I’ve been a little absent from all social media this past week. I even missed my Sunday ROW80 check-in — 30 lashes with a soggy quill. HOWEVER, an important note from ROW80 — Lauralynn Elliott, fellow author and ROW80er, is in a bit of a bind with her husband in the hospital and niether of them able to work. If you feel inclined, here’s how you can help: Lauralynn’s Fundraiser Campaign.
I had a hectic weekend and am headed into another one so things aren’t bound to get any better for me until . . . well, end of the month. I’m still writing most every day. I did miss the weekend and won’t get any words in between Friday and Monday either. But I’m making pretty good headway on both WIPS during the week, so it’s all good.
Now for my WIPpet. I decided to give you the first 17 paragraphs (don’t worry, they’re short) of my non-WIP WIP. That one I go to any time the other two send me in to a tail spin, because I’m getting close to having nothing but spoilers at the moment. My unofficial third WIP is nicknamed Brothers, and is actually inspired by two of my dogs. They’re actually bruncle and brephew (that would be brother/uncle and brother/nephew) but both take after their sire in so many ways I could see them as actual brothers. We have Grady, the younger brother, dark, forceful, broad, and Quinn, the older brother, a little more laid back, lighter complexioned, not as easily provoked. Both have their sire’s interesting sense of humor and love of all things fun.
Something banged into the door and it shuddered against the lock. A second, and a third concussion, and still the lock held. Ballis didn’t think it had many more in it though. Like him, the lock had seen better days.
A man’s voice rose from the other side. “You can’t accomplish everything by brute force. You do realize that, don’t you?”
“Where wood is concerned –” The door heaved on its hinges. “– I haven’t found that –” Another loud crack and the lock tore out of the wood frame. “– to be entirely true.”
The door twisted inward, slammed against the wall and rebounded into a black-gloved hand. The man attached to the hand filled the doorway in both height and width of shoulders. He stepped back and the sunlight caught nothing but black — hair, clothing, boots, sword grip — as he thrust out a leg, and bowed from the waist with a sweeping flourish of his arm.
“After you, brother.”
The man he ushered in on that exaggerated, courtly bow, shook his head as he entered Ballis’s hovel. Shorter than his comrade, not as broad, his light hair bordered on white but the eyes are what gave him away. No one in all of Shadonn had eyes like the crown prince: each one half blue, half brown, as though the gods had changed their minds, or run out of paint in the making of them.
Ballis twisted his hands together. “My lord Quinn.” His voice squawked and he tipped his head. He gave it another respectful dip to the man by the door. “Prince Grady. To what do I owe the exquisite pleasure of having my door destroyed?”
Grady leaned his shoulder against the door jam and folded his arms across his chest. “You didn’t hear me knock?”
“I did. I did indeed. But I’m an old man. It takes time to get to the door.”
Grady snorted. “A simple ‘one moment, please’ would have spared my foot and your lock.”
“Excuse my brother,” Quinn said, and slipped an arm around Ballis’s shoulders, turning him back to the chair by the cold fireplace. “You know how he is. Something gets in his way, he goes through it. He’s always been like that, too late to try and break him of it now.”
“Of course, my lord prince.” Ballis sat and the crown prince hunkered down beside him, one hand on the back of the chair, the other resting lightly on Ballis’s knee. Ballis found it hard to meet the expectant stare. His gaze flitted to the floor, the table, the window, the figure silhouetted in the doorway. Pressure on his knee brought his eyes back to the prince. The expression he met was not entirely unkind. In fact, one could say the look harbored a small bit of affection.
Ballis spread his hands and stared at the backs of them as though seeing them for the first time. When did they get so gnarled? The skin looked parchment thin; the blue veins fit to burst from them at any moment. And the wrinkles . . .
He sighed. “I no longer have it.”
Grady made a noise low in his throat.
Quinn hung his head for a moment, then gusted out a breath and rolled his gaze back to Ballis’s face, looking at him from under his brows. “You’re lying, master.”
And a little theme music for the boys: