Fall From Grace – Chapter 13

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It’s been a while since I posted about my latest WIP – Fall From Grace. For all of you wondering about what is going on, here is a rough copy of Chapter 13!

I would also like to remind you that the Salem witch trials were a dark and ugly period in the United States’ past. In this story I am striving for historical accuracy. My goal is to shed light on these actions and to tell a tale that leaves you thinking and wanting more.

As always, Happy Reading and feel free to leave a review!

 

The dying embers of the communal fire were all that could be seen in the despairing pit of the jail. The heat the fire gave off disappeared shortly after sunset leaving the multitude of prisoners lost in their own shadows and trapped in the torments that their minds played on the stone walls. Grace and Tituba sat next to each other in their tiny, rock-hewn cell; the rope that bound them together lay lax between them. They shared what little heat their bodies provided. An old woman with steel grey hair lay just outside their cell.

Tituba’s head rested on the wall as she asked, “Miss Grace, why aren’t you bitter for being held with no cause?”

Grace let out a breath and quietly answered, “Bitterness has only been known to accomplish despair; faith in God, on the other hand, is known to work miracles.”

“You can’t see God, Miss Grace. In times such as these, seeing is something we can grasp in our darkest hours.”

Grace hummed lightly and answered, “God is all around us. He created the sun to warm us and plants to nourish us. If the bounty in the earth can come back after a bitter winter, surely we can follow God’s plan without seeing him,” Grace finished serenely.

“To right you are Grace Bacon. Remember though, the bible also directs, ‘When ye thought evil against me, God disposed it to good, that he might bring to pass, as it is this day, and save much people alive,” the old woman on the other side of the cell softly croaked.

“Mrs. Nurse! You shouldn’t be awake. The least you could do is try to rest in these deplorable dungeons,” Grace quietly exclaimed.

Mrs. Nurse scoffed before replying, “Tosh Child! These hard stones do nothing for my creaky, old bones that hurt with the cold and rain. ‘Sides you’ll need to speak louder than a prayer for my failing ears to hear you. What need of sleep have I, when they’ll be deciding my fate in the dawn,” she boldly stated in her frail voice.

Grace shook her head and answered, “Mrs. Nurse they could do nothing but find you innocent of all charges. The entire town knows of your piety; your regular attendance at church shows that – as does your kindness for those in need.

“Besides, your children and grandchildren follow yours and Mr. Nurse’s generous lead in the world,” Grace insisted.

Mrs. Nurse scoffed as she began, “Good Lord child! You are naive! The curse of man is that he always has a choice. Remember, God does not force our hand; man does.”
A lightening bolt flashed outside emphasizing Mrs. Nurses’s dire words. Grace sighed loudly at the omen of the weather to come. Before she could say anything a roll of thunder shook the Dungeon and Jail.

“It seems that nature thinks we need another bath,” Grace tartly stated.
Mrs. Nurse chuckled at that before muttering, “I’d rather meet my fate clean and smelling of rain than streaked with mud from these suburbs of hell.”
Tituba and Grace chuckled at the truth in that. “The court would definitely prefer the smell of clean skin and spring blooms to the stench of human waste,” Grace assured grimly.

“I think we’d all prefer it,” another woman replied from within the cell.

“A gentle rain would be nice; it’s been awful dry this spring. They’ve not even brought us winter wine to drink,” another woman hollered from across the room.
Several of the prisoners nodded at the injustice of being denied a strong drink.

“You think we can get them to bring us some from The Ship,” the same woman halfheartedly mused.

“Doubtful, Mrs. Bishop, but it couldn’t hurt to try – especially as what they serve is the best made on Gods sprawling hills,” a man dryly answered.

“The Reverend didn’t like the fact that travelers stayed up later than curfew, gambling and a drinking; so it’s Witches Brew they accuse me of making.

“Never mind that Judge Sewell uses my winter wine for his fancy syllabub. A noble drink for a high-classed man.

With my luck they’ll post the jury summons for the trial on the doors of my own tavern,” Mrs. Bishop finished snidely.

Before the imprisoned crowd could become unruly Grace began, “Ladies and gentlemen, please calm down. If the sheriff should come in here and find us in a such an angered state, I feel God wouldn’t be able to make our stay in this Dungeon and Jail more bearable.”

“The devil himself couldn’t make our stay more vile,” a random man called out.

“You would be surprised by who and what can be forgotten. A meal or two can easily be missed as the sheriff will easily be distracted by other duties,” Grace insisted.

“They’d not miss a chance to charge us for our stay,” another woman countered, this was punctuated by another flash of lightening.

“Yet such an act has been done,” Grace tried to reason over the growing dissent as thunder rolled once more.

As the prisoners grew more restless a clinking of metal on metal rattled causing Grace and Tituba to flinch.

“Enough! Bacon if it be your wish to start a ruckus, mayhaps you should plead guilty to the courts and see us all rid of your abhorrent presence,” a rumbling male voice shouted from the front of the cell moments after Grace’s warning.

Lightening flashed outside the Dungeon and Jail, illuminating Grace’s pale, haggard features. Her stringy hair lay matted to her face while eyes flashed in anger. For the first time in months her scalp didn’t itch. Her temper on the other hand would not be stayed, “May God lay me low if any word I speak is untrue. My hand has signed no contract with the devil, your actions on the other hand suggest you have.

“Were your mother to see the way in which you treat these fair people she would bear more shame than there are leaves in the trees,” Grace finished vehemently.
The sheriff stormed over to the tiny cell, pushing the other prisoners out of the way. Thunder rocked the Dungeon and Jail with every step he took. The anger distorted his face and the dim cell light so that he resembled the creature the accused were said to follow.

The sheriff stopped at the edge of the cell and reached one hand in, tightly gripping Graces’ jaw, “ My sainted mother sits in the golden pews with God. She would have no pity for the likes of a witch serving a sinful master!”

Gasping for breath, Grace gurgled, “Than I hope God takes pity on your soul; for there is no way that your mother would.”

As the sheriff’s hand squeezed her throat tighter, Grace began to wheeze. Her vision started to gray while her arms and legs became tingly and numb. She struggled to pull the sheriffs hands away from the base of her throat. Her nails were so weak they wouldn’t leave a scratch against the sheriff’s tough, leathery skin. As bleak unconsciousness was about to claim her, Grace heard, “Let her go!”

With a whoosh of air Grace looked up to see Tituba clinging to the arm of the sheriff. On the other side of the cell the prisoners were pulling the sheriff away, forcing distance between him and the confined prisoners.

A human shield formed between the sheriff and the bars to Grace’s cell. These tired and tattered people found a cause to unite them – protecting one of their own from undue harm.

While the sheriff limped from the communal cell, Grace lay confined in her tiny cell with her head in Tituba’s lap. The filthy rags on her chest heaved as though she were drinking in the air around her. As sweat beaded her forehead and she tried to catch her breath, Grace heard, “Don’t let them forget us, Miss Grace.”

Fall From Grace – Chapter 9

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I have been working slowly but surely on Fall From Grace. The amount of research that I have already put into this is staggering – and to think, I’m still not done. One thing I have found is a new sympathy for the Puritans.

Other things I have noticed are the severe inaccuracies that we are taught in school. There are quite a few of those. A fascinating fact is that  the colonies were known as the land that spawned grandparents. Less industry in the so-called new world meant people could live longer and for the first time, parents were seeing their grandchildren being born.

Another fact is that contrary to popular belief, Puritans married for love. The median male age for marriage was 26, while the females tended to marry at 23.

Before I continue on the amazing and wondrous facts that I have learned, I give you Chapter 9 in Fall From Grace.

As always feel free to share your thoughts and Happy Reading!

The three prisoners stayed up well into the night as there was no way for them to get comfortable. The full moon lit up the little cell illuminating the haggard looking prisoners.

Though thunder rolled through the sky promising to let loose a downpour that could flood the crops – and their cell, there wasn’t a cloud in sight.

“What happened to Mrs. Good,” Grace whispered.

“She was sent to Ipswich Jail on account of her being with child. They’ll probably try to charge her newborn with witchcraft as well. Lord above knows that they charged her four-year-old with it,” Mrs. Osbourne bitterly informed.

Grace sighed and managed to look angry rather humiliated. With her neck bent, the moonlight made the lice in her hair sparkle and crawl at the same time. “They’re charging children,” Grace exclaimed in horror.

“That has been our way since the beginning. You know well how children are expected to act, Grace,” Mrs. Osbourne sternly reminded.

“I realize they are held to adult standards but, at four a child’s mind is filled with whimsy and imagination. Young Dorothy Good wouldn’t be able to speak intelligently enough to answer the interrogators,” Grace confirmed with muffled tones.

“What they’re doing’s not right, Miss Grace. They even sent Miss Dorothy to Ipswich with her mother,” Tituba whispered.

“Why do they have the right to hold a child in shackles,” Grace asked plaintively.

“Those are the rules. Besides, she claimed that a snake spoke to her,” Mrs. Osbourne insisted.

“Rules or not, they aren’t right. A talking snake is nothing more than her own imagination. There aren’t many ways for a girl to occupy her time. It’s not like we could go out and learn a trade,” Grace insisted with her bent head.

“We shouldn’t be here accused of crimes that weren’t committed, Grace,” Mrs. Osbourne stated to a flash of lightning and roll of thunder.

Rain poured from the sky in bucket loads obscuring the once bright moon. The fire in the hearth across on the other side of the jail did nothing to warm the cell as rain leaked through the window above them.

***

The mid-day sun was turning the cell into a sauna. Bodily waste baked in the scorching heat of the sun. Water from last night’s down pour had long since evaporated. An incessant clanking of metal on metal reverberated around the room.

It wasn’t long before long the clanking stopped and the women gave a sigh of relief as their shoulders sagged. Their semi-relaxed air was not to last as stomping feet made their way closer to the cell.

The women gazed at the cell bars from the floor. Tattered and stained clothes only enhanced the bruises and lacerations that adorned their faces. A short, thin man stopped in front of the cell. The thick blue haze of tobacco smoke that surrounded the man smelt vaguely nutty.

His leather boots were worn in such a way to blend in with the drab wooden floor. He was bald except for a white ring of hair around the base of his skull. He looked upon the prisoners with enough disgust to wither a crop field. He shook his head and sharply stated,

“I hadn’t thought to believe that the daughter of a baker would stoop so low as to sell her soul to the devil’s fiery furnace.”

Grace tried to look up to glare at the man only to find herself staring at her soiled skirt. “I will tell you like I have told the interrogators, Grandfather. I am no witch; nor would God allow me to sign the Devil’s Book,” Grace snapped.

“I told your mother she was marrying the wrong man. She was of age and wouldn’t listen to me though. She could have had a wealthier suitor and more comfortable life, but she chose your father. Now look what she has to deal with. A daughter that would dare go against all that is holy,” Grandfather spat.

“At least she has love. Unlike you she didn’t dishonor herself and God,” Grace venomously spat back.

“Instead, she gets a daughter whose neck won’t bend from stubborn pride,” he shot back.

“I am not guilty of turning my back to God. If my faith costs me my life, than so be it; but I’ll not confess to something that I didn’t do,” Grace forcefully stated.

“And break your mother’s heart while your at it, no doubt,” Grandfather sneered.

“Man breaks my mother’s heart for bearing false witness,” Grace snapped from her bound position.

“You are naught to my family. The next time I will see you is the day you swing on Gallows Hill for your treachery,” Grandfather fumed as he stormed away from the cell.
Grace took a calming breath as her grandfather arrogantly strode away from the cell and implored, “Pardon the disgraceful scene, ladies; unfortunately, grandfather has always been a bitter man.”

“I’m no lady Miss Grace, but to me that sounds like ones dirty laundry blowing in the breeze – and were always taught that God frowns on that,” Tituba said dismissing Grace’s apology.

“Bah, child. No need to apologize for someone else,” Mrs. Osbourne firmly informed as she began to cough.

Tituba tried to reach around Grace to comfort Mrs. Osbourne as hacking coughs racked her body. The only comfort that she could give was to hold the older woman’s hand.

Daughter of Alchemy

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Hi all,

I finally finished it! Daughter of Alchemy is live and ready for you to enjoy. This title (like all others) is printed with double spacing for the paper back so that people with reading disabilities can enjoy the expierence of Iseult’s world. I invite you to click on the link Daughter of Alchemy to experience the trauma and drama of Iseult’s world for yourself.

Remember to feed an author with a review. Further down this post is a little clue as to what is contained within the covers.

As always Happy Reading!

“He’s yours to do with as you please,” the cold voice invited to the snarls that began to sound.

“You won’t get away with this Bricius Aeilius! The Council will stop you,” Patrik screamed as an iron door swung open.

“The Council is mine, just as you were for all those years. And in due course the power of this world will be mine, “Bricius icily informed as he pulled the door closed with a heavy clang.

The snarling intensified as the werecats closed in on the cell. Patrik looked around the cell as the animals approached and shook his head. “I had my freedom Aeilius. You just didn’t know it. The rest of my powers are not yours for the taking.

“If anyone on the council breaks this pendant, know that iron will cage the beast for eternity.”

Patrik then clutched the amulet on his neck. When the iron bars of his cell opened to admit the snarling cats Patrik firmly shouted, “Ignis!”

Fire encased the cell and the whining of wounded and dying cats sounded throughout the memory. The memory was so vivid that the stench of burning flesh filled the projection room as the memory went dark and the room returned to its normal luminescence.

Something New

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Here lately I have been having a bit of trouble connecting wit my latest WIP- “Isis’ Savior”. Iseult is proving to be a bit stubborn – the good ones usually are. That is still its’s working title. So for the time being I am going to put it aside and work on something completely different.

It seems to me that King Arthur and his Knights of the Table Round never go out of style. I thought for the moment that I would retell some of those wonderful tales.

I started a rough draft that works off of that iconic first scene of that legendary king. Arthur pulling the famed Excalibur and claiming his birthright.

Feel free to leave me feed back and as always, Happy Reading!

 

White snow fell softly from the night sky. The snow covered a dirt road that was lined with wood and stone buildings. On the stone buildings were dying torches with glowing red embers. On one side of the street was a large stone inn. On the other a church with darkened stained glass windows. Silver moonlight reflected off of a gleaming sword sticking out from a scorched stone anvil. In the distance the raucous sounds of a cheering crowd could faintly be heard.

The sword was seated in the quiet church yard; snow piled up around the anvil as though it were highlighting something special. The sword was the only thing brightening this cold night. Wrought iron fencing closed off the courtyard. Low hedges lined a path to the heavy wooden doors of the church. There was a plaque at the base of the anvil that made no sense to Arthur as he couldn’t read.

From beyond the gates a boy with a muddied face and gleaming blue eyes peered through. His blue eyes were fixed on the sword. His hair was shaggy and his clothes tattered and torn. The young boy looked left and right making sure he was alone. With a deep breath he slipped through the bars and carefully approached the stone and sword.

A trembling arm reached forward and grabbed the hilt of the sword. Firmly the boy pulled on the sword until it began to slip from its stone sheath. The boy’s eyes widened as the sword briefly warmed in his palm.
Within a moment the gleaming steel sword lay in the hands of a street urchin no older than ten. He looked one way then another. Seeing no one in the courtyard the boy scampered back through the iron fence and down the street.

He quickly made his way to the crowd. Once there he weaved through a sea of brightly colored tents until he stood outside one that was adorned in blue and red. The colors of his guardian – Sir Ector.

Sir Ector was a bit rough around the edges but he had been a kind guardian for as long as the boy could remember. Sir Ector was the only guardian the boy knew. The man had been kind enough to raise him along side of his own son – Kay.

The boy peeked into the tent of Sir Ector and saw it empty save for a girl his own age. “Seraphim, have they left for the joust yet?”

The girl whirled around to face the opening and softly exclaimed, “Arthur! You’re almost late. They left a few moments ago. If you hurry you should be able to catch up with them before they enter.”

“Thank you, Seraphim,” Arthur gratefully told her.

“Just because I am a girl doesn’t mean I can’t keep an eye on things for you. Were you able to get Kay’s sword from the inn?”

“It was locked up tighter than a prince’s treasure room. So I borrowed one instead,” Arthur quietly informed her as he turned to leave the tent.

“What do you mean borrowed,” Seraphim asked as she followed him out of the tent.

“That old one sitting in front of the church. I’ll return it in the morning,” Arthur defended himself.

“Are you sure about that Arthur. That sword is holy! What if they find out it’s missing before then,” Seraphim worried.

“It’s not holy, Seraphim,” Arthur told her sternly.

“Than why was it at the church,” Seraphim asked pointedly.

Arthur shrugged his shoulders as they continued weaving through the crowd. After bumping into a few people the two found Sir Ector and his son Kay. Father and son stood waiting outside the registry ten. They were both stocky with stringy blonde hair.

Arthur tugged on the tunic of his guardian. “Here’s Kay’s sword, Sir Ector,” Arthur eagerly informed.

Sir Ector nodded his head as he blindly reached for the sword in Arthur’s hand. With his back to Arthur, Ector dismissed the child. Before Arthur could take two steps though Ector whirled around and demanded, “Boy, where did you get this sword.”

“From the church sir! The inn was locked up tight and Kay needed a sword for the joust,” Arthur replied with a tremor to his voice.

“Who gave it to you,” Ector harshly demanded.

“No one sir! It was just sitting there and Kay needed a sword for the joust. I was going to put it back,” Arthur insisted.

“Did that young wench put you up to it,” Ector demanded motioning towards Seraphim.

“No sir! She stayed in the tent as you told her too,” Arthur desperately informed.

By this time Ector had drawn the attention of the crowd around him. Surprised rumblings were going around the crowd as the spectators took in the sword that Sir Ector held. It took only a moment for the field marshal to come out of the registry tent. “See here! What’s all this fuss and grumbling about,” he demanded.

Sir Ector was in shock for a moment before answering, “It’s my ward, Sir Girard. He claims to have taken the sword from the stone in the churchyard. See for yourself,” Sir Ector finished, handing over the sword.

“What,” Sir Girard exclaimed as he took the sword from Sir Ector. As Sir Girard examined the sword his eyes turned into saucers. This was nigh on impossible. The letters engraved on the hilt said otherwise though.
Sir Girard looked down at Arthur and demanded, “How did you get this sword?”

“I pulled it from the stone anvil Sir! The one at the old church!”

“It’s crooked to lease to a marshal at a joust, lad,” Sir Girard pointedly stated.

“I’m not leasing sir,” Arthur insisted.

“He wouldn’t know how. The boy is a truth teller to the last,” Sir Ector inserted gruffly.

Sir Girard looked doubtful but shouted for a page. “Yes sir,” a boy no older than Arthur answered.

“Go find the Bishop Blaise and tell him that I need him here. After that find Prince Pellian and tell him the same. There’ll be a silver piece in it for you when you return with the Prince,” Sir Girard promised.

“Yes Sir,” the boy excitedly replied with a bounce of his head.

“In the mean time, the two of you best get in here and stay quiet,” Sir Girard instructed. A mute Arthur and Sir Ector followed him into the tent.
Arthur did his best to stay out of sight. These people could be scary. There were half a dozen men in the tent and they all had swords. Arthur had been practicing with a wooden sword so he knew the basics. Kay had let Arthur watch while he practiced with the real blade and those things were devilishly sharp. Arthur had even watched Kay slaughter a pig with one before. He had no desire to be near these people with their weapons at the moment.

In the center of the tent was a long wooden table. It was covered with what Arthur knew to be parchment. What was on the parchment had to be a list of knights competing today. Arthur had no need to know those names though. Or any other written word.

He was an orphan destined to work the land. The land was all he needed to know. Truthfully he liked it that way. Let Kay worry about making sure people were fed and duties were paid to the crown. That was more fuss than Arthur truly wanted in life.

While lost in his thoughts Arthur didn’t notice the arrival of an old man in a worn grey cloak. In fact, it seemed as though no one noticed the man’s arrival. He stood off to the side of the tent just beyond the opening. His dark eyes took in the excitement of the people here. In the end though his gaze rested on the steel sword. It was finally time.

Let the Season Begin

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“Dashing through the snow” We all know the words to the populat carol. Many of us have fond memories and traditions for this time of year. Jack Frost has forgotten this.

Over the years he has become a bitter being who has forgotten why he celebrates the season. For us mortals, that bitterness can have devastating effects.

Giving a young Jack Frost the chance to remember is the premise behind a new holiday classic, Spirit of Winter.

Spirit of Winter Cover_FRONT

To give you a better idea here is a bit more of an idea for you to ponder.

The entrapment of his sister’s spirit has caused Jack Frost to forget what it means to play; thus causing bitterly cold winters.

Santa Claus, Mother Nature, and Father Time conspire to show Jack the meaning of winter once more. To accomplish this they turn him, and by extension themselves, into children. Will learning to play again bring Noelle Frost back?

Will Jack remember his sister’s spirit or will winter become frigid and inhospitable for the rest of time?

Keep in mind that the paper back form of Spirit of Winter is printed in the double spaced format so that people with reading disabilities may enjoy the story as well. This includes dyslexia.

As always,

HAPPY READING!!

#StoryofJackFrost

‘Tis the Season

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http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0163KXWBE

We all know the holidays are upon us once more. Have you started decorating yet, or are you already done? What are you doing and who are you spending time with? Do you like to read? Need a book to gift?

How about one that reminds us that there is a reason for the season? Spirit of Winter is just such a book.

The winter beings have decided that Jack Frost has become too bitter. Towards that end they decided that he needs to remember the most important reason that winter is around. To do that though, Jack needs to learn one major lesson – to play.

Will this work? Will Jack Frost’s icy point of view thaw?

Find out in Spirit of Winter.

Remember the physical print copy is printed in double space format in order for people with reading disabilities to have an easier time enjoying the story. This includes people with dyslexia (something my husband will attest to). As Always,

Happy Reading