah :
    Sam and Meilori are close to my heart, too. I'm glad you liked this glimpse into their first meeting.

    Daydreamtoo :
    Thanks for the great words about my style of writing. Today has been wearying. This is twice in a row that I have seen the sun set, only to rise hours on the road later. Whew!

    Rawknrobyn :
    I hope you enjoy THE BEAR WITH 2 SHADOWS despite being out of your comfort zone. My mother told me much of it as I lay coughing with double pneumonia in our frozen-in basement apartment that one terrible winter in Detroit. I do believe the magic of The Turquoise Woman and Hibbs, the cub with no clue, helped me not realize how close I was to not making it at all.

    Lorelei :
    I am very pleased you like my writing. Your praise makes my weary evening the better for reading it.

    Laila :
    You're psychic. Sam actually gets her to laugh in the next few moments. Much to the happy surprise of her companion, Lady Inari, the woman-fox goddess of mischief of Japan. But that makes her view Sam as a rival. Poor Sam. He never seems to catch a break, Roland

    Babyrocka :
    I am stunned and pleased at such praise. Thanks so very much. I am busy at work still so I have not had time to visit the other Friday writers. And my oven of an apartment makes internet browsing a true challenge!

    Lydia K :
    Always good to see you here. And I am so happy I was able to hit the target in this excerpt. May your weekend be a happy one!

    Beverly :
    I said that on purpose, for Meilori is not of this earth and only appears human. She is more goddess than mortal -- and has often in the past a savage & bloody goddess. Spooky. :)

    Denise :
    LOL. I do sometimes do exactly what you describe, often spooking the merde out of myself in the process.

    And I've read your posts and other writings. Your talent shines, and if there is any justice, your work will be noticed!

    Oh, Sam & Meilori do show up again in next week's SMOOTH SAILING challenge. And they are on the cursed DEMETER as well -- just towards the end of RITES' sequel, ADRIFT IN THE TIME STREAM.

    But it is mostly a scene of joy and laughter ... mostly. Evil always gate-crashes somehow, doesn't it?

  14. Hi,

    I've read this novel and can't remember this scene, at all. How bizarre is that! No matter, it gives me the excuse to read it all over again, just as soon as I've read the other six novels on my TBR pile. ;)

  15. Hi Roland,
    I love this scene. Anyone who shows kindness to animals in distress, can't be all bad!

    I am fairly new to RFW and to your stories. Does the year 1853 make this an historical as well as a fantasy novel?

    Your language is indeed beautiful. The only thing that bothers me is the description of her black gown as 'Victorian'. If the year really is 1853, it might be better to write 'a gown with a high collar' or whatever it is that makes it 'Victorian'. Names for periods of fashion usually come later, after the fact. This is a term for people of our time, which maybe why you chose to use it.

    Funny that you should actually write this at midnight. But I find that it helps me write if there is something concrete in my real life that ushers me into my fictional world. Many of my ideas come directly from events from my own life; things happen to me, over which I have little control. My text for 'New Horizons' is a good example of this.

    Hope to be reading more of your stories.

    Thanks for sharing.

    Best wishes,
    Anna's RFW No.15-'New Horizons: Cissi tells Selma...'

  16. Roland, you are very kind. Thanks so much.

  17. Francine :
    Sam forgives you for not remembering. Meilori, on the other hand, is a sea goddess. I'll put in a good word for you!

    Anna :
    You're right : it is a historical fantasy. And Meilori is wearing a Charles F. Worth gown. (At the time, even imitation Worth gowns cost small fortunes.) But that would mean nothing to modern readers.

    Sam is a Texas Ranger and is used to seeing women wearing common homespun dresses. So to him, what Meilori wore he just classified as a Victorian upper-crust gown, not the dress of a common woman.

    Thanks for forgiving me my "cheat" done not to confuse readers nor go over the word limit! LOL. I look forward to seeing you here. Work beckons.

    Glad to do it, Robyn. Now, off to blood runs! Roland

  18. I'm just getting around to finishing up my comments, and am somewhat late, but here we are. This was a interesting piece. The descriptions/imagery definitely kept me reading and the sentiments resonated with me. The last line was rather mysterious.

  19. The last line indicates that few get to die in the arms of one who loves them, and that her first love died such a death -- in her arms -- which was one too many times for her broken heart.

    Thanks for reading and caring to comment, Roland