Writing Life

Sabbatical Writing; Snippets and Snatches

Last November I made a move to my mother’s house. I’m considering it something of a sabbatical. When I first came to take care of her, she needed help throughout the day. Lately she’s gotten stronger, but that said, there are sometimes days where I’ll spend 15 or more hours on her concerns. That doesn’t leave me the writing time I used to have.

Writing is important to me, as you might guess. It’s not merely that I’m a storyteller, but when I’m not writing I just don’t feel quite right. There are days I can’t do what I would consider “serious” work–editing Sen of the Woods, for instance, or writing The Queen Amadelia. My mother is an Austenphile. To a lesser extent, so am I. I’m also a huge fan of the Wrede & Stevermer books featuring Ceclia and Kate, and Wrede’s Magician series with Kim and Marelon.

Any time I’ve tried to work on any kind of Regency or Georgian novel it ends up being what I consider “Regency Gone Bad” as the characters do not behave as they should. But I’ve had characters in my head for quite some time, and so for assuaging my needs for less serious writing, I’ve started writing it down for fun, and sharing it with my mother. She is enjoying it.

That said, it’s become a bit more of a project. I’ve been encouraged by another favorite Jane writer, and so that while I’m having some fun with it, I’m also taking it more seriously. The truth is that this time is altering how I edit, how I write, and so I’ll consider it something of a sabbatical time–though when my father took a sabbatical it was for a year. This sabbatical will hopefully last a lot longer.

Don’t expect this book out any time soon, and it’s still rough, but I thought I’d share a bit of my sabbatical time, and sabbatical work. Here’s a snippet of The Strange Adventures of Alex Goodward:

A Necessary Preamble

I touched my left arm, and it came away blood. I ought not have been surprised. I had been shot at, and felt the pain.  My coat and shirt were ruined, and I knew it could be worse. I heard footsteps, and readied my cane. It might not be a good defense against a gun—unless they were close—but it was all I had. 

“Alex!” came a low call.  “Alex, where are you?”

I knew the voice, and stepped forward.  “Nikolai, here I am.”

“I heard pistol shots.  I knew something went wrong; I was worried!”  He came forward, and grabbed me by the upper arms. I winced.  “You are injured!” 

“It’s all right, I got out, and evaded them.  I was seen at the wrong place, wrong time, but not, I will have you note, THE wrong place at the wrong time, and so all is well for now.”

He examined the wound as best he could in the low light.  “I do not doubt that will leave a scar that will not suit a Miss in her evening gown.”

“I am not a Miss, any longer, and right now I’m a man.”

He pulled me close and kissed me hard. “Man or not…” he said after a moment, and let me go.  

I said, smiling, “Or at least dressed like one.  Come on.  We can’t linger.  Surely they will find us.”

“Reynolds has the carriage waiting.  You are turned around, and no wonder after that fracas.  I’ll guide you,” Nikolai said.

“And you?  Are you well?” I asked him.

He snorted. “I was the one providing the distraction, and you the derring-do. I take it you got the proof?”

“Yes. But I warn you that before we turn it over, we must go through it and blot out the names of the innocent besides my own.”

“Of course.”

I followed my half Russian Prince half Englishman, a gentleman and a spy.  But, of course, by then, I was also a spy saving not only my own good name, but the secrets of country and crown.   

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