I’ve been fairly quiet lately. Some of you may even have missed me, lol! It’s because I am burying my nose in my latest WIP. It’s a novella called Swanskin, and it’s a YA love story with a difference… it’s based on Irish mythology, of course, particularly that which surrounds swans and shape-shifting.
I have written about both swans and shape-shifting on my blog before. Here are the links for both posts, if you missed them…
Currently, I’m at 15,629 words, roughly 39% of the way through… woohoooooo! And I’m expecting somewhere between 30k and 50k. Its quite different from anything I have written before, and I’m quite enjoying the ‘lightness’ of it. I’m literally just about to write the first kiss scene, and I’m quite excited about that!
Here is a little taster of the story, taken from the beginning of Chapter Two…
Dad was right; the field was a mess. It was pitted with holes and little mounds of earth where the metal detectorists had searched in vain for buried objects beneath the soil. The holes were concentrated in and around the old fairy fort, which was ringed with trees.
I set down my shovel with a sigh, and sho0ed the cows away to the other end of the field. This was going to take longer than I’d thought. I’d have to keep a close eye on the cattle; they were gentle creatures, but curious, and I knew they’d be drifting back over before long to see what I was doing.
It was a lovely morning, cool and quiet. The sky was washed with pale blue, reflecting silver in the lake. I looked over at the crannog, overgrown with trees which reached branches down to the still surface and trailed them in the water like long, crooked fingers. Had the treasure hunters been over there, too?
A lone mute swan sailed gracefully across to the far side of the lake. For as long as I could remember, there had only ever been one swan on the lake. Swans mated for life; perhaps this one had lost its love and now lived a lonely life of sorrow.
I shook myself out of my reverie. No time for that, I admonished myself sternly. I’ve got work to do.
It was great to get away from my books, to bend my efforts to physical labour under the broad blue sky while letting my mind trip randomly up and down the lanes and alleys of my imagination. I was sweating by the time my work was done. The field was spotted with patches of bare brown earth where I had filled in all the holes; it was unsightly, but at least the cows would be safe.
I leaned on my spade, wiping the sweat from my brow. The swan drifted back into the cover of the crannog, where it no doubt had its nest. The cows had surrounded me; one of them gave me a gentle butt with her head, and laughing, I pushed her away.
“I haven’t got any treats for you today,” I said, but she was quite insistent. I sighed gustily. “I’d better be getting back,” I told her. “Before Mam loses it completely. If I don’t get home in time for lunch, she’ll come and drag me back to my books by the scruff of my neck. Just be glad you were born a cow.”
She blinked her big brown eyes, and wandered away in search of a fresh tuft of grass to crop. I sighed again. It was hard to turn my back on such a beautiful day and limit myself to dry, dusty old books. I lifted my spade and forced myself back towards the gate, and that’s when I fell into the one hole I had somehow managed to miss. Sudden sharp pain in my ankle brought me to the ground with a hefty bump.
Surely it was only slightly sprained? I groaned. How could I be so clumsy and stupid?
As I carefully lifted my foot out of the hole, a flash of colour caught my eye. There was something stuck in the mud, something tiny. I carefully loosened the earth around it, then prised it out with my fingers. My heart was pummelling with excitement now, sore ankle forgotten. What had I found?
Don’t forget, it’s still in first draft phase at the moment. Next week I plan to write another 4000 words; I’m making myself accountable to you now. We’ll see how much procrastination I can manage, I have practised quite a lot! If I do, there may be another sneak peek for you. Catch you this time next week!
Swan Fact No.1: Male swans are called cobs, females are called pens, and babies are called cygnets.