To balance the woman of yesterday, here’s an unedited closeup of a man:

She had never seen a clean-shaven man so close before. In the slanting light his chin and cheeks, even his neck, glittered with flecks of gold, as though a thief, shaving coins, had, startled, thrown the curls of soft metal in his face. His eyes, though, were dark grey, like a new-forged blade darkening after the coals: but unhammered and spoiling. New, but ruined.

That’s the paragraph that popped into my head a couple of years ago when I was thinking of Hild’s first encounter with a Christian priest. But I doubt I’ll ever use it. For one thing, the Bishop Paulinus was a Roman, complete with black eyes and beak nose (we have a brief description in Bede). And as the result of a Tuckerization auction a while ago that ended up netting over $4,000 for the African Well Fund, Paulinus’s amanuensis is to be called Stephanus the Black. He wouldn’t have gold hair. And emotionally grey eyes/black hair/iron filings just don’t work the same way as grey/gold/gold. So here it is, my gift to you for helping Kelley reach her $2,000 sponsorship goal for the Clarion West write-a-thon.

I promised also to post some outtakes of Aud later this week. So yesterday I went rootling through old files and found some monologues I’d forgotten all about. They’re not from Aud’s POV but are addressed to her at various stages of her childhood and young-adult years. They’re part of the mosaic of experience that made Aud who she is. I remember writing more than a dozen of them to include in Stay, but I could only find four. (Or maybe five, if you include a very strange Aud dream.) But I also found the original beginning of Always, and a couple of scenes from that novel that I changed my mind about. (Nothing extra from The Blue Place. I wrote that one in Wordperfect. I’m lucky to have a Word .doc of the finished ms, never mind extras.)

I’ll post a little something from Aud tomorrow, as a thank you. But will hold the others until Kelley’s sponsorship reaches $2,250. So go pledge some money.

Kelley’s latest Clarion West write-a-thon piece, “Closed Circuit” is up. You can read all eighteen pieces so far (yes, one written fresh every single morning) here. It’s another heart-wrencher.