This is the last installment! It’s been 52 weeks! An entire year!
I wrote the first draft of a novel by writing 500-800 words a week.
You can do this, too.
The draft needs a lot of work. Revising. Editing. Layering. But the bones are mapped out for me whenever I decide to dig in. I told myself (and you) the story. Sloppy, but sincere.
Thank you all for hanging around to watch me work. It’s been fun!
The Crescent Moon greeted Hugo and Jackie with a good old-fashioned bar fight. They arrived at the tail end, just in time to watch as two miscreants were tossed onto their asses in the sea of Medlare’s midnight frenzy. Hugo turned to Jackie with a grin, “You sure you want to leave this high life behind?”
“You make it all so glamorous. I don’t know how I resist.” She stepped past the two bouncers with piercings to match Hugo’s. Light glinted on the silver balls curving from their lips to their eyes. The shadows made them look like they were smiling twice. Jackie shivered. Hugo put a strong hand on the small of her back to guide her through the throng of gamblers. Music crashed between the walls.
Birdie was buried three rows deep in admirers. Her elaborate crown of curls held emeralds dangling from porcelain combs, and Jackie saw the hair before she saw the woman herself. It wasn’t until they pushed through the crowd that Jackie realized Birdie wasn’t alone. Lily Quee sat perched on low settee, long legs slanted at a demure angle, and her own coiffure styled in a sleek bun. Lily was always the height of etiquette; she’d never upstage a host.
She turned her head to take in Jackie and Hugo, and her long-lashed eyes lingered on Hugo’s hand where it rested on Jackie’s back. With a slow lick of her lips, she drawled, “Well, look what the tide washed ashore. A shark and a cod.”
Jackie’s chest constricted, and she tried not to let the sting bury itself deeply. This was Lily. She was a performer, and a thorny rose. But, why was she here and not at the Rags?
Birdie stood and stepped smoothly between Lily and her targets. “Lily, my pardons, but I have to attend to this business.”
Jackie looked at Lily over her shoulder as she followed Birdie to the office. She tried to put all her questions and answers in the glance, but she doubted it translated. They could talk later, and then she’d explain everything.
Birdie offered Jackie a chair, and then sat behind her desk. Hugo remained standing by the door with both arms crossed in front of his chest.
“Where’s the Mage, thief?” asked Birdie.
Instead of answering, Jackie pulled three cloth bags from the thigh pocket of her pants. She dropped them on the table with a flourish. “It doesn’t matter. Here’s your payment, plus room and board for my convalescence.” Jackie thumbed her chin before asking, “Why is Lily Quee here and not at the Rags?”
Birdie pulled one of the bags toward her and untied the string. Her lips pursed in pleasure, and she answered without looking up at Jackie. “I bought out her contract. It seemed prudent. She’s not for sale,” Birdie lifted her tattooed face to the thief, “in case you were asking.”
Jackie sat back in the cushioned chair and thought a moment. This made things better, right? Now she could work the job for Sharna and Edgard without anyone wondering why she wasn’t off gallivanting over the sea with Ty. This also meant she’d be staying in Medlare. Of course, Ty might feel differently.
“Birdie, I understand Lily is an asset, but so is having a thief. I don’t suppose you have any job openings?”
Birdie’s moons widened with her smile. “Not only do I have a few jobs, but I have a room to rent for those who can afford it. You interested?”
Jackie leaned forward and placed another smaller bag of seeds on the desk between them. “I am.”