Writing Update: The Sisters’ Sequels

The hope had been to release The Cousins Tales in the Autumn and The Rosemen at Christmas.   As Dianne grew more fatigued during the summer, she suggested that we make the most of the summer holiday together, and pick up writing once the academic year began.  It seemed a wonderful idea, and it proved more valuable than we could have imagined.

With her passing in September, the plan to put the writing off will ultimately slow the releases.  But I am now prepared to trudge on with them.   Both books are filled with her co-authorship and she will still be felt in their pages.  Her spirit is to be found throughout the project.  I will post new publication dates as they become clearer.

Three additional titles had begun to form as off–shoots of the first three books.  She will be present in these as well, though her active contribution to their content will be less.  Her raw ideas for some other projects, as well as ideas from her notebooks may well find their way to print as well.

I recently found her bucket list.  Yes, she had a literal one in a notebook.  It had on it “publish a novel.”  I am so glad I helped her fulfill that wish and dream.

Our first book, The Sisters Tales is available on Amazon.





Memento: A Cousins Tale

Treasure Map, Map, Old, Paper, Parchment, Antique

Image by Prawny from Pixabay

For much of his childhood Wayne had accompanied his father, Seymour, on the weekly rounds to the Alleys and High Guilds laundries to safely take the weekly profits to Aunt Gwendolyn’s vault in the Parliament Square premises.  Though the purpose of their visits was well known in the seedy Alleys District, only once did a fool hearty would-be thief attempt to rob the huge warrior.  “Would-be thief” is an apt description, for now the man has a regular spot on the corner of Low Guilds where he shakes his cup to passers-by, the eleven breaks to the bones of his legs never quite healing properly.

In recent times, Wayne had begun to occasionally make the rounds on his own.  This was one of those occasions.  His mother, Honey was still uncomfortable with the young man making these solo visits, so had insisted that the day and time of the collections be varied.

Wayne had protested that the precaution was unnecessary, as he had total confidence in his own skills.  But mothers being mothers, he relented.  Because of this “arrangement” Wayne arrived at the Alleys not long after the Friday opening.

His “Auntie Thyme’s” daughters, Rosemary and Saffron were just bringing the huge wash cauldrons to the boil as he arrived.  Both teenagers gave him a smile through the steam as he entered.

“Good morning, Wai Yen,” Saffron said drying her hands and going to join him at the counter.

“Morning Saffy,” he said giving her a peck on the cheek. “Is the bag ready yet?”

“No, Mother’s getting it ready now,” the girl replied.  “You can go on back if you like.”

Wayne moved around the counter, and stopping to give Rosie a kiss, then moved on to the back rooms.  In all his visits to the “original” wash house, he had never been in the back rooms before.

As he entered the central “office space” he saw Thyme stacking copper coins in neat piles and counting them before raking them into the leather satchel.  She was sitting at a table that was too large for the task at hand, it having once been his Aunt Thilde’s work bench for fletching arrows.

“Wai Yen, dear,” she said looking up. “You’re early.”

“Mum, insisted,” he said with a sigh.

“I will only be a few minutes,” Thyme said, returning to her count.

Wayne wandered about the small space, and then noticed a framed piece of parchment hanging between the doors of the two sleeping chambers.  He leaned close to inspect it, to discover it was a map of the south of the kingdom, and of the old disputed lands.  It was keyed and annotated in two languages, and bore an impressive seal of a Ralulee sultan.

“Is this THE map?” the young man asked excitedly.

“Yes.  Your Aunt Gwendolyn put it there.  She said she was ‘Saving it for a rainy day’.”

“May I take it with me?” he asked.

“Well . . .” Thyme began.

“I am on my way to see her, and I promise to take it straight to her,” he interrupted excitedly.

“In that case, I guess it might be alright.”

As soon as Thyme sealed the money bag, Wayne took the map from the wall and grabbing the leather bag and rushed from the wash house, hesitating only for a moment as reached the front door and called out, “Love you,” over his shoulder.



Sunday Writing Prompt “Idioms”Saving it for a rainy day

The Wailing: A Cousins Tale


Jaffa, Night, Israel, Architecture

image: Pixabay

There was a disturbance somewhere on Grope Lane.  The proprietors of several of the licensed premises had complained of an eerie wailing which was putting off their customers.  Roseman Bryan Fuller went to Easy Virtue House to investigate the complaint.

“It’s coming from down Welcome Alley,” the buxom Madame Fantasia said. “You should see to it right away.  It is a dreadful racket.”

The constable made his way to the alley, and as he neared it, there was indeed a terrible hollow wail that seemed to echo in a deep unworldly tone.  It sent shivers up his spine despite of all that he had seen in his many years in the Watch.  Whatever it was, it was not anything he had come across before.

He drew his truncheon and tightened his belt before rounding the corner.

Though Welcome Alley was usually fairly busy at this time of the evening with several free-lance or semi-retired “ladies” plying their trade there, Fuller found it abandoned.  The usual mix detritus common to the backstreets of the Alleys District filled his nostrils with unpleasant sensations, but he continued into the dark passage anyway.

The wailing became louder, and echoed the more as he approached a disused well at the centre of the litter strewn passage.  From it came the sound, sending new waves of chill up his back.  When he reached it, he noticed that a new length of rope had been put onto the beam.  He returned his truncheon to his belt, and then began to crank the mechanism upwards.

As the rope shortened the eerie wail, echoed less and became easily identifiable as the crying of a new born infant.  As the bucket came into view, Fuller could see the naked form of a baby girl in it, the cord and afterbirth still attached.   The child’s mother had presumably tried to drown the babe, but the bucket had floated or come to rest on the amassed rubbish at the well-bottom.

Fuller retrieved the child and carefully wrapper her in his cloak.  He then headed straight to Breena Bright’s new hospital.

He was surprised when found one of the attendants standing at the door, as if waiting for his arrival.  At this hour even this haven of hope in the dark district should have been barred from within.

“Come in Constable,” the attendant said.  “The Prophetess said to expect you.”

As he stepped in another nurse approached him with a clean white blanket, and took the baby from his strong embrace.

“Miss Bright would like to see you,” the first attendant said. “Please follow me.”

Constable Fuller followed her into an office in which “the Prophetess” was sat whispering to some unseen auditor.

“Ah, Senior Constable,” she said looking up.  “I trust that you were not too traumatised by your discovery.”

“Well – I um,” he began. “No matter, it’s all seemed to have worked out now,” he said.  “But tell me, what will happen to the little thing?” he asked with a clear concern.

“She will be checked over, and then sent to one of our orphanages,” Breena said. “Why do you ask?”

“Well, I kind of, you know – feel responsible,” he said looking down at his boots.

Breena fell into a kind of trance, and then said as if to someone else, “Fascinating, I shall.”

“What?” the Roseman asked with obvious confusion.

“Constable, what is your name?” Breena asked.

“Senior Constable Fuller, Ma’am,” he said.

“No, your given name,” the healer corrected.

“Bryan,” he replied.

“Well Bryan, there has been a change of plans.  Little Bryana will be staying here with me.  You may visit her whenever you would like.”

Fuller didn’t know exactly why, but the announcement sent a warm feeling through his entire being.

“Now Senior Constable Bryan Fuller, if you don’t need anything else from us tonight, I am sure you have duties to attend to.”




Honey: A Cousins Tale

Image result for asian woman pixabay

image: Pixabay

Seymour de Klod strolled into the laundry house at the edge of Parliament Square.  He had anticipated leaving his washing with his “sister” Gwendolyn or her regular helper Cristina.  He was surprised, therefore, when a petite woman, barely a head taller than the counter greeted him.

“Who are you?” he asked hesitantly, then looked around the room to make sure he was in the right place.

“I am Han Ni,” the little woman replied.  “You must be Seymour.  I was told to expect you,” she said in a thick Sea Lands accent.

Just then Gwendolyn came from the back room wiping her hands on a hand towel.

“Seymour, My Lovely – I see you’ve met Han Ni,” she said with a broad smile.

The huge warrior placed his bundle of washing on the counter and then stepped through the hatchway and gave Gwendolyn a hug.  As he did, he shot Han Ni a cautious glance and whispered to the Gwendolyn, “Is she another sister?”

“No Sweetheart,” she whispered.  “She is my newest laundress.”

“She’s very little,” he observed. “And pretty,” he added blushing.

Gwendolyn was not sure she had ever seen Seymour blush before.  She patted his arm and said in a conversational voice, “Seymour – this is Han Ni from Shang-Han in the Sea Lands.  Han Ni – this is my big brother, Seymour.”

Han Ni gave Seymour a courteous bow in the Sea Lands fashion.

He strolled over to her and offered a huge hand, “I am glad to meet you, Honey.”

She hesitantly shook his hand, giving a quizzical look towards Gwendolyn.

“Sorry,” Gwendolyn mouthed.

Despite this, “Honey” stuck and soon it was how she became known within the capital.

Seymour seemed to “stick” as well, and within a year, the massive axeman of Dunes War fame and the tiny, Han Ni, were wed.  A year later their son, Wai Yen was born.



The Mirror and the Keys: A Cousins Tale

Image result for old keys

Maya looked into her mirror and took in the image of a beautiful, honey-skinned woman who seemed no more than thirty.

The summer solstice already? she thought. How many birthdays is that?

She really wasn’t sure.  She knew she had been born while her father, Garmaya, was the court mystic and chief advisor to King Sanyana of the Far Lands.  But she, or anyone else for that matter, couldn’t remember exactly which of the seventeen Sanyanas he had first served.

Maya had been born with her mother’s beauty and her father’s talents.  It was while still a girl of four or five, that she first displayed the ability for divination, when she correctly named the place where the king’s favourite hunting knife had fallen from his saddle during the royal hunt.  By age nine she had begun small scale conjurings under the tutelage of her father.

It was a terrible day for her when her mother died, her entire world seemed to change over night.  Soon after, the devastated young woman was left to feel that she had no time to grieve properly.  The pressures on her to rise up and manage the household affairs previously conducted by her mother, were overwhelming.

In an act of defiance she gathered what she saw as necessary belongings and then departed into the night.  She found herself on the road west, and never looked back.

She spent the next decade in Ralulee lands, and then attached herself to a traveling fair making her living as a fortune teller.  By the time she arrived in the kingdom, she had adopted her trademark wardrobe of green sarees, and was quickly becoming known as Maya the Green, or just “the Green One.”

But that was over thirty years ago.  Maya, the Green One, seemed ageless.  Her raven hair, hazel eyes, and clear complexion showed no sign of the ravages of time.  In fact, the only things to mar her otherwise perfect countenance were a few faded scars from an adventure she had undertaken twenty-five years before.

She closed the covering panels of the mirror and adjusted the folds of her garment before entering into her salon on the upper floor of the Two Axes, the tavern run by her “brother” Seymour.

Seymour was still a powerful man, the hero of both war and adventure, but he was growing old.  Now in his fifties he was greying, and life as a “bouncer,” rather than warrior had allowed him to grow a little plump about the middle.

He and his wife, Han Ni, were loving towards her, and left her largely to get on with her own life.  It was good however to have the sense of family within the inn.  In addition to Seymour and “Honey” there was their son, Wayne.  Her “sister,” Star also lived in the complex with pleasant apartments adjoining the stables.

Life is good, she thought to herself with a smile.

Then as she tossed her room keys upon the table in her salon, her expression changed.  She stared at the configuration, and then picked the keys up and tossed them on the table in a deliberate action.  The keys fell in exactly the same pattern.   Things were about to change.