Friday, September 30, 2011

"How about... excerpt?!"

If you don't understand the title, try this link (video is entirely safe to watch and under a minute):

How about... cupcakes?!

Then enjoy the following excerpt from The Highwayman's Apprentice, to celebrate it reaching 20K words at nine days into production writing! Comments, thoughts, and questions are very welcome!

Quick pronunciation guide to the names of the ladies (and if I'm wrong, please do let me know, I'm working off a source I think is trustworthy but I could always be mistaken...):

Grainne: Grawn-ya
Saibh: Sive, to rhyme with "five"
Liadan: Lee-den


Turning back to the desk, she stopped in surprise. A sheet of paper lay on the floor, where none had been a moment before. By its rough left edge, she guessed it had been torn from her brother's sketchbook, and likely it had been displaced from the desk by her stack of shirts, but the picture drawn on it was nothing and no one she had ever seen before.

"Who is she?" Grainne stooped to pick up the paper. "More important, what is she going to be to us?"

With his usual economy of line, Sean had depicted a slender, dark-haired lady walking alone in a formal garden with her face full of sorrow, her right hand not quite covering the wedding band on her left. The ring was shaded with dark, fierce slashes of the pencil, and some of the crosshatching formed tiny arrows. Following them with her eyes, Grainne gasped. Another face was peering through one of the topiary sculptures past which the lady walked.

"And whoever he is, I hope he never comes here." She set the sketch down hastily on the desk and took a step back from it. "How does Sean do that?" In just those few pencil strokes forming the watcher's face, so cunningly hidden within the leaves of the trimmed bush that a casual observer might miss them, her brother had managed to convey an impression of careless, brutal power. "When I think that Ma gave us both the same lessons in art, and I never got past women in triangle dresses and men in square shirts and trousers…"

But in reality, people were curved, curved and firm and warm where they held her close against their side and peered down into her face, with perhaps a strong dose of arrogant possessiveness in that speculative smirk but nothing of the easy cruelty, the delight in others' pain that the man in Sean's drawing seemed to radiate. No, people might have a wicked glint in their sea-blue eyes, but it was only an invitation, not a command.

Grainne shivered deliciously, thinking of the secret she had shared with no one. Saibh, with her devotion since childhood to stalwart and steady-minded Finn, would have found it nigh-impossible to understand. Liadan might have stood a better chance, given her ongoing flirtation with Kieran, except that flirtation was all it was. Neither of them was seriously interested in the other, but they found it amusing to play the game, and it drove Stiofan Connolly, currently at sea with his father and the Laverty brothers, absolutely mad, which was a bonus from Liadan's point of view.

Fleetingly Grainne wished that Isabel was here, Isabel with her energy and her enthusiasm, with her rapt attention to stories about Glenscar and her frustrated desire to experience the forbidden life of a village girl for herself. Isabel, if anyone, would have comprehended perfectly Grainne's feelings on the subject of the black-haired king of the gypsies…


  1. I'm a bit lost on what's going on with all of these people, but it looks good and I'm excited to read more now!

  2. Hmm, yep. Interesting things brewing here, too, though as lissa-rae said there's a lot of context we don't know yet or would've learned already. I do enjoy historical-type stuff, though. :-)