Archive | September 2015

If a Tree Grows in the Forest… a drabble

Written to [profile] kiarrith‘s prompt here

The thing was, the industrial areas of the city hadn’t been abandoned that long. 15 years since the last manufacturing business folded in the area, sure, seven since the last start-up trying to use the old spaces fizzled out. But there were hobos and drifters, skaters and hippies. There was always someone wandering through the space. Leticia walked through herself, Tuesdays and Thursdays when she didn’t have much time between work and classes.

Which is how she knew something was up when she encountered the oak grove. It was Tuesday, which meant she’d last been through this cut-through – between the old Gleason Works building and the even older Lomb plant, where the workers of both had once shared bag lunches and a brief bit of unfiltered sunlight – it had last been only 5 days ago.

Last week, the courtyard had been full of weeds, a little bit of trash, with a beaten path straight through the middle.

Today, there were five oak trees in a circle where a picnic table had once stood. They weren’t small trees, either; the smallest one was too big for Letitia to encircle with her arms.

She walked around the trees cautiously. This had to be some sort of trick, some sort of urban graffiti gone supremely weird. Trees just didn’t grow overnight. Not in a vacant lot, not anywhere.

Her foot hit something hard. Letita knelt down to look, perplexed beyond caution.

A piece of metal twisted out of the weeds, so rusted it fell apart in her hands. Another piece of metal caught her eye, white and pitted. In the flat metal, a heart was etched, dirt rubbed deep into the lines.

Letita felt chill. She knew this heart. If she pulled the rest of the metal out of the weeds, it would say QW + ZX. She’d puzzled over those initials and the heart’s wobbly arrow for months. They’d been carved into the picnic table, the table that had stood where the oak trees now grew.

Slowly, her heart in her throat, Letita turned around to look at the city skyline.

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Ideas for Novellas

It occurred to me that I could and possibly should try writing a novella (10K words) every second month (because I could work on something longer-form in the off months).

So here is an incomplete list of things I want to write long form stories on:
* A proper intro to Tir na Cali
* Fires of Gobann
* Rock and a Hard Place (see first: Rock, Hard, Now What?)
* Prince Rodegard (first: here)
* The Kaa-tah (here)

Hunh, last time I counted 8.

* Space Accountant
* The Tod’cxeckz’ri Paper
* Beekeeper
* Pet Story

Edited to add:
* Doomsday Academy

Edited Edited to add:

something I’m starting from a relatively short piece. That leaves out The Tod’cxeckz’ri Paper, Beekeeper, makes Rock and a Hard Place & Space Accountant questionable.

Something I know I can have fun writing.
That leaves out Doomsday & makes Space Accountant & Kaa-Tah Questionable.

Easy/no worldbuilding?
Makes Prince Rodgeard & Subverse questionable.

Something with easy plotting?
Tir na Cali & Fires of Gobann.

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Productivity Today!

Today, so far, I/we (T & I) have:

* Pulled the chest freezer out from the garage, thawed it, and cleaned up the exploded apple goo from the bottom (Cider jugs have a variable amount of headspace. Sometimes it’s not enough.)

* Run a batch of tiny apples from the Spare Trees through the squeezo set up on the mixer (T. chopped ’em and put ’em to boil a couple days ago)

* Boiled down the last of the pico de gallo from the company picnic into a passable tomato sauce & froze that

* Picked more tiny apples

(* took a nap)

(* Had a very tasty fried egg & jowl bacon w/ pico de gallo & chives for breakfast and very nice not-at-all-traditional latkes w/ more chives and sour cream for lunch)

* cut new supports for the mailbox front out of plastic wood

* Made a sour cream apple coffee cake (it’s currently in the oven) (this recipe) with sour cream from the company picnic

(The company picnic was catered by Moe’s. Next up are fried cinnamon-and-sugar tortilla chips…)

* Wrote an Aunt Family Piece for [personal profile] kelkyag/Patreon & created a Canva picture for it, though it’s not my favorite design.

Next up:

* Pick more apples, take a walk, write the last kitty Patreon piece for the month, do some Day Job, maybe do some Edally & This Other Project Thing writing. Have dinner, hang out with husband, pet cats.

* Clean up the kitchen, put the freezer back in the barn

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Lilac in Spring, a character study of Radar and Lam, posted on Patreon

Lilac in Spring

“Hey, stop that, stop that. You’re my mother, yes, I fully acknowledge that, but what are you doing, no, no, not inside the ear…”

The cat often known as Radar was in the habit of ignoring voices that spoke in English. It wouldn’t do for anyone – not even the human that theoretically could call him as familiar – to get used to him being tame. He was a cat, after all, no matter what machinations had folded him into that shape….

read on…

Before Kitten troubles and after Charming, Kitten Switch, and Boy Trouble

Aunt Family have a landing page here.

This story is free for all to read!

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Now taking a few small prompts

Just for fun, because I don’t feel like working on anything big.

theme: Fantasy worlds/fictional worlds/strange lands.

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Vermin Hunter, a story of Aunt Family, is up on Patreon

Vermin Hunter

The bed was cozy and the woman beside her was warm. Annalise did not want to move. But outside, just at the edge of the property, something was stirring, something that did not belong. She yawned irritably and stretched, spine arching, paws padding against the blanket. If she was quick, if she was lucky, she could be back in before the human noticed she was gone.

read on…

For just $1, you can read all the Patreon stories!

This one follows another Aunt Family and another cat. There are most mysteries in the dark than Radar – or Annalise – talk about.

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Character building: Rafe (a drabble)

Near the end of Year 5
There were nights when Rafe woke up not knowing where he was anymore. Those were the bad nights – not the worst, but close to it. He’d stare at the ceiling, or at Renata’s fall of blonde hair, refusing to move, afraid to even breathe, until he remembered that this was his Kept, not his Keeper, that this was okay, that he was safe.

He never talked about those moments with anyone. Of the three of them – Eris and Joff and him – he was supposed to be the strong one, supposed to be the calm one. Of the three of them, he’d had it the easiest. Nobody had taken to cutting him up as a weekend hobby. Nobody had locked him in the closet whenever he forgot his script. He was strong. Protective. He wasn’t supposed to be the one with nightmares.

Last night had started with a bad night, and things were not looking up. He smiled at Eris, squeezed Joff’s hand, and gave Renata a gentle hug. “We’ll be back in a few hours. We’re going to go visit the kids.”

“I wish I could come with you.” Renata wrinkled her nose and looked down at the floor. “I’d like to meet your kids. Your other kids.”

“You will, eventually. I’m sure of it.” He rubbed her back for a moment in apology. “But not today. Stay here, okay?”

“Okay.” She settled carefully into the couch. “Maybe I’ll get some homework done.”

“Good idea.” Praise, touch. Gentleness. Those were the things that made a Keeping bearable, that made it feel like a warm nest instead of a cold cage. Rafe knew exactly what the lack of those things felt like, and he was not going to do that to his Kept. “We won’t be that long.”

He pulled his imaginary armor over himself as they left her behind. The smile faded into something hard and wolfish. His back straightened; he raised his chin. He didn’t have to look at Joff and Eris to know they were doing the same.

They were visiting their children. They were visiting Liza.

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The Invasion of the Kaa-Tah, a story for Patreon free for all to read

The Invasion of the Kaa-Tah

The Kaa-tah arrived in early Spring, as the snow was melting. They came down in unsettled areas, their small landing craft hiding easily in forests, in deep grass, in rolling hills. They were picked up on radar, but even so, falling a few a day, all over the globe, it took the world’s authorities too long to recognize the invasion for what it was.

The Kaa-tah did not immediately engage local populations; instead, they put the robots and tools they had brought to good use, building structures, setting up small, isolated settlements and beginning to manufacture more tools, more advanced robots.

The first humans to discover Kaa-tah-ah settlements were gently rebuffed, sent away with a light smattering of weapons fire…

read on…

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On Addergoole and teenage parenting – after school

I was thinking this morning of Cya having to deal with a new teacher:

“I wanted to talk to you about this picture of his family Yoshi drew.”

Horns? Tails? Cya’s worried for a moment; humans get so bent out of shape about these things, thinking they’re symbols when they’re just the way the family looks.

But no. She looks over the picture. Yoshi’s probably not a budding Picasso, as much as she’d like him to be, but it’s a pretty good representation.

“Yeah, that’s about right. That’s Yoshi and his brother Viddie – it’s Viðrou, that’s an eth, don’t mark him off for a wrong D when it’s not, please – those are my friends Howard, Leo, and Zita – she really is that short. Leo is Viddie’s father, that’s why he’s over there next to Viddie, and then that’s Leo’s daughter Sigruko and Zita’s kids Amy, Ariel, and Brandy. That’s everyone.”

“But the assignment was to draw his family.

Cya aims a look of patient disparagement at the teacher. “You’re new here, aren’t you?”

All over America, from ’99 through 2011, kids in their early twenties are struggling with the system.

Acacia leans in close to the teacher. Her voice is low and full of menace. “Do not ever ask about my child’s father in front of her again. That is not a conversation she needs to hear. Do you understand?”


Orlaith sighs at the paperwork. “No. Ce’Rilla, with an apostrophe. Hunter-Hale, with a hyphen. Samael, not Samuel, a-e-l. Seriously.”


Aelgifu has dealt with the whispers and the strange looks, but it’s the soccer mom that actually comes out and asks that brings it all to a head.

“How did two lesbians end up with four kids before you even graduated college? I mean, it’s not like you can get pregnant by accident.”

She waits a heartbeat, then another, to see if the woman realizes how stupid what she just says is. When the woman flushes and stammers out something starting with “I mean…”, Ayla smiles reassuringly.

“At least you didn’t ask the kids.” There’s menace in her words. “And as to how: Io had Cecily before we were dating. Look up ‘bisexual’ sometime. She had Al right after we started dating, but you know, these things happen, and we worked through it. I had Niobe because we wanted a baby together, a kid that was ours. And then I had Siggie by arrangement with a gay friend of mine – twins, and he kept one, I kept one. It’s really quite easy.”

She smiles brightly at the woman and waits for her to go away stammering, happy at the lies and the honesty she’s managed to pile up together.


Addergoole grads raising their chins and looking in the face of people who call them irresponsible for being teen parents.

Addergoole grads refusing to answer questions about “but where’s the father in all this?” or “how could a mother leave her child?”

Addergoole grads not bothering to explain the complicated family trees and just explaining “they’re my kids.”

Or “They’re our kids.” Even if they have no kids in common, two people coming together after school and raising all their children as a family.

Addergoole grads struggling to be family when all the world sees is kids.

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Date Night, a drabble of Summer/Stranded World for Eseme

It was only Applebee’s, but they were on college student salaries, after all, the food was good enough, and they could take the bus.

Summer sat between Bishop and Mellie, but they’d gotten one of the small round bar tables, so everyone was, technically, between everyone else: best of all worlds.

As a rule, they weren’t that unusual: three college kids, out on a Saturday night. It wasn’t until Summer stole a small kiss from Mellie that anyone looked askance at them, and it wasn’t until Bishop responded by stealing his own kiss from Mellie that someone whispered to someone else at their table.

Summer didn’t mind the stares. She was nineteen, she wasn’t famous or looking for a Professional Job, and if people wanted to stare, it wouldn’t be likely to hurt her at all.

But Mellie, the stares made her uncomfortable. Summer stole another kiss and pressed a blessing into it. Nothing to see here.

If making your girlfriend comfortable wasn’t using your powers for good, she didn’t know what was.

Un-slump-me prompt call

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