Saturday, April 28, 2018

Uncle Merlin What?

No, I haven't forgotten about the rest of the reverse-harem-in-my-books posts I promised.  Those are coming.

In the meantime, have a snippets post, because a new story spilled out the past couple of weeks and it's been forever since I did a snippets post.

This story is so new that it doesn't have an official title yet.  It exists under the working title Pendragons and Pimpernels.  I can't tell you much about it yet, other than to say....

  • soldiers
  • spies
  • medical experiments
  • magic
  • kidnapping 
  • twins
  • sanctity of life
  • and
  • oh yes
  • Arthurian Legend

What do you mean AGAIN?
It's not like I actually have a fascination with Arthurian Legend.

“And how is training your illustrious team going, O glorious leader? Really, my dear boy, I’m not sure how you can ever accuse me of arrogance after this stunt. You’ve thrown any future advantage away in one swoop. The Pendragons? Really? That’s what you’re calling your team?”

He raised both eyebrows tauntingly. “And what else should I have called them? You set the bar by naming your team of super spies after an obscure but brilliant literary hero. What else would have beaten the Bloody Pimpernels?”

Morgan’s eyes widened, and her lips opened in a gasp. “I did no such thing, Arthur Griffin. What kind of lady would I be to call a team bloody anything?”

“At least in public,” he muttered.


It was something of a tradition now; whenever the cousins were all heading off together, their mothers appeared unable to send them off without a full complement of admonishment. For some reason, these were usually directed to Arthur.

As if I could stop them from getting into trouble. He pasted on a patient face while pulling a jacket up over his shoulders.

“Don’t you let my brats stay up all night drinking!”

“Yes, Aunt Anna.”

“Don’t let Elgan break anything.”

“Yes, Aunt Elaine.”

“If you all have massive hangovers in the morning, don’t come whinging to us to help them!”

“We won’t, Aunt Georgia.”

“Keep the blackmail to a minimum. I don’t want to be bailing Niall out of whatever stupid thing he did while drunk that you lummoxes won’t delete from your phones.”

“Yes, Aunt Beverly.”

“Don’t let Justin blow anything up!” That was three voices: Uncle Ambrose Merlin, his wife, Brenda, and his sister, Nerys.

“I won’t.”

“And no tough girl contests, Morgan!” Imogene called.

“I’ll make sure she’s fine, Mum.” Arthur closed the front door firmly but waited to sigh in relief until the car door was closed behind him.

From the driver’s seat, Morgan smirked at him. “Sucks to be the golden child, doesn’t it?”

“I’ll give you golden child,” he muttered, leaning over as if to push her out and take her place in the driver’s seat. She smacked him, laughed, and gunned the engine.


“Do we have to stay all through dinner?” one of the younger men was asking.

“It’s not like we’d really be missed if we skipped off to the pub for a few pints,” the person next to him said persuasively.

Arthur shook his head.

Before he could speak, Spencer’s deep voice cut in, “Unbelievable. A funeral, and here you two are arguing about skipping off to get drunk.”

“Mum would notice, and you know it,” one of the other men retorted.

“Aw, Glen, not if you kept her distracted,” wheedled the second speaker.

“How you can persist in thinking that still works boggles my mind,” Morgan interjected. “Aunt Anna never misses anything, especially not when we wish she would.”


Her hand dropped inside of her bag as she faced him suspiciously. Judging by the coiled tension in her arm, she wasn’t reaching for a business card.

“I’m sorry, you are?” she questioned.

He frowned. “It’s my flat. I ask the questions.”

Your flat? Ah.” Her face cleared slightly. “You must be the mysterious Arthur. Do you know, I was beginning to wonder if you even existed at all?”

“I, what…” He blinked. Not a threat then. “How do you have a key?”

“Oh, silly of me. I work with Morgan.”

Well, that explained everything.


Arthur waited, but Morgan made no move to talk about the day. “So,” he finally prompted. “What was Aunt Winnie working on?”

His sister shook her head, frowning darkly. “Whatever it was is classified. I’ve tried every clearance I have, short of calling in favors, and I can’t get anything on it other than a project name. Project Grail.”

“Grail?” Glen tapped his fingers against the bottle in his hand. “As in holy grail?”

“Is our whole sodding family Arthurian mad?” Elgan muttered.

“Watch your tongue. One of those is your captain,” Spencer growled good-naturedly.

“And I suppose his aunts and uncles and parents are less deserving of respect,” Glen retorted.

Spencer shrugged, looking as if he couldn’t care less.


“What was so important that it got you out of command at this hour of the day?”

Morgan glanced up as Telyn sat down opposite her and took a sip from her cup of tea. Her friend was dressed in four shades of green and several small braids interwoven with grass-colored ribbons criss-crossed her head.

“How do they even let you in the doors looking like that?” Morgan gestured to the eclectic outfit, which somehow actually worked, instead of looking like it had been put together by a child of three.

“If decent dressing skills were a prerequisite for a doctor, none of us would have made it through our first year of medical school,” Telyn retorted dryly. “Except for you,” she added, rolling her eyes and wrinkling her nose at Morgan.

“How do you even have time to do your hair like that?”

The hand holding Telyn’s coffee briefly clenched.

“Not sleeping again?” Morgan asked softly. Her friend shrugged, all the answer she needed to know that the nightmares were back.

“Now what is this about?”

“Project Insane Myth.”

Telyn tried unsuccessfully not to giggle. “Is that what we’re calling it?”


“Did Mum and Dad seem awfully eager to get us out of the way tonight?”

“More so than usual?” He considered it for a moment. His father had been closed off, though he did mention he was keeping a sharp eye on the progress of the team Arthur was training. That was normal, though, and as for being quiet, his father had just lost a sister.

Their mother now…when he thought about it, she had seemed less forthcoming than usual. He nodded to Morgan. “Mum perhaps. And Uncle Merlin.”

“Uncle Merlin what?” said another voice. Justin dropped down over the edge of the sofa next to Arthur. He snatched up a beer, twisted the cap off, and drank deeply.

“That bad?” Spencer snickered.

The other man made a garbled sound of disgust.

“Hello again to you too, Justin,” Morgan said pointedly, leaning around Arthur. “I assume Telyn is safely home.”

“That roommate of hers.” Justin shook his head and drank again. “Nothing chatters like that. Nothing. Can’t wait until she moves out.”

“It’s not like you’re ever here—or there—anyway,” Arthur pointed out and changed the subject before Justin had a chance to elaborate on his complaining. “What did Tel tell you about…you know?”

Justin sobered and set the alcohol down. “All she got was a name. Project Grail.”

Morgan muttered something under her breath.

What have YOU been writing lately?

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

The Soul's Strong Instinct of Another World

I have a deep hunger for unique, one of a kind, not-mainstream-sounding music.

I want more edgy poetry in music.

More songs themed on aesthetics.
The sound of a summer night's owls and bats, a spring morning's fairy bells, a winter midnight stillness, an autumn afternoon's beautiful stirring restlessness.
Sunsets and sunrises.  Twilight.  Midnight.
The beach in the early hours of the morning.
The contained excitement of deer and elk heading up into the mountains for summer pasture.
The calculating thrill of a lion on the prowl.
The snarl of a tiger turning to protect itself.

(Can I have an entire album of both instrumental and songs-with-lyrics themed on selkies, please?)

Old poems with updated phrasing for a fresh touch and set to indie-folk or folk-pop melodies.

Epic vocal music that truly has EPIC lyrics instead of sounding like a three-year-old wrote them.
(Epic vocal music is gorgeous, and I love it, but not when it consists of the same one line being repeated over and over with only very minor variations...SOMEONE HAND ME COFFEE TO WAKE ME UP.)

I want to hear good voices.
The kind that one has to describe with story phrases.

I want more world music of the likes of Heather Dale and Loreena McKennitt—turning stories into ballads with an international flair.  (Happy day! Loreena's dropping a new album next month.)

More relatable indietronica and synth-pop like Owl City and CHVRCHES.

More indie-folk/folk-pop such as Of Monsters and Men.

Epic music the quality of Two Steps from Hell and Audiomachine but themed on historical events.

Stirring songs the likes of May It Be, Song of the Lonely Mountain, Into the West, and The Last Goodbye.

Music re-imagining classic stories with a contemporary flair, such as the French rock musicals Robin des Bois, La L├ęgende du Roi Arthur, and Les Trois Mousquetaires.

More rock like some of Nickelback's—songs that remind you to keep going, there's something in the world worth fighting for, even if you have to claw your way to it.

More songs like Enya's poetry in music.  Or like Svrcina's Battlefield.

Mythology, legend, and history made FUN, relatable, and interesting again through song.

I just want more music that is edgy without being depressing, fun without insisting I have to get drunk to experience life, and deep while still being relatable for a wide variety of people.

What about you?  What would you like to see more of in music?  What are some of your favorite songs?  Favorite musical artists?