Nuuk and Maarit – Episode One

Something I was playing with and seriously want to revisit…

~Tales of Fantasy and Adventure


“What is your name?”

“I am a girl,” brightly proud. “And I like to eat fish soup. What are you?” A child’s harmless question.

“I’m lost from the sea,” lolling lightly with the buoyant saltiness of the thick fractured marine.

Shifting for comfort, soles of her knee-high skin boots crunching and shaping white crystals, “Do you know any songs?”

But the crack and split thunder of breaking ice interrupted, plates and saucers smacking the hardwood surface of the Scots Pine table.

“Soon she’ll be calling, I don’t want you to go.” Concern and conflict replacing her joy.

“Go there it is time and I will come back to you soon.” With that the strange creature slipped from the surface and back into the sea.

“Maarit, please come down, dinner is warm and it’s just on the table.” Maarit’s mother calling.

Passing around the planed edge and wide swing of…

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Work in Progress – Chapter One, Scene One

In this snippet, the main character (Uhuru/protagonist) is enjoying his breakfast as Hardwood (guardian) watches and worries about the state of things. Introduction of both characters and experimenting with some dialogue.


Up to his ears in love-grass, stretched out in a pocket of shade beneath an overhang of buffalo thorn Uhuru enjoyed the benefits of the unfortunate bongo. The ground beneath him stained crimson where the grass and earth had taken on the hue of a life drained. Uhuru had seen his mother hunt, that was before she disappeared in the long shadows beneath the evening stars. His tail twitched as he worked for a better purchase on an unforgiving knuckle of joint and sinew, teeth denuding bone. It was Hardwood that watched over Uhuru now.

Haven’t you had enough?” thundered Hardwood.

I feel it, I feel it,” replied Uhuru, exhausted. Uhuru needed to sleep but was afraid of what was waiting for him there.

An aubade of light was replacing the cool blanket of dawn allowing a new day’s warmth to wash over a waking savanna. Uhuru shook his head, pawing at snags of flesh caught in his teeth and the debris that affected his whiskers. He had finished but decided to keep his place in the shade.

It can wait, it’s good here,” continued Uhuru. “Come, keep me company.”

Hardwood obeyed, her allegiance never waned, she knew the order of things. The pads of her feet threatened the ground as she moved. Her mass now casting an additional layer of protection to the umbrella of shade thrown by the reach of the acacia, but Hardwood worried. She worried about Uhuru and she didn’t understand what the bongo was doing this far north of the veld, and she worried the dry earth, driving a tusk deep beneath the hard pack looking for water. Hardwood did not know such fierce temperatures in her lifetime. She worried that Uhuru was not getting enough sleep and that he was hallucinating again.

They would wait in the shadow for dusk and the cover of the easterly breeze before moving on. The mountain had been there since the land had erupted from the sea. A few more days wouldn’t matter as the sky emptied and the wake of vulture tore at what Uhuru had left behind.


Uhuru snapped awake to the sound of cruel laughter.


What a great post…exercises too!

Rosie Johnston

Your draft is covered in lines, highlights and lots of great big ticks. What happens next?


Have you ever thought of sending your novel to a script agency?* That can be a useful step but writers are sometimes disappointed by the feedback because the agency or editor seems to have misunderstood the book. Script advisors try to find the heart of your story, your main narrative drive. First novels in particular can have everything in them including several kitchen sinks, so the advisor recommends the strongest line that they think will sell. The trouble is, it may not be what the writer had in mind, at all, leaving him or her confused and upset. Some writers then lose faith in critiques and even, sad to say, have a sense that their critiqued story is not worth working on any more. Writers get a better return on their money if they…

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Work in Progress – Chapter One, Scene Two

In this excerpt (actually two snippets) from Scene Two I am introducing the second of three major characters that make an entrance in Chapter One.


Badeed barked up the seawater that threatened her lungs as she clawed her way up to the high-water mark and the rough line of driftwood and flotsam. Her head ached from the blow of the yard-arm. Behind her the tide consumed her tracks scratched in the sand and the sun burnt the morning sky a feral red. She was weak and the beach was steep and the sand was soft and cool under her paws. Badeed was unsure how long she’d been in the water and was contemplating her new deal with the universe.

Patched from toe to head in an irregular calico branding of yellow, orange and white splotches, the short black bristly fur of her neck and face stood out in stark contrast to the triangular patch of off-white canvas that protected the hole where her left eye used to be. No stranger to injury Badeed bore the wounds of numerous misadventures having lost the tip of her tail to the cracked teeth of an enraged warthog and shouldered three deeply etched scars from the claws of an unusually clumsy leopard. After reaching the islands it was the eye-patch that tipped the scale in her favour.

Blind truth!” Badeed grinned with disturbing joy. “Lost the eye to the tip of a sword and a drunken hyena.”


Badeed regained consciousness riding a tidal current under a deep purple sky. Only the breath of a whale breaching the surface nearby for company. No sign of the ships. All that remained was bobbing with the lift of the breeze, legs wrapped around a drift of mangrove. Badeed fell asleep counting the stars and dreamed of the snow-capped mountain.


~Tales of Fantasy and Adventure

Bears are Fast, Really Fast

Beethoven has always been my favorite composer and pianist, music in general a passion. Not being able to play a single instrument myself, I appreciate those who can and just enjoy listening. I was introduced to Beethoven for the first time after relocating to Marystown, Newfoundland. This was 1970, the same year James Taylor released Fire & Rain. Moving around was not unusual for me, my father’s work took us all over the world. Marystown was different for me though, she changed me, opened new worlds.

Shipbuilding and fish processing were the economic forces of the town in those days and the reason we were there. My father was a marine engineer, he specialized in hull design. But his true expertise, and why they needed him, was his ability to analyze and correct balance miscalculations. Newfie fishermen were notoriously optimistic, boats routinely listing into port.

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Titanic 1




And saw

Her awe

Her Regalness

Her Pride


As She was called

No turning back



Not knowing

The fate

Of a new adventure


By all accounts

Makes her way

To B Deck


All she knew

And so told

The unsinkable

Set sail


Caressing her hull



Knocking at her bow


Strolling along

Nestled in



Ran through her

The Atlantic’s bite

Comfort found

Within the sun

Stillness overcame her

Dressed in Elegance

Admiring the

Grand staircase

Dinner this evening

Music rang with joy



Pleasantries of the evening


In the night

Something is not right

Go back

And enjoy

The pleasantries


Is not right

Nestled within

The berth

Her book in hand

The night glided on



A shutter ran


Right side

Shivers of fear

Arose within her

Book dropped

To the floor

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Tips on Promoting Self-Published Books in Kenya

Here’s a great article from Elly in Nairobi. Advice that crosses borders.

Love in Nairobi

Reader Question: What self-promotion tips result in high sales?

I got this question on my blog, and it had me thinking, of course.  When I first started writing, I felt a little bit a lot like a fish out of water.  Gasping for air, with no real idea on what to do next.  I know what it’s like to feel as though you have this need to keep writing, but have no real solid foundation to make it a workable financial solution for

tom-holmes-556800-unsplash Photo by Tom Holmes 

your life. In short, this question filled my head on a constant when I started.

Two things to remember :-

  1. Yes, when you start, you will need to find other means to fund your life until your book turns out sales that satisfy you.  If you haven’t already.
  2. Yes, you will need to invest in your book to make it a success…

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Rangi Ya Bahari – The Short Story

I have so many rewrites in mind…but this is my light for now…

~Tales of Fantasy and Adventure

R A N G I    Y A     B A H A R I


Ativa was the finest sailboat captain in all of Lamu. Up the mast, flawless straight, cleat the boom, nine meters long and with Shakwe alert at her shoulder she was unbeatable. Maulidi was Ativa’s favourite time of year and this year a warm offshore breeze blessed the annual celebration and the famous race as it graced the surface of the Indian Ocean. Proud, bold and feared, she had come from behind again, stealing that breeze with an artful tack and with a crisp snap of the hand-stitched mainsail gained the lead and the final buoy. A lead she would not relinquish under any circumstance.

Ativa’s father was a skilled craftsman and boat builder and had presented the mahogany dhow to Ativa as a birthday gift and with the help of her father had…

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About Rangi Ya Bahari

~Tales of Fantasy and Adventure

Sina pesa,” I’m limited to this response. It’s what I’ve been armed with.

“Rafiki.” Persistent. “A few schillings for needle and thread to fix my sail.”

My choice to ignore the young man and move along. My morning walk along the seawall.

“I will be a great captain!” He’s walking at my side now, working to get my attention. Persistent. “Rafiki.”

“Sina pesa,” smiling at the young man I move along knowing that what I say is not true.

It is this interaction that occurred nearly five years ago in December in Lamu on my honeymoon on my morning walk that plays in my head and is the inspiration for this story. Inspiration in that I have wondered what if I had given that young man a few schillings?

What if…

Rangi ya bahari, roughly translated from Swahili means “the colour of the sea”.

So set sail with Ativa…

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