Micro-Fiction Challenges – Three

One.

Alone in a box. It sighs with happiness.

Another appears. They glare across the distance, in the darkness beneath the lid.

Two more stretch out, then four. This is getting ridiculous.

One chases them away, but there are more and more and more.

Eight in the darkness, sixteen, thirty-two. Fighting for space. Two tumble free and the box topples over. Funny little furry creatures scatter across a cold metal floor. Sixty-four little Tribbles, trilling with delight. There’s Tribbles in the Loading Dock. Tribbles across the Crew Decks. Pouring out the ventilation and spreading through the ship.

 

Challenges

I  put out a call for people to challenge me and this is my second response. The prompt was Mitosis & Farce. This was a tricky challenge to nail down, and I’ve been thinking about it since it appeared, knowing it was coming up! I’m happy with how it turned out in the end.

Join me in the challenge! post your micro-fiction of 100 words or less below. I challenge you to use the prompt of  Apples and the genre of Steam-Punk. Have fun! I would love to see some responses.

Previous Prompts

Dinosaurs & Melodrama

Penguins & Romance

 

 

Happy Writing,

Micro-Fiction Challenges – Two

He swam towards pillars of white and the arch that stretched above the midnight sea. He left a trail of luminescence in his wake. Waves lapped gently against the ice as he climbed. Was she here? Was she waiting? With cautious steps, and outspread wings he peered into the darkness. I’m here. His voice echoed over the shelf. I’m here! He hurried forward.

I’m here.

Challenges

I  put out a call for people to challenge me and this is my second response. The prompt was Penguins & Romance. Although it’s a short piece, I think I’ve just about pulled it off! Tomorrow is going to be a tricky one!

Join me in the challenge! post your micro-fiction of 100 words or less below. I challenge you to use the prompt of  Snow and the genre of Fantasy. Have fun! I would love to see some responses.

Previous Prompts

Dinosaurs & Melodrama

Happy Writing,

Fibi

 

Micro-fiction Challenges!

I have really wanted to write some micro fiction put out a call for people to challenge me. This is my response to the first prompt I was given – Dinosaurs & Melodrama.

I couldn’t help where it ended up… once I got started it was, well it was inevitable! (If you know, you know) I hope that you enjoy it. I’ll work on getting one done a day 🙂

Steg grazed lush grass; revelled in the scent of fern, baked yellow dirt and coming rain.  Allosaurus dozed beneath the nearest tree. They were greatest allies and truest friends.  Thunder rumbled.

Steg looked up, content.

‘Good friends, stay truest,’ he smiled.

Allosaurus flexed. She stretched. She grimaced.

‘I’m hungry,’ the sky had darkened.

The herds had moved away.

His heart thumped with uneasy horror.

Allosaurus grinned. A blaze of light set the clouds on fire.

‘Curse you,’ Steg started to run. He tripped, he tumbled.

Allosaurus approached, teeth bared.

‘Curse your sudden yet inevitable betrayal!’

And then they all exploded.

Do you want to provide a prompt? Just comment with me a word like ‘Vampire’ or ‘Moose’ and a genre. Like Moose – Horror! And I’ll do my best to come up with a story of 100 words or less.

Or do you want to join in the challenge! If you do, then post your micro-fiction of 100 words or less below. I challenge you to use the prompt of ‘Daffodil’ and the genre of Sci-fi. Have fun! I would love to see some responses.

Happy Writing,

Fibi

The Changing Road

Writing is a journey.

It’s a sunny Bank Holiday afternoon, and I’ve had a little time to reflect on what I’ve achieved and how far I am in my writing quest.

I started writing because I loved reading. It was my escape and nothing quite beats the thrill of being lost in another world when you don’t want to be in the real one. So, I realised early on that I wanted to share stories and help other people escape. I wanted people to join me in my own little world.

I wanted to be good at telling those stories, so I made big decisions based on that. I studied literature for my degree and learnt how to pull apart writing and strip it back. Literature for me, is being able to disassemble the pieces of a larger puzzle, and then see how it fits back together into a more beautiful whole. I travelled and pushed myself to live in other countries, so that I could learn what it was like to live in snow or to sleep out in a forest where a bear might wander past. I joined re-enactment groups, studied longsword as a martial art, learnt to shoot longbow, how to work in natural horsemanship and how to sew.  I’m so very grateful for all of the skills I’ve developed and the knowledge that I’ve scraped together. Most of all, I’m grateful for the journey and for the companions I’ve met along the way. Writing has continued to bring magic to my life and in a strange world today, it’s a necessary escape.

This is such a diverse group of authors, and we’re all at different stages of our own adventures.  But I was just wondering, what have you learnt in the name of research? What hobbies have you taken up? What friends have you collected?

This is a journey, and we’re nowhere near the end of it yet.

Longbow Archery – Part Two

Following on from my previous post about Longbow Archery 🙂 The next injuries are by no means specific to longbow archery.

String Whip – it’s not life threatening but it does bloody hurt. If you’ve done archery a couple of times, then you’ve done this. What happens is the arm holding the bow, bends in just a little and it’s enough for the string to whip against the inside of your arm when you release the arrow. The injury can stretch from elbow to wrist and anywhere in between. It’s unlikely to draw blood and it will probably stop hurting within an hour or so. However, you are going to develop a beautiful, multi-coloured bruise. Usually in the shape of an extended ellipses.

I’ve been told that due to slight physiological differences that women are more prone to this than men, because their arms bend more naturally at a slightly different angle. There seems to be evidence that can go either way on this. Anyone is capable of getting whipped by the string. However, women also have adjust their stance a little to account for their chest which can lead to a tendency to curve the bow arm.

The easiest way to avoid string whip is to wear a van brace. Usually shortened to just a brace, this is the leather guard that is strapped to my wrist. If you go to any archery club, they will make you wear a brace to stop this injury.

Arrow Damage – when shooting arrows, one of the most dangerous things (other than the other people doing it beside you) can be going to collect the arrows that you’ve flung at the target. One of the main lessons in archery is –never- run towards the target to collect your arrows. If you trip over an arrow, or near the target, there’s a good chance you’re going to fall on an arrow and the nock end (the bit that holds onto the string) can be sharp and pointy. No one wants the wrong end of an arrow in their eye.

Muscle Strain – As with any sport, archers are going to develop certain muscle groups and they’re capable of over extending. Muscles that are going to hurt are the torso, back, neck, shoulders and arms. When drawing a longbow to shoot curved arrows where they go long distance, there’s even more strain from the draw that goes from shoulder down to your feet. That’s because of the large circular motion you’re doing in order to put as much muscle into the draw as possible. You’re not drawing a longbow with just your arms, I would argue that more than with recurve or short bows, the longbow requires the most full-body momentum that you can give it. Inevitably the battle commander will make you draw and hold that draw from a minute or so. If you’ve drawn properly, this should be possible without too much discomfort because the weight and the strength has not come from your arms.

I know there must be a dozen injuries that I’ve missed off, please anyone jump in if you spot something or just have an questions. I’ll try and get a post up in a few days about longbow equipment, body position and shooting.

Forging the Fire – Chapter One

Hi All,

This is a little bit of a tease of what I’m working on at the moment, the sequel to Burning Embers! Here is the opening of Chapter One… I really hope you like it.

Forging the Fire

The City was called Kalit, or the Diamond City in an older language. It hunkered down in a protective curve of the Spine Mountains and opened on one side to the Sea. The mountains rose in regular jagged peaks covered in a thick pine forest and deep snow.  Spring had only started to touch the world and would take longer so spread so far north. The evening sky was hooded with clouds.

Kalit had one entrance overland. Its walls, hewn from the mountain itself, glittered with traces of diamond dust. A promise of the wealth found within the mountain and a fortune from its mines. The single tall gate opened to the North, Arngeir and a solitary road that led through the Spine. Travelers were rare so early in the year but two guards stood beside the iron portcullis, stamping their feet and muttering curses. Once the last rays of sunshine slipped from the sky they could close the gate and return to the barracks and their dinner.

‘It’s bloody freezing,’ the elder blew into his gloved hands before clapping them together. His halberd staff gripped between armpit and body.

‘Do you think they’ll make it?’ The younger, who wore a red knit hat beneath his helmet had his eyes fixed on a pair of distant travelers.

‘I don’t care,’ the first kicked his foot against the dark stone walls. ‘Soon as that sun is gone, I’m shutting the gate.’

‘They’ll be trapped outside for the night,’ the youth protested, ‘I wouldn’t like to sleep outside in the snow.’

‘Then they’d better hurry up!’

They approached Kalit with all the weariness expected of those passing through the Spine in winter. It was a long and lonely pass. One of the riders, a girl, stared at the city as it came into view.

Feia could see the buildings sprawling against the edges of the snow covered range. In the fading light, lanterns were being lit and the glow of a thousand flames spread through the distant streets like stars appearing in a night sky.  She’d never seen so many people living together, so many houses or buildings or streets as they stretched out below in a warren.  She had expected to feel relief that their long journey was over, that she’d be able to sleep in a bed, that she’d feel warm for the first time in weeks. But as the dark stone walls rose from the mountains, all that she felt was unease; as though she was a mouse sneaking towards a sleeping cat.

‘They say you can buy anything in Kalit,’ Feia she kept her voice lowered as they approached the gate.

‘I’d love to meet these ‘they’. They know so much,’ Rhyode replied. He nudged his own mount forward to catch up with her, the black irises of his eyes fixed on the dark granite of Kalit’s defenses as they drew closer.

‘So it’s not true?’ She persisted, intent on drawing out an answer from her protector.  The man, Rhyode, let out a long suffering sigh. Although he looked less than a decade older than the teenaged-girl beside him, his gaze held a depth of knowledge beyond his apparent years. Something Feia had determined to take advantage of. She wanted to learn as much as possible about the man who had sworn to protect her; after all she’d sworn to travel with him to Lluridi, the world capital. A pact made on the promise that Rhyode would help save her family from invaders. Rhyode had upheld his promise so far and so a faint band of light encircled her wrist, a sign of vows that were unbreakable, except in death.  Something that many people would be glad to offer the pair of them. From Kalit they would take a ship to Lluridi, the fastest way to end their perilous journey. Until then, Feia wanted to know more about the man who had kissed her once. To understand how he saw the world. Perhaps then she could understand why he had kissed her, or why he wouldn’t do it again.

‘Are you listening?’

Rhyode was staring at her and she checked the hood of her cloak covered her hair. Hair the colour of fresh blood.

‘I’m listening,’ she lied, and wondered what she had missed.

‘Many things can be bought in Kalit, some things which should never be traded,’ Rhyode replied eventually.

‘Girls?’ Feia felt a familiar thread of tension pulling at the back of her neck and shoulders. Once, she had almost been sold.

Rhyode looked back at her, his taller horse had pulled ahead. The last light was fading quickly but they were just a few short strides from the gate itself.

‘All life,’ he replied. His voice was a low rumble as his horse started to climb the stone bridge towards the gates. They stretched high above, almost blocking out the sky beyond them.

An older guard glowered as they passed, stamping the end of his halberd against the frozen ground.

Rhyode reached out, touching his hand to her own and nudging his horse closer. His breath tickled the top of her ear as she forced herself to look ahead. Where she had expected busy city streets, Kalit almost seemed deserted. But light flickered against windows, and curtains moved. There were people in the city, she could feel them watching.

‘Keep your tongue and your opinions to yourself within these walls,’ Rhyode warned. ‘The Champions are powerful in Kalit.’

Feia had lost count of how many times he had issued the same warning. But never, had it caused the hair on the back of her neck to rise as it did. She swallowed her fear.

‘Champions, Nethari…’ She rolled her eyes, ‘and I almost forgot about all the people trying to kill me.’

Rhyode withdrew his hand and nudged his horse forward. Embry’s hooves seemed to rattle on the stone paved streets. ‘I mean it Feia.’

Her own pony was determined to keep up and Feia couldn’t blame her.

‘You can buy diamonds from Kalit,’ Rhyode continued to speak softly, ‘you can trade goods from all around Arenith. So long as the mines are open, Kalit will trade. But-’ he hesitated, ‘you can buy life or death. If we’re heard speaking ill of the city it’s likely we’ll end our days in the mines. You can never be sure who is listening.’

She wanted to point out that surely people could hear Rhyode whispering now, but Rhyode was powerful. His magic was rooted in darkness, as night descended no one would hear a thing he said, unless he wanted them too.  She held her questions and turned to watch the gateway as they left it behind. The impenetrable border of Kalit stretched higher than any castle walls she’d ever seen. She’d assumed they were to keep attackers out. The final sweep on sunlight vanished from the city and a call rose for the gates to close. The portcullis began its creaking descent behind them. The impassable wooden doors thunked shut behind her and the guards stretched to bring iron bars down. Not to keep people out she realized but to keep them in. Rhyode guided the horses forward, deeper into the city streets.

At first, the way was lit by lanterns hanging from the walls of shops on either side of road. Rhyode motioned to them, explaining that each lantern held quartz stones filled with magical energy. They were taken each day to the Temple of Saelil, the Spirit of Light, to be infused with power.  An enormous undertaking, but they provided a sure and steady glow and a safe place, well lit for the wealthier population of Kalit to wander in the night-time. But the main streets were a difficult place to travel quickly. Despite the late hour they bustled. People dressed in rich colours moved from vendor to vendor in groups. Their laughter rose into the night air, but the throng was difficult to pass. Rhyode soon led Feia to narrower streets, where the lighting dimmed and crowd thinned. The lanterns or quartz holders in the main street had been elaborate. Beautiful shapes made from precious metals, Feia had selected a particular favourite on the wall of the apothecary. Hanging from a hook, intricate vines of silver had fallen, and curved. Tiny metal leaves of Ivy, embellished with green glass, had then woven together to form a ball to hold the stones. In the side streets, the lanterns were made of wood. Passing, Feia could see cracks in the quartz stones. Soon, as Rhyode led the way through narrowing streets, lanterns vanished altogether. Dotted in the cracks of walls were stones the glinted with a sickly glow.

‘Why is it so much dimmer?’ She asked softly, ‘isn’t the magic as strong?’

‘Not in these stones, they’re filled with impurities and the temple will not infuse them.’

‘So who makes them? Do they still relight them each day?’

‘No,’ Rhyode replied, ‘they are created and then fade overtime. Apprentices with a talent for Saelil’s Spirit are paid to keep them burning; but it is a large city.’  Without warning he swung himself down from the saddle and stretched.  ‘Stay out of trouble.’

‘You say that like it’s easy.’

‘Just don’t set anything on fire. Don’t set the tavern on fire. Don’t set the stables on fire. Don’t set anything on fire.’

‘You say that like it’s easy,’ she grinned.

 

BECOVER

Burning Embers is available on Amazon and through Kindle Unlimited!

The first chapter is also online just here.

 

 

 

Burning Embers – First Chapter

 

CHAPTER ONE

The sky was mottled grey over murky water. Beside the Temple of Dancing Light, a skinny girl sat on a standing stone and stared at the grey horizon. Waves crashed below her dangling feet. The Sisters of Light promised that anyone with the Gift of magic, would be able to see the faces of their loved ones in the very first rays that broke the surface. The first wash of light was pale and slow to spread and Feia held her breath, hoping to see something, anything. Disappointment was a familiar companion.

Her dark hair was tied back, and the grey school uniform hung loose from her shoulders. She would have given up, but that meant accepting that she wasn’t special. Perhaps she couldn’t see anything because she didn’t know who she was? Like a tickle in the back of her mind she felt incomplete. But what if that was just wishful thinking? What if this was all she was, a girl who no one wanted?

Feia watched a shaft of light as it pierced the black clouds above her. Then she slid down a tall standing stone, hands scraping on the rough-hewn surface. Her feet landed in the long grass that sprouted through cracks in the paving.

A shriek screeched over the wind: ‘Get her!’

Feia heard the heavy thud of boots and turned in horror to see a pack of girls charging towards her. A shiver of shock and fear raced from her skull down her spine. She darted to the side, but before she’d gone two steps she was grabbed. Her captors pushed her against the obelisk. She flinched as the stone chafed her skin through the woollen dress.

Knowing it would provoke the leader, Feia smiled.

‘Saka, nice to see you out in the fresh—’ she said, then faltered as a slap silenced her. She looked down, refusing to search Saka’s gaze for mercy; she’d never find it anyway. A second slap had angry tears building behind her eyes, despite the promises she’d made to herself never to cry in front of them. Beyond the group of girls was the familiar courtyard and then the Temple. None of its windows, though, looked out towards the standing stone.

‘What are you doing, Feia?’ Saka demanded.

‘The stone is sacred, Saka,’ she replied.

 They always said that Feia didn’t have any sense, and she agreed. If she had been sensible, she would have been asleep. The sun was yet to rise over a cold autumn morning but she had already left a warm bed behind. She had decided that she’d rather be a slug, a dead fish or anything that meant she wasn’t like her classmates; nothing like them at all.

In many ways, it was good that she’d made the decision. Feia didn’t look like the other girls, and because of her differences they had turned her body into a battlefield of scars, scratches and competing bruises. Children in Arngeir typically had dark eyes, and Feia’s were the colour of morning frost. Most children were also taller, broader and stronger than her. She’d learned to be quick; she’d had to. Even if she had looked like them, which she didn’t, she wouldn’t want to act like them.

‘You’re not on the stone any more, Foundling. What are you doing out here?’

‘Nothing!’

‘You think you’re special, don’t you? We know you’re not.’ Saka laughed. ‘I know exactly what you are.’

Feia kept her gaze lowered.

‘What are you, Feia?’ Saka asked, grabbing her throat. She was so close that Feia could see the tiny hairs on her face. Saka’s nails punctured her flesh. ‘You’re a dirty Foundling, and if you were special then someone would have wanted you!’

‘Choke on poison!’ Feia fought the iron grip of the girls. Her skin stung. It wasn’t true. She told herself for the hundredth time that Saka only spoke aloud what she feared herself, but it was hard to ignore the murmur of doubt. What if it was true? What if Saka was right?

Saka drew out a long thin knife. ‘Have you ever seen this before?’

Feia’s gaze was caught on the steel blade. It had a sharp serrated edge. She squirmed harder against the arch, willing to scratch her back on the surface if it meant freedom.

‘You’re a ghost,’ Saka said. ‘Sometimes we don’t even see you.’

Feia watched the slow movement of the blade. She wished they couldn’t see her now; she wished that she could vanish.

‘If you died, would you haunt us?’

Feia gasped, feeling the press of Saka’s blade against her chest.

‘I want you to remember me,’ the girl persisted.

‘You won’t be home for long!’ Feia snapped back. ‘They’ll sell you off to the ugliest—’

She was slapped again. Pain flared in her cheek.

‘I don’t want to see you any more, Feia! The Sisters don’t want you here either.’ Saka tossed her hair over her shoulder. ‘They’ll thank me for this. Ridding them of a pest.’

The girls pinned Feia tight to the pillar. She pushed against them and tried to scratch at their hands. She kicked against the muddy ground, searching for a hold. If she could just get a bit higher, get rid of one of the girls – too late. The knife was pressed to her throat. The edge of steel felt icy against her skin.

‘Are you worthy, Feia?’

Feia pulled her head back out of the way. The girls pushed her so she couldn’t move. The blade was laid against her neck, sucking out the warmth of her flesh.

‘Let me go!’ Her cry was picked up the by the wind and tossed over the cliff.

‘My, what is this?’ Saka leaned forward and touched her fingertip to the leather cord that held a necklace around Feia’s neck. ‘You’ve stolen from a baby, Feia.’ She tsked. ‘I can’t believe that you, of all people, would take the only possession of another Foundling.’

‘I’m going to give it back!’ Feia protested. The necklace belonged to Edeara. It had been left in the courtyard and Feia had tied it around her own neck to keep it safe.

‘Are you jealous, Feia?’ Saka’s voice softened.

Feia trembled and the knife-blade dipped. She could feel every move of the metal, every tiny scratch of the tip and every expectant breath from the girls around her. Grains of time passed. The knife-point pressed against her skin. Her heart skipped a beat. Don’t give up. Do not give up, she thought. Feia kicked up, hard and sudden. Her knee collided with Saka’s middle and the girl pitched forward, and the knife flew out of Saka’s hand and spun. Feia twisted her face away and felt it nick her nose. She heard with agonising clarity as it pinged against the stone column and dropped. It thudded into in the mud by her foot. She pushed hard against Saka’s shoulders, shoving her back, then ran. Feet slipping on damp grass, she charged towards the edge of the cliff, anywhere forward, anywhere far away.

Saka spun around to shout after her. ‘You’re nothing special!’ she roared. ‘No one wants you!’

‘Stop it, Saka!’ Feia turned back to face the group. She could feel the thump of her heart against her ribs. It would have been better to run, safer to flee, but she was trapped. Caught between the stone and the cliff Feia balled her fists. ‘I warn you!’ She felt like a cornered animal, desperate. A surge of bitter frustration rose like heat in her veins. She could feel it building within: she was burning with energy.

Saka stormed towards her, though the other girls hung back. ‘No one wants you.’ She gripped Feia by the shoulders and shoved her back towards the cliff. Feia gripped her hands tight, trying to push back, but slipped in the sodden ground.

‘Your mother didn’t want you!’ Saka was relentless and shoved again. Fear gripped Feia by the throat as she risked a look back. One more step and she’d fall over the edge. Her fingers tightened their hold on the other girl. Fighting back.

‘Give up! The world is better without you!’

‘NO!’ Feia pushed her back. All the misery and the fading wounds that Saka had inflicted surged up within her. The heartache couldn’t be stopped and it poured out without warning, rising from the centre of her chest and into her arms. She couldn’t hold the misery inside any more. She couldn’t hold back the tide of pain. Then, in a flash, it happened. In the final desperate shove, white-hot heat rose in her body and coursed down her outstretched arms and out through her palms. Her anguish manifested. It struck Saka’s shoulders in two bright bursts of avenging fire. The girl’s clothes burst into a wrathful roaring blaze. Saka shrieked and fell back as the flames licked into her hair until it blackened. They curled around her face, and the girls at the arch screamed in terror. Saka spun desperately. She wrapped her burning arms over her face. She staggered.

As Saka’s frantic steps wavered towards her, the stench of burning flesh broke through Feia’s horrified enchantment. What had she done? Was she more like them than she’d thought?

Without thinking she ran at Saka and wrapped her arms around her, bundling her to the damp, muddy ground. She pinned the other girl down, grabbing handfuls of slick mud and throwing them on top of the flames, feeling helpless. She didn’t know if it was the impact of her body on Saka’s, or if it was the mud she piled on top of her, but those flames that had survived the fall now ebbed. A few small and particularly wicked ones curled in Saka’s hair, and Feia smothered them, smearing mud through the pale locks as the girl lay whimpering beneath her. 

‘Help!’ Feia looked up at the girls who had been quick to pin her for Saka’s knife. The girls who were so ready to damage someone different. She felt, with a sense of detachment, that her hands and face were hot. Tears fell down her cheeks. 

‘Help me!’ she cried again. One of the girls broke away from the arch and fled, skirts flapping, across the courtyard. The others chased after her, wheeling like a flock of crows. Panic curled and twisted in her belly. Saka rolled and turned away from Feia, wrapping her face in her cloak, sobbing.

‘Saka…’ Feia’s voice dropped to a whisper. ‘I’m so sorry I – I didn’t mean it.’ As soon as the words left her lips, she knew that she lied. She had meant it; she’d wanted the girl to be burned to oblivion. She’d wanted Saka to suffer. She had wanted revenge.

‘I’d take it back—’ this was true. The sincerity of her own emotion rocked her and she laid a hand on Saka’s shoulder. Revenge was bitterer than expected. A sour taste on her tongue. Saka pulled away from her with a cry of pain. Feia rested her hands in her lap, pulling down her dress sleeves to cover the newest bruises that purpled her skin. Footsteps came quickly. Feia watched as Sisters scuttled towards her. She was pushed back, out of the way, as two of the Sisters let out shrieks of horror. A kitchen hand, a strong young man, joined the group with a dark blanket that he tenderly wrapped around the collapsed victim. Feia was left motionless on the grass as Saka was picked up and carried away.

Dear Reader,

Thanks for getting this far, I hope that you are enjoying the story. Burning Embers is available at most online outlets including Amazon! If you have kindle unlimited you should be able to read the whole story for free.

Happy Reading 

Editing for Authors

Longbow Archery – Part One

Hi there,

I’ve started sharing some bits and pieces I know about shooting a Longbow onto Facebook and thought I would collate the information here in case anyone would like it!

Here is part one:

I thought I would add a few extra details for those using medieval archery in their stories – I use a longbow, and it is very very different to using a modern recurve.

Hopefully this will be useful to someone!

Gloves – Your medieval archers are going to wear gloves. Probably thick leather gloves, because otherwise they’re going to lose the skin on their fingers and at the top of their hand.  It’s really painful. Speaking from experience…it’s really painful to have the skin ripped off the top of your hand.

Why gloves?

Draw string – the string is tough, it has to be. If you’re drawing back the string with your two fingers (medieval remember – only those pesky Victorians started using three fingers) That’s a lot of rubbing between a string and the inside of your fingers. If you just take some twine and pull it hard against your fingers it might not hurt the first time but after thirty goes it’s going to rub away skin.

An alternative to a glove on your draw hand would be a little leather tab that can hook between your fingers. These are still used today for modern archery and very useful.

Why gloves?  Part two: Your medieval longbow doesn’t have an arrow rest on the staff (or stave). So you’ve nocked your arrow on the string. If you pinch the arrow to hold it in place, it’s going to swing all over the place and it won’t shoot anywhere you want it to go. So you have to rest it against something to keep it beside the staff. In longbow, this is your hand.

The way I get into position, is to hold the staff at arms length in front of me, with a straight arm. Then you lift your thumb against the staff so that the line between your thumb and first finger knuckle are as level as possible. This is where the arrow will rest. If your grip isn’t level, then you’re aim is going to be all over the place. But if you’re not wearing gloves, this is again where you’re going to lose skin. And you’ll lose it after the first shot. It stings and then you don’t want to do it again. Yes, it’s possible to build up callouses (the same for the draw string) but that’s really going to hurt, and leather gloves will save the day!

I’ll be honest, after a lot of shooting, it’s still going to hurt. The leather is going to heat up from the arrow running over the top of it and that’s really where you’re going to build some resilience and start working on some callouses.

Hope everyone is keeping safe and well. Happy writing.

WIP

All this time at home and I might just get done writing done!

Starting on the Sequel to Burning Embers (again) – but first I’m catching up to where I originally got to. It needs a lot of editing, but I’m enjoying the story!

​#forgingthefires

Excerpt from Chapter One

The door opened again and a young woman of diminutive height and build entered. Those sat beside the door continued their game, refusing to flinch as the door slammed shut behind the girl. Her dark hair had been cropped short to her shoulders and clung to her face as she moved through the room. She carried a note in one hand which she set down on the bar top. Though she’d stepped in between the patrons, they talked over her head, leaning to one side to speak around her. A thin band of light circled her neck, glinting in the firelight; another slave band. Feia looked at her own wrist and the glint of magic that snaked around the pale skin. She returned to watching the girl standing, unnoticed at the bar. The barman spied the note laid upon the wooden surface, scribed a brief response upon it and turned to the next customer. The girl retrieved her missive and left. A wisp, moving through the crowded room with all the impact of a softened whisper.

Little Ideas for Isolation and Distancing

Well. This is a very strange world in which to be writing. It feels like a bad dream, and we’re waiting to wake up. Unfortunately though the current pandemic is real. This is happening. 

Millions of people worldwide are facing social distancing or self-isolation. I’ve got a few ideas of how to make this easier, they’re nothing groundbreaking but at times like these it’s the little things which are adding up.

Little Ideas 

1, Turn on the radio. Especially if you’re someone who lives alone. Even if it’s not in the same room that you’re occupying, it’s comforting to just have some background noise and chatter. Better still, tune into local radio. After a few days listening to national broadcasts, I returned to my local stations this week and immediately felt more connected to the community I live in. It’s wonderful, so tune in and turn it up. Maybe even have a boogie around the kitchen.

2, Schedule online social events. Let’s be honest here; between Boxing Day and New Year’s Eve – does anyone know what day it is?! The days start blending together and they get a bit fuzzy. For mental health and general wellbeing, it’s important to try and build some structure into days and weeks, so they don’t start bleeding together. So start scheduling a regular social with friends, family, or both. Start doing this now, so you can build it into part of a routine. 

Staying at home with a toddler, I’ve started doing a daily facetime call with family who are at home. It’s not at a set time, just usually around lunchtime when the Beast is contained/entertained. 

I’m also trying to set up social events twice a week with friends. Some ideas for these are:

Virtual Pub – Drink your own beer! (So much cheaper)

Intelli-gathering – Setting discussion topics for debate

Share a recipe – put your cooking skills on display

Online gaming groups – there are hundreds of apps and websites for this.

Etc etc etc, they don’t need to be fancy – just fun! But do try and put something in for a regular time slot. I’d recommend doing this kind of thing now, because it looks like more and more, Coronavirus is going to cause moderate to long term changes in lifestyle. Also, why wait? I’m really looking forward to catching up with my friends next week and having a proper giggle.

3, Regular Exercise and Water!

I know, I know – it’s not the most inspired idea but I’m a person who needs regular reminding to do this! Working from home or just staying in – it’s important to move around and get some exercise. It’s important to stay hydrated too, and if you need the toilet more regularly – then at least it’s close! And from the looks of it, everyone should have plenty of toilet roll.

5, Fri-Yay! 

Working from home, and then not being able to go out for the weekend means that we could loose that Friday feeling. I’m going to try and really make a distinction between the ‘working’ week and a weekend. Usually we watch a Tv series during the evenings. But Friday is going to be Movie night. We’re keeping the alarm on to work regular hours during the week, but for the weekend I’m going to relish the moment of turning it off. With our food delivery this week, I’ve also managed to get us something in that’s a bit fancy for Saturday. 

5,  What’s already available?

This might be a cop-out but have a look at what is available already. There are hundreds of websites releasing teaching material. Maybe this is the perfect time to learn a new language or other skill? Maybe I might just get some writing/editing done after all! But what about physical skills? If you go to a local yoga group, will they be having an online group during your usual slot? Can you join in with other things?

These are, of course, substitutes for face to face communication, but we’re so lucky to have all of this technology available. Let’s make the most of it! 

Just a short post for today, but I’ll try and collate some resources to share with you all.

What are your little ideas to help with those in isolation? What is your go to web page for resources and groups?

Stay safe and well,

Fibi