"The notion that such persons are gay of heart and carefree is curiously untrue. They lead, as a matter of fact, an existence of jumpiness and apprehension. They sit on the edge of the chair of Literature. In the house of Life they have the feeling that they have never taken off their overcoats."
- James Thurber, My Life and Hard Times

Saturday, September 3, 2016

Oh, the people you'll meet!

I'm currently working on a fantasy, involving pirates (male and female), dragons, and Caribbean islands. In contrast to my mysteries, where I've got everything kind of worked out beforehand, this manuscript is being written off-the-cuff, by the seat-of-my-pants, without basic regard for where it's going and how it will end.

Talk about a mystery!

I'm traveling to islands (that I'm totally inventing) with my heroine, Lisette de Lille, meeting new people and experiencing new things. It's both terrifying and thrilling at the same time. Pretty much like riding the Tower of Terror at Disneyland.

Lisette went through a transformation recently, and required a little help to get acclimated to her new life. I sent her to a small island, Ile de la Tuerie (Slaughter Island) to find an expert. I expected to find a wise crone to guide her. 

Lamya de Sang showed up instead. Lamya is Arabic, meaning "having beautiful dark lips" and "de Sang" is French for "of blood." Here is how she made her entrance:

* * * * *

I turned to face the waterfall, and my fate. This time, I did not have to wait long. As I watched the stream of white flowing from the cliff, making ripples in the aqua lagoon, a form appeared in the ribbons of water, so slow in movement, I blinked to make certain my eyes were not lying.
A woman emerged, like no one I had ever seen. Begum had spoken of a crone, an old woman. The goddess in front of me was not as I imagined.
She was tall, muscled, and with skin blacker than any native I had ever met. Her hair, copper and thick, draped her naked, glistening body. She stepped out of the water and over to a rock, where she retrieved a long, green robe, which she fastened about her. It had a way of covering and exposing her at the same time—tight at the waist, it opened wide at the top to display cleavage and was slit on the sides to reveal her legs as she walked.
She walked toward me. As she got closer, her eyes were the most curious part of her. They were gold, not a brash yellow, but deep and burnished like an ancient coin. She did not smile at me, but offered me her hand.
“I am Lamya de Sang.” Her voice had a languid, purring quality.
“I am Lisette de Lille.” I took her hand to shake, but she grabbed it and turned.
“Come.” She pulled me toward the waterfall. “We have much to do, and you are probably hungry.”

* * * * *

She reminds me of a sculpture I saw once - whether in a museum or the internet, I don't recall - of the bust of a woman, black and beautiful, with a neck like a graceful swan, full lips, large eyes. I searched all over the internet and can't find her. Perhaps it's because she walked out of the museum and into my story.

Lamya teaches Lisette many things. I hope she returns. She's a wonderful character.

Later, Peeps--I gotta go write another chapter.

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