Friday, 23 December 2016

Warrior: We Did It!

WARRIOR is fully funded!

More than fully funded, in fact. Thanks to all of you who helped, the final figure came to £7053 out of £3000, which is so, so, amazing and generous.

Thank you!

Friday, 16 December 2016

A Son worth Loving

A Son worth Loving

My father told me, “Whatever happens, you will always be the son I love.”
I was four years old and I didn’t believe him.
My father is Cavallan, the King’s Hound, the hero of a thousand legends. He never tried to hide that from my sister or me, but he was more father than hero.
Or at least, no more hero than any father is to his children.
My earliest memories show him sprawled on the rug, his bad leg stuck out at an angle, as he turned his crutches into a fort full of toy soldiers. He usually won those battles, just like the real ones he’d fought. But the battles were still fun, especially when he starting giving the soldiers personalities.
“This is Matti,” he’d say, pointing to an ordinary soldier. “He’s fought in dozens of battles and likes to collect teeth fillings.”
Or: “This is Lord Such-a-snob. He looks down his nose so often that he can watch himself sneeze without even trying.”
My father would grin and his eyes would light up with memories as he played. But if you asked him about real people, he tended to fall silent. And he’d never talk about himself or express his feelings even with a passing gesture.
I wanted that gesture. I wanted to be worth his love. But, somehow, I never felt I was good enough.
After all, when he taught my sister and me and even my mother to defend ourselves, I was always the worst. I could never be half the fighter he was and although I could run and jump and had two good legs, I always felt that he was judging me and I didn’t measure up.
My father never commented on my performance. Whenever I did learn something and ran to show it to him, I could see his eyes cloud and go distant. After a while, I stopped trying to show him.
Instead, I stayed close to him. He was always there when I needed him, and he always had a moment.
Then I started my training at the Warrior’s Guild. As soon as I was enrolled, he left the town. I hardly saw him from one year to the next. The few times he did appear, mingling with the stream of Warriors that spent a night in the guild house as they pased through the town, he blended into the crowd. He always the plainest of uniforms – when he wore a uniform at all. He looked like a common soldier instead of a man who had been the king’s chosen champion. He was just my father, a local Warrior and a member of the town’s guard.
Just an ordinary man with grizzled hair and a lame leg that Master Jekker called ‘Val’.
The masters knew him of course, but they never mentioned his rank either. At least, not that I or any of the other trainees heard. And we would have heard if anyone had said that my father was a Black Warrior, the best of the best. It’s the highest and rarest rank in the whole of the guild. Everyone wants to know a Black Warrior.
I worked even harder when my father was around, trying to catch his attention. Trying, somehow, to prise his love into the open. If he actually had any love for me. He never took any notice of my attempts. He treated me just the same as anyone else.
I worked myself to exhaustion for twelve years in an attempt to be worth his love and graduated top of my class. Not that I was anywhere close to his rank and skill. I wasn’t.
Even on crutches, my father fights better than I do.
I did the best I could. But he didn’t even turn up to see what rank I earned.
I told myself it didn’t matter, that I didn’t care.
It was a lie. But it gave me the strength to walk into the presentation hall with my head held high.
My sister met me there with laughter and hugs. I didn’t see my father anywhere. I told her he hadn’t come, but she just laughed again. “He’s here,” she said. “You’ll see him in a minute.”
He came out onto the platform with the other masters dressed in his hero’s colours of black and silver, wearing his full guild identity and every award he had ever been given. His leg was stiff with the brace he used when he wanted his crutches out of sight. My classmates oohed and aahed.
Obviously, they didn’t recognise him.
But I did.
He was there. For me, he risked being revealed as the hero he was.
Each of my classmates in turn was called up onto the platform and my father presented them with their badge of rank. As the highest ranked, I was last to be called. But, finally, I heard my name and walked forward to meet my father.
He pinned on my badge and smiled at me. Then he placed his hand on my shoulder.
He said, “You are a better son than I ever could be. I’m proud of you.” There was a brief pressure and he released me.
I smiled back as best I could, and left the stage.
Shortly after that, he and the masters left too. I watched his back until it disappeared.
My father is Cavallan, the hero. An ordinary man with grey hair and a lame leg.
And a son that he loves and always will.
A son worth loving.

Tuesday, 29 November 2016

Warrior is now live on Kickstarter!

The Warrior Anthology
 that I have a story in is now live on Kickstarter and over a third funded already, after only a few days!

Want to read about gladiators and werewolves, faeries and mermaids? Come take a look at Warrior!

Sunday, 27 November 2016

A Coming: Then as Now

Coming in Advent

He was of middle-eastern origin,
Homeless, but not rootless.
Child of two refugees.

He came empty-handed,
Bearing nothing but words,
With no fixed employment.

He came in peace.
In joy. In love. In light.
He spoke only truth.

And those he came to
Hunted him down
And killed him
Because they were afraid.

He was 33.
He said, "Whatever you do to the least of us,
You also do to me."

Saturday, 5 November 2016

Something for the week ahead

Looked across the Atlantic and was reminded of this poem.

Diving Deep

Apart from "this" all was ideal.
This thing that lurks unspoken.
The thing does not appeal
To such warm-hearted closeness,
Nor to the deep trenches of desire.
Where somewhere, lost and broken,
Love dived - to there expire
In pools of darkness.
Lost beneath the ragged outcrops
Of sharp-tongued coral
That, now and again, would drop
A single crushing word
Into still depths of hate.
Beyond where light can reach,
Where joy turns into fate,
And life marks down the lesson it will teach. 

(First published in issue 14 of Wayfinder magazine)

Saturday, 1 October 2016

Warrior Anthology

Image: Background of abstract hills against a night sky in greens and purples, foreground two white silhouette people, one in a spacesuit with a laser pistol, one in a short dress with a war axe. Title reads: Warrior, a collection of short stories, Authors listed: Claudie Arseneault, Kayla Bashe, Natalie Cannon, Tyler Gates, Kelly Matsuura, Tash McAdam, Kirstie Olley, Lewis Rees, Helle Reiersen, Abigail Rosenhart, B R Sanders, and E H Timms (ME!)

I have a story in this anthology! Great cover, looking forward to seeing inside too!

Friday, 22 April 2016

Day 22 - Earth day

The earth is the ballbearing
In space's organ pipe.
Even the music of the stars
Needs a bass line.

Day 20 - kenning


sun hider
wind racer
puddle former
hail spitter
weather forecaster
sayings fulfiller

Wednesday, 20 April 2016

Day 19 - instructions

Listen to me.
Only listen
and you will know:
The silver fish
that flicker within raindrops.
The moonlight, tucked,
beneath blanketing shadows.
The breath of dreams,
stuck, to the soles of your shoes.

Day 18 - home

The sound of home
is peaceful silence,
without the look of exasperation,
flinches beneath glares,
or the void where speech dies.
I move through it
on padding feet,
like a fish desires water.

Sunday, 17 April 2016

Day 17 - dictionary words

It is the lore, bound deep within,
page upon page, to build a world.
People and places, life after breath,
money and wages, and gods sunk in death.

Day 16 - almanac

Weathering it

Sunshine and showers.
Two lives, lived
side by side.
Out of sight.
Not out of mind.

For they talk and talk
about two good friends.
Sure that there's more.
Unsure of intent.
But dismissing a friendship
for want of a name,
brings unsettled weather -
More of the same.

Friday, 15 April 2016

Day 15 - pairs

Tumble around
Singing offkey
Under, over,
Inside, outside.
Climbing higher
Ducking lower
Sleeping deeper

Day 14 - san san

Bright moonlight shines
Tumbling over sleepy homes
In shining silver mist.
Moonlight sings in tuning fork tines
As sleeping houses seek dreams to roam
And tumble deep into the dark
Of misted thoughts I cannot list -
Moonlit sleep in thoughts tumbling to meet the lark

Wednesday, 13 April 2016

Day 13 - sayings

Fortune favours...

You dive much better when you think deep thoughts.
Your eyes shine brighter after a light meal.
First veg of the year for a spring in your step!
Eat 24 carrots to gleam like gold!
Seas of shark infested custard wash against crumble cliffs.
Come fly with me, on wings of song,
With feathers of fun, wrought from puns gone wrong.

Day 12 - index

School of life textbook

birth - 83
death - 10, 66
harmless, mostly - h2, g2
hate - 2, many
heart, broken - 21, 72, 97
heart, mended - 23, 75, 101
heart, whole - 7, 15, 19
hope - 76
love - 3, 16
only__ - 14, 22, 35
__kind - all in all

Monday, 11 April 2016

Day 11 - description

Dark sweetness
that spreads slowly
across the tongue.
The bitter undertones
and the tang of spices
Melt away in the warmth
of the mouth.
Panic stations.

Day 10 - bookspines

Beginnings -
The flight of the swan,
The raven in the foregate,
Cry wild midnight magic -
What child is this?
Prisoner's hope.

Saturday, 9 April 2016

Day 9 - phrases

I have never been in love,
Never touched that scented rose
Whose thorns bite loving hearts.
I am the lone rider,
The guard at the gate:
I cannot be moved.

Day 8 - flowers

Silver roses sing
dreams of now and of never.
I wish for just one.

Friday, 8 April 2016

Day 7 - Tritina

Earth, Wind, and Fire

Whispers in the earth
Follow dancing little flames
Kissed by the wind

And the trees tell the wind
All the gossip of the earth -
The new loves, the old flames

And in the flames
That bow before the wind
There is grace beyond this earth.

Yet earth returns to earth, as flames burn to ash, carried on the wind.

Wednesday, 6 April 2016

Day 6 - Food

Cardamon and cinnamon,
Ginger, rice, and peas,
Dance within the saucepans
To feed me, if I please.

Day 5 - Seeds

First the seed,
then the root.
Then the blade rises
to pierce the soil
and emerge into the light.
Is this what they call joy?

Monday, 4 April 2016

Day 4 - Cruelest Month

Winter Taunts

Unkind December
lays knife-legged burdening expections
Upon my shoulders.

In famine, it promises feast.
In distress, it promotes joy.
In loneliness, it emphasises closeness.

It offers nothing
to ease the burden,
to make promises happen,
but hides it all away, behind a wall,
of broken dreams and lost routines.

Yet somehow, I am required,
to paste on a genuine smile;
Overlook hunger, pain, sorrow,
and pretend to be happy
with what I'm given.

Sunday, 3 April 2016

Day 3 - Letter

You claim you
are the best, the worst,
the inbetween.
Bright as fire; soft as silk.
There and not there, here and gone.
I know you.
I name you
endlessly -

Saturday, 2 April 2016

Day 2 - On Families

On Families.

Family means so many things
All more than I can grasp
Mother, Father, Brother, Sister -
I stand alone.
Left alone - but I have friends.
You, I chose.

Day 1 - Lune

Nothing but froth here
Unwanted babble.

Saturday, 26 March 2016

Light against the Dark Hours

Good Friday always makes me think of the song Winter born, by the Cruxshadows.

"And in the fury of this darkest hour
I will be your light
You've asked me for my sacrifice
And I am Winterborn."

In other news, I hope to do NaPoWriMo again this year. Until then...

Saturday, 12 March 2016

Louder Than Words - review

I reviewed a book called 'Louder than Words'. You can read about it here.

Wednesday, 10 February 2016

Sweet Philosophy

A hard boiled sweet is
a philosophical act.
Life sucks? This too ends.