Archive | September 2014

The Manticore

She lived in the center of the Rebuilt City, in an apartment high in a tower that had once held offices. Although the city was called Rebuilt, the place where she lived was still more ruin than reconstruction, and few people ventured that deep into the former metropolis.

She was not often seen, not by people who reported back to others, of course, but there were rumors of her from time to time. Sometimes, adventurous people did not bother her, and thus could sight her and leave without danger. Other times they simply escaped.

She could fly, some said. She could run faster than any human ought, others whispered. She could rend flesh effortlessly, with claws or teeth: they showed the proof of that, sometimes, in wounds that festered and rotted. She could poison you with a flick of her tail.

And yet they also said she was a beautiful girl, a young woman who looked small and vulnerable, who would be found sunning herself high on a balcony, overlooking the ruins.

They said she ate people – those who escaped, those who had never been there. They said she devoured them whole, unhinging her jaw like a snake. They said she was a monster. And it was true that those who vanished into her territory were never heard from again, nor were any signs ever seen – not hide nor hair nor clothes nor weapons.

They called her the manticore. And they either loved her or feared her, but none knew her true.

Written to [personal profile] anke‘s prompt

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Hard Hat and Easy Choices, a ficlet for the Genderfunk call

Written to [personal profile] clare_dragonfly‘s Prompt to my gender-funk call. More gender than funk, but still fun

“Excuse me, Miss, you can’t – Oh. Oh, excuse me.” He wasn’t really recognizing her; he wasn’t even reading the name on her pass. He was just looking at the green bar across the top of it that meant “money.”

“No worries. Here.” Andy fit the hard hat – custom-made and screaming of “money” as much as her pass did – over her ringlets. “The boots are steel-toed and, yes, I can climb in these jeans.”

“I’m sorry, Miss, Ma’am, it’s just…”

“I know.” She air-patted near the man’s shoulder. It wasn’t kind, she supposed, but she’d run into this enough times that it had gone from amusing to just tiresome and back again. “Look, I’m Andonia Carter, and this is my building. I just need to get up to the third row of balconies, all right?”

He looked flummoxed. They always did. She’d found if she was going to do this job, it was the only way to get what she wanted without sacrificing anything she didn’t want to lose.

“Ma’am, Miz Carter, you can go right up. I’m sorry, it’s just…”

“It’s always just.” She patted her ringlets, just to hammer home the point, and swung into the construction elevator. She’d have to go through it again tomorrow, probably – but eventually, word would get around.

It would have been easier to just dress like they did… but then she’d never make an impression at all.

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Ladies’ Bingo Card

This is my [community profile] ladiesbingo card!

[community profile] ladiesbingo is a challenge for fanworks about relationships between women.

Please feel free to leave me suggestions for any square (either extant characters/settings or generic prompts); I’ll italicize squares that have suggestions and link completed stories.

Race Against Time Sudden Danger Sleeping arrangements Death Myth / Fable
Truth or Dare Genderswap Patterns Temporary Lodgings Crackfic
Sex Work / Hooker AU Sufficiently Advanced Technology Wild Card Androids and robots There’s a first time for everything: First times
Thank God it’s Friday… Again: Time Loops Possessive Behaviour Funerals and Wakes Kidfic / Babyfic Evening
That Moment (incident / chapter / episode) in detail Something Breaks / Malfunctions Contemporary AU Factories and other Industrial Spaces Warm Blooded / Cold Blooded

Edited to add: this list of (some of) my named female characters might help.

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Samurai have friends, a continuation of Doomsday for the Giraffe Call (@rix_Scaedu)

This is written to Rix_Scaedu‘s commissioned continuation of the “Samurai” thread:
Gonna be a Samurai
Gonna Learn how to be a Samurai and
Being a Samurai Takes Work
If You Want to be a Samurai…
Gonna be a Samurai… Kitty?

Fourth Year.
Austin was going to be cy’Lightning Blade, of course. That had been a foregone conclusion since he first met Professor Inazuma, and growing ears and a tail (siiiigh) just cemented what he’d already known.

“You should keep on studying farming with Professors Sweetflower and Lily, of course.” Principal Doomsday was taking care of Austin’s official move from cy’kidlings to cy’Lightning Blade, including the physical move from the kids’ dorm to the cy’Lightning house. “And don’t forget to make time for your friends. Remember – sa’Bulldozer, sa’Rainbow, sa’Lightning, sa’Vengeance and I were all in different cy’rees when we were in school, and we are still crew after all this time.”

His friends? Austin found himself blinking owlishly at the principal. “Sweetbriar’s probably going to go cy’Lightning Blade, too.”

The principal said nothing. Austin thought hard and fast. “Sianna. Sianna’s not – Sianna’s not a fighter, she’s a dancer.” Why hadn’t he ever been listening? “Sianna’s not going to go cy’Lightning Blade, is she?” She would probably go… cy’Lily? Or cy’Sweetflower. Who… were his secondary instructors for farming.

“Austin, were you listening?” Principal Doomsday leaned against the wall and huffed at him. “You’re not changing Mentors to be with Sianna. For one, then you wouldn’t be in a cy’ree with Sweetbriar. For another, you wouldn’t be happy as cy’Lily, in my opinion. And for a third, it’s a small school. You’ll still have plenty of time together.”

“But not sitting up all night talking…” Austin slapped a hand over his mouth. “I mean…” The words came out, unsurprisingly, muffled.

Principal Doomsday laughed. “You’re not the only one, I assure you. I told you, I was a student once myself. All of the staff were.”

“Not here though, right?” A change of subject, yay. Austin remembered to move his hands away from his mouth.

“No, long ago and not all that far away, in a place called Addergoole. I think your mother and your older siblings went there…?”

Not the nicest change of subject. “Um. Yeah. Yeah, that’s what Mom said. Somewhere underground? She never really wanted to talk about it.”

“Most Addergoole grads don’t. But we were all kids once. We remember.” The principal patted Austin’s shoulder. “You’ll still have time for your friends, and I’m sure Professor Leo – Professor Inazuma – isn’t going to say no to the occasional sleepover. Sianna’s a nice girl.”

“So’s Sweetbriar.” The words came out fast. Sweetbriar wasn’t nice, not really. She was sharp and prickly and sometimes temperamental, already deadly and altogether hard to read when she wanted to be.

And… and Principal Doomsday was smiling at him, no, grinning, why had he never noticed that minks had sharp teeth, help…

“Sweetbriar is an interesting girl. She’s a good friend, from what I can tell, and someone good to have your back in a fight. Of course, I’m biased.”

“Biased? Ma’am?” She was going cy’Lightning Blade, right, not cy’Doomsday? He didn’t want to lose both of his friends.

“She’s my granddaughter. One of several, of course – but she’s still my granddaughter.” The principal smiled again, and this time it seemed far less dangerous. “You have good taste in friends, Austin. You’re going to be fine.”

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The Creation of a Story: How I Wrote My Piece for “What Follows”

There was a difference, Galina considered, between being immensely long-lived and being bulletproof,
or, as the case may be, bomb-proof. She had met people that were both; she, on the other hand, was
probably not.

This is not the beginning of the story I submitted for What Follows.

The armies were coming.

Grace had gotten lucky, up until now. Her villa was far from the cities and she herself was distant, this century, from business or politics or fame.
But now the city was gone, fallen into burning heaps and the heaps burned to ashes. The so-called gods and the self-proclaimed heroes who had fought over the city were dead, dying, run away, or hiding. And the armies marched on.

Neither is this. But, As is often the case, they are the shell from which the final story, “Monster Godmother,” emerged.

It went something like this:

Me: So, what are you working on?

Ross: Story for April’s anthology of “How do immortals deal with the apocalypse?”

Me: *Ears perk* Is it open to new authors? Because “immortals and the apoc” is totally my ball game.

Ross: well, you can check. It’s like two and a half weeks till deadline, though.

At this point, I was plotting Escape From Rochester (a serial of a semi-immortal dealing with an apocalypse), thinking about Live Blog the Apoc (which is pretty much what it sounds like), and, in other words, neck-deep in one of my apocalyptic settings. Immortals and the apoc was, indeed, totally my ball game.

…and then I turned around and started the story three times.

That happens, sometimes. The story won’t start, or it starts and then it fizzles after half a page. I do the online version of crumple up the paper and start again.

This time, with a little over twenty-four hours till the deadline, I looked at my 1,164 words and was dissatisfied. I could totally complete the story – but it wasn’t the story I wanted to tell.

So on the drive home from work, I scribbled out an outline for a new story. (Don’t try this at home. For one, it’s really hard to read your handwriting when you’re writing while driving. For another, gah unsafe.) And over the following twenty-four hours, I wrote “Monster Godmother.”

I sat up on Rion’s bed for hours that night, doing word-sprints. And, while every other story had fought me every word of the way, this one flowed. It swam. The original concept, the bare bones, might have something to do with the first two stories I’d written, but this one had music. I wrote 4000-plus words in just over a calendar day. I’m not sure I’ve ever done that before (outside of NaNoWriMo), and I’m not sure I want to do it again, but it was fun. Sort of like the writing equivalent of extreme sports.

Then came the editing, pushing words around, making them fit. Speed-editing, begging for betas, second-guessing word choices. Do I say Ellehemaei (the in-setting word for the immortal-like beings)? It seems like a stretch when nobody outside of the tiny Fae Apoc fandom knows the word. So what, fae? gods-children? Both words fit, and yet neither word fits. In the end, I ended up using “gods-children” as the most evocative, and calling it good.

Then I sent it off to April, crossed my fingers, and waited.

And now here we are! Several months later, with a brand shiny new anthology in front of us, “Monster Godmother” nestled in there with Ross’s story, Rion’s story, and stories from M.J. King, Joyce Chng, Kate Larking, Nina Waters, E.V. O’Day, Crystal Sarakas, Sarah Lyn Eaton, and April Steenburgh. It’s a good cozy place for it, I think. Right in the middle of the apocalypses.

Totally my ball game. 🙂

Check out What Follows here:
Barnes & Noble
(We will be on Kobo shortly)

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Introductions, a continuation of Reynard


“My name is Elle.” The woman had the wire cutters far too close to parts of Reynard that he was very, very fond of. He could feel the cold metal against his skin, and was a bit too much of a coward to look at what she was doing. Not that he could move his head in that direction, anyway… “You are in New Buffalo. I suppose Joshua passed on the news to Addergoole East, and when you ran afoul of Lady Storm and her – mmm – her man – well, here you are.” The clippers moved, and Reynard’s left leg was suddenly free. “Please try not to move too much until I’m done. You’re all over hawthorn, and you could hurt yourself.”

Reynard held still. It had been, he thought, years – almost a decade – since he’d been Kept, but he thought the words had the feel of an order around the edges, even softened by please and try.

She had said several important things, if only the clippers and the shifting and prickling of the hawthorn wasn’t distracting him. “Elle?” he tried. “Is that -“

“That’s the name my father gave me. I can’t say he was the best at the whole thing.” The clippers moved upwards, over Reynard’s belly.

“Well, my father named me Fox.” He tried to shrug, and found he wasn’t really moving at all. Well, that might answer that. “And your Mentor…?” If she remembered him from Addergoole…

“Professor Valerian named me the Stone Gardener.” She patted his thigh with her leather-clad hands. “And I earned it, much like you earned your Name… Fox.”

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“What Follows” is live!

Guys, look!

How would an Immortal deal with the End Times?

The world will inevitably come stumbling into apocalypse, and They will be there to witness it. Dryads, demi-gods, deities of every pantheon- is it possible for the Eternal to handle an ending with grace?

Should it come through disease, disaster, or religious fervor, discover What Follows…

Stories by Lyn Thorne-Alder, M.J. King, Joyce Chng, Kate Larking, Nina Waters, K Orion Fray, E.V. O’Day, Crystal Sarakas, Sarah Lyn Eaton, and Ross Bennett.

Amazon Link (Kindle. Print version to follow soon)

Smashwords Link

GoodReads Link

Barnes & Noble e-book Link

My story, “Monster Godmother,” is set in the Fae Apoc universe, although it is written to be accessible to those who have no familiarity with the world as well as seasoned veterans of the ‘verse.

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Bisexual Awareness: bi characters

Yesterday was Bisexual Visibility day! (hi, I’m bi)

In honor of that, for the rest of this week, if you leave a prompt on any one of my three open calls (help I’m a bit overboard) that relates to bisexuality/pansexuality or to a bi character of mine, I will give it Top Priority and try to post it before Monday (results may vary; there’s a wedding I’m in on Sunday).

The Calls:
Demifiction for the Circled Plain
Ladies’ Bingo

Bisexual/Pansexual* Characters include… um.

Not all of them, but there’s a tolerably good chance.

Looking at my “Character” tag list… characters I KNOW have sexual attraction to 2 or more genders (numbers in brackets come from DW and are just the # of stories tagged w/ that character) –
aleron [1]
ambrus [3]
ardell [1]
aviv [1]
ayuda [1] (probably)
basil [1]
brydan [2]
cole [5]
delaney [1]
dj [3]
efrosin [1]
eluned [1]
griselda [1]
hemlock [1]
hunter-hale [3] (no canon to back this up yet)
indigo [1]
ivette [3]
jamian [2]
joff [3]
magnolia [1]
maureen [2]
miryam [4]
phillipa [5] (maaybe?)
reese [1]
silas [1]
speed [6]
summer [8]
ty [1]
xaviera [1]
yoshi [3]

(around H is when I stopped looking things up and just selected the ones I knew offhand were bi/pan/poly, so this is not nearly a complete list. Ask if you want to know!)

* I am so not getting into the distinction between pan and bi. That can happen in someone else’s journal.

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Jumping Rings: A Story of the Circled Plain – Chapter Seven

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Chapter Seven: Taslin


“Come, Taslin Gladiator.” Vinroth touched Taslin gently on the elbow. “You have fought well, and now you must deal with another sort of battle.”

She blinked at him. The guards had taken away her opponent, and a medic had bound her wounds and fed her something that was supposed to make the pain go away. It had mostly made her muzzy-headed and a little bit silly.

“No more battles today. I’m not that good, yet.”

Continue reading on Inner Circle’s new webpage!

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