Tricked to Atone

Help Me by Kaz

Original image by Kaz; altered by CP

Klukelunnen liked Blessed Bessy, his day-time carer. But, by the cringe, he couldn’t abide her ‘oppo’, Louisa. Louisa cared only for her wages. Within a sweep of the clock’s long hand after Bessy had left, Louisa beeped her way through the high sheen metallic door. She made her raspy jottings on her clipboard (hers was a purply-blue), angled the hard-seated metal-framed chair to her desired perfection, where she could see all points of the room without turning her head, just a slight raise of her eyes, and flipped open her magazine. Thereafter, except that she completed her two-hourly checks, she rhythmically flipped the night away. She never spoke. Never. Except to say she was going to ‘spend a penny’; then she’d be absent for five sweeps of the clock but its longest arm.

Within two hours of meeting the angular-bodied, sharp-nosed night-carer, Klukelunnen decided now was the time to pop out his poop. And every two hours thereafter. Let her deal with the stinking stuff. He only wished he ate something more offensive than seeds. He knew it was childish of him, but treat a man like a child, sealing him into these hip-hugging huge padded pants, and you’re asking for him to behave like one.

Every two hours her schedule required her to check on his pants, and every two hours he popped out a poop, so at nights he didn’t sleep so well. But that gave him ample time to dream up a scheme: How to get a message to Daisy?

If nothing else, he must let her know she was safe. Safe? Aye, by Aunt Diddly’s doodads, he was safe from the dastardly machinations of Professor Angelus Margev—at least while he was resident at the ‘facility for holding illegal aliens and questionable little fellows’, sealed away from all malevolent intruders by a handle-less high sheen metal door. But there was the rub. Safe he might be, but he didn’t want to remain here forever. Sooner or later the presence of this unaccountable ‘little fellow’ would be leaked to the press and then … No, before then he had to be gone. Gone back home, to Dolstone. But how? He had lost his magic—and him a magical being. Without his magic, what use his spells?

Sapphire, he sub-vocalised his cogitations, an eye to Louisa who, anyway, was enthralled by her mag; Beloved of Saturn; Grandma’s child, marked for sacrifice.

And, aye, he was marked for sacrifice—or, rather, marred: marred by a deep flaw, the crack sustained when, as a child undergoing the clan’s unofficial rites to manhood, he had fallen from the Giant’s Knee. Marked. MARKED, the word shouted at him.

He heard again what Daisy had said of Uranus and Gaia—Gaia who for him a.k.’d as Grandma. And how their son Cronos—who for the Romans a.k.d as Saturn—had castrated Uranus. And how from his spilled blood arose the Gigantes. He rolled that word around his head. Gigantes.

And jerked up straight. The Giants!

Louisa the night-attendant shot to her feet. Her glossy mag, dropped, flopped in a sprawl on the cold lino floor. “What?”

Klukelunnen blinked, forced a yawn, and fell back into a feigned deep sleep.

That’s why the spell had failed him, he continued to unfold the story. That’s why he had ended up here in the Land of Giants. He stifled a groan. It had been no chance happening that he’d stolen that spell-book. Someone wanted him here, in this Land of Giants; wanted him here to serve as sacrifice to Saturn. He shuddered beneath his covers. But like it or not, the logic held out. Except … why sacrifice him to Saturn?

He didn’t want to complete that thought. But it hung around him, pestering for attention despite he’d thoughts more pressing than that. Thoughts like how to get out of this secure and secret facility and get himself home.

The very word, SATURN, shouted. The word jumped up and down. It spun around, tracing rings around Klukelunnen. SATURN. Saturn had done something VERY, very, wrong.

Yikes, yowl! He had it! Blindness dropped from his figuratively speaking thinking thoughts’ eyes. Of course: Saturn was the Usurper! He had stolen power from the sky (Uranus, Klukelunnen filled in the name provided by Daisy; Grandpa as he ought to be known, consort of Grandma) and thereby had engendered the Giants a.k.a. Man and His Kind. And now he—Klukelunnen—had been marked for sacrifice. But not to be given TO Saturn. No. To be given in ATONEMENT for Saturn’s despicable usurpation of Grandpa’s power.

Klukelunnen nodded definitively. Conundrum solved.

Except that high sheen metal door still sat between him and his exit home. Except … he gulped. There was but one exit home. Sent here by Grandma to be the Atonement. Of all his high-climbing, risk-taking escapades, he’d never sweated the way he did now. His breath, clutching his lungs, refused to come out.

*

Cheery as ever, Blessed Bessy wished Klukelunnen a bright good morning. Klukelunnen looked away, no attempt to smile.

“Hey, whazzup, little fella? You’re looking glummer than a black clouded day. We can’t have that.”

He shrugged and kept his head down.

She frowned, put her clipboard down on the hard-seated, metal-legged chair, and squatted down beside his bed.

“Hey, little fella,” she said, barely audible, and as close to his ear as he’d allow, “Today is Dock-Man Ireson’s day off.”

He sniffed. “And?”

“And I’ve a little surprise for you,” she said, still whispering close to him.

He looked up. Her large brown eyes looked back at him with a look he’d last seen on the Dooley’s dog Helas.

“What, I’m free to leave?” he asked, head atilt, and no serious belief that she’d say yes.

“Well, not quite that but … now, we have to be very quiet about this. No jumping and shouting. There’s a visitor for you.”

Klukelunnen felt himself shrink. “Professor Angelus Margev?”

“No, silly you,” Blessed Bessy laughed, then continued on in a hushed voice, “No, it’s a little friend. Be here in” – she glanced back at the clock – “oh, about an hour.”

He had one friend in the Land of Giants, one amongst these Men and their Kind, and she wasn’t little, not compared to him. To be little it had to be one of his cousins. He didn’t stop to ask which one it was; he’d find out soon enough. One of his cousins come in search of him, now captured. Not a visitor as Bessy had said, but a fellow inmate. He scowled and drew in his breath.

But whichever cousin it was, Klukelunnen wouldn’t have him see him in this sleep-slurred state. He was out of his bed, head dunked into the water provided fresh twice daily for his ablutions, face splashed, other bits wiped.

He tugged at his padded pants. “What about this? Can’t I take it off, just for the while? Please?”

‘Indeed, you cannot!” She sounded shocked. “You’ll get me locked up.”

“How about clothes, then?” He asked. “So this embarrassment” – he tugged again at his padded pants – “doesn’t show.”

“Soz,” said Bessy, and she did sound sorry.

He sat back down on his bed with a harrumph. Bessy swapped water for seeds. He picked at his food, not hungry, torn between excitement at seeing whichever cousin had found his way here, and a deep fret that that same cousin was now to share this secret facility.

His eyes strayed to the opposite wall, to the camera hidden in the small white box high above the lone hard-seated chair. Blessed Bessy had pointed it out to him on his first day, saying if he threatened her in any way, ‘they’ (whoever they were) would soon know. Were ‘they’ now to observe the two together? What if they didn’t know about a Stone’s sexual orientation? What if he and his cousin were expected to … gulp … mate?

At a knock on the handle-less high sheen metal door, Klukelunnen leapt onto his bed, covers pulled up to his chin. At least that hid the embarrassment of his padded pants. Though likely his cousin would be padded the same.

Blessed Bessy opened the door, a finger held to her lips. Klukelunnen saw who waited there, and his sapphire eyes popped. This wasn’t the anticipated visitor. His eyes followed her from the door to the room’s sole chair. His eyes tracked up to the camera on the wall above her, then to Bessy. Again, Bessy held a finger to her lips, and sidled out of the room.

A grin slowly spread across his face.

Daisy held up her hand, and silently counted off on her fingers. One. Two. Three. Four. Five. “Yay!” she exploded. “That’s the camera and mike switched off. Now we can talk.”

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Nature’s Bounty, Bramble-Berries

Okay, so you probably know them as blackberries. But black-coloured berries proliferate in the Norfolk ‘wilds’ at this season, so let’s be specific. These are the berries of the bramble bush which offers its fruit (easy to reach for little fingers) for week upon week till the heavy frosts blight them.

Blackberries

A rambling bramble offers its berries: Photo 10 Sept 2018

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The Garlanded Berries of Autumnal Black Bryony

Since a young child enchanted by the Flower Fairies books, Black Bryony has been one of my favourite wayside flowers. Or, more correctly, one of my favourite autumn berries. Pretty. But do not touch, for these berries are poisonous.

Black Bryony berries

Black Bryony berries hung all in a row, like Christmas trimmings, their wizened leaves so much resembling the seats of a ski-lift. Photo 10 Sept 2018

Not the photo I had earmarked for the #2018picoftheweek challenge title: Repetition, but nature wins out over manufactured features every time.

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Observations

GA13 Klukelunnen by stevepb

Image by stevepb: altered by CP

Bored, Klukelunnen paced. Three days, three chuffing days, held in this high-security unit. Days broken only by Dr Ireson’s visits—the Iron Man—and the attentions of Bessy and her ‘oppo’, Night-shift Louisa.

Bessy was day shift, Bessy explained. Very chatty was Blessed Bessy. Blessed because Grandma had blessed her with ample curves, blessed because with her chattiness she divulged more than she ought. That first day in this high-security unit, Blessed Bessy had let slip that she was having what she called a ‘thing’ with Dwayne over at Anthropology. Blessed Bessy: Iron Man Ireson might want to keep secret the location of this ‘facility for holding illegal aliens and questionable little fellows’. But it didn’t take much in deductive powers for Klukelunnen to work out its location. Cambridge.

Blessed Bessy was a good’un. He’d heard that said of things and peeps several times since his miss-worded spell had landed him here in the Land of Giants, or of Man and his Kind. Good’un: aye, that’s a good’un, said with affection. Still, he’d had to train Bessy in the basics.

“Seeds, I only eat cold chuffing seeds,” he had shouted at her the second time she brought him a dish of steaming hot food. He didn’t know what the food was. Not seeds. Who’d ever heard of serving hot seeds? Not even the devious Pixies did that.

But she’d taken it well. Nodded, put dish and tray down by the door, and scribbled a while on her clipboard.

By careful observation of her, he had discovered a discernible pattern to her use of that board. When she ‘came on duty’, and again when she left for the night, she jotted on the first page. She jotted on the last page when, at two hourly intervals, she checked on his padded pants. Oh yea, that was a delight (not!) and a humiliation.

“What’s this?” he’d asked the first day, pulling at the teddy-patterned padded pants that hugged his hips and padded his crotch as if he was hung like a giant.

“That’s so you don’t mess—catches your doings.”  Not a blush to Blessed Bessy’s fair freckled cheeks.

“My …?” Klukelunnen had gulped and told her sternly. “I would prefer that you provided a pot. Daisy provided a pot.”

“A pot is easily overturned. Or thrown.”

He stared at her, his cheeks burning like they were chasing embers through the spectrum. “Do I look the sort to play with my poop? Huh?”

She stuttered what might have become an explanation. Had he allowed it.

“Just because I’m small, doesn’t mean I’m a baby. Would you wrap these ‘things’ around a man-sized—” But he didn’t know what word to use. ‘Aliens and little fellows,’ that’s what Iron Man Ireson had said.

Blessed Bessy had opened her mouth. But closed it again and nodded.

“What, you do make them wear these!?” He pulled at the offending plastic. “By the cringe!”

“We have to collect it,” she said, very apologetic though not abashed. “It’s for the lab. It has to be analysed.”

He scrunched up his mouth and clenched his fists. He had to get out of this place.

She jotted what she explained were her observations of what he ate, how much, and if he asked for more.

She jotted again when he banged his head against the door. No handle, no visible lock, just an unmarked block of high-sheen metal.

She jotted when he pushed his ‘cot’ closer to the window. But the bed was way below the level of the windowsill and he still couldn’t see out. It didn’t take him long to solve that. He bounced on the bed till, woohey, with enough momentum gained he jumped and landed on the sill. That panicked her.

“Chill, Bessy. I’m an ace-climber, me.” He cursed at how quickly he’d caught her speech.

He craned sideways out of the window—that frightened her further, fair peeing herself. “Well look at this!” Four windows stacked like a ladder. He must be on the fifth floor. Haps a mite too far for him to jump it.

Blessed Bessy jotted on her clipboard whenever Klukelunnen spoke. He fast-jabbered a string of non-words and watched her try to keep up. She laughed when she realised the joke was on her. Then she jotted that too.

“But at least you speak English,” she said.

Oh, aye, he spoke English. And wasn’t that as well with the number of questions Iron Man Ireson asked him. Over. And over. But at least the irksome man only popped in in the morning.

Where was he from, Dr Ireson asked him. How did he get here? Did he have help? Did more of his people come with him? Was he the norm amongst his people, or was he the only size-challenged man? At first, Klukelunnen complied, in the hope he’d then be released. But next morning, the irksome Iron Man returned and asked the same cringing questions.

“Nah, Docky-Man” – he’d learned that from Bessy – “I answered those questions yester-morn. And I saw that you noted my answers then. So why ask me again?”

Klukelunnen knew the answer. Because Iron Man Ireson didn’t believe him.

Was Dr Ireson the professor’s servitor? Sure, must be, yeah? Nix.

“So, Bessy, this Docky-Man Ireson, he’s in the pay of Professor Angelus Margev, right?” Klukelunnen adopted a clued-up wise-guy’s stance like he’d seen on the Dooleys’ magic-movie-box.

“Yeah, like you’re winding me, huh? Like, who’s this professor geezer?”

Seemed Blessed Bessy didn’t know Angelus. But Klukelunnen figured it. Must be that the professor’s role now played in disposing of him, he’d bucked out. That suited Klukelunnen fine. But what to do about the Iron Man?

“Where were you born?” Docky-Man asked. “In which country? You know its name, I suppose?”

“Dolstone,” Klukelunnen repeated yesterday’s answer.

“Is that Cornwall?” the irksome doctor asked. Again.

“No, it’s chuffing Rock Wall. It’s a chuffing cave,” Klukelunnen was ready to pull out his hair.

Iron Man Ireson jotted on a clipboard that looked like Blessed Bessy’s, except hers was dark blue and his was black. Also, his had a cover that folded over to resemble one of those books Daisy had shown him.

“All right, we’ll leave that for now. Now, how did you get here? In a boat? Hidden in a crate?”

Klukelunnen thought of the trunk in the attic that held Mrs Dooley’s theatrical costumes. Was it possible he had arrived through that? Yet he distinctly remembered hurting his fingers as he dug them into the crevasses between the floorboards.

‘I told you. A spell went wrong. But you, you spell-less spawn of a black dawn, can’t get your gigantic head around that!”

Docky-Man Ireson nodded to Blessed Bessy who then scribbled again on her board.

“Sarcasm and anger will get you nowhere around here,” the doctor chided him.

“Neither will telling the truth,’ Klukelunnen snarled.

“That’s another we’ll try tomorrow,’ said the doctor. “Next, did anyone help you? Organise the transport for you, perhaps? Who? And who met you this end?”

The first time asked, Klukelunnen had answered “Grandma”, and “Fleur”, this being as close to an answer as he could come.

Next time he answered in an exaggerated long-suffering tone, “Nay, my kind and patient doctor. I did it all on my own.”

Although the doctor’s left-side gingery eyebrow rose, he nodded and noted it down. “That’s better. Now, did you come here alone? Or with, say, your friends or your kin?”

“Nah, neither friends nor kin. My cousins were expecting me to arrive at Gruff’s Cavern so how could they come with me?”

“Gruff’s Cavern,” Docky-Man Ireson repeated and nodded significantly to Blessed Bessy who scribbled away on her board. “And where is Gruff’s Cavern?”

Klukelunnen rolled his eyes in exaggerated fashion. “In Dolstone—how else would my cousins gain it? Oh, you want me to be more precise? So it’s part-way into Dolfernan, but we’ve never been called for the trespass.”

Every morning, that’s how it went. This morning Iron Man Ireson had started thumping on about his size. All apologetic of course. “Are you the only one in …” cough “… Dolstone of such…” cough “… diminutive size?”

“I’m a Stone; what other size should I be?”

“We’ve taken samples—to check for growth hormone disorder,” the doctor informed Blessed Bessy. “But I can’t help but think he’s one of those homo floresiensis. Oh, think if he is …?! We’ll be able to name our grants. Oh, but if news of this leaks … Why must the lab take so long with the results of his DNA test? Another three weeks. Three BLOODY weeks!”

Klukelunnen didn’t know about DNA. Nor what might happen following the results in three BLOODY weeks. But he did know what would happen if his presence here was leaked. He’d become ‘high profile’. Then he’d have Professor Angelus Margev attacking again with his wild accusations that he belonged to a cult that sacrificed babies (as if …). He needed to speak with Daisy. A word dropped to Blessed Bessy to say something to her ‘friend’ Dwayne, that Dwayne could repeat to Jase? And Dwayne would oblige because, despite the thing he was having with Bessy, Dwayne had the hots for Fleur. Now, what would the best word be? Help!?

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Dawn Lights

There are many advantages of starting a walk in the early morning. The bird calls that later fade away. The freedom from traffic and its noise. Misty horizons, full of enchantment. And the sun on the morning dew.

dew sparkled web

The early morning dew sparkles on this spider’s web: Photo 3rd September 2018

#2018picoftheweek: Lights

 

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High Security

GA12 by TheRoyalMen

Original image by The Royal Men; messed with by CP

Klukelunnen lay as still as the Stone he was. He scarcely breathed. With him scarcely a kitten-sized fellow, they’d easily miss him beneath the carelessly discarded bath towel. He honed his ears. But the densely fluffy fabric muffled all but the loudest of sounds … the creak of an opening door. And now they were near; Klukelunnen squeezed his eyes tight.

“I know what you’re saying, Dwayne,” said a hard-edged voice. “But the little wretch must be here somewhere.”

No, I’m not, I’m not, Klukelunnen pressed himself yet further into the floor, trying to make himself insignificantly small. If only he still had his magic, he could magic himself smaller than the glitter that speckled the floor, trodden in from Daisy’s room.

“But I tell you,” said another voice (Dwayne?), “I know the family, and if Fleur says the little fella’s gone and run off, then the little fella’s … I mean, just look at that hutch back there, all broken and …”

“Tush! Big bazookas are no guarantee of honesty.”

Klukelunnen wanted to nod but had to keep still. Even so, if Fleur had spun a misleading lie to keep him out of Anthropology clutches (by the cringe, that’s an amazement) then he owed Fleur a deed in return.

But a shame her unlikely efforts hadn’t worked. Not easily duped, that hard-edged man. He sounded determined to find Klukelunnen; like he wouldn’t give up searching till he’d pulled every seed out of Klukelunnen’s ‘doings’. He sounded like he might enjoy it, too, the nasty human. He was probably tall, and thin, and all sharp angles, with a beak for a nose. One of the professor’s personal servitors, without a doubt. Drat! Triple drat!

Klukelunnen quietened his breathing, quietened his thoughts. Shush. Footsteps. Leaving the bathroom. Two came in. Two gone out. The door clicked closed. By Granny’s Blessed Knickers … Klukelunnen let out his held breath and gasped in another. Gone. He was safe. At least for now.

He started to move, a slow push-up, a slow raise of his bum …

Slam!

Ouch! This man has nuts, you know.” Pointless holding quiet now with that granite-slab of a shoe pinning him down. As if the man wouldn’t know the difference between fluffy towel and squashed Klukelunnen.

“Dwayne!” the man called out, no release of pressure on Klukelunnen’s delicate parts.

The door wheezed open. Footsteps. Dwayne’s re-entry.

“Here, just plonk your foot here. No! Not that hard. Don’t want him damaged. A rarity, this.”

Klukelunnen was grateful for the reprimand if tardily applied. He wanted to curl around his maltreated maleness, to hold it—them—shield them, protect them from further abuse. But that mountainous boot still had him pinned. Grrr.

And what were they doing? He could hear unfathomable movements and metallic clicks.

“How much are you giving him?!” Dwayne’s outraged voice rapidly escalated in pitch. Anyone would think them his stones roughly stood upon.

“Have to make sure,” said the harsh-voiced man (probably the professor’s dangerous servitor). “Don’t want him escaping in transit. Be devilishly difficult to find him out there amongst the bushes.”

A muted pop sounded.

“Hey!” Dwayne squeaked.

And several things happened at once.

The clod’s heavy weight lifted.

A thud sounded loud in Klukelunnen’s well-muffled ears accompanied by a gust of midden-scented air.

The probable professor’s dangerous servitor screamed an unintelligible stream of hard-edged curses.

Klukelunnen seized his chance while the foot was removed. Up he pushed from the floor … to have a solid boot kick him full in the face.

He reeled. He sucked down the blood. But he didn’t give up. He was onto his feet—but the entangling towel brought him back down. He tried again, this time squiggling out from under it before he stood up. Done it! With a hand to cradle his painful parts, he hobbled and scuttled fast as he could to the again-open door.

“Oh no you don’t,” the nasty hard-voiced man shouted.

Another pop sounded.

Klukelunnen screamed as something sharp and piercing drove into his butt. The room began to waver around him. He clutched at the door, all fuzzy and light-headed, and yet … heavy …

*

Klukelunnen didn’t want to open his eyes. First, he wanted to know where he was. He had woken to noises most unfamiliar.

A loud tick tock.
A snuffle.
Feet pattering.
A squeak, squeak, squeak.
A rustle, rhythmically alternating loud and soft.
A bird—he thought it a bird—chirping.

Other noises, distant. Those at first had puzzled him until he remembered his jaunt in Daisy’s stifling bag. Traffic sounds.

At the same time he named the most prominent smell. A dog. A dog with bad intestines that occasionally farted. Phew! Keep that broiled beast away from me! But he’d no fear of the dog eating him alive, No, he’d be dead before that happened, dead from its ghastly gas.

Close to his nose he could smell … flowers? Or was it Daisy’s scented bath bubbles?

Other smells remained beyond his naming. Clean smells with tangy undertones.

And food. Cooked food, like the Dooley family ate: animal fats, animal meat. And the strong reek of cabbage.

So long as the dog didn’t come close, Klukelunnen was content to remain, unmoving, where he was. It was pleasant enough. Beneath him was something firm yet soft. Covering him was a fabric smooth and light. A bed, a human’s bed!

Panic seized. Not Fleur’s bed, please. But no, he remembered no clean smells from there, with tangy undertones. Her scents had been so thick in the air he had tasted them. Yuck!

Nah, nah, be still. No need to move. You don’t want to lose this comfort, multi-times better than the pink palace. And no need to run, no need to hide. But he did wonder where he saw.

Slowly, he became aware of something ‘unnatural’, that didn’t belong, on the back of his hand. What the grubby knickers was that? He cracked open an eye. A fine transparent tube affixed to a yellow dart-like thing disappeared beneath a large pink patch.

“What the …?” He jerked his hand away—or at least he tried to jerk it. But it seemed his body was still asleep.

“Hi, Doctor Ireson?” said a woman’s voice. “Yea, he’s now waking up.”

The squeaky sounds sounded again, growing louder, coming closer. The dog barked.

“Jacko, scat!” said the woman. “You’re not supposed to be in here; you’ll get me fired.’

The dog whined and from the sounds of it, slunk away.

Klukelunnen tried to turn his head, enough to see this squeaky-shoed female who now approached him. But his muscles were as flaccid as an unused pizzle.

“Hush,” said the woman. “Relax, all’s okay. You’re under sedation—fears you might be dangerous. I’m here to attend you and to make observations. Dr Ireson will explain it all when he gets here.”

A new noise sounded. Beeps. Six. They played out a pattern. Then a squish. A door opening?

The dog’s whine became an excited snuffle.

“Jacko, out!” ordered a deep-voiced man. “Bessy, how many times have I told you? We don’t allow dogs in the high-security unit, no matter how violent the man.”

Klukelunnen swallowed. High security? Violent? Dangerous? He groaned.

“Where …?” he managed to ask, though he still couldn’t turn his head.

“Where are you?” the man—Dr Ireson—completed his question. “Sorry, little fellow, but I can’t tell you that. Secret facility. For holding illegal aliens and the, um, likes of you until we can ascertain their, um. proper status and security risk.”

No! Klukelunnen let out a long groan. Could the dice roll more viciously against him? The pink plastic palace may have been an embarrassment but … High-security? Secret facility? He was locked away, and he didn’t know where.

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Asaric Tales e-book update #10

Asaric Tales update 10

September already; the year is closing on these updates. My first was 9th December 2017. So, what has this month brought, how much achieved?

Asaric Lies (Asaric Tales Book One)

It seems to have taken for ever, but in fact it’s under the year. On 18th August 2018 I made the last amendment Asaric Lies and with a sigh of relief tucked it in multiple storage against the day I’m ready to publish. And when will that be? Depends how long to takes to bring the remaining four books to print-ready state. But progress is definitely made.

Asaric Axis (Asaric Tales Book Two)

I’d like to thank those readers who have returned their comments and critiques for their speedy responses. Reading through them I see they’ve highlighted two troublesome issues which need (hmm) slight adjustments. But, problem: do I attend to that before moving on, or do I wait until everything’s in? As of today, there are two beta-readers with comments outstanding, and a kindly critiquer who says she’s about half-way through. I’m hoping all three will deliver before my next update. If I had nothing else to tie my time, I might work on it straight away. But since there’s another three books … yea, I think I’ll wait till the end of the month.

Asaric Skies (Asaric Tales Book Three)

At the last update I reported that I’d completed the read-through, chapter analysis and first revision of Asaric Skies and while happy with the plot, this third book is word-heavy. I was going to attack that this last month but then got waylaid into the final amendments for Asaric Lies. I’m glad that I did.

Meantime I have claimed my prize for hitting target in Camp NaNoWriMo back in April: the Windows version of Scrivener. (Please, when is the new version to be released? From the videos I’ve seen on YouTube the Mac version aces the Window’s version on every count.) Great, I thought, I’ll import Asaric Skies into Scrivener, and use it to identify the places where redundant words lurk. All very well, but first every chapter and every scene must be named. Ho-hum. Long story, but in the process, I went deeper into the analysis with the happy result that I can now see where to apply the pruning shears. So this is next on my agenda. Prune Asaric Skies.

I hope to have completed my gardening job by the next update, first weekend in October. I hope all the readers will have made their returns by then. I hope thereafter to work on the final rewrite of Asaric Axis (Asaric Tales Book Two). I hope I will still have keen beta-readers to help me with Book Three. I hope these hopes aren’t ‘some hopes’.

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