Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Dayel's Discomfort, Part 8

It's QueerBlogWed! Disoriented, jet lagged from my journeys, I return to from being unplugged to blink at my Forbidden Cauldron, see where we last left off.

I set up the monster post to continue to cranking of Dayel's Discomfort in my absence. This should be the final part. :)


“No need to be modest!” Juno called after them. “I’m sure the ring would suit your hand very well, Danyel, dear!” Once more, she was all eager friendliness. “Be sure to come back if you change your minds!”

“Why did you do that?” Danyel demanded, but he let Dayel drag him through the crowds. “Something about that ring spoke me, almost sang in the back on my mind.” He glanced down at their interlocking fingers. “I’m almost sure I’ve seen it before.” His flesh trembled within Dayel’s grip. “It’s almost like it wanted me to want it.”

“Exercise your right of refusal to hungry…anythings…every once in a while!” Dayel growled. “A symbol of ritual bondage is not to be accepted lightly!”

Danyel’s breath caught in his throat.

“Ritual bondage,” he murmured to himself as much as his twin. “I think I know where I saw that ring.” He swallowed. “Christopher was wearing it.”

“All the more reason for you not to.” Dayel picked up speed, putting as much distance between Danyel and Juno’s booth as possible. “Don’t pick up any more rocks from the Shadow Forest. It only leads to trouble.”

“Dayel.”

Danyel stopped, planting his feet firmly in the ground. 

It forced Dayel to stop, too. If he didn’t, he’d be forced to let go of Danyel. 

He’d never do that. Never. 

Hands still entwined, he turned to face his twin. 

Their eyes met. 

Danyel’s, unlike Dayel’s, had no unearthly silver light, even if they were the same violet blue as his twin’s. 

The only thing they gleamed with was conviction. 

Not that that was something to be underestimated. 

“Picking up rocks is what I do.” Danyel swallowed, but he didn’t look away from his brother. “I don’t want to stop.”

It was Dayel who swallowed, whose gaze dropped to his feet. 


What could he say to that?

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Dayel's Discomfort, Part 7

I'm not currently here, but Danyel and Dayel continue their Monster Post, inspired by P.T. Wyant's August 2nd festival prompt at ptwyant.com.

“A marriage feast is different.” Danyel spoke to himself as much as to Juno and Map. Once more, he fixed his eyes upon the ring. “It lasts for only one night.”

“The best night of a boy’s life!” Juno returned her attention to Danyel, all smiles once more. “He’s pampered and treated like a godling, worshipped and admired by all around him, given anything his heart could desire.”

“Except more time.” Mel allowed a corner of her mouth to quirk upwards in an ironic smile. “A bride drains her chosen bridegroom of his strength and incipient manhood, leaving only a beautiful shell behind to stand in her garden.”

“Bridegrooms are never taken unwillingly.” Juno separated her hands. “Every boy dreams being a bridegroom. They gossip about their potential brides all the time, while growing up.” She wagged a finger at her daughter. “It’s a ritual unique to the arachnocratic lands, deserving of respect.”

Danyel reached a hand towards the sparkling stone. 

No. Bad things happened with Danyel touched things. 

Dayel reached out and swatted his brother’s hand away before he could lay a finger on the ring. 

Danyel turned towards him, a protest on his lips. 

Dayel seized his hand firmly in his own. He laid a finger from his free hand upon his brother’s mouth, silencing him. 

“Jewelry ill becomes Danyel.” He turned his head to lock his gaze with Juno’s. 

Yes, he could see some of the wrinkles on her face opening to reveal tiny eyes. Each orb stared at him. 

Dayel stared back, willing whatever scary, glittering thing that lived within his own eyeballs to meet that inhuman gaze. 

“That particular ring doesn’t belong on my brother’s hand.” He could feel the brightness in irises flare with his own fear. 

Juno closed her additional eyes, dazzled by whatever she saw in Dayel’s. 

He pulled his twin away from the booth and started walking, keeping a firm grip on his twin’s hand. 


He could sense Mel’s silent approval, beating at his back. If he turned, Dayel guessed she’d be trying not to grin and failing. 

To be continued on Wednesday, September 20, 2017....

Saturday, September 2, 2017

Dayel's Discomfort, Part 6

I'm currently not here, but Danyel and Dayel are continuing the monster post, inspired by P.T. Wyant's festival prompt at ptwyant.com.

“Marriage is a commitment to unite two houses, those houses’s combined family lines.” Juno clasped her hands together. “Marriage unites a man and a woman’s fortunes and hearts, making them as one.” She raised her hands to her lips. “Husband and wife vow to pass these things down to their children, the ones they raise together.” 

She unknotted her hands, which trembled. 

“That is what marriage is or what it should be.” She waved in dismissive scorn at her daughter, rings flashing. “Anything else is a pale imitation of that!”

Juno cast a withering glance in the direction of Leiwell’s booth. 
No, not Leiwell. Map. 

Map had turned away from the fire. A smile tugged at her wrinkled face as she greeted the booth’s visitor. 

It was Ashleigh. Leiwell, Danyel, and Dayel’s other mother, who’d stopped by in making her rounds of the festival. She’d been one of the villagers who organized it. 

A cap with a feather in it perched on her golden head at a jaunty angle, Ashleigh leaned against the booth, smiling at Map. The two women looked into each other’s eyes. 

Juno’s lower lip trembled at bit. She looked away, down at the jewelry in front of her. 

It wasn’t the first time she’d given the boys’s mothers such angry looks. For the first time, Dayel understood why. 

Map lived with Ashleigh, the boys’s other mother. She’d rasied Leiwell, Dayel, and Danyel by herself without the help of this marriage. 

In many ways, Map and Ashleigh practiced marriage exactly as Juno described. They shared everything, although they were hardly one. 

They were two women, not a man and a woman, though. 

Ridiculous. Juno had no right to judge. She was hardly living her own ideal. She and Jupitre failed to live as one as spectacularly as Ashleigh and Juno did. 

There was only one way to become one that Dayel knew of. Get devoured by a shadow. 

Perhaps the arachnocratic brides were closer to being one with their bridegrooms than a husband and wife ever could be. 

Dayel tried not to shudder. He really didn’t want to hear anything more about marriage feasts. 


Alas, there was no stopping Danyel, once his curiousity was roused. 

To be continued on Wednesday, September 6, 2017...

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Dayel's Discomfort, Part 5

On August 2, 2017, P.T. Wyant posted a prompt at ptwyant.com involving a festival.

Danyel (one of the major characters from Tales of the Navel/The Shadow Forest) was really excited about going to such a festival.

Dayel wasn't. He did his best to hide in my imagination, pulling Danyel with him, nudging Christopher forward. After all, Christopher was the star of my preludes Waiting for Rebirth and Unwilling to Be Yours at inspirationcauldron.wordpress.com. He's also the main character in Stealing Myself From Shadows, the first book of Tales of the Navel/The Shadow Forest. Better to pick on him.

Dayel's discomfort was more than my sadistic, energetic muse (who currently bears a great resemblance to Naruto) could bear. My muse didn't just inspire a post. He inspired a Monster Post, which I've had to break into segments.

There's been four parts so far, posted both here and at my Facebook Author Page.

Here's Part 5 of Dayel's Discomfort.

“Are men and women at war?” Danyel bit his lower lip, which trembled. “Are marriages and marriage feasts a way of fighting each other?”

“Very likely.” Mel gave a short, grim nod. “They cannot completely destroy each other, since they need the opposite gender to reproduce. Instead, they try to curb their mates’s power, to dominate and destroy their spouses.”
Perhaps Mel based her observations on Jupitre and Juno’s behavior. It all seemed a bit overly simple and neat. 

Dayel glanced at the men and women milling around, chattering, filling the air with noise. Men argued with men. Women shook their fists at women. Not all of the anger was directed at men towards women, or women towards men. 

These loud, strident creatures weren’t going to cooperate by fitting into a pattern of women versus men. They’d struggle and fight. 

For the first time, Dayel wondered if this wasn’t a good thing. There was something tragic and doomed about Mel’s pattern. Not that Dayel cared much for people or strangers in general. He still felt a little guilty by dismissing them as part of such an angry order. 

“What nonsense!” Juno made a reproving, tutting noise in the back of her throat. “To think any daughter of mine would reduce the sanctity of marriage to subversion. Not to mention accuse the stately arachnocratic ladies of murdering their husbands.”

“I speak as I have seen and found.” Mel shrugged, indifferent to her mother’s indignition. 

“Children, pay no attention to Melyssa’s dark ramblings.” Juno smiled as best she could at the twins, although her jowls still quivered with anger.  “Marriage is the foundation of the family, the basis of civilization and culture. Not to mention a means of peace and strength.”

“How so?” Danyel closed his mouth, but his eyes were still wide. “Isn’t marriage when two lovers decide to stay together forever? Or is it for raising children?”

“Ah, child, marriage is so much more than those things!” Juno sucked her lips inward, wrinkling her mouth. “A true marriage happens between a man and a woman, who join for something far more enduring than fleeting, romantic passion.” She pursed her lips.


Perhaps her own words tasted sour. Particularly the words, ‘fleeting, romantic passion’. 

To be continued in Part 6...

Monday, August 28, 2017

Me Me Monday

It's Me Me Monday! A day to post, celebrate, and promote your Me-ness, especially if you're a member of Queer Sci Fi.

For a long time, I didn't have much to celebrate. I got published, only to have to ask for the rights of work back, due to a lack of payment.

This poor Cauldron didn't have much to celebrate either, being blocked by Facebook during the Blogging From A-Z project, right after L is for Leiwell in 2016.

We're trying to make a comeback. This blog is still forbidden by Facebook. Not all of my previously published works have found homes.

One has, though. Fairest is being reborn in Nine Star Press's Once Upon a Rainbow anthology on November 20, 2017.

This is something to celebrate. In the spirit of celebration, let us chant the old refrain from my f/f fantasy fairytale...

“Who is the fairest of them all?
You, me, or her?
In castle, cottage, or circle small
What will you endure?
Are you fair of face and eye alone?
Or is your fairness true?
When under the sleeping curse you lie

What will you change into?”

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Dayel's Discomfort, Part 4

The monster post continues! This is part of a response I wrote to P.T. Wyant's August 2, 2017 Wednesday Words at ptwyant.com. It involved a festival.

Danyel wanted to go, Dayel didn't. My muse got sadistic...and busy. :)

As a result, here is Part 4 of Dayel's Discomfort, a freebie story from Tales of the Navel/The Shadow Forest. It takes place sometime between Book 2 (The Hand and the Eye of the Tower) and Book 3 (A Godling for Your Thoughts?). I've tried to avoid spoilers, but there are hints. :)

“Only the fairest, most succulent boys ever bore that on their fingers,” Juno murmured, as much to herself as to the twins. “Only for one night and one alone.”

“Why?” Danyel, always too curious for his own good had to ask. “What night was that?”

“A bridegroom’s marriage feast.” Mel, not Juno, answered the question. “The last night of his life.”

“A grim way of putting it, my dear, although I’m impressed you knew.” Juno cast a hard, metallic glance at her daughter. “Not many recall the customs of the arachnocratic lands, once they’ve left them.”

Arachnocratic lands. Arachnocratic. 

Dayel shut his eyes, trying not to see the movement at Juno’s side. 

Movement which might be extra arms, trying to conceal themselves from eyes which could see. 

“The last night of his life?” Trust Danyel, innocent dimwit that he was, to fixate on that particular detail. “Does the bridegroom get eaten? Is that why it’s a marraige feast?”

“Essentially, yes.” Mel allowed a corner of her mouth to lift in a humorless smile. “You might say he is the feast.”

“Now that is a disgusting simplification of an old and revered custom.” Juno narrowed her eyes at her daughter. “A consumation of power, when a bridegroom gives up all that is to his bride and her daughters.” Juno bit her lower lip. “Truly, it’s a beautiful ritual, as beautiful as any wedding. Only the bridegroom is at the center of everything. Not the bride.”

“Marriage or marriage feast, each depends on the subjugation of someone.” Mel ignored her mother, gazing at the forest which lay beyond the field where the tents where set up for the festival. “In a marriage, women are bound to men in a ritual of servitude. In a marriage feast, boys are drained of their strength before they can become men who’ll bound women in servitude.” Mel gripped the stand in front of her, allowing the display to rattle. “Each seeks to subvert the other via sexual ritual.”

Danyel’s jaw dropped. He stared at Melyssa, silently absorbing her words. 


Dayel tried not to shiver. He didn’t doubt Mel’s observations. She might be grumpy, but she was seldom untruthful. 

To be continued on Wednesday, August 30, 2017. 

Friday, August 25, 2017

Promo Friday: Seven Tricks

I'm trying to celebrate Promo Friday once more, since I've got releases coming out via Nine Star Press. :)

Fairest has found a new home in Once Upon a Rainbow, an anthology of LGBTQ+ fairy tales. Its rebirth will be on November 20, 2017.

That's not all I've got coming out this year. :)

Seven Tricks, my Mouse Prince/Nutcracker story will be scampering hot on Once Upon a Time's heels, on November 27, 2017.

Inspired by A.T.A. Hoffman's classic, The Nutcracker and the Mouse King, this is a uniquely mouse centric version of the events in Hoffman's story and the ballet inspired by it.

An impetuous mouse prince must perform seven tricks before the twelve days of Christmas are up in order to win his crown. Dodging traps, feet, and giants, he finds himself driven to win his nutcracker instead.

Here's a little teaser from the beginning of Seven Tricks...


Some say a mouse king has seven heads with seven crowns. In a way, this is true. A mouse prince must play seven tricks before the twelve days of Christmas are over. If he doesn’t, he cannot claim his throne.

“You must prove your worth, before I acknowledge you as my heir,” Madam Mousenip said to me in the shadow of the enormous ticking tower. “Only by succeeding at seven tricks will you possess what you desire.” She herself had become our sovereign through seven capers of her own, earning the name Mousenip for delivering tiny bites, which left cheese looking unscathed and humans whimpering.