Archive | June 2022

Time Sneak: Emergence #scifi

From Amazon: Brain trauma has rendered 21-year-old Emily colorblind. But the ability to see far more colors than the average person is hard-wired in her brain. As a test subject, Emily believes she can help CuraeCare Pharmaceuticals detect disease, save lives, and maybe even restore her color vision. While CuraeCare aims to take advantage of Emily’s latent gift, beings from another dimension want to see the world with fresh eyes, Emily’s eyes. Meanwhile, Emily is being hunted by another CuraeCare pawn, fledgling serial killer, Laverne Eddy. While Laverne closes in on Emily, a demonically possessed CuraeCare executive penetrates her mind. As Emily will shields her from the finishing blow, her best friend Holton and a heroic indigenous shaman put up the fight of their lives to save her.

My Review: Where to start? The begining, I guess. I’ve never read any book with anything similar to this novel. We start off with a woman, Emily, who was able to see as a true Tetrachromac person with four cone types in her retina, rather than the standard three that most people have, and a brain injury that robbed her of her sight, rendering her color blind. There is so much going on in this novel, and one could reasonably wonder if anyone would survive. But I digress. Combine vision issues with technology, and you get a “anything is possible” scenario. And it was! The author touches on chimera – not in true chimera – such as one born with both male and female DNA and internal and external reproductive organs intact. But I digress. The author brings into the story chimera as a part human and part non human self mixed, then ending up as different entities all together. Add in just a touch of serial killings, evil personas, who to trust issues, and some ethnicity understandings, and you get one explosive book.

The Thing About Kevin by Beem Weeks

Please welcome Beem Weeks to my blog. Hello Beem, nice to have you on my blog today. Shall we sit and have a chat?

Please introduce yourself to those reading this blog post.

Greetings. My name is Beem Weeks. I am a lifelong resident of Michigan, except for two years spent in Florida back in the 1980s. I am an author, podcaster, video/audio producer, and editor.

Has writing always been part of your life and when did you “know” that it was time to start writing your first book?

I wrote my first short story at the age of eight. My teacher encouraged me along this path. I’ve been a writer ever since. I wrote record and concert reviews for my high school newspaper. I began writing my first novel about fifteen years after I graduated. I knew it was time to write it when the story and characters became fully formed in my head.

How difficult was it writing your first book?

It took me about eight years from start to finish. However, I put it away for two years, and I never intended to publish it. Stephen Geez is the one who encouraged me to release it to the world.

Have you ever wanted to give up and what stopped you?

No. I’ve never been that discouraged with my writing. If a story isn’t working, I put it away and begin working on another idea. I usually return to the paused project with new insights and a fresh approach.

Who is the most supportive of you and your dream to be a writer?

I would have to say my mother. She has been incredibly supportive since I released my first book. My publisher, Stephen Geez, has been a great encouragement as well. And anytime a reader leaves a nice review, that’s certainly encouraging.

Anything specific you want to tell your readers?

I am truly grateful to all those who have read and reviewed my work over the past ten years. I am humbled by the kind words and reviews readers have sent my way. Without readers, there would be little use for us writers. I am thankful for each one.

What is the best advice given to you (book or otherwise), and by whom?

The best advice I’ve received as an author came from Stephen Geez. He told me to take the time to outline my stories. This was twenty odd years ago, and I still adhere to that piece of advice. Outlining has made me a better writer and storyteller.

What is your target audience and what aspect of your writing do you feel targets that audience?

I tend to write for those who appreciate literary fiction, those who may be fans of Barbara Kingsolver, A. M. Homes, Daniel Woodrell. These are usually adults aged 18 and older. Mostly, I write for myself. If it entertains me, it’s likely to entertain others.

Did the cover evolve the same way, or did you work with someone to make it come together for you?

I work with Fresh Ink Group to get the right look, tone, and vibe. With Jazz Baby, we didn’t nail it the first time. I was eager to get it out there. That’s always a bad move. Take your time with these things. Have patience. In the end, we redesigned the cover and rereleased that book. With The Thing About Kevin, the book I’m showcasing here, I had a vision for the cover. I worked with Stephen Geez on that concept, and we got it exactly how I imagined.

What are you working on now? Can we get a peek, an excerpt?

I am currently at work on two novels. The Secret Collector is a historical fiction story set in 1910. This deals with the early suffragette movement. The POV character gets involved with the fight for women to get the vote. At first, she sees it as foolishness. But as the story progresses, she comes to see the value in having a voice. My second WIP, Before the Streetlight Come On, is set in 1977, and tells the story of a young girl with a very high IQ. A family secret is uncovered that changes everything (and I mean EVERYTHING) she’s ever known in life.


Violet sat in a cage in the basement of the Fulton County Jail, imagining the sort of reception she’d receive once returned to her father. The very notion of hitting a police officer would not sit well with Early Glass. The man didn’t often resort to using his belt on his daughters. But every now and then, one of the Glass girls may have wandered across that imaginary line drawn somewhere in the dirt. In such cases drawn from past experiences, well, it usually called for three or four solid swats with that leather strap. But this infraction? This blatant disregard for the natural order of things? This stain upon the Glass family name? Violet may as well not even bother returning home. Maybe she could stay in Montgomery with Rosie and Leonard, be a sort of nanny to the baby.

An hour into her stay, other women from the protest began to trickle in, finding accommodations in those other cages lining the hallway. News filled the air.

A riot!

Dozens arrested!

Fighting in the streets!

“We’ll have the vote within the next year,” proclaimed one of the suffragettes. “We’ve got their attention now!”

The cages began to empty almost as quickly as they filled. Women were shuffled in and out as fines were paid.

Still, Violet remained. Even as the sun began to set, bringing the growing darkness into the basement.

“What about me?” Violet asked the man extracting the last of the suffragettes from their cages. “Do they know I’m down here?”

“Doesn’t matter who knows you’re down here,” the skinny fella quipped. “You slugged a police officer. Ain’t no paid fine gonna get you sprung. You’ll be seeing the judge come Monday morning.”

It’s a moment like this that can bring a girl to the deeper truths of life—like, just what the heck did she get herself into?

Fear crept into her belly, filled her with a dread she had never known before, left her wanting nothing more than to be back home with her family. Violet dropped onto the small bench in the corner and took to crying. Pleading words of hope were sent up to God—though she hadn’t spent much time in conversation with the Almighty in recent years.

But still, it couldn’t hurt to ask.

*      *      *

Sunday morning brought another round of sticky heat and a breakfast of cornbread and grits. Violet contemplated a change of life if ever allowed to return to her family. She’d be a better daughter to her folks—and a nicer sister to Lily Mae and Rosie. Perhaps she might even overlook some of Granddad’s faults—he did lose his wife, after all.

“You the one smacked that police fella?” asked a man pushing a broom over the hallway floor.

Violet said, “I’m awful sorry I did.”

His grin bragged of two missing teeth up front. “They’s a man from over to Alabama come to fetch you out.”

Daddy! She thought, gaining her feet. Perhaps it might be safer to stay right here. “Does he seem angry?”

The man’s shoulders pushed up a shrug before spindly legs carried him down the hallway.

“May as well take my lumps,” Violet said, reclaiming that small bench.

*      *      *

Leonard Broussard shared a laugh with a man behind the front desk. They chatted about the new addition to his household and where he stands in his climb to the top of Alabama government. He gave his promise that Violet would be leaving Georgia that very afternoon and would never again return—at least not for some foolish notion like votes for women.

In the motorcar he let her have it. “Striking a police officer? Are you touched, girl?”

Violet offered nothing by way of explanation or excuse. She’d done wrong and accepted this fact. “Does Daddy know?” she asked, settled into her seat.

Leonard wrestled the car into gear and moved them toward home. “Nobody but me and Rosie knows what’s what.”

“How’d you find out?”

“That Pamela girl—and now you got Rosie all upset and half in tears.”

“Pamela told you?”

“She sent a telegram. You just better be thankful I was in my office on a Saturday.”

Warm air whipped through Violet’s hair as Leonard gunned the car along a lonely stretch of road wending through cottonfields and hill country. On the seat between them lay a copy of the Atlanta Sunday newspaper. The headline screamed of Yankee agitators bringing trouble to good Southern folks.

“Your name is in there,” Leonard said, his gaze moving from road to girl, and back again. “Violet Marie Glass, cop slapper.”

Violet dared ask, “You suppose the Alabama papers will blab on it?”

“I didn’t see anything before I left this morning. Can’t know for sure until the evening edition runs.”

The steady whine of the engine filled gaps where conversation fell off, leaving Violet to her thoughts over what might come next. Would she have to go back to jail or pay a fine that might drain her family’s meager savings?

“Do I have to see the judge over there?” she asked.

“No man—especially not even a police officer—wants to go before a judge and jury and admit to being slapped by a fifteen-year-old girl. I called in a favor, okay? So, stop fretting over what can’t be undone.”

Violet said, “Thank you, Leonard. I mean it.”

“Oh, you and me, we ain’t done, girl. You owe me big for this one.”

Violet’s head tipped a nod. “And just so you know, I didn’t slap that man. I socked him a good one, right in his eye.”


Any last words before we wrap things up?

Thank you for giving me this opportunity to be on your blog, Mary. I am grateful.

BIO: Beem Weeks is an author, editor, blogger, podcast host, and audio/video producer. He has written many short stories, essays, poems, and the historical fiction/coming of age novel entitled Jazz Baby. Beem has also released Slivers of Life: A Collection of Short Stories and Strange Hwy: Short Stories, and the novella The Thing About Kevin. He is a lifelong native of Michigan, USA.





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Ridge: Day One (Ridge Series Book 1)

From Amazon: The darkest hour is just before dawn. But with bloodthirsty Beasts cutting brief lives shorter, can one man beat the ticking clock? Rezin Hamel will protect his people until his dying breath. Resolving to carry on past every dearly departed loved one, the forty-four-year-old General has no idea how he’s lived over a decade beyond the average life expectancy. But when he’s shamed and cast out for an out-of-character act, he sets out to end the constant attacks from creatures staining the walls with death. Searching for answers in society’s seedy underbelly, Hamel is shocked by the conditions ravaging the lower rungs of the city. But the strategic genius’s quest takes a staggering turn when he’s blindsided by a secret that could tear his tight-knit community to shreds. Can Hamel restore his honor and stop the carnage before he’s the next one taken by the Dusk? Ridge: Day One is the action-packed first book in the Ridge dystopian thriller series. If you like fantastic worlds, heart-trembling suspense, and twisted surprises, then you’ll love Shawn P. B. Robinson’s peek behind the Ridge veil. Buy Ridge: Day One to mark the calendar of doom today!

My Review: Two nations, one of honor and the other not as much, trials and tribulations hit. Disgraced general, Hamel, decides to infiltrate the other nation and find out what he could in regards to his nations death rate. His daughter is the nations matir and together the plan is hatched to get down to the bottom of what is going on. There are battles and blood, one nation honor and duty, the other no honor and malice all around, and they keep certain people as slaves. Will Hamel find the answers? Will he survive? How will events unfold? The reader will discover more than originally thought, and the ending will leave you questioning how this tragic story continues in book two.

Twelve New Bespoke #BookCovers @MaryLSchmidt

I have 12 new designs to add to my collection. Are you interested in having a book cover designed for you? As an artist, I can create for you custom book covers using images that are free to use, such as an image from Pixabay, or my own art gallery. Each cover includes one free 3-D mockup, one free banner, and one free animation. You will own the completed design. Covers are 1600 by 2400, 8.5 by 8.5 for kids’ books, I will make any book size, and 3600 by 3600 for audio books. You will receive the jpg and the pdf versions. Once a premade cover is chosen and bought, that cover is marked as sold. I will work hard to make your dream cover a reality. If not satisfied, I will refund your money. Payment is made through PayPal only and if your currency is different than the USA dollar, the conversion will be as close as possible at the exchange rate via PayPal. Contact me on Twitter @MaryLSchmidt or here. Please scroll down this page and see what I can make special for those who have lost their child. I have two boys in heaven, and this is close to my heart. Sample covers of all kinds except Satanic. I also have painted covers available – see down this page for graphic information. PLUS you can buy a blended bespoke pre-made cover without text for only $20!

Dirty Air #Murder

Book Link

From Amazon: Crossing the finish line from the dark side of the track can make it hard to find the winner’s circle. The adrenaline rush is real. So is the danger. Stock car or modified. Track or street. One can make you famous… the other can make you dead. Tony “Razzman” Razzolito is in way over his head as he works to solve the most challenging case of his career. An up-and-coming NASCAR driver is found shot to death in an alley in uptown Charlotte. When the widow of the victim asks Tony and his partner at McHenry Investigative Services to find out why her husband was killed, the Razzman gets a quick education in a sport he knows nothing about. His investigation soon leads him to the world of illegal street racing where he tangles with a crew led by a maniac that doesn’t like to lose. Mix in a healthy dose of tension between Tony and a certain Homicide Detective assigned to the case and tempers as well as egos are bound to get in the way.

My Review: This was a unique murder mystery read for me. Having NASCAR in the mix was nice as my hubby and go to races. Talking gear head is our norm, along with mist any sci-fi. This is the first book I’ve read by Joe Congel. Congel wove this story tight and added in joking and romance. That leaves murder. Who murdered the first guy? I have some theories. I did not see the gangland mob type executions near the end. To find out more, read this book.

This entry was posted on June 23, 2022. 2 Comments

Dinosaurs & Cherry Stems #Romance

From Amazon: A Multi-Award Winner, Dinosaurs & Cherry Stems placed third twice, earning a Bronze in the 2015 Global EBooks Contest for Romance/Erotica, and a Bronze in the Readers’ Favorite Awards for Humor. The story was a 2015 finalist in the Independent Author Network contest for Outstanding First Novel and a semi-finalist in The Kindle Book Reviews 2013, Best Indie Book Awards. Twice divorced, cynical Cindy Layton feels like a relic with prehistoric baggage, and doubts she can muster the courage to establish a new relationship, even if it’s on her own terms. Her journey out of the Stone Age hits freaky, hilarious turbulence when she joins an Internet dating service. The scammers and weirdoes she meets in cyberspace make Cindy want to crawl back into her cave, until she receives an accidental email from Jay DeMatteo. Jay has the dating blues, too, but after meeting Cindy, reconsiders his options. Now it’s up to him to convince her it’s never too late to pursue a meaningful relationship, even when a couple is struggling with midlife adolescence.

My Review: Ricci has written a wonderful book full of romance and humor. There were so many laugh out loud moments in regards to internet dating sites, and actual first dates. In life, one oftens finds one must get through the vinegar before finding the perfect love. Five stars.

Raleigh – Tudor Adventurer

Please welcome historical fiction author Tony Riches to my blog:

1. Please introduce yourself to those reading this blog post.

I am a full-time author based in Pembrokeshire, Wales UK. I was born in Pembroke, birthplace of Henry Tudor, and have a lifelong interest in the stories of the Tudors. I also helped with the project to place a statue of Henry Tudor in front of Pembroke Castle:

My latest book, Raleigh – Tudor Adventurer is the third in my Elizabethan series, and is the story of Sir Walter Raleigh, adventurer, courtier, explorer and poet, who has been called the last true Elizabethan. Interestingly, many of the things I thought I knew about Walter Raleigh proved to be wrong. Raleigh is credited with introducing the potato and tobacco to Britain, but Ive seen no evidence for either, or for the popular tale of a servant throwing water over him when he mistook the smoke from Raleighs pipe for a fire!

2. Has writing always been part of your life and when did you know” that it was time to start writing your first book?

I wanted to become a journalist, and wrote for several magazines and journals, but my career took me into the Royal Air Force, after which I became a director of the National Health Service. I began researching the life of Henry Tudor and realized I had enough material for at least three books. I decided to write the Tudor Trilogy, with Henry being born in the first book, coming of age in the second, and becoming King of England in the third.

I have since continued to follow the continuous timeline of the Tudors with the Brandon trilogy, about Mary Tudor, youngest sister of King Henry VIII, his best friend Charles Brandon, and Brandon’s last wife, Katherine Willoughby:.

My new Elizabethan series brings the stories of the Tudors to a conclusion with the last days of Queen Elizabeth I.

3. How difficult was it writing your first book?

Id written the first few chapters of Owen – Book one of the Tudor Trilogy, when I read Hilary Mantels Wolf Hall, and was inspired to rewrite my book in first-person present tense. This was a gamble, but Im pleased to say the book became an Amazon best sellerin the US, UK – and Australia.

4. Have you ever wanted to give up and what stopped you?

I gave up a senior role in Local Government eleven years ago to write full time, and have never looked back. I’m happy writing one book a year, researching in the summer, writing in the autumn and winter, and editing in the spring.

5. Who is the most supportive of you and your dream to be a writer?

My wife Liz is very supportive – as well as being my most important ‘beta reader’. I was also lucky to find an excellent editor who specializes in historical fiction and helps to ensure consistency between my books.

6. Anything specific you want to tell your readers?

I like to ensure my books are as factually accurate as possible, by tracking down primary sources and visiting actual locations.

7. What is the best advice given to you (book or otherwise), and by whom?

I read somewhere once that if you write just one page a day, thats a book a year.

8. What is your target audience and what aspect of your writing do you feel targets that audience?

There is a vast community of readers with a keen interest in the lives of the Tudors. My aim is to shine a light on the many myths about the dynasty, and to reveal them as the people they were. I chose to bring to life the stories of less well known but hugely influential figures of the period, and show King Henry VIII and Queen Elizabeth I through their eyes.

9. Did the cover of your new book evolve the same way as the others, or did you work with someone to make it come together for you?

I commissioned an artist to produce the cover images for the three books of my Elizabethan Series, drawing from details of portraits of the time.

10. What are you working on now? Can we get a peek, an excerpt?

I am currently researching for three books about ladies of the Elizabethan court. Discerning readers of the first three books of the Elizabethan series will possibly be able to guess which ones I have chosen.

11. Any last words before we wrap things up?

I would like to take this opportunity to thank all the readers who have taken the time to contact me about my books, and Mary for hosting me on When Angels Fly.

Tony Riches

Media Kit

Book Title: Raleigh – Tudor Adventurer

Series:             The Elizabethan Series, Book 3

Author: Tony Riches

Publication Date: 1st May 2022

Publisher: Preseli Press

Page Length: 332 Pages

Genre:            Historical Fiction

Twitter Handles: @tonyriches @maryanneyarde

Instagram Handles: @coffeepotbookclub

Hashtags: #Elizabethan #Tudors #HistoricalFiction #BlogTour #CoffeePotBookClub

Tour Schedule Page:

Book Title and Author Name:

Raleigh – Tudor Adventurer

(The Elizabethan Series, Book 3)

By Tony Riches


Tudor adventurer, courtier, explorer and poet, Sir Walter Raleigh has been called the last true Elizabethan.

He didn’t dance or joust, didn’t come from a noble family, or marry into one. So how did an impoverished law student become a favourite of the queen, and Captain of the Guard?

The story which began with the best-selling Tudor trilogy follows Walter Raleigh from his first days at the Elizabethan Court to the end of the Tudor dynasty.

Buy Links:

Available on #KindleUnlimited.

Universal Link:

Amazon UK:

Amazon US:

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Amazon AU:

Author Bio:

Tony Riches

Tony Riches is a full-time UK author of best-selling historical fiction. He lives in Pembrokeshire, West Wales and is a specialist in the lives of the Tudors. He also runs the popular Stories of the Tudors’ podcast, and posts book reviews, author interviews and guest posts at his blog, The Writing Desk. For more information about Tony’s books please visit his website and find him on Facebook and Twitter @tonyriches

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This entry was posted on June 20, 2022. 2 Comments

Defending David (Tribes of Israel) #Christian

From Amazon: When a quiet journey to Jerusalem turns tragic, newly orphaned Rimona must flee a kinsman set on selling her as a slave. Racing into the rocky hills outside of Hebron, Rimona is rescued by a Philistine commander journeying to Jerusalem with six-hundred warriors. Exiled commander, Ittai the Gittite, is seeking refuge in the City of David. Protecting a frantic Hebrew woman is not in his leadership plan. Although, having a nobleman’s niece in his caravan might prove useful for finding shelter in a foreign land. Rimona and Ittai arrive in Jerusalem on the eve of a rebellion. In the chaos of an heir’s betrayal, will they be separated forever, or can they defend King David and help the aging monarch control his rebellious son?

My Review: I loved this story. Character’s from the Bible are brought to life by Britton. She carefully wove this story and successfully wrote in a fast pace for the reader. As I read, I often prayed. We are to love one another, have compassion, and more. I fail in loving two people, my mother and my ex. Both horribly abusive. I no longer hate either of them, but I’m working on moving past just accepting of them. This is the best Christian novel I’ve ever read. Five shiny gold stars.

This entry was posted on June 16, 2022. 2 Comments

PMVOI Podcast! Wed., June 15 @8PM!

I’ll be live on Voice of Indie Podcast tomorrow, June 15th, at 8 PM Eastern Standard Time. You can catch it right here! I would love for you all to pop in for a few minutes. Thanks.

This entry was posted on June 14, 2022. 2 Comments

The Wistful and the Good by G. M. Baker 

Book Title: The Wistful and the Good

Series: Cuthbert’s People

Author: G. M. Baker

Publication Date: 4th April 2022

Publisher: Stories All the Way Down

Page Length: 341 Pages

Genre: Historical Fiction

Twitter Handles: @mbakeranalecta @maryanneyarde

Instagram Handles: @coffeepotbookclub

Hashtags: #HistoricalFiction #BlogTour #CoffeePotBookClub

Tour Schedule Page:


The mighty are undone by pride, the bold by folly, and the good by wistfulness.

Elswyth’s mother was a slave, but her father is a thegn, and Drefan, the man she is to marry, is an ealdorman’s son. But though Elswyth is content with the match, and waits only for Drefan to notice that she has come to womanhood, still she finds herself gazing seaward, full of wistful longing.

From the sea come Norse traders, bringing wealth, friendship, and tales of distant lands. But in this year of grace 793 the sea has brought a great Viking raid that has devastated the rich monastery of Lindisfarne. Norse are suddenly not welcome in Northumbria, and when Elswyth spots a Norse ship approaching the beach in her village of Twyford, her father fears a Viking raid.

But the ship brings trouble of a different kind. Leif has visited Twyford many times as a boy, accompanying his father on his voyages. But now he returns in command of his father’s ship and desperate to raise his father’s ransom by selling a cargo of Christian holy books. Elswyth is fascinated by the books and the pictures they contain of warm and distant lands.

But when Drefan arrives, investigating reports of the sighting of a Norse ship, Elswyth must try to keep the peace between Drefan and Leif, and tame the wistfulness of her restless heart. 

The Wistful and the Good – Excerpt 1

Edith put two fingers in her mouth and whistled loudly. Three boys came scampering at the command.

“Run to the fields and tell the men that the thegn summons them,” she told them. She held out a hand to her husband so that he could help her rise. “You should not use that girl as a sentinel.”

“There’s not a better set of eyes in the village.”

“That may be, but she is to marry Drefan after the harvest, and I’ve much to do to make a lady of her yet. Can you imagine if, the day after she marries Drefan, Lady Cyneburg finds her in the mud behind Bamburgh hall, barefoot, playing pickup sticks with the slave children?”

“Cyneburg loves her.”

“Everyone loves her. That is her curse. But Cyneburg loving Elswyth and Cyneburg thinking Elswyth fit to succeed her as lady to the ealdorman of Bamburgh? That is a very different thing. For that she must be a lady—and not just when it pleases her. Cyneburg has not forgotten who she is. She has not forgotten that I was born a slave. There were days I washed her feet and served her meat, and she has not forgotten that, I promise you.”

“You’re a lady now,” Attor said. “And Elswyth always was.”

“But she looks more like those who serve in Bamburgh than those who rule. So in her dress, in her manner, she must be more a lady than any of them, than Cyneburg herself. But what is she today? A shoeless child pining for sailor men. And it is you giving her leave to do it.”

“It frees a man for the haying.”

“And is the haying worth losing her marriage over?”

It was an old argument between them. Not a week went by without Edith asking her husband if some adventure or indulgence was worth losing Elswyth’s marriage over.

“She’ll not lose the marriage,” Attor said. “Drefan’s smitten.”

“Smitten?” Edith said. “Of course he’s smitten. But what has smitten to do with the marriages of nobility?”

“I was smitten,” he said, placing one arm around her and pulling her to him so he could kiss first her, and then Daisy, upon the head. “Still am.”

“And what advantage did you have by it? It cost you thirty hides that Elene of Hadston would have brought you, your brother’s friendship, your mother’s love.”

“My mother loved the children.”

“She loved Elswyth because everyone does. She loved Hilda because she looks like her. She never loved me or forgave you. Blood debt or not, Kenrick and Cyneburg won’t throw so much away if they don’t think Elswyth suitable.”

At that moment, the unsuitable child came tearing down the path from the clifftop, bare feet flying, hair streaming behind her.

“It is Norsk!” she cried as she ran towards them. “It is Norsk, but I think it is Uncle Harrald. It is a knarr for sure. But perhaps I should ride to Alnwick anyway, just in case.”

“Ride to Alnwick?” Edith said.

“Father said I could ride to Alnwick if it was vikingar. To give the alarm.”

“Well you can’t,” Edith said. She turned to her husband. “What were you thinking? We would not have seen her for a month if you had given her leave and a good horse.”

“Of course you would,” Elswyth said. “Of course, it would be rude to ride to Alnwick and then not call on Uncle Leofwine and Uncle Osgar, and Eglingham is so close that I would have to go there too. But I would only be gone a week at most.”

“And four men taken from the fields to escort you.”

“No. Father said I could ride alone.”

“Just to give the alarm,” Attor protested. “Thegn Wigberht would have sent you right back with an escort.”

“If he could catch her,” Edith said. “You are not leaving this village, miss, till the ship comes to take you to Bamburgh after the harvest. And by then you must have your wedding dress complete.”


“If the ship is Norsk,” Attor said, “then I must certainly meet them with spears, whether you think it is Harrald or not.” He who had never flinched in the battle line wanted no part of war between his wife and daughter. He hurried off, with his awkward gait, to organize the men who were beginning to stream in from the fields.

“You don’t really think I would ride away for a month and miss Uncle Harrald and Uncle Thor, do you?” Elswyth asked her mother.

Edith looked at her daughter. Elswyth’s appearance provoked a frown that expressed not simply annoyance, but a deep and vexing puzzle. Elswyth was a lovely young woman, plump in the bosom, round in the hips, with a mane of glossy black hair. Her face was the image of Edith’s own. It was the face that Edith had once seen staring back at her from a still pool, when she was a slave and her face had been the whole of her fortune. It was a wholly Welisc face with not a trace of Anglish in it. On Edith, who had been born to Welisc slaves on the manor where she was now lady, that face had been enough to catch the eye of an Anglish thegn’s son. On Elswyth, Edith believed, it was a face that might have caught the fancy of an Anglish king, if only the opportunity had presented itself.

Elswyth was clad in a summer dress of green linen with brooches befitting her rank, and a decorated belt with heavy copper terminals shaped like the heads of herons, which she wore high to emphasize her bosom. Yet she was barefoot like a child, and there were at least a dozen sticky burs clinging to her skirts and a posy of assorted and drooping wildflowers stuck behind one of her brooches.

“Where are your shoes?” Edith asked.

“Why would I wear shoes in the middle of summer?”

“Because you are no longer a child. A respectable noblewoman wears shoes on her feet, winter or summer. And a wimple on her head.”

“There’s a ship, Mother.”

“Where is your work basket?”

“It’s Norsk! I can tell by the shape, by the way it sails. I’m almost sure it’s Uncle Harrald.”

“I’d be glad if it was,” Edith said. “But he has not come in two years. Wrecked and drowned, like as not. Such is the fate of sailors.”

“Of course they are not wrecked or drowned,” Elswyth said. “Uncle Thor would never let them be wrecked or drowned.”

“Uncle Thor is just a man. I know you loved him, darling, but you are a woman now and you have seen quite enough of death to know that people die, no matter how much we love them.”

“I know,” Elswyth said, looking downcast for the moment or two that was all her nature was capable of. “But not Uncle Thor. Not Uncle Harrald either. You’ll see. It’s their ship. I know it is.”

“Well then go put your shoes on and make yourself presentable to receive guests.” Edith yanked out the posy of flowers that drooped behind Elswyth’s brooch, and threw it on the ground. She bundled Daisy into Elswyth’s arms while she pulled the sticky burrs out of Elswyth’s skirts. Then she took the baby back from her grown daughter and said, “And put on a wimple too. You should not be parading your hair in front of sailors at your age.”

“Not till I’m married, Mother. You promised!” Elswyth replied. But she said it over her shoulder as she ran off so that she was gone before Edith had a chance to respond.

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G. M. Baker

G. M. Baker has been a newspaper reporter, managing editor, freelance writer, magazine contributor, PhD candidate, seminarian, teacher, desktop publisher, programmer, technical writer, department manager, communications director, non-fiction author, speaker, consultant, and grandfather. He has published stories in The Atlantic Advocate, Fantasy Book, New England’s Coastal Journal, Our Family, Storyteller, Solander, and Dappled Things. There was nothing much left to do but become a novelist.

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This entry was posted on June 13, 2022. 2 Comments