What makes you smile? That's the question asked by the London Science Museum. Take part in the project by leaving a comment on Marsha Moore's blog. My answer was my five-year-old nephew getting excited about something so that he jumps around, waving his arms, exactly like characters do in cartoons. I'd always wondered why no one did that in real life, and now I know; kids do!
Jayne, over in the UK, has sent out her first query and is holding her first ever contest to celebrate. She's got some gorgeous prizes on offer, right after my own heart, from vintage children's books to vintage Agatha Christie to other lovely items. Hop on over and enter!
Kait Nolan's Forsaken by Shadow, available at Amazon and elsewhere, is now in serial form on her own website. Check out the first part, here and tune in every Friday to read the rest.
I've got a snip too! This is taken from the house party going on at Cherry Hill, Georgia - er, I mean, the forum. It has absolutely nothing to do with the real time frames of either Rose's story or the one Rochester's in (he belongs to a fellow author), but I had a happy time writing it a short while ago. What with the swimming and all, I doubt there's any way I can rework it into the real novel, but I might try...
Rose was so excited by the coolness of the lake and the freedom of moving her limbs under water - she might be in a skimpy bathing suit but no one could see her below her neck anyway - that she had ignored Jack and the others. Harry had showed her something called a backstroke and she was still practicing that when he let go and she realised she was floating on her own. She had a moment's panic, clutching her spectacles to keep from losing them, and then strong arms were about her, bringing her up to the surface once more.
She leaned back into the hands supporting her and wiped her hair out of her eyes.
"Thank you," she started to say, and then realised who was holding her. His blond curls were even longer about his shoulders now that they were wet, almost the length of her own hair. His eyes were a grey blue, clear as the lakewater at the edge of the shore. They were looking at her now not with hate or fear, or even their usual friendliness, but with a directness she'd never seen before. Not even in Joseph's eyes.
"Thank you," she said more forcefully and kicked her legs a little, to show she was able to swim on her own now. He smiled at her, but did not remove his hands from her shoulders.
"I'll show you the breaststroke, if you like. But you might have to remove your spectacles."
"But I won't be able to see!"
"You needn't worry about that; I'll be close enough. Perhaps you could remove those?" He added, pointing at her bright yellow armbands.
"Don't I need them to float?" She asked, too late realising how ridiculous that sounded, since neither he nor anyone else in the water was wearing them. He did not laugh, but waited, treading water, as she tried to float and remove them at the same time. He took them from her and set them bobbing on the water, slipping her spectacles into one of them.
"You won't lose them, will you? I'm not sure if Constantinople has spectacle makers."
"I'll keep one eye on them and one eye on you." Was he teasing her? She couldn't see anything of his features but the light shining from his eyes. "And if they should come to misfortune, rest assured that I'll have our royal goldsmith fashion you another set."
"Thank you," she said again, floating on her back. It was easier to stare up at the sky, rather than try to focus on objects around her that she couldn't see.
Or Rochester, whose chest and arms were now an indistinct mass of pale skin, but whose hands, with their long elegant fingers, became clearer as he brought them down onto her shoulders. Silently, by touch, he guided her into position and glided alongside her as he moved her arms, and then once she'd learned that, he placed two fingers on her chin and turned her head this way and that as they moved forward. His touch was cool from the water, but soft. She kept her eyes closed, to save herself from squinting at him and scrunching up her face. She must look inelegant enough with her clumsy swimming, without contorting her features in a vain attempt to focus.
"You're quite graceful," he murmured in her ear. It was quiet all around them. Far off, birds called and the others laughed and splashed, but they seemed to be miles distant, far removed from the peaceful water where she floated next to Rochester.
"You're only being polite. I'm kicking up water all over the place."
"No, no, you're doing very well for someone who's never been swimming before. Much better than my first time."
"Oh? How old were you?"
He floated even closer, pulling her back against him, his hands wrapped about her. "Only five. I was picked up and thrown in the pond to float or drown. I floated, but only by flailing my arms and legs about like a windmill."
She laughed, and he hugged her close.
Startled, she brought her legs down, and realised they were closer to shore now; her feet touched bottom. She stood up and brushed her finger on the bridge of her nose. No spectacles.
"Can you not see my face at all?" He asked her.
"No, you're simply a pale blur with two dots of grey, I'm afraid."
"How about now?" He asked, very quietly, his face barely an inch from hers.
"A little," she whispered.
"And now?" His lips were on hers even as he spoke.