Shawn L. Bird

Original poetry, commentary, and fiction. All copyrights reserved.

Alex pays a visit to Calgary November 9, 2012

Filed under: Writing — Shawn L. Bird @ 5:05 pm
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Another snippet of Grace Awakening Destiny (book 4 in the series), the project that I’m working on for NaNoWriMo.  Ben is narrating.


Ryan and Paul were lounging on the couch setting up for a Star Wars marathon.

“Do we go old school and watch chronologically by creation, or by watch them in story order?” Ryan asked, fanning the DVDs.

Paul shrugged.  “I vote for story order.  Do you care, Ben?”

I turned off the popcorn maker and stirred in the butter, “No, that’s fine.”  I just wanted them distracted.  Paul had been watching me suspiciously since he’d found me stepping out of glowing light into a U of C toilet.

The movie started and they sat mesmerized, even though they had probably watched the story a hundred times already.

I checked the pizza, but it wasn’t quite ready yet.

Ryan was reciting lines along with the actors.

It was a comforting familiarity.  Everything was fine in their world.  It was kind of soothing.  Ryan didn’t have anything to worry about beyond picking up cute girls and Paul’s greatest worry was…  Well, I guess I was probably Paul’s greatest concern at the moment.  How was I going to distract him from that?  I reached into the oven to pull out the pizza.

The door bell rang.  Ryan glanced over, saw that I was busy, and said, “I’ll get it.”

There was a murmur of voices.

“Come on in, then.”  I heard him say, “We’re watching a movie marathon.”

I walked into the room with a pizza in each hand.

“Hey, Ben.”

I stared, eyes glued to his until the heat from the pizza pan started burning through the oven mitts.  I hastily set the pizzas on the table while Paul and Ryan looked curiously between the newcomer and me.

Ryan said hesitantly, “He said you know him?”

I grunted, “Oh, yeah.  I know him.”  I stared, eyes narrowed.

“Come on, Ben. Don’t be such an ass.”  He strolled over to the couch and sat down in my place.  He nodded to Paul, “Hi.  I’m Alex.”

Ryan glanced over to me.  I spun on my heels and went back into the kitchen.  I’d try to hit him if I stayed in the room.  That would not be a good thing.

I heard Ryan ask, “So how do you know Ben?”

“We go way back.”  Alex laughed in a way that caused the sensation of  insects running marathons up and down my spine.

“So are you family? old friends?”

Alex chortled, “Something like that.  Pass the pizza.  Old Ben was always fond of the Italian food.”

I breathed deeply, fighting to get my temper under control.  He had to be here just to drive me crazy.  If so, he was probably thoroughly enjoying my reaction.  I needed to get a grip on myself.  I was just too sensitive where Mars and Alexandros were concerned.

I took four cans of Coke out of the fridge and dropped the cans on the coffee table.  Alex leaned forward first, snapping the ring with his thumb.  He poured half a can down his throat, belched, wiped his mouth with the back of his hand and asked, “So, where are your ladies tonight?”

Ryan and Paul looked at each other and then over to me.

I looked at Alex, ignoring them.

Ryan said, “Paul’s girlfriend, Georgia, is babysitting.  I’m between girls at the moment.  Ben’s girlfriend is…”

“Stop it, Alex.” I interrupted.  “You know damn well where Grace is.  What the hell is going on?  Why are you here?”

“What?  I can’t drop in on an old friend?  Shoot the breeze?  Enjoy some of Lucasfilm’s great artistry?”  He smirked, enjoying the success of his bait.

“No one says ‘shoot the breeze’ these days.  Get your vernacular correct.”

Paul snapped his eyes over to us.

Alex laughed.  “Whatever.  I’m not trying to blend in with the locals.”

“Oh?  What are my friends?”

Alex raised an eyebrow and looked over to Ryan and Paul.  “Oh!  I just presumed…”  He looked back at me and whispered, “They don’t know?”


“But we want to.” Paul said.

“Want to what?” asked Ryan, looking completely confused.  “What are you talking about?”

“No, Paul. He’s not telling you anything.”

Alex grinned.

I scowled.  “You are not.  Do you hear me?  My friends.  My rules.  They are not going to be endangered.”

“They won’t be.”  His grin was devious.  “Not really.  You know that you need all the help you can get.”

“We’d love to help,” said Paul.

“Help do what?” asked Ryan, without taking his eyes off the screen.

“I don’t need help.”

Alex laughed.  “Actually, you do.  They sent me to warn you.”

Paul studied him.  “Who sent you?”

Alex returned Paul’s curious look and then turned to me.  “I like this one.  He’s eager.”

“The eager ones are always the first ones to die,” I muttered.

Paul got a funny look on his face.

Alex nodded.  “Well, that’s true enough, but they do it with such enthusiasm.”

I sighed.

Ryan glanced over at me and then back to the screen.  “Who’s going to die?”

“Me, apparently.”  Paul said.  “How exactly am I going to die?” he asked Alex, conversationally.

Alex shrugged.  “It could go any number of ways, really.  Torn apart by monsters. Impaled by a spear.  Sliced open by a sword.  Exploded.  Drowned.  There’s no predicting, I’m afraid.”

Paul looked at me.  “What is he talking about?”

I shook my head.

“He’s crazy, right?”

“I wouldn’t be in the least bit surprised.” I said.



NanoWriMo Day 9 total: 1519   (November Total 12,799)


unitards… September 30, 2012

Filed under: Grace Awakening,Grace Awakening Myth,Writing — Shawn L. Bird @ 4:54 am
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It’s gratifying to go back through a manuscript completed ages ago, and find yourself giggling at scenes you’d completely forgotten about.  As I’m editing Grace Awakening Myth this evening, I came across this scene, and I thought you might enjoy it, too.

Please note that this is a draft version, I can already see several things to fine tune! 🙂

Ben is backstage, preparing for a band concert.  One of his friends took dance to meet a girl he likes, and he’s about to perform in a quartet dance number as part of the concert.  Ben is narrating.


I could sense Grace in the audience as we set up the stage for the band concert.  She must have come early with Christie.  The tenuous ribbons of connection between us floated invisibly in the air, but I could feel them.  She had been ignoring me at school, but her mind had been busy thinking about me.  She was opening possibility, and the awareness made my heart soar.

Her presence was calling to the music in me.  Surely, the other players would be captivated by it as well.  The concert was going to be a good one.

Ryan was shivering in a corner.

“What’s wrong?”

“I think I’m going to be sick.”

“It’s just nerves,” I said.  “You’ve played concerts plenty of times.  It’s always fine.”

He stared at me like I was a moron.  “I’m wearing a spandex unitard under this band uniform.”

I laughed, and as the picture seered my brain, I laughed harder.

He sent me a withering look and the tears started.  They stung my eyes and rolled down my cheeks, but I couldn’t stop laughing.

Paul came over.  “What’s so funny?”

“Ryan,” I sputtered.  “Spandex.”

Paul wrinkled his nose.  “Ooh, nasty.  Nothing is worth that, Bro.  What were you thinking?  On the other hand,” he glanced to the wings, “Georgia is looking mighty fine this evening.”

She was.  Her hair tumbled loosely in waves almost to her waist.  She was wearing a beige unitard that disappeared at a distance.  Her curves were magnificent.

Ryan sighed.  “It is sooooo worth it.  Excuse me,” he muttered to us, and went to stand with her.

Her smile lit her face as he came near.  It made my heart warm.

Paul looked around for Tanis, and saw her standing off to the side watching Ryan and Georgia.  “Do you think she’s jealous?”

I shrugged, “Maybe a little.  Don’t let it worry you.  Have you seen J-Roy yet?”

He looked around, “There he is, at the back in black.  Oh my.  Is that the same thing Ryan is wearing?”  He started to snicker.

I sucked back the guffaw that started to explode out of me.  J-Roy was clad in a black unitard.  A hood covered his trademark lion’s mane of tawny hair.  The only skin that showed was on his hands, feet, and face.  J-Roy is athletic.  He stood tall, his body rippled with muscular definition.  He looked fantastic.  “Oh, poor Ryan,” I groaned.

Ryan’s slightly paunchy belly and sloped shoulders were not the optimal build for a unitard.

Paul smirked at me, “Maybe Ryan hopes the black will be slimming?”

I started to shake, pursing my lips tightly.

Misty floated by in a glowing euphoria, with frequent glances over to J-Roy.  “Doesn’t he look like some kind of Greek god?” she murmured to me.

I pondered a lecture on over-generalization, but with another look to J-Roy I had to acknowledge that he did, in fact, bear a strong resemblance to some of my relatives.


heat in the band room June 14, 2012

The latest snippet from Grace Awakening Myth

Things are heating up in the band room!  (Ben is narrating).


Ryan came in.  “Did you see Tanis?”   His eyes were wild.


“Today.  She’s wearing something.”

“I should hope so.  Otherwise she’d be arrested.”

He shook his head, as if to shake out an image, “No, I mean, she’s wearing some…thing.  Ahhh.”  He shook harder, then hissed, “Look!”

Tanis sauntered in.  She was definitely wearing ‘something,’ all right.  Skin tight.  Mini-dress.  Black leather.

Ryan cast a frantic look over to Mr. J.  Mr. J glanced back and raised an eye brow.

Paul came in, grinning.

Tanis glanced over her shoulder and then bent over.

Paul sucked in his breath.

Ryan gulped.  Loudly.  Like he had swallowed his tongue.

“Tanis,” Mr. J called.  “I need to see you over here, please.”

She grinned at us, our jaws hovering somewhere around our navels, and gave a little shoulder wiggle as she passed us.

Mr. J spoke to her quietly.

She shrugged and left the room.

He came over to us.  “For whose benefit was that display, gentlemen?”

“I…uh…well…” Ryan stuttered.

Paul twitched, but didn’t seem to have the capacity of speech anymore.

I inhaled.  “It’s complicated, sir.”


pinterest May 7, 2012

Filed under: Grace Awakening,Writing — Shawn L. Bird @ 12:54 am
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I’ve been hearing about Pinterest, so I decided to take a look.  It seems like fun, so I’ve got a profile going there.  My boards are about the places and spaces that I love (like my own backyard), people I admire (so far only authors, but if I think, I know I’ll come up with more.  At the moment I am so obsessed with Diana Gabaldon I’m having trouble seeing past her! lol), and books I love.

After that, I jumped into author mode, and Grace has a board, as well as Ben and Auntie Bright.

Have a look around at  Feel free to offer some suggestions!


death and time January 3, 2012

I’ve been pondering time lately.  I once heard a theory that while time is linear to us, that it could also be a circle.  I envision this as a tight coil, circle upon circle, so that everything is really happening simultaneously, in different components of the coil.

This concept works well with my notion of Other Realms, such as exist in Grace Awakening.  This makes the past that Ben is obsessed with and that Grace is dreaming about is all really concurrent with their modern high school experience.  The memories of 3000 years are as close as the present.

This sort of fits with the experience of Jamie and Claire in the time travelling Outlander series.   It changes the concepts of death and love.

18th century Jamie expresses it well to Claire who has crossed through the standing stones in the 1960s to return to him in the past.  She is remembering his grave seen in her own time, and she is afraid for him.  He is not worried:

“But do you not see how verra small a thing is the notion of death, between us two, Claire?” he whispered.

“All the time after ye left me, after Culloden—I was dead then, was I not?…Two hundred years from now, I shall most certainly be dead, Sassenach…  Be it Indians, wild beasts, a plague, the hangman’s rope, or only the blessing of auld age—I will be dead. … And while you were there—in your own time—I was dead, no?… I was dead, my Sassenach—and yet all that time, I loved you. … So long as my body lives, and yours—we are one flesh,” he whispered.  His fingers touched me, hair and chin and neck and breast, and I breathed his breath and felt him solid under my hand.  Then I lay with my head on his shoulder, the strength of his supporting me, the words deep and soft in his chest.    “And when my body shall cease, my soul will still be your’s Claire—I swear by my hope of heaven, I will not be parted from you.  … Nothing is lost, Sassenach; only changed.”

“That’s the first law of thermodynamics,” I said, wiping my nose. 

“No,” he said. “That’s faith.” (Drums of Autumn p.321-22)

It makes my heart ache a bit to think of such faith in love.  That’s a good thing too.  I think Ben feels the same way about Grace, so long as she will choose him, and survive the attacks of those meant to destroy her.  There’s that finger of doubt chasing him, though.  Will she stay this time?

Death doesn’t stop the love.  The loss of a person physically doesn’t mean the warmth of feeling disappears.  Scents or memories can drop in and collapse the time between in an instant.   Dreams seem like a very logical way to cross the divide.  Visitations can be close in the territory of Morpheus.  I wonder if he’s worked out some arrangement with Chronos?  Hmmm.


hourglass September 25, 2011

I belong to a YA reading group on that had Hourglass by  Myra McEntire as its monthly book in August.  I really enjoyed this story of a teen who is fresh out of the psych hospital for hallucinating.  She wasn’t hallucinating though, she was seeing through time bubbles.  I love Emerson the protagonist- she’s sarcastic, feisty, and tortured.  I enjoyed the time travelling component that came up toward the end of the book.

The characters in this book were well crafted and became very real for me. In fact, they became so real that as I read Hourglass, I had a new experience. I kept hearing echoes of my own characters, and I kept thinking how well Grace and Ben would love to hang out with Emerson and Michael. I could see them all taking on the bad dudes together. How cool would it be for Emerson and Michael to go back and visit Grace and Ben in one of their past lives? (There’s a project for some fan-fic writer).

I had never had that experience before, and it was quite fascinating.  Emerson is tougher than Grace, but she shares the same bent for sarcasm and healthy doubt about the male in her world.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book, and I am looking forward to the next book in the series. Very entertaining read, Myra McEntire! Thanks a lot!


Yesterday I wrote a love song September 15, 2011

Filed under: Grace Awakening,Poetry,Writing — Shawn L. Bird @ 7:32 pm
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While Grace Awakening Power (Book two in the series) is out for final edits, I’m working on Grace Awakening Myth, the third book. Grace Awakening Myth is Awakening Dreams told from Ben’s perspective. Poor Ben (aka Orpheus!) is suffering at the moment with his shattered nose.  He’s in pursuit of his beloved Grace, and she is not being cooperative.  He’s suffering so much that it was time for a cathartic poem…


Yesterday I wrote a love song
Spun in circles
Weaving memory
Reaching past today
Touching yesterday
Touching you
The only way
That’s left.

Yesterday was wrapped in kisses
Spun on cycles
Weaving history
Reaching past today
Touching yesterday
Touching you
The only way
That’s left.

Today you’re gone and how I long
For circles cycles
Memory and history
Reaching past today
Touching yesterday
Touching you
The only way
That’s left

Tomorrow needs to be prolonged
Spin our cycle
To eternity
Reaching through today
Beyond yesterday
Touching you
Every day
That’s best.



Not sure whether or not that will end up being in the book.  I think it would make an awesome song.  I need a musician to take on that challenge…  

Submitted as part of the Gooseberry Garden poetry picnic.  If you are here for the picnic, please include a link to your own submission if you leave a comment.  Thanks!


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