A Blast From the Past – WIPpet Wednesday

Christmas presentsWith just one week to go until Christmas, festive fever has well and truely hit the UK. Everywhere you go Christmas songs are playing; the German market in the centre of Bristol is in full swing; and the shops are heaving with people frantically buying presents for their loved ones. I’ve written my Christmas cards and sent them off and all the presents are wrapped and looking very lovely under the tree. This lunchtime I’m off out for my first roast turkey dinner with friends from work. I may not be able to move this afternoon so that will be the perfect excuse to make the rounds and read everyone’s WIPpets.

My WIPpet maths is simple today – 18 (nice and short) paragraphs for the 18th December from Time Shifters – A Long Way From Home. Be warned it is a completely unedited first draft! In this extract Maisie and Danny are time-shifting again after finding themselves in yet more trouble in ancient Rome. They’re in a horse-drawn covered coach escaping Rome when they’re attacked. Maisie has very little time to decide about where and when they should attempt to time-shift to…

There was another shudder. I didn’t know if it was Hunters attacking the coach or us about to time shift. I kept my eyes tightly shut and concentrated on the warmth of the fire in the Great Hall and the feel of the well-worn wood of the table.

Another shudder. And then the cushions we’d been sitting on fell away from beneath us and we were left spinning. My legs kicked nothing but air and my arms gripped Danny tighter and tighter. I didn’t dare open my eyes, not just because I’d be able to see ourselves falling but also because I was terrified about where we’d actually end up.

Still with linked arms we thudded on to a stone floor and ended up sprawled on the ground. I opened my eyes and untangled myself from Danny. It was definitely Robbie’s Great Hall, except there was no roaring fire and the room was cold and unwelcoming with grey light streaming through the windows.

“Where are we?” Danny brushed dirt from off his makeshift toga.

“Robbie’s house. The guy me and Lizzie met in 1471.”

The door creaked open and a servant walked in with a bundle of wood in her arms. She stopped when she saw us, let out a seriously loud scream and dropped the wood on the floor.

“It’s okay,” I said, holding my hands out and taking a step towards her. “We’re friends of Lord Robert’s.”

She screamed again, turned and ran from the room.

“That went well,” Danny said. “You do realise how ridiculous we look dressed like this.” He pointed at himself.

“At least we both made it here.”

There were voices out in the main hallway and a boy, a little bit older than us, charged into the Great Hall with a sword pointing towards us.

Both Danny and me held up our hands and took a step backwards towards the fireplace.

“Who are you?” he asked, stepping further into the room.

“We’re friends of Lord Roberts,” I said again. The boy was tall and muscular but with a boyish face and dark blonde curly hair.

“Why are you dressed like that?”

I could see a couple of servants hovering out in the hallway. “You wouldn’t believe us if we told you.”

“Try me.”

I met his eyes and slowly it dawned on me that I might have met him before. “Who are you?”

I may or may not reveal who he is in a future WIPpet, although my lovely beta readers who read the first Time Shifters book might be able to work it out.

K L Schwengel hosts WIPpet Wednesday over on her fabulous blog, My Random Muse. You can check out the rest of the WIPpeteers offerings over there or even join in yourself by simply posting an extract of your work in progress here that relates to the day. 18 lines, paragraphs or even words for the 18th December – you get the idea…

This time next week it’ll be Christmas Day! I hope everyone’s feeling festive and are all ready for the celebrations. Only seven more sleeps. :-)

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20 Comments

  1. Can I guess?? Is he young Robert? No? Erg. Okay, fine, you’re not going to say. I get it. *harumpfs* In any case, nicely done. A great description of what they feel like when they’re shifting. Oh, and the maids reaction . . . priceless.

  2. I wondered the same thing as Kathi. Oh this is exciting!!!! I hope you have a wonderful Christmas. So hard to believe it’s so close!

  3. As always exciting and gripping Kate. It makes me really want to read more. And congrats on being over 2/3 through your pregnancy! Definitely exciting times for you. :)

  4. I know it’s not young Robert because of when Robert was born, but yeah… togas would certainly raise some brows.

    Enjoy the Christmas… especially it being the last one before baby comes. Things change a lot after that. Good changes, but still changes….

    • Cheers Eden. I’m looking forward to a quiet and relaxing Christmas this year, although I’m so excited already thinking about next Christmas with a little son or daughter. :-)

      • So you haven’t found out who is coming to stay with you yet? Surprises are good in this case. Just as we used to hope for “Happy, healthy and bright” (in that order). That’s my wish for you as well.

        • Ah thank you Eden. We haven’t found out as we want it to be a surprise and really don’t mind either way. “Happy, healthy and bright” sounds perfect to me!

  5. Nice excerpt! Liked the fish out of water concept. Had some problems with the idea that they could immediately speak the language in a different place and different time, but then I’m an expat who’s had to deal with linguistic complications most of her life. Probably most readers won’t be bothered by it at all. :)

    And I got a kick out of the “German market” — I read in the local paper recently that the Christmas markets here have been exported to a number of other countries, but I never saw any independent confirmation of that until now. *g*

    • I’ve had a good think about the language issue and have come to the decision that in ancient Rome they will definitely not be able to understand or speak Latin (but I have a way round that because of the plot), and in the other various time periods when they’re in England I’m using artistic license. 😉

      The German Market has been in Bristol for the last few years and is great – it begins to feel and look really festive in the city centre when all the stalls get set up towards the end of November.

  6. The difference in dress was one of the things my editor and I hashed out FORever with Solar-Powered History too. :)

  7. Ooo! Who is he? How upsetting to land somewhere you hoped to be welcomed and get a sword pointed at you. :-(

    I love “seriously loud scream.” So teenagerish. :-)

  8. I really like the feel and life in this excerpt. One minor thing – if the boy with the sword is identified as a boy and not a young man, I wonder if you need to say that he has a boyish face. It might be more noteworthy if he looked especially mature and manly, or had a full beard, or eyes that had seen many battles – but boyish is what I pictured – a kid with a sword who doesn’t quite know what to do with it or himself…

    I love the concept, and the fact the they cause quite a stir in their togas…

    There’s a guy with blonde curly hair and a boyish face living here….wonder if it’s him? =)

    Merry Christmas to you all, and blessings on your soon-to-be-revealed surprise package. Mr. Blonde Curls, now 12, was our surprise…and he made us wait an extra 20 days to find out, too!

    • Thanks Shan. Really good point about the boyish face as it would be redundant if that’s what you pictured anyway…

      Ooh, your Mr. Blonde Curls may well have hopped into my WIP! :-) I can’t wait for our very special surprise in February, or will that be March if we’re made to wait an extra 20 days like you! Eek! Merry Christmas.

  9. Pingback: Kate Frost – Happy New Year WIPpet Wednesday!

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