Saturday, 18 August 2018

Guest Author Peter Gillet of New Brunswick.

Peter is a multi-talented individual that I met recently at the Author’s Fair in Moncton. I’m looking forward to reading his collection of short stories titled Mind Full of Prose. He has kindly accepted an invitation to be our guest this week and participate in a 4Q Interview with an excerpt of his work.

Peter Gillet lives by a lake in New Brunswick, Canada, with his wife and their two cats.  When not pondering darker worlds, Peter enjoys spending time with friends, and reading the works of many excellent authors.  He likes to study history and languages.  He published his first collection of short works, 'Mind Full of Prose', in October 2017 and is working to have his first novel published traditionally.  Peter also publishes his works through Patreon.  Peter sings, plays musical instruments, and makes music videos.  Occasionally you can find him dressed as a person from another time and place.

4Q: Please tell us about your book, Mind Full of Prose.

PG: Mind Full of Prose is my first self-published collection of short works.  When I would get stuck while working on my first novel, I would switch out and work on something else.  These other works included short stories, cartoons, and album reviews.  There is also an essay.  I had published these originally on Patreon, and in the summer of 2017 I asked if there would be interest in putting them all together into a book.  The response was quite positive, so I started gathering and arranging my works into a collection.  There is science fiction, fantasy, and horror of a Lovecraftian genre.  A series of stories is based in New Brunswick.  I call this my ‘Hidden Hill’ collection.  The response to the book has been wonderful, with signed copies sent to four continents as part of the fund raising campaign.  Since then, copies have also sold in Asia.  I’m considering releasing it in e-book format. 

4Q: You have many talents Peter, author, singer, drawer and game designer. Tell us how you divide your time with all these.

Lyre crafted by Jay Witcher
PG: The majority of my creative time is spent writing, especially these days.  Besides short stories and flash fiction, I’m working on my second novel and developing a children’s book.  I have contracted an illustrator, and she is really bringing the scenes alive with watercolour.  I’m hoping to have that ready to submit to local publishers.  I sing most often at social gatherings, but also when I attend middle ages events.  Sometimes at those events I accompany myself on a 12 string lyre.  I have to admit I need a lot more practice with that.  The drawing I do is usually to convey a particular message which I think would benefit from the visual element as well as words.  Those usually force themselves out of me, rather than peacefully waiting for when I need a break from the novel. 
For game design, I have two projects which I have worked on recently.  The first is a table-top game in which families struggle against one another for status and position in a renaissance kingdom.  There is very little direct conflict, and instead families out-do each other in shows of piety, loyalty, and patronage of the arts.  Players can also cooperate, especially when one player’s fortunes exceed the others’.  The other game I designed is really a campaign setting using d20 open rules in a science fiction environment.  The up-front costs for publishing games has kept me from developing these further, but I have used the ideas in some of my writing.  This is especially true for my Etherverse story setting.

4Q: Please share a childhood memory or anecdote.

PG: One of the memories from my childhood which is most striking is having climbed up on a tombstone, and then it fell over on top of me.  I was very young, perhaps not even four yet.  I had just assumed that it was one of the tall, thin 18th century ones.  Recently, when I asked my father where the cemetery was where that happened, he corrected me.  He told me it was a big modern headstone.  The cement holding it to its base had weakened, and it took my dad and two other men to lift it off of me.  He said the only reason I wasn’t seriously hurt was because that grave was shaded by evergreens and a thick bed of moss had grown over it.  The stone pushed me into the moss, like one of those eggs in the mattress tests.  I still have the scar under my chin, where the edge of the stone had cut me.  I was literally marked by death. 

4Q: What’s in the future for Peter Gillet in all the disciplines you practice?

PG: I’ve been bitten by the writing bug, so I most definitely will continue as an author.  I am going to clean up my first novel and write query letters to have it published traditionally.  Hopefully that will continue with the follow-up novels in that series.  I will also continue to publish via Patreon, since my patrons have been very dear to me.  Besides their financial support, their moral support has been incalculable.  I will certainly keep self-publishing collections of short works.  The main character in my children’s book has some more adventures to come.  Some of my patrons have suggested that I flesh some of the short stories into novellas, and I’m seriously considering that.  As for the singing, I think that will remain an amateur endeavour.

 An Excerpt  from Beards & Bearability aka The Happy Dwarves (In Mind Full of Prose)

That evening, Gruntel was helping Lofmetz prepare for bed.  He opened the hypocaust and fetched an extra blanket from the closet.  The dwarf-maid looked down at the interlocking geometric patterns of the floor tiles, and grew very still.  Gruntel paused, and asked, “What bothers you, Mistress?”

The dwarf-maid moved her hands in a practiced series of gestures and began to trace the air with glowing golden lines.  They faded soon after she had drawn them, but not before she had produced the figure of an eagle.  Its golden wings were last to disappear.  Gruntel hummed his approval.  “Why must I marry?” she asked, finally.

“It is what a dwarf-maid does, Mistress.  She brings honour to her father’s clan, and sons to that of her husband,” he replied.  “This is the craft no dwarf-lord can master,” he added.

She looked up at the old servant.  He had always been so kind to her in the past.  “It is not fair, Gruntel.  I have been given no choice in the matter,” she added.

“Dearest Lofmetz,” he replied, in a softer tone.  “Some of us had all choices taken away,” he offered, rubbing his bare chin.  “Perhaps your mistake is in thinking choice is a thing held by the hands of another.”

Thank you for being our guest Peter. All the best in your future endeavors. And thank you dear readers for visiting the Scribbler.

For those wishing to know about Peter, please follow these links. 

Twitter: @peter_gillet

Redbubble Shop

YouTube Channel

Saturday, 11 August 2018

An excerpt from The Alexanders - 1916.

The Alexander's - The First Decade, is 85% complete. So far I've spent the last two years writing this story; a morning here, an afternoon there, whenever I can and I love it!

I'm happy to share parts of the story with you as it progresses and look forward to your comments.

I've shared several sections already and you can find them by doing a search on the left sidebar in Search This Blog. Type in Alexanders and they will all come up. 

Dominic Alexander makes a new life for himself when he immigrates to Canada, to Moncton in New Brunswick . Everything has been going smooth until 1916 when Dominic suffers his first set back.


The fifth day of March is overcast. Sprinkled across the belligerent blue of the skies are clouds stretched thin by shifting winds and they yellow from the promise of sun. Snow clings to the edges of buildings and lies brown and crusty in the ditches knowing it’s no longer wanted. Last year’s stubble of brown grass is visible and people talk of an early spring. The air carries an odd scent, seasoned by the surrounding industry of railways and a busy river and the warming earth. Dominic can smell it when a cool breeze ventures through the open window that brings with it the morning whistle at the repair yards reminding everyone that it’s 8 a.m. This is the only day he sleeps late. He loves his new home and ponders for a moment of how fortunate he is.
Stretching and tossing the bed covers aside, he sits at the edge of the bed rubbing the night from his eyes to gaze out his window. He’d hoped it would’ve been nice today but he gathers that the skies look mean and it might rain. That’d be okay too, get rid of the last of the stubborn snow. Either way, he’s off today, Sunday being the only time he gets to himself. He has plenty to do with the business but he keeps this day to himself to do whatever he wants. The only plans he has right now is to fry the rest of the ham that Nick’s mother sent him and fry some eggs with fresh bread from Bailey’s Bakery. While he’s eating, he’s going to paste in the last five entries to his scrapbook he collected since the beginning of the year.
When he washes up and shaves, he decides to grow a moustache. He likes the way the stubble looks under his nose while imagining it thicker. Freshly polished, dressed in his every day dungarees and brown flannel shirt, he sits with a plate of steaming vittles at the table where he’s left his open scrap book and loose cut outs. While he chews between bites, he dabs some glue on the newspapers sections and pastes them in on different pages.

The Yankees buy Frank “Home Run” Baker from the Athletics for $37,500. Canada’s original Parliament Building in Ottawa burns down. The first bombing of Paris by German Zeppelins takes place. Military conscription begins in Britain. Germany begins to attack ships in the Atlantic.

While he dabs the bread crust in the molten yolk on his plate, he considers the last news story. Ships being sunk in the Atlantic. It must be scary to travel cross the waters that are rife with U-boats. He’s glad he has no need to travel although he yearns at times to return to see his family and friends. It’s not as often now but missing everyone remains as intense. Popping the last bite into his mouth, he closes the scrapbook and finishes his tea. He pushes his plate aside and elbows the table while holding his mug in both hands. He stares across at the window in the kitchen to see the barren field next to his house and the Ingersoll’s farm in the distance. There is activity in the yard and he expects the family are getting ready to drive into the city to attend church. Reflecting upon his own spirituality, he feels that he should be attending church too. He knows they go St. Bernard’s Catholic Church on Botsford Street and even though his family are Protestants, he might visit one day, but not today.
Thinking of what he might do, he decides to work on his latest sketch of his new home he’s doing to send to Gloria. Now that he thinks of her, he hasn’t had a letter from her for quite a while. He answered her last one in February and she is usually quick to respond. He guesses she is busy at school and helping her parents at home or at the bar. One thing he must do is compose an ad for the Transcript to find someone to help in his shop. Part time for now at least. In fact, he’ll do that first.
He cleans up his dishes and the frying pan and puts everything away. Digging a notepad from a drawer in the kitchen and a pencil, he returns to the table to write the ad. While he thinks of the right words, he’s pushing the hair out of his eyes reminding him he needs a haircut soon. Twenty minutes later after a few attempts he comes up with what he feels is the right wording.

Help wanted. Alexander’s Jewellery Repair is looking for a part-time assistant to assist with the public. Must have retail or office experience. Please apply in person before March 15th.

Satisfied, he sets the papers aside. He will take it to the newspaper offices tomorrow during his lunch. He will leave a sign on the door for when he will be back. Donning a light jacket and his boots, he ventures out to the barn where he has set up an area for his sketching. He and Nick have installed a wood stove in the main floor where the hay was kept and he will light a small fire because even though the weather has been milder, it’s early March and the air still holds a chill.
Entering through the man door, set in the larger door, he walks into a wide common main level, open to the top lofts and enclosed by wooden walls on each side. Nick and Dave Ingersoll hauled old hay and debris from inside by the wagon full and the place is spotless. The rooms to the left are the old stables and storage, which Dominic has left for the same purposes. The rooms on the right are where the carpenter keeps his things in one and the other two are empty. Five feet from the back wall is a pot-bellied stove, sitting on a metal plate which rests upon a wooden floor comprised of heavy beams on their narrow side, strong as steel. Along the back wall away from the stove is a pile of split wood and sawmill tailings. Using old sections from newspapers, he soon has the dry wood ablaze.

He’s tired when he finishes the sketch. Only stopping for a quick sandwich at noon and a couple of short breaks he’s been at it all afternoon. From the two windows in the back wall, he’s noticed the faint light move shadows across the floor as the day passes and he knows it is close to supper time, his growling stomach is telling him the same thing. Putting away his pencils and things, he stops to admire the drawing. From the perspective of standing at the end of the driveway, the house is finely detailed as in reality, each shingle is meticulously placed, the flowers of summer decorating the base of the porch, the small sign by the door, the sparkle of the bevelled glass on the windows. The barn is half visible behind from this angle but the detail is the same. The edges of the picture fades out to empty fields. He likes it. He straightens out a few thing on the old desk he uses and remembers the stove. Thinking to check on it, he opens the iron door when a gnarled knot in one of the wood pieces boils inside with sap and when it becomes steam it bursts, shooting sparks out upon the metal plate. It startles Dominic who has jumped back from the stove. Seeing the sparks on the floor, he starts stamping them out with the sole of his boot. There’s a half a dozen pieces smouldering and they are soon extinguished by the stomping. Dominic is sweating from the scare. Looking around to see lf he got them all, there is no sign of any more errant embers. He closes the stove door, takes his sketch and leaves.
There is one spark he missed. The one that rolled off the edge of the metal plate and lodged in a crack between two beams. It fell on its dark side, it went unseen. The glowing portion, however, is turned downward. As hard as the men worked to clean the floor, there is still remnants of old hay that has been pressed through the cracks over the decades. The hot ember finds some and there’s soon a gathering of flame and dry wood. Dominic’s barn catches fire. 

I'm aiming for a 2019 publication of my historical fiction novel. I hope you'll want to read more. Thanks for visiting the Scribbler. 

If you haven't read Wall of War yet and met Dominic's grandson in 2014, it's available on Amazon. Hard copies available from me. $25.00 plus shipping.