Not NaNo – Chateaux of the Night

This one needs rather a lot of work, but it’s an idea I”m kicking around. Please bear with me on Gus. I’ll be working on his dialect to make it proper cockney, but more research is required :).

Mortimer pinched the bridge of his thin, pale nose with two bony fingers and closed his eyes. He took a deep breath, not that he needed to, after all, Vampires didn’t need to breath. When he opened his eyes, the situation failed to improve. The small goblin butler that Mortimer regretted hiring, some decades ago now, stood a still as a statue, massive reflective eyes fixed up at him. In one hand, dangling to the goblin’s side was a smallish rubbish brush and in the other, held up like some kind of morbid trophy was a dust-pan heaped with ash.

With as much confidence and dignity as he could muster, Mortimer asked, “And that’s all that’s left?”

Gus turned his enormous eyes at the heap of ash on the dustpan then back up to Mortimer. “I got as much of ‘im as I could, Mort.”

“I’ve told you to stop calling me that!”

“Don’t see why, Mortimer is one of them pansy-posh names, innit? As I was saying before being so rudely interrupted, the wind kicked up an’ just started blowin’ ‘im about. It was a right pain in the ol’ bottle and glass, I can tell you.”

Mortimer gritted his pointed teeth. “I needed this to work.”

“An’ I needed a good Rogan Nosh, but ‘ere we are. Where do you want the brown bread ‘ere?” Gus asked, holding the dustpan a little higher.

“Just chuck him in the bin and fetch me another Alchemist.”

“I reckon you’ve killed ‘em all then, innit?”

Mortimer frowned at the goblin. “What do you mean killed them all?”

Gus shrugged, spilling a bit of the last alchemist on the floor. “I didn’t make ‘em into vampires an’ march ‘em into the daylight.”

“No, not that,” Mortimer said shaking his head. “I mean the thing about there not being more. What do you mean there aren’t any more?”

“Ah, yeah, that bit,” Gus paused. “No, this was the last one. I reckon your rubbish bin is got the most bits of alchemists in the world in.”

“That can’t possibly be.”

“We’ve been at it for about an ‘undred years. I expect it is. This one took me a month to track down”

Mortimer tipped his head back. “I’m so tired of all of this skulking about in the dark.”

“That’s the lot of a vampire, innit?” Gus asked. “Why not just enjoy it?”

“I can’t enjoy it!” Mortimer exclaimed, wishing there was some sort of table or shelf or something to pound his fist on. “You know what I want?”

“I do. You’ve only told be about an ‘undred times.”

“I wanted to be a –”

“Painter of landscapes,” Gus intoned.

Mortimer balled his fist in front of him. “Painter of landscapes,” he said. “And you know what landscape painters can’t do?”

“Paint landscapes in the dark.” Gus replied quietly, audibly settling into the impending monologue.

“All I ever wanted in life–.”

“Just a reminder, you’re undead now.”

“Was,” Mortimer continued, “to paint landscapes, and you can’t very well do that when you burst into flames at the very sight of the sun!”

 “I’ve been telling you for ages, you just need to lean into the dark lord of the knight thing. It’s what you are and I reckon you could get pretty good at it.”

“Alright, fine,” Mortimer said, “maybe I’d like to go out and watch a soccer game.”

Gus showed a mouthful of horrible, crooked teeth and growled.

Mortimer rolled his eyes. “Football match, you happy?”

“It’s better, I can’t abide that horrible American word. You know every country in the world, the goblins, the trolls, all the other vampires, and even the whole lot of were-people call it football?”

“And yet you can abide fetching me totally unworkable alchemists.”

“You know they wouldn’t burst into flames if you didn’t keep turning them into vampires, right?”

“They would be turning right back into regular alive people if they got their elixirs right, wouldn’t they? It’s not my fault they’re rubbish alchemists!”

“Still no excuse for calling it soccer.”

“Just dispose of old max there and work on getting me another alchemist.”

Gus turned around. “Right-o, I’ll just pop an ad in the newspaper.”


Image by Anja from Pixabay

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Long time since my last check-in

Word update on a chalkboard with a 12-hour clock over the letter 'A'.

Wow, it’s been nearly a year since my last blog, and I know I’ve been fairly absent on Twitter and intermittent at best on Facebook. Except for the past few days, I’ve been super active. Largely because I’m reasonably confident this is the last time I’ll have an opportunity to hear or hear from people. As you might imagine with all of that non-posting on various social media sites (including my own blog!), I’ve concluded the best thing to do is get on a NEW social media site – Mastodon (@daveskoster@mast.to). Less because I want or necessarily will abandon Twitter, but as of today, it’s looking like Twitter will be a pay-to-play system. I take this to mean that I’d need a proper platform and to pay $100 a year or so just to have my Tweets heard. That doesn’t even address the real issue with trying to connect with other writers and also the random cool folks I’ve gotten to know over the past few years. I think the quote from Elon Musk was: If you’re not verified, you’re going to have to scroll very far down the page to be found… “cool”

I won’t be deleting my Twitter account, I’ll only just be logging in enough to keep my handle alive and Tweeting some – though, it’s hardly worth it if the platform is now just a venue to listen to people with money and big political agendas. Maybe we could call it a billionaire’s social media?

Anyhow, I don’t have a lot to update with. I have been thinking about writing projects, but between school and work, I can’t devote much time to developing those. Heck, I’ve hardly got three minutes to string together for myself, and when I do, it’s for stuff like checking social media real quick :), or basic stuff, like brushing my teeth.

Anyhow, if you follow me on Twitter and I seem to disappear, I’m not gone, just elsewhere for now.

Cheers!


Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

Time to get back to the books

Happy (belated) new year! For the past several years, I’ve written some type of new-year blog post about my writing goals. The posts usually involve burning something I’ve been struggling with or that I need to move away from and what I’m looking forward to. This year, I didn’t really spend a lot of time writing. I did put in a bit of time on the sequel to Wine Bottles and Broomsticks but hit some snags that I didn’t feel I could solve easily. I suppose I could’ve burned that, but I also haven’t given myself any goals for writing. Instead, I’m focusing on getting my master’s degree finished. The past almost 12 months have been focused on work, prepping for school, doing school, and trying to unwind where I could. Come January 1, I felt I had nothing I could burn and I certainly didn’t set any writing goals for the year. To be clear, none of this means I’ve given up on writing. I just have a different focus for a little while.

I think I’ve said this before on this blog, but I realized a few years ago that writing wasn’t ever going to pay my bills. For most writers, it doesn’t. That’s why I have to go to grad school. Not because I need a better job, but because I’m not at all confident that the education and skills I bring to the table will continue to sustain my career without significant augmentation. (I’ve got a whole rant here about companies bitching about not being able to hire and not bothering to call qualified candidates – or pay wages that make any kind of sense at all, but I won’t treat you to that) So, here I am, readying myself to start a second semester tomorrow. Even as I write this, I’m starting to get the introductory e-mails to the two courses I’ve signed up for. It’s going to be 20-40 hours a week on top of a full-time job and parenting. This is nothing I ever expected I’d be doing, but here I am.

What I really wanted to say with this post though is that yes, school starts tomorrow and I’m going to be thinking about little else besides that and work, but I’m not done writing. What’s more, I think the break from writing to focus on other aspects of life has been good. Over the past few days, the last of my winter break, I’ve started to seriously get my writing motivation back. By the time I’m done with this degree, I suspect I’ll be ready to tackle several projects, and having gone through the rigor of grad school is certain to help me develop the discipline required to allocate time to writing, and the focus to deal with problems effectively. In the end, no matter what I do still won’t result in my turning my writing into anything profitable, but I’ll be more confident about my ‘day job’ and so it’ll be easier to remain focused when I do have time to write.

Anyhow, those are my thoughts, I expect it’ll be a minute before I’m able to get back out here to blog again, but I will be back.