The Witching Hour Approaches

“Tis now the very witching time of night,
When churchyards yawn and hell itself breathes out
Contagion to this world.”

Well it’s not quite midnight and I’m being all deceptive quoting Shakespeare on Halloween. The truth is that in just under an hour NaNoWriMo starts, at least for us in England. Those ahead of us will have started, in theory.


I even have a novel planned for this year’s November challenge, although I wish that I had spent more time on all the characters. At least ‘Tortuous Terrain‘ is a sequel to Spiral of Hooves, my first soon-to-be-published novel, so some of the characters are familiar.  So the chapter-by-chapter guide might see me to 50k by the end of the month.

In 2011 and 2012 I managed to write the magic 50,000 words – ‘The Last Leaf’ and ‘Wyrm Blood’ – and both are in the editing queue. Only problem this time is that we are going away for a few days around Thanksgiving, and my daily word count is well below 2,000 at the moment.

Well I’m up for the challenge, even if the rest of the household are no doubt dreading my mood swings. Maybe I should have trained a cat to write for me, instead of sleeping on the keyboard-job.

But it will be worth it, Well, I will try to convince everyone, especially myself.

And the clock is ticking. Now what were those opening lines? Must check Facebook one more time though…


Major Roman Boissard ~ Entrepreneur or Thorn?

English: Flag of Canadian Army

English: Flag of Canadian Army (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’ve been apprehensive about interviewing Roman Boissard about his role in ‘Spiral of Hooves’ ever since he objected to my interview with Du Noroît Stud’s nutritionist, Lina Jardero. However, it is important to establish whether he is the interfering nuisance that his son, Gilles makes out, or whether the family equestrian business is his creation and dependent on him.

Monsieur Roman Boissard, many thanks for making time to see me…

Major Boissard to you. And you are late. Your appointment was last week, Clarke. I presume that you were never in the army otherwise you would show more respect. Army discipline would sort out your sloppy ideas.

Of course, Major. Can I ask what you did in the Canadian Army?

All I can divulge is that I was posted on covert operations with front-line combat regiments. Essential work that must remain confidential. Move on to the next question, I am a busy man.

Did you establish the family equestrian enterprise, Boissard Équestre with your son?

Tabernac, I formed Boissard Équestre on my own, without any help from my useless playboy son or those who exploit him… most of them foreigners that don’t understand us.

Who are your closest friends?

My business partners, like Patrick Harfang. We play golf together at our country club near Bromont. I trust them more than my son. Patrick is a sharp businessman, who can turn any failing business round and make it far more profitable than it ever was.

So you would consider this Patrick Harfang as like part of “your tribe”?

Of course. I can always trust his advice. It’s sound. The reverse of my wastrel son, Gilles.

What would you have to do to get kicked out of this club?

A ridiculous scenario and one that would be unmotivated.

Before the novel began, what were your hopes for the future? What changed that?

My dream was for Boissard Équestre to produce first-class horses for the Canadian Equestrian Team. But everything that I have tried to achieve has been opposed by my son and his under-qualified team. What use is a University degree when it ignores the scientific advances of prominent businesses? Lina Jardero is a total fraud.

But Gilles has said, “Papa is merely a nuisance”. The implication being that you are at fault?

Calisse, if I wanted I could make his life messy, but there are sensible options, if he would only listen to me. I am a reasonable man.

53/365: Over the hills and far away

53/365: Over the hills and far away (Photo credit: Rrrodrigo)

So what do you think is going to happen next? Can you reach an agreement with your son?

If he knows where his real loyalties lie. And those loyalties are not to his so-called friends. Who are they anyway? A salope groom that merely wants his money, a failed scientist that risks the horses with her experiments, and a scruffy academic that is a born criminal.

You are suggesting that Armand Sabatier is dangerous, so you don’t trust him?

He tries to take advantage of us with his pitiful moods. He’s too shifty and evasive, pretending to help everyone. Maybe I should have his contract terminated. I’m not even sure that he’s allowed to work in Canada.

By termination, you don’t mean murder? Your son suggested that you might kill someone, but not Armand, surely?

If I want him off the stud, I have easier ways to remove him. Now, if you want a suspect and if it isn’t my son, then the Frenchman would be ideal. However, I don’t think he has the brains to use anything other than a computer. A born failure, as an academic and probably as a criminal.

What was your most shattering, and most recent encounters with death?

In the military I saw my share of death, and it needs to end there. As I’ve said, I’m a reasonable man for whom killing is only a last resort and in combat. Life is sacred.

I accept that you have been misrepresented by others. In that respect, what’s your greatest talent?

As an entrepreneur, to always find the most cost effective but also most cutting-edge ways forward. That is why I was very keen to proceed with the trials of genetically-modified feed. And despite the critics close to home, the breeding stock look excellent and the financial projection is positive. The business has great prospects. As a family-man, to provide for my family, even Gilles.

Gilles sees himself in the hero role, ignoring the fact that a protagonist can always be female. What about yourself, are you heroic?

I have the military training to be a hero, but I fear that my age might be against me. Writers, like you, want young dynamic heroes and I suspect that means my son. Or are you suggesting that your novel features some trendy heroine protagonist? You can’t mean Jardero or that useless groom Fedon? That would be laughable – it will never sell.

Harrison Ford at the Pacific Design Center in ...

Harrison Ford at the Pacific Design Center in West Hollywood (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I think I have an age advantage over you, Major Boissard. Even if I lack the military discipline. Are you applying for the protagonist position?

Dare you ask? I have all the qualifications, even if others want to condemn me. If my favourite actor, Harrison Ford can still be the hero then I accept the promotion.

Thank you, Major Boissard for the valuable insight into your true personality. I have other candidates for the position, but I will assess your credentials with due consideration.

As long as you are not seriously considering my son. Tabernac, that would be a major mistake, even if he has his leeches.


Forthcoming interviews:             

Odette Fedon, Head groom at Du Noroît Stud

Armand Sabatier, Du Noroît Stud EIA researcher


Other ‘Spiral of Hooves’ interviews:

Carly Tanner ~ Leading Lady & Athlete

Gilles Boissard – heroic playboy?

Lina Jardero ~ Scientist & Adviser?       

Studs o' Death

Studs o’ Death (Photo credit: Anthony DeLorenzo)


Liebster Award


Surprises are great to receive, well as long as they are special like this one. Recently I received a Liebster Award nomination and I am very grateful to my blogging friend Jennifer Chow. This nomination inspires me to keep this blog going, even though there are days when I am ready to quit. Don’t we all have those down moments?

Although I have seen blogs that have received the Liebster Award, I was not fully aware of what it entailed or how it had come about.

Jennifer’s friend and nominator, Evelyne Holingue says, “Liebster comes from the German verb Lieben, which means to love. Liebster is the superlative form of the adjective lieb, which means kind, likeable, lovely. As a noun liebster also means sweetheart and boyfriend. Ah the complexities of the German language! As I understand it, the Liebster Award is like a little gift from one blogger to another.”

The Basic Rules are:

1. Write a post about the nomination and link back to the nominator’s site.

2. In that post, explain the meaning of the award and answer the questions given to you.

3. Create questions for your nominees.

4. Nominate 5 blogs with fewer than 1000 followers.

5. Contact nominees and let them know that you have nominated them.

6. Post the award button on your blog.


The Questions to me:

    Do you remember your first blog post?

It was back in 2011, when I asked “How Green Are The Squirrels?” on the first Blog page started with my wife, The Duskweald. Since then the site has changed and this site, ‘Writing Wings’ has appeared – in May 2012 – and evolved. The squirrels blog was more about our home, lifestyle and dealing with the squirrels who were digging up our tomatoes, than about writing.

Why are you blogging?

Too keep my brain active. On ‘Writing Wings’ I try to focus on blogging about my writing journey, the ups & downs, but also about things that inspire or annoy me. Lately I have been trying to interview some of the characters in my first soon-to-be published novel, “Spiral of Hooves”.

    What do you like best and least about blogging?

I enjoy being inspired to write short pieces that are a change from my novel-writing; even the interviews are a break. I can spend a day or two focused on a piece, and then have it published online in a short time. However, I hate feeling the need to write a blog every week or more often. It is worse when there are other things impacting on my life, whether it’s health issues or just other assignments – like the Course Assignment from last week, to design a computer game. But that might make an interesting blog post, sometime soon.

    What blogs do you like to follow?

I tend to follow blogs by other writers, whether they are ones by authors giving invaluable advice or by writers setting out on their journey, like me. We are always learning, however much we already know or have had published. I also follow a few sites by avid readers, mainly in the crime and fantasy genres. However, if I find a blogger who writes about inspirational topics then I will follow that site.

Harlech Castle

Harlech Castle (Photo credit: BrotherMagneto)

What would you like to share with your readers that they might not know about you?

Hard question as ‘Writing Wings’ as a site is riddled with home truths, as well as an About Me that tries to fill some of the gaps. Some of you might be unaware of my link to North America, beyond the fact that part of my education was at a British school north of Montreal. While there, I went on a white water expedition, the first known descent by ‘white-men’ of the Beaver River in the Yukon. By linking to my wife’s Duskweald site, you will know that she is from Idaho, USA, and her family are there and in Utah. Don’t you?

If money, job and family weren’t an issue where would you live and why?

Ever since I gave up my landed-immigrant status in Canada – yes I should have mentioned that one – I’ve had an urge to go back and live there. Visiting Idaho with its mountains, made me want to stay, but with my health that would be a non-starter. Mountains though are not confined to North America. We have them in the British Isles. So having resolved the money issue, retired and received the blessings of the family, we are moving to North Wales next spring. There we will have fresh air, the sea, a castle and Snowdonia. And there are ways for the family that count to visit.

  Have you learned more from your successes or failures?

The failures feel more prominent at times so I suppose they are the strongest lessons. But every twist and turn in life is part of the learning, and none are more important. It’s the overall experiences that we gather as our life quest unfolds. A perfect opportunity to point you all to the poem “Ithaca” by C.P. Cavafy.  This inspirational article on “Ithaca” also links to Sean Connery reading the poem, with music by Vangelis. Inspiration for a game perhaps, or at least a blog post.

    What is your idea of a day lived to its fullest?

An inspirational day spent outdoors with my wife, enjoying the majesty and richness of nature, preferably in the mountains or by a tumbling river. Ending with a fine, light meal watching “Lord of the Rings”. Then getting up next day refreshed and inspired to write thousands of words.

    What one key message do you want your readers to take away from your blog?

That it’s never too late to start doing something that you really feel the need to do. In fact, start before it slips away and you regret the lost time.

Do you prefer the book to the movie or the movie to the book?

I tend to prefer the book, but a clever film-maker can capture the essence of a book and give it new life. “Lord of the Rings”, for instance, is my all-time favourite book but Peter Jackson and his team managed to create an image of Middle Earth that resonated with me. However, a film can never have the depth of a book as it is restricted by cinema time. When done well the two media complement each other. Remediation has been happening since the first stories were told, then written down. Words, paintings, tapestries, films and now video games all combine to create a rich milieu.


On to my Questions:

Why did you choose your Blog name?

What are your aims and ambitions in writing a Blog?

Where do you find your inspiration?

What do you like best and least about blogging?

What inspires you to follow another Blog?

What is your favourite book and favourite movie?

Is a book always better than the movie? Can they be compared?

What is your best quality?

Where have you dreamed of living and why?

Are you always learning from life?

What one key message do you want your readers to take away from your blog?

Image courtesy of

Image courtesy of

My Nominees:

1. Another writer’s journey, one-step ahead of me. Vikki is one of my inspirational Municipal Liasons for NaNoWriMo:

2. The author of one of my recent best reads, “Oracle”, J C is the fighter-writer that keeps me plugging on:

3. Elizabeth is a versatile writer tackling non-fiction, short stories and now a novel. Always thoughtful words:

4. Ailsa is an author, biker, knitter and shaman, which means there is never a dull moment… just plenty of fun:

5. Nicole’s adventures in Science and Science Fiction are informative and entertaining. A prolific reader and knowledgeable about science:

Finally, although Jennifer Chow had told me all she knew about Liebster, I Googled the Award and found this interesting link:

I haven’t abided totally by these rules – sure some of the nominees have 1,000+ followers – but I feel that variety is meant to be the spice of life. If I have nominated you, then you might want to try your own version of the recipe.

Here then is one version of:

The Official Rules Of The Liebster Award

If you have been nominated for The Liebster Award AND YOU CHOOSE TO ACCEPT IT, write a blog post about the Liebster award in which you:

1. Thank the person who nominated you, and post a link to their blog on your blog.

2. Display the award on your blog — by including it in your post and/or displaying it using a “widget” or a “gadget”. (Note that the best way to do this is to save the image to your own computer and then upload it to your blog post.)

3. Answer 11 questions about yourself, which will be provided to you by the person who nominated you.

4. Provide 11 random facts about yourself.

5. Nominate 5 – 11 blogs that you feel deserve the award, who have a less than 1000 followers. (Note that you can always ask the blog owner this since not all blogs display a widget that lets the readers know this information!)

6. Create a new list of questions for the blogger to answer.

7. List these rules in your post. (You can copy and paste them from here.)

Once you have written your post, and published it, you then have to:

8. Inform the people/blogs that you nominated that they have been nominated for the Liebster award and provide a link for them to your post so that they can learn about it (they might not have ever heard of it!)

The post adds that you can nominate someone who already has been given this award, as long as they have less than 1000 followers/subscribers.

Until next time this is the Silver Scribbler signing off and getting in his wheelchair.

The #NaNoWriMo Checklist

As I’m about to embark on NaNoWriMo for third consecutive year, I have to re-blog Roger Colby’s words of wisdom & common sense. Not sure whether I will meet the 50k target this year, as too much going on. But good luck Roger and all who sail with us.

Writing Is Hard Work

In just two weeks we will be heading into dark territory.  The National Novel Writing Month will be upon us.  How many of you wordsmiths plan on cranking out a novel that month?  Well, you can include me in that mass of lemmings desiring to throw their minds into overdrive to write 50,000 words in 30 days.

I’ve worked out that one needs to write roughly 1666 words per day to meet the quota, and since I already do 1000 words per day as a personal goal, pouring on another number of the beast won’t be too much of a problem.  I usually take about an hour to crank out the 1000, so not much longer to do the rest.

Some myths must be busted right away about NaNoWriMo:

  1. It is a contest with prizes – No.  The only prize is the satisfaction of writing a 50,000 word novel.
  2. The…

View original post 468 more words

Lina Jardero ~ Scientist & Adviser?

English: Rancocas ( Helis Stock ) Farm is an A...

English: Rancocas ( Helis Stock ) Farm is an American thoroughbred horse racing stud farm and racing stable located on Monmouth Road (County Road 537) in Springfield Township, Burlington County, New Jersey, Jobstown, New Jersey. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Having finally interviewed Gilles Boissard, I feel that is time to talk to his friend, Lina Jardero, who he described as “our nutritionist” and said “I can rely on her advice”. Hopefully she can reveal more about her major role in ‘Spiral of Hooves’, and what she knows as the tale opens.

Before you met Gilles Boissard, what were your hopes for the future? What changed that?

My life wasn’t going anywhere meaningful. Studying Animal Biology at McGill University and meeting Gilles was the chance to apply myself. I believed in his dreams and could apply mis talentos to make them real.

Your abilities – talents. So what kind of talents? How did they help Gilles?

Sólo mi educación. He needed my knowledge to improve the breeding of the horses. Without me, his father, Roman would have destroyed Du Noroît, our Canadian stud. Caramba, that man is a menace.

What are you willing to do to stop him?

[Lina laughs] No estoy loco. I have my science. The horses are healthier since my regime was implemented. He’s the crazy one. Ask him what he will do to stop us.

But what crime might you commit if the need arose?

I know what being a victim is like. So I don’t feel I can discuss that. Change the subject.

My apologies. It’s hard not to pry. So can I ask, who is your favourite author?

In my teens I discovered ‘The Mixquiahuala Letters’ by Ana Castillo, which rang very true as a young woman struggling with discrimination. Now if I read it seems to be all scientific papers. Just don’t tell Loup that I used to read literature, he’s such a bookworm that he might misunderstand me.

Cover of "The Mixquiahuala Letters"

Cover of The Mixquiahuala Letters

By Loup you mean Armand Sabatier, who you live with. Is he your partner?

[Lina laughs] He’s sweet but just a friend. I sometimes wish he wasn’t so like shy. That idiota, Roman calls him shifty but I know Loup means well. Perhaps he can be odd and evasive sometimes. So?

But you would trust him in a difficult situation?  

Naturalmente, although I am unsure how useful he would be. That was why he gave me my dog for protection. If you want my choice of hero, it would be Gilles. Maybe with Loup as his sidekick.

Your raven hair and stunning looks – apologies – tell me that you are Latina. Does that influence your personality as well?

Apology accepted. But if you are suggesting that I’ve a fiery temperamento, you’re wrong. And work comes before pleasure. Next question.

Who then is your favorite superhero?

Wonderwoman, as I always wanted to be her. But my origin is not so interesante.

What was your life like growing up? You mentioned discrimination.

It was hard, being a Latina – an outsider. Even among my own I felt different. So I left home and made my own life. No fue fácil – it wasn’t easy. Until I met Gilles… and Loup.

Did your parents understand? Did they support you?

Only mi madre shared my pain. After I left home, it was her that needed the support, when I could send her anything. But I can no longer help my family. I’ve been forced to move on.

So this is now your family, here in Canada? Is this what Gilles called “the team”?

Si, mis amigos. Gilles and Armand, and our head groom, Odette Fedon. They are now mi familia.

A strong unit then. So you don’t fall out with each other?

Like all friends, si. We argue, shout and get upset. But it never lasts. Friends forever. Or is that tempting destino?

Probably, so what do you think is going to happen next?

We’ve been discussing that. Gilles wants to move to the new stud in England, Fenburgh. It’s the one he found with Odette.  I fear that Roman will try to stop us.

How can he do that? Gilles suggested murder, but does he hate anyone that much?

We could give you a list. But I fear most for Odette. She has crossed Roman many times. But I hope I’m wrong. She is very special, and a crucial member of the team.

Muchas gracias, Senorita Jardero. I am grateful for your time. It has been fascinating to talk with you and…

“Tabernac, who gave you permission to interview her?”

“Your son and that’s good enough for me. If you want to be interviewed Monsieur Roman Boissard, I can make an appointment for next week…”

“I make the appointments here, not some insignificant writer. And definitely not my useless boy. Jardero, back to work at once. Haven’t you got something better to do, Clarke?”

blood in the snow

blood in the snow (Photo credit: Anosmia)

Other ‘Spiral of Hooves’ interviews:

Carly Tanner ~ Leading Lady & Athlete

Gilles Boissard – heroic playboy?