L is for Livingstone


I had planned L to be for something at Norwescon since I arrived today and certainly had a lot going on. But I think I’ll save that post until I have more time to sink into the conference and take more photos. So I’m going with the obvious…This blog is named for Miss Livingstone after all.

Miss Livingstone headshotSo another character sketch… By default Miss Livingstone’s image has become the one I chose for the cover of Book I. One of the fun things about being an Indie Author is I get to make her look as I imagined as opposed to having a publishing company produce some random cover with something completely foreign to my vision because they believe it will sell.

But of course looks aren’t everything and in books, they matter little at all. We all want to know her. Who is this young woman anyway? So here’s a passage from Book I – Journey Key, that introduces you well to the ‘witty’ Miss Livingstone on her first ‘unwitting’ journey:

“I’m sorry, I didn’t know precisely when you’d be here, lass. If I could’ve pinpointed the moment, I’d have grabbed you rather than let you dive. Although I’m not sure the twist would’ve been safe, it seems worth it to have saved you the nasty scar on your knee and the pain you’ll have for the next days.” This gibberish came from the older man who finally released me. His garb was equally strange as the others’ on the boulevard, and his fiery red hair laced with grey was accompanied by a remarkably long thick beard.

“Mr. Worthington?” Though my mind was addled, my quick wit followed the clues brilliantly.

“Taing dhan Aig! you recognize me. Yes, lass. I… but wait, you told me this was the first time you met me. How…?”

“If it’s the first time I’m meeting you, how could I have told you so?” I was beginning to feel very dizzy so took a wider look around and a deep breath, avoiding the spot of sun. “The trees! They’re huge!” That was the difference by my Newbury house…

“Here lass, take m’ elbow. I’m sure you won’t appreciate me holding your hand.” He gave me an overly familiar grin, like this was an understanding between us. My protest was stopped by, “We need to get you off the street and tell you how it is. I’d carry you if you’d allow it, but you’ll have to endure the pain of a few blocks walk. I’ll support and lead you along.”

“Elbow or hand, I’ll not allow you to lead me anywhere. We haven’t even had a proper introduction. And…” my eyes swung wildly around the foreign street that should have been the one I remembered. Except I was supposed to be in Snoqualmie. “Where am I?”

“That’s what I’m trying to tell you, lass. And the question is actually, ‘When?’” He smirked and his amber eyes twinkled merrily through a quirky squint.

For fear of swooning, I was forced to hold his elbow to steady myself. And, next I knew, he broke into a jaunty stride which I trotted alongside. My left knee was stabbing with pain beneath my skirts. I couldn’t carry on for long.

“I’ll get you your proper introduction at MacGinty’s, lass. It’s not far now, but you ought not tell Angus about your – em, journey. I’ll just tell him you’re a traditional lady and won’t have a drink with me unless he makes us better acquainted.”

His pace, the pain and my racing thoughts left me too breathless to reply. But he stopped at last before a green-painted door. A string of brass bells hanging on the inside jingled loudly upon our entrance, bringing a bulky but jovial-looking dark-haired man out behind a well-stocked bar. I lost focus again and only vaguely heard Mr. Worthington ask about introductions. He gave explanations I didn’t follow. Suddenly through the fog I understood the bartender had addressed me.

“I beg your pardon? I’m afraid I didn’t hear what you said, sir. Can I trouble you to repeat it?”

“Oh, she’s very good.” He nodded and smiled widely at Mr. Worthington. “I was asking if I might have your full name and the honor of introducing you to my esteemed friend here, Miss?”

The men exchanged an amused glance – at my expense!

“I believe, Miss Livingstone, will be adequate.” I mustered the best look of dignity I could feign.

“Very well.” He gave me a slight bow and raised one hand indicating the man that pulled me from the boulevard walkway. “Miss Livingstone, may I present Mr. Thomas Worthington, bookshop proprietor, and man of many talents and travels.”

Eying the two men dubiously, I shifted my weight briefly onto my sore knee but returned to leaning on my fatigued right leg. Silence seemed the best response.

“And Mr. Worthington, may I present the beautiful Miss Livingstone, who doubtless has many talents of her own.” His brows were frozen in their arched position as he continued to extend his hand toward me, waiting for my validation of his words. Mr. Worthington stood firm with the most twinkling eyes I’d ever seen. Most amused, apparently.

The humph I planned to huff at the man’s insolence stuck in my throat as my mind flew away on the supreme compliment of an introduction as beautiful. Though prized for my wit, I was never praised for my beauty. A downside of being sequestered at Miss Preston’s School for girls, perhaps. When I quelled my pleasure, the moment for a humph or any other appropriate expression of disgust had long passed. “I… em…”

“My pleasure, Miss, to be sure,” interrupted my squirm.

I opened my mouth with new intent to scold, but the sincerity in Mr. Worthington’s eyes arrested my ire. If he was making fun, why did his gaze offer respect? My mouth formed a firm line, and I dropped my eyes as well as a small, somewhat painful, curtsy.

Mr. Worthington’s warm smile acknowledged my concession.

Angus set a bottle on the bar and chuckled deeply as he filled a glass with scotch. “And for the esteemed, Miss Livingstone?” he asked.

“Brandy, if you please,” I boldly declared. If this day – wasn’t it just night? – was going to take such sudden turns, a small slap would do me good.

Copyright © 2016 by Sheri J. Kennedy, aka Kennedy J. Quinn
All Rights Reserved


2 Comments Add yours

  1. May I ask where the expression, “a small slap” of brandy comes from? I don’t recall having heard it before. Was it your invention?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You know, I’m not entirely sure. I may have heard it used in an old film. I remember ideas and concepts well, but attributions and context are a problem for me in memory. I usually have a vague image attached, and this one carries a black and white classic film image. Whether from my imagination or a Bogart or Mae West film I watched on some Saturday afternoon of my youth is hard to say. I like the expression too, so it has become a mark of Miss Livingstone’s character.

      Liked by 1 person

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