Sunday, May 8, 2011

#SampleSunday: Mother's Day Edition

Today's #SampleSunday post is in honor of Mother's Day. My mom is my rock and has been an incredible influence in shaping the woman I am. It's no wonder to me that I tend to write about strong and wise mothers. They are women who have powerful sway in shaping their children, sometimes for good, or in other unpredictable ways. The scenes where these dynamic relationships unfold are often a testament to my own relationship with my mother, overwhemlmingly happy, at other times a clash of two strong wills, but always filled with love and respect.

Some samples scenes that show the relationships of mothers and their children in my books:

On Falcon's Wings

Edric tapped his fingers on the trestle table. In the weeks after he had received word about his father, he half expected Tunwulf Grim would stride into the hall and demand his son get off his bench. He would have welcomed even an unkind word from his father, if it meant he lived again.

He stretched his long legs out. “What would you do, Father, if you were here?”

“Do you talk to the shadows, my dear?”

He turned at the echo of his mother’s voice.

The delicate grace in her had faded. Emmeline wore no finery except for her wedding band. She had withered after the death of his father, a wilted flower without the sunlight warming its petals.

“I thought you were asleep.” He reached for her hand.

When she settled into the seat beside him, her willow-thin frame shook. “I was abed while you and the Earl talked. You were rather abrupt with him.”

“You have often said it is not polite to overhear conversations.”

“I am sure I was not the only one who listened.”

Edric mused that every ear in the hall had probably strained for their exchange.

“Mother, do you think it wrong of me not to support Harold’s cause?”

Emmeline sighed. “It is dangerous, but not wrong.”

“I miss Father. He would be certain of the course.”

“Dearest, you lived in his shadow for so long. Now, you are a man of twenty years and lord of this place. You must decide for us all.”

Silence descended on the hall and Emmeline rose. She trembled with the movement.

Edric stood and draped his linen mantle over her narrow shoulders. “Are you cold this night?”

“It is the old ache, the one which time cannot heal.”

He sighed. Her grief and sense of loss over his father mirrored his, except she lost the love of her life. Their family had endured tragedy at each generation since his great-grandmother’s time. His grandfather Leofsige ambushed and killed. His father drowned in the blue-black waters of the Channel. He worried for his fate if he joined Harold Godwinson.

When his mother’s slim fingers cupped his bearded cheek, she drew him from reverie. His stoic visage reflected in eyes now the color of grass. Their jewel-like spark had faded with Tunwulf’s death. “Dearest, do what your heart tells you. Let your decision be for the good of Newington.”


Aisha crossed the room and reached into a satchel at the base of the wall below the window. She pulled out a brush. When she gestured for her, Fatima joined her on trembling legs and sank down on the low stool.

Aisha ran the bristles through the length of her hair. For a while, only the slow scrape of the brush disturbed the tranquility.

Fatima drew her knees toward her chest and rested her chin in the valley between them. Her heart filled with new, unspoken feelings. Did she dare speak them?

Then the motion of the brush stilled. Aisha rounded the stool and knelt at her feet. She cupped Fatima’s cheek. “You have the beauty of women in your father’s family, but remember this: all beauty fades with time. What shall never fade is the power of your mind. It is your greatest strength, especially in your relations with powerful men, like your grandfather and father. Perhaps, even your husband.”

She set the brush on the low window sill. Fatima followed the gesture and then their gazes held. “Why are you telling me this?”

Aisha smiled again, but it seemed sad. “Hush now, child, listen well. Understanding shall come. Even when you must do what others command, never forget the power of your own reasoning. One day, your husband may rule your body, he may even come to rule your heart, but your mind is and always must be your own, where none but you may rule. Promise me that you shall never forget these words.”

Fatima swayed slightly. Her throat hurt, but she whispered, “I promise.”

She returned Aisha’s intent stare, for the first time, unafraid. Aisha’s eyes glistened like gems in the lamplight.

“This is the only measure of advice I can give you, Fatima. You must learn the ways of men, as I have. Do not trust in them alone. Love, be dutiful and respectful, but trust yourself and your instincts first. They shall always guide you rightly.”

Fatima looked away, her throat tightening. She fought against it, but a tear fell, followed by another, each smoothed away with a gentle touch. She turned to Aisha again. Tears welled in her beautiful eyes, too.

“I would see you safe, but also happy in life, daughter.”

With a shudder, Fatima clasped the hand against her cheek in her smaller one. Aisha sighed and her smile widened, despite her tears.

Thanks for stopping by the blog for another SampleSunday. And, to all the mothers celebrating today, have a wonderful Mother's Day.

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