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charliecochrane [userpic]

Guest post at Julie Bozza's

December 5th, 2017 (02:42 pm)

Delighted to be Julie's guest today, discussing such important things as whether I cheat with chronology or write in real time.

And because I promised stories throughout Advent, I'm taking this opportunity to remind everyone that I've a page full of free stories, for all seasons of the year, right on this here website.

charliecochrane [userpic]

World war one commemoration - a song for the season

December 4th, 2017 (04:10 pm)
Tags:

I've got a mash up today, with my regular WWI post meeting my advent ones, so I'm featuring my favourite Christmas pop song. There's not a Santa or a snowman in sight, because this is one of those songs which gave us something very different and totally appropriate for the season.

Jona Lewie - Stop the Cavalry.

charliecochrane [userpic]

For the first day of Advent proper

December 3rd, 2017 (11:51 am)

which is today, of course. Advent Sunday (and I've written and will be reading the prayers in church tonight!)

Back in 2010, a chance remark by a pal about the great verse from John’s gospel inspired a story, which I’m reproducing (slightly amended) here. Why? As a reminder that we can only fight darkness with light.

And the light shineth in the darkness and the darkness comprehended it not.”
Memories of Advent back home: the church, the greenery, candles, swelling grandeur of the organ, that’s what this verse always aroused in Jonty. Hearing it now, with a bright December sun coming through the St. Bride’s chapel window, felt incongruous.
He and Orlando had argued last night in the Senior Common Room, about—of all the most ridiculous things—the correct translation of “comprehended” in this verse. Understood, overcome, defeated, observed: they’d traded synonyms and meanings until Dr. Panesar had intervened and declared it an honourable draw.
“Katalambamo.” Orlando whispered the word, clearly worried the chaplain would catch him speaking during Service.
“What?” Jonty hissed back.
“It’s the original Greek for comprehended.”
Jonty glanced sidelong, to see the smugly satisfied look on his lover’s face. “We’ll talk later.” He resumed his look of studied innocence, perfected for wearing on solemn occasions such as matins, a speech from the master, or gulling Orlando. Whatever it was would have to wait.

***


“Katalambamo.” Orlando nodded, enthusiastically. “I remembered it from school. It’s the word they used in the early Greek versions of John’s gospel.”
“And this takes the argument further forward? The unpronounceable in pursuit of the untranslatable?” It was now Sunday afternoon, lunch had been eaten, there was no work to be dealt with, so he and Orlando sat over a chess board in their parlour.
“It aids the translation. In my favour.” Orlando’s stern expression changed into a glorious smile. “I’ve remembered all my teacher told me. Apparently, it’s the same word as is used when they talk about someone being possessed.” He stopped. “Dear God, I’m sorry. It’s been so long since…”
“Since I used to ‘go elsewhere’? No need to apologise. Please, carry on.” Jonty could feel brave here, in their own home, far away in time from the torments of his school days.
This is my body, lying in the darkness and the darkness snatches it.
“Tell me all the meanings of the word that you remember.”
Orlando took a deep breath, as though on the point of arguing, then continued, clearly trying to compensate for his error with a show of levity. “To grasp eagerly or tightly, like dunderheads with their beer glasses. Snatching, like you when there’s apple pie on the table. Taking over, maybe like ripping possession on the rugger field. What do think Jonty? Jonty?” Orlando’s voice was all concern.
“Sorry, I was miles away.”
“I shouldn’t have brought it up. I shouldn’t have reminded you.”
“No. I have nothing to be afraid of now.” He tapped Orlando’s hand. “I have found the light—this light, your light—shining in the darkness and at last nothing will overcome it.”

charliecochrane [userpic]

And behind the advent door today is an angel

December 2nd, 2017 (08:25 am)

And it's an angel in a remarkable disguise. This is a Cambridge Fellows Alternative Universe story, ie self fanfiction.

“Doctor Stewart!”
Jonty reflected how ironic it was that the Archangel Raphael had a voice so resembling that possessed by the Vice Chancellor of Cambridge University. Perhaps it was mere coincidence—the tone of absolute but merciful authority making them sound so alike—or maybe the heavenly being had allowed his accent to be replicated for those humans he most favoured. “Yes, Raphael?”
At least Jonty was allowed to use the angelic being’s name; he had never referred to the leader of the University as Claude. At least not to his face and never when sober.
“Please be seated. I believe that we need to have some conversation.”
“Yes, Raphael.” Jonty’s heart sank; he sat down and folded his wings around himself demurely. His countenance, seen reflected not in a glass darkly but in the shining metal ceremonial shield by Raphael’s desk, bore the look of extreme innocence that he’d cultivated over the years and which had graced Bride’s chapel at many an evensong before the war. His body may have been made anew but his face was undoubtedly the strikingly beautiful one (or so both his mother and Orlando described it) he had worn for thirty odd years on earth.

Guardian Angel

charliecochrane [userpic]

A notable first

December 1st, 2017 (01:54 pm)

On the first day of December, it feels right to share with you a story that represents two notable firsts. This was my very first go at a murder mystery and the characters it contains are the prototypes for Jonty and Orlando.

The fortified manor at Pain’s Wyke had been one of the Countess of Gloucester’s favourite retreats; when her husband had been away fighting, or in happier times attending to business, then she would take the chosen ladies of her household there. Were it high summer they could enjoy the clean air and the good honest country smells. It was an added advantage that the Lord of the Manor was such a handsome and courteous young man, and the unattached ladies (and one or two respectable matrons who should have known better) were content to flirt with him. It never came to anything, much to their regret, but it made for a pleasant pastime.

England had seen many an unhappy hour during the time that the King and his sister had fought for the throne and nearly torn the country apart in the process. Now, with the return of Maud to France, it was hoped that some sweeter times might be ahead, although not for the Countess, who found she had too many memories of happier times to let her be entirely at ease anywhere in England. Other people might come and stay at the manor, nonetheless; connections of the Earl or well bred travellers who couldn’t complete the journey to the city of Gloucester before nightfall. The lesser folk might seek refuge with Roger, who had the church and served his flock with humility and humour, but the finery stayed with Horace Dumanoir.

Just such a fine young man had sought accommodation one summer morning and been welcomed heartily, his recommendation from Gloucester being impeccable. He was making a slow journey home from the crusade, in the steps of his natural father though determined to let him get home first. This man was second son of an Earl, born the wrong side of the blanket and dearly beloved of his sire, if not of the man’s wife. They had felt it politic to let the nobleman return home first, to rapturous delight, before the by-blow made his appearance. The son might then be greeted rather more warmly, his half brother and step mother having had their fill of the Earl’s affection. The arrangement suited the younger man admirably as it gave time for reflection and rest, something which had been sorely lacking these last few years of hell. Johannes Fitzrichard had taken up arms in his saviour’s cause and regretted almost every moment.

A Man Lay Dead in Winter 

 

charliecochrane [userpic]

(no subject)

November 30th, 2017 (01:53 pm)

On the first day of December, it feels right to share with you a story that represents two notable firsts. This was my very first go at a murder mystery and the characters it contains are the prototypes for Jonty and Orlando.

The fortified manor at Pain’s Wyke had been one of the Countess of Gloucester’s favourite retreats; when her husband had been away fighting, or in happier times attending to business, then she would take the chosen ladies of her household there. Were it high summer they could enjoy the clean air and the good honest country smells. It was an added advantage that the Lord of the Manor was such a handsome and courteous young man, and the unattached ladies (and one or two respectable matrons who should have known better) were content to flirt with him. It never came to anything, much to their regret, but it made for a pleasant pastime.

England had seen many an unhappy hour during the time that the King and his sister had fought for the throne and nearly torn the country apart in the process. Now, with the return of Maud to France, it was hoped that some sweeter times might be ahead, although not for the Countess, who found she had too many memories of happier times to let her be entirely at ease anywhere in England. Other people might come and stay at the manor, nonetheless; connections of the Earl or well bred travellers who couldn’t complete the journey to the city of Gloucester before nightfall. The lesser folk might seek refuge with Roger, who had the church and served his flock with humility and humour, but the finery stayed with Horace Dumanoir.

Just such a fine young man had sought accommodation one summer morning and been welcomed heartily, his recommendation from Gloucester being impeccable. He was making a slow journey home from the crusade, in the steps of his natural father though determined to let him get home first. This man was second son of an Earl, born the wrong side of the blanket and dearly beloved of his sire, if not of the man’s wife. They had felt it politic to let the nobleman return home first, to rapturous delight, before the by-blow made his appearance. The son might then be greeted rather more warmly, his half brother and step mother having had their fill of the Earl’s affection. The arrangement suited the younger man admirably as it gave time for reflection and rest, something which had been sorely lacking these last few years of hell. Johannes Fitzrichard had taken up arms in his saviour’s cause and regretted almost every moment.

A Man Lay Dead in Winter 

 

charliecochrane [userpic]

Looking forward to December - a month of stories

November 29th, 2017 (04:34 pm)

Seeing the posts starting to line up for the Rainbow Advent Calendar has inspired me, as mentioned before, to populate my blog with stories over and above my December 15th story, "Got mittens". At present my plan consist of dates with mysterious scribbles ('Katalambano', 'Vunipola/Mary') next to them. So if you want to know what 'Marley' might be, or 'Jonny Stewart entire', make sure you drop in.

charliecochrane [userpic]

If I was in a tight corner and had to rely on one of my characters to save me...

November 27th, 2017 (08:11 pm)

To find out the answer, drop into Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words, where I'm being interviewed today.

charliecochrane [userpic]

Rainbow snippet - Pride of Poppies

November 26th, 2017 (07:57 pm)

I've been re-reading The Red Sweet Wine of Youth, which spurred me into posting an excerpt from Hallowed Ground, my story in Pride of Poppies.

I noticed my pack, which by some miracle had been thrown through the air and landed – pretty well intact – about twenty feet from where we were. I reckoned I could crawl over and get it, so long as I stayed quiet. There didn’t seem to be any of the enemy out on night patrol, but the padre wouldn’t have it.
“It’s not worth the risk,” he said, “whatever’s in there.”
“You might not think that come the middle of the night when you’d be grateful for a wee drop from my hip flask. Think of it as medicinal,” I added, because you never know with these clergy types. Some of them seem to think Jesus turned the water into wine so everybody could wash in it. “I’ve got some chocolate creams, too.”
That seemed to settle the matter, although halfway across those twenty feet – which felt like a hundred yards – hearing a nearby crump made me wonder if I shouldn’t have argued. Although I suppose if your number’s going to come up it can happen as easily in a hole as in the open. I kept going, grabbed the bag and headed back. The look of relief on the padre’s face, seen by a Very light’s timely illumination, was a picture. You’d have thought I was the Archangel Michael himself, come to bear him up to safety on a fiery chariot or something.

More excerpts at Rainbow Snippets.

charliecochrane [userpic]

Lessons in Discovery is out!

November 25th, 2017 (04:45 pm)

Usual arrangement - ebook now, print to follow soon.

Lessons in Discovery