It’s been a bit of a dry spell, writing-wise. I usually have a story in the wings, something I can jump into once the current effort has been set free to spread its wings and find its audience (FYI: that’s the Bad Boyfriends series).
I’ve been combing the old memory banks, searching for a new location on which to base a novel one of my alter egos has been toying with for some time, taking a break from my M/M focus and going back to my paranormal roots with a YA/Adult theme.
I chose to separate personas based on what genres I write in: the real me loves M/F romantic comedies with a sports theme (basketball), Nya devotes her time to edgy transgressive fiction and a variety of genres in M/M space, and Kennedy Streath looks to the YA crossover spectrum with challenging themes and subtexts.
One theme I’ve not tackled is the magical universe and what better place to explore and discover the magic in our world than in the Scottish Highlands, a place I fell head over teacups with on a visit a couple years ago.
I have a particular fondness for writing narrative poetry masquerading as fiction, so for the new WiP (work-in-progress), The Laird’s Ward, I’m immersing my characters (and myself) in the wondrous vistas shrouded in mists, wearing history as a badge of honor and bravery like a second skin—a homage to fierce independence and a wildness of spirit that reminds me of our own mythical roots in the American West.
If you’d like to follow along, Kennedy offers chapters as free reads HERE.
Excerpts and some accompanying photos I took on my glorious sojourn in a land of enchantment:
Retching over coarse vegetation, my calves and ankles and the back of my neck bubbling with pimply pricks of resistance against the sudden sluice of icy wind threatening to shave the layers down to bare bone, I took the time to empty every reserve, every bit of special and sacred I held tight, while I waited out his anxious pacing and harsh, guttural groans.
Apparently the trip hadn’t been easy on my guide either. Dearest Callum suffered perhaps more than me, his massive size no match for traversing the instant dislocation in time and space.
My brain registered particulars my body could not, sucking in the taint of strange, the notion of otherness so profound it made me wish for anything other than now or here or the promise of you’ll know it when you see it, girl.
Here was no problem. Here was a geography lesson and a passing glance at history, ignored in favor of swapping notes and wondering on cousin Arnie’s expression of smug disdain. Here was wide open and clean, cleaner than back home with the scent of pine smudged over with rank sulfur and the stink of folks living off the edge of beyond. Scrabbling, making do. Here was noiseless sounds of pure, not distilled and made over to line pockets of men who shared the land by leaving pickin’s and not much else.
I squirmed in place, holding my belly, like it was separating from the rest of me. I watched for my intestines to erupt over the purple plumes of midget petals, adding spice and aroma to the olive green sprawl of life crawling up the side of a gentle slope. It was better thinking fanciful, better to imagine the worst because the reality of that was going beyond anything I knew for certain.
I took a moment to look about. Used to cluttered vistas of pine and hardwood, of narrow gorges and the occasional glimpse of an endless march of blue ridges, what spread before us was a wide valley of low-lying vegetation silvered with a meandering stream making ess-curves and cut-away banks, orphaning islands of flowers I somehow recognized as heather, that knowledge right and proper and not a part of any school learning, leastways none I recalled as deliberate.
Much as I tried to ignore it, images and details sometimes took root without effort. I’d source them at some point, but not directly. What was clear was it didn’t give me a warm, fuzzy feeling, nor did it weigh light on my shoulders. I sensed the burden of responsibility approaching, but for what and why there was no way to ascertain a suitable answer to questions I had yet to understand how to ask.
Callum pointed toward the humps of hillocks covered in mist, the clouds sheeting dark-to-light grey, giving the air weight and substance. The rain hovered about my shoulders, like fairy dust, leaving tiny droplets that barely registered on my skin. We walked, trudged, dragging skin and bone heavy with the sludge of passage, unwilling to relinquish memories of the effort it had taken to part the portal allowing us entry into this world.
Callum broke through the cascade of thoughts chasing round my skull. “Is this a thing of passion, lass?” I took his meaning and nodded yes. “Ye will not like the answer.”
“Tell me something I don’t know.”
Snickering, he gripped my shoulder and shook it, none too gently. “We’d best be off, young Masie. The weather will not be this fair for long.” And with that, he marched me into the dying light and air thick with drizzle and a forlorn quality I’d forever link with my warrior giant.
My cousin Arnie would have jumped at the chance for an adventure, as would my darling brother Jax, but stinging nettles and mist like sleet gone weightless might have sucked the joy and the adventure right out of them. The damn stuff just hovered in pockets you waded through or in or around, not so much parting it as you passed through it, but absorbing it on the fabric, the needles penetrating until they hit flesh. They puddled under the fabric folds so you squished with every movement, inside and out, the vapor turning joints rigid and achy, and I walked the walk of Grams and her gingham parade of canes and pins in bonnets and stained gloves and prayer books clutched tight to bosoms. Like the missiles were protecting their hearts and the souls with words that snuck in by osmosis, marking it right and proper and meaningful.
Life is a journey, the paths often traversed alone, yet when shared, magic happens. I hope you will join me.