Wednesday, July 31, 2013

DEVIL CHILD - a Short Story

What are you looking at? Okay so I'm royally ticked off right now. She said I was her furry little angel child and took me home with her. She fed me *fancy feast* from my own food dish with tiny bells painted on the rim and gave me my own soft bed to sleep in. She kissed me and cuddled me as much as I let her. Life was sweet.

The only fly in the ointment was that she didn't appreciate me amusing myself by shredding the arms on her sofa. I really don't know what her problem was. She only sat on the cushions anyway. But because she gave me such a comfortable place to live I caved in to her wishes and dutifully kneaded the daylights out of the cat tower she brought home.

And there were toys. Lots and lots of toys. I had an enviable collection of stuffed mice filled with catnip. She seemed to like playing with them as much as I did. She also gave me a *Cat's Meow*. You know the one. It has a mouse tail poking out from under it. The mouse is impossible to catch. She seemed to enjoy watching me try to get it though. Anyway, to make a long story short, she liked mice so much I thought I'd surprise her with the real thing. There were plenty outside in the back garden.

Okay, now here's where it gets weird. She'd been particularly nice to me today, giving me cool treats and another jingly ball toy. I was feeling all warm inside and I thought this was the perfect time. I popped out of my cat door, caught a mouse I considered especially pleasing and brought it in. I sat in front of her and when she looked down at me and smiled I coyly let the mouse's tail slip out of the edge of my lips. Her eyes got huge and a noise came out of her that I'd never heard before. Maybe she hadn't recognized it. I opened my mouth and let it out so she could get a better look but the noise just got louder and she jumped up on the sofa then tried to climb up the side of the book case. What was wrong with her?

That's when it happened. The noise stopped and she stabbed a finger at me, her face contorted into a shape I'd never seen before and she called me the most horrible name. I was in shock. You could have knocked me over with a feather. Feathers. Hey. Maybe she'd like a bird.

This post is part of the August 2013 blog chain at Absolute Write Water Cooler.
This month's prompt is Child of the Devil

This month's participants are:

orion_mk3   BDavidHughes  areteus  Ralph Pines  articshark  pyrosama  Anarchic Q  meowzbark  milkweed

Friday, July 26, 2013

Writing Tidbit: Novel set in Ancient Babylon

I like finding animals in novels so I wanted to include one in mine. At the beginning I wasn't sure what kind of animal I'd use as there were so many to choose from. The ancient kings collected animals from all over the known world and were also given exotic animals as gifts. But when I came across this picture, I knew I'd found what I wanted.

I love this lion and I wish the soft expression in his eyes evidenced his true nature, but it doesn't. The scars on his nose and the swollen bloody eye tell a much different story - animals fighting for their lives and losing. I wish all lions were like 'Christian', the lion who became so popular on YouTube for how much he loved his owners, even a year after he'd been released into the wild and had become the leader of his own pride.

This guy is going to be my 'Christian'. Well, sort of. In my new novel he represents a lion captured to be the king's pet and chained up in his audience chamber as a token of the king's power. Only one man will tame him and become his friend while he remains a deadly predator to everyone else. The lion will play a prominent role in the novel so I'm hoping this photo can be included in some way on the front cover. I've even made sure I have the photographer's release to use it, so I'm all set.

I plan to open the novel with the lion's capture. It will be what is called in writerly circles, 'the inciting incident', the catalyst that starts the plot moving forward. The capture scene also includes my take on what happened to cause a Babylonian general, historically known as a traitor, to betray the city into the hands of Cyrus the Great.

Has anyone else included animals in their novels? I'd love to hear what they are and what part they play in your story.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

From City to Hobby Farm

I lived and worked in the Vancouver area of British Columbia for most of my life. The transition from being a conveyancing paralegal in the temperate climate of downtown Vancouver to living on a hobby farm feeding chickens and milking a cow in the frigid cold winters of the north was  neither smooth nor easy. But I wouldn't have changed it for anything.

Above is a water color of my husband and his team of Clydesdales, 'Scotty' and 'Patrick'. You can't see it in this cropped picture but they're pulling a log up the hill. My cousin painted this from a newspaper clipping. People are fascinated with horses, especially when they're at work. A newspaper photographer arrived on the scene of one of our projects and wanted a shot of the horses coming up the hillside. My husband told him he'd have to act quickly as once the horses feel the load and know they have a hill to climb, they run and they run fast. Needless to say the poor photographer fell over jumping out of their path but he got his photo!

Sadly, horse logging had to give way to more conventional methods, the team was sold and we no longer have horses but I miss these gentle giants. When we unloaded our first team of draft horses my husband and I wondered what on earth we'd gotten ourselves into. They were huge. Over time we learned that their size didn't make them bullies and we marvelled at how careful they were around us and how much affection they could give and receive. We were quite unprepared for their unique personalities and the close bond we formed with them.

Now we have no horses, we have no cows, we have no chickens. The property we live on is only a 5-acre piece of land that is mostly wooded with a small area carved out for our home and a bit of a yard and a garden. I miss our farm days a lot. It's much easier to live the way we live now, especially since our business takes up so much of our time, but my husband and I both dream of one day, one day.......back to the farm life again.

My intention is to post new material every Monday morning. Let me know how I do!