In the Hotseat
I’ve put myself in the volunteer’s place today, sharing the first 500 words of my current WIP. This is a Scottish set novella that’ll come out in September 2013. My editor loves my working title so much she’s asked me not to share it till closer to its release date. Titles can’t be copyrighted and I’ve already had one title boosted by another author this year after its release.
I so appreciate my volunteers’ willingness to put their work out there. It’s scary to take your bath in public. But the hope of Red Pencil Thursday is that what we do here will help other writers as they hone their own WIP. So without further ado, I offer up my own shiny new words. Please leave your comments and suggestions and I’ll take them under advisement!
Scottish Highlands, 1521
“That’s the ugliest castle I’ve ever seen.”
Cait Grant pulled her sturdy Highland pony up short and cast Morgan MacRath a poisonous glare. She hated agreeing with her father’s advisor on anything, but the man had a point.
Bonniebroch’s gray stone was the exact color of the lowering sky. Perhaps if the sun were shining, the granite would glimmer a bit, but now the castle brooded between two sloping hills like a squat toad, all warty and freckled.
“May I remind ye I will shortly be the chatelaine of yon ugly castle?” Cait said.
“Perhaps it merely lacks a woman’s touch,” Morgan said with a sniff, his tone slick as always.
She didn’t know if he was taunting her or not. Word about the highlands was that it was hard to tell when her father was talking because Morgan MacRath’s lips moved at the same time. Wallace Grant trusted Morgan’s judgment so implicitly it was as if he’d been ensorcelled, folk said.
But they didn’t say it very loud.
“Appears there’s a passel o’ people here to welcome ye, milady.” Grizel drew her mule even with Cait’s mount. A long strand of the woman’s iron gray hair escaped from her kerchief, reminding Cait that her maid was not as young as she used to be. But Grizel wasn’t one to complain, even when Cait’s father insisted they travel overland, taking game trails in a circuitous route through the Highlands instead of sailing around to the Firth of Forth and up the River Tay. “Mind how many are coming and going over the drawbridge.”
Despite the castle’s dour appearance, the squeal of festive pipes floated up to their overlook.
“I doubt they’re here to welcome me, Grizel,” Cait said. “They didna know when we’d arrive.”
“We’ll never arrive if we tarry here, milady,” said Barclay, one of the two clansmen her father had sent to protect her on the journey. He tugged at his forelock in respect, then turned to the other guard. “Fife, take the lead.”
Fife, a barrel-chested one-eyed fellow, kneed his horse down the steep track without a backward glance, expecting the rest of Cait’s party to follow as if he towed them with invisible tendrils. Barclay formed their rearguard.
Of course, there was no need for a guard, either before or behind. Cait expected no trouble. They were a small party so as not to attract much notice as they traveled. Their mounts were sound, but not showy enough to excite envy. No highwaymen would suspect Cait’s dowry was secreted in the battered leather pouch draped over Morgan’s saddle. Barclay and Fife were old enough not to appear as dangerous as they really were. Cait’s clothing was so travel-stained and worn, no one would believe she was the wellborn daughter of a clan chieftain on her way to meet her bridegroom. No, they’d encountered no trouble on the road.
The real trouble will start once we arrive.
Now it’s YOUR turn. Please leave your comments and suggestions. I look forward to hearing from YOU!