Saturday, May 21, 2016

'Fairest' Snippet

F/f, fantasy, and fairy tale come together in my novella, 'Fairest'! Here's a little teaser from its pages...

A faintness came over me, as her form, the room, and everything around me began to waver. Part of me wanted to laugh, sleepily, as I stared at my bloody finger. The sharp stick had been a spindle, I thought, as I looked down at it. I had thought my doom would be bigger, more frightening. It was nothing more than a small tool to spin with, yet it had brought me down, as if I were nothing. The thought stung more than the pain in my hand.
“Sleep,” the witch said. There was no hatred in her voice, she sounded almost loving. The spindle dropped; I heard it hit the floor. “Sleep, my beauty, for a hundred years. This sleep will give you death, for change is a kind of death.”

Thursday, May 19, 2016

'Waiting for Rebirth' Fragment

Here's a fragment of a story I'm revising, 'Waiting for Rebirth'. It's very dear to me, since it's Christopher's origin story (Christopher is the main character of 'Stealing Myself From Shadows'). Here he is, enjoying his first few moments of existence in a new world.

I was standing in the middle of a garden. I’d once loved gardens. I remembered that, now. There was a gazebo behind us, covered with trailing vines and purple flowers. Roses grew in clusters upon the green bushes all around us. 

A gasp of inarticulate delight escaped from me, as I looked up at the sun, the blue of the sky. Afterwards, I looked down at the spongy green grass beneath my feet. My feet were bare.

I realized I was wearing a short white tunic, belted in around my waist. It exposed my legs. I felt cold.

I looked over at Damian, who was dressed very differently. He was wearing sturdy blue pants and a white, short sleeved shirt. There was a tiny, green dragon at the right hand breast of the shirt. 

“I’m dressed wrong, for where I am,” I said, slowly. I could feel my face heating up. It was bad to wear the wrong clothes in the wrong place. It could be very bad, if you wore too little. “Aren’t I?”

“Don’t worry,” Damian said, with a reassuring little smile. “The shadows are still close, so if you wish to be wearing something else, you can. Just picture what you wish to wear.”

It was a little alarming to know the shadows were still close, but I knew what to do. I closed my eyes. I pictured the clothes Damian was wearing.

Something rough was rubbing against my legs. These pants weren’t exactly comfortable. I could feel myself scowling a little. The shirt wasn’t comfortable either. It felt rough.

I looked down at my short sleeved shirt and the blue pants I now wore. They didn’t look as good on me, as they did on Damian. 

“Don’t worry,” he said with a little wink. “For me, it’s a gesture of independence to wear jeans and a polo shirt, after all the ruffles and tight collars my aunt used to dress me up in. For one as small and slender as you, something softer may be better.”

I watched, as he closed his eyes. I was small and slender? I wasn’t sure if that was good or bad. The way Damian said it, it sounded good. I watched him, wondering about this aunt who used to dress him up in ruffles, until I felt something soft brush against my legs. Something even softer covered my chest.

“There, just like what Aunt Duessa used to make me wear, only without the tight collar,” Damian said, with another merry wink. “The black velvet looks a lot better on you than it ever did on me.”

Black velvet? Yes, there had once been black velvet clothing. Damian released my hand. I felt a little sad at that, but I ran my hand down my new pants. They truly felt wonderful.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Ain't No Rest for the Wicked

A new 'Tale from the Navel' was coaxed from me, thanks to #WriterZenGarden on Facebook. A picture of a boy and the line, 'Ain't No Rest for the Wicked' was posted.

At first, I was visualizing a pretty boy, caught between a fundamentalist preacher's bigotry and desire. An old character of mine popped into my head, though, taking over the first few lines of the challenge. Before I knew it, she'd taken over the story altogether...

Warning. This story fragment does include mention of abuse, although it doesn't get graphic. Reader discretion is advised.

“Ain’t no rest for the wicked,” Madam Journey mumbed, as she pushed her cart down the road. Anyone who looked at her would see a bent old woman, wearing an array of once colorful scarves around her head, as she pushed a rickety old cart. Sometimes, it looked like a pedlar’s cart. At other times, it was a modern, battered metal shopping cart, filled with trash. To the average eye, Madam Journey was one of the down and out, a homeless person, a vagabond. People’s eyes slid off her, not wanting to look at her sad shabbiness for long. 

This suited Madam Journey just fine. If no one noticed, she could go about her business. She shuffled along, pushing her cart, letting the road guide her. Madam Journey was as much part of the road, as she was flesh and blood. Not just her own road, but other people’s. The lost ones, who left bits and pieces of themselves scattered about like trash. 

Right now, she was looking for the boy. Pretty boy, longish hair, slight figure, or at least that’s how she remembered him. Or how he remembered himself. Whose memories belonged to who got confused, sometimes. Especially for her. 

“Ain’t no rest for the wicked,” she hummed, as she walked along, picking up the pace. He used to sing that in a groaning, gravelly voice, which was somehow pure, in spite of all the grit in it. 

“My daddy is always saying that,” he’d say with a smile. It would have been a perfect smile, if not for the missing tooth. His daddy had knocked it out, when the boy dared to question one of his sermons. The boy’s daddy had been a preacher man, one you didn’t dare argue with, as he thundered and roared about sins and sinners, as if he’d personally like to get his hands on all of them. “By singing his words, I’m taking the curse and the hate out of them. I’m…” He stopped, as if he didn’t dare say anything more. 

“You’re what?” Madam Journey had asked. Only she hadn’t been Madam Journey back then. She’d been just a girl, who liked the boy in spite of his pretty looks and his godless songs. Almost everyone else sneered at the boy, or offered him ugly smiles. They whispered equally ugly words behind his back, when they weren’t shouting them, or writing them on bathroom walls. 

“I’m turning them in a blessing,” the boy confessed. He looked at her from behind wavy bangs, which were always getting into his eyes. “My daddy is trying to hurt every single person he throws those words at. It’s like he’s turning them into invisible weapons he’d like to drive into the wicked’s hearts.” The boy shook his head. “It ain’t right. The wicked he’s throwing curses at aren’t any worse than my daddy.”
This was only too true. The girl had seen the boy with his daddy, when his daddy had thought no one was watching. It made her wonder if that preacher man was really the boy’s father at all. It also made her wonder at all his yelling about sin and boys with boys, when he was more than willing to do the same stuff to his son, when no one was looking. Maybe the preacher man didn’t want any other man touching his son, other than him. 

They never talked about what his daddy did, the girl and the boy. The preacher was powerful in their small town. Everyone looked up to him, or cringed, when he walked by. There was no point in trying to tell anyone in town. All it would do was let the preacher man know that the girl had discovered his secret. Her life wouldn’t be worth spit, if she said anything. 

Sometimes, Madam Journey thought back on those times. She wondered if things would have turned out differently, if she’d told someone. Not that there was any point in dwelling on it now, but she did wonder. 

Everyone thought the boy had died. The boy disappeared, leaving only a bloody t-shirt behind. There had been more than blood on that t-shirt, which fancy forensic people had been able to identify. The preacher man’s relationship with his ‘son’ was exposed. Only it turned out the boy had never been his son. Just some boy he’d bought for his personal ‘needs’, ‘needs’ no one would understand. The preacher had passed off the boy off as his son. 

The boy never told the girl any of this. The small town who’d once sneered and mocked at the boy remembered him with pity. He’d been the victim of a big, bad wolf, disguised as a preacher man. That wolf had fooled them all. 

Only Madam Journey remembered anything else about the boy. Only she remembered the boy’s intention of taking back his ‘daddy’s words. 

“Ain’t no rest for the wicked,” she hummed, as she walked along, her cart rattling in time to the tune. Her voice wasn’t bad, even after all these years. Once, she and the boy had sung together. She’d been caught in his quest to take back the words. That boy was one of the reasons she’d become Madam Journey. One of many reasons, but he’d been an important one. Part of his heart and will he’d left with her. 

There was another part of the boy, somewhere, crying out for her. It must’ve gotten lost, wandered off one of the many roads in the Shadow Forest. She’d only just begun to hear him, so part of that boy must have made it out. Otherwise, Madam Journey wouldn’t be feeling the pull of the road, as she hummed his song. 

Bits and pieces of folk lost in the Shadow Forest sometimes made it back. They always called to Madam Journey. She’d find those pieces in some of the darnest shapes. An old shoe. A discarded horn, flattened, so it could no longer be used. A soiled leotard. She’s gather the bits up, put them in her cart. To most eyes, the stuff in the cart looked like trash. To most folks, it was trash. Only one would it different. The ones Madam Journey was looking for. The ones the stuff belonged to. 

The ground changed beneath her feet. Pavement gave way to gravel. The skyscrapers disappeared, to be replaced with trees. She might be walking between worlds and not even knowing it, taking all those special short cuts open to Madam Journey. This was what it mean to be part of the path, part of all paths. Fancy speakers like that Gabrielle Bouchard in Omphalos would call her an ‘avatar’ of the path. To Madam Journey, it just meant she went where she needed to go a bit quicker than most folks. 

Monday, May 16, 2016

'Fairest' Snippet

Here's another snippet from my f/f fantasy fairytale, 'Fairest'!

I could not be certain how long I sat there, staring at her. The lady’s painted eyes seemed equally fascinated with me. No, more than fascinated. Those eyes yearned to devour me. At the same time, they cried out for my sympathy. No, more than that. 
Help me, she implored silently from the canvas. Only you can save me.

Saturday, May 14, 2016

'Fairest' Freebie Story Blurb: For You

I wrote another freebie story for 'Fairest', but I realized it contained too many spoilers. I'm breaking the story up into blurbs. These blurbs will hopefully entice new readers, as well as give a little "Ah ha!" moment for readers, who've bought 'Fairest'. :)

Here is a 'Fairest' f/f freebie story blurb: 'For You'...

She stood in her virginal white gown, the very picture of purity and innocence. A doll in a dress, abandoned and neglected by all gathered here, including her former lover. She knew it, too. Betrayal and wounded innocence gathered in her dark blue eyes, making them glisten. 

You little fool, she thought, with an anger she’d never thought she’d feel for this one, no matter how much envy mingled with her desire. If I have him, I can finally have you. Don’t you see that?


Friday, May 13, 2016

Nicki J Markus / Asta Idonea: Author Feature: K.S. Trenten (FF)

Nicki J Markus / Asta Idonea: Author Feature: K.S. Trenten (FF): Today I welcome author K.S. Trenten to the blog. Kari has two releases this month and another forthcoming in 2017, all of which she'd li...

Blogging from A-Z April Challenge-Reflections

This poor little blog took quite a beating during the A-Z April Challenge! During that time, someone reported it as abusive. Facebook blocked it on the basis of that report. I'm still trying to get the block removed. :(

Not that I regret getting this blog involved in the challenge. Or that it went unappreciated. I got to meet the remarkable @Darla Sands via this blog. Not to mention I visited her blog, where she'd chosen a fascinating subject for her theme, favorite musical bands and imaginary bands. It warms my heart to know how many intelligent, creative people are out there, who can inspire me in turn to be more creative.

I also got to know my characters. By writing from their perspective, I got involved a little more in their lives, their concerns, what drives them as characters. I realized how much I'd neglected some of them, in working on other projects. (rueful grin) By writing about them, I got new ideas. Bits and fragments I'd written about actually got titles. By writing 'R is for Rhane' and 'Z is for Zoe', I got a sense of their story. I came up with a title for it, 'The Players Are the Thing'. I came up with a title for a mass of notes I once turned into an interactive yaoi fantasy RPG, which I'm trying to reshape into a story, 'Trouble at Caerac Keep'. I came up with a new title for a novel I've been working on for years, which is almost ready for publication, 'The Hand and the Eye of the Tower'.  One of the dwarves from my recently published novella, 'Fairest' got a name during this challenge. He was able to entertain my guests, including one of my publishers at Prizm Books at my 'Fairest' release party at Facebook, because he got development during this project.

In the end, my characters and myself are very grateful for the attention they got during this challenge! It was well worth taking. Thank you for inspiring us all to develop! We hope to participate again next year!

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Snippet from 'A Symposium in Space'

'Theory of Love' will be released May 18, 2016! Within it is my f/f short story, 'A Symposium in Space'! Yay!  These stories vary in spice. Mine is much milder than some, but conversation itself becomes a form of unresolved sexual tension. Stories and legends become metaphors for what the characters are feeling, revealing a little of themselves as each guest expresses what love means to her.

'A Symposium in Space' was inspired by Plato's 'The Symposium', as several women in a matriarchal inter galactic world meet to talk about love as their patriarchal predecessors once did. However, this dinner party is a little more interesting, since their host literally feeds on their words of love, offering up a meal which reflects the nature of her guest's speech.

If you like out of the box science fiction, mixed with ancient Greek classics turned on their heads in a
futuristic matriarchal setting, take a look at 'A Symposium in Space'.

Here's a brief taste of what's to come...

“Each of us will speak about a topic of my choosing. What you say will determine the nature of the meal, which will appear upon your plate in front of you.”
I glanced uneasily at my empty plate. I’d heard rumors of Agathea--how she fed upon thoughts and words as much as food. I hadn’t thought such a thing possible. Agathea often liked to inspire her dinner guests to offer up deeper conversation than the usual polite topics. The deeper the topic, the greater her sustenance. This was why she’d asked Sokrat here.
“Well, one wonders if my poor words will be enough to satisfy you or me? Although my speech is at your service,” Sokrat said. She uttered every word with a humble courtesy too often used right before she took someone apart verbally. “What topic would you like us to speak of?”

“Love,” Agathea said, smiling as she glanced at me. My stomach sank, threatening to pull me down with it. “Every guest here will speak a little of love. You may tell a story, or give a speech, revealing what the sentiment means to you. We’ll see how your speech manifests on your plate.” She arched her graceful, swan-like neck. Swans had been beautiful but cruel creatures, according to the old Earth bestiaries. “Perhaps the youngest and most innocent of us will begin?”

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Cauldron of Eternal Inspiration: Take a Look at Yourself

Cauldron of Eternal Inspiration: Take a Look at Yourself: It's 'Fairest's release day! In honor of the occasion, I'm post a new 'Fairest' freebie story, 'Take a Lo...

Take a Look at Yourself

It's 'Fairest's release day! In honor of the occasion, I'm post a new 'Fairest' freebie story, 'Take a Look at Yourself'. The dwarves are finding they, too, have issues with their reflections, as they gaze into the mirror. 

The glass had been cleaned, thanks to the princess’s eventual success in removing its grime. Garnet stared at himself in the mirror, seeing his reflection for the first time in…how long had it been? It couldn’t have been a hundred years!

“I didn’t realize I’d done so much damage to my beard,” he said. Gently, he reached up to feel the rough patches on his chin. He moved his hand with care over the tufts of hair he had left. “I never meant to tug so hard.”

“I’m sure you didn’t,” Opal said. He stood a little distance from his brother, out of range of the mirror. Coward, Garnet thought. “None of us look as well as we once did.”

“Perhaps it’s time to look better,” Garnet said, lowering his hands. “We should take better care of ourselves, instead of waiting around for some lost princess to do it.”

“It’s not like we were waiting around for princesses!” Opal said sharply. A little too sharply. “They came to us! Besides, when have we ever cared what we dwarves look like to outsiders? All we ever had was each other!”

“Yes, until we had her,” Garnet said. His hands longed to reach up, yank, and pull at the remaining hanks of his beard. “She changed everything for us.”

“We lost our brother, because of her. Letting her in was a mistake,” Opal said, shuffling his feet, but not moving any closer to the mirror. “She was an outsider. Eventually, the outside reclaimed her, as we should have expected it to. “ He shrugged again. The gesture made his shoulders tremble. 

“If that’s true, why did you do the exact same thing Quartz did?” Garnet demanded. “Why did you let another princess into our home?” 
“Well, you saw our living conditions,” Opal mumbled. His eye roamed about the bedroom, avoiding his brother’s gaze. “We were drowning in dirt. Didn’t seem like we had the time to do something about it ourselves.”

“Is that all there was to it?” Garnet demanded. He balled his hands into fists, willing them to stay at the level of his hips. “Getting the house cleaned?”

“Maybe more than the house needed cleaning,” Opal admitted. His gray eyes were watery, as they stared at the tip of his boots. “When I saw that witch at the door with another princess, I wondered if it was a sign.”

“A sign of what?” Garnet asked. He really wanted to reach for his beard! He banged one of his fists against his hip to distract himself from the urge. Pain spasmed through his hip. 

“A sign that we needed to stop mourning our brother and…her,” Opal said. The last word emerged from his mouth with slow difficulty. “A sign that our lives have been on hold, ever since we lost Quartz. It’s like we’ve all been waiting for…something.”

“Or someone,” Garnet said, nodding. He unclenched his hands, as he stared his own homely face. What self-respecting dwarf tore his beard to shreds? How could he have let himself go like that? “Do you truly think that princess can bring our girl back from whatever she’s become?”

“No,” Opal said with a decisive shake of his head. “You can’t go back, whether you’re human or dwarf. You can only go forward.”

“I knew it,” Garnet growled. His hand reached for his chin. He stopped his fingers, willing them to stroke, rather than pull at the tuft it clutched at. “We can’t trust that witch queen or her promises. She might very well be tricking us into hoping that her princess can save our princess.”

“She might be,” Opal agreed. An odd gleam came into his eye. “One thing I’ve noticed about that witch queen, though. She seldom lies. She uses the truth to lure you into a trap.” 

Opal took a deep breath, before he took a step forward. His reflection was now caught in the mirror’s reflection, even though Garnet stood between him and its critical gaze. Opal laid his thick hands upon his brother’s shoulders.
“If anyone has reason to mistrust every word that comes out of that queen’s mouth, it’s you,” Opal murmured. “You were closer to Quartz than any of us. You used to get yourself out of bed every morning with a curse on your lips. You mumbled nonstop that you wished she’d start sprouting boils, or for that her magic would backfire, turning her into a newt.”

“Aye, I did and I do!” Garnet said. All he had to do was think of that woman and whatever food rested in his stomach turned sour. “I know better than to trust that witch, no matter how hopeful her words.”

“Yet, you’ve decided to believe in those words,” Opal said. His fingers dug into his brother’s shoulders. “Why?”

“It’s not her words I believe in,” Garnet said, shaking his head. “It’s that girl.”

For a moment, blue eyes as clear and direct as the summer sky seemed to looked back at him from the glass. They weren’t the queen’s. The queen’s gaze had never been so bold. There was a strength in them, which both the witch queen and their darling lacked.

“There’s something about that girl, an energy, a direction which we brothers lost,” Garnet murmured. “I wonder if that energy might not be the key to saving our lost one.”

“Aye,” Opal said. Some tension seemed to run out him. A smile crept over his bushy lips. “I can see she had the same effect on you that she had on me.”

“I’m going to grow it back,” Garnet vowed. “If the curse falls upon that girl, I’m not going to run whatever happens. I’m going to go to that castle with a fine chinspread of whiskers to face whatever she awakens as.”

“Aye,” Opal said. He released Garnet’s shoulders and stepped back, but he was still smiling. “Whatever happens, let’s all go to the castle. Looking our best.”

Garnet nodded, as his own mouth trembled in an unfamilar smile. Perhaps it was his fancy, but he thought there might be a few new whiskers in his beard already. 

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Cauldron of Eternal Inspiration: Meeting the Good Witch

Cauldron of Eternal Inspiration: Meeting the Good Witch: Here's a fanfic/freebie story I wrote about the princess's first meeting with the good witch in 'Fairest'. The witch had b...

Meeting the Good Witch

Here's a fanfic/freebie story I wrote about the princess's first meeting with the good witch in 'Fairest'. The witch had been around since the princess was an infant, but this was when she finally decided to introduce herself.

“Dearest,” my mother said, with a seriousness that surprised me. Too often, she tried to be cheerful, even to the point of being silly. “This is an old friend of mine.”

Any thoughts of silliness disappeared, when I looked up at her friend. I almost squeaked. This was bad. Princesses weren’t supposed to squeak, even when they were startled. Still it was a bit scary, looking up into the strange lady’s face. It might have been my own face, my grown up face. 

Blue eyes exactly like my own regarded me, as if they knew exactly what I was thinking. The flesh around them crinkled. They were amused crinkles, but they were also sad crinkles. 

“It’s a pleasure to meet Your Highness,” the lady said, dropping into a curtsy with a grace I could only envy. I wondered, if when I grew up, my voice would sound like hers. I hoped so. It was a beautiful voice, almost creamy in its smoothness. I’d only heard one voice, which was more attractive. The deep, musical voice, which sometimes sang in my dreams. My own voice would never equal that one. This lady, with her golden hair, which was almost like mine, except for the silver streaks in it; she had a voice, which might be my own, someday. It could be mine, if I grew up good and wise. My heart skipped a beat, as I studied her. She wore a gown almost as fine as my mother, but less showy. It gave her a kind of quiet elegance I instantly admired. 

“A pleasure to meet you as well, my lady,” I said politely, before I blurted out, “What’s your name?”

“Really, dear!” my mother said. A flush colored her cheeks. An answering heat gathered in mine, as I realized I’d embarrassed her. “You should let me finish doing the introduction, before you go asking questions like that!”

“It’s quite all right,” the lady said, with a casual wave of her hand. The grace in the gesture was enviable. I was sure I hadn’t seen this lady at court before, even if I was still learning all the names and faces of the people there. “Such directness is quite refreshing.”

Did she truly like my directness? Or was she simply trying to be polite to the princess? I decided to test her. 

“You still haven’t revealed your name, my lady,” I said, as courteously as possible. “What should I call you?”

“Names have power, even assumed ones,” the lady responded, just as courteously, “Since you are my princess, please call me by whatever name you wish.” 

“That’s unfair,” I said, with a childishness I’d be ashamed of later. “I’ve only just met you, so how will I know the right name to choose?”

My mother was trying to smile, but I could tell I’d embarrassed her with my bluntness, again. The lady, however, offered me a much more genuine smile. It warmed me, right down to my toes. 

“A very fair question, Your Highness,” she said, with a little nod of approval. This warmed me, as well. “I’ve come to try and release you from your curse?”

“My curse?” I asked, but another voice whispered in my head. Soft, low, compelling. Promising I’d grow up with all the beauty of the dawn, but my sun would never rise. Pricking my finger on a spindle would send me into a cursed sleep for a hundred years. 
“Darling, we’ve tried not to talk about it around you,” my mother said in the extra gentle voice she used for especially bad news. “However, something very bad happened to you, soon after you were born.”

“I was cursed,” I said. This was no surprise to me. It should terrify me. Instead, an image of blood red lips, smiling, ever so sweetly, appeared in my mind. They were close enough to kiss me. Instead, they murmured words. Promising me a hundred years of sleep. 

“An evil witch cursed you,” the strange lady said, lifting a golden eyebrow at me. I got the impression she knew exactly what I was thinking. For the first time, there was a sterness in her regard. “I’m here to remove that curse, or fight it.”

“To do that you’d need to be a witch yourself,” I said, looking her straight in the eye. Her sterness made me a little bit angry, even if she had a right to be stern with a girl, who didn’t have the sense to be afraid of her curse. “Would that make you the good witch?”

A startled laugh escaped from ‘the good witch’. Some of the sterness melted away into laugh lines. I got the impression this was a lady, who loved to laugh, regardless of what sadness had been in her past. 

“Your Highness is perceptive,” she said, smiling at me. The approval was back. I was glad to see it. “Yes, as far as you’re concerned, I am the good witch.”

“In which case, I’ll call you, ‘the good witch,” I said, with a boldness, which made my mother cringe, even though she hid it well. “Unless you have another name you’d rather I used?”

It was a final attempt to get her to reveal one of her names. I didn’t think she’d fall for it, even as the corner of her mouth quirked upward in amused recognition of my attempt. 

“‘Good witch’ is just fine,” the ‘good witch’ said, with another one of her gracious, lady like nods. I really had to figure out how to nod like that. “I’ll also promise Your Highness to do my very best to live up to that name.” 

A strange sadness touched her words, a sadness I wondered about. This sadness was something the good witch carried around with her. It was part of her mysterious charm, which she wore, as if it were a mantle of strength. The mantle was fragile, though. Given time and attention, it would completely unravel. 

Monday, May 9, 2016

Cauldron of Eternal Inspiration: A Moment at Court

Cauldron of Eternal Inspiration: A Moment at Court: In two days, my f/f fantasy fairytale, 'Fairest' will be released! In preparations for the event, I've decided to post my &#39...

A Moment at Court

In two days, my f/f fantasy fairytale, 'Fairest' will be released! In preparations for the event, I've decided to post my 'Fairest' freebie story/fanfic again, sharing it with you all. This is about a moment my main character is at court, trying to pay attention, when she finds herself drifting into dreams of dark eyes once more...

“Your Highness!” The voice is sharp and slightly grating. “This titled thief is allowing his cows to graze on *my* land-“

“-it’s not his land, Your Highness!” The second voice had a lot more boom to it. Boom, which expects you to recognize its name, even if you’re a princess. “The land belonged to my family for seven generations!” Second Voice shot First Voice a look of pure, unmitigated scorn, baring his buck teeth in the process. The buck teeth are hereditary in his family. It’s a distinctive trait of House…it’s right on the tip of my tongue, but I can’t remember it.

It’s hard to remember anything in this hot, stuffy room. The only windows are air slits. Light comes through them, but it’s a sleepy, afternoon light. Such a light makes it hard to stay awake. 

“Your Highness, this prating pratt’s claim to the land ended, when my sister’s cousin married his father’s ward,” First Voice said, with strident authority. He waved a roll of parchment, which he held in his hand. It was depressingly thick. The light flashed on his many rings. They dazzled my eyes. “This thief, himself, signed the agreement!”

“Where?” Second Voice demanded. Of course he had to ask where. I had a dreadful feeling it was right in the middle of that parchment. I needed to remember his name. I couldn’t just think of him as Second Voice. 

“It’s right here!” First Voice said, as he began to unroll his parchment. Of course, the significant part was in the middle. “I, Henry of Clear Waters, agree that House Vinegarten has exclusive rights to the land, including grazing, cultivation-“

“I never agreed to any such thing!” Buck Teeth snarled, looking even more outraged than before. I needed to remember his name. Buck Teeth was not an improvement on Second Voice. “There was never any such declaration in the parchment I signed!”

“Your signature is right here!” First Voice waved parchment at him, sending it rolling in different directions. “It’s in the sixteenth paragraph of the agreement between House Clear Waters and House Vinegarten! It specifically states that any kin to the heirs of a noble house, whom marries another is now one with the land, one with the blood, one with the heirs…” His words are oddly hypnotic. I can feel my eyes closing, even though I need to keep them open. 

One with the land, one with the blood, one with the heirs. I force my eyes to open. The air is starting to sparkle. It’s only sunlight, coming through the window slits, shining through the dust. It still looks magical. It reminds of my tower room, where I will go to escape from my duties, as soon as I get a chance. One with the blood. Her lips are blood red, as they smile at me. 

I stare at her, surprised to see her, here and now. She raises a snow white hand to touch my face. I thought she only appeared in my dreams. Her hand is cool, but soft. I close my eyes, enjoying her caress. 

“Your Highness!” The touch of her hand is gone, as I open my eyes. Buck Teeth and Second Voice are both looking at me with expressions of expectant impatience. 

“Go on,” I said, doing my best to sound regal, like my royal father. He would never have fallen asleep, when his subjects were talking to him. For that matter, my mother wouldn’t have, either. She might have been selective, about what she chose to listen to, but she wouldn’t have fallen asleep. Lord Gerald Hargreaves, my father’s closest friend and advisor, would never have fallen asleep. He would have remembered everyone’s names, too. I was a princess. It was my duty to listen, not fall asleep, when they needed me to hear their concerns. 

What was this constant need to nap of mine? I’d sleep long enough, once I turned sixteen, if my curse came to pass. This was a thought guaranteed to make me sit up straight. 

“I believe I’d just proven that the land belongs to me, I mean the Vinegarten family, Your Highness,” First Voice said pointedly. Vinegarten. He was a Vinegarten, part of one of the oldest families in the realm. This particular Vinegarten wore more jewelry than the rest of them combined. “This upstart from Clear Waters cannot allow his cows to graze upon our land, without the express permission of my family.” First Voice didn’t even bother to hide his smugness, as he shot Buck Teeth a trumphant look. 

“It’s an outrage!” Buck Teeth snarled. No, his actual name was Lord Clear Waters, although I couldn’t remember his birth name. “For years, it’s been prime grazing land! The Vinegartens will ruin it, by planting vineyards!” His teeth were more pronounced than ever, as he scowled. “They have quite enough vineyards!”

“Is that what House Clear Waters thinks?” Lord Vinegarten countered. “Our wine is being served at tables all over, beyond the realm-“

“Which is exactly what the Vinegartens are,” Lord Clear Water said, with a sneer. “Glorified wine merchants.”

“How dare you!” Lord Vinegarten cries. He drops the scroll to advance on Lord Clear Water. Fortunately, I can see Lord Gerald moving from his seat in the court. I hadn’t even noticed him, he’d been so quiet. “The Clear Waters would be glorified peasants, if they hadn’t intermarried with us!”

“Take that back!” Lord Clear Water snarls. His sneer is gone, as he lunges at Lord Vinegarten. It takes most of the court and several guards to separate them. At least my urge to sleep is completely gone. 

Thursday, May 5, 2016

One of the 'Fairest' Songs

 The wicked witch sings this song to the princess in 'Fairest'.

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

What will you change into?”

Wednesday, May 4, 2016


 K.S. Trenten now has an Amazon Author Page, so I thought we'd celebrate with a little teaser!

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