Yes, the blog has been growing cobwebs of late. I do apologize for that. But I haven't been idle, I swear. :D How I prove it to you with an excerpt from my latest WIP seeing as how its off to my editor by tomorrow night?
The hangman's noose weighed heavily on Nikolai's shoulders. 'Twould all be over soon.
Even as the executioner positioned the slip knot over his Adams apple, Nikolai could summon no remorse. Such an ending had been inevitable, he supposed, given the flamboyant reputation his sexual exploits had won him.
At least he could take comfort that he’d fall into his unmarked grave with no regrets save for the risks he’d taken with his immortal soul. The jewels he'd won from Irissa, the Earl’s wife, in exchange for his physical affections had gone far in feeding the children of the peasants whose lands the Earl had usurped.
How ironic that it was Irissa’s accusations of theft that finally brought him here, to meet his Maker.
Now, the children whom the spoils he’d won that night fed stood beneath the gallows, their faces buried in their mother’s tattered gowns as they wept. Somewhere in his travels he’d heard that God counted the tears of children. Could the prayers of the innocent possibly serve to spare him from eternal damnation for the sacred commandments he’d broken on their behalf?
He could only hope so.
Nikolai firmed his jaw, standing tall as the bailiff climbed the gallows, reading the long list of charges leveled against him.
He was no thief and Irissa knew it.
His gaze trailed over the restless throngs in search of his accuser. Staring beyond the crowd and across the public courtyard, he fixed his stare upon the tower balcony, where Irissa sat at her husband’s side. Though her chin was hitched high, her ashen complexion and swollen eyes told him that she would suffer far more for the false charges she’d proffered than he.
The last time he’d kissed her goodbye, she pledged him her heart as her delicate hand pressed a strand of pearls the size of robin’s eggs into his palm.
Now, those supple fingers counted rosary beads, her lips moving in silent prayer.
As the gallows collapsed beneath his feet, his ears rang with the cries of the children for mercy on his soul’s behalf.
Then, from the eternal darkness, he heard the brushing of wings as a voice moved over him…
Nikolai. A thousand children’s prayers have been raised on your behalf. Because you have protected the innocents with your life, your immortal soul is hereby consigned to serve as the Ninth King of the Christmas Kingdom. Turn the heart of the Last Unbeliever and you shall earn your place in Paradise. Fail in this task and your soul shall be returned to the eternal damnation your mortal sins have earned you…
Tomorrow, news of an amazing contest for young writers, hosted by the author of a book I've waited for a lonnnnnnnng time, Jerk, California.