Welcome back, everyone! I hope the holidays were good to you. Today, we return to Stina Leicht’s and Blue Skies from Pain, the second novel in her The Fay and the Fallen series, starring Liam Kelly, a half fay ex-IRA wheelman. When last we left Liam, he had volunteered for one week to help prove to the Church that demons and fay are two totally different things, a very dangerous prospect.
Liam dreams he is in his dog form, hunting through a dark wood. There he finds Mary Kate, his dead wife, who’s terrified of him. His dog half, still sore over Father Murray banishing it to the darkest recesses of Liam’s mind, decides to kill her, and Liam desperately tries to exert his will enough to save her. Before he even stands a chance, Haddock, one of the villains from the first book, shows up and knocks Liam into the pond where a dark creature pulls him down to the sound of Mary Kate’s screams.
Liam wakes screaming, and just as Father Murray calms him, Church security breaks down the door. Liam smells that one of them is a Fallen just before he gets nearly beaten to death. Father Murray stops it just in time and barely manages to get Liam to the medical examination room without Liam getting shot.
Reader Comments: So my first theory here is that this dream place is not a typical dream place, it’s a fay thing, and Mary Kate and perhaps the rest have some portion in reality, even if only a small part. It could be just a regular nightmare, but it’d be cool and scary if it were more.
Writer Comments: Dreams are a tricky plot device. They can be very effective or a crutch. In this case, Leicht uses Liam’s dream, at the very least, to explore and reflect his deepest desires and fears and how consuming his grief really is. I suspect she’ll reveal other purposes for the nightmare. After all, Liam has had them since childhood. At the very least, the dream adds a dark and wild contrast to the sterile and uncompromising nature of the problems Liam faces in the Church’s custody.
Father Murray has to fight tooth and nail to keep Father Conroy, the physician, from hurting Liam for the purpose of experimentation and doesn’t fully succeed. From a comment Liam made on their way to the doctor, Murray knows a Fallen walks among them and so trusts no one. At last, he gets the bishop to come to them and, in exchange for two things, agrees to allow Liam the choice to continue on in the attempt for peace or to take Liam away then and there for his safety. The bishop agrees to Murray’s conditions: 1) Liam gets treated like a human and respectfully. 2) Father Conroy gets replaced.
Reader Comments: Yeah, I’m thinking there are very few people Murray can trust right now. I suspect that one of the highest ranked in the facility plays a major role in the dangerous and dark things going on. It’s only natural after all.
Writer Comments: In his Writing the Breakout Novel Workbook, Donald Maass suggests having a character do something they would never do. This chapter offers a prime example. Father Murray would never return to the order that had him murder children and innocents, yet in this chapter, to protect Liam, he takes back up the mantle of a Guardian despite his deep misgivings.
Thank you for joining me today for these chapters of Stina Leicht’s and Blue Skies from Pain. We’ll resume the story next Monday. Make sure to join me Friday as well. My dear friend and critique partner, Jessi Gage, author of the just released Wishing for a Highlander, will be guest posting and dispelling some of the myths out there about kilts.