Christmas at Castle Marsh 2021

I wrote this as the Christmas story on the Princelings site for 2021, but really it was in my head as a possible last chapter for Princelings Revolution, or even as an ‘extra’ at the end of the book.

In the end I put the short story of Mariusz’s death as a bonus in the paperback, and then discovered it had only ever been on the guinea pig blog, (or I wonder if I should copy that here, although the story here also explains the criticism someone had of the first book that Mariusz gave in too easily. I replied at the time that there were reasons for that. This story clarifies those reasons, and leaves more possible loose ends, simply because I don’t know how Willoughby’s story will end. If it ever will.

Yuletide at Castle Marsh 2021

Fred raised a glass of sparkling Wozna Cola and clinked it with Jasmine’s. “To 2022!”

“Yes, to 2022, Daddy.” She sipped, and looked at the sky through the window to the west. “I hope they land safely.”

“Mmm. Willoughby was confident the weather would hold, even across the Great Western Sea. I hope it’s just another of those magical skills he has.”

Jasmine looked down to hide her smile. Willoughby’s ninja skills did not stretch to weather forecasting. With him on board, though, there was a good chance of avoiding danger before it hit them.

These were strange times. Last Yule she and Willoughby had travelled from Castle Vexstein, now under the rule of Locksley. He was steadily refusing any title such as Lord or King, even though he was of noble birth. A cousin of hers, in fact… or was it second cousin, if he was her father’s cousin, no, brother. Well, half-brother. She shook her head. Fred’s family was so confusing. 

“Troubled, sweet?” Fred asked.

“No, just confused by Locksley’s relationship to me. We were with him just before Yule last year, before we came down to stay with you at the Inn of the Seventh Happiness.”

“Ah, yes. I was there, homeless, and a pauper. I’d just discovered I was penniless a few weeks earlier. And George was fretting about getting the Daughter of Pelican built. And now…”

“Now we are home, the people have chosen you to lead them again, and George has fulfilled the promise you made to Mariusz, who turned out to be Willoughby’s uncle.” 

It was Fred’s turn to nod. “Well, let’s hope we have a nice settled life from now on.”

“You’ll get bored if you don’t have some exciting project to work on.”

“Not as bored as George will be. Improving the flying boats won’t be as much interest for him as designing them and testing them.”

“Daddy… did you realise that technically Willoughby is the same age as me?”

“What! He’s been in the realms since before you were born. Before I met your mother even.”

“Only just. About six months. He and I were born in the same year.”

Fred frowned. “In Hattan, you mean?”

“Yes, then he came down the time tunnel and went back eleven years. So on the one hand he’s a lot older than me, and on the other, we’re the same age.”

“You can’t be both at once.”

Jasmine kept her face expressionless. Willoughby had a way of being anything he wanted to be. It was hard to know who the real Willoughby was, but she probably knew him better than anyone. In fact…

“They’ve just come over the coast south of Caerleon.”

“How do you know these things? Ninja skills, I suppose. I should have stopped him teaching you.”

“I would have had them anyway, just not known how to use them, how to trust them.”

It was Fred’s turn to look out of the window. “I suppose we’d better go out with the launch to bring them in. This wind will push them into the reeds otherwise.”

“So it’s a great honour, and indeed a great pleasure, to have Lord Mariusz with us this year, after all the troubles we’ve been through, and all the patience you’ve had, putting up with George and me and our secret project. But now you all know the truth. And perhaps Mariusz wouldn’t mind saying a few things to you all at our final feast of 2021. Mariusz?”

Fred sat down. 

The huge black and white coat that housed Mariusz, lord of Hattan, rose as its owner got to his feet.

“Ur, well, hi everybody. I was never much of one for speechifying. It’s hard to understand all the changes that have happened in the Realms since I was last here in 2010. I’d been visiting so often in the previous ten years that I thought I knew you all, that it was a settled place, full of partying and socialising. At least, thanks to Wozna,” he raised his glass to them and sipped, “I could get around among you incognito as a simple cola salesman. I enjoyed my visits, and I enjoyed meeting you, or your countrymen, at any rate. I hope everything will settle down in this new way you have of picking your leaders, which sounds pretty good to me. 

“With everything that went on, I’m amazed that Fred and George managed to keep the agreement we made; stop the time tunnel that brought Wozna to you and you wait until the technology George invents catches up with me. Thank you for having me back, and I’m glad to say, sales of Wozna are nearly back to what they were six months ago.” He grinned at them, hoping they understood his joke. “Well, that’s in my time, of course. It’s often hard to keep promises. What you guys have gone through to keep that promise, well, I admire you even more for it. You’re the genuine article, you guys. I’m glad you made it safely through these years.

“And now, can I suggest a toast? To Fred and George!”

The Marshfolk were very happy to toast Fred and George, especially with the Wozna that most of them had never tried in the past, but had decided was a great party drink.

“Thanks, Jasmine.” Mariusz helped himself to the espressimenta she offered him, as they settled cosily around the fire in Fred’s study. “Yeah, things are changing at Hattan, too. The five families met up last month, after the last grandfather had passed on, and decided to end the war between us. So we’re working on new commercial ties, agreements over trades, sharing apprenticeships, all sorts.”

“Is Saku okay?” George asked. 

“Yeah, he’s well, playing with new ideas. But he naps in the middle of talking about them sometimes. He’s not so young as he used to be.”

“He’s outlived Argon, though. He must be very old.”

Mariusz sighed. “Sad, that. I must get up and visit Victor while I’m here. Will that be okay? Do you have a stage up the tunnel now or anything? I reckon I could never run up and down it like I did in May. Almost the death of me, that was!”

“I can fly you up any time,” George said. “Unless Jasmine and Willoughby want to take you?”

“Willoughby, fly me? I don’t think so!”

“Jasmine’s the pilot, uncle. I’ll just come for the ride. Fred likes her to have supervision still.”

Jasmine smiled. Fred frowned, but checked Jasmine’s face and relaxed.

“You must be very fit, though,” Fred said to Mariusz. “I could never have done all that, even with the time tunnel.”

Mariusz paused. “To be truthful, young Fred, I don’t reckon it did me any good at all. Ever since then I’ve had a bit of an ache in my side, and I don’t think it’s a stitch from exercising.”

“What do your medics say?”

“Oh the usual. ‘Take it easy, don’t work so hard.’ It’s not as if I’m travelling any more.”

Willoughby regarded his uncle, then looked away, a haunted expression in his eyes, which only Jasmine caught. The pair exchanged glances that seemed to contain a whole conversation.

The next morning Fred took Mariusz for a tour of the Marsh, since it was a beautiful mid-winter day with no frost and almost summer-like winds. George took them in the old flying machine so they could go to places like Summernot beach and the old forest. He even flew within sight of Arbor to give Mariusz at least a view of his old holiday spot. 

“Elinor,” Mariusz sighed. “She was quite something.”

Fred had a long thought about time and its effects. Maybe he wouldn’t tell Mariusz about the Huguenots. “We’re good friends with the Arborites now. Things have changed a lot there. You probably never met Queen Rosebud.”

“I thought Jess would have been in charge by now.”

Should he tell Mariusz the whole story? He stared at the trees giving way to the marsh again and decided not. “If we go back now, you can have a light lunch before going up to see Victor. I’d love it if you came back tonight, but I understand if you want to stay over, with all this travelling.”

“I want to make the most of it, Fred. I didn’t want to say in company, but this pain in my side is pretty bad. I doubt I’ll be visiting again. I don’t know what will happen at Hattan when I go, but it needs a good, steady organiser. I know he’s wanted here, but you’ve taught him everything he needs to know about running a complex organisation. I spoke with Willoughby last night about maybe him taking over from me. He’s thinking about it. And he’s family, and that’s important at Hattan.”

Fred nodded. It wasn’t that his guest just wanted to stay home in Hattan. He was preparing to hand over. What would Willoughby say?

Mariusz came back from Victor’s the next morning, looking happy but tired. He talked about Victor and his family for a couple of hours, obviously pleased that the young person he’d known since he was a baby had grown into a fine family man with plenty of business ventures running at once. 

“He told me all about your funding crisis for the Daughter of Pelican, too. I totally approve of your solution. Very ingenious.”

“Thank goodness for that.” Fred had completely forgotten that he had used Mariusz’s Wozna account to pay for the flying boat development, and apologised for not raising it himself. Mariusz waved a hand. 

“Not a problem, young Fred.” He looked around, taking in all his surroundings. “You’ve got a fine place here. I know you’ve been through a lot to get here, and I appreciate it. I never came to Castle Marsh before. I don’t think I missed much then, but I’m real glad I didn’t miss it now.”

“I’m sorry you can’t stay longer, but… well, you have a castle to run.”

“Yes, we never get a vacation, do we? Can I just wander around alone for a few minutes? Want to take it all in, you know.”

“Of course. George says to leave no later than three. You’ll be flying into the sunset all the way.”

“That sounds pretty. I’ll see you down at the boardwalk.”

Fred watched him stroll off, taking the stairs to the battlements, and then wander along, stopping to lean out every now and then. 

An arm crept through his as Jasmine leant against him.


“Hi yourself.”

“I’m not sure I should tell you, but Willoughby says he won’t be coming back.”

Fred stiffened. “Willoughby said… him or Mariusz?”

“Mariusz, of course! Why wouldn’t Willoughby come back?”

The certainty in Jasmine’s voice made Fred wonder…

No, Willoughby would come back. At least to say a proper goodbye.

© J M Pett 2021

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Christmas Deer at the Castle #writephoto

Deer at the Castle is the prompt for this week’s #writephoto flash fiction from KL Caley at The Christmas lights are going up all around me, and although some are tasteful, and possibly LED on rechargeable batteries, most are just so much tat. I got an email from my garden centre featuring all the plastic rubbish you can buy to enchant your darlings. It’s enough to send me into a rant.

Instead, I saw the lovely photo of deer at the castle that KL had saved for this event, and spotted the start of an opportunity. I suppose it might have turned into a rant, but a practical one, I hope. The story is around 950 words. 

deer at the castle #writephoto
the image shows a red male deer light and white female deer light in front of a lit castle, surrounded by darkness (c) KL Caley

If you’d like to know more about rewilding, check out the Knepp Estate story. I’d like to thank BTO for the presentation by the Knepp project manager [links to YouTube] at their annual conference last week.

Christmas Deer at the Castle

“Well,” the Duke said. “It’s the best we can do, m’dear.”

The Duchess sighed. “I suppose we could suggest it’s the new normal. We’re leading the way on low carbon Christmas decorations.”

“Indeed. Perfect soundbite. And the floodlights are now LED, so that’s all to the good.”

“Surprisingly good, in fact. I doubt anyone can tell the difference.”

“They don’t illuminate the turrets, but that’s a good excuse. Light pollution and all that.”

“What will the guests say, though?”

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A2Z 2021

Existence – memory and tribute A2ZChallenge 2021

Existence. Something we take for granted, maybe. Certainly when we are younger. I remember I used to run a personal skills course for a company I did interpersonal skills training for. It’s a laugh, really; I used to be really good at interpersonal skills. Now I can’t be bothered. That’s a function of age, as well as what we’ve been through in our lives, I think. (Is that the same thing?)

This course had an exercise where you drew a line of any length you chose. Then I told them it represented their whole life, and to mark on it where they were now. I was around forty then, but always put my mark around one-third of the way along. I was very sad to see one person, not much older than me, put it nearly at the far end. “It’s not long till I retire,” he said.

A friend used to be convinced he’d die at 50, because all his male relatives had. Those were the days of heavy smoking, polluted cities, bad workplaces… I’m pleased to say he was still here at sixty, when I lost touch with him, but he’d retired to a boat, and is likely to have avoided the stresses that laid his family low.

Mindful Bloggers

I’ve met several people online who have inspired me to think about my existence, some because they work hard to spread some joy and mindfulness–the right sort, not the ‘it’s your fault because you’re not mindful’ type. Others because they have had to come to terms with the end of their existence, on this earth, anyway.

I’m always grateful I met Vidya Sury through the #atozchallenge; we were fellow minions for Damyanti Biswas one year. Vidya’s blog is full of thoughts about kindness and spreading it through our world. She has a lovely positive approach to all she does – and with her cooking tips for diabetics, you can read between the lines to find her motivation. She inspires me. Damyanti has her own personal take on kindness and caring for others. All her work seems to support one or more causes, and her amazing first published novel highlights terrible practices that are common in India.

Sue Ann Bowling

Sue was in the opposite end of the globe – Alaska. I followed her writing and gardening – complete with weather forecasts and sunrise/sunset times, through my early years of blogging. Then Sue’s world changed, and she wrote through her illness and subsequent death (in late 2014), letting us know of her trials and tribulations, but maintaining her positivity and entertaining us even so.

Her main frustration was that the third in her amazing world of the R’Ilnians would never be published. I think Sue’s death gave a lot of us pause for thought. What happens to your blog if you suddenly can no longer support it? Her personal blog no longer exists, but her free WordPress book one does… and that’s where I finally got confirmation she’d died. .

Existence through your social media accounts, and books

It was about 2014 that Facebook started to realise it needed some sort of procedure for relatives to handle the pages of people who had died. You can nominate someone to look after your pages…I think it’s called ‘legacy system’. Check it out, although I think several bloggers have posted about it. I bet Derek Haines has a post on the subject!

But do let your nearest and dearest know what you want done about your blog and your ebooks. It’s important.

Sue Vincent

And now after six months of hell, we have lost Sue Vincent, who died a week ago, after a struggle with late-diagnosed cancer. How many other people did not go to their doctors early enough for their cancer to be caught when it was still treatable–because they didn’t want to bother their GP at the start of the Covid pandemic?

Sue’s handling of her situation is probably a lesson to us all. She had a head start, because she was immersed in very spiritual things through the Silent Eye. But among her blog posts of the recent months there are plenty that show her coming to terms with her situation, and finding good out of bad. She came to accept her diagnosis, and welcome any extra days past the expected ‘days or weeks’. She shared with us several long posts on the nature of her beliefs, and her view on the nature of existence.

Maybe that baring of her innermost thoughts is what makes it so hard to believe she’s gone.

Planning for my existence

And as usual, I have to write about the person who has passed in order to start to come to terms with it myself. I bought a couple of Sue Vincent’s books when she was still alive, and there to receive the royalties (!). I hope to share my thoughts on them later in the year, as I did with Sue Bowling’s. But I suspect what I really bought them for was to help me reflect when I start to face up to the end of my existence here on earth.

But first, I need to put those plans for my great-niece to manage my book affairs when I’m gone. Not that she knows that plan yet. She did most of the covers for me, so I think she should benefit from any royalties. It’s just another thing on my list. But I don’t expect to pop off just yet.

Just planning for the end of my existence.

Princelings Revolution blog tour

Ten Years of Jemima’s Drivel – a WEP+IWSG Grave Mistake

Grave mistake is today’s WEP prompt, but first…


Ten years pass in flash—

plus reviews, news and info…

Jemima Pett blogs!

Ten years of my drivel or wittering or, if you’re kind, stories

The trouble with blog anniversaries is that the story of how I got started is boring.  You’ve heard it before, on the five year post. Or maybe you’ve arrived since then?

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First lines reimagined for social distancing

the most specific post I wrote during the Covid-19 pandemic

First lines rewritten according to the current guidelines for social contact. It’s a thing found on Lithub, well, I found the link someone else posted on Facebook, and who knows where that came from.

That’s how our modern world works, isn’t it? We may be isolated from our friends, neighbours and family, hoping to stem the tide and reduce our risk of Coronavirus, but our online social network is as supportive as ever.

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Illustrations for Chronicles – a job for #Inktober

Chapter illustrations became a feature of my Princelings series, and in theory I like doing them.  In practice, I get anxious about whether I can execute what I have in my head.  I thought you might like to know what the process is, and why I like committing to #Inktober on years I have a book to illustrate.

Choosing an illustration

Obviously, chapter illustrations should be relevant to the contents of the chapter.

I usually copy the chapter headings, and sometimes make notes of scenes in the chapter, and then start getting ideas.  I do simple line drawings, but I’ve extended these into landscapes on occasions.  Sometimes I just pick up some articles that I can draw, like glasses, or cans of Wozna cola – which then involved designing their logo!

Doing the castle for the setting of the chapter is something I think helps readers, especially as I’m not the best at describing the detail of places that are clear in my head.  Some of these are fun, as I’ve been making extensions to them over the years.  I have versions of Castle Marsh from the 2008 version, through the changes as first the flying boats required boatsheds, and then the housing developed around the outside.  I’m not sure how much more that needs to develop.

Some of them are easy, as the scene is clear in my head – some of my favourite ones turn up then, like the view from the road to Marsh from Castle Wash, which is on the edge of the dunes with the castle in the distance.  In Hugo’s book (Traveler, #4) there were several scenes like the road past the Prancing Pony, where the stages have a terminus, like they do at the Inn of the Seventh Happiness. There was also a favourite in the view of Sowerby Castle in the distance, from the pub, the King’s Head, at Sowerby Row.

Some are really hard, with nothing seeming to really happen in the chapter.  Then I need some sort of motif.  Talent Seekers (#5) had a lot of those. A tray of swords.  Doorways.  Views from windows are a good standby as well.

And yes, I do reuse illustrations across the books. It makes sense, really, for the main venues. Although I did several new interior scenes for Buckmore in the last few books.

Paper or iPad?

All the books to date have started with paper and pencil drawings, inked over and the pencil rubbed out (sometimes you can see ones where I haven’t been very diligent on the erasing).

For Dylan’s adventure with the Lights of Ulva, I experimented with doing them on iPad.  I’m not yet confident with my drawing skills on iPad, but I hope that practice will help. The iPen seems to behave differently than a real pen!  But I also did colour versions of the Ulva ones.  I found I could take an existing jpeg of a scene and colourise it in the iPad program.  I’ve already tried this with Castle Marsh and Laurel-Eye (from book 6) for Chronicles.

So I’m hoping to do all the illustrations on iPad.  If I get stuck, I’ll revert to pen and paper, then scan them in again.

Black & White or Colour illustrations?

Why choose colour?  None of the earlier books have colour illustrations, and they’ll be black and white in the paperback version. There’s a good point. Maybe I need both.  I tried this out with a view of Dylan, Dougall and Kevin on Rannoch Moor for Book 8.

The colour question was raised some time ago, when someone blogged about more books being read on hand-held devices rather than dedicated ereaders.  I don’t know whether it’s true or not. If I’m reading an ibook, it’ll be on my iPad in colour.  I should check whether the kindle app for iPad is in colour.  My Kindle Paperwhite is quite old now; I wonder if colour illustrations would look okay on it?  I’d better check.  After all, I do have the Lights of Ulva to test this out on.

Cheating or not?

Is re-using old illustrations across books cheating?  I’d like your thoughts on this.  It is obviously better for me to re-use an illustration if I want to get all the details of a place right, and consistent across the books.

Some places could do with a revised drawing, though – like the Inn of the Seventh Happiness.

Technical stuff for ebook illustrations

If you’re thinking about illustrating your ebook, remember that you have to put them in your Word file as inline illustrations. The new kindle app may let you put them in another method, but I’m sticking to what I know at this stage.  For epub files inline definitely works best.

I used to have huge problem with my kindle pics having extraneous lines surrounding one or more edges.  It turned out that KDP converted colour jpeg files fine, but black and white ones needed to be inserted as GIFs.  I think it’s to do with the way the computer system scans pixels. The solution was to do GIFs for my KDP files.  Smashwords converted the original jpegs just fine in any ereader format.


Inktober is the illustrators’ A to Z Challenge.  I love following it on Twitter, mainly. People post illustrations daily through October. There’s a prompt list on the inktober website, which you can use like A to Z gives you the daily focus. I think there’s a signup list, but just following it on social media is good enough for me.

I don’t do daily blog posts, but if you want to see them on Twitter, my handle is @jemima_pett.  If I remember to post them.

Castle Marsh 2017

Castle Marsh: Christmas with Fred and George pt2

I went visiting Castle Marsh instead of story-writing – you can see how it started last week.  Now read on!

Castle Marsh Christmas

In which I discover that the Steward stands in for the King at all times

I’m flying in one of George’s new inventions towards Castle Marsh to visit King Fred in time for a Yuletide interview for you.  Last week I explained about the flying machine, and George told me Fred had gone south to sort out some sabotage on their food stores.

Now we’re approaching Castle Marsh, standing on its rock in the middle of the reed-filled marshes.

Or at least they were, when I last visited.

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cheeky parrot

Cheeky Parrot: Christmas with Fred and George pt1

I am at the Cheeky Parrot on my way to Castle Marsh. I didn’t get a new story written for Christmas this year, but I did attempt to research one.  Here’s what happened when I went to interview some old friends.

The Cheeky Parrot: Christmas with Fred and George

In which I find travelling in the Realms a-wash with problems

I am sitting at a table in the Cheeky Parrot, a sort of traveller’s rest stop at Castle Wash.  It’s just outside the walls of the castle itself, but the whole city is called after the castle, as is the custom in these lands.

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Mapping the Realms – a job for #Inktober

I’m mapping the Realms again.  I can understand if you don’t understand that, but it’s a little extra you can find on the Princelings website – a map of the Realms, the Princelings world, as relevant to books 1-5.

Why I’m mapping the Realms again

Once I got on to book 6, Bravo Victor, I knew the Realms were starting to develop, especially away from the tunnel network that linked the most important castles.  With the development of new forms of transport, the connections changed as people moved about more.  Also, there were places Fred missed off his first map.

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A Question of Writing Research

Writing research: this month the Insecure Writers Support Group suggested tackling the question:

  • What is the weirdest/coolest thing you ever had to research for your story?

… and for once, I thought I had an answer.  Before I do, here’s a shout-out to our wonderful co-hosts this month.  I don’t give our hosts enough kudos in these posts, but I do appreciate them.  Thank you!

Co-Hosts for May 2017:

Writing research for alien species

I am writing a science fiction series.  I’m convinced it’s a real series, although by now some of you may think it’s a figment of my imagination, it’s taking so long to come out.  During its development, I realised one very good reason people generally make their aliens humanoid. Apart from films, where it’s easier to put a human in a costume than build things more elaborate than Daleks, unless you go CGI.


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Victor – an interview #A2ZChallenge

a to z VVictor has appeared on the A to Z several times – in 2015 when I was about to launch his book Bravo Victor (Book 6 of the Princelings of the East), my theme was the phonetic alphabet.  That gave me ample opportunity to plug the book!  Guinea pig Victor also ran George’s Guinea Pig World, the blog currently run by Kevin and Percy, who are blogging from A to Z this year, as Victor did in 2012, and Dylan and Dougall (who star in Book 8 of the Princelings of the East) did in 2015.

Victor the character

Victor is the bar-keeper of the Inn of the Seventh Happiness in the Princelings of the East series, although he’d rather make his name as a business guru. Like all the characters, he’s grown up over the years.  Here are a few snippets from the books about him… Continue reading


Question of the Month: Your First Kiss

Oo-er!  The Question of the Month for November is:

“When was your first kiss?”

Now, I can’t remember whether it was Mick B, David A or a boy I liked at Kindergarten, but I have lots of clear recollections about David A, which I’m not going to tell you about at all!

So I thought I’d ask some of my characters the question…. first from the Viridian series:

Pedro Garcia (Big Pete): Harvest time on Corsair.  I was fifteen, Chloe was sixteen, although only because her birthday was in June and mine in October.  She’d been sidling up to me and giggling for years, this year she kept her distance and chatted up the older lads.  I got a bit confused by this, because I was ready to suggest dating, but hadn’t plucked up the nerve.  I was hanging about in the alleyway outside the barn, wondering where she’d got to, when she came out of the barn, brushing hay out of her dress and hair, and saw me looking.  She laughed, grabbed me, and before I knew it, I was in the barn too, kissing her.  It was very wet, as I remember.  I don’t remember much else, though!

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Friday Character Interview: Zito

In our final character review of this summer, I get to talk to Zito, the fixer of just about anything, who I sort of modelled on Humphrey Bogart in Casablanca.  But then I used that in the Paradisio flash fiction that kicked this whole thing off. It’s about 1500 words.


Zito has booked a table for us at Hercules’, the poshest place in town.  It’s quiet, has chandeliers and drapes, mirrors and mid-brown wood.

“But I wanted to see your place,” I protest.

“My place is a miners’ dive. Loud, squalid, all types of low-life, even a bit of crime and possibly shooting.  Not a place for a lady.”

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Friday Character Interview: Willoughby the Narrator

Willoughby finishes his story, and jumps off the platform called the fiddlesticks to rapturous applause.  Quite how he got so popular in such a short time nobody really knows, except he brought some new angles on old stories, and new stories to liven things up, and he’s brilliant at telling them, so his fame spread.  His background is somewhat mysterious too, and a bit of mystery never hurt an itinerant story-teller, travelling from castle to castle all over the Realms, which is what a Narrator is.

He finishes chatting to well-wishers, and rubbing noses with his female fans, and comes over to join me at the table, where I have a bottle of Dimerie white wine in an ice bucket, waiting for him (and me).

“Well, that went well, I think,” he says, looking at the bottle.

Why a narrator?

I put out glasses of wine for both of us. “So my readers understand who you are, tell me how you came to be a Narrator.”

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Friday Character Interview: Big Pete and the Swede

This time travel stuff is weird, but tiring.  I arrive at the spacedock of Pleasant Valley, one of the synchronous third planets of the sun Viridium, without really knowing how, and satisfy myself I am some 800 years in my future.  Then I take the shuttle to Sunset Strip, where Big Pete is waiting for me.

“Good trip?” he asks, grabbing my tablet and my bag and throwing them into an egg-shaped  vehicle he calls a yelocab.  “Hop in.”

It is only a few minutes until we get to a sprawling villa on a promontory above a sea-green sea.  Everything here is a slightly green shade of another colour.  It’s disconcerting, and makes me slightly nauseous.

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Broads 78

Friday Character Interview: The Princelings of the East

As promised last month, I have a series of interviews for you during July, and maybe August, while I’m away at Camp NaNoWriMo.  Here’s the first.  Picture above of me about twenty years ago (cough) sailing on the Horsey Cut, Norfolk Broads, UK. And at the end, Castle Marsh from across the marsh (by me).

Jemima interviews Princelings Fred and George

We are sitting in a flat-bottomed wooden boat in the shade cast by an awning held up by poles front and back, with a ridgepole down the centre.  Fred has poled us out to the middle of a medium-sized lake surrounded by reeds.  The wind sends ripples across the water, making the reflected clouds wave about and sometimes turn into mosaics.  It’s warm enough for insects to buzz around us.  Fred and George, once the Princelings of the East, don’t mind the insects, but some of them alight on my arms and try to bite me.

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A-to-Z Reflection 2016

A2ZChallenge 2016 Round-Up post: World-building Wisdom

Wow!  It’s over for another year – but then again, it’s not really over, since there are all those new friends I made when visiting – and all those I missed out. Although I feel I did better than some years, I only got to the first 200 on the sign-up list, plus about four visits each to those I’d saved from the Theme Reveal. I wonder whether I was better organised this year, since I also had to fit in Camp NaNoWriMo (and finished the second book in my Viridian System series).

When I thought of doing a world-building theme, I really intended to help myself enrich my own world of the Viridian System series books (I’ve been writing book 2 at Camp Nano during the April mornings, and A to Zing the rest of the day!).  

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original traveler

Interviewed by Kai Strand

Today I’m being interviewed by Kai Strand on her blog Strands of Thought.  Kai is a children’s author, and blogs fiction for children and teens.  That sounds just the right place for me.

She’s asked me some interesting questions, like who do I admire and what books do I recommend everyone should read… and some of these may surprise you!  So please pop over and give Kai some thanks.

I’m not sure what time the post will go up, so give it time 🙂

Meanwhile, to go with some of those Wednesday options I said I was going to do Quotes and also  Character posts from time to time.  Last month we had a Quote and Question, this month I thought I’d ask the characters those two questions above and see what they said!

Who do you most admire?

King Fred of Marsh (that’s Fred, to you):  Sir Isaac Newton.  He was an amazing thinker – look at all the ideas he came up with and formulated in a scientific way.  A true genius.

Queen Kira: Lady Nimrod.  She’s amazingly helpful to all of us, and supportive of our quest to play a greater role in the running of the Realms.  She should be a queen, really.  She’s very enigmatic about her past.

Prince Engineer George of Marsh: Hmm.  Probably the Wright Brothers.  They did the first powered flight.

Victor: The Lady Nimrod.  She’s very wise and works to help us folks in lower places make the best of ourselves, giving us opportunities like education that we wouldn’t have had otherwise.

Hugo (Lord Mariusz): It’s rumored that my great-great grandfather was Lord Capone of Windy Castle.  He really knew a thing or two about keeping people in their places.  Not a lot about the Revenue Service, though.

What books do you recommend everyone should read?

Fred: A History of Natural Philosophy.  I’m writing it at the moment.

Kira: Practical Castle Management from Top to Bottom.  It involves everyone in managing the castle, something we’re very keen on.  Fred’s writing that, too.

George: The Owner’s Guide to the Short C42 Empire Flying Boat.

Victor: Basic Accounting Practice for Independent Business People and Authors.

Mariusz: The Wozna Story.  I’ve updated it to include later developments like Diet, but my grandfather, the one that invented Wozna Cola, wrote the original book.

Do you guys ever read fiction?  Anything you’d recommend that’s a little lighter?

Fred: The Wind in the Willows

Kira: Halitor the Hero.  I read that to the kids, too.

George: The Time Machine

Victor: Practical Bar Management?  I haven’t got enough time to read stories.  I’d like to, though.

Mariusz: The Traveler in Black and White.  That’s brilliant.  Everyone should buy a copy.  Two – give one to a friend.