They say that long ago a group of hunters were running through the forest, deep into depths where they had never ventured before. It was a sacred place, and though they knew to never hunt there, they had gotten turned about and were not quite sure where they ran. A glitter of light cut through the trees as it reflected off the back of their prey. Second to the front, a young man on his fifth hunt let his arrow fly. The others sent their arrows after it. They heard the cry of the bird as it hit the ground a few yards away and they trotted over to surround it and take stock of the kill.
Sprawled on the floor of the forest was a gorgeous bird, made of light and wind, a trickle of blood painting a line down the side of its neck. Their hearts sank as they realized the sin they had committed. A low rumbling preceded the darkness that fell over the middle of the day. The hunters slowly fell to their knees, praying hands raised above their heads in supplication to an angry god.
They were sentenced an eternity of death in their sin. White birds dropped from the sky, onto and around each hunter, still crouched in prayer. When the birds alighted, each carried with it a head, fused within it like some hideous tumor, and raising from between their wings were the praying fingers of each hunter. The hunter’s bodies collapsed onto the ground, headless and handless.
The hunter’s misery, forever not quite dead and not quite alive inside their bird tombs, will infect anyone who gazes into their face for more than a moment and drive them mad.
One of these creatures was in my dream last night, trapped in my utility room that wasn’t really my utility room. We were trying to let it out the door without looking it in the face, but then the alarm went off.
Chapter Ten, the final chapter, of Penelope Sea and Ocean End posted yesterday on The LeEMS Bean. If you were avoiding reading it because you don’t like waiting a week for conflict resolution (why I can’t stand most TV shows), then you are in luck because all of the story is posted!
Chapter Nine of Penelope Sea and Ocean End has posted on The LeEMS Bean. What will happen to Penelope? How will her journey end? Next week’s posting of the final chapter, chapter ten, will answer all your burning questions.
Announcement: Penelope Sea and Ocean End, that’s a story I wrote, will be posting as weekly chapters here on the Bean every Tuesday. That’s ten weeks of adventure, y’all!
Start reading Chapter One now!
Back Cover: Penelope Sea is a mostly obedient, stubborn and quite child for whom life has been upended by her parents’ move. She is content to be thoroughly unhappy with the situation and, like many other children, dreams of a secret and mysterious spot in her new house to take her away. Her quest to find it lands her in a place far from home, filled with creatures and concepts long since lost, where she must learn that we often have the means to solve our own problems.
Stranded in a strange place, Penelope accepts the kindness of strangers and, along the way, she encounters mythical creatures, extinct species, a stodgy librarian, and plays checkers with a kappa to save herself from being eaten. At last she discovers that her ticket home is none other than the house key on a chain around her own neck, but the kindly strangers of Ocean End don’t want her to leave.
I was inspired by my Levi Levi flashback to put together some pictures with Penelope Sea. This is now I imagine her for the sequel to Penelope Sea and Ocean End. I think there will be a ghost in it.
How could I miss this? No, scratch that, I have been too checked out to make a decent attempt at November’s NaNoWriMo to have paid attention to another opportunity to write together/separately with a host of like-minded story tellers, even if I do love it. For two years now, I have missed this and I will miss it no more!
I will go to Camp NaNoWriMo and I will write in July. And it is not daunting, you lot, ’cause each writer gets to choose her own word limit, and you can work on a preexisting project if you want.
And you can commiserate with me at my profile: http://www.campnanowrimo.org/campers/leems. Only I don’t know if I’m going to try something new or finish something old. I should probably finish something old, but which one: Intervening Variable or 800 Square Miles? And how many words should I shoot for? 800 Square Miles could probably use another 50,000 since the first 50,000 left the action smack in the middle of my idea.
And give! Camp NaNoWriMo is another opportunity to support the good work of the Office of Letters and Light, encouraging creativity in young and old.
I’ve talked about it, and I have constantly deflected questions and nagging from a friend who thinks it is good and I ‘need to get off my butt and edit it already.’ Penelope Sea and Ocean End is the first book I ever wrote. It’s not even 20,000 words – which is hilarious in light of my NaNoWriMo endeavors.
Well, I can finally say that I have edited it. Just finished. And I have tackled all the things about it that I didn’t like and that had kept me from editing for so long because I thought it was going to be difficult. Silly me.
I want to say ‘project done.’ It feels good. I get to cross something off a list now and go on to finish another unfinished manuscript.
I’ve also been given the order to shop it around to publishers, so I guess I’m going to try that. If I should fail, you can be assured that I’ll just end up posting the entirety right here, like I do with my comic submissions. Until that day, I’ll give you Chapter One.
PENELOPE SEA AND OCEAN END
Penelope Sea sat alone at the end of a lunch table in the cafeteria of her new elementary school. She hadn’t made any friends yet. She didn’t want to make new friends She wanted to be with her old friends, in her old school, in her old town. All the children here looked at her funny, and the food that the pink-haired lunch lady served didn’t taste right. Although she had only been enrolled in Dolphin Elementary for one week, Penelope decided she definitely did not like it here.
The only thing Penelope did like about having moved towns, moved houses, and moved schools was her very own personal house key. She wore it on a shiny silver chain around her neck. Penelope was only eight. She thought she was special because after school she got to stay at home while her parents worked.
Continue reading Excerpt of Penelope Sea and Ocean End
From another night I didn’t know quite what to draw. My husband said this picture was weird, though I think it tells a story well enough. Think: sometime in a desert/apocalyptic future world where crazy big robot overlords patrol the cities there is a guy at a bar. And he has with him an artifact that has been unknown to the people of this world, and the robots too, for ages. Fire. Thus the robot’s intense interest in the match. Or, maybe, different apocalyptic future, this dude in the bar and his robot buddy are concocting a plan to storm the castle which includes setting something on fire. The dude just happens to be an amazing story teller and the robot is enraptured.
Another story that I had been sitting on is up on the Bean, only not completely sitting. I printed up some copies of “Peachtree” one year for Christmas and bound them and made cloth covers and gave them away. I didn’t manage to make one for my own shelves, though. I’ll have to fix that. So now ya’ll can read it too. “Peachtree” is a story about another town in Ocean End. Have you noticed a theme by now? After writing Penelope Sea and Ocean End, I got to thinking about the environment, and I got to reading more Carl Sandburg, and then I got to writing about the non Penelope Sea bits of Ocean End. I should probably write more. I might even just do that.
Here is a valentine’s gift for you. I write stories. I know I talked about it before, but I haven’t really shared any of them. And I am testing a new post-type thingy on the Bean. Here is Little River Love Story on The LeEMS Bean. Only terribly influenced by Carl Sandberg’s Rutabaga Stories, and sitting around in my computer for years. Hope you enjoy.