Monday, April 20, 2009

What do we do for fun at the Lodge?

People sometimes ask, and we know that they think: What can you do in a house with no electricity yet and no entertainment electronics?
Well, our neighbors keep us entertained part of the time. Saturday morning four of them came calling. Although the hen beaked at the door for a long time, when we went to open, she changed her mind. As for her tom? He apparently only cared about the impression he was making on the other turkeys, including the one that looked like him in the glass.
Yes, I was using the 50-year-old 250mm Nikkor.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

House construction in March & April 2009

We are making progress on our interior woodwork. The upstairs bathroom finally has a door.
The finished walls set off the posts and beams. When the driver brought in the last kitchen cabinet box, he looked around and said, "I like your wood!" We like it too.
All the baseboards and window trim is finally on in the bedroom. The stairs are finished as well. We are getting there.

Kitchen cabinets

On March 27th, our kitchen cabinets arrived via truck from Ohio. We spent a busy weekend installing all but the sink unit, then finished the adjacent kitchen window as well. The interior is starting to show its possibilities.

The Watchers: Part Five

A continuation of The Watchers. Copyright, Michael Wescott Loder 2009.

Pastor Benjamin had said good-night to his new hosts and was standing in the bedroom they had provided. He was just saying his last prayers of the day, when he felt a cold hand grasp his neck. The thumb settled just left of his windpipe, the slender fingers easily working their way into the muscles by the back of his neck. He stiffened. “What? Who is this? Ah …?” The finger tips now had blades with sharp tips that already were settling under his skin.
“Do not move, Cleric,” a young voice hissed. “I saved you once. Now your life belongs to me. No! Do not move anything! You asked about my right hand. Do you understand what it can do? A little tightening, just a little, and its fingers will find your spinal cord. It will part easily. Then you will not be able to move even if you want to. A strange life that will be.”
“What do you want, Child?”
“What do you want? Why are you here? The Watchers are curious.”
“The Watchers? I do not know them.” Benjamin found that he was breathing slowly and carefully. It was easy not to want to move at all.
“You don’t have to.”
Benjamin took a deep breath. “My people have heard little from our own kind who live here. I persuaded our Council of Elders to send me here to speak with your elders. They … they wish to know that all is well. I am afraid it is not.”
“You’re pretty smart, Benjamin. No. This place is a mess. Tell me more.”
“My … my eldest disciple was a young man who came from Tartuff. When he spoke of this land, he spoke of wild apples, sweet wines and bold women who dared to show both their hands and faces. He spoke of how your people were hospitable to all, kind and generous in goods and spirit. He said you loved to tell stories and celebrated those who spoke and wrote the best.
“A turning of the seasons ago, he went home. When he returned to my place, he was changed.” Benjamin swallowed and closed his eyes. Even moving his lips was bringing pain to his neck.
The hand settled its grip and Benjamin found he could breathe easier. “What was his name?” the girl asked.
“Titus. Titus Adornett. He was no longer happy. He was with me, you understand, but his spirit remained back here. One morning he was gone. He left a message on his computer, apologizing for taking my time. He said he had to go home. I assumed he meant here; I assumed he returned here”
“Hmm. You came here to look for Titus?” she asked.
“Yes. I had searched the web. Many sites spoke of the bad things happening here. I contacted others of my faith, as I said.”
“I believe you. Come, I will release you now, if you promise not to ask me any more questions about myself, or seek me out again.”
“You fill me with curiosity, but, yes, I will be silent and circumspect.”
“Swear on all you hold holy and sacred.”
“I … I swear.”
“Cross you heart and hope to die?”
“Cross my heart and hope to die.” The hand slipped away from Benjamin’s neck. He sighed, took another deep breath and sighed again before carefully touching his wounds. He glanced at the girl. She was in front of him now, clothed completely in black—including a hood that hid all but her face—the cheeks and nose which bore streaks of black. As he stared at her, trying to see both the beggar of half a day ago and the rich child of supper, she brought up her hands so that to see her eyes, he had to look through ten fingers.
“Do not always believe what you see,” she whispered. “This is a plagued land with many sick people. Be careful. The wall holds many answers; the watchers seek answers.” She lowered her hands, nodded briefly and disappeared into the shadows. By the time Benjamin located the window she had used, she was more than a quarter dial turn gone.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Golden Horn Reviews

What the reviewers have said about the Golden Horn:

"Alternating between Jim's and Jonnie's point of view, this fast-moving tale blends romance, mystery and adventure as the couple fights against long-standing prejudices and a culture in which the right to revenge is unquestioned. The breathtaking climax holds more than a few surprises. Jim and Jonnie may be able to set the record straight about a pivotal event in Starnovia's history, but will they escape the turmoil they've created? The unique setting, appealing characters and plot twists make this an enjoyable read." Chesakis on Amazon.

"This book is a must-read for fans of Indiana Jones and for those who love stories about ancient myths and legends. Set in the present day, the story centers around an archaeology student who seems to find danger, and love, in the most unexpected places. Two-thumbs up." Archaeologist on Amazon.

"The author does a good job in creating characters and atmosphere. The two main characters (Jonneanna and Jim) alternately tell the story. This is a little bit different - but works well in creating empathy with the characters and showing the different worlds they're coming from."
Avery on Amazon.

"This author has accomplished what this reviewer would confidently call a literary tour de force, in creating out of whole cloth a sovereign nation, presumably part of what we once knew as Yugoslavia, and telling a thoroughly engrossing tale about that nation against a backdrop of history both modern and ancient."
"The author's knowledge of Eastern European history, archaeological theory and practice, and his skill in creating a plausible vignette of life in the years following the recent conflict in the Balkans, together with his craftsmanship in creating characters and putting them into action, all combine to make a stunningly workmanlike debut novel." Clempage on Amazon.