Tag Archive | character: autumn



This story is the fifth one to my Squish-Squash, Pumpkins and Gourds Prompt Call

Stranded ‘Verse, after Family Distancing


“There’s way too much orange around here.”   

The woman was probably five years too old to be a Karen. 

(Autumn was dreading the first time that someone called HER Karen.)

What she was, other than just past Karen-hood, other than wearing her cheap paper mask poorly  (her nose was showing) and wielding her overpriced designer purse like a weapon, was obnoxious. 

“It’s Autumn,” Autumn explained, from behind the protection of her very nice tie-dyed (orange and yellow) mask.  “It’s a harvest display.” Continue reading

Family Distancing

Why, no, I’m not going through all my settings and seeing how they’d reacting to a pandemic.  I mean, well, maybe a little.  Any you want to see?



Winter, Autumn, Summer, and Spring.


“6 p.m. Eastern,” Summer was saying as Autumn logged on.  “You were early, Winter, of course.  Spring’s late, of course.”

“She is on the West Coast,” Winter retorted mildly.  He was wearing his work shirt and tie sans jacket and he’d loosened the tie.  The whole image looked very professional against his home bookshelf, if you ignored the fact that he was holding Tortuga, his half-grown cat, while Myrrh, his ferret, climbed the bookshelf and Dehradun, his kitten, napped on the laptop keyboard. 

Autumn giggled, even though it might not be kind. Of all of them, she’d have expected Summer to be the pet owner, not Winter. 

“She is,” Autumn agreed, “and being on time would disagree with her.  How are you both?” Continue reading

23 Days Before Christmas

Happy holidays to all of my lovely readers!


It was cold. This time of year, Autumn would normally be heading South or heading home.

But when her flight had been delayed and then cancelled, when all rental cars were out and the train had a mysterious breakdown, Autumn took the hint the universe was dropping in her lap and took the convoluted bus route with all the overnight-or-longer layovers.

She had been a little concerned about the first town on her list, since a quick internet search had told her it had a population of just over a thousand, and shrinking. 

While she loved small towns more than most things in the world, in the last couple years, Autumn had been having a little more trouble finding, as it were, room at the Inn.

Airbnb turned out to be her friend, and although three of the five places available in or near North Van Der Zee were booked, and the fourth one look a little too questionable even for Autumn, the fifth one was open and even affordable, all things considered.  Continue reading

Turn, Turn, Turn

Originally posted on Patreon in October 2018 and part of the Great Patreon Crossposting to WordPress.


Something about Autumn tends to lean towards long stories, I suppose.  

Here’s Autumn in autumn.


By the nature of her travels, Autumn tended to see places, if she saw them repeatedly, during the same season every year.

So she might have been forgiven for missing this particular place, since for five years, she saw it only in the stage when spring slides into summer.

She thought it a particularly bright place then, cheerful and full of excitement and a little bit too chaotic for her tastes, even when she was feeling a little excited and a little eager.  She would stay a night, dance in their party – there always seemed to be a party – and move on with a smile, leaving behind one more drawing in their bustling bar.

It was autumn now, coming into the time when she would have to go further south or find a warmer place to settle for a few months, and a broken part in her van had pointed her in a direction she would not normally have taken. Continue reading

Something Hungry

“What… what is this thing?”

“It’s a van.”  Autumn looked at her sisters in confusion.  “You know, driver goes here, then park, sleep goes back there?  Art supplies in the middle, passengers hold on for dear life?”

“Autumn…?” Spring raised her eyebrows.  “Have you looked at this thing?”

“I had Cousin Jimmy look under the hood for me and Aunt Caroline did a thorough inspection…?”  Autumn was hovering somewhere between offended and worried.  “Guys, the paint is a little esoteric but it’s my van, it has to be a little weird.”

“No, no, I like the paint.”  Summer patted the side of the machine lightly.  “Good van.  It looks like the dappling of sunlight on the forest floor.  Autumn, when you were painting it, did you, ah, did you paint it?” Continue reading

Autumn and a boy, part III

after Autumn and a Boy and part II


He was actually interested in her art, which she probably should have expected, and knew things to ask about technique and had interest in both her process and her decisions, which was a pleasant surprise.   It took her a while to pry them both away from talking about her art, and when she did, she found herself almost quoting that old saw “Well, enough about me, what do you think of me?”

“So, why do you like it?  My art?” she asked, feeling a little shy.  “I mean, I don’t think it was my pretty face that got you hiking till your feet bled, was it?” Continue reading

January 2018 Stranded World on Patreon

Hello my friends!  It has been an immensely weird month, but I did post a lot on Patreon.

Below is everything Stranded World I posted in January – some stories, some meta, a little more meta, and some links.  Winter featured heavily this month.  I find that interesting.

Free Posts

Mending Strands
The room felt wrong.  His sisters, Winter thought, might have said that it was creepy or oogy or sick, although sometimes sick was a good thing.

This Guy and Autumn could compare notes…
 5 Tips for Planning (and Surviving) a Mega Road Trip

Talk about a quest. Two years ago, Mikah Meyer set out to become the youngest person to visit all 417 U.S. National Park Service sites. Since then, the 31-year-old…

Metaphor for Stranded World?
There are not really enough pictures out there of strings of light or strings connecting people, so when I’m looking for pictures for Stranded World, I come up with some pretty interesting things.
All right, let’s talk about Summer’s clothes….
Winter’s Clothes
First, two notes:

One:  I think that Winter engages in a combination of actually knowing how to tailor his own clothing and using strand-working to make everything lie Just So, because I do not picture any of the RoundTree siblings particularly rich (Summer might be, eventually, but who knows?) but damn, the man dresses like a million bucks.

Autumn at the Ren Faire
I was playing around a little with Pinterest and Image Search today. 

Here’s some pictures that are pretty close to Autumn’s garb at the Ren Fest, although her costumes are almost always in red, orange, gold, and brown. 

The Stranded World
If you’re new to my settings, you may be wondering what this Stranded World is all about.

So here are a couple worldbuilding reposts talking about the magic of the Stranded world!

Small Town, USA
Autumn spends a lot of time in really small towns.  I mean, some of that is just that’s what she seems to like, but you’d think she’d spend more time in big cities that have big craft festivals, wouldn’t you?  I mean, she’s trying to make enough of a living to pay for the occasional inn or motel or Bed N’ Breakfast room, and those aren’t cheap.

I like small towns.

A long, long time ago
I can still remember how
Maggie’s Ell Jay made me think
And I knew if I had my chance
That I could make words sing and dance
And maybe make them think, too, for a while


A long time ago, M.C.A. Hogarth posted something in her LJ about tropes she’d like to see.  One of them – which I have tried more than once to write – was about the young male (it might have been a mage?) recruiting the older female (fighter?)

Everyone gets their inspiration from somewhere; every setting has its seeds in something.Stranded – well, Autumn – came out of the book Blue Highways.

According to Wikipedia, this book came out in 1982.  I don’t think I read it that early at all – I would’ve been six – but someone recommended it to my father, and I read it.  I was probably in my early teens.

Locked Posts

For a portion of every year, Autumn lives out of her van, travelling from Craft Fest to Ren Faire to City Historical Days, selling her art and sometimes solving mysteries.

The first time Byron RoundTree saw the strands, he thought he was tripping.To be fair to By, he had been partaking in some interesting substances for the last forty-eight hours in a mostly-peaceful tribal gathering of people deep in a national park.

Winter wasn’t surprised when he came in to find the new temp crying.

Their job wasn’t the sort of place that lent itself easily to short-term or temporary help, and yet their supervisor, intent on getting caught up on her filing, kept trying.


Continue reading

Blue Highways and Autumn at the Ren Faire – Stranded Meta

Everyone gets their inspiration from somewhere; every setting has its seeds in something.
Stranded – well, Autumn – came out of the book Blue Highways.

According to Wikipedia, this book came out in 1982. I don’t think I read it that early at all – I would’ve been six – but someone recommended it to my father, and I read it. I was probably in my early teens.
read on…

Autumn at the Ren Faire

I was playing around a little with Pinterest and Image Search today.
Here’s some pictures that are pretty close to Autumn’s garb at the Ren Fest, although her costumes are almost always in red, orange, gold, and brown.

read on…

Autumn and a boy, part II

after Autumn and a Boy


Autumn and Calvin shared a dinner of take-out pizza – the only delivery the small town had – in the cozy living room of the bed-and breakfast.

He told her about life in Lancaster and his job – tech support for the one university that town, a bit bigger than the place they were currently staying – sported.  She told him about the walk between Lancaster and Edmonton, and about the strange farmer who had stopped her to ask about her tattoos on the road, and then, in turn, shared her own.

From that, they talked about family, his and hers, and then, late at night, so late it was nearly morning, they talked about their love lives.

“Mine’s never been that great,” he admitted.  “I had one nice relationship, but that ended when she moved to California.”

“Oooh.”  Autumn hissed sympathetically.  “That’s never good.  Long-distance can be hard.  Mine – well, the way I am, almost every relationship is sometimes long-distance.”

“Do you ever stop moving?  Settle down for a little bit?”

“There’s two Ren Festivals I work, so I’m settled for a month and a half for each of those.  And generally in the winter I hole up somewhere long enough to paint and get a new stock going.  But most of the rest of the time I’m moving, finding new places and new stories.”

“You’re a troubadour.” His smile was broad and contagious.  “That’s wonderful.  A modern troubadour, with your stories in ink instead of song.”

Autumn couldn’t help the grin that grew across her face.  “Exactly.”

“And… in ink…?”  He reached out towards a tattoo that peeked out of her shirt, but stopped short, his hand falling down.

Autumn pulled her shirt aside to reveal the swirls and twists   that sat near her heart: each line was itself a pattern, but the whole made a stout, wide-reaching tree. “That’s my family, and my childhood, and my life.  I worked on that for two months, and it took almost that long to get it inked in properly.  There’s my brother, and my sisters, and my mother, and my father.”  She pointed to parts of the pattern one at a time.

“That’s a really complicated tattoo.”  He leaned in close, his breath warm on her collarbone, seemingly unaware that he was staring at the top of her chest.   “And,” he chuckled nervously, sitting back, “I guess it sends a clear message to anyone getting that close – you hold your family right near your heart.”

“Ah, they come first,” she agreed.  She’d had that argument once with Tattercoat.  She wondered if that was the moment when everything had started falling apart.  “They will always be first, but that doesn’t mean there’s not room for others.  I have skin left to draw on, after all.”

“And when you don’t have skin left?”

“Then I’ll have lived a long and full life, I believe.”  She smiled at him, a little shyly.  “You haven’t seen all my ink.”

He hesitated, clearly seeing the invitation and wondering – if he should take it?  If it was a trap or a test?  If it was polite?

“I would love to see more of your artwork,” he managed after a moment.  “You have some with you?”

She wanted to applaud and grumble at the same time.  She let the amused frustration show on her face.   “Of course.”

He smirked back at her, seeming to show some of the same.  “Yeah?  Up in your room?”  His eyebrows lifted: her move.

“They are.  I’ll be right back with my portfolio.”  She wiggled an eyebrow back at him.  

He actually chuckled this time.  “Why don’t I come up?  That way you won’t have to come all the way back down here with your art.”

“You do remember how I walk all over the country carrying that art?”

“Maybe you need a pack mule.  Like me.”  He winked at her.  

“Maybe I do.  Maybe I need a pack mule who doesn’t have a stone in his shoe.”  She stood up.  

“Oh, but maybe I need someone to keep the stones out of my hooves… okay, no.”  He chuckled.  “This is getting a little too out there even for me.”

“Oh, good,” she snorted.  “You do have a limit.  My room’s this way.”  She tilted her head, and he followed as she led up the stairs.  “Besides,” she threw over her shoulder, “it’s not like you can just take off and follow me around the country carrying my bigger pieces of art, even if I <i>did</i> have enough art to require someone else to carry it.  You have a day job and all of that, don’t you?”

“I do.  But I have vacation time.”

“That… that is an interesting definition of vacation.”

“Well, what about you?  Do you take time off?”

“Holidays with my family, mostly.  Ren Faires are weekends, so are most craft festivals.  I do business for the business during the week, or walk, or spend a day in a park drawing.”  She smiled at him.  “Let’s be honest, my life <i>is</i> a bit of a vacation.”

“And you were complaining about my definition of a vacation,” he complained.  “I mean, if I was following you around carrying things, wouldn’t I be having the same life-is-a-vacation that you are?”

“Well…”  Autumn thought about the town where she had almost been pulled into a mind-controlling net, or the town where winter had been roiling out of control.  There was the place with the feral strand-Worker who had been making random things invisible, or the time a kid had been pulled into cutting Strands for someone else’s world-ending plan.  “The thing is, it’s a vacation for me because of who I am, because I managed to find something that covers very basic expenses and lets me do things I enjoy.  It’s a lot of sleeping on the ground and bartering washing dishes for meals.  It’s a lot of walking – a lot of walking, even in crappy weather, and it’s a lot of working, even when it’s fun work.”  She held up her hands.  “I’m not saying you couldn’t enjoy it.  But… let’s start with this weekend, okay?  And then if you’re still interested – in me, or in this life -” and she wasn’t sure which one she hoped more for, or which one she felt was more likely “-then we’ll worry about something else?”

“I feel like I’m being dumped gently, which is interesting, because we didn’t get to the dating stage yet.”

“It’s more like… well, it’s definitely not being dumped.  It’s more suggesting that you’re not so much putting the cart before the horse as putting the cart and the horse before the road?”

“Well.”  He smirked a little bit, “I guess we’ll find that road in Clarenceville?  And then we can talk about the horse?”

“And now we’re back to horses,” she laughed.  

“Well, it’s better than being a mule.”

 Want more?