Andrew Girle's Blog

Crime and Speculative Fiction Blooking

Archive for the ‘writing’ Category

“No Working Title” is now live on Amazon

Posted by Andrew Girle on August 1, 2013

My first novel, No Working Title has gone live on Amazon.com (and .co and .everything available!)

It’s available as an e-book and a print copy if you are tactile.

The conversion to final draft and typesetting is why it was taken down from view on this blog.

If you like your crime with bare knuckles and cheap scotch, go have a look!

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There is a reason I don’t write poetry

Posted by Andrew Girle on February 5, 2012

And here it is!

To Face the Truth

‘Tis a terrible thing to face the truth,

To examine oneself and find little to sooth.

To review all that angst,

And find nothing but the fangs,

Of a dingo, in that telephone booth (of truth).

Some can write poetry as rolls off the tongue,

Some can write prose that burns like the sun.

Yet often my truth,

Is that my work belongs in that booth,

With the dingo, and all of its dung.

Of Iambic Pentameter I know not a whit,

When I discuss Yeats I sound like a tit.

Perhaps I could be a bush poet,

But I write nothing of note,

And readers just think I’m a git.

When I consider a theme,

I end in a daydream.

And my plots all have dots,

M-dashes? What?

God help me if I try to write meme.

The truth is my friends,

The hardest words are ‘the end’.

Although the ones in the middle,

Make me fidget and fiddle,

And beginnings, my mind they do bend.

(c) Andrew Girle 2012

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Of editing and other things

Posted by Andrew Girle on January 30, 2012

I’m currently on holidays from my day job. I had planned to use the time productively and write copiously; of course this has not happened.

I am applying the edits of No Working Title that have been provided to me, and am character building for the Grimnoires and Gumshoes mashup. I keep getting this vision of an Elf trying to hire my gumshoe to track down some guy called Tolkein, but things keep getting in the way.

I know, too cliched, but still!

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The Talking Sword – hiatus

Posted by Andrew Girle on August 17, 2011

I have smashed against a brick wall in my development of the talking sword stories. That wall is an inability to avoid preaching morality when I come to the culminating scene of the current storyline; as a result I have put it to one side to pull out and ponder. The story is still there in the back of my head, but (as they say on Writing Excuses) the voices are just not yammering to have their story told.

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The Talking Sword – Sword of Justice, post 10

Posted by Andrew Girle on April 25, 2011

“There will be no difficult decisions in bringing Auric to justice, old man. He murdered my father. I will see him pay for that.” She reached forward and took up the sword. The sharkskin of the hilt clung to her palm, and she allowed the weight of the blade to swing back and forth in lazy arcs.

“Not like that! Hard arm, loose wrist! Good grief, don’t you know anything?” A harsh voice echoed though the small hut.

Lucca looked around wildly. The druid had not moved, and it wasn’t his voice. Besides…

It had spoken in perfect Latin.

The druid smiled, his white beard crinkling, “Good luck to you and your new companion on your quest, child.”

Lucca raised the sword. It was the same sword, there seemed nothing different about it. No magical glow or extra inscriptions.

“Don’t you know it is rude to stare?” Again the faultless Latin, only this time Lucca had the feeling that it was the sword that had spoken.

“Did you say that?” Lucca squinted suspiciously.

“Of course I did. Do you see anyone else here?”

“How… but… I didn’t know swords could talk!”

“It’s a big world, lots going on. There are a lot of things you don’t know. You should really try and learn something new every day.”

Lucca narrowed her eyes and tightened her lips to form an intense glare. “My father used to say that.”

“Did he now?” There was a sound like a man nervously clearing his throat followed by, “He sounds like a clever man, your father. Tell me, do you have a plan to bring Auric his justice?”

The druid stood up. “You have much to talk about. I am tired from this task you gave me, and I wish to sleep. Please be so kind as to leave an old man in peace.”

“Yes, yes of course. Thank you for this, I will never forget it!” Lucca wrapped the sword in a length of woollen cloth and walked out into the chill night air.

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The Talking Sword – Sword of Justice post 8

Posted by Andrew Girle on April 18, 2011

Ten years passed quickly. Lucca rapidly transformed from the sheltered daughter of a provincial official, privileged and cultured, to the adopted daughter of a king, a man considered a barbarian in the eyes of Romans yet the wisest amongst the war leaders in the eyes of his fellow clansmen. Francesca never came to claim her, and no news came from the traders that went back and forth of what happened to her. The pain of losing her parents gradually became walled behind a tough exterior, even if Lucca would still cry herself to sleep some nights. Some wounds never heal.

The midwinter eve of her eighteenth year, Lucca found herself in the company of an elderly druid. The sword that had killed her father lay on the table between them, a dozen sputtering tallow candles did their best to provide enough light to see by and a billet of log lay in the hearth giving barely enough heat to fend off the winter chill.

“You are determined that this is what you truly want?” The druid’s voice was oddly high pitched for a man.

“Yes,” replied Lucca firmly. “I want you to enchant the sword to help me bring my father’s murderer to justice.”

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The Talking Sword – Sword of Justice, post 7

Posted by Andrew Girle on April 16, 2011

**a slightly longer post today, mainly because it doesn’t make sense to make it shorter!**

The next night the sword resumed the story.

The next few days were ones that Lucca never wanted to remember, but could not forget. With Quintus she made her was as quickly to the border as she could, travelling on foot so as to not attract attention. Occasionally approaching hoof beats warned them to hide, and they watched with fearful eyes as groups of ragged men rode past on horses they could never afford to buy. Horses they must have stolen. Men whose eyes stared all around, peering into shadows, obviously searching for them. Then there was a frightening crossing of the swift flowing river that formed the border between Rome and the barbarians. There was no bridge, and they had to pay in gold to be ferried across in a small boat that had barely enough room for the two of them and the ferryman, who used no oars but instead heaved on a heavy rope strung between the banks. Every lurch of the boat caused rushing water to slop over the sides and swirl around their feet in chilly puddles.

Eventually, tired and hungry, they came to a small village, a group of half a dozen houses surrounded by a fence just high enough to keep out wolves. Quintus made Lucca hide while he approached with his hands well away from his dagger. A huge red headed man bearing a spear met Quintus at the gate, towering over the stocky Roman soldier. The two exchanged words, too quietly for Lucca to hear, and then she was waved forwards.

The red headed man looked straight at Lucca and asked, “Is this true? You are the daughter of Governor Mikel?” He spoke slowly and carefully in thickly accented Latin.

Through her weary legs Lucca felt a tremble begin. It started in her calf, and spread to her thighs and without passing through her body it jumped to her hands. She opened her mouth to speak, but no sound emerged.

“Well child?” The barbarian narrowed his eyes.

“Don’t expect much,” said Quintus, “you must remember she only saw her father murdered just four days ago, and we have been fleeing ever since. She is scared out of her wits.”

“Hmph. True enough,” replied the barbarian, “see how she trembles like a leaf before the storm.” He turned and shouted back into the village, words Lucca could not understand, and within seconds she was surrounded by a knot of women fussing and worried. None of them spoke Latin, and Lucca knew no Gallic, yet she felt safer than she had at any time in the last few days.

“And once again Dawn, this bed time story is finished for tonight.” Dawn’s grandfather smiled as she yawned and carried her hot chocolate mug over to the sink and filled it with water.

“Why didn’t Dad ever tell me this story? He told me lots of other ones. Lucca is amazing.”

“This is a special story, not just told to anyone.” Her grandfather said.

“But… but… what if someone forgets it?”

The sword replied, “I’ll never forget.”

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The Talking Sword – Sword of Justice, post 6

Posted by Andrew Girle on April 14, 2011

“Father!” Lucca climbed in through the window and rushed to kneel beside him. The sword, the gift he had been so proud of, stuck out of his chest.

“Lucca, oh Lucca. Auric has murdered me,” his voice was weak, and every breath made him wince in pain, “you must flee, he will be back with his men before long and you must not be here.” He stopped as his whole body shuddered.

“Mother!” called Lucca, “Mother, come quickly. Father is hurt!”

With a groan, Mikel said “Is there a blanket? I feel so cold. Tell your mother…” he gasped and his fingertips twitched at the hilt of the sword, “tell your mother to take this sword back to the king of the Celts… he will hide you…”

Then there was confusion and shouting and rushing about, as guardsmen and servants tried to help. Eventually the Decurion of the guard restored order, and banished everyone from the room. But by then it was too late. A servant returning from the marketplace brought word that Auric had his men stirring up trouble, and that they planned to attack the Governors’ Villa as soon as it became dark.

Francesca hastily wrapped a handful of jewellery and coins in a roll of cloth, then tied it as a sling across Lucca’s shoulder so that the roll sat under her armpit, invisible under her clothes. Then she took Lucca with a hand on each shoulder and looked into her eyes.

“You must go where your father wished, to safety. Quintus will escort you, and then return to his duties here. I will stay, with the Decurion and the loyal soldiers, and stop Auric. Once this pathetic attempt at rebellion has been stopped, I will send for you to return.”

“But mother, father said that we were both to go!”

“I know. Yet I cannot bring myself to run. I have the blood of Romans, and I cannot face the thought of living by the charity of barbarians.” She leaned forward and hugged Lucca tightly, then said, “Now go, there is not much time. Quick!”

 

 

“My goodness,” said Dawn’s grandfather, “look at the time! You have school tomorrow and it’s after midnight.”

“What? Wait! I want to hear what happened next!”

“That can wait. You need your sleep.”

“Sword! Tell him you have to finish the story!”

“I don’t have to finish the story as much as you need to not fall asleep in classes tomorrow.”

“The sword is right. You need to go to bed.”

“This isn’t fair!” wailed Dawn, “I was just starting to get really interested and now you won’t finish it!”

“This story is two thousand years old,” said the sword. “I won’t forget it in one night, now off you go.”

 

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The Talking Sword – Sword of Justice – post 5

Posted by Andrew Girle on April 11, 2011

“They gave you a GIFT?” It was not Mikel’s voice. “You impounded half my seed that I need to plant for this season, and instead of making those barbarians pay for it you accepted some pathetic gift? How am I supposed to profit from that?” A spark of recognition came to Lucca – the voice was like that of the merchant, Auric, and he sounded very angry.

“Now then, Auric,” this voice was that of her father confirming her suspicion, “would you have seen women and children starve?”

“Starve? Of course they would not have starved. Those tribesmen would have gladly sold their spare mouths to me in return for food, and the slave markets are always in need of stock.”

“They are not our enemies, Auric. We have no right to enslave them.”

“They are not our enemies yet, you mean. You are too soft, Mikel. It was only in our grandfather’s time that these barbarians swept the length of Italy and sacked Rome itself.”

“You would use the wars of our grandfathers to justify enslaving our friends today? Auric, you would provoke a war for personal gain!”

“You fool. Gold is the blood in the veins of Rome. If the barbarians will not provide it, then I will have it from you instead.”

“What are you saying?”

“I have powerful friends in Rome. I will have you recalled, your estates sold, to make up for the profits you cost me.”

“Don’t you threaten me!” Lucca rarely heard her father raise his voice, but this time he roared like a lion. “Having friends here is more important to Rome than your petty profits!”

“You are nothing but a fool and a traitor!” shouted Auric.

“Get out!”

“Traitor, I say!”

There was a sudden gasp, and a sound like bubbles in water, and running sandals on the stone floor. Lucca edged up to the window and peeked past the shutters. At first she could not see anything in the gloom of the room, but then she saw a white robe on the floor.  Not just a robe, she realised. It was her father.

 

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The Talking Sword – Sword of Justice, post 4

Posted by Andrew Girle on April 7, 2011

***as promised, a return (again) to your regular programming. I do recommend that you go back a few posts to re-acquaint yourself with what is going on!***

 

“Sword?” Dawn interrupted the tale, “You’ve got carvings under your crosspiece. I only just noticed them.”

“Really? You are telling me that an eight year old was more observant than you are? She noticed them the first time she picked the sword up.”

“Maybe. But maybe if I lived back then I would have noticed little things like that too.”

“Little things? My engraving, little things? Hah!” The sword sounded quite upset.

“So you are the sword in this story. I thought you would be.” Dawn smiled.

“Do you want to hear the rest of this story or not?” This time it was Grandfather who spoke, and Dawn just nodded in reply, and wriggled on the hard kitchen chair trying to find a more comfortable spot.

 

 

Francesca shrugged and stalked off, back through the house to the garden where she could be glimpsed giving more directions to the gardener.

“Father, you say that this is a gift from the Celt king?” Lucca kept turning the sword in her hands, watching as the light danced along the blade like ripples on water.

“That is right. It was made to symbolise friendship between warriors. It has a blade long like the Celts prefer, much longer than a Roman blade yet similar to look at. A Roman hand grip but decorated in Celtic style. Quite a fitting gift for a warrior to give, when you think about it. Mere gold would dishonour him. I accepted it in the spirit that it was given.” Mikel gently took the sword from Lucca’s hands and slid a soft cloth up the length, wiping away smudged finger marks.

“Now, run along and play. I have Auric attending soon to discuss taxation.”

Lucca made a face and scampered away. She did not like the merchant, Auric. He laughed a lot but rarely smiled, and that was usually when someone else had bad luck. Worse, her friends the guardsmen were scared of him, although they never told her why.

A little while later Lucca wandered into the courtyard. Like all Roman villas, the courtyard was the centre of the house and all the rooms faced onto it. Her mother and the gardener were nowhere to be seen. From her father’s reception room she could hear raised voices, and she snuck closer to listen.

 

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