Tuesday, November 27, 2012


I've been bad about updating this site for a while. I've been tired lately. Most days I get home and I'm too tired to do anything other than sit and read. It's the winter. Short days and a lot of darkness always get to me that way. That and the cold. I'm not in one of the truly frigid parts of Canada (not anymore at any rate) but I never liked the cold. It gets into my back and drains me. I'm more of the hot house flower type.

I have passed the 75,000 word mark in CALLED, however. Slow going but still, going is good. I think this is going to be a long one. I don't even feel half finished yet. The Sylph books, by the way, average between 90,000 and 100,000 words each. I've also written a few short stories, including one I'm working on where this idiot mercenary trio (you haven't met them yet. I like them. They're full of snark) runs into Medusa. If you've ever read the mythology, that women really gets screwed over by the gods.

I haven't heard anything new from Amazon. They have the physical copies of my books to make their versions from, the covers won't change, they will be available as paperback, and they're coming out sometime in 2013. I don't know if they'll buy four and five yet. It really does take this long to find out. It took nine months before I heard if the first one was going to be published when I first got into this business. It's been less than three months so far this time. Frustrating but true. I think it'll happen though. I hope. I've got a contact there, but I haven't been assigned an editor yet. Hopefully I'll get someone as great to work with as Kris Keesler was back at Dorchester. That makes a lot of difference.

I have today off, so I'm enjoying the sunlight coming in the window and trying to get some writing done before the treadmill I ordered shows up. Then I'll be in the hell that is trying to figure out how to put it together. I've set up a little home gym in my basement since I don't want to exercise at work (I'm military. We get an hour for PT a day, but I don't like the gym much and it's all self-directed. Plus the change room is fifty years old and smells). At home I can run exercise programs on my IPad and not feel like everyone's staring at me. Just the parrot, who insists on coming downstairs with me.

You know you need to exercise more when a four ounce bird decides to fly over and land on your head while you're in a middle of a dumbbell squat and you can't get back up....

Sunday, November 11, 2012

The Soldiers

I wrote this poem on November 10, 2002, in about an hour and a half when I was in Saint-Jean, Quebec at the Mega. The Mega's a huge building where the Canadian Forces trains new soldiers. I'd finished my training by that point, but was on the Personnel Awaiting Training platoon at the time because I'd managed to blow my wrist out and needed physiotherapy before I could do the fitness test requirements.

I don't quite remember where the genesis of this poem came from - I think I might have dreamed snippets of it - but I've rarely had anything come out that fast and that well. Almost nothing's changed from how I originally wrote it out.

I think of this poem every year on Remembrance Day. I've showed it to a few people before and read it to my platoon back in 2002, but this is its first public appearance. Feel free to repost it, print it, do anything that doesn't make a profit, but leave my name on it, please.


LJ McDonald
November 2002

The soldiers stand there watching me,
on the blood-soaked ground.
They never tell me who they are
or where that they are bound.
I tried at first to pretend
that I saw them not,
moving through the cold barbed wire
where the men have fought.
They are untouched by battle,
these soldiers that I see,
in uniforms of older wars
never fought by me.

I see them walk the battlefield,
while I hide inside my trench,
afraid of the artillery
and the bloody stench.
Upon the battlefields of war,
I cower and see ghosts,
fearing for my life and mind
from dead or living hosts.
I alone do see them,
alone in barricade,
for my buddies now are dead
and scattered round me laid.

Why is it that I’ve come here?
Why do I fight this war?
Why have I come so far from home
to fight and kill some more?
My buddies died for strangers,
sent here for policy,
wasting out our blood and lives
for things we’ll never see.
So now I sit amongst my dead
while older dead do walk,
in unseen ranks upon the field,
my sanity to mock.

“What is the point?” I rose to scream.
“What point is there to fight?
“You all fought in a thousand wars,
“but war still thunders bright.
“There is no end to tyranny,
“there is no end to hate.
“My buddies died for nothing but
a war that won’t abate.

“Why can’t I throw my weapon down?”
I shouted from my hole.
“Why can’t I live a normal life
“with an unsullied soul?
“The tanks they ran across our lines,
“the bombs fell from the sky.
“There’s been no silence for a week.
“We’ve naught to do but die.

“Why can’t I be the coward?”
I asked once I was done.
“What is the point of staying here
“when I would rather run?”

The soldiers then did look at me
and did not say a thing,
in their thousand uniforms
with weapons all agleam.
Instead their ranks did slowly part
To columns tall with pride,
to show me just exactly why
these men all risked to die.

Behind them stood the echoes –
not ghosts for they weren’t dead –
the memories of all the lives
these men died to protect.
I saw a million women
smiling down at me,
children playing at their feet
by men who all were free.
Beyond them I saw even more;
descendants in a line
that stretched out to eternity,
so wide and deep and fine.

My eyes went wide with startlement
to see these murdered men
outnumbered so by lives they saved,
of those they never met.
That was when I understood
why good men go to war,
and clutched my rifle close to me,
a glad weight I now bore.

The soldiers grouped around me,
blocking out the strife,
until I looked down and I saw
my trench carried no life.

Now I walk on battlefields,
or where once battles fought,
reminding soldiers why they fight
these wars that are our lot.
Wear uniforms for memory
of those of us who died
for millions who did never choose
oppression, fear, and lies.
Never falter, soldier,
there are those of us who see,
who know you for the man you are
and the hero you could be.

Friday, November 2, 2012

News and Poetry and maybe a new ebook?

Hi, everyone.  It's been a bit since I posted anything to this blog. Sorry about that. I didn't really have anything to say.

I've been writing a lot lately. The pressure has slowed up at work, so I'm not coming home anymore feeling too tired to think, let alone be creative. I've also been on leave all this week, which has been utterly wonderful. I've got several chapters of CALLED written, including figuring out a plot point that was fighting me. I've also written a few short stories. Hopefully I'll find a venue for them to be published, or perhaps put a bunch of them together and try them out on Smashwords. Would anyone be interested in buying an ebook of my short stories that way? Let me know.

In Sylph book news, the only new thing I've heard is that Amazon is planning to rerelease the first three Sylph books in the new year. I don't know when. I also don't know if they're going to buy book four. This process always takes a painfully long amount of time.

Yesterday (okay, today at about two am), I was inspired to write a poem. Figured I'd toss it up here for you to enjoy. Hope you like it.

If I do publish a book of short stories, would people be interested in my including some of my poetry in it? I have a few that are epics and storyline based.


Shall I make it difficult
To drag out from the dark,
With screaming wails and lashing sobs
An inspiration spark?

It never has been simple
To harpoon ghostly whales,
Who crest and blow and then are gone
'Neath black and depthless veils.

'Tis sometimes like to waiting
In a blind for morn,
And the rapid beat of waking wings
Risen by the horn

So many say the bait to use
Is bloody red for ink,
Drawn from the very heart of thought
 And bottled, drained, and linked

It's true if it's not difficult
Then none will see the point,
And will not strive for greater peaks
And risk the disappoint.

Or perhaps it should come easy
A flowing from the pen,
To keep you coming back for more
When stripped away again.