Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Chapter One / Part III

“Rachel, that was the second psychologist you’ve scared away.” Stan hung up the phone and looked at her. “He just gave his demission. You wouldn’t happen to know why?”

“No idea,” said Rachel, sitting on his lap and looping her arms around his neck. “Give me a kiss, Agent Wheeler.”

“Is that how you ask for a raise?” Omar ducked through the door, briefcase swinging from his hand.

“Can’t you knock?” Rachel asked.

“It’s my office too.” Omar folded his tall frame into his chair and beamed. “Welcome back! So, how was the honeymoon?”

The door opened and Jessica Brami and Chris Winter came in. Chris stopped at Stan’s desk and dropped a folder on it.

“A new one?” Stan asked, pushing Rachel off his lap.

“No, an old one.” Chris sighed. “Remember Severina Kite?”

“The teenage prostitute from Atlanta. Any leads on her murder?” Stan flipped the dossier open and looked through it. “There is nothing new here.”

“We have nothing new. We know where she was killed, how she was killed, and where her body was dumped afterward, other than that, it’s a blank.” Chris sighed and then grinned at Rachel. “It’s good to have you two back. How was the honeymoon? Any pictures?”

“I want to see pictures!” Jessica chimed.

“I posted them all on my blog.” Rachel looked up at the silence and frowned. “I was joking,” she said.

“The honeymoon was great,” Stan said. “Quiet, peaceful, restful.”

“He couldn’t wait to get back.” Rachel grinned.

“So what are we doing with this case?” Stan asked Chris. “We’re missing persons, and this person is already found. It’s a case for the criminal now, for the local police.”

“Another girl’s gone missing,” Chris said.

“Is there a link?” Stan closed the folder and pushed it over the desk toward Chris.

“They had the same pimp. He’s the one who called me, actually.”

“Her pimp called you?” Rachel had thought she’d heard everything. “Who is he?”

“His name is Jesus,” said Chris. “He called me because I was the one who found Severina. He thinks someone is after his girls. He wants us to help him.”

Omar let out a low whistle. “It’s still a case for criminal, not us,” he said.

Chris shook his head. “Unless there’s someone missing. And another girl is missing. Jesus is worried.”

“Jesus is worried?” Rachel grabbed her purse from her desk. “Well, what are we waiting for, Chris? Take me to Jesus.”

Monday, February 25, 2008

Chapter One / Part II

There was nothing. Just an immense void. She’d fallen into a black hole. She was about to pull back, to try and extricate herself, when a pale light appeared. It was the dawn, and as she watched, the light grew brighter and slowly lit up the room. She was lying in a hammock, and the light shined into her face. She was weak, so weak she could hardly breathe. Her stomach, arms, and legs ached as if someone had flogged her. As she watched, incapable of moving, a sparrow flitted into the room. It flew around her, its wings thrumming, then it landed on her face. She couldn’t move, couldn’t push it off. And then it pecked at her eyes.

She yanked her hand away and stared at the psychologist. He looked back at her, and she saw the scar pattern went from his cheek to the corner of one eye. “The bird drank your tears?”

He jumped as if she’d kicked him under the table. After a minute, he said, “They drink blood.”

“But, why? What were you doing imprisoned in that room?”

“It’s a ritual. A coming-of-age rite for our tribe. We spend up to a month fasting in the mountains in a locked room with only one window. On the last day, a sparrow found me. I barely had the strength to cry out. It would have blinded me. My father came and chased it away. Then he carried me home. I was a man.”

“You were nearly dead.” She shivered.

With a brusque gesture, he signed her test paper and put it in her file. “It’s been an interesting experience meeting you, Mrs. Wheeler.” He stood up and nodded toward the door. His hands, she saw, were trembling.

“Usually, I don’t see anything unless the person has suffered a trauma,” Rachel said, choosing her words with care. She didn’t stand up. He went perfectly still. “Who was in the room with you?”

A muscle jumped in his jaw. For a minute, she thought he wouldn’t answer. “My twin brother. He didn’t make it.” he said, finally. Then he opened the door, and gave her an icy smile. “All that is in my records, of course.”

“I’m sorry about your brother.” Rachel put out her hand to shake, then felt her cheeks heat up when he pointedly ignored it.

“I see now what you mean about keeping friends,” he said.

“Actually, it’s a good way to find out who my real friends are,” she snapped.

“You didn’t have to say anything.”

She heard the anger in his voice, but knew it came from fear. “Look,” she said, putting her finger out and deliberately poking him hard in the chest. “You spent an entire morning giving me my evaluation, and when you finished, because you still didn’t believe me, you put me to a test. I accepted that test, even though I knew I would probably fail. Most of the time, I don’t see anything. Most people don’t walk around with a dead twin hanging around their necks.” She poked him again, just for good measure.

He breathed through his nose, his mouth so tight she couldn’t push a pin into it. “Get out,” he seethed.

“I bet all your years of training are coming in very handy right now,” Rachel said.

“Just. Get. Out.”

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Chapter One/Part I

Chapter One

“In my dreams, the dead don’t speak to me. I am the dead person—what happens, happens to me. It makes it harder, because most of the time the dead are in such a state of shock when they died that their vision is colored by their emotions. Nobody wants to hear that the woman who was stabbed to death in the chest never got a good look at her killer, but it’s the truth. The rare times the vision is clear, is when the killer was someone familiar, intimate even. So even when the visions do come, it doesn’t always mean I’m able to identify the killer.
“Sometimes ghosts come back to talk to me in dreams. But they’re never helpful, showing me glimpses of everyday life that has nothing to do with their death, as if they cling only to insignificant moments devoid of passion or joy.
“But it all usually starts with a dream,” said Rachel, feeling self conscious as she spoke into the tape recorder.
“All right. Thank you Miss Martin. Excuse me, I mean Mrs. Wheeler.” The psychologist for the FBI reached across the table and switched off the tape. He had been meeting with her for a week now, but it was all part of her job. As a bona fide psychic detective, she went through tests every six months or so. Tax payers’ money had to be accounted for. Rachel was always explaining herself, explaining her talent, explaining her method of work, although, to tell the truth, she had no idea how it worked.
Her ex-husband, Daniel, had theorized that her subconscious put together puzzles. ‘An imagination with no limits coupled with an almost pathological need to decipher events’, was how he put it one day. As Daniel had been a scientist, and a doctor, his theory, so far, was the one she trusted the most. She spouted it off whenever she had a psychological exam, and the shrink would nod over it, as if it made sense.
“It must have been hard to make friends.” The FBI psychologist looked up from his papers.
She thought about that. “No. I made friends easily. What was hard was keeping them.” She looked closer at the man. None of the other shrinks had said that to her. He was younger than last one, with the requisite hooded stare, thin mouth, and long, nervous fingers that laced and unlaced as he listened to her. He had delicate bone structure and dark skin, with a faint pattern of scars on one cheek, as if a bird had pecked him in a circle…
She blinked. “I’m sorry, what did you say?”
“What made it hard to keep friends?”
“I think I scared them.”
“Did you predict things about them that happened? Is that it?”
“No, never. I can’t predict the future. I can’t touch someone and see what will happen to them or do any fancy hocus pocus.” She couldn’t keep the acid out of her voice.
“Yes, but you can touch someone and see what has happened.”
“Sometimes.” She waited.
“Would you touch me and tell me what you see?” He sounded genuinely curious, not skeptical.
She shrugged, and when he reached his hand out to her, she grasped it firmly.

Saturday, February 23, 2008


It looked higher from above. When she'd been on the boat, looking up to the rock, it hadn't seemed that far a jump. Now, perched on the outcropping, her toes curling over the edge for balance, she thought she must be crazy.
“Jump Rachel!” Jason hollered. “We’re not staying here all day!”
She didn't jump. She dove. She wanted to show off for Jason, her new boyfriend. A show-off, her friends often called her. But she knew she was a good diver and so she sprang off the rock, clenched her eyes closed, and locked her fingers together so the force of hitting the water didn't break one. Even so, the shock nearly made her gasp. A mistake when you were underwater.
Her body knifed under the surface of the lake. She could hear the throb of the boat engine far above her. She opened her eyes, peered into the murk. They said the water here was over sixty feet deep. There was nothing but darkness beneath her. Her heartbeat was returning to normal, she still had a few seconds left. She was so deep the water was icy. She turned and scanned the base of the cliff, wondering if there was an outcropping.
The child surged out of nowhere as if she'd bloomed like a sea anemone out of the rock. Blond hair floating in an aureole, one pale hand outstretched.
Have to rescue her! she thought frantically. Then she saw the white eyes. Dead eyes. And the swollen face. Too late! Her heart started hammering and she looked up to the surface. It was so far away, just pinpricks of light. Kicking frantically, she headed for air. Blackness filled her vision and she struggled the last couple feet. Someone reached down and hauled her in the boat.
"Did you have to scare me like that?" Jason tossed her a towel. "Don’t you know it’s dangerous here? I almost jumped in to get you." He must have noticed her expression then, because he stopped and knelt in front of her. "What is it? What happened?"
"She's down there," chattered Rachel, her nerves coming undone. "We have to c-c-call the police!"
"Who? Who's down there?"
"I don't know! Some kid!" She pulled the towel tighter around her shoulders, trying to keep herself together by force. "Just call the police, will you?"
He didn’t argue. And then they waited. He wanted to dive down and look, but she held him back. When the police divers arrived, she pointed to the spot where she’d seen the girl.
They were down a long time. More than an hour. When they resurfaced, she was relieved to see them carrying a black plastic bag. The body was out of sight, hidden. She felt her chest muscles relax. And then the police officer was in their boat, asking questions.
“Describe exactly what you saw,” he said, and she did, right down to the floating blond hair.
The police officer looked upset. “I know how you feel,” Rachel told him. “It was an awful sight.”
“No, it’s not that.” He hesitated, then said, “come over here.”
She climbed onto the police boat and waited while they unzipped the bag. She looked in. There were just bones. A skull. A jawbone. Long bones, short bones, and all greenish and pocked with age.
“I don’t understand,” Rachel said. “Didn’t you see the child? Where is the child?”
“This is all we found. The bones were at the very bottom, in the sediment, mostly buried. We never would have found them, except we were looking for a body so we kept digging around. These bones have been here a long time.”
There was no little girl. Just a wet bones. “I don’t understand,” she said again. She reached out and touched the skull with the tip of her finger, and the vision that hit her made her reel back. “No! No Daddy! Don’t! No! Please!” She dragged air into her lungs and screamed again, lunging for the side of the boat.
Hands caught her and held her back.
“What is it? What happened?” The police diver asked.
“Her father killed her. He pushed her off the cliff. And he made sure she never came up again.”
“How do you know?”
“Because he put a chain on her ankle.” The memory of the vision made her shudder.
The police diver looked over to Jason, still in his boat. “It’s all right. We’ll take care of her if you want to go back.”
“I better take her back. I promised her grandmother,” said Jason in a voice that Rachel recognized. It was the last time he’d take her on a date.
“You don’t have any lights, and it’s nearly sun set.” The police diver pointed to the sky. “Don’t worry. We’ll make sure she gets home all right.”
Jason threw Rachel’s backpack over, and told her to bring his towel back or his mom would kill him. He revved up his boat and drove off. Rachel was left with the police diver and the police officer.
“Why did you want me to stay?” Rachel asked.
“We found a chain on the bottom too.” The diver said. He looked at her with a mixture of pity and fear. But that look too, she was used to.

Quiet weekend

It's not raining today (this photo is from last year) but it's quiet here, and the sky is gray.
Number one son is at the fire station doing his guard duty. Daughter is at a friend's house. The dogs are asleep. Hubby is at work. The only sound is the washing machine as I wash the dog's bed and a few throw rugs.
A lazy, sleepy Saturday.
I finished up my project for Red Sage and sent it off. I hope the editor likes it. I had a lot of fun writing it, and I'm already plotting out another book for the same series. (Ever the optimist!)
I'm working on finishing my YA fantasy, but since I have no idea what market to send it to, my heart isn't really in it. I even started another urban fantasy, since I love writing those so much. So now I have three projects again, and no idea when they will be done or what to do with them! I suppose this is not the best business plan.
Calderwood Books is taking a lot of time now as well, as we work toward putting all the books in print. If you are interested, there is a new 'Print Book' page at the Calderwood Books website.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

A New Word!

weal :
1. Prosperity; happiness: in weal and woe.
2. The welfare of the community; the general good: the public weal.

It's not often I come across a new word. I love vocabulary, but outside of a dictionary or the Rice game, I don't often meet one while reading. That is, until I stumbled across John Scalzi's blog. A new favorite. Start with the Creation Museum Report. It's stupendous.
Oh, and if you do read the blog, don't miss John's photo tour (complete with captions) of the museum. My brain exploded several times, but mostly I laughed so hard I got coffee up my nose.
Thanks John.

Off to the hammam tonight for a nice steam, scrub, massage, and delicious couscous dinner with the gals.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

The End

I love writing 'The End' when I finish a manuscript. I'm not one of those obsessive authors who gets so attached to her characters she can't bear to leave them.
(This is Such a lie - I wrote Seven volumes in the Iskander series because I just couldn't bear to leave Ashley and Alexander!)
I think I've grown out of that now.

I've been playing this game a lot:
It takes a while to load, and the map is tiny, but it's a fun challenge. I haven't made it past stage 10. I'm learning a LOT of geography.

Thanks for the well wishes about my cold. It's still there! I'm still all stuffy. But it's just a cold (annoying, that's all). Tuesday night I'm heading to the hammam where I intend to steam it out of me.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

A cold...

It's foggy outside this morning. I can't see the end of the garden. Everything is wrapped in white.
I have a terrible cold. My daughter gave it to me. I will now go get some hot tea and go back to bed.

Favorite cold remedies:

Hot chicken broth with lemon juice.

Hot beef broth with a dash of red wine.

Tea with lots of lemon and honey.

A good book, a big fluffy pillow, and a thick flannel blanket.


My husband making me a cup of coffee and bringing it to me in bed this morning.

Happy Valentine's Day!!!

Tuesday, February 12, 2008


For the past few days, it's been awful to sit down at the computer and write. Why? Because it's spring here! The sun is shining, the weather is balmy. Spring breezes bend new grass, and the forsythia is budding, while primroses and crocus add colorful dots to the muddy soil beneath the bare trees.
I'm pretty sure we'll pay the piper again this summer (last year, it was so hot in April we had barbecues nearly every evening and ate outdoors. Then May came - not with flowers but with icy showers, and June, July, and August were dismal.) So, whenever the sun shines, I take advantage of it and rush out to play. Or walk. Or garden. (Gardening - the never-ending chore...)

This weekend my daughter had a horse show. Here is a picture of my daughter on her horse (well, teh club's horse - a very nice mare called 'Quit ou Double'), me sitting in the back of the car, taking in the sun. And here is a picture of the riding ring. Notice the lovely sunshine.

So I've been remiss with the blog - sorry.

Funny thing that happened to me this week:
I went to the bank for my loan. (Societe Generale - ring a bell? Jerome Kervial somehow loses 5 billion dollars in rogue trading.) Anyhow, I ask for my measly loan. The director looks at my income, my outflow, and my demand, then says "I don't think the machine is going to OK this."
I said, "Well, I want the same machine Jerome used."
He did have the presence of mind to laugh. I was about a hairsbreadth from getting up and telling him in a frosty voice that I was changing banks. (taking my debt elsewhere...) But the director came through and put a few little white lies in the calculator, and voila. Easy as Jerome Kervial.
Makes me wonder.
Anyhow, it's too nice to blog today. I'm off to take a walk!

Saturday, February 09, 2008

The end of an error....

1) (On an infant's shirt): Already smarter than Bush
2) 1/20/09: End of an Error
3) That's OK, I Wasn't Using My Civil Liberties Anyway
4) Let's Fix Democracy in THIS Country First
5) If You Want a Nation Ruled By Religion, Move to Saudi Arabia
6) Bush. Like a Rock. Only Dumber.
7) You Can't Be Pro-War And Pro-Life At The Same Time
8) If You Can Read This, You're Not Our President
9) Of Course It Hurts: You're Getting Screwed by an Elephant
10) Hey, Bush Supporters: Embarrassed Yet?
11) George Bush: Creating the Terrorists Our Kids Will Have to Fight
12) America: One Nation, Under Surveillance
13), Bush - no billionaire left behind
14) Bush, Al Qaeda Recruiter of the Year
15) They Call Him "W" So He Can Spell It
16) Which God Do You Kill For?17) Cheney/Satan '08
18) Jail to the Chief
19) Who Would Jesus Torture?
20) No, Seriously, Why Did We Invade
21) Bush: God's Way of Proving Intelligent Design is Full Of Crap
23) Bad president! No Banana.
24) We Need a President Who's Fluent In At Least One Language
25) We're Making Enemies Faster Than We Can Kill Them
27) Rich Man's War, Poor Man's Blood
28) Is It Vietnam Yet?
29) Bush Doesn't Care About White People, Either
30) Where Are We Going? And Why Are We In This Hand Basket?
31) You Elected Him. You Deserve Him.
32) Frodo Failed. Bush Has the Ring.
33) Impeach Cheney First
34) Dubya, Your Dad Shoulda Pulled Out, Too!
35) When Bush Took Office, Gas Was $1.46
36) The Republican Party: Our Bridge to the 11th Century

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Let's Lent!

Lifted from the Guardian - (this is a religion that works for me:)

"The Church of England is urging people to cut down on carbon, rather than chocolate, for Lent this year.
Two senior bishops within the church are joining with development agency Tearfund in calling for a cut in personal carbon use for each of the 40 days of Lent, which begins tomorrow.
The Bishop of Liverpool, James Jones, who is also vice-president of Tearfund, and the Bishop of London, Richard Chartres, have launched the "carbon fast" in response to what they say is an "urgent need" to reduce carbon emissions, and to protect poor communities around the world that are "already suffering from the ravages of climate change".
The 40-day plan lists simple energy-saving actions that can lead towards a lighter carbon footprint, including snubbing plastic bags, giving the dishwasher a day off, insulating the hot-water tank and checking the house for drafts.
Participants are asked to begin the carbon fast by removing one light bulb from a prominent place in the home and live without it for 40 days, as a constant visual reminder during Lent of the need to cut energy. On the final day of the fast, people are encouraged to replace the missing bulb with an energy-saving bulb.
Jones said: "Traditionally people have given up things for Lent. This year we are inviting people to join us in a carbon fast. It is the poor who are already suffering the effects of climate change. To carry on regardless of their plight is to fly in the face of Christian teaching.
"The tragedy is that those with the power to do something about it are least affected, whilst those who are most affected are powerless to bring about change," he added. "There's a moral imperative on those of us who emit more than our fair share of carbon to rein in our consumption."
Figures from Tearfund, which is helping communities cope with the impacts of climate change around the world, highlight the contrast between carbon emissions in the developed and developing world. A total of 9.5 tonnes of carbon dioxide is emitted per person each year in the UK, compared with in 0.067 tons in Ethiopia and 0.24 in Bangladesh.
Tadesse Dadi, a Tearfund worker in Ethiopia, said millions were already being affected: "Climate change may not yet be a problem for people in Europe, but here in Ethiopia its effects are being felt today by millions of ordinary men and women farmers. These poor communities, who have contributed least to climate change, are suffering the most from its effects."
There has been a rising chorus on climate change from churches in recent years. The Church of England has already committed itself to reducing carbon emissions by 60% by 2050 through its Shrinking the Footprint initiative.

The full list of pledges for the carbon fast:

Day one (Ash Wednesday.) Remove one light bulb and live without it for the next 40 days.
Day two Check your house for draughts with a ribbon or feather. If it flutters, buy a draught excluder.
Day three Tread lightly – whether that's by foot, by bike, on to a bus or on the gas as you drive. Find a way to reduce carbon dioxide emissions when you travel today.
Day four Are you recycling everything possible? Really – everything? Look into it today.
Day five Can you talk about your Carbon Fast at church today? Encourage others to join in.
Day six Turn your central heating thermostat down by one degree.
Day seven Say au revoir to standby. Check that all electrical equipment is switched off when not in use. The TV alone will save a hefty 20kg of carbon dioxide per year.
Day eight Unplug your mobile phone charger: it uses electricity even when it's not charging.
Day nine Climate change isn't a distant threat – it's affecting poor communities now. Pray for Tearfund's work to help vulnerable communities adapt to the changing weather.
Day 10 Give your dishwasher a day off or promote it to a Grade A energy efficient appliance.
Day 11 Use local shops or farmers' markets ( instead of driving to out-of-town shopping parks. They will thank you; supermarkets won't notice your absence.
Day 12 Tell politicians to take action on climate change today. Check out Tearfund's campaign work at
Day 13 Put the heat on your electricity or gas suppliers and ask them if they have a green plan. Make the switch and feel cosy.
Day 14 Take a shower instead of a bath: you'll heat less water.
Day 15 Snub plastic bags. Get into the habit of taking your rucksack to the supermarket or go retro with a trolley. Ask your supermarket to remove unnecessary packaging.
Day 16 Switch off lights as you leave the room.
Day 17 Only fill your kettle with as much water as you need.
Day 18 Cut the air miles. Don't consume any food that you know has been imported by plane (apart from Fairtrade products).
Day 19 Grace Maglasey and her husband Andrew struggle to grow enough food because their village in Malawi is caught in a cycle of floods and droughts. Join in with Grace's prayer today: "We pray that those of us who farm should harvest a lot of food so that this year we will not have hunger. In the name of Jesus, Amen."
Day 20 Compost. Put the nutrients from food waste back into the soil – not into a methane-emitting landfill.
Day 21 Only run your washing machine when you have a full load.
Day 22 Find one way to save paper today: re-use an old envelope or print double-sided.
Day 23 Turn the taps off. In one day a hot, dripping tap could fill a bath.
Day 24 Counsel your local council. Thank them for their recycling facilities but ask them if they could provide any more.
Day 25 Who works hardest in the house? Mum? Dad? No, the fridge. It's churning away 24/7. Treat it to a good de-icing to make sure it's running efficiently.
Day 26 "Love does no harm to its neighbour" Romans 13:10. But while our lifestyles consume more and more energy, our poorer neighbours are suffering. Reflect on ways to love our neighbours in our increasingly connected world.
Day 27 Pressure a car owner to check their tyre pressures. Low tyre pressure means high fuel consumption.
Day 28 Do a home energy check at or call 0800 512 012 for a paper copy. You could save up to £250 a year on bills.
Day 29 Run your washing machine at 30 degrees. This uses 40% less electricity than running at 40 degrees.
Day 30 Find out a new fact about the impact of climate change today. Amaze your friends.
Day 31 Fit aluminium foil behind your radiator – allowing you to turn the radiator down and save £10 a year per radiator.
Day 32 Any old iron? If they're on their last legs replace old electrical appliances with energy-efficient models. They could save a third of the energy.
Day 33 Have an embrace-the-silence Sunday. Turn off everything. No TV, no radio, no ringtones, no cars. It'll be good for the soul.
Day 34 Tell the Mailing Preference Service that you want to stop junk mail. Call 0845 7034599 or visit Sign up to Tearfund's e-newsletter Twelve at
Day 35 Put an insulation jacket on your hot-water tank. If everyone does, we'll cut enough carbon dioxide to fill 148,000 hot-air balloons.
Day 36 Re-use an item you would have thrown away – such as a jam jar, an envelope or an ice-cream container.
Day 37 Put a lid on it. That's pans when cooking; and use a kettle to boil water.
Day 38 Draw the curtains to keep the heat in.
Day 39 Could your church be greener? Talk to your church leaders. Tearfund can help – visit the site.
Day 40 Replace your missing bulb with an energy-saving lightbulb. Over its lifetime, you will save 60kg of carbon dioxide per year and up to £60. Make a personal pledge to serve others by pursuing a more sustainable way of life.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Angels on Crusade

I was lucky to have Margaret Marr of 'Nights and' as a reviewer for Angels on Crusade, and yesterday she put me up as featured author!
Here is the link to the interview and review

Here is the blurb:

A condemned criminal in the far future is sent to the past to try to save the crown of France. Isobel was a carefree student one day, and in prison the next for the accidental murder of a child. Her fate, life in prison. But she's offered a way out—through time. The crown of France is in peril. A young boy, who never should have left Paris, has gone to join the ill-fated 8th Crusade. Isobel's task is to talk young Jean de Bourbon-Dampierre out of joining the Crusade so that he can sire a dynasty. Isobel chooses to go back to the twelfth century, although she knows she will be left to spend the rest of her life there. At least it will give her a chance to redeem herself, she believes. If she fails…it's erasure and certain death, and someone else will be sent. In any case, she will never see her own time again.

And an excerpt:

The nurse in charge of freezing my molecules inserted a glowing needle into my arm and had me count backwards from ten. I got to zero and stared at her, perplexed. “Now what?”
I obeyed without question. Ten years of prison had left their mark.
Then a cold wave washed through me. I felt my blood freeze. No one had told me it would be so painful. My teeth chattered and the place where the needle was inserted into my arm ached and ached. The pain grew. Frost bloomed in silver flowers on my hands and face.
The pain was so intense I passed out. My last thought before I fainted was wry. The program was going to lose their corrector. I was dying.
* * * * *
I didn’t die. I woke up lying on my back in the middle of a large mud puddle. Rain pelted my face, and my body convulsed with painful tremors. For several minutes, I felt so awful I wished I had died.
Groaning, I rolled over and propped myself up on my forearms. My clothes were drenched and filthy. I tried to stand up, but my legs wouldn’t hold me. I crawled off the road and collapsed behind a large bush. I had no idea why I’d been beamed into the middle of a road. I could have been killed. I looked closer at the road and sighed. If anything were going to come down it, it would probably be an ox plodding before a heavy farm cart. The farmer would have been able to stop in time.
Unlike me. I hadn’t been able to stop my car in time. I’d killed a child, and I’d been punished with life in a reproduction prison where I spawned one hundred and twenty possible children. Every month an ovule was taken from my body and fertilized and the egg was implanted into an artificial womb. For ten years, I reproduced. I lay on a metal table once a month and donated an ovule, and in between, I worked at the prison library, copying ancient paper books onto gel matrix for safekeeping.
Then I’d been given a choice. Go back in time and change a mistake, or continue to live in a prison, in solitude, where my only jobs had been to produce eggs and reproduce books.
My mission now lay before me. I closed my eyes and tried to remember exactly what it was I had to do. Unfortunately, there seemed to be an empty space in my brain where all that information was supposed to be. I couldn’t remember the first thing about it. I shivered with panic and cold. If my mission failed, the Time Correction Foundation, the omnipotent TCF, would erase this portion of time and I’d be erased along with it.
I took several deep breaths and calmed my nerves. All right. It was coming back to me. I had to convince a young boy not to join the ill-fated Eighth Crusade and therefore save the future crown of France.
I huddled in the gorse bush and wiped the mud off my dress as best I could with my hands and thought of my mission. It had all happened because of a mistake. Time travel was reserved for a select few—highly trained journalists chosen to go back in time and interview famous people. The journalist who’d caused the error I’d been sent to correct had spoken of the crusade in front of a boy who should never have heard about it.
The careless man had taken holograms, as the regulations instructed, but he hadn’t checked to make sure nobody else listened to his interview with Queen Marguerite. Jean de Bourbon-Dampierre had been near enough to hear. On the hologram, he looked up from his reading as the journalist began to speak. Because of what he’d overheard, the boy had slipped out of his bedroom one night and run away to join a ragtag gaggle of youngsters on their way to save Jerusalem.
Jean would not do anything of note during his life, but his descendants would eventually rule France. By running away, he changed the course of history dramatically. I was supposed to find him and bring him back. If I succeeded, I’d be allowed to live the rest of my life in the thirteenth century. If not, I’d be erased, along with all the mistakes the journalist had wrought in only two sentences.
Just two little sentences which had been approved for the interview, for the queen, but not for Jean de Bourbon-Dampierre, visiting with his mother and sister at the court. “My Queen Marguerite, what have you heard of the crusade your husband, the king of France, has embarked upon? What about the group of youths calling themselves crusaders who have nearly reached the sacred Cathedral?”
The words had echoed weirdly around the room, and that evening Jean packed his meager belongings in a leather bag and clambered nimbly down a castle wall in search of adventure and a way to get out of his Latin studies.

Sunday, February 03, 2008


Last night I went to the ballet. Andrea invited me, (thank you Andrea!!) and it was superbe.

We saw Samsara, a modern dance ballet performed by a Spanish ballet company under the direction of Victor Ullate. The setting was stark, but the costumes and music incredibly rich.

Samsara, in Buddhist terms, means the opposite of Nirvana. It's the cylce of life, death, and rebirth. The dance and music followed this cycle, with fourteen different 'sketches', illustrating philosophy of love, hate, death, and acceptance. It celebrated. At the end, white roses were placed in the front of the stage by the dancers. I'm not sure what this was supposed to mean (I'm a symbols retard) but the eye in the back, which had been closed, opened. Andrea, who is better than me at interpreting things, said it meant it was time to look around and Live. I'm sure she's right.
Most of the time, the dancers looked as if they were flying.

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Been Busy

Happy Groundhog Day!
Lately life has accelerated. I have a new English student to tutor, Calderwood Books is getting ready to move into POD, and there are so many Dr. Who series to watch...
I'm also thinking of putting my daughter into private school, although my sons did fine in public school. It's not because she's not doing well - on the contrary, she's doing brilliantly. I just think she might be happier in another school. Her two best friends have left her school, and she has friends in the private school I'm considering. It (the private school) is classed as the best school in the district, which is good. It's a Catholic school, which will make my grandfather happy. :-)
I went to the new public pool the other evening. It was great. The water slide was the fastest I've Ever been on. I got water All up my nose. The pool is heated and you can swim outside as well, which is very cool. I think I'll get a swim card and go once a week. I will have to squeeze the pool into my schedule. I've decided to pamper myself a bit.
My tendonitis has cleared up beautifully, so I'm going to finally finish the book I started last year. And then I will concentrate on getting the Calderwood Books uploaded into the Lulu store so they are available as paperbacks, even though I really think that (for the planet) e-books are better. I do understand how hard it is to read on the computer.
I'm reading 2 of Kate R.'s books (Summer Devon) and I am having a great time with them. I also read a YA book called 'Spook's Apprentice', it was interesting. It was translated into French and my neighbor's son gave it to me to read, with the promise that 'I wouldn't be able to put it down'. When I kid says that I pay attention. Verdict - good solid adventure with interesting characters and a more complex storyline than you'd expect. The translation was easy to read, so I am guessing the English version must be very well written. I liked the take on witches, spooks, and goblins!