Monthly Archives: May 2011

The Mermaid Case


The moonlight shadows on the water trembled slightly, shivered by the pre-dawn breeze. “Not too fast, Eochaid. Not too fast. Wait for the wind to be still,” whispered Fintan.

My wet fingers were numb. I had a frozen snot stalactite forming on the end of my nose. “What are you whispering for, you daft old bodach,” I said, trying to stop my teeth from chattering. The icy water wanted about three inches before it would come fountaining over the top of my waders. It would probably drown me, or worse, let Fintan rescue me. He stood about 6’2″ in his bare feet and dirty white robe, so the water would be barely up to his underwear, if he ever actually wore any. I could always hope it would freeze his testicles off, and save me a lot of trouble in future. But I knew from bitter past experience I wouldn’t be that lucky.

“The fish feel the vibrations. And the king is older and wiser than all of them. It’s him I need,” whispered Fintan, his tone as tranquil as the sway of those robes in the river. Fintan doesn’t do waders. And he’s enough of a fish not to feel the cold. “He’s the only one that right for my working. The magic needs it.”

“It’s not just because you’re a poacher born, Fintan,” I muttered stepping forward cautiously into the ooze underfoot. “Alby’s fish market sells king salmon for seven dollars a pound, which would do for the spell and your fish dinner.”

It was full moon and I could see Fintan’s teeth gleam out of the acres of tangled face-lichen he calls a beard. “The magic is in the hunt, and in the blood in water. You want to find her, don’t you?”

I did. “That’s my job,” I growled stepping forward again, foot sinking slightly deeper, forcing me to stand on tip-toe… and there, half hidden by the slow swirl of dark water weed, the pattern of spots separated the great fish from the pebble bottom. I began to ever so glacially slowly raise the spear, tensing. And behind me, Fintan Mac Bochra, seer, shape-changer and magician, advisor to Kings and called the wise, began the chant for the living and the dead. Finally he said: “Get on with it, boyo.”

I plunged the spear downward, and, in a flash of silver and thrashing water, I pulled the fish up on the barbs. Blood dripped on the water…. and flowed upstream against the current, forming rune-letters in the old tongue. Nothing simple of course. It never was.

“You have your pointer, Eochaid,” said Fintan, “And I’ll have my breakfast,” he said gleefully, plucking the big rainbow trout off my spear.

“Let’s just get away from the Fish and Game boys first,” I said, heading toward the reedy bank, pointing at the bobbing torch coming towards us at a run.


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So put yourself in his shoes…

You’re an urban  teen boy 14 bordering on 15 soon.  You have to pack and go to stay with your Grandmother in the back of beyond. What do you put in your bag – you have fifteen kilos and 3 hours?


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Third person?

I’ve been wrestling with the sample chapters for a YA proposal, which in utter rebellion against my agent will be neither Urban Fantasy nor Military sf, nor a mish-mash between. It’s this new subgenre Contemporary remote island Fantasy, with which i hope to at least be one the rare participants in.

The awkward thing is that some (not a lot) of the book calls for points of view which are not that of the lead character. But it feels a lot stronger and more immediate in first person. Now I have written a few stories in first, most of my books in third, and one story (Jack – probably one of my best) in first-and-third. 

I suppose the answer is to write the first 2-3 chapters and see which works best to readers. (I HATE this part of proposals – get started and then leave it, and some editor may decide to CHANGE the original thrust of the book, but this is one I still feel would do better as a book-to-publisher sale and not book-to-kindle sale… those ALSO have to happen in this copious spare time and life I have. )

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Reeling, writhing and fainting in coils

 Ok I need another Blog like I need an extra hole in the head, but seeing as blogger went pear-shaped… This one is more about the writing side of my life, whereas the other will be about the self sufficiency side, and living on my island….

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