Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Paula's Prompt

Here's another response to another prompt from the amazing P.T. Wyant! To see the picture she used as a prompt, go to I wasn't sure if I could come up with something for this one, but I found myself thinking of a short story I once wrote called 'Peregrine'. I plan to eventually incorporate 'Peregrine' into 'A Suitor's Challenge'. This is a story, which has been growing in my mind, since childhood, but it's finally coming together. :) 'A Suitor's Challenge' was placed on the back burner, since I've been busy with 'Aissa and Polyxena', 'On the Other Side of the Mask' and 'Tales of the Navel', but Kyra and Peregrine decided to run with this prompt. :)

She stood at the edge of Fool’s Bluff, overlooking a natural landscape, which no longer existed. Her silvery mane glistened at the end of each curling strand the way each pinion had gleamed, when she’d been a peregrine. 

“Peregrine,” Kyra said out loud, naming her mysterious rescuer. The one who’d moved with the shadows, allowing them to swallow the gold which encircled Kyra’s throat, binding her to the Imperatrix. She could still feel the chains, weighing down her legs and wrists in her nightmares, but she no longer had to wake up to them. 

*No longer*. A deep, melodic voice, half way between male and female caressed the inside of Kyra’s brain. *I lost that name and form. Now, I no longer know who I am.*

The horse cocked her head to look at Kyra with an all too expressive eye. A sorrowful, human gaze.

“Does anybody?” Kyra asked. Compassion welled up her throat, filling it with unshed tears. “It doesn’t matter here, in between realities.” She walked over to the horse. “Here, I can help you remember.”

“Don’t!” The horse shied away from Kyra, letting out a whinny of distress. *If you use your powers, even here, the Serpent will find you!”

“I wouldn’t even have powers, if you hadn’t removed the chains binding them,” Kyra said. All she had to do was close her eyes. She’d feel the weight of the collar, pressing against her skin. Pressing her inside, binding her rage within herself. Perhaps it had been for the best, but Kyra would never have known freedom, if Peregrine hadn’t dissolved that collar into shadow and mist. 

Now, Peregrine herself was trapped within herself, within this horse form, but Kyra could release her as easily as Peregine had once released her. If she just reached for the power, coiled inside her. It hissed, undulating within to reawaken Kyra’s magic. 

*Stop!* Peregrine pleaded, but Kyra lay a hand upon her flank. A low laugh, half woman, half hissing serpent shook the landscape, when the magic poured out of Kyra’s fingers. 
There would be consequences for using Her powers, for the power was still a part of Her. Kyra hadn’t mastered the energy enough to make it her own. It was enough to release Peregrine from her horse shape.

Kyra felt fine, dark hair beneath her fingers, instead of horsehair. A woman with a hawk nose, keen gray eyes, and a figure lean with muscles knelt before her, shuddering, where the horse had been. 

“You should not have done that,” the woman said. Peregrine barred her teeth in a fierce grin to keep them from chattering. Proud, as the hunting bird she’d been named for, Peregrine wasn’t one for showing weakness. “By the four directions and the source which unites them, you shouldn’t have taken such a risk!”

“Like the risk you took, freeing me from the Imperatrix’s slavers?” Kyra asked, but she grinned back. “I suppose we’re both at the mercy of our better natures, even when we should know better.”

Peregrine let out a short bark of laughter at this. She seized Kyra’s hand in her own, pulling herself to her feet. 

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Original 'Aissa and Polyxena' Snippet

I'm suffering from a bit of a dilemma. I have an old, unfinished draft of 'Aissa and Polyxena', which I put aside, when the story started to run over the 'Friends of Hyakinthos' word limit. I wrote a different version, which I submitted to the anthology. 'Aissa and Polyxena' was rejected, so I'm searching for a new home. However, the new home I'm considering requires more words. I thought I was happier with the newer version, so I was concentrating on extending it. However, I went back and looked at the old version. Parts of the original were really well developed as far as the characters of Aissa/Achille and Polyxena/Troile. Plus, there's an explanation as to why Achille calls himself Aissa, when he meets Troile, instead of Pyrrha.

On the other hand, people really liked my first meeting between 'Aissa' and Troile for the first time, when I posted at Queer Sci Fi on Facebook.

Here's a teaser from the original draft of Troile seeing Aissa for the first time.

“What an ugly woman,” Paris said. His nose wrinkled, as he regarded the tall woman approaching us. She was as tall as Hector, or our father, as her robes swished with the purpose of her stride. She was walking straight towards my brothers and I. “She’s almost mannish!”

“Your rudeness is only matched by your ridiculous standards, Alexandros,” Hector growled. He only called Paris ‘Alexandros’, when he was upset with him. Which was most of the time. “Not every lady can equal your stolen bride if any.”

I didn’t hear Paris’ sharp retort. I was too busy staring at the lady, for I knew her. It was the face I’d seen in the goblet. I recognized the full, pouting lips, promising an unbridled sensuality. There was a petulance to them, which I hadn’t seen in the vision. It warned of an overindulged nature. I recognized her curls, which were as yellow as buttercups. They escaped in wisps from her veil, instead of bouncing free above his shoulders. 

This woman couldn’t be the man I’d seen. Was it possible he had a twin sister? Her eyes were the deep blue of the ocean, when it was calm, nothing like the fiery gaze, which had captivated me in the vision.

Her head raised, turned, as if she was a hunting hound, catching the scent of a particularly juicy rabbit. Only the rabbit she saw was me. She stared at me with an intensity, which darkened her blue gaze. Darkened it into something, which smouldered dangerously. 

A shudder, very akin to the climax of passion gathered at my groin, climbing up through my body, only there was no release to satisfy me. I met this familar lady’s gaze with equal boldness, for she had to be a lady. The proud lift of her chin had the lack of regard of one born to it. 

Cressida or Andromache would have looked away. This lady did not. My boldness intensified her own stare, which fixed itself upon me. A possessive heat enlargened her black pupils, as her eyes moved over my face, my neck, my chest, lingering upon my bare legs, playing teasingly about my privates and bum, before returning to meet my eyes. 

I swallowed, as my own eyes moved over her, but her long skirts, draping tunic, and veil didn’t reveal as much of her as my short tunic revealed of me. Her gaze was akin to a physical caress. Every inch of me had been explored by her dark blue eyes. 

“Troile, what’s wrong with you?” Hector asked. Concern, as well as ever ready reprimand waited upon his lips. Concern that another one of his siblings was going to grow up wild and irresponsible in his passions. 

It was irritating, almost as irritating as Paris’ reaction to the strange lady, who had almost reached the three of us. Paris was recoiling, as if she were somehow repellant. Her presence loomed over us, as if she was an approaching wave. Rising, cresting, beautiful with the gathering foam, even as it was about to crash upon you. It might knock you flat, but you could help gazing upon it in awe. 

Paris saw no beauty in the waves, or anything else which might knock him flat. This woman, whose pouting lips were bending into an inviting smile, held no appeal for him. She was too tall, too bold, too mannish. Her skirts revealed no dainty display of ankle. I could have cared less about her ankles. My heart beat a little faster with each step of her powerful stride. It was as if her stride and my heart were connected. Once she stopped walking, my heart might stop as well. 

The lady did stop, right in front of the three of us; Hector, Paris, and I. My heart didn’t stop, on the contrary. It clamoured within my chest, as if crying out. It was a marvel no one could hear it. 

My admirer, for I felt entitled to name her as such, barely looked at Paris. Her deep blue eyes were fixed upon me, feasting upon my face. She’d devour me in large chunks, if given half a chance. Part of me was more than happy to allow her to do so. 

The other part of me reminded myself that I was a Trojan prince, nearly a man. Princes did not allow themselves to be devoured. I raised my chin with pride equal to hers, swallowing my submissive passion. 

My arrogant response didn’t discourage my admirer, oh no. A golden eyebrow, thicker and darker than the curls upon her head, arched up, as if she approved of my aloof response. 

This was truly mannish, the approbation of a lover, who sought to court me, impressed by my virtuous reluctance. A part of me relaxed, recognizing the game, even as every other part of me was almost singing with tension. 

Saturday, August 27, 2016

'A Symposium in Space' Teaser

I thought I'd post a little teaser from 'A Symposium in Space', a futurist f/f tale of another dinner party, inspired by Plato's classic. 'The Symposium'.

Everyone looked at me. A smirk played about Pausania’s mouth. To think I’d once found the expression attractive. It was a lot less appealing when it was at your expense. Pausania must have said something about my lack of experience in the ways of love. It was petty of her, considering she’d once done her best to woo me. I would have been her beloved if I hadn’t left her. Pausania had always taken a dark delight in putting others down when she saw an opportunity to do so. It was one of the reasons I’d distanced myself. 
She’d been the only admirer I’d ever had, besides Sokrat. Sokrat was far too enigmatic to consider a lover, even if she’d become my mentor in many ways. Plus, I always felt Sokrat had an unrequited passion for Alkibiadea, even though she kept running away from the tempestuous space pirate. 

Friday, August 26, 2016

Paula's Prompt

Here's a response to a writing prompt from the brilliant @PTWyant, whose Wednesday challenge involve a bed, a wheel, and a hat. Gabrielle and the Navel promptly rose from my 'Tales of the Navel' to accept the challenge. :)

The wheel constantly turned in the back of Gabrielle’s mind. She tried to ignore its grinding sound by adjusting her hat. Today, it was a fedora with a fishnet veil. Within the fishnet were tiny bits of seashell, which gleamed like sequins. 

“Imagine how much more powerful you’d be, if those bits of shell were souls,” Damian murmured into her ear. “If you caught a piece of every customer who came into the Navel and turned her into a bit of shell. You could keep them all in your veil.”

“What makes you think I don’t?” Gabrielle said, turning so her face was inches away from Damian. She smiled into his startled face. “Objects in the Navel are never what they appear to be.”

Sure enough, Damian took a step back. He coached his expression into a neutral mask, as he made her a quick bow. 

It saddened Gabrielle to have to play such games with her protege, but Damian was an Ashelocke. It was in his nature to test her limits, probe his master for weakness, see if she was truly worthy of following. She didn’t like it, though.

“Besides, binding people is your aunt’s method,” Gabrielle said, pointedly. One of the reasons Damian was with her was because he didn’t want to be with his aunt. Gabrielle had to remind him of that, along with the fact that Gabrielle was a very different creature than Duessa Ashelocke. “Not mine.”

The front door of the Navel jingled, announcing a customer. Gabrielle turned the force of her smile in its direction, but Damian was way ahead of her. 

“Welcome to the Navel!” he said, flashing a grin of bright toothed charm at a thin girl, who raised a bony hand in confusion. 

“Center of everything bizarre!” Gabrielle finished, stepping up beside Damian. Musn’t let herself get shown up by her employee. “How can we help you?”

“I don’t know,” the girl said, lowering her hand. She looked at Gabrielle, not Damian. Gabrielle tried not to blink at that violet blue gaze, shot with silver and green flecks. She failed. 

When she raised her eyelids, the girl’s eyes were an ordinary grayish green. Or bluish grey. Nothing remarkable about them at all, except in the hungry way they locked onto ‘Brie, taking in every inch of her. She seemed particularly fascinated by Gabrielle’s hair, studying every wave and curl with an ardent admiration. 

“I felt compelled to come,” the girl breathed. She took a step closer to Gabrielle’s, running a hand along a shelf. She fingered a deck of tarot cards in a wooded box with an almost intimate caress. “I suppose that sounds strange. I don’t even understand it myself.”

“Oh, dear, did you actually compell her?” Gabrielle heard Duessa’s voice, as if she was actually there, whispering in her ear with sweet mockery. The Wheel no longer turned. If Gabrielle closed her eyes, she’d see Duessa, lounging on top of the Wheel, halting its process. Only instead of being half spider, she’d be half sphinx. Unless she was sprawled over the generous bed, auburn hair fanning out over the crimson coverlet, while her eight arms played with scarlet hangings dangling over her naked form. “You’re such a sly little girl, ‘Brie.” She smiled, exposing all four fangs. “I guess that shows you’re still mine.”

“I guess it does,” Raphaella grumbled from the top left corner, opposite the Wheel. She stared at the manuscript, trying to ignore Duessa and the Wheel. Trying to reduce them to something unimportant. Of course they were important. She glanced up at to glare at Gabrielle from that place in the back of her mind, where Raphaella always lingered. Always waited for Gabrielle to disappoint her. “Here I thought we raised you better than that.”

“Better?” Michaela asked scornfully from the top right corner, opposite the Wheel. Possessing the dark eyes and fair skin as Raphaella, she kept her hair short, her scowl, near, and a weapon always ready. Even if it was only her tongue. “When will you learn, Sister?” A shadowy suggestion of wings opened at her back. “Our Gabrielle is no better than she’s destined to be.” 

“Now that’s not true,” Mireille said, walking through the Wheel to stand very close to Gabrielle, even though Gabrielle wasn’t here. None of this was real. 

“That’s right,” Mireille said, smiling, with a defiant little toss of her coppery curls. She raised a dusky hand to brush against Gabrielle’s cheek. Gabrielle raised a hand to cover it…

….only to touch the fishnet of her own hat. Of course. None of it was real. Not even if Raphaella, Duessa, Micheala, and Mireille all continued to live in the back of her mind. Haunting her. Mocking her. Letting her know that being the proprietor of the Navel was a waste of her talent. Or even worse, a dereliction of her true duties. 

“Take your time,” ‘Brie said. She looked straight at the customer, concentrating on this strange girl, who’d come to the Navel, because she needed to. “It doesn’t matter, if you don’t know what you want.” She smiled at the girl, whose cheeks were quite flushed. “You’ll figure it out when you’re ready to.”

Damian frowned a bit at this advice, but the girl’s lips parted, revealing a hint of something beautiful waiting in her smile. 

“Thank you,” she said, incling her head towards Gabrielle. 

Like what's here so far? Go to for the rest! 

Sunday, August 21, 2016

A Prompt Becomes a Myth

I came up with this prompt, basking in the afterglow of reading my favorite passages from Elizabeth Bear’s ‘Whiskey and Water’. I used it for Writer Zen Garden on Facebook. I wrote an ‘On the Other Side of the Mask’ ficlet, but it left me unsatisfied. What I came up with didn’t have much to do with the quote. Where were the references to the story? How did the story connect with the two statues reaching for the flower? 

I decided to try again, drawing on the mythos of the Shadow Forest from my ‘Tales of the Navel’ WIPs. My second attempt refuses to appear on this blog. This is my third attempt. 

The story played on the imagination, promised dances with devils, followed by a return to perfect grace. I began with Once Upon a Time, looming over me, casting his shadow over all that was to come. In the story, he could be nothing more than a pair of twins, reaching for the flowers, which grew on the misty trees above him. 

No, not the pair. Once Upon a Time was only allowed to be one of them. The other was Happily Ever After. The beginning and the ending of the story should be together. 

“Should they?” a voice whispered in my ear. “Is Happily Ever After worth anything, if Once Upon a Time is allowed to take him for granted like that?”

“Take him for granted?” I asked. I turned around to see who was talking. The vision of the statues trembled. I almost lost the pair of them, standing on a spreading sea of stone, which trickled down into another pair of human shapes. No, they weren’t human shapes. They were simply pillars with suggestions of humanity peeking out of the stone. 

None of it was real. Nothing I saw was real. I doubted the voice whispering to me was real, either. I was probably just dreaming again, as I leaned over the pond, lost in another one of the visions only I could see. 

“Yes, you are,” the voice said. It tickled the insides of my ears, as it crept into my brain. “Does it matter? Are you going to allow reality to define you. Limit you and your creations?” 

“What choice do I have?” I muttered, but I concentrated on the vision. Yes, I could see the stone twins, surrounded by flowers and mists. I could see the darkness beneath their feet, creeping out between the pillars that supported them. Those pillars looked like women. If I stared too hard at them, I’d see faces I might recognize. “Reality limits every creature locked in the living world.”

“Ah, but what if you could unlock reality?” the voice murmured. The hairs within my ears shivered with its suggestion. “Bypass it, along with your limits?”

“Impossible,” I whispered, but the word tasted foul on my tongue. 

“There’s no such thing as impossible beyond the door,” the voice said, swelling with certainty. Its words echoed in my brain, as if a series of bells had begun to ring. I could almost hear those bells, just as I could almost see the door. If I looked up, right above the space between the pillars, I could see its outline. Its knob jutted out teasingly. “All you need to do is open it. Open yourself.” 


Thursday, August 18, 2016

Response to Paula's Prompt

This is a response to @PTWyant and her Wednesday prompt. I decided to play a little with the characters from a bunch of story fragments, which I've titled 'Lift Your Gaze to the Heavens'. I'm supposed to be working on 'Aissa and Polyxena', 'On the Other Side of the Mask', 'The Hand and the Eye of the Tower', and 'Stealing Myself From Shadows', but the reference to cereal didn't work for any of those stories. On the other hand, it was a great opportunity to get to know Dylan Stuart's father better, as well as to use a few Italian words. :) Dylan's father is Italian from a large family. I'd always been curious about getting to know him better, since Dylan's mother is such a domineering, powerful figure in the fragments I've written. Before I knew it, Dylan was in my imagination, yelling Paula's opening line, and off the character went into this story fragment. :)

The picture of lasagna above is from Peck's, a wonderful restaurant and market in Milan, Italy. I've posted it in order to torment poor Gino with visions of what he didn't find in his son's pantry. :)

“Angry? You ate all my cereal and faked your death for three years! I have a right to be angry!”

“I know, I know,” Gino Bodacci said, rolling his enormous dark eyes mournfully, as he looked down at his hands. Dylan had inherited the exact same eyes, although he’d never learned quite how to use them for such dramatic emphasis. “All this time, on the edge of space, separated from my only child, surviving on tasteless rations!” He clasped his hands together. “Every hour, I dreamed of my little Dylan, waiting for me. Waiting with homemade caponata, canolli, or lasagna!” He raised his hands over his head. “I come back to the home of my only son, my pride and joy, and what does he have in his pantry?” Gino lowered his silvery dark head, although he kept his hands raised. “Nothing, but cereal!” He lowered his hands. “Oh, the shame! The dryness! That a child of La Familiglia Bodacci should have such a barren pantry!” He released his fingers’ grip on each other to tear at his shoulder length waves. “That he should have nothing in his home for his poor father other than dry cereal!”

“Papa,” Dylan said, counting to ten silently before he spoke. First in Italian. Second in French. “You’ve been missing for three years. A body at the Accademia at Gaia was identified as yours. La Familiglia Bodacci had a huge funeral for you on Diomedes 4.” He leaned forward to look his father straight in the eye. “Paola lights a candle for you in la Chiesa de Santa Cecilia every year. And cries!”

“Ah, Paola, such a fine woman,” Gino said, dropping his hands to twiddle his fingers. He became deeply absorbed in their motion. “Is she still unmarried?”

“Papa!” Dylan growled. “We thought you were dead! I had to convince Paola not to hunt down your killer, even though I longed to the same!” He slammed his hands down on the table top inches from his father. “For three years, I’ve had to live with your death! Only I find you alive, well, and raiding my pantry!” Dylan dug his fingers into the wood. “You put us through that and all you can do is complain about my food!?”

“Well, your kitchen is travesty,” his father muttered. He stared at his thumbs, as they were the most fascinating things in the world. “No fresh fruit, no vegetables, only dry cereal! Your nonna would be turning in her grave, if she had one.”

“Papa,” Dylan said, getting his growl under control. Talking about the cereal or his pantry wasn’t going to get him any answers. His father was using it to distract him from more important questions. “Why did you pretend to be dead?”

“I had to,” Gino murmured. He looked up to meet his son’s eyes. “My son, I may be a Bodacci, but I’m also an employee of ‘Future Visions’.”

“Mother,” Dylan said. He closed his eyes and released his grip on the table. Of course. He might have known.

“Evelyn may allow me more freedom than she does most of her staff, but I’m still hers,” Gino said. “My leash may be longer, but she tugs it, I’m brought to heel.”

Saturday, August 13, 2016

'Aissa and Polyxena' Snippet

I've been working really hard on 'On the Other Side of the Mask', but I don't want to forget this story. 'Aissa and Polyxena' is a m/m mythical tale of crossdressing I originally wrote for Lethe Press's 'Friends of Hyakinthos' anthology. It's being expanded for Dreamspinner Press. Here's a little sample of the 'expansion'. :)

“There,” she said. Her mouth eased into a smile of approval. “Behold yourself, Princess Polyxena of Troy! Be captivated by a beauty which rivals even Helen’s.”

“That’s your lot rather than mine,” I retorted, before I caught the gaze of the creature in the glass. Never had I seen such vibrant, greenish blue eyes, reflecting the sea and sky, unless they’d been Achille’s own. Her rose pink lips parted with innocent wonder, as twin roses bloomed in both cheeks, their natural flush accentuated by the paint. 

No, this feminine beauty staring back at me couldn’t be me! Although that was the shape of my eyebrow, shooting up in disbelief at what it beheld. 

“All this has always been yours, Troile,” Cressida said. Her own dark eyes gleamed, lustrous with unspoken emotion. “I’ve only enhanced what I’ve always seen in you.” There was no denying the admiration, no, desire, which smouldered within her gaze. It was a desire as hungry in its own way as Achille’s.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Paula's Prompt

The Shadow Forest got a little more action, thanks to Paula Wyant. I think I'm going to post my answer to her excellent picture prompt here. To see Paula's Prompt, look for @PTWyant on Twitter. Paula, I snatched your picture, but I'm going to give you due credit for it. The complete prompt is at…let me know if I should take this down, Paula. However, the denizens of Omphalos and the Shadow Forest liked it so much, they decided to come out to play. :) Here's a little teaser of Dayell with Damian, which may make its way into 'A Godling for Your Thoughts?', my NaNoWriMo project. It eludes to events which took place in 'The Hand and the Eye of the Tower' and 'Waiting for Rebirth', without giving away too much, I hope...

Cold tears of light. Dayell looked up to see each perfect, glittering teardrop falling from the sky, offering their chilly blessing to the midnight forest below. 

“They’ll lap it up, the trees, the grass, and the hard, merciless earth,” he whispered. He tilted his head up to catch a glimpse of the one who wept. Not that there was any chance of that. Damian Ashelocke had traded what humanity he possessed for a place in the shadows, to be a sorcerer of shadows. “After all, there just shadows themselves. They’ll drink whatever life you have to offer them. Just like Christopher did.”

Dayell could feel the cold disapproval in the air, which nibbled at his skin. He looked down at his arms, his hands. A tiny bruise blossomed upon one of his wrists, spreading across his arm.

“I don’t know if you’ve bitten or kissed me,” he said, lowering his head. He wouldn’t admire Damian’s teary display, even if it was beautiful. “Perhaps you’re chastising me for being so judgmental of your Christopher, but I simply don’t see him the same way you do. He was never an innocent, he was an incubus. He lured people in and seduced them with a display of vulnerability.” He arched his neck slightly, so he could look not up at the sky, but at the branches of a tree. It reached out with shadowy, skeletal fingers, seeking lost dreamers as its prey. It couldn’t help itself. It hungered for something more. “If he was more than that, it was because you made him so, Damian Ashelocke.” There was power in naming the shadow sorcerer, even if he no longer had any use for that name. 

It was remarkable and terrifying how quickly a name lost its power in the Shadow Forest. 

“No,” he whispered, hugging himself. “I’m Dayell. Not Happily Ever After, not Christopher. Danyell put the pieces of me back together again. I’m whole.”

*Are you sure?* If Dayell listened, he could hear Damian’s low, sultry laugh, rustling through the leaves of the trees. *No one emerges from the Shadow Forest unscathed. Not even you, little Eye of Seraphix.*

“What did you call me?” Dayell demanded. Warmth blossomed in both of his cheeks, an unwelcome heat. He preferred the cold. In ice was power. In ice, he found his own strength, an armour he could raise between himself and anything the world might hurl at him. “I have a name, you know.”

*No, I don’t. You were clever enough to keep it from me, remember?* If Dayell looked closely at the trees, he’d see tiny, purple blossoms growing in the grooves of the trunks. The darkness covered them, overlooked them, but life was growing in the Shadow Forest. *However, you can hide what you are.*

“The Eye of Seraphix,” Dayell repeated. He hated the taste of the name “Seraphix” in his mouth. It crawled up his nose, invading his breath. It evoked images of an eye, winking suggestively, as it stared out of a wooden door. It dared him to open the door, once more. “You’re implying that this Seraphix needs me in order to see.” Dayell turned his head, so he was looking up at the delicate tears, falling from the sky. They were fewer in numbers. In spite of himself, he was happy to see that. “Without me, Seraphix must be blind. Or half blind.”

The leaves whistled and chuckled. Entire branches creaked and chortled at Dayell’s observation. *Perhaps you’re right,* Damian acknowledged. The foilage of a green bush bowed and swayed, almost respectfully to Dayell. *However, you’re still a part of Seraphix, even if you’re an essential part. Just a part.* Fronds trembled, only to grow still, as Damian’s amusement passed. *You’re incomplete without the rest of It.”

“All I need is Danyell,” Dayell said. He tried not to wince at his own words. This wasn’t quite true. All he had to do was to close his eyes to see Leiwell, pale and trembling, as the shadows drained all color from his bare skin. He wasn’t as willing to sacrifice his eldest brother as he’d thought he’d been, even if it was what Leiwell wished. He could feel a scowl creeping up over his face, twisting his lips, twisting his entire face into something ugly. Was this how Map felt, whenever she turned her back, trying not to see what foolish choices her boys were making? Helpless to do anything other than scowl? 

7-7-7 Challenge

I was tagged on Facebook to post seven sentences from the 7th or 77th page of my WIP. You can go down to seventh sentence on that particular page and post the next seven sentences.

There are a lot of WIPs I'm working on, but here's a little 7-7-7 from 'On the Other Side of the Mask', which needed an extension.

All Byron and Shelley ever got to choose was their names. Picking what once belonged to poets from another world was as close to taking a stand against Paradise as they could ever dream of. Especially since those poets fought for freedom, a concept which all but a myth, under the eye of the pale lords in the city of Paradise. For Byron and Shelley catch that eye, when they try to sing a different hymn that what the faithful flock dutifully chant. And the owner of that eye is hungry...

Purple was a color of distinction within the grey city of Paradise. Not to mention the beaded masks, which concealed the upper halves of their faces. 

“Byron and Shelley,” the lady murmured, letting out a titter. It was soft, hushed, a cautious squeak of cruelty. “Fancy themselves poets, do they? Or revolutionaries?”

“In the end, it doesn’t matter what they fancy themselves to be,” the man said, with an airy wave of his gloved hand. 

Monday, August 8, 2016

'Fairest' Snippet

Here's a teaser from 'Fairest.

Standing before the ring, I found myself swaying to the music. My hands lifted, moving to the same rhythm. My fingers flexed and danced, tracing out a series of movements. I realized I was shaping the words of the song with my hands. I’d never done anything like this before, but my fingers moved, as if they had a magic of their own. They spelled out the lyrics, in a language for me, alone.

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


Friday, August 5, 2016

'On the Other Side of the Mask' Snippet

I figured I'd share another snippet from my Camp NaNoWriMo project, which I finished, but I want to revise, before sending off to Lethe Press. It's hard to stay focused, since other characters and universes are clamoring for attention, but I'm going to let Byron and Shelley have another moment here. :)

“Byron was mad, bad, and dangerous to know,” Mae had said, as she searched the book shelves for secrets only she could uncover.  She hadn’t been Mae at the time. She’d been one of hundreds of nameless, grimy orphans with gaps in their teeth. Only she knew the attic. She’d spent many hours scurrying among the book shelves. 

It hadn’t been forbidden. Not to her. Not to Shelley or Byron either. All three of them could sing. Wards intended for the Goddess’s choir were allowed this. They could leaf through tattered books, with spines and covers barely clinging to them. Knowledge was dangerous, but sometimes it was necessary. Especially if you couldn’t think of a name. Many children didn’t want to brave the attic’s secrets, because the air was thick with dust. Only the two boys were willing to accept this girl’s invitation. 

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

A Symposium in Space

“Tonight?” Sokrat asked, looking toward Agathea. “What do you have in mind for tonight’s symposium?”
“A new idea, a new trend in dining for the enlightened,” Agathea said. Her pale, pink eyes were alight with anticipation as she looked at each of us in turn. Her gaze lingered particularly long on Sokrat. “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 thought 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.



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?”

There Was Little Enough Inspiration to Be Found in the Garden

I came up with this prompt, accompanied by this picture for Writer Zen Garden on Facebook. Not only did I have one response to it, but four. The image of four different characters, each thinking, imagining, or locked in their private visions in this garden came to me. This is the perspective of one of those characters.

There was little enough inspiration to be found in the garden. Not for his little brothers. Not anymore.

Leiwell ached to see them, toiling in the hot sun, surrounded by suspicious faces. True, Danyell and Dayell didn’t have to work as hard as they had, now there were so many additional pairs of hands. Those hands could hurt, as well as help. The twins were no longer safe from them, alone with their own dreams, shielded by a wall of shadows. 

Only Danyell and Dayell hadn’t been shielded. The shadows had proven as perilous to Leiwell’s little brothers as they’d been to any outsiders who approached their garden sanctuary. This was why Leiwell had released the barrier, allowing the world in.

“Are they truly safer?” Happily Ever After asked. His pupils no longer shimmered with different colors, since he no longer devoured other people’s dreams. His eyes were clearer, more like a human boy’s. Indeed, he looked only too much a human boy, as he stood, studying his faded velvet trousers with a troubled expression. “Look at your new neighbors, Leiwell. Take a truly good look at them.”

*I am,* Leiwell thought, glancing out of the corner of his eye at the other villagers, picking vegetables and flowers. None of them seemed to notice Happily Ever After. For that matter, none of them seemed to notice Leiwell. He must have drifted into a space between shadows and reality. Most people had to find a door, or a strong ghost of a memory to drift out of the here and now, but Leiwell didn’t need to. Perhaps it came from feeding his flesh, blood, and dreams to shadows every night. Leiwell could literally transform into a ghost at times, stepping into the many layers of this garden, which existed in different realities and dreamworlds. Not even Dayell could spot him here. Not that Dayell didn’t have plenty of other things to occupy his all too keen halfling eyesight. 

Here's where the word count is about to be exceeded. Let me know if you'd be interested in reading more! I'm polishing up two rough drafts of books involving these characters, which I hope to publish; 'Stealing Himself From Shadows' and 'The Hand and the Eye of the Tower'. I'm going to be working on a sequel to these books during NaNoWriMo, 'A Godling for Your Thoughts?'