Thursday, February 22, 2018

At least I've thought of a title

It's been a busy week on the writing front. When I'm working on a book I try to aim at one thousand words a day. I'm retired, so it's not a huge ask, but I find I need quite a bit of thinking time before I put the words on the page. I've been known to stand in my backyard, glass of wine in hand, rehearsing the dialogue for the next day. The lorikeets don't seem to  mind – as long as they get their apple juice.

When I get on a roll I might make fifteen hundred words, so I was pretty chuffed to make over two thousand the other day. We're getting there!

I'm in the middle part of the book, where the story can sag if you're not careful. But this is a crime mystery as much as a character study, so I've gone down the track of finding out more about Toreni as she investigates in her own special way. The team is staying in a guest house, and Toreni takes the chance to find out what she can from the proprietor. She uses the fact that she has been stereotyped into a box where she doesn't quite fit.


Toreni went in search of Suri Isshak as soon as they returned to the guest house. Following her nose, she found the woman in a kitchen smelling of roasting meat and herbs, and knocked on the door jamb.
Isshak looked up from stirring the contents of a large bowl on a central bench. "Oh hello. Is there a problem?"
"Not at all, Suri. It's just that Sunil told us you're a great cook?"
Isshak beamed, accentuating the creases around her eyes and mouth. "He's a nice lad. I like to cook."
Toreni took a step into the room. "So do I. I wonder if I could watch you cook this evening's meal? Maybe help?"
Isshak stopped her action mid-stir. "You cook? Really?"
If I had a credit for every time… Toreni smiled. "Yes, I do. I used to do the cooking for my squad when I served in Fleet, and I do all the cooking on our ship. I'm always looking for new ways with food, especially if you're using local products."
"I am. I'm cooking fish tonight, baked with tubers and greens. And I'm slow roasting a haunch of mountain goat. I'm making bread to serve with the food. As you can see."
Toreni stepped into a well-organized room equipped with plenty of cupboards and shelves, as well as ample bench space. Pots and pans hung from hooks, and a knife block stood in a corner. Isshak worked at an island bench in the middle, with easy access to the large hob and wall oven. A pot steamed on a burner. "It's a great kitchen."
"Yes." The other woman continued stirring, lifting and moving the contents of the bowl. "I had a lot of say in the design."
"You're making bread?"
She chuckled. "It's not made with grain. We use ground tubers and some seeds. It has a heavy consistency, but it's lovely with spread."
Toreni leaned over to watch. The mass was coming together. Isshak paused to add a little more warm water from a jug.
"You have to be careful not to let it get too wet, but it shouldn't be too dry, either."
Something whistled from the stove. Isshak tutted. "I need to season that."
"I'll stir for you," Toreni said.
The other woman smiled her gratitude. "Thanks. Keep it moving." Isshak bustled over to the pot on the stove. "It's been a while since I had so many guests at once."
"What happens with this dough? Rolls? Loaves?"
"Loaves." She looked at Toreni over her shoulder. "Could you do that for me?"
"Sure. Trays?"
Isshak pointed. "That cupboard."
Toreni took out a tray and shaped small loaves from the dense ingredients, setting them out in rows on the baking tray, then showed them to the other woman.
"Great. In the oven for most of an hour. Um… I didn't catch your name?"
Ah. They were getting somewhere. "Toreni. And yours?"
In the space of an hour Toreni had heard all about Silva's husband, who was out catching fish. Their son was killed in the war against the Yogina. Silva hadn't wanted him to go, but he insisted, serving with a marine unit. She would never recover from his loss, but Sunil had stayed here for over a year, now, becoming almost an adopted son. She'd started the guest house to alleviate boredom, and enjoyed the guests coming in and out.


I'm still undecided about a title. Operation Shar Burk was wrong on a lot of counts, but at least the action starts at Shar Burk space station. Mystery of the Ice Warriors will do for now - although it dos sound a bit Enid Blyton.

And I haven't seen The Last Jedi yet, either.

And to finish, here's a lorikeet. Okay, two lorikeets. Best caption I got for this one was "What do you mean the dog ate your homework?"


  1. Loved the snippet... and those two lorikeets make me laugh. Excellent caption!

  2. Great snippet, and I love the photo and caption, Greta!

    1. Thanks Laurie. Hope alls back to normal at the Green's


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