A West Country Seaman: Writing Wednesday

Oh, what a weekend. Yes, week two of mayhem is complete. Okay, so it wasn’t truly mayhem, more like family togetherness. Son the Younger and his wife, who eloped back in February, had a friends and family ceremony/reception picnic last weekend, so of course, we went (this was four hours away, mind you) and Son the Younger surprised me by asking that I walk him down the aisle.

I still get teary-eyed thinking about it.

Yes, I’m tired again, but things look to be calming for a few weeks. Then I’ve two events in September – a festival and a book launch for an anthology I participated in, but both are regional so I won’t need a hotel or the like. Whew!

Happy Wednesday! My Wednesday shares have become shorter and serialized, and for now, they’re coming from my current WIP (work in progress), Striking Balance. You’ll be able to find all the ones that pertain to Striking Balance under the Categories drop down to your right.

Striking Balance is a queer Historical Paranormal Fantasy story set within my Appalachian Elementals series. It’s a freestanding tale, so you don’t need to read the other stories within the series to delve into this one.

This is installment twenty-three, “A West Country Seaman” and it picks up directly where the last installment, “Dragging Canoe” ended. The main character in Striking Balance is Benjamin (Nub) Schnell, the possessor of secrets twice his size and seeming age. He’s been working for nearly a decade on the same small farm as his friend, Conall Baldwin, who acts as the farm’s manager. This story begins during the American Revolutionary War years, 1779 to be precise, in the Nolichucky river basin of Northeast Tennessee.

The setup: Ben’s speaking with one of Master Gow’s men, who he’s never met before, and Ben’s already growing suspicious of the man.

Note: The part in orange comes from last week’s excerpt.

Good prayers, Conall says this is why we have been spared. God is looking after us, but I know as well as he that many of those who died were stronger in faith than we have been.

18th-century men’s shoes, though Ben’s would have been much smaller and probably held simple iron buckles. (from picclick.com)

     “Chucky Jack failed when it came to that fort. He’s better off at Fort Watauga.” The man covers the crock then passes me the clean ones to store until we have more cabbages to ferment. “You’ve shoes?” He stares at my bare feet with his dark eyes. All of Master Gow’s men have the same dark eyes, as does Master Gow. I do not know if they are kin, but Alexandria has dark eyes as well. This man, however, wears his hair in two braids like some natives wear, and those braids run down his back, almost reaching his beltline. He also speaks in a strong British accent, a west country seaman’s. I have encountered this before, and the strong r sounds are quite memorable.

     “Yes, sir. They’re inside.” I prefer going barefoot during the warm months to spare my shoes wear, however, the root cellar is frigid on my bare toes so I climb out and close the door.

     “I cobbled before I set sail in the Caribbean,” says the man. “Go get those shoes so I can inspect them.”

     He is attempting to impress me with his travels, but I am not so easily swayed.

No, Ben’s not so easily impressed. Why should he be? During his travels, what he calls his wandering time, he met people from many different places, so he knows a person’s point of origin says nothing about who they really are.

Until next week…



  1. This guy seems like one of those “been everywhere, done everything” type that come off more as a know-it-all and not someone I particularly want to be friends with myself. Great snippet.

    Liked by 1 person

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