My dear friends, sometimes life happens. Despite my best efforts, writing has been slowed down and was downright stalled for a while because of various adventures in my life. But! I do have something coming out soon!
A Tale of the Selkies called The Twilight Sea is almost ready to go. I have been unhappy with the male models I tried on the cover—they were just too modern looking— and finally figured out what to do about it. I will share that as soon as I get it.
Here is the cover for the sequel. I thought I would use it, but that was a response to frustration with my progress. Morna is not the main character in The Twilight Sea–her mother, Lady Rowan is. Lady Rowan is a Scottish aristocrat whose husband, Lord Hugh, sends her and his two little daughters out of Scotland to remove them from the violence of the War for Scottish Independence in 1296. Lady Rowan and her daughters take a ship to far off Norway, but after a shipwreck, they are accused of witchcraft and thrown overboard. They find land on Fair Isle, the furthest north of the Orkney Islands.
Having lost everything and Lady Rowan and her tiny band of children and servants move into an ancient ruined castle at the edge of the sea, Dun Usgar. While, there Lady Rowan spies a strange ship coming into the harbor, piloted by a spirit, a mysterious lover, the Selkie…
Please enjoy the magic!
A Work in Progress: The Twilight Sea
As she stepped down the path to the shore, Lady Rowan knew she was risking her very soul, for spilling over with infernal desires, her gown and her hands and her feet, the path running down before her, shimmered with radiance of pure gold.
She’d always had a weakness for gold.
But this realization did not stop her. Surely one night of adventure in all her long months of privation, could not be held against her. She would repent. God was meant to forgive, after all, her sins.
And if the Selkie were real, perhaps, once he knew that she and her little band of Scots meant no harm, he would help them.
A small currach bobbed in the surf as if it were waiting for her. She’d never seen it there before. The two troughs from the Merrow had drifted further down the shore, their long ropes keeping them just within sight. She glanced up at the ship glimmering far out on the low tide, and wondered if the currach had been dropped from that otherworldly vessel to fetch her. But who could have piloted it over the waves and anchored it here? One swift look around told her she was alone on the shore.
It was obvious the currach had been sent for her. What would it mean if she stepped into it? She knew it would take her to the ship. Would she be able to come back? She had her daughters to consider.
But this is not really happening, is it? It is naught but a night vision sent by spirits of the sea. One that will dissolve at daybreak and leave me waking in my bed… .as it has before.
Careful of her shoes, she stepped into the currach. There was no need to row; there were no oars. Before she could sit down, an otherworldly wind blew up. Filling her golden mantel like a sail, it carried her over the water to the gangplank. She saw waves washing through the hull of the ship as if it were nothing more than a mirage, or a phantom, or a dream. The plank, upon which she was to ascend to the deck, was barely visible: a mere line of light.
How could it bear her weight? It was not possible!
Let it be a dream, she thought. She rose up the gangplank to the deck of the ship as if she, too, were a spirit. A wispy bit of nothing….
Was it possible for the soul to leave the living body and wander away on its own?
This notion set her heart pulsing.
Arriving at the top of the plank, she was instantly transfixed by the shadowy figure that awaited her.
Powerful yet insubstantial, like a pillar of smoke or cloud, the young man stood at the prow of the ship. The bright color of his scarlet robes bled through the dark like his own heart’s blood. His face was pensive, his eyes haunted. He took Lady Rowan’s hand in a clasp like ice, and spoke with the low, whispering voice of the sea.
Well met, my love.
“Well met,” said she.
He bowed almost to the ground before her.
“How did we meet?” Lady Rowan asked. “I have no memory of it.”
I saw you at the prow of a ship, a vision of beauty coming through the mist.
So this was indeed the man whose face had appeared before her when she’d bared her breasts on the Merrow, gazing at her through the mist with the black, glistening eyes of a seal.
And as one recalls a fleeting vision, she remembered the first time she’d seen the ship drifting slowly out of the fog appearing among the dolmens of the sea, and unfurling its bright red sail. She remembered her vigil at the narrow window, sensing the presence of a tall, dark figure in the prow, how he’d come to her that night and declared his love.
It seemed the ship, and its enigmatic helmsman, had never been, had always been, just at the edge of her consciousness, for as long as she could remember.
His soft, dark eyes spoke to the ache in her heart. She allowed him to lead her to a pavilion of violet hangings lined with scarlet.
Inside, was a table set with tall, flaring candles, goblets of gold, a cask of wine, and fine platters of oysters and fishes fresh plucked from the sea. There was also a bed hung with red silken veils spattered over with pearls. And folded over the end of the bed was a sealskin as brown and soft as the finest cloak, or the furred raiment of a king.
Taking in the sumptuous surroundings, Lady Rowan sat in the high-backed chair and spread her skirts out around her. The stranger was pouring wine into two golden goblets. His long fingers, flickering with costly rings, were thin and pointed at the tips. What this magical creature wanted of her was clear, but the voices of her children echoed in her mind, warning her to wake and flee this marvelous encounter.
Not yet. Not yet… She would never abandon her girls, but she had a right to a bit of indulgence having been so long deprived.
The man’s face, in the candlelight, was finely composed of high cheekbones, a straight nose and pale, curving lips above a strong chin. The green lights in his deep-set eyes scintillated like embers sinking back into darkness.
He held one of the goblets up for her to take.
She took it. The wine was richly red and charged with lights. She held her goblet up and joined its edge to his, pledging her love for just this night.
She drank. The taste was unpleasant, salty, like the sea, slightly metallic, heady. She wouldn’t need much to dull the inner voices urging her to run.
“What is your name?” she asked him.
I have no name…
“Where do you come from?”
Sule Skerry was in the far north, a sea within the sea, and no place on earth. The island that, for wickedness, had sunk below the waves. So Fia had told her.
“Who are your people?”
He looked at her with hunger.
My people are dying, vanishing from the world…
Before she could protest, he took her in his arms, and to the strains of distant echoing drones, whirled her round and round. Every beating measure filled her heart with ecstasy; every glance of the stranger’s eyes unlocked desires long denied…