Tag Archive | character: autumn

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?


For Eseme: Autumn and a Boy

To Eseme’s Request.  After all of the Tattercoats stuff. 

As the rain was coming down in torrents most often reserved for biblical events, Autumn had decided on staying in for a night, not in a motel — the town wasn’t big enough or on a major enough route for that — but in a bed-and-breakfast that didn’t seem too full of itself.  She was sitting in its common room — which still looked much like a family living room of 100 years ago — drawing a fantasy scene of the same room when the door swung open.

He looked drenched, drowned-rat incarnate, his jeans holding out from his legs like they were their own creatures.  He walked like his feet had moved past sore and on to misery a few hours ago.  

And he looked familiar.  “Edmonton!”  She wrinkled her brow.  “Wait, not just Edmonton, either.” Continue reading

Patreon Posts – Crossovers

This is a weird one.  Today’s Patreon Sum-up involves three stories I wrote, not to prompts, but because they appeared to me.  All crossovers of one sort or another. 


Okay, so I’m working on my outlines for Finish It nanowrimo coming up in, well, November.  And I got to the one for Facets of Dusk and I started thinking about – well, the doors they might open


“Get us someplace with medical care!” Simon shouted.

“Someplace with advanced technomagical medical care.”  Aerich’s aristocratic snarl sounded panicked.

“Someplace they’re not going to shoot at us.”  Cole’s voice was calm.  But Cole, who had Josie in his arms, also sounded serious.

Read On

I blame this on my current marathon re-read of the Sandman comics.  


On Halloween, 2011, when the walls between worlds were thinner than they had ever been, the woman called The Cat Who Walks Through Walls (because her Mentor had been fond of Robert Heinlein, in his day and in her day) left her kids with her sister, as per their arrangement, and slipped out between those world-barriers.

Read On!

Okay, I guess the theme is really talking to me this month. 

Here’s another bonus, spurred on but not really related to a line from a Popular Mechanics article I read last night: (paraphrase) “AI is going to make the Industrial Revolution look small.”


Autumn knew better than to grab the strands of the world too much around Hallowe’en.

Everything was thinner at that time, more responsive, more willing to bend and twist and open.

Read On!

Know When To Walk Away (Know When To Run)

Written to esemeprompt.  This comes after Tangles and Knots, Snarls and Combs


There were bits of Tattercoats everywhere.

Sometimes literally: pieces of his coat tended to come off in the strangest places, so that he was always sewing on new bits.  Sometimes figuratively: a book he’d left in her place or a letter he’d written, the smell of his particular musk in a blanket she’d put away.

Autumn did not know exactly what had happened.

She knew that Tattercoats had precipitously left Faire without a fare-thee-well or anything but the forwarding address of the itinerant courier network. She knew she was done with him, as if she’d woken up one morning and understood that pining was shredding her to pieces and she really needed to pick herself up and stop hurting so much.

The radio had played The Gambler and Autumn had nodded as if Kenny Rogers had been speaking right to her.  Know when to walk away.  Know when to run.

She burned his letters in the Moot Fire that they held every Thursday night to rid the air of “shit, drama, the modern, and the miserable.”  But she could still close her eyes and see that ridiculous smile. She could still reach over to the nightstand and see the little jewelry box he’d sent her for Christmas.

She sold the ring to a pawn shop and gave the money to a hunger campaign.  She dropped the skirt and the corset he’d given her in the Salvo box.  Maybe in a Faire town, someone would find a use for them.   The other gifts went to used book sales, sometimes the Salvo or Goodwill, a church rummage sale.

That left the things that belonged to him. A carved figure he’d bought from a vendor.  Three DVDs he’d brought over to watch and then left in her van.  A book on figure drawing that she was pretty sure he’d stolen. A vest of his.  His underwear.  A long green ribbon she was pretty sure was a token from another lover.

She burned the underwear, to a great deal of groaning, moaning, and laughing, using the longest tongs she could find.

The rest she wrapped up.


Three layers of shrinkwrap and then two layers of duct tape.

For every two items, then in a box.  Duct taped.  Then wrapped carefully in butcher paper with more tape than any three parcels needed.

She had a friend with curly, swirling, girly handwriting address the boxes, and then each one went with a different itinerant courier to a different drop spot.

They had to be light, of course.  She wanted to be careful, because the drop spots sometimes got wet.  Of course.

She wanted to irritate him, to get under his skin and make him twitchy, the way he was under her skin, the way she couldn’t quite wash him out.

She drew a long pattern of empty open roads and paths she hadn’t yet walked along her entire body, wrote his name on a piece of paper in her best handwriting, and drew a sketchy portrait that took in what she could remember of him.

She stood in the rain until the pattern she’d drawn on herself washed into the earth, watering the ground with her ink and her hopes and setting them free.

She stood by the fire and watched his face burn until it was ashes, and finally felt free.

Want more

Giraffe-Zebra Linkback Story

Leave a comment here if you’ve signal boosted my Giraffe (Zebra) Call !

Each signal boost will get another 100 words.

Ysabat: 3, Lilfluff 2, Inspector Caracal 2, Rix_scaedu 1 – currently posted. 


It was the first day of the Faire, and it was, as luck would have it, a rainy day, chilly, and thus mostly attended by the locals, the die-hards, and people who had planned their vacation around this fest and were going to enjoy it, damnit, come hell or high water (both of which seemed possible).

Autumn was hawking her wares as best she could – she paid rent on the booth whether business was fair or foul – and entertaining herself by offering free body doodles to anyone who bought a piece of art, however small.  It just so happened those doodles drew with them a little bit of magic.


The first patron to buy something was a skinny boy in goth-and-bondage street clothes.  He did an awkward turn at Shakespearean english as he asked if her she would draw the skulle of deathhe most foulle on his hand.

“But is death-thu so foul-leh?” she mused, “for you who invites his appearance?”

She was rewarded with a surprised look that said you’re not supposed to notice that and a little smile when she just lifted her eyebrows at him.

She sketched him a realistic skull, one tooth chipped just where his had clearly run afoul of something, and twisted in with walnut ink a line of show me, just to see where his skulle of deathhe took him.


There wasn’t such a crowd that she couldn’t see him moving, just by the strands he trailed .  There were some bright ones , for someone wrapped in so much darkness, shiny lines of hope and one tenuous thing like a crush.  The skull-leh let her see the way he was reaching, grasping for something.  Did he think he’d find it at Faire?  Did he think he’d find them at Faire?  Most grasping like that was for someone, for some emotion, for –

his strands lit up at the archery stand, and Autumn found herself grinning.


Her second paying customer was a woman maybe twice Autumn’s age, in such absolutely perfect early-Elizabethan garb that she had to have sewn it herself. She bought one of the bigger originals, asking Autumn to hold on to it until the end of the day, and then pushed aside her partlet for Autumn to draw a design on her ample chest.

“Make it a sun,” she offered, “for this day has need of some light.”

“But the light is always with us,” Autumn teased; “it is merely we that cannot see it.”  She drew the sun, heedless of the way the chest jiggled with suppressed laughter.  “There, my lady.  May it warm you.”

“If only that touch of yours does, I shall count myself lucky.”  The lady curtseyed and exited.


Autumn made herself concentrate, despite a blush she hadn’t been expecting.  Sunshine-lady went the opposite direction from skull-leh boy, heading around the wool vendor with a set of strands that wiggled like a song.  She made friends easily, it looked like, but her connections were light, brushing over people before moving on.  She didn’t touch anyone deeply… oh.

Autumn breathed out in something very much like pain.  She had touched someone deeply once, far too deeply.

The woman slid into a jewelry store while Autumn considered her pens, her heart pounding.


Her next customer was, he said, looking for something for his girlfriend.  She wasn’t sure why she knew he was lying, but he was definitely not being truthful.

He was tall, blue-eyed, very tan, with sandy blonde hair and a chin so square you could use it to level-and-true buildings.  He settled on a unicorn that had a touch of frustrated need worked into it, an original – some people could tell the difference some couldn’t, but she’d only ever managed to work magic into one print and that one sold like hotcakes – and tried to turn down her body-art offer.

“It doesn’t have to show,” she cajoled, and he asked her for a hammer.


Hammers were interesting.  She followed the construction he was trying, watching the strands that didn’t really touch him, even though they wrapped around him.  He was here for a reason.  He was here with people, but had slipped off.  He wasn’t here with a girlfriend, although he was here with a girl.

There were stories she could tell, but the one she could trace in his strands looked like a faire booth:  It had all the parts of a house, but it wasn’t a house.  Walls, floor, roof.

But something was missing.


Autumn was still puzzling over her third customer when a group of women walked through.

She could tell rental costumes; she could also tell that they were here to have fun and were determined that the weather wasn’t going to stop them.

One of them, a beauty with short-cropped brown hair and startling blue eyes, shyly told Autumn that she would buy every single piece of art that looked like her here, if she could.

Autumn couldn’t help asking her to model, with a little coy grin that usually didn’t offend.  “I think you’d make a lovely dryad?  Or a princess.”  When the girl demurred in a way that said it might not always be a no, Autumn drew the body art she asked for in iridescent green around a slender wrist.


Leaves.  Had she been inspired by Autumn’s dryad comment?  She watched the girls giggle off out of sight, the dryad-princess’ strands twisting past the echo of the skull-leh boy – still at the archery stand, and still flickering with joy.

She liked her friends.  She had a comfortable group with the nice tight weaving you got front long association.  She was reaching for something, something a little more, a little higher up on the tree.

She really would make a lovely dryad.  Autumn kept an eye on her strands as she called to some passing, umbrella-sheltered guests.

Now on Patreon: Like Queens, The Tale-Teller, and Why Addergoole?

Like Queens

In Firrset, as in many places, there are poets. The legend goes that even in the First Days, when there was no food to eat and no time to do anything but hunt, plant, gather, and store, there were poems they would tell each other across the field.
But the greatest poet of the time came quite some time after that, but in a time still mostly buried away from history’s records.

Free for Patreon Patrons!

The Tale-Teller

The thing was, she was both the tale-teller and the story. She was both the portrait and the model. She was the song and its subject.

There were theories about that, of course: theories and theses and stories and myths. Stories have a lot of power, after all.

And storytellers have a power, a mystery, all of their own.

Read On!

Why Addergoole?
I wrote this several years ago as an in-character explanation of why the school was named Addergoole.

“I’ve been wondering, Professor. Why Addergoole?”

It wasn’t the primary thing on her mind, of course. They were studying an array of Change descriptions and, of apparently more interest to her Mentor, “inherent non-Working abilities,” something that Kai hadn’t really been aware existed.

Read On!

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