Monday, October 16, 2017

Fairest: My F/F Fantasy Fairytale Reborn


It's Me Me Monday! A day to strut, promote, and celebrate your Me-ness!

I figured I'd use it to show off the cover of Once Upon a Rainbow. Fairest, my f/f fantasy fairytale is due for rebirth in this LGBTQ+ anthology, which will be released on November 20, 2017. It's a brand new edition in which all the characters have names.

Here's a little Fairest blurbiness, if you want to know what it's all about. :)

All of my life, I’ve been haunted by her dark eyes. At birth, she cursed me to prick my finger on the spindle and sleep for a century. She appears in my dreams, my reflections, shaping my desires. Who is she? My guardian has only revealed a few enigmatic words as to her identity, the fairest of them all. Follow me into the lonely Forest of Tears where the dwarves dwell, walking where she once walked. Gaze into the depths of the magic mirror which reveals her secrets. For I refuse to fear her, even if I should. 


Saturday, October 14, 2017

Paula's Prompt: Tayel's Dream

On August 23, 2017, P. T. Wyant posted a prompt for her Wednesday Words at ptwyant.com. This involved a flooded floor, a lost dog, and a fortune teller.

This Tale of the Navel was the result.

The liquid continued to spread across the floor. 

Tayel couldn’t tell what color it was. The greedy ground leached all the hue out of the stones, leaving them pale gray. 

“The source of all life,” Damian said, not that Tayel could hear him very well. 

Not over the sound of the dog barking. 

Lost, hungry, it insisted on snapping at the crayfish in the pool of water. Yes, it was a pool, now. The liquid was getting deeper. 

It crept towards Tayel’s feet. 

“I’m afraid it’s impossible to avoid.” Damian leaned back on the stool he stood upon, only now it resembled a rock. “Hmm, this place looks familiar.”

“It should,” Tayel growled, refusing to turn towards the white tower which held Damian’s attention.

The stone monster would only gleam with pitiless purity of bone, if someone spent attention on it. 

Not that its twin, the black tower was any better. Darkened with devoured color, it was the ebon of a starless sky, lacking light or hope. 

“You’re so poetic in your prejudice for one so young.” Damian spoke as if Tayel had voiced his thoughts. “Black and white don’t have to be such absolute opposites.”

“Yes, they do.” Tayel’s toes were completely submerged in water. “Kind of like you and Christopher in your true forms.”

He jerked his head in the direction of the two towers, refusing to look directly at either of them. Or Damian for that matter. 

“Don’t stand there, pretending to be a person.” Tayel voiced his thoughts, since Damian would hear them anyway. “Your truth leaks through your mask.”

“Does it really?” Damian rested one foot on a slightly higher ridge than the other. “Tell me my truth, little mystery, little fortune teller.”

“It’s right in front of you.” Doubt flickered within Tayel, while he backed away from the liquid. 

There was no avoiding it. Not unless he climbed onto something. 

“Here.” Damian leaned down and offered a hand. 

It would be easy for the young man to pull him up on the rock beside him. 

“No.” Tayel recoiled, despite the water lapping at his ankles. “That belongs to another.”

“He’d never forgive me if I didn’t offer it to you.” Damian kept his hand steady, unwavering. 

“No.” Tayel shivered at the water, seeping through the leather of his boots. “You’ll only feed me to your creation.”

“Why shouldn’t I?” Damian narrowed his eyes. The red in his irises turned bloody. “You’re made up of stolen energy.”

“It’s still ours!” Tayel woke himself up with his own cry. 

He sat up in bed and stared around at the familiar darkness of the attic. 

“Tayel?” Danyel stirred at his side, opening one eye. “What’s wrong?”

“Dreams continue to trouble my sleep.” Tayel lay down, refusing to look at his twin. “Pay them no mind.”

Something trickled out from beneath his eyelid. 


Perhaps there was a reason tears had no color. 

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Dayel to Tayel

Recently I had a conversation with a friend which made me realize one of the twins’s names had to change. (To see that conversation, look for ‘Dayel to Tayel’ at cauldronkeeper.livejournal.com

The twins are still trying to cope with this change. 



Danyel: I don’t understand. Why are you changing your name?

Tayel: Close to ‘Tale’, yet distinctly different. You’ve always loved the tales. Both the ones trapped in books and which trip off the tongue. 

Danyel: Well, yes, but I feel like our names are drifting away from each other. They’re not as close as they were.

Tayel: Close enough to confuse the eye. Some eyes can’t see the difference. 

Danyel: I’ve always felt we were different, only too different at times.

Tayel: It takes time for a reader to recognize that distinctiveness. Our first encounters may be frustrating, frustrating enough to make readers walk away. 

Danyel: Wait a moment…are you saying you actually care what our readers think? Do you want people to read our stories?

Tayel: Of course not! (mutters) Well, perhaps a little. Not that it matters. Our creatrix decided that one of us had to give up his name. (mutters again) And *I* decided it wasn’t going to be you.

Danyel: What was that?

Tayel: Nothing. 

Danyel: Tayel, Tayel…I’m really having a hard time getting used to this. 

Tayel: Whisper it until you do. Contemplate the misery we’ll inflict upon the creatrix tenfold. 

Danyel: What misery are you referring to?

Tayel: (sounding smug) She has to go back and change my name in Stealing Myself From Shadows, The Hand and the Eye of the Tower, A Godling for Your Thoughts?, and all the future blog stories she had written in advance. Not to mention she has to decide whether or not to go back and change past blogs with my name in it. 


Me: (sweats) 

Monday, October 9, 2017

Dialogue Between Cauldron and Me

Forbidden Cauldron: It's Me Me Monday! A day to strut, promote, and celebrate your Me-ness!

Me: Only it's a Facebook custom and you're still Forbidden by Facebook. (sighs)

Forbidden Cauldron (bubbling in fury) It's so unjust. I'm not half as abusive as the current President and his Cabinet is. Yet he gets to abuse all the time and no one blocks *him*.

Me: I can't argue with that. (sighs) I am sorry. I've asked countless times for Facebook to lift its ban. I've even asked what was posted that was wrong, so I could avoid doing it again. No one will answer.

Forbidden Cauldron: (continuing to bubble) If they think this will stop me, they're wrong. There are other social mediums besides Facebook. I can blurb as well as the next Cauldron...

Me: What were you thinking of blurbing?

Forbidden Cauldron: How about Fairest? You created me in the first place, so you could access the Torquere Blog, promoting your first published work through it. Something my counterpart at inspirationcauldron.wordpress.com couldn't do. (The surface calms as the Cauldron takes a moment to gloat over this.)

Me: Although neither Fairest nor myself is with Torquere Press. We had to leave due to lack of payment.

Forbidden Cauldron: You found a new home for our f/f fantasy fairytale, didn't you? With Nine Star Press?

Me: Yes, I'm very happy and relieved to say. They gave At Her Service, my second f/f fairy tale a home, too.

Forbidden Cauldron: At Her Service was going to be released by Torquere, too, wasn't it?

Me: Only I had to ask to the rights back to it. I hadn't gotten paid for Fairest or A Symposium in Space. It didn't look like I'd get paid for At Her Service either, even though I'd been sent the first round of edits.

Forbidden Cauldron: Hmm...I'd like to save At Her Service for next Friday. I'll blurb about it, then. For now, I'd like to concentrate on Fairest. Our princess has a name, doesn't she?

Me: Yes. Rose.

Forbidden Cauldron: To go with Briar, the name she came up with for her beloved witch princess. Together, they're Briar Rose. Cute.

Me: (trying to sound modest) Well, I rather liked the idea that the heroine of Sleeping Beauty's name belonged in the truth to two princesses, whose hearts beat as one.

Forbidden Cauldron: Actually, I do, too. Which is no surprise, since I'm a means for you to express yourself.

Me: Very true.

Forbidden Cauldron: I'm ready to blurb now.

Me: Blurb away!


Fairest Blurb


All of my life, I’ve been haunted by her dark eyes. At birth, she cursed me to prick my finger on the spindle and sleep for a century. She appears in my dreams, my reflections, shaping my desires. Who is she? My guardian has only revealed a few enigmatic words as to her identity, the fairest of them all. Follow me into the lonely Forest of Tears where the dwarves dwell, walking where she once walked. Gaze into the depths of the magic mirror which reveals her secrets. For I refuse to fear her, even if I should. 

Friday, October 6, 2017

Promo Friday

I've been trying to get into the habit of promoting myself on Fridays again. Especially since I have 3 upcoming publications to promote.

One of those stories is Seven Tricks. Based off The Nutcracker, it's written from the perspective of the poor, misunderstood mouse king. Only he's a mouse prince and very in love with his nutcracker.

Hear his side in this holiday tale, scampering your way on November 27, 2017. I don't have cover art and buy links yet, but I've got a blurb. :)


Some say a mouse king has seven heads. Hah, trust a human to get our legends wrong. A mouse prince must perform seven tricks before the twelve days of Christmas are up. It’s how he wins his crown, but I’ve got my whiskers set on something else. A stiff beauty with a magnificent jaw, waiting for me under the holiday shrub. I caught his scent in a dream, which I’ve been sniffing after ever since. Scamper with me through my adventures and misadventures, dodging traps, cats, and giants, while I win a steadfast nutcracker’s heart.  

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Wednesday Words


On August 16, 2017, P.T. Wyant posted this picture at ptwyant.com for her Wednesday Words prompt.

This Tale of the Navel was my response. :)




The water cascaded down from all directions, splashing into the pool below. 

“All the color is gone.” Christopher stood beside him, watching the spray collide with the glittering surface. “Somehow the process of rushing through the forest drained it of all its various hues.”

“Is that a bad thing?” Danyel turned toward his companion. “Once water has been clensed, it’s safer to drink.”

“Is this nothing more than something to drink?” Christopher lifted a hand to gesture towards the falls. “Surely it has another purpose?”

The spray sparkled, reflecting off the angry gleam in the boy’s eye. 

“To bathe in?” Danyel asked the question with some hesitance. 

His own words didn’t taste right in his tongue. They spread across his mouth with a sour emptiness. 

The fury dimmed in Christopher’s gaze to something softer. 

“Is that all water is? A tool to be used?” The boy dipped his head, sending his short, coppery locks rippling across his brow. “Isn’t it purpose enough to hold our attention, making the world a little better with its beauty?”

Danyel opened his mouth, then shut it. 

“You’re right,” he said as much to himself to Christopher. “You’re absolutely right. Just because I require a purpose doesn’t mean the falls should.”

Christopher turned, startled out of his reverie. His lips moved, shaping words which Danyel wanted so badly to hear. 

If only he hadn’t stirred in his sleep at that moment, waking himself up. 
He stared up at the dark expanse of his ceiling, feeling his chest ache. 

“What purpose do I requre?” Danyel whispered his question to the ceiling, trying to keep his voice down. 

He didn’t want to wake Dayel. Dayel detested questions. 

For Danyel, questions were the only true answers. Each one was like a gemstone, sparkling in a path he needed to follow. Each one he asked led him to another stone. 

Farther along the path he needed to follow. Perhaps eventually he’d see it. 

“Christopher.” Danyel rolled the name across his tongue, tasting it. “Why do I feel like you’re willing me to answer my own question?”

“He’s got no right to expect you to answer.”

The words ripped through the silence, harsh and cold. 

Dayel didn’t move, but he fixed a gleaming eye upon his twin. It glittered, just as Christopher’s had in the dream. 

“Your precious Christopher can mind his purpose, leaving yours alone.” Dayel turned over with sudden violence, keeping his gaze locked on his brother. “Don’t let a vision drag you into his irresponsible quests.”

“He’s not dragging me into anything.” Danyel wasn’t sure why he defended Christopher. He didn’t entirely trust the mysterious boy, who’d come to live in his imagination, only to stalk him in his dreams. “He’s searching.”

Such a small, simple word. Danyel struggled to find the right ones to convey the depth of his concern, how he’d grown attached to this character from a book who was becoming real. 

“He’s lost.” Once again, Danyel found himself using the simplest terms to convey Christopher’s peril. “He needs to be found.”

“That doesn’t mean you’re the one who has to find him.” Anger vibrated through the bed, transferred from Dayel to Danyel across the blanket. 

Danyel tasted something cold and fearful on the back of his tongue. Almost icy. 

Fear. He wasn’t sure it was his own or Dayel’s. 

He couldn’t let fear stop him, though. Fear would only freeze him in place, making him unable to move, think, or do anything. 

“I don’t like turning my back on someone in trouble.” Danyel fumbled for the right words to express what was so simple and natural.

To him. Not to Dayel. 

Even so, Danyel tried to explain. 

“Even if he’s just a dream, it bothers me to see Christopher lost,” he admitted, clutching his blankets to his chest. “I want to help him.”

“Give in to this desire and you’ll always be helping creatures like him.” A bitter, bleak note entered Dayel’s cold tone. “Eventually, they’ll help themselves to you.”

Danyel shivered in the darkness at his brother’s words. 

He didn’t doubt they were true.

“Does it have to be like that?” He heard a plaintive note of desperation enter his own voice. “Someone helps and someone helps themself?”

“There isn’t any alternative.” Dayel yanked at the blanket, pulling some of it from his brother. “It’s just how things are.”

“What if there was another way?” Danyel stared at the darkness above. “What if I found it?”

“Don’t go wishing for impossible things.” Dayel shivered beside him. “You tear a hole in reality.”

Danyel didn’t say anything. He didn’t need to. 

Dayel could probably guess what his next questions were. 

Would tearing a hole in reality be a bad thing? Especially if it was a reality where one person gave and another took from him?

Danyel doubted his twin could come up with an answer. 

It wasn’t going to be that easy.  



Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Paula's Prompts

Back on August 9, 2017, P.T. Wyant posted a prompt for her Wednesday Words at ptwyant.com. It involved a hedge, a jar, and a ribbon.

At the same time, Dale Lowry shared a submission call for a wizard academy.

Wrapped up in preparations for my vacation, plus trying to get everything done, I never finished the submission, alas. I did come up with a tentative fragment of a story, thanks to Paula and Dale. Here it is...

The picture is one of the churches I visited in Trastevere, Rome during the beginning of September. This one I took myself. :)


“I’m going to find you!” Such a sweet, childish voice. I’d almost believe it belonged to an actual child, if I didn’t know better. “You can’t hide from me, Hyacinth!”

We’d see about that.

I untied the ribbon from my neck, feeling the energy release as the silky material unknotted. It pulsed across the land, humming to every magical creature trapped in a jar, a cage, or a prison at the Accademia de Valentine. 

How often had I tried to pull free the strands resting against my bare flesh, only to find my fingers fumbling, unable to work. 

On school grounds, everything bowed to the will of the maestro.

“Don’t ever try to untie it.” Tenderly, he’d fastened it around my neck himself. A sign of great favor among students. “This marks you as one of my own.”

He played with one end, raising it to his lips, before tucking it under my shirt. 

“I doubt you’ll want to.” His green eyes glinted with dark, creeping things which crawled in the hidden parts of the forest, where no one dared to stretch his hand. “If your heart should waver, the others here will sense it.” 

He pressed his finger against my skin, stroking it, digging his nail into my neck. 

Blood welled up under his digit. He withdrew his hand, raising it to his lips to taste the red droplet. 

“I’d rather not share you with anyone else.” Silent laughter gleamed in his eyes, gliding and keeping pace with everything else captured in his gaze. 

No one had dared to try. Not on school grounds. 

I dropped the ribbon into one pocket. 

Something growled and snuffled in the hedge. 

I’d become visible. All the creatures who prowled the edges of the school had caught my scent. 

Willing my hands not to shake, I lifted the jar from my pocket. 

Sigils surrounded the rim. They flared up for one moment, before dying. 

“Containment seals simply don’t last outside the accademia.” He’d lifted it to observe the pixie, fluttering around inside. “She reminds me a little of you, Hyacinthe.”

I stared at the tiny creature, beating her wings and tiny fists against the glass walls of her prison. 

Yes, her pinched face looked a bit like mine. What seemed the most alike was our desperation. 

Only she’d had a stronger will than I had. She’d kicked against the jar, making it rattle again and again. Never giving up. 

“Why not let her go?” The misery crumpling her tiny mouth, transmitted from her fluttering wings was unbearable. “If she desires her freedom this much, why not simply give it to her? You have lots of captive magical beasts.”

“Ah, but I can’t allow one to wander free at the Accademia.” The maestro let his mouth slacken with almost innocent shock. 

He appeared so young, younger than any of the students. Drinking in their experiences, their enthusiasm, imparting a little wisdom here, a little knowledge there, he drained everyone’s youth, leaving them haggard and lined, while his skin remained smooth, his eyes bright with childish cruelty. 

Not that he didn’t let his pupils depart, spreading his wisdom through the world. They withered everyone a little with the knowledge they spread, regaining a bit of their own spark in the process. 

Such is how things are at the Accademia. 

“Letting her go for set a bad example for all the students.” He allowed his green eyes to flicker over me, playful and malicious as a cat’s. “Especially you.”

“Forgive me,” I whispered to the spirit of the deceased pixie. I could breathe it in, clinging to the glass. Just one of the things I’d learned to taste at the Accademia. “One of us has to escape here.”

I unscrewed the jar, bracing myself for the backlash from the wards. 

Nothing. Perhaps some of the litte creature’s rebellious will lingered along with her spirit, protecting me. 

Why she’d decided to help a runaway student of the Accademia who’d caught her, I didn’t know. Perhaps she simply agreed with me.


One of us had to escape.