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The Birth of a Novel - Proverbs and Destiny 4 - The first trimester

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blog photo 3 a busy person

If you want a job doing, ask a busy person.

Firstly, this is me, being a busy person - well someone has to do it. Secondly, apologies for the delay. Where did the last seventeen days go? Don’t ever let anyone tell you that self-publishing is an easy option! Far from it, and very time consuming, especially promotion-wise.

I opted for self-publishing after a number of very near misses with the traditional publishing route, but the crunch came when I realised that the stress of actually going out and meeting people, like agents and publishers, and actually having to talk to people would be more than I could cope with. I’ve lived in a remote part of Wales for so long I’ve lost all confidence in my social skills. But I refuse to let the stories of the characters I’ve created go unheard and gather electronic dust in the confused jumble that is my laptop. It’s been a very steep learning-curve.

What have I been doing since I wrote blog 3? Firstly, I’ve been tweeting until people must be sick of me, trying to raise awareness of my first two titles, Touching the Wire and The Silence of the Stones. I’m immensely grateful to everyone who has retweeted my tweets and have boosted my ‘following’.

Touching the Wire has a new cover prior to its launch date of November 1st, chosen by fb Readers and Writers Unite group, and that has been publicised on Google+, fb and Twitter. The Silence of the Stones has had a free promotion which has led to a number of new readers, some of whom have already pre-ordered Touching the Wire. If I tell you that 11,500 views of my tweets led to 2 people who followed links to my purchase page, you’ll see what hard work it is… and I don’t know if they downloaded the free copy.

Also, Sarah Stuart and I have decided to produce paperback versions of our novels and that is proving to be yet another steep learning-curve. I hope to have the paperback version of Touching the Wire available for launch date. Sarah’s Dangerous Liaisons and my The Silence of the Stones should follow very soon.

Anyway, while awaiting the proofs of Touching the Wire, I’ve squeezed in excerpt 4 of Destiny, and apologise for the long gap.

Excerpt 4

‘If I’d seen the signs sooner… realized what the two burned houses meant. If I’d come faster…’

Moti sighed. ‘You’re an old man, Abe. Your legs not your heart betrayed you. You’re feeling bad that you didn’t stay in the village to fight? I, too, but that would have put my sons in danger, looking out for me. A man has to know when to leave the fight to others.’ Moti fell silent.

‘I wish none of them had stayed to fight. There may be honour in such a death, but your village needs your young men.’

‘Some may yet make it here, Abe.’ Moti looked at him anxiously. ‘The crack in the mountain is surely too narrow for men of that girth?’

Moti had voiced the concern of all. ‘If, come daylight, these men from the north find the entrance… I almost got stuck getting in, Moti. Even your own people have to squeeze through. We are safe as long as we do nothing to alert them to our presence.’

‘Our people know to tread only on stones and leave no tracks, but in the haste…’

‘If they do get through we can pick them off one by one, Moti. The passage is narrow.’

‘Or they can pick us off one by one. We have few weapons.’

The children grew restless, tired now beyond sleep they sat on grass mats, wrapped in kidskins, or on the laps of the women. One small boy looked up wide-eyed. ‘Dur durii, Moti.’

‘A story, Eba?’

Eba was Temara’s son. Temara was Moti’s daughter. He couldn’t see her among the women who nursed the children, some of whom were not their own. Jalene was here: he had a soft spot for her as he’d been staying with Raphel and Kiya the night she’d been born. Kiya hadn’t made it to the caverns. She’d failed to return with the herbs Genet needed and Jalene wasn’t with her grandmother. Genet had collapsed in the wood, in labour, during her rush to safety: an older woman, it must have been Genet and Kiya’s mother, had stayed with her. He should have stayed, too but what could he have done: a useless old man unable even to carry a pregnant woman, or defend her. Each time he looked around he realised more faces were missing.

Moti cleared his throat.’ Raphel tells our stories better, but I shall do my best. You must be still and silent for I shall speak quietly.’ His dark eyes took on a faraway look: his hands moved as if to illustrate the story. ‘When the world was young, and the Horn of Africa was a land of peace and plenty, Waqqa, the god in the sky who made the world, sent rain to grow the sacred coffee bean, and the grass that feeds the animals. He sent fertility to the earth. The land of Boorana was blessed and the Oromo rocked the cradle of humanity.’

Rapt faces watched every gesture. Abe had heard the legend many times but, like the children, never tired of it.

‘And the children of humanity spread, far beyond Boorana to every land, and the people settled and grew apart from one another. The hand that rocked the cradle no longer knew her children. And the children no longer knew their mother. But man prospered and Waqqa blessed them. But man who has much, wants more, and he forgot Waqqa who blessed nagaa Boorana, the peace of Boorana, and he forgot the sacred places of the Oromo and the ceremonies, and the language of the Oromo.’

Moti’s face grew sombre.  He held up his hands, fingers spread. ‘Many tens of generations pass, father to son, and Waqqa is known by many names. By some he is called Allah, by some Buddha, and by some Brahman. To some he is Jehova, or Adonai, or HaShem.

‘The Abyssinian king, Menelik, forced the Oromo to become his subjects, and later still our borders straddled the two great countries of Ethiopia and Kenya, but the leaders of these countries sought to suppress our culture and our religion, our language and even our names. But…’ Moti wagged a cautionary finger. ‘It is said that to rise early will not help escape God.

‘Our persecutors waged war upon us, and Waqqa stopped sending them rain, and the lands around our homeland burned to dust under the hot sun, and their cattle died and man went hungry. And Waqqa sent them pestilence, and floods from the sea to drown their fertile plains, and then he sent famine.’

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