As you can see from the top image, the renovations to the Island View Café are complete…barely. Just yesterday, the crew had ropes wrapped around the Plaza Theater’s old marquee and were hoisting it into place above the lounge doors. It’s temporarily roped into place, but today, we welcome our first guest. It only seemed fitting to welcome back an old friend. We did write this post in an SoC style, but we needed to complete the writing before Linda G. Hill’s Stream of Consciousness Saturday prompt was released. So, I hope I satisfied the prompt in this SoC introduction.
“Your Friday prompt for Stream of Consciousness Saturday is ‘rope.’ Use it as a noun or a verb. Have fun!”
If we were having a beer, you would be perplexed.
“Skippy, what are you doing here? Where’s Cheryl?”
“Don’t worry, David. She’s on her way. She said she was using alternative transportation today… whatever that means. Can I get you something to drink? A John Howell’s Special, perhaps?”
“I think I’ll wait for Cheryl, and Teagan Geneviene is supposed to be joining us today.”
“Maybe they’re coming together.”
“Ha! You don’t think that’s Teagan in the gypsy wagon that just stopped outside? Wouldn’t that be something.”
“David, you’ve got a strange look on your face.”
“That looks more like a very tiny house on wheels. Dan, there’s something familiar about what I just said, but I can’t put my finger on it… Dan, where are you going?” What are you mumbling about Skippy?”
“I said, it’s like the wagons used by the Society of Deae Matres in ‘Dead of Winter’ but it’s on some kind of recreational vehicle instead of being drawn by horses.”
“Are you reading the ‘Dead of Winter’ series too, Skippy?”
“Yes David, but I haven’t finished. Lulu hasn’t come into the story yet.”
“Lulu won’t be in that story, Skippy. That’s not even the same ‘universe.’ Stop frowning. You’d just get into trouble if Lulu came back. Oh, there’s Dan walking out into the parking lot. And there’s Cheryl getting out of the wagon… err RV. There’s Teagan too. She must have given Cheryl a lift. Skippy! Where are you going? I don’t think she brought Lulu this time. You should stay behind the bar!”
“Thanks for holding the door open for us, David.”
“I wasn’t opening the door for you, Dan. It’s good to see you ladies.”
“Thanks, David. Thanks for the lift in the Deae Matres wagon, Teagan — and welcome back to the café. I don’t want to rush you, but I’m guessing Skippy left these two mooks waiting for their order. By the way, how does it feel to have your name up in lights? Well, sunlight, but…”
You’re welcome. Ha! The vintage looking sign really is cool. I’m honored.”
“Great, let’s get inside. I know what those guys are having. What can I get you to drink?”
“Oh, I’d love a strawberry-rhubarb gin with a splash of tonic, please.”
“Teagan, are you sure it’s okay to leave Skippy unsupervised in that RV?”
“No worries, David. I have the keys.”
“Now that I think about it, you add interesting forms of transportation to all your stories. That magical train in ‘Hullaba Lulu’ and Granny Phanny’s Model-T in the ‘Pip’s Three Things’ series, and there were all sorts of things in ‘Thistledown: Midsummer Bedlam.’”
“It sounds like you’ve got my complete library, David. Thank you.”
“Dan used to lend me his copies, but I’ve been buying the ‘Dead of Winter Journeys.’ I can’t wait behind him to read them.”
“Skippy, I didn’t expect to you to come back inside so soon. Did you enjoy looking at the cool stuff in the Deae Matres wagon? Why are you looking over your shoulder?”
“Your Boabhan character designed the wagons. I’m afraid she’ll pop out. I know she’s one of the good guys, but she scares me.”
“Maybe I should pour you a drink, Skippy. Here’s your gin, Teagan. David, your bourbon, your seltzer and ice. Dan, your Corona. Oops, I did a Skippy. Here are your cherries, David.”
“Thanks Cheryl. Speaking of Skippy, I understand where he’s coming from, Teagan. There are several characters that surprise me or even leave me to ponder whether they are good or bad, or somewhere in-between. It causes me to think.”
“David, I like to create characters that are in that gray area. In real life, most of the time people show both good and bad parts of themselves. Do you have a favorite character? Or maybe one you want to know more about?”
“Eriu fascinates me, but… Well, it might be personal, but I’d like to know which characters were drawn from your life. Some people say that first novels are autobiographical. Even though you’ve been publishing novels for a decade, Dead of Winter is essentially your first novel.”
“It’s a fantasy, David. That’s not anybody’s real life. Tell us about the villain, Arawn! How did you come up with his creepy shrill laugh? Don’t give me that look Dan. And I don’t think David likes the look you just gave him either.”
“Skippy, you’re scared of Boabhan. Arawn is a thousand times worse. Why do you want to know about him? Besides, I said that Teagan would ask the questions.”
“It’s okay, Dan. Maybe people need to know the story behind the story. Or a little of it anyway. But everyone has to promise not to get sympathetic. I’m only explaining and answering the questions. I don’t want anyone to say how sorry they are. Agreed? Okay then.”
“Skippy can you cover the bar? I want to hear this.”
“No problem, Cheryl, but I want to hear it too.”
“Cheers, David, and yes a few of the characters are rooted in my history. Tajín came from someone I loved like a favorite brother and lost as a young girl. And yes, Skippy, a real-life sociopath had Arawn’s shrill laugh. The things he did to Boabhan are an echo of some of the things an abuser to me.”
“I didn’t realize it until years after I created Afon Faxon, young Emlyn’s father, but he is basically my father.
“The story behind Eriu, is part of why I was never satisfied with the ending of this epic — why I’m currently in the process of rewriting that ending. As readers know, Eriu was Boabhan’s younger sister. She was also Emlyn’s ancestress. When Boabhan was molested and mostly “turned” by the nightwalker, Arawn, he also killed their immediate family. Eriu, away at the time, could not reconcile herself to what her sister had become. So, Boabhan essentially lost her sister as well.
“I didn’t intend it, but Eriu became my little sister. She died due to abuse when we were both children. With maternal abuse, family indifference and neglect, I eventually ended up married to a variation of Arawn. Like Boabhan, by the time I got away from all my abusers… let’s just say I was completely on my own.
“When I wrote the original ending for the epic, all that prevented me from giving a satisfying ending to Boabhan and Eriu’s part of the story. What I wrote was far too violent for the rest of the story, and it still didn’t give Boabhan any closure. My challenge now is to compose the right kind of conclusion to that subplot.
“Ahhem… I sure know how to bring silence to a room, huh? Somebody put on some music. Let me buy everyone a round. I didn’t mean to bring this party down.”
“So, I know I promised not to say I’m sorry. Umm… Why don’t you call Lulu. Hint-hint… After all, ‘Lulu gets blue and she goes cuckoo – like the clock upon the shelf.’ What? Those are the words, or are you complaining about my singing?”
“Hush, Skippy. That was much more of an answer than I expected, Teagan. Thank you for being open about it.”
“Agreed, David. Have another strawberry rhubarb gin, Teagan. But it’s on the house. You like blues, right? How about Eric Clapton’s cover of Floating Bridge?”
“When I lived in Seattle, one of the floating bridges sank. After I moved east, I think another one sank. Since you put ‘unique forms of transportation’ in your stories, maybe you’ll write one with a floating bridge, or a part of one.”
“Ha! Dan, you should know by now that offhand suggestions like that is all it takes to start an idea spinning in my head.”
“How did they travel in Brother Love, a Crossroad? That seems like a good setting for a floating bridge.”
“I don’t show much about how Brother Love got around, David, but part of the magic of the story is that he uses crossroads to travel.”
“Teagan, we’re all looking forward to the concluding Journey of Dead of Winter.” “Thanks, Dan. I’m beyond happy that everyone has been part of the Journeys. Now, can I give you and David a lift home in the Deae Matres wagon? Hmmm, a floating bridge… Cheers everyone!”
Before we get to the gallery, let’s help Teagan conduct a little business.
|Dead of Winter series||Journey 13, The Harbor|
|Kindle full series: relinks.me/B09C94FB2M||Kindle: relinks.me/B09TN3NDX1|
And, if you’re a blues fan…