Monday, April 29, 2013

Poetry Mondays

Here's a poem I like from Percy Bysshe Shelley titled "Good-night."

Good-night? ah! no; the hour is ill
Which severs those it should unite;
Let us remain together still,
Then it will be good night.

How can I call the lone night good,
Though thy sweet wishes wing its flight?
Be it not said, thought, understood --
Then it will be -- good night.

To hearts which near each other move
From evening close to morning light,
The night is good; because, my love,
They never say good-night.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Rough Draft Fridays

Here's a bit more from the new character in Mourning, Saat.

Knocking woke Saat.
Curled up in his balding sheepskin cloak near the hearth, Saat came awake quickly, an old habit of too many years working the streets as an esis—half priest, half city watch. Truth be told, he had been far more city watch than priest. Which was why he came awake so quickly, when many of his fellow eses might have slept easily on down-filled mattresses.
For all that the boards were hard, the hearth was at least warm, and wrapped in his poor cloak, Saat gauged the sound of knocking. If it were Wari, she would go away soon enough—likely as not, it was Wari or one of her grandsons, trying to annoy him as punishment for being so pushy the day before. One habit of being on the watch was waking up quickly. The other side of the copper, though, was falling asleep quickly. Wiggling warm toes, Saat lay back down. Wari would grow bored soon enough.
The hammering at the door, however, resumed with fervor. The kind of fervor that, in a house with as many years and as many quirks as Saat’s, could lead to a precipitous ending. Saat had a vague vision of the house finally giving up, collapsing under the too-vigorous knocking and settling down in a respectable heap of timber.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Novel Wednesdays

Here's a piece from a novel I've been reading and enjoying a great deal, The Blind Assassin by Margaret Atwood.

Stick a shovel into the ground almost anywhere and some horrible thing or other will come to light. Good for the trade, we thrive on bones; without them there'd be no stories.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

The Crimson League free

Just a quick announcement: my friend Victoria is doing a promotion of her book The Crimson League. You can find it on Amazon for free today and tomorrow. More info available at


Monday, April 22, 2013

Poetry Mondays

One more from Byron before moving on to something new. I particularly like the first few stanzas of this poem.

'IS time the heart should be unmoved,
Since others it hath ceased to move:
Yet, though I cannot be beloved,
Still let me love!

My days are in the yellow leaf;
The flowers and fruits of love are gone;
The worm, the canker, and the grief
Are mine alone!

The fire that on my bosom preys
Is lone as some volcanic isle;
No torch is kindled at its blaze--
A funeral pile.

The hope, the fear, the jealous care,
The exalted portion of the pain
And power of love, I cannot share,
But wear the chain.

But 'tis not thus--and 'tis not here--
Such thoughts should shake my soul nor now,
Where glory decks the hero's bier,
Or binds his brow.

The sword, the banner, and the field,
Glory and Greece, around me see!
The Spartan, borne upon his shield,
Was not more free.

Awake! (not Greece--she is awake!)
Awake, my spirit! Think through whom
Thy life-blood tracks its parent lake,
And then strike home!

Tread those reviving passions down,
Unworthy manhood!--unto thee
Indifferent should the smile or frown
Of beauty be.

If thou regrett'st thy youth, why live?
The land of honourable death
Is here:--up to the field, and give
Away thy breath!

Seek out--less often sought than found--
A soldier's grave, for thee the best;
Then look around, and choose thy ground,
And take thy rest.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Rough Draft Fridays

Here's a bit more from Abass's point of view in Mourning.

As the grain-heavy wagons creaked along the dirt highway, wheels churning the semi-solid earth to mud, Abass pulled his cloak tighter, flexed frozen fingers on the reins, and swore as a clump of half-frozen dirt struck his cheek.
“Apologies, Godblood,” Dek shouted. The big man was looking back at Abass as he drove the next wagon, armed and ready should any bandits—or soldiers from another Path—decide that the grain might not belong to Khi’ilan. Should anyone think he had a better claim to the grain, he was welcome to try—Abass would be more than happy to correct his error.
At Dek’s words, though, Abass just shook his head at the soldier. It wasn’t Dek’s fault that the roads were shit, or that the freezing rain had made them a dozen times worse. It wasn’t Dek’s fault that, in spite of Abass’s commands, and then negotiations, and finally his pleas, Mece had refused to leave the granaries immediately. In the end, of course, they hadn’t left now. Mece—Mece, who had fought Abass every step of the way, Mece who had refused even to consider the possibility that there might be grain at Tachmaz, Mece who had come along, Abass was fairly certain, just to be there when he was proven wrong—Mece refused to leave without the grain.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Novel Wednesdays

The final piece of Cloud Atlas. What a great book!

Yet what is any ocean but a multitude of drops?

Monday, April 15, 2013

Poetry Mondays

Here's another great Byron poem.

WHEN we two parted           
  In silence and tears,  
Half broken-hearted   
  To sever for years,   
Pale grew thy cheek and cold,          
  Colder thy kiss;       
Truly that hour foretold        
  Sorrow to this.         

The dew of the morning         
  Sunk chill on my brow—        
It felt like the warning
  Of what I feel now.  
Thy vows are all broken,       
  And light is thy fame:          
I hear thy name spoken,           
  And share in its shame.        

They name thee before me,    
  A knell to mine ear;  
A shudder comes o'er me—   
  Why wert thou so dear?         
They know not I knew thee, 
  Who knew thee too well:     
Long, long shall I rue thee,     
  Too deeply to tell.   

In secret we met—        
  In silence I grieve,    
That thy heart could forget,   
  Thy spirit deceive.   
If I should meet thee  
  After long years,         
How should I greet thee?       
  With silence and tears.