Tuesday, February 2, 2010

A visit. - Teaser Tuesday

Poor Fin and Angharad, they're in limbo at the moment because I've been in AW's Query Letter Hell, trying to revive interest in Kestrel. Between drafting carefully worded revisions of The Letter, I started going back through the manuscript and, to my horror, have found a host of dodgy dialogue tags and far too many 'as'. So I'm going back through. I managed 60 pages last night and stopped only when my eyes started bleeding.

Still, I couldn't not post a Teaser, so here's another one from 'The Man in the Reeds' (Working title only)


“Mistress, can you come here, please?”

Angharad, seeking refuge from the rainy September day in her chamber, glanced up from her sewing. “What’s wrong now?”

“Just come.”

“If I must.” She set the sewing down with a sigh. She didn’t want to leave her refuge. It was a foul day. The west wind hurled the rain against the house and the hall was alive with draughts, which sent the smoke from the fire all over the place.

Angharad followed Hilde to the door. Rain drummed on the soil, turning it to a sea of mud. A cart, piled high and covered with hides, rolled through the gate, pulled by an ox. A man on a horse stood beside it and dozen sheep milled absently around the horse’s legs. Angharad wasn’t looking at the cart, the horse or the sheep, she looked at the man, his hair plastered to his skin by the relentless rain.


She watched him slide from the saddle. One of the carls ran out and took the horse, sending sheep scattering indignantly in his wake.

“Hilde, put some water on to boil, and put the basin in my chamber.”

“Yes mistress/”

Angharad waited in the doorway and watched Fin walk across the yard. His boots squelched through the mud and his clothes were soaked. She hoped she wasn’t going to have to nurse him through another fever.

“This is unexpected,” she said when he stepped into the hall.

“I’m sorry.” He didn’t sound like he meant it.

She glanced past him at the laden cart and the sheep. “You had best come in out of the rain. I’ll get the carls to put your animals and cart away.”

“Thank you.”

“You need to get out of those wet clothes. I’ll find something for you, somewhere.”

“There’s no need. My clothes are in a chest on that cart.”

“I’ll have one of the carls bring it in.”

“Lady, can we talk in private?” He shivered. His hair was plastered to his face, his cheekbones stood out in stark relief.

“Come to my chamber. Hilde is fetching hot water for you. Would you like a drink?”

“Something hot, please.”

Angharad led him to the chamber. She sorted through the chest while he struggled out of his clothes.

“Here, take this.” She averted her gaze and handed him a woolen blanket. “This will keep you warm until we find your clothes.”

Hilde hurried in with a basin of steaming water.

“Hilde, could you bring our guest a hot drink?”

“Yes, mistress.” There were questions all over her face.

Fin took the cloth and soaked it in the water. Angharad watched him bathe his face and neck. He closed his eyes and inhaled the steam.

Angharad sat in her chair and waited. The rain hammered against the walls and on the roof. When he had finished, Fin wrung out the cloth and set it on the edge of the basin. He wrapped the blanket around his shoulders and looked at her. His eyes were dark and unreadable.

“I have a proposal for you,” he said.

“Yes.” Her mind was a tangle of questions.

“Is that bastard still bothering you?”

She thought of Athelwulf’s last visit. “Not at the moment. His last visit was less than cordial.” She looked up at the ceiling. “He tried…” Angharad inhaled and, then, exhaled slowly. “I kneed him in the groin and threatened him with a knife. He hasn’t been back since.”

“Bastard.” He spat. “Then, perhaps my proposal will meet with your consent.”

“I can’t consent if I don’t know what you want.”

“Marry me.”


  1. Woohoo - straight to the point! ;-) Nice double use of "proposal" there, too. And I don't know why, but I love the word "squelched." Your ability to set the atmosphere is very impressive!

  2. Ooooh. What an awesome twist. I can't wait to hear what she says to that. :-)

    Lady, you set a scene so wonderfully well. "The hall was alive with draughts" --such a great line.

  3. Totally seconding ink - squelch is a great word and I love your description. Also, everyone seems to be wanting to marry Angharad, but then again with lines like “I kneed him in the groin and threatened him with a knife. He hasn’t been back since.” - who wouldn't?! Loving this - more please :D

  4. Fin is very blunt! I like him (and his cheekbones). :D

  5. Hah! Fin is awesome. And I had such a vivid image of outside with all the mud and rain and animals, great job.

  6. Lol I like how Fin just goes straight to the point. "Marry me." Just like that. And great teaser too. I actually didn't see the ending coming

  7. wow - another brilliant piece. i say it time and time again but your writing is just so beautiful. you can really turn a simple scene into something beautiful. did you ever read ian mcewan? i just finished one of his books and more than once I was reminded of your prose while reading. your descriptions are always so lovely.

  8. Late to post >.<

    I really liked this! Fin and Angharad have a very natural way of talking and that's one of the marks of a good writer. I loved it, missus!

  9. Very nice. BTW, I have been following your travails on QLH as well, and I have to say, your devotion to getting your query right is inspiring. I limped away from QLH with squirrel bites all over my body. :)

  10. Wow... what a way to woo a girl LOL But it fits nicely with the tone of the story. I always enjoy reading your images. You have a way with describing a place without giving the reader a longg paragraph on it. Good Job ;)