Pheromones

Apparently, what happens when I have too much time to think in a hotel.

🧼

“You put what in the shampoo?”

“I didn’t put it in the shampoo, I changed our contract to a company that put it in the personal care products.”  Lorin wasn’t visibly on the defensive, yet, but there was a bit of a shoulder-shift going on. 

“Okay, so, our contractor put what in the ‘personal care products?'” Auria was not at all mollified by Lorin’s “correction.”

“Pheromones.   Not a lot, no, just a tiny bit.  Just enough to make people who visit our hotel feel like they’re part of an in-group, part of a select clan.  Just enough to make them breathe in and think ah, home about our hotel and our guests.” Lorin had clearly read all of the marketing material. Twice.

“Lorin. We are hosting a fantasy convention this weekend.  Every room we were willing to book is triple-occupied if not quintuple-occupied, and that’s not counting the guests they think we don’t know about.  So figure an average of 4.5 guests to each room.  They’re almost all requesting extra toiletries. Extra towels.  And they are spending all day in the main Conference Spaces.  Do you see the problem? Do you see?”

Auria gestured broadly towards the lobby, not that she needed to.  There were clearly two groups: those who had taken advantage of the toiletries and those who had not.  Or so one could assume from the very tight gathering of one group and the far looser gathering on the other side, the smiles and slightly tilted heads vs. the slightly stand-offish body language, the more tidy costumes, in some cases, vs. not.  Those who were in the first group were looking almost beatific.   And those in the second were looking both left-out and  irritated.

“So… you’re saying.”  Lorin looked at Auria, then back at the lobby, then back at Auria, “that I should encourage the rest of them to try our new hand soap?”

Want more?

Landing Page: Unicorn/Factory

A new setting, Unicorn/Factory colors an early industrial world, where the ravages of rampant production are being held off by unicorns.

This story has some dark themes – not just pollution, corruption, and the clash of industrialization & farming, but also the very real costs paid by the farming towns. It also encompasses, in some stories, (unicorn-based) rape and forced pregnancy, maiming, and murder.


Best Places to Start
Down the River
The Silver Road (LJ)
Preconceptions


The Stories

Apple-Picking

So, the first year we were in our house, someone came onto the property and just started picking apples.  Claimed they knocked, but T. was in the garage and they didn’t, say, leave a note or anything, they just started picking.

T. told them to Get Off My Property and, as far as we know, they’ve never come back.

I giggle about this sometimes.

Couple years ago, this guy who looked like a hipster except with a thick Eastern European accent stopped by and wanted to photograph our tree.  I told him only if he took some apples. 😉  He took like three reusable-shopping-bags worth and came back later for more.

Last year, a nice guy brought us a gallon of cider BEFORE he started picking apples, and brought us some maple syrup too, and then more cider.  Took a lot of apples – we did not have any shortage, let me tell you.

Just got a note from him the other day and, in addition, there’s a nice older lady who stopped by with her grandkids to pick some apples.  Hooray!  I am super thrilled by people who come to me to get apples.  (Especially when they leave cider behind).

But only if they ask first.

Or, you know, happen to bike by while we’re picking apples.

Or come with a good recipe for something we haven’t done with apples yet.

(And we still have more than enough for ourselves, let me tell you, even without breaking into the weird apple trees in the hedge row).

Also, tonight for dinner: Kale Apple Soup.

Hidden Mall 87: The Final Steps

Something was just a little too — a little too easy. 

Abseil put her hand over the mouthpiece.  “Someone – guys, get someone watching the front door.  Get the mall to close the doors if you can,” she murmured quietly,.   She didn’t want to lose her comfort here. She didn’t want to be left on her own, but —

But she had a responsibility.

Olly and Kevin stayed, arms tight around her, as she went back to the phone.  Continue reading

Purchase Negotiation 18 – Testosterone Stuff

First: Purchased: Negotiation
Previous: Unicorn

💰

They sat there for a moment.  Leander was trying to come up with something to say that wasn’t sir, you’re weird, and that terrifies me, and Mr. MacDiarmid seemed to be trying to come up with anything at all to say on his end. 

It was like that, sitting on the floor, one of Mr. MacDiarmad’s hands on Leander’s and the other on his shoulder, that Sylviane found them. 

Leander tensed.  He didn’t— But — how was he going to explain—   Continue reading

Landing Page: PortalBound

A world connected to many other worlds, including our own, by unpredictable and sometimes transitory portals, Portal Bound is both the name of an incomplete story (never posted) in the world and the world itself.

You can find the beginning of the story excerpted on Patreon.

World Building Via Portals

Running in the Bear Empire 60 – The Claw’s Hunter

 

First: Running in the Bear Empire
🐻

Floren had gone off to get a map. 

Gacharre had  headed off to pick up some reports that he had questions about. 

Pakkon had left on a thin excuse with a suggestion – a very polite suggestion – that none of the Claw would be back for at least an hour. 

“Did they just clear the room to give us time to–” Carrone’s gesture was only evocative if you knew certain Haloran idioms, but since Deline did, it made her grin.  Continue reading

Coming Out In Cloverleaf

This is a few days late, sorry!  But it came to my mind on National Coming Out Day

Nathen (and his headmates) are the protagonists of Afterward(s), the… ahem… novels?… I’m working on.  He’s also visible in “Dictator, Dic-TAH-tor…” and “Lightning in Autumn” (which started the whole thing), as well as “Bi Kisses” and possibly my favorite little microfic here.

This is set in approximately the 2060’s, in Cloverleaf.

~*~

The calendar was a surprise.  Nathen just wasn’t all that used to them anymore; a lot of places had lost touch with the exact days and weeks for a while, and those that hadn’t had definitely lost touch with things like printed calendars.

But this one, hung behind the bar and claiming to be the most gorgeous people in all of Cloverleaf, was there (Mr. October was indeed gorgeous, but he couldn’t hold a candle to Leo), and the days were neatly X’d off.

It was a Friday – he’d already known that; they were working, after all.  And it was apparently October 11th.

How did I never notice that before?

Because it’s usually behind the rum and the vodka.  Means we need to restock.

They did that, pulling the big glass bottles out – rum, proper rum. Or possibly improper rum, probably improper rum, all things considered. But still rum. Vodka, which of course could be distilled in formerly-Montana if it could be distilled in probably-still-Russia.

It was only when they were making sure that the glasses were stocked that the date hit Nathen.

“Oh.”  He blinked.  “It’s Coming Out Day.”  How long since he’d thought of that?  How long since Pride Parades?  How long since that one sweet co-worker who had shyly suggested to him that, since it was National Coming Out Day, maybe he had something to say?

“It’s what?”  Xia, who owned the bar was not young, per se, but she definitely was younger than Nathen.  Younger than the end of the world.

“Old holiday. Ancient holiday,” he corrected. “Back when being gay was, uh. When it wasn’t quite so accepted. Well.” He cleared his throat. “Back in America, when it wasn’t still as accepted.” There were still places here and there on the continent when just about anything wasn’t accepted. He wasn’t sure that would ever change. But here, here in Cloverleaf, things were a lot… well, easier.

“Oh.”   Xia smirked at him.  “So you’re saying ‘back in the bad old days.'”

Nathen chuckled.  “Yeah.  Yeah, I suppose I am.”

The world was doing fine, he supposed, if less than a century later, they could call the days before the apocalypse the bad old days..

A Landing Page of Micro- and Tootfic

I love posting tiny fics on Mastodon on occasion (see the tootplanets for one series there), but Mastodon, like Twitter, is inherently a bit ephemeral.

I’m going to begin with an archive of all the tootfics I’ve posted that I can find (mostly from the Read Me Elsewhere posts) and attempt to update this as I go.

Microfiction is very small fiction, designed to be a whole tale (hopefully), in a small package.  50-word fics, drabbles (100-word fics), 6-word fics (See the Hemmingway example) – these are subsets of microfiction.  So are tootfiction – fics designed to fit in a toot (The Mastodon version of a tweet) or, in common usage, several toots.  Tweetfic is harder (less characters, although 280 is better than 140 for this) but is the same concept.

Here’s someone else’s definition:

As Shakespeare said, “Brevity is the soul of wit.” Which translated into modern language means, “Everyone should write and read microfiction.”

What is Microfiction?

It’s a subset of flash fiction—those super short stories typically told in 1,000 words or less. Definitions vary, but for the most part, microfiction is any story told in 300 words or less, and could even be as short as a few words. (At Microfiction Monday Magazine, I use the limit of 100 words.)

Mastodon is free to join, by the way, and ad-free; you can read any of the below fic, however, just by clicking through – you don’t need to have an account!


Here’s My Microfiction

Fantasy (including Urban Fantasy)

By A Nose
Souls and Hearts
A Wish
Side Effects (warning: creepy)
The Come and Gone King (a reply)
The Hall of the Lost (a reply)

Natha/en (fae apoc)
Bi Kisses (more Natha/en)
Rooftop – Jasper and the House converse. (Haunted House)
Once Upon a Time comes to Fae Apoc – darkfic crossover Fanfiction

Ficlet with a portion of a map sketch, Autumn, Stranded

Stranded Caturdays
Untitled Cat Game – cats can’t see Strands….
Neighborhood Cat

The Pirates and Podka
Orange Sunset Parlay – The Imperial Captain wants to talk to Yonpler.
Silver Rain – on Podka, it was said to rain silver.
Blue Foraging – the Captain and Yonpler are going to have to work together.
Teal Calculations – Sometimes you have to take a leap. Sometimes you can calculate the risks.

Potions and the Apocalypse?
Po(t)tion – the trick in potions
Wav(er)ing – the trick in spells
End(ur)ing – magic in the apocalypse
Ru(i)ne(d) – Personal runes in magic
Grim(oire) – A scavenged grimoire.
Sel(f/v)edge – Salvaging Magic
Substitutions – Needs must, after all
Ban(e/ana) – Some more substitutions
Protect – During the Dust Fall

Reinventing the Wheel – not sure if this is Fantasy or Sci-Fi so it’s Fantify?

Sci-fi

Cure the Cure
Tootplanet Resumes 
Bird Brains

Horror

Don’t Approach

Misc

Cake Walk, weird.

Tootfiction Already Posted on this Blog


Various Blog-posted Microfiction

100-Word Fics

I went through a phase where I was on 100- and 50-word fic community on Livejournal, back when that was a thing. 

50-word Fics

Try the password “suddenly!” for pre-2007 posts.  

General Microfiction

Kink Bingo prompts 

a story over many micro-intervals,to a kink-bingo prompt set

 

Hidden Mall 86: You Win

Abseil turned to the nearest rack and stared at the clothes in front of her.  They were men’s clothes, workout clothes. “Kevin. You’re not normally the gym type, are you? But maybe you’ve been thinking about, I dunno, getting a little more upper body strength and maybe a bit more endurance?”

“Well, uh, yeah. I mean a bit less credulity and maybe a little more self-preservation — what? I do know how to read,” he added defensively. 

“Well, I’ve – okay, different world.  I’ve never seen our version of you read,” she admitted. 

“It’s not like, not like doing it at the lunch table or something, like you and Liv,” he admitted. “More like the sort of thing when you’re home at night and nobody else’s around.” Continue reading