- I’m 27,000 words into my WIP, so that means I’m keeping up with the lesser end of my word count goal (7,000 words a week minimum, with 10,000 being better).
- I also signed up for some critique partners through Miss Snark’s First Victim a couple of weeks ago, and I think I found some people with whom I’ll get along well and can offer and receive good advice. And it’s definitely good for me to have people expecting me to get some writing done, so that alone is a benefit.
Yeah, the other blog I was so excited about? No time for it, what with the whole writing a novel thing. And truthfully, with that project I discovered I’m not a huge fan of taking pictures of my food. Figuring out staging and lines and light saturation and whatnot isn’t my thing. That said, I do enjoy the story part of it and can see doing the occasional crappy picture for the occasional entertaining post. Plus, I do have a couple of ideas in mind that I’d like to complete.
So at some point I’ll merge all the Storied Baker posts onto this site, and when Storied Baker’s URL comes up for renewal next year, I’ll let it go and save myself the web hosting fees. That also has the advantage of freeing up my Thesis license for use on this site, so I can change things around a bit and pretend I have half a clue about web design over here. Future Storied Baker posts will be part of this site. I’m toying with the idea of actually setting up a dual-blog format, but I’m not sure that’s entirely necessary at this stage.* No real solid deadline on that, other than it definitely needs to be before April 2013 so I don’t have to renew Storied Baker.
*Plus, the WordPress Codex seems to imply it’s a significant enough chunk of work I’m not sure I want to devote myself to that.
I received a couple of positive comments about my last excerpt and requests for another. So I’m (very belatedly) obliging. The previous excerpt and this one are from the old first draft of the WIP. Maybe at some point I’ll post from the WIP as it is now, but generally I like to keep writing until I get a first draft done and confirm it has at least some sparkliness to it. The good kind of sparkly, not the emo-vampire sparkly. Huge difference.
Note: In between the last posting and this one, I updated my first first-draft to use the new name for the Ethan character. He’s Cailean in the WIP. Made it easier when I was still picking up pieces of the first first-draft, but I’m pretty much past that point now.
This is a continuation of the scene started here.
I shuffled closer to Horace and Cailean, more to remind myself that I wasn’t alone than to lend them support.
“I’m sure you’re correct,” the warden said. “I’m not here about the bakery.” He inclined his head toward Cailean. “I’m here about the Vessel.”
Vessel? What the– I risked a glance at Cailean, who now approximated the mass of the bag of flour I’d dropped. He kept his eyes on the floor and his arms wrapped around himself.
The counter blocked me from wrapping my own arm around him. Damn my short arms and legs. “I can’t see what a boundary warden would want with a boy. He’s legal, too.” Well, as far as I knew, that was. But surely Eloise wouldn’t entrust me with her bakery and an illegal boy. One or the other, sure, but not both together. She wouldn’t risk her bakery that way.
“Not just any boy. The Vessel.”
Horace met my eyes and gave a tiny shake of his head. So he was as clueless as I. Cailean, though, had to have some idea of what the warden meant, because his flour-bag-size downgraded to sugar bag.
Eloise wouldn’t risk her bakery, but she also wouldn’t give up an innocent boy to a warden.
Well, it wasn’t like I had any true advantage to lose by taking the time to circumnavigate the counter. I did so, passing Horace and moving to Cailean’s right, so that the two of us flanked him.
I tried not to think how my physical presence probably didn’t soothe his nerves any. Sitting on the stool as he was, the ten-year-old was taller than me. I reached up and put a hand on his shoulder anyway. He glanced at me for just a moment, then went back to staring at the ground. My gaze caught the stack of papers on the counter top.
The brass in my voice got upgraded to iron. “Just what do you mean coming in here, anyway, and interrupting the boy as he does his homework?”
Horace made a noise that sounded suspiciously like a stifled snort. I ignored him, instead doing my best to stare down the warden. The reactionary part of my brain shrieked that I ought to spin on my heels and dart out the back, but I wrestled it down. I couldn’t leave Cailean to the warden.
“I’m sorry?” the warden said at last.
I stabbed a finger at the stack of papers. “His homework! There it is, barely half-finished. Cailean’s just trying to be a good student, a good citizen, and finish his homework while he waits on my shift to end so we can go home. And you have the gall to come in to a legal bakery, with registered citizens, and interrupt his diligence? All this talk of how our school systems are failing, and it’s no wonder if we have boundary wardens interrupting young scholars from their studies.”
Yes, that was definitely Horace suppressing a snort. But I had to keep going so I would stay present and not flee, mindless, and probably run into a dead spot for my trouble.
“Do you often have wardens passing this way? Interrupting the diligent study of young pupils?”
I didn’t like the wry cant to the warden’s lips.
“No, as a matter of fact, we don’t, because as I have repeatedly said, we’re a legal bakery with legal citizens.”
Naturally, that was the moment when our own dead spot flared up. And I, being what I was, reacted to it.
Faster than I could pour a cup of sugar, the boundary warden drew his sword. And faster than I could slap a lump of dough on the table for kneading, he had that point held to my throat.
“She’s registered,” Horace said quickly, since the only thing that came out of my own throat was a terrified squeak. “And she’s got dispensation. Like she said, we’re all legal.”
“And you have a hole in the middle of your bakery.”
To Horace’s immense credit, his voice remained calm. He was a bastion of equanimity. Which was probably what made me want to hit him at that moment. “Not the middle of the bakery. In the corner, well marked and blocked off.” He jerked a hand toward the yellow caution signs and the rope. The hole was a good ten feet from the nearest table—not that anyone ever sat in it, anyway. But still, it provided a nice saftey cushion. Or at least all the locals thought so.
“But you have a hole in your bakery.”
I licked my lips and had to swallow a couple of times before I could get my throat and lips and teeth to cooperate and produce coherent sound. “We’re aware of that, yes. As Horace mentioned, it’s marked and blocked off.”
The warden stared at me for a moment. “Is it growing?”
“No. It’s stable.” Or at least, Eloise told me it was stable. I gave it a wider berth than even our most skittish customers. If I owned the bakery, I’d have razed it to the ground and moved to a new location the instant it developed. But I didn’t own the bakery; tight-fisted Eloise did. I loved her, but she had her faults. Massive ones.
More staring from the warden. “You realize the bakery will have to be relocated if the hole proves to be unstable.”
Horace stepped a little closer to me. I took back my previous thoughts about hitting him. He could have a kiss instead. “I’m sure Eloise, the owner, already knows. But we’ll be sure to remind her when she returns.”
The point of the warden’s sword pressed the tiniest bit into my flesh. I’d made the mistake of inhaling a little too deeply. I froze.
“Well, I suppose if a bakery has a hole, it might as well be one that employs a crosser.”
Curious. While it wasn’t illegal per se to have holes be present in public buildings—they way they formed, it was sometimes inevitable—but I’d have expected the warden to raise a bigger stink about it.
Pressure from the sword tip bit into my throat. This time, it wasn’t my fault. “Assuming that you are, indeed, a legal crosser.”
Ah. There it was.
I had to swallow a couple of times before I could get my voice to work. If it kept failing me like this, I’d have to start carrying around a pad of paper and a pen. “My documents are in the back. I can go get them. If you’ll let me.”