Monday, December 30, 2019

Secondary Characters Speak Out: Quartz with the Other Grace and Theodora

A stubby dwarf sits in his chair, glowering at the little girl with loose, coppery curls, wearing a long red cape, holding a stuffed bear in her lap.

Quartz: I don’t get it. You’re the main characters in Wind Me Up, One More Time. What are you doing here?

A red curtain materializes behind Quartz, the child, and the bear. 

Opal (Quartz’s younger brother, or rather his voice comes from behind the curtain): Says the protagonist in Of Cuckoo Clocks and Crystal Coffins. 

Quartz: Shut up! That’s not finished yet, there’s no certainty Nine Star Press will accept it, and I am a secondary character in Fairest, a dead secondary character, I might add. Not that I accept that. Ever. 

Grace: So are we.

Quartz: Eh?

Theodora: Growwr. 

Grace: We’re not dead, but we are imaginary works within an imaginary work, so to speak. 

Quartz: How’s that? 

Grace: We’re the main characters in a secondary story playing out within Wind Me Up, One More Time. That would make us secondary characters, wouldn’t it?

Quartz: Well, I suppose when you put it like that, it makes a certain amount of sense. (mutters) Not that it does.

Theodora: Growwr. 

Grace: It confuses us, too. Christopher suggested we come talk to you about it.

Quartz: Of course he did. Way to dump other characters’ problems on other characters…(grumbles)

Theodora: Growwr. 

Grace: You did the same thing with Iama the Terrible. You decided to settle her rivalry with Oriana over whom was the more evil enchantress by sending them to Christopher.

Quartz: Well, he did a good job mediating between them. Seems like I made the right choice. 

Grace: Which is why he sent us to you. It struck him as being the right choice, given some of the secondary character confuddlement we’re going through. 

Theodora: Growwr. 

Grace: We’re not the only Grace and Theodora in Wind Me Up, One More Time. We’ve got a quest, but the other Grace and Theodora have all sorts of things we don’t. Like friends, tea, an itchy sweater, and a school they can’t wait to get away from. 

Quartz: Can’t help you’re noticing you’re wearing a nice cape. Must be much nicer than some itchy sweater. 

Grace: Thank you. (Grace smooths the edge of the cape in question.) The other Grace admired it, too, only there’s so much she has that I don’t. I’m a little jealous.

Quartz: What do you have?

Grace: I have a sister, Nathalie. The other Grace has that, too. Only Iama the Terrible, the evil enchantress takes her away from me. 

Quartz: While the other Grace gets to keep her sister, eh?

Grace: Well, no. Her sister disappears. It looks like there’s no way to get her back for a while. I suppose I had my quest, a hope of retrieving my sister, even if it seemed hopeless.

Quartz: Go on. What else do you have?

Grace: I have Theodora here with me, but she’s not really mine. She belongs to my Nathalie, my lost sister.

Theodora: Growwr.

Grace: Thank you, Theodora. It is nice to be needed, to hear you, and to be listened to, but I’m not your child. Not like the other Theodora belongs to the other Grace.

Quartz: Is that all you have? Really?

Grace: Well, like I said, I have my purpose, my quest. In all of the fragments of Grace and Theodora: Magic and Mishaps within Wind Me Up, One More Time; my…I mean this Theodora and myself are in, the two of us are trying to get my sister, Nathalie back. I’m not sure if the other Grace has a purpose other than handling whatever life throws at her until the end. 

Quartz: That’s something.

Grace: That’s true.

Quartz: Sounds like the other Grace got most of the frustration.

Grace: I get frustration! Not to mention hardship, longing, and I have to escape from actual enchantment. 

Quartz: Isn’t that something else you’ve got the other Grace doesn’t? Enchantment? Not that it doesn’t carry a lot of heartache and pain you don’t want, but you seem to envy your namesake’s itchy sweaters. 

Grace: The other Grace, well, her life isn’t without enchantment, but she really has to seek it out. Enchantment comes easily to me. In fact, I find myself trapped in a palace filled with it. At one point, the enchantment gets hold of me and refuses to let go. 

Theodora: Growwr. 

Grace: Theodora would like to say she has one thing the other Theodora never did…Iama the Terrible’s heart. (She looks down at the stuffed bear.) Isn’t that a spoiler?

Theodora: Growwr.

Grace: No, I suppose not, if you don’t say anything more about it. People might really misunderstand what you just said, though, as a result. 

Quartz: I’m not sure why anyone would want an evil enchantress’s heart. They’re more trouble than they’re worth. Not that I’m biased, oh no, rage doesn’t fill me when I think of what that apple did to my daughter…bloody Oriana!

Grace: An evil enchantress’s heart is something, though? Even if it causes trouble? I didn’t think it was something she’d give away that easily.

Quartz: No, evil enchantresses throw theirs away. After which they cause all sorts of trouble. You know this as well as I do.

Grace: I suppose I do, but I’m glad she did. I’m not sure how we would have won without Iama’s heart.

Theodora: Growwr.

Grace: You’re right, that is a bit of spoiler. Sorry.

Quartz: It’s hard not to give things away. Happily I have Nimmie Not and my brothers to, err, encourage me not to. 
Grace: Well, Theodora and I do have each other, to encourage each other, even if I’m not actually her child. I suppose that’s something, too.

Quartz: I suppose it is.

Theodora: Growwr.

Grace: Thank you, Quartz. Christopher was right. I do feel better after talking to you. So does Theodora.

Quartz: Do you? (mutters) I hate it when that boy is right. (He smiles through his whiskers.) Not always, though. Not always…

Nimmie Not: (voice coming from behind the curtain) Don’t even think it. 

Quartz: Eh?

Nimmie Not: Don’t even think about boys in other universes. Remember I’m watching you.

Quartz: Oh, come on, he’s in love with Damian! Not to mention he has whatever weirdness is going on between himself and the twins! 

Nimmie Not: Hmmph! Like that would stop a flirt like you.

Quartz: For the last time, I’m not a flirt!

Grace: (giggles)

Quartz: What’s so funny?

Grace: Your nose is turning red. 

Quartz: (He puts a hand over his nose) It is not!

Grace: (giggles again) 

Curious about this Grace and Theodora as well as the other two? Here are some buy links to Wind Me Up, One More Time, the story they all appear in...

Want to read the story which started Quartz grumbling (and blogging) about his fate as a secondary character? Here are some buy links to Once Upon a Rainbow Volume 1, the anthology of LGBTQIA+ fairytales in which Quartz meets the fate he'll never forgive, forget, or stop trying to make me undo in Fairest...

Wednesday, December 25, 2019

Paula's Prompts: Wednesday Words

On September 25, 2019, P.T. Wyant posted at Wednesday Words prompt involving a chimney, snow, and bells.

This poem was the result...

The snow never falls on my chimney
I cannot hear the bells
Songs of distant carols surround me
Bringing you close to here
Taking a number of forms
Merriment, joy, and childhood toys
They jingle in your smile
Your movements as you knead gingerbread
Always close when you are near
The light from a candle
The eagerness before opening a brightly wrapped present
The smell of cinnamon and nutmeg in the air
The taste of mulled wine
The ringing peals of laughter
Everything you bring with you

Everything which happens when you’re here. 

Wednesday, December 18, 2019

#QueerBlogWed: Paula's Prompts

On September 4, 2019, P.T. Wyant posted at a Wednesday Words prompt, "Just because it's a bad idea doesn't mean it won't be a good time."

This freebie story was the result...

Bad ideas, good time. You have so little time left. It’ll tempt you, this limited lifespan, to do things you wouldn’t otherwise dream of. You spent a lifetime being prudent. Look at you now. So little life left, so little life truly lived that you look back upon it with bored impatience. You wonder, “Just what was I doing with myself?” 

I’ll tell you what you were doing. You were making choices, playing it safe here, gambling here. You weren’t any more wasteful with the time you had than anyone else on the planet. 

I’m still playing that game, working on that balance. I understand your impatience. I’m not willing to pay the price for your bad idea just so you can have a good time. 

I’m sorry. Maybe I’m not a good friend for making this choice, for being so selfish. I have to live in the world you’re leaving behind, clean up the mess you scatter about while making your exit. 

You’d like it to be a grand one. I can understand that, too. It’s possible to enjoy some good ideas as well as this bad one. 

We’ve still got time to think of one. Give me a chance to do so. It will be worth it. I promise. 

Wednesday, December 11, 2019

#QueerBlogWed: Paula's Prompts

On September 11, 2019, P.T. Wyant posted at a Wednesday Words prompt involving a tower, a flower, and a word of power.

This Tale of the Navel/The Shadow Forest freebie story/teaser was the result...

The tower grew, spreading its roots deep in the ground, roots of stone, mortar, solidifiying the flickering of hopes of those who’d formed it. His own wish was a single flower, blossoming, doomed to fade, only it had been captured. Immortalized in stone. 

He could be released. He could be brought back from this stillness, this stasis. He remembered who he was, even as the hungers of what he’d become intensified every time he smelled the fresh young life blossoming in the garden. Two fresh young lives. 

Those lives were developing thoughts and character of their own, wandering in the shadow beneath the tower. It would be so easy to lose himself in those lives, to forget himself entirely. To disappear into the hungry stone. 

One word kept him from vanishing, a word binding him to whatever was left of him. This word still infused him with an intention, a love he’d almost forgotten as he sank into the rock.


Wednesday, December 4, 2019

#QueerBlogWed: Paula's Prompt

On September 18, 2019, P.T. Wyant posted at a Wednesday Words prompt involving an itch you can't scratch, a journal, and a water fountain.

This poem was the result...

It’s like an itch you cannot reach
Can’t relieve, can’t itch, clinging to your back
The gnawing sense that he’s behind you
Even though you’re alone with the water fountain
Watching it fall, splash into a collected pool
He would have appreciated its beauty
An enigmatic little smile upon his lips
That smile haunts your memories
A riddle which maddens you, weaving your thoughts into knots
You’ve tried to entangle them in your journal
Only to pour a deluge of words onto the page
Unable to gather them, hold them, or control them
They keep bleeding out of your pen
Just as thoughts of him bleed out of your head
A wound you cannot staunch or stop
Simply sit still and watch the flow

Steady and regular as the fall of water. 

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

#QueerBlogWed: The Threshold Part 5

On August 21, 2019, P.T. Wyant posted at a Wednesday Words prompt involving a door in a hillside.

This prompted a huge Tale of the Navel: The Shadow Forest about a young Leiwell, involving a little of the backstory of Dyvian, Maggie, and himself.

This is the fourth part...

Magdalena gazed at him with angry eyes, full black pupils surrounded by rings which might once have been hazel. Right now they were golden-green, luminous in their fury and hope. 

Leiwell didn’t look away, he couldn’t look away. “Don’t blame anyone for your own regrets.”

Magdalena recoiled at this, gazing at that coin. “Well, well, Another acolyte steps forward, ready to whisper your words, Vampyre.”

“I’m no more a vampyre than you are, lady.” His master moved forward to lay a hand upon Leiwell’s shoulder. “This little shadow of Seraphix says nothing more than the truth as you well know.”
Magdalena glanced at Leiwell, at the smooth, checked tile under her feet, anywhere but at the coin. The floor became more real and solid the more she looked at it, as did the pillars in the background, the long cobwebs handing from the ceiling, hiding what might have once been a mural. 

“Assuming what you say is true.” Magdalena spoke to those tiles, lifting her head in a slow, cautious movement. “Can you bring my sister back to me?”

“She’ll be altered, not quite what you remember, but yes. I can bring her back to you.” His master took a sharp, hissing breath, sniffing the air. “If you take the talisman my Leiwell has offered you.” 

Magdalena cast a weary, reluctant gaze at the coin. She reached out for Leiwell’s hand. 

He felt warm, rough fingers brush his skin, very like Map’s, hardened with a lifetime of work, withdrawing the small, metal object which had manifested. 

This wasn’t all she was taking. His master had given this woman his name without asking. Leiwell wondered why he’d done such a thing. 

Magdalena backed up a step, away from the boy and his master, holding the coin. “How is this thing going to help me?”

“That thing can become a symbol of your contract with the God Seraphix.” His master smiled, showing teeth as white as bleached bone. “Wish and pray to Them. The stronger your faith is, the stronger They will become.” A single, pale hand, utterly uncallused gestured to the coin. “Strong enough to bring back your sister.” 

“The God Seraphix?” The woman backed up a step, making a warding gesture at her words. “I want nothing to do with that creature. It’s why my sister is dead!”

“Seraphix can be whatever you believe Them to be.” His master folded his hands and gazed back at Magdalena. “Whether They’re just a creature or your benefactor is up to you.”

“You’re saying if I offer Seraphix faith, it’ll be on my side?” Magdalena let out a sharp, derisive laugh, tossing her head. “I don’t believe it!”

“What you believe is up to you.” His master lifted a finger and wagged it in a slow, languid gesture. “The more faith you offer this godling, the more powerful a god it will grow up to.”

“Powerful enough to bring my sister back.” Magdalena let out a ragged, shuddering breath and gazed down at the metal disc in her palm. “Worship and prayer are the coin I offer in return for a miracle.”

“Exactly.” His master bowed his head and shut his eyes. “You are the one who decides if Seraphix is strong enough to bring back your sister or not.”

Magdalena examined the coin in her hand, turning it over, examining the round face on its surface. The pensive expression upon her lips and nose intensified the resemblance between the profile and herself. 

Leiwell felt a twinge of sympathy. What would he do, if he lost Danyel and Tayel? The very notion gave the air around them a crimson tinge as much as fear. 

He wiped his forehead, focusing on the sweat upon his brown. Such little details grounded him, kept him solid. 

Monday, November 25, 2019

Secondary Characters Speak Out: Quartz, Albert and Victor

It's cross-over time once more, with Quartz interviewing M.D. Neu's Victor (again) and Addison Albright's Albert (again)...check out their unique vampires stories The Calling and The Recruit and The Choice to meet them in their own universes!

As for Quartz, well, he's dead in Fairest, not happy about it, letting me know he's not dead, not only by hijacking this blog once a month, but by pushing me to write a story explaining what really happened to him called Of Cuckoo Clocks and Crystal Coffins. Ahem, let us return to this interview...

Quartz sits on the fourth wall a respectful distance from the two vampires, (particularly Victor) wearing a tunic with a high collar and a scarf wrapped several times around his neck. 

Quartz: “Gentlemen, thank’ee for meeting me.” (He’s avoiding Victor’s gaze.) “You’re vampires from two very different universes. You had a human life once, didn’t you? What was it like?”

A: “Thanks for inviting me back.” (Raises an eyebrow at Quartz and wonders what the little guy knows about Victor that maybe he should be aware of, too.) “Yes. In my world we live among, and in much the same way as humans do. We blend…that’s how we survive in the modern world. It’s been more than two thousand years since I actually was one, though. I have wonderful memories of my childhood and my loving parents. But memories of my time in the Roman army are not so good.” (Albert closes his eyes tightly and his face pinches. He sighs when he reopens his eyes.) “What I had to do to my best friend—otherwise I’d have received the same fate without actually saving him from his—will haunt me forever.” (Albert turns to Victor.) “It’s a pleasure to meet you. Last time I was invited to this wall I met Juliet, who I believe is from your world, is that right?”

V: Victor nods towards Albert. “An honor to meet you Albert. It is rare in my world for one to meet someone of your age. Of course, there is much about my world that I thought was true that has now been proven to be false.” He shrugs. “Ah, well.”” He grins. “Ah, Juliet, yes. She and I share the same world. It would be interesting to know what Juliet has said to you, but I guess, I shall be kept in the dark, as usual.”

Victor glances around seeing the little Fae on his wall, neck well covered and avoiding him. A smile tugs at Victor’s lips. “It’s delightful to be back.” He glanced to Quartz, “My human life was no different than that of any other mortal in the six century. I lived in what is now Spain. My family was neither rich nor poor and like many we were pleased when Raccared became Catholic.”  He chuckled. “My life didn’t becoming interesting until I was Called.” He narrowed his eyes on Quartz and bit at the air. 

Quartz: “Anything you miss now you’re a vampire?”

A: “Real food. It, ah…runs right through vampires in my world, which is an unpleasant experience. I’m used to not eating food now and am satisfied enjoying their smells. But I do miss my mother’s lentils with coriander. I never learned the recipe, not that it would matter now. And roasted wild boar. She used to wrap bacon around the roast. So good!”

V: “I’ve always wanted to try, and enjoy, pizza, it always looks interesting especially with all the toppings and different kinds of crusts….” He sighed. “It’s something even if washed down with a glass of blood, has no taste or flavor and I’ve felt it a waste.” 

Quartz: “You’re both immortal, right? Is there anything special you’ve gotten to experience because of your long life span you’re glad of?”

V: “The last century and half have been the most exciting, yes there were advancements before, but these last 150 years our world…well my world… has grown and changed a lot and I’m glad to have been witness to it.”

A: (Nods.) “I agree with Victor. The recent technological advances are amazing. And yes, vampires in my world can be killed, but we are immortal in the sense that we won’t continue to age beyond our human years and will never die of natural causes. We also heal rapidly. The older we are, the better we heal. As for the reason technological advances are of particular interest to me…well, I shouldn’t share details yet, but advances in space travel will likely be our salvation. With the world-wide trends toward DNA-centric identification, it’s only a matter of time before our existence will be forced into the open.”

Quartz: “Anything you’d rather have missed out on?”

A: “Every war humans have engaged in. In balance, I think the good things outweigh the bad. But perhaps that opinion’s coming from a place of privilege, because I was able to avoid an active role in those since becoming a vampire.”

V: Victor’s gaze lowered to the ground, his hands making their way into his pockets after several moments of quiet thought he raises his head and stares at Quartz. “That question. So, much. There is so much that has happened that…” he shook his head. “This list is long.”

Quartz: “Victor, you’re part of something called the Dark. What’s that exactly?”

V: Victor laughed. “I thought I knew, but as I said my world is changing, thanks in no small part to Chris and of course Kirtus. I’m so glad I kept him alive. I can’t say the same for some others.” He huffed and he felt himself want to shift with anger, but he maintained. “Regardless, the past, it would seem, is coming back into fashion, and I believe it will be for the best, if only I knew more about what was happening with the Light and what was causing all their strife.”

He shook his head. “More to your question, the Dark are vampires that tend to be less focused on others and instead focus all our energy on making our world more comfortable and better. We are independent and don’t believe in living our lives with restraints, of course we have rules that we follow, but we tend to be freer then the Light, in how we live.”  A grin pulled at lips. “Some would call us selfish, but I prefer to think of us as self-innovators.”  

Quartz: “Albert, do you have factions among vampires in your own universe, too?”

A: “Yes. We have factions broken up by geography rather than by philosophy. We have a single world council that oversees all, and coordinates information and innovations between factions. Each faction leader and each council member are considered equals at the top of the vampire hierarchy with equal weight in matters that come to a vote. There is no one leader. Our primary mission is to keep vampires safe, and living comfortable, fulfilled lives. We thoroughly enjoy the entertainment industry’s various takes on what they consider to be the vampire mythos, but our day-to-day lives are nothing like that.”

Quartz: You both drink blood. (really not looking at Victor) Got any victim preferences? (under his breath) Scribbler, did you have to have me ask this question?!

Me: (muttering in a distracted way) “For the blood is the life…”

Quartz: (in a half growl) “Writers. Especially with a headful of fandom…anyway, how much of a part does blood play in your life, or unlife?” 

A: “Life” (Albert narrows his eyes at Quartz.) “We consider ourselves to be alive. Our hearts beat. Yes, our blood is black rather than red, but that simply makes us differently alive.” (Takes a deep breath and brushes off the slight. The little guy didn’t know any better, and what with all the misinformation in movies, it’s only to be expected.) “Blood is necessary to our survival. But, fortunately, it doesn’t need to be fresh. In the old days we didn’t have any choice, but today, we’ve infiltrated blood banks and, more importantly, own many biohazard disposal services. We have access to blood that ages out and is marked for destruction. Although many blood types are frequently in short supply, the types that are not universal donors and aren’t the most common, age out. Blood that is rejected after testing due to infections is also perfectly acceptable for us.”

V: “Oh little Quartz, don’t fear me, I don’t dine on Fae, I have wondered what your blood may taste like, but for the most part I prefer human, plan simple, human. I have no real preference I follow my nose.” He taps his nose for emphasis. “For many of us it is the scent of blood that drives our taste. If one smells good, then their blood smells good.” Victor steps forward, “And you my little friend smell delicious.” He laughs.

“That said, I will echo what Albert has stated, technology has improved our diet and ease of access. We too have stakes in the blood industries including biohazard disposal. A fellow dark, Luka, from Russia has quite the blood trafficking industry. It is one of the few things he and I see eye-to-eye on.”

Quartz: “Is there anyone you’ve ever met you really wished to turn? A famous person or simply a potential companion?”

A: “Only once.” (Grins.) “And I did turn him.”

V: “Two many.” Victor shakes his head, “I shall leave my answer at that.

Quartz: “Is there anyone you feel immortality is wasted upon?”

A: “There are plenty whom it would be wasted on, but they don’t make it past our screening process. The bad apples that were among us before we became organized have been…shall we say…weeded out.”

V: “They are not immortal like us, however, I believe they will live on and that is the Kardashian’s they, sadly, will survive in our collective consciousness for far too long.” His eyes grow narrow and his fangs bite at his lips. “Then there are some, some of my very own, who have far outlived their welcome on my world.” He clears his throat. “Forgive me. That was inappropriate, however, I will say I am pleased to see some I know get the rewards they have long sense deserved.” 

Quartz: “Any long term plans for the future?”

A: “There’s that space project I hinted at earlier. We’ve infiltrated enough agencies that our immortality can be handled with regularly updating appearances and identities. For now. But the world is changing, and the day will come when we can no longer get away with that.”

V: “Many, but that is not for me to say.” He points to the sky. “My creator would not forgive me if I shared spoilers, however, I have given a great many clues away to what is to come. As I’ve said, my world is changing. We will not expose ourselves to humans of course, that would be suicide, but things will change, for good or for bad. Maybe both.” 

Quartz: “All right, as individuals who’ve watched the world change over the centuries, how has it surprised you? What do you expect to see in the future?”

A: “Nothing much surprises me anymore.” (Shrugs.) “And we make it our business to stay on top of trends, so we can predict which way policies around the world are moving. As I’ve mentioned, we predict an earth with populations that are more and more keyed into personal identification that’s DNA centric. We—vampires—don’t plan to stay around to actually see that happen.”

V: “My world, the world I occupy, is always changing and growing. We may see a rise in your kind, Quartz, but I doubt it, still it may happen. Humans will continue to be unaware of us, much like in Alberts world I assume, we have taken steps to ensure our secrecy even with the continued changes in technology. I suspect those like Elon Musk, Tim Cook, and others will push my world forward into areas of science and technology yet to be discovered…” He glanced around. “I do wonder what may happen if life from other world finds us, how would we, as vampires, react to such a thing. Or, we will do when humans become too clever and we become to sloppy.” 

Quartz: Thank’ee, both of you. (inching back a little more from Victor, muttering) Bloody scribbler. Why does she keep doing this to me…

V: “Always a pleasure, my little friend, perhaps one day, you will come to my world for a visit, there is much I think you would like to see.” He turns to Albert. “A pleasure to meet one as old as you. Your world sounds equally as interesting as mine.”

A: “Thank you for the invite, Quartz…and...” (Glances at the curious wall.) “uh…Scribbler? And Victor, I appreciate your kind words. It’s likewise a pleasure to meet you and learn more about your intriguing world.”

A red curtain appears and a voice comes from behind it. 

Nimmie Not: “So that’s what you’re up to, Quartz. Talking to these handsome immortals behind my back. I’m going to have to think of something to show you just how…distressing…I find this. 

Quartz: Gah!