Swanskin | An Update

swanskin2So last week I set myself a challenge of adding four thousand words to Swanskin, and guess what? I did it! I finished last week on 15,629, and I have actually added 5470. Here is the picture to prove it…

Only another 10, 000 or so to go… first draft could be complete in a couple of weeks, if I manage to continue at this rate! I never imagined that at the beginning of the year.

Here is an excerpt. This is from the other main character in the story, Ruadhán. You pronounce his name Roo-awn. It means ‘red-haired’. He is Cethlenn’s love interest, and also a swan shifter. You met her in last week’s excerpt.

As we passed through the outer palisade walls and into the court, my eyes were on stalks, my head turning this way and that, anxiously searching for a sign of my lover. Could it be that I had imagined her? Had I flirted all night with some ghostly creature, an apparition born of my intoxication and imagination? Or was she a temptress of the Sidhe? It wasn’t unheard of for the folk of the magical realm to interfere with mortals when the will took them.

We joined the queue waiting to enter the great hall. “Will you ever stop fidgeting,” complained my father at last. “What has got into you?”

“Ruadhán’s in love,” announced Siadhal, and I blushed furiously.

“How wonderful,” exclaimed my mother, taking my arm.

“Who is she? Is she beautiful? Will we meet her tonight?” clamoured my sisters.

Father rolled his eyes. “Women!” he and Siadhal declared in unison.

Thankfully, I did not need to explain further, as we arrived at the High King’s hall and were ushered to our places.

The King’s hall was an oblong building with a large central hearth. His table stood at one end. My sisters nudged each other excitedly when they saw Cuchullain seated at the King’s side. Long tables with benches either side lined the walls and filled the central floor space. Servants scurried back and forth, serving food and drink.

“Not too far from the King’s table,” my mother approved.

“But far enough from the fecking O’Connollys,” Father glowered across the hall. We all instinctively followed his gaze.

The feud between us MacMahons and the O’Connollys stretched so far back into previous generations that not a one remembered any more who had started it, or why. It remained a matter of honour which could only be settled with the seizing of land and the raiding of cattle. The price? Spilled blood, and far too many families on both sides grieving over the loss of sons.

We watched now as two of the five sons helped their aged father, O’Connolly Mór, into his seat, followed by his attractive young wife, who they say was more interested in her stepsons than in her doddering old husband, and who could blame her?

Their assemblage of beautiful daughters of various ages filed dutifully onto a bench behind their parents. Like their mother, each one of them had a fine head of jet black hair and a pair of crystal clear blue eyes.

One of them was staring back at me. The blood drained from my face. It was Aoife.

Hope you enjoyed that. My plan for next week is to achieve another four thousand words. Watch this space…

SWAN FACT No.2    Swans do mate for life, and they touch beaks to kiss. When they kiss, their necks form a heart shape. No wonder they became associated with love and fidelity.

My first book, Conor Kelly and The Four Treasures of Eirean picked up two reviews, one from Sacha Black, and the other from Eric Klingenberg. Thanks to both, just for reading, which makes me so happy, and for your reviews. You can read them here…

Sacha Black’s Review  4 Mistakes to Avoid when Transcribing Research into Fiction

(not what it sounds lol!)


53 Comments on “Swanskin | An Update

  1. Hi Ali,
    I loved your story Swanskin. It was deeply touching. As a little girl my mother used to take me, my brother and sister to feed the swans with left over bread at a natural sulfur springs in NW Ohio, USA. Now at 66 I work as a cellist, music educator and therapeutic harpist playing for patients in hospital and hospice environments. There is a lovely swan painted on the soundboard on one of my harps. For all of us who carry the swan archetype and fell in love with the wild wonder, majesty and beauty of this gracefilled bird, we are glad and grateful for your generous and beautiful gift of sharing this story! We too feel the upward surge to lift our wings and soar….. Many blessings, Sarah


    • Thank you so much for your lovely message, Sarah! I’m glad you enjoyed the story. What a lovely thing you do with your music… there is no finer, more beautiful sound than the notes of a harp. xxx


  2. So funny that you gave us proof! Ha ha. Sometimes the hardest part of writing seems to be just sitting down and getting started. The words add up if the simple act of discipline happens every day. Lovely snippet too!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. You know I’m super proud of you for smashing your words Ali. ❤ now if only a bit of your focus could rub off on me!

    Also, I just collected this sentence:

    "Could it be that I had imagined her? Had I flirted all night with some ghostly creature, an apparition born of my intoxication and imagination?"


    Liked by 3 people

      • 🙂 My main character in Ambeth is a redhead, as is my mother – I was kind of hoping my gorgeous girl would be a redhead too, but she’s dark like her father.

        Liked by 2 people

        • Ah well dark is gorgeous too, as you know. I was a redhead as a child, bright ginger, but it gradually got darker as I got older. Cai’s is still red, and quite fiery until he had it cut short (and broke my heart) when he was 13. I wrote a post about the red-headed folk, dont know if you saw it, but that is a photo of my son Cai when he was about 10.

          Liked by 2 people

  4. Oh Ali! Here was me thinking you were going to continue the story from last week. I just have to know what the object was that Cethlenn found! You can whisper it to me if you want?

    Congratulations of another 5,470 words. 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

  5. I’m really loving the tone of the story. This is a vivid picture. Very well done.

    And I’m watching you, so you’d better wrote those words! 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

  6. I loved the sneak peek. I must be missing a lot of your blog post as I haven’t read the first piece. I’ll trawl back through your blog this weekend and fix that. Thank you for the link to my blog.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. You’re doing really well with Swanskin Ali. I hope you finish when you expect and soon have it out on sale. I enjoyed the excerpt very much.
    xxx Huge Hugs xxx

    Liked by 1 person

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