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Archive for March, 2011

That was a quick week. I actually finished A Trolling We Will Go last Thursday. Then started editing it right away. I also started Trolling Down to Old Mah Wee, book 2 in the Trolling Series.

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Here is part of A Trolling we Will Go which is now available on Amazon (Sales were already 3 units this am.)


Chapter 1

“Humphrey, best come over here son. I be needing to speak to you.” Humphrey looked up from where he was stacking the wood he had been cutting. The man talking to him was not his father, for his father had been dead a very long time. Sheriff Daniel had kept him from an orphanage in the city and had helped him be raised by the families in Gladeton. Now Humphrey was the woodsman of the village. Near enough a town now, and needing a second woodsman if the growth continued. So many families that he could not keep track of all the names. More than three thousand, said Michael who handled the post for Gladeton and all this part of the Kingdom Valley of Torahn.

So many families that Torahn’s ruling body, the Council of Twenty-One, since there was no longer any king these last fifty years, had authorized a second post officer to help Michael. And Michael was a fit man in the prime of his life.

Humphrey said, “Aye Sheriff, how can I help you this day.” Sheriff Daniel always said he had been friends with Humphrey’s father. The Sheriff said that they were of an age, and the Sheriff was now nearing fifty. The gray in his beard and hair, Sheriff Daniel said, he had earned.

“Got word from Torahn city today. The Council says it needs men to go up to the Old Forest and patrol. The Sheriff of Forest’s Edge is a friend and he wrote me also saying things were rather peculiar now.” Forest’s Edge was north and east of Gladeton, and it was the closest town to the Old Forest which fringed the Teantellen Mountains.

Humphrey always liked the ancient elf way of naming them, for humans called them the Tall and Lofty Mountains which was not near as charming. The Old Forest was called Karasbahn in elvish, though Humphrey was sure that only a handful of the families in Gladeton would know that.

“It’s bad is it? How many of us are going to go, then. Who will cut wood for the village when I am gone.” Sheriff Daniel had thought things might be turning worse and knew Humphrey would be one of the militia who would have to leave if need be. He had asked Humphrey as early as Fall to work all day stockpiling wood, or find a bride. Married men were taken to serve after the unmarrieds.

It had been easier to chop wood. Most girls in Gladeton thought Humphrey stocky and slow of thought. The light brown hair that he kept cut close and framed his brown eyes, revealed a strong dimpled chin, cheeks that were rosy when he had just one ale, and were like two little balls when he laughed, which was often enough.

“We’re sending about twenty of you lads for now, but I am sure they will want more before all is said and done. My friend wrote that the Elves and Goblins, in the Old Forest have never given them as much trouble as they begun to have this last year, and Winter just over. If they are hungry up north like we are here, then it’s going to be bad. Worse I fear than the Council understands.”

Humphrey knew that the Sheriff wouldn’t be telling this to the other men going. He was being treated special for Daniel had always cared for him. “I thank you for telling me. Should have taken a bride, eh,” Humphrey smiled as he said it.

“I am not sure when this all over, that would have done you any good. I am not sure I won’t be going to the Old Forest as well, or the Tall and Loftys. I am hoping the Giants don’t stir.”

Humphrey nodded, “It has been the Winter for it, that is sure. When do I go? When do I and the others leave.”

Daniel shook his head and Humphrey knew the man was not pleased, “I saved the telling last for you. I’ve known you long and know you can say your goodbyes quickly to any you choose to. You and the others leave in the morning. I’ll have maps, food and some coin for you. Least we can do if we are sending you all as our representatives. You’ll leave early, a couple hours after sunrise. Peter, Han’s son will come and work the wood here. With all you have done, he need not do much chopping to keep the town supplied You’ll find your croft waiting for you when you return.”

Humphrey nodded and shook the man’s hand. He felt the Sheriff did not want to say ‘if he returned.’

They had discussed what he needed to take. The leather militia harness and the chest piece of chain he had of his father. The sword he practiced with when he worked amongst the militia twice each week in warm weather, and once each week during the cold winter. His best pair of boots, and he pressed tight his second best, for with marching and fighting, boots wore out quick. All his socks as well. Cold feet, and he would be dead long before he reached any patrolling in the Old Forest that the Council of Torahn wanted done.

Sturdy bedrolls and a kit for mess. Needle and thread, his vaguest memory of his mother was her darning clothes for him and his father. Then the last piece of equipment he had would be the axe. Not the ones he chopped the wood with. Or the greater ones he felled trees with. The war axe.

A little longer than Humphrey was tall, and Humphrey was two inches taller than six feet. It had been forged by Majister Burns, the blacksmith. Everyone laughed believing his name was from the flayed flesh he got in his own fires, but Humphrey had watched him work often and never seen ought but the occasional spark fly and hit the man.

He and Majister Burns were standing next to each other on the stoop of The Crowing Rooster, one of the four taverns of Gladeton, each having their jack of beer when a party of dwarves marched by. Twelve, a full dozen. One though was armed with an axe that was no plain weapon. Double headed with the blades curving in more than a half moon on each side.

“Ha, do you think you could wield such a weapon.” Majister Burns was half jesting but for all that Humphrey was stocky and slow of speech, he was very fast when he used an axe to cut wood, or practiced with a blade during militia duty.

“It would have to be longer to be of any use to me of course. Perhaps a haft so high and thick so that when swung it would have power to it. A thin haft will snap.” Humphrey used his hands to show what he meant.

“Boy, you don’t think I know about hafts?” The man made all of the ones he used. “I was making a joke but you think you can swing something like that, then I’ll make you one just to see it.” A half year ago, just when Sheriff Daniel had said things sounded strange near the Old Forest and asked him to cut more wood, Majister Burns gave him the axe.

Two weeks later at militia training none of his friends could stand against him, and even the veteran soldiers of the garrison who gave the instruction had a time of it. Gladeton was a quiet village and they had not twenty men for the garrison. Most having seen their full term of service and with families had looked for a soft posting. By the end of two twelths, none of the soldiers either could stand against Humphrey and his double bladed axe.

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Another book bites the dust. The Fastest Love on Earth finished at just over 98,200 words. Time of course for the next. This will be the first in my Short Shorts series, A Trolling We Will Go.

But to date we are near 400K words for the year. Still at a pace of 40K per week. The beginning of the third chapter of The Fastest Love on Earth is posted here for review:

3) The Venture is a Great Success

The storm had not helped his disposition, nor the actions of his brother. His sullen mood was enough to try anyone’s patience. He did have a mind to cut him off of the two thousand a year he allowed him. His inheritance from their father was a mere three hundred and Kevin made up the difference out of his own goodness.

It was near midnight as he sat in the drawing room of his Liverpool home with Fawkes and drank to put the day behind him. “I suppose you will tell me that it could have been worse.”

“I would but you know that to be true,” Sir Horatio said. “Besides it is Hampton’s job to always be telling us what we already know to be true.”

Kevin laughed, “Indeed that is so. I thought that Bartholomew and his actions were horrendous, we are fortunate that we did not take Baron Hampton from his pleasures in Town for this farce.”

The room was comfortable and there was not room for many more in it. Perhaps three others. It was not a house for entertaining greatly. Six could sit at the dining table. It was designed to lodge the Earl and a very few others when he had business in Liverpool as he did. Just as the Manchester house was designed for a similar purpose. He had not even changed the wall coverings of those who he had purchased the houses from.

Now that the railroad was complete, he might sell the homes, or having no need to venture north so often any longer, lease them for long terms. He had trained four men so that if he chose he could invest in other endeavors of this railway sort. Those men had near all found something better to do that day. Kevin knew it was because they feared to meet his brother. He did not treat his hirelings like servants but men whose opinions he had come to respect and trust, else they would not be embarked on new railways and ventures that would see England embrace the new age that was come.

Bartholomew treated all men that were beneath him stature whether by one slight rank, or by generations of lord to commoner, as if all were peasants. Kevin loved his brother as he should, but most times found the boy exasperating and wished to box his ears even though a man grown near thirty.

“Yes, I have no doubt that were Hampton here we should hear a litany of complaints against the day as if each were your fault, and it would be repeated constantly. A small miracle that he remained in Town. In the end though, you must be commended for you did try to talk to Wellington and convince him beforehand not to attend or make a spectacle of the day.”

Kevin let out a brief laugh, “Ha, did you see the band trudging back from when we left them in Parkside. Still walking when we passed them and we finally arriving over six hours later than we thought we would. Ten hours of travel to do what, seventy miles. Certainly could ride that should I wish to.”

Horatio shook his head, “But you would not have been able to carry six hundred people to do so as this day proved could be done. And were people not throwing things at the trains, or standing at the tracks we would have arrived considerably sooner. Even on time should the tragedy not have struck Mister Huskisson or those two engines colliding. No brakes, that is something that I should laugh at. Some of your partners were not thinking well this day.”

“I do not know if I shall ever laugh at the memory of this day. Nothing good came of it, I am sure,” Kevin said.

Horatio did laugh, “Well on that you are wrong. Very wrong and you will own to it. Lady Rockingham came of this day and that was very good indeed. Were I you, I would not try and deny it.”

Kevin looked at the decanter he had placed on the low table between them and then reached for it, pouring and offering for Horatio who shook his head. “I shall not argue there but what was the woman thinking? To bring children out on this day and with only a nurse, no male chaperone. It is not done? Did she expect that Stafford was to be that person? I lose respect for the man every time I think of him.”

“You fault him too much for many things I am sure that he is not at all responsible for. I shall grant you the clearances for the man was heartless then, but he does much else that supports the nation. You both have spent your wealth on today’s endeavor and without you it should not have been done. To be the first nation to host these steam locomotives must make us the envy of every other nation.”

Kevin knew that some of that was very true. But one must have a nemesis and Stafford fit the bill so well. “I shall spend some time reconsidering my feelings for the man. I expect though that I shall hold him to blame more than most for the way this day turned out. They all waned to make the day a spectacle and did not think that we should allow our opening to be something without fanfare. Perhaps history will mark me wrong and make the events of the day momentous. I for one though am quite glad that they are over.”

Horatio nodded, “I agree with that sentiment, now more of that excellent whisky and we shall talk of a pleasanter subject. You can not blame Lady Rockingham for her joining the adventure this day. It must be the grandest thing in all the north and you saw how the two young boys so much wanted to be a part of it.”

Dorchester smiled, “Well Lord Peter assuredly. Very nice young gentlemen. You remember the father of course?”

“Man died owing me ten pounds. It is in the betting book. I naturally consider it nothing and would not worry the widow. Didn’t even think to mention it but it shall serve as a topic of conversation when next we meet. Not that I desire the money, just the ability to renew the acquaintance,” Horatio mused on the subject.

“Rockingham did not owe me such but he certainly was a man I would give the cut direct to and had on occasion. I suppose I heard he was married though I have never met the lady until today. He did not flaunt her in society as he did his mistresses and other women.”

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It has not been many days at all and now we have reached the conclusion of 200 pages of The Fastest Love on Earth.

I am at chapter 10 in the writing, having just seen the government of the PastedGraphic-2011-03-4-13-33.jpg Duke of Wellington fall. He did not heed the call for Reform and thus was doomed.

He was followed by PastedGraphic1-2011-03-4-13-33.jpg Earl Grey, and he had in his cabinet PastedGraphic2-2011-03-4-13-33.jpg Lord Palmerston who would later also become Prime Minister. Palmerston, or Pam serves a purpose in my writing this tale for he lived in Romsey, the location where our Hero too has his home.

Since Monday writing has taken us 100 pages, and for the month of February, just the weekend remains, we are at 517 pages. 357,206 words for the year so far.

Here is the beginning of chapter 2.

2) The Worst Accident Imaginable

The step to the ground was a longer climb then when they were along side the landing at Crown Street Station. Lord Dorchester offer his hand but Claire knew the step would require more and with her eyes directed his to her waist. She did not want to say that his helping her to land firmly on the ground by his lifting her would be appreciated but she knew she was still svelte and that it would be little trouble for him to do so.

“Just as if we were at a dance,” she said lightly and he understood reaching up to grasp her about the waist and then he lifted her. She could not feel his hands but she felt through her corset the pressure that he applied and thought it had been years since she had felt so. Rockingham would have lifted her but he had little desire to act as her lover once they had married. The moment she was in the air, not even two seconds passing, she felt free of all conventions, just as the wind rushing at them on these new fast conveyances had made her begin to feel, Lord Dorchester completed the feeling.

She had married eight years before after knowing Rockingham for all of two months at her first season. She was now twenty four. Sitting with her parents at Almacks her very first week in London and Rockingham came up, asked for an introduction. When that night was over she had been compliment after compliment from the Marquess. Later she learned that they were all meaningless. He had been told to get a wife that morning from his mama and determined that she was the most handsome of the ladies at Almacks with a position in society that he could marry. He was not looking for a bride to bring money to the marriage bed, he had enough of his own.

She was bought and sold like a piece of cloth at the milliners. He looked over the wares that night and chose her for qualities other than whatever she possessed of thought and intellect. She had been so mistaken believing that was the reason that he had wooed her. She had been a fool and after Maxim was born, he took his attentions elsewhere. All he wanted then of her was to be pleasant at the dinners he hosted.

The allowance he gave her though Rockingham may have thought bought her silence. He was wrong. It brought her disappointment. He went to his mistresses and whores and suggested that should she want a lover she should take one. She however was by his side the last two months of his life as he died of consumption. She wanted love, something she knew she had not had, and was always amazed when men sought to speak so to her, men whom she did not encounter nearly enough as they spent most of the year at the Marquess’ estate at Gateacre here on the outskirts of Liverpool.

Now suspended in the arms of a man who had shown such kindness to the boys she remembered her old schoolgirl wishes for just such a man. Handsome, strong of character, kind to children, and assuredly rich. Nothing was ever wrong with marrying a rich man her father had told her. That was why the Baron Markham had been so easily swayed to allowed the marriage with Rockingham.

When her husband had died she found that he was indeed wealthy. Enough that they had ten thousand a year and three great estates and a house in London. But she had no desire to raise her boys spoilt as there father had been. She thus came north to the smallest of the estates. Society did not live in Liverpool and it had been three years since she had been to Town. Her parents urged her to return to them in the south and sometimes she thought to do so, but they had allowed her to marry the man who had kept her chained to a loveless and embarrassing marriage. She still had not forgiven her father.

“Thank you my lord.” She said to Dorchester as she landed on the ground.

“A pleasure and as you have said, just like a dance. Though I have not been to one these few years.”

“You do not dance?” She asked as they walked to the carriage in front. Others were doing so as well it seemed.

“I do, just not recently. I suppose I should do so again.”

She nodded and thought about it then asked something else instead. Dancing was too intimate a subject to speak of to the handsome man. “These leaflets that you distributed said we should not leave the carriage but look at the water tower from safety there.”

“Yes, we advised that for most will not know what is about here. We have five lines for we think we will connect to other rails as well, such as the Bolton and Leigh which is already in operation.”

“Then you are not the first railway? I can not keep track for this is something that Peter does.”

They were almost to where the Marquess of Stafford stood at the carriage door with the Duke of Wellington discussing the watering tower it seemed. “They carry freight alone as do a few others. I believe the distinction for our train is the longest, the fastest and the first for passengers. Now here, let us get your cousins attention for as the leaflet does discuss should other trains come by it may unnerve you. Here, Stafford, I say Stafford, come I have Lady Rockingham here who is keen to say her hellos.”

Stafford turned and so too did the Duke, “Why this lovely woman is lady Rockingham and you escort her Dorchester? To be young again and have such pleasures, eh Stafford. It is a pleasure to make your acquaintance but did you not ask for Stafford? Dorchester I am the Prime Minister, do you not think I deserve preferment when presenting such a beauty?”

She knew the Prime Minister was teasing but in a nice friendly way. He was in a very good mood from all the crowds that had been cheering their progress along the line. Claire fussed with her bonnet, for there was a light drizzle just then. “Oh, will you allow me Lady Rockingham,” Lord Dorchester said, “Your Grace, make way there for I shall hand her ladyship up to the carriage that she may get out of the rain until we return to our own carriage.” He then did so and once more she felt the pressure of his hands squeeze her in her corset as she was lifted to this much more opulent carriage.

“Why you travel well here indeed. We are surely in steerage behind you,” She joked.

“We do. Much better than on campaign, eh Dorchester?” The Duke said.

“Certainly much better than I remember Spain to be, your grace,” Lord Dorchester replied. “Look at all these men who are about the tracks. I shall have to see that they remember we have not advised that it is safe unless they know what they are about. I shall return in a moment.” He turned and went off quickly to attend to all. The Duke then said something she was sure indicating he wished to sit for a moment and the Marquess of Stafford remained to speak to her.

“You have done will with Dorchester to guide you and your boys. He understand well what this all about. He and Mr. Sandars. They seem to have a vision for this.”

“Then why cousin did you invest so much money in the venture?” She asked. Peter had been ready to write their man of business to purchase shares as well but she had told her son that if it succeeds she would instruct him to do so. But not until then.

“I have a vision for the growth of capital my dear. I suspect Dorchester does also and it is why he takes a dislike to me, but then younger men often do to we who are older for little good reason. I well remember having done so. But tell me, you have made a conquest in this hour of travel. I would quip that it must be the fastest love affair ever, but I do not know that anything was set to subdue Dorchester. He has seemed rather solitaire about all such matters these many years.”

Claire was intrigued. “Do you know the man well?”

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