Thursday, August 12, 2010

The Return of The Absent Author

As the man once said, reports of my death are premature. Got your attention yet? Sorry to be gone so long. Time lately is a tricky slippery silvery flashy thing which seems to zip past like Mercury on atomic powered rollerblades, late for a mission to parallel worlds unknown. But I digress.

Here's the excuse and its a good one. I've been very very focused on finishing my novel: The Adventures of Mungo Tim. No energy left for blogging, my friends.

I finished the rough draft of the mostly complete story Easter weekend and have been slogging through the rewrites most every day since. In any case, Tim's book is finally finished after much writing, rewriting, elation, discouragement, and frustration. And more rewriting. How many times do you have to rewrite a sentence before it satisfies the gods of creation? I am still not sure.

But, I am declaring that the book is done after little more than a year since I actually started the writing. It goes now to a 'real' editor for suggestions regarding content and line errors (spelling, punctuation, etc). Then back to me for the necessary corrections. What happens next? Creative discussions regarding layout, cover design, pictures, etc. After that? To several test readers. Then, infinity and beyond. Its anybody's guess.

Aside from growing Tim to his present forty feet from dragon's egg, I've taken some interesting trips in the real world in the Winnebago with Danny and dogs, which I will tell you about soon, complete with some dandy pictures I took of the Blue Ridge Mountains. But that's for another post. This one is just to tell those of you who still drop by that I am still around and to share a bit of Tim's manuscript. If I posted any of this part before, pardon me, I've done several dozen edits since and haven't the foggiest idea what parts I've shared.


Here Be Dragons

Even sleeping, the dragon would have been an impressive sight had anyone with eyes been there to see. As it was, his only observer was a sun-bleached human skull perched precariously on a granite ledge above the snoring beast's head. The dragon was dreaming. He twitched and drooled a little, yipping like an excited dog. His mouth opened, exposing wicked looking fangs the size of a knight's broadsword before his jaws snapped shut again. His back feet moved as if he was chasing something almost certain to be tasty. He growled. His wing tips twitched and he snorted, dislodging a small puff of smoke from his nostrils, before becoming still again.

Somewhere between thirty and forty feet long from nose to tail, the beast was covered in iridescent green and blue scales. His jaws and head resembled a crocodile on the body of a legendary Tyrannosaurus Rex. The dragon's powerful spiked tail could immobilize the largest of cave bears with a single sweep and his muscled back legs, which were somewhat longer than his front ones, had claws that could easily rip steel. His leathery bat-like wings enabled him to fly with ease and he could breathe fire. He was intelligent, with learning the equal of any scholar on his home world of Terra. His true name, unknown to anyone but himself and the skull on the wall, was Salamagundus Ap Tim Tim. And as far as he knew, he was the last living dragon in West Mickle.

“What's that,” said the dragon, momentarily jolted from sleep by the rumble of his own snoring. “Is anyone there?” He raised his head and glanced around his sleeping chamber with eyes glowing like coals. Seeing nothing amiss, he lowered his head again, closed his eyes, and was soon back asleep. Sunlight crept through a ventilation hole in the ancient cave wall and danced teasingly across his face. Feeling the sudden and unexpected warmth, the dragon opened his eyes again. He stretched his lizardy frame and yawned widely, curling and uncurling his talons before running his long tongue across his fangs.

“What's this?” he asked aloud. “Could it be a sunny day? In August? In West Mickle? Extraordinary.” Rising up on all fours, he lumbered over to the ventilation hole in the stone wall and peered outside. “Well, well,” he observed. “It is a balmy day at that. I thought I was only dreaming of the sun.”

He grinned, remembering that in his recently interrupted dream he was flying high above the far off Kirkudshire desert, the fine grained sand below glistening white in the orange-yellow glare from above. In the dream, herds of fat grayish-brown wazzles and horned tick tocks ran through scrubby black-green vegetation, fleeing from a pair of striped taggers. He could almost hear the squealing wazzles and the thundering hooves of the frightened tick tocks as the taggers roared their hunting challenge. He shook the dream away.

He turned and addressed the skull across the gloomy room. “Not a rain cloud in sight out there,” he said. “What do you think, Fred? Might it be a good day for flying?” There was no answer from the skull.

The dragon shrugged. He yawned again. “Or not. Perhaps another nap in the sunlight, outside on one of the ledges for a change. It has been days since I could venture outdoors.”

His stomach rumbled reminding him that his last meal was paltry and also several days ago. “Alternatively,” he said, “I could see if any tasty mountain sheep might be gamboling about enjoying the lovely weather.”

His mouth watered at the thought and hot saliva trickled down his scaly chin. “Yes, I think I might go and scout out a meal first and then have a nap on a ledge afterwards. What do you think?” He cocked his head, but there was no answer from the skull to this question either.

“Well,” said the dragon. “I see you are as talkative as ever. No matter. I'm off. See you later, Fred.”

Leaving his sleeping chamber, the dragon made his way through several corridors, eventually emerging from the cave. Flapping his emerald wings, he sprung aloft, iridescent scales glistening in the sunlight as he rode the thermals over the peaks of Dragon's Crag.

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