Wednesday Writing — a Snippet

Wednesday, November 3, 2020

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My 9th Year to Participate

Welcome to my sanctuary.  Come on in and we’ll bask in one another’s positive “light” and spirits.

I haven’t gotten started with the edits for the first book-serial volume of Dead of Winter, but I did say that it would be here in winter, and this is still fall.  So maybe I can find my writing mojo for National Novel Writing Month (#NaNoWriMo) — that’d be November.  Uh-huh… November has already started.  Mojo, where arrrreee you?  Yeah, still no luck with that. 

Meanwhile, I have a snippet from Dead of Winter for you.  My story has a wide cast of varied characters, but the heroine is a twelve year old girl, Emlyn. The snippet below is early in the story, in the cold place her world has become.  Her rigid country is only one of the cultures I built in this world with many nations, traditions, styles of dress, societies — and magic.  I hope you enjoy this little visit to the world I built.  We join Emlyn as her weird dreams begin.

From Dead of Winter

The First Dream – Winter Is Coming

bedroom Rustic RitaE Pixabay
Rita E, Pixabay

It was neither light nor dark, though there was a strange half-light.  The dim shapes of furniture seemed familiar as Emlyn looked around the room.  She went to the window, but could not see anything beyond it other than gray darkness. 

Goosebumps pricked her arms.  She took the shawl she was required to use to cover her hair and wrapped it around her shoulders.  She felt like she should know this room; and it disturbed her that she could not place it.  Worse she felt that she should remember not liking it.

She turned to go to the door and leave, but a musical tone pierced her ears, surging in volume, but then dissipating.  As the tone died she thought she heard a voice.  Emlyn shook her head, trying to clear it.  She moved toward the door, and the sound blended with the rustle of her skirts, but she was sure she heard it again.  She froze, listening, with her hand reaching for the doorknob.

“Winter is coming.”

Emlyn tilted her head.  Had she heard correctly?  Then it came again more clearly, but still little more than the sound of dry leaves, “Winter is coming!”

She turned toward the sound, but saw nothing more than the oddly familiar room.  Then suddenly he was there, across the room. 

He was a stranger to Emlyn, yet she felt that she knew him, even though she couldn’t see his face clearly.  Shadow seemed to cling to him even more than it did to the rest of the room. 

“Did you hear that?  Was it you who spoke?” she asked. 

He seemed to rush closer to her, though his feet didn’t move.  She drew back.

“No,” he replied, “but it’s true.  Winter is coming.  The Winter.  The Winter of the ages.  I know those fools have tried to stifle knowledge, but don’t tell me you haven’t at least learned about that.  You of all people should know about the Winter.”

Bare trees dark road
Tama, Pixaby

It was plain that she didn’t know what he meant, and that seemed to make him angry.  Her hands gripped her shawl tightly.  Suddenly afraid, Emlyn didn’t know how to respond. 

The voice came again, louder, “Winter is coming.”  

She blinked and he was only inches away from her.

Emlyn awoke with a start and sat up in her bed.  She let out a relieved breath.  She was safe in her little room.  Then she heard it in his voice.

Winter is coming.” 

He stood at the foot of her bed.  Emlyn thought the dream must be clinging to her, and she rubbed her eyes.  He was still there.  She blinked hard.  He moved toward her and sat on the side of the bed.  As she felt the bed shift with his weight.  She screamed.

Her cry roused the household.  Afanen, her sister, was there first, and then her father and brother-in-law crowded into the tiny room, demanding to know what the trouble was.

“There was a man,” she said before she could stop herself. 

Their expressions were first astonished and then scandalized.  Emlyn tried to take the words back by saying, “It was a dream.  Just a nightmare.”

Her sister cut her off and exclaimed, “I had gotten up and was on my way back to bed when I heard her – mumbling in her sleep about winter.  She kept saying that winter is coming.” 

Afanen wore a bemused smirk that suggested Emlyn was just a silly girl and not to be taken seriously.  She had told people often enough that there was something odd; something wrong about Emlyn.

“If she’s dreaming of men in her room, then it’s time she had a husband,” Dewydd, her brother-in-law said, barely hiding his leer.

“It was just a dream,” Emlyn defended herself. 

Her sister and brother-in-law left the room to go back to bed, whispering to each other.  She heard her sister giggle as the door to their room closed.

Afon, Emlyn’s father sat down on the bed, on the same place where he had sat.  Emlyn cringed, wondering if somehow her father would be able to tell that someone; or maybe some thing had just sat there.  Afon had gone pale, and she thought his voice shook a little.

“Winter, you say?” he looked intently at her as he asked.  “Winter is coming?  As if it was more than just winter?”

“Well yes, that’s how it was in the dream,” Emlyn told him. 

However, her father sat looking at her coldly.  He seemed to appraise her, trying to determine her honesty, as if he had caught her in some mischief.  He stood abruptly.

“Where have you heard of this?” he demanded as she looked up at him in confusion.  “It’s not allowed for this to be taught.  This is blasphemy!  Where have you heard it?  Have you eavesdropped on the elders when they meet?”

“It was only a dream,” Emlyn stammered, “a nightmare.  Why are you angry?  I don’t understand.  I haven’t done anything wrong.”


Dead of Winter cover A
Book cover by Teagan R. Geneviene



Copyright © 2010 by Teagan Ríordáin Geneviene

All rights reserved.

No part of this book may be reproduced, scanned, or distributed in any printed or electronic form without permission.  Please do not participate in or encourage piracy of copyrighted materials in violation of the author’s rights.

All images are either the property of the author or from Pinterest unless stated otherwise.


79 thoughts on “Wednesday Writing — a Snippet

  1. I’m hooked too, Teagan… This was a brilliant introduction to the story and cannot wait to read more. This is also a brilliant way of publishing it too… please let me know if you need any help with the launch in the new year!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You are a gem! Thanks so much. If you’d like to do an author interview, or a “meet a character” type of thing, or something about Emlyn’s homeland that would be fabulous. Although you’ve already done a ton, because your reblog was what caused me to realize the comments weren’t on in my post for today. Now I’m trying to get my morning on track.
      Hugs on the wing.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Teagan, I just found this post, so I’m late to the party. Your stand alone snippet is an awesome hook. It tells us where Emlyn is and what her challenges are. It seems like a forbidding winter is coming when her father speaks to her. But, I think I see a mysterious twist coming. The November writing challenge is over. Happy writing in December. I’m looking forward to more can’t wait to read snippets. Hugs, my friend. 📚 Christine

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Dear Christine, there’s no such thing as late here. Thanks so very much for your encouragement! I’m still on schedule with the editing for “Journey 1”. (I’m calling the monthly publications “Journeys” rather than volume of whatever, because the characters travel their world. I might publish it with the winter solstice, but not certain.
      Have a wonderful new week. Hugs on the wing!

      Liked by 2 people

    1. Hi Robbie. LOL, several people seem to think it could be a lot of things or a person. I have to admit that 10 years ago, those possibilities didn’t occur to me. I’ll be editing in segments, so who knows — something to do with that might just stick its head into the mix. o_O

      About the 800 pages comment… My manuscript is actually 839 pages, including “front matter” and table of contents.
      One reason I never published “DoW” is that I was unhappy with the ending. With all the frustrations I’ve mentioned (particularly “Winter is coming”), and some I didn’t mention, I had long periods of being unable to write. The ending came out of ruthless determination to finish the book. So, I’ve always felt it was rushed. Plus the level of violence at the end was not in keeping with the rest of the story. I will certainly rewrite the climax. Anyway, my point is that there may be fewer — or more pages when all is said and done.
      Have a wonderful weekend. Hugs on the wing!

      Liked by 2 people

      1. 839 pages is a lot of thinking and writing, Teagan. Endings are always difficult, that is why I plan mine before I start writing. I would hate to go to so much effort and then find I had no ending. That is me, very practical [smile]. I wonder if anyone else in this community writes backwards like me. Maybe I should ask, that would be an interesting post. I think this story of yours sounds very intriguing.

        Liked by 2 people

        1. It’s marvelous that you write that way, Robbie. Not knowing the ending is my greatest downfall. But I’m such a “pantser”… I doubt I’d ever start a story if I had to know the end first. I plan a little, but hardly ever know the ending until I’m almost there. I agree that would make a marvelous post. More hugs!

          Liked by 1 person

  3. I especially appreciated how you brought the idea of dream state into this narrative. You give relevance to subconscious thought and unknown but known understandings. We are more than we are when awake. I love tagging along on your adventures.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Rebecca, I’m so glad you’re here for the journeys! “We are more than we are when awake.” That is such a powerful statement. I love it. I’ve always had vivid — and very weird dreams.
      I wrote this over a couple of years beginning in 2010. Emlyn’s dreams escalate and get her into some trouble as the story progresses, but there is a lot going on overall. My original manuscript is more than 800 pages. I’ve started editing the first segment for publication as a monthly (book, not blog) serial. Heartfelt thanks for reading and commenting. Hugs on the wing!

      Liked by 3 people

      1. Your idea of a monthly book serial is a great idea. Simply brilliant. One of the books I’m reading now is a series by Alexander McCall Smith that starts with 44 Scotland Street as a daily article in the newspaper much like Charles Dickens. He started it in 2007 and thought that it would only a short series. It continues…
        I am seeing a transition in how we read. While traditional books are still very much with us, there is a shift in how we read, how we learn, how we communicate. That is why the monthly book is something that I will be following closely.

        Liked by 3 people

    1. Denise, heartfelt thanks for saying that. I put months and volumes of research into the complex world-building of this story. It’s a character-heavy fantasy, and I researched every last name to make it appropriate to the “country” of the character. (The countries evoke the idea of the past of nations in the real world, but are not meant to actually be them.)
      Now time to WriMo-mo-mo! Hugs on the wing.

      Liked by 2 people

            1. Thank you, my friend. I’ll work on that internal sunshine and send your wish there.
              Here on average, there are 285 sunny days per year. But by that they mean a day when no precipitation (rain, snow, sleet, or hail) *falls to the ground*. Even on days that it rains or snows, the sun almost always comes out. 🙂

              Liked by 1 person

  4. Oooh, Teagan, you created a wonderfully creepy mood and strong sense of foreboding. What a great tease! Find that mojo, my friend. And if you don’t, write anyway. It’s the best way to grease the wheels. I’m excited for this book!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Diana, that means so much to me, especially coming from you. Your expertise in writing fantasy is inspirational. I moved to other styles after once I started writing “Atonement, Tennessee,” and never went back to my fantasy roots. Bringing back this story, I’m feeling a little…insecure about the genre. So this feedback is very valuable to me.
      Hmmm…You’re right about greasing the wheels. I hadn’t thought about that. Okay — I’ll give it my best. Hugs on the wing!

      Liked by 2 people

      1. You’re welcome. When I’m feeling uninspired, I just write anyway. Even if it’s crap, it gets me started. And, of course, crap is totally acceptable until the very last draft. Lol. I’m honestly looking forward to this. Sharing a snippet was a great idea.

        Liked by 3 people

        1. Haha. My editor-brain complains about that — although occasionally I’ve found that (on a second look back) the crap isn’t such trash after all. My WriMo story has a lot of songs in it. I think I’ll give myself a challenge with that. Most songs tell a story, even if vaguely. So I’ll randomly pick a song, and try to write the story it tells me… Like you said, maybe it will at least grease the wheels. More hugs!

          Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks so much, Lavinia. November will be slipping away before I know it. If I’m going to get the first serial “book” out by winter, I need to make a firm schedule for time to edit it.
      Thanks for your encouragement. It means a lot to me. Hugs on the wing.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. You know, I still haven’t seen or read that show/book, Pat. I meant to do that. Emlyn’s home might be similar to that society, from the commercials I saw. Just what “Winter” is, well, that is a mystery that takes awhile to resolve. 🙂 Thanks so much for reading. Hugs on the wing!

      Liked by 2 people

    1. Hi Christoph. I thought you might like that photo. The one thing that Emlyn’s father is (if quietly) less strict about is the presence of a little color — at least if the colors were in something that belonged to his late wife. When I saw the pillows and curtains, I almost didn’t use the photo — but then I remembered how Afon let Emlyn have a few things of her mother’s. Happy hump day. Hugs on the wing!

      Liked by 2 people

    1. You are so kind, GP. Thanks for giving me this smile. Sorry about the goosebumps. LOL, am I mean for saying I am glad it had that effect? 😀 There are several “boosebumply” moments in this story — or at least I hope so. Happy November. Hugs on the wing!

      Liked by 2 people

        1. Awesome. I like kerfuffle. I think Agate might use it on the Delta Pearl. Added to my story matrix. I also found this:
          The root of “kerfuffle” is the very old Scots verb “fuffle,” which first appeared in print in the early 16th century and means “to throw into disorder.” The Oxford English Dictionary suggests that the “ker” part of “kerfuffle” may hare come from the Gaelic word “car,” meaning “to twist, bend or turn around.”

          Liked by 1 person

  5. Now I have goosebumps. The fear of the event, coupled with the fear of not being believed and not being understood. The degree to which she seems alone right now is palpable. Winter, for those of us waiting to read this story, isn’t coming fast enough. Winter, the one with the snow and ice, that one can take its time.

    Thanks for this snippet to help me over the mid-week hump. I hope you slide down the other side with ease. Hugs to you and Emlyn.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Yes — that’s it exactly, Dan! That’s what I wanted to convey. Thank you! That you were able to pick up on her situation, without having seen the opening scenes to build it… That means a lot to me. This feedback is much bigger than the sentences you used. Thank you.
      Haha, the phrases “dead of winter” and “winter is coming” were born out of my dread of DC winters. I hope it’s a mild one where you are. Hugs on the wing!

      Liked by 2 people

    1. Good morning, Tim. Several readers have wondered the same thing. To be honest, it never occurred to me that Winter might be a person. Hmmm… Maybe I need to add a sub-plot that would allow for that! 😀 Thanks for reading and commenting. Hugs on the wing.

      Liked by 2 people

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