I’m back, Lost On Earth, and what’s next.

* I kind of dropped out for a while there. I did continue my Nano novel, but it became very slow going and I finished the month with about 18,000 words. I like the universe I was creating, but I didn’t ever manage to grow a plot, so if I do anything more with it, it will be at some indeterminate point in the future. Eh- I won the two previous years, so this doesn’t sting too much. I did take down the bits I had posted because I don’t like having something unfinished and without a known schedule for continuing up on the blog.

* Just prior to the madness that is Nano season, I participated in a cooperative writing thing over at Write Anything. It was posted on the site during the last week of November. Below is a link to the story, Lost On Earth on Write Anything as well as one for the e-book version on Scribd.

Lost On Earth in chapters

Lost On Earth the e-book

* As I wrote at the end of October, I kind of abandoned my serials while getting ready for Nanowrimo, although I was planning to give each of them another 2 or 3 parts before the end of the year. I may not be able to get quite that far in them considering the holiday rush is about to rush me, but I do intend to try and put a bit more of each of them up over the next month before putting them on hiatus and restarting The Golden Apple Tales, Travis Keller (Not So Super Hero), Brave the Arid Ocean and Spirals in January.

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Burgess Gulch (4)

Genre:Sci-fi/Western
Word Count:2,001
Rating:10+
Summary: A resident of Burgess Gulch goes missing and Cody is about the onliest person to notice, until it happens again.
Author’s Note: This began as my 2006 Nanowrimo Novel.

Previous Parts (1) (2) (3).

4

Whitey McGee wasn’t a body one normally missed. Now that you come to it, his was a body one was usually pleased to miss, what with the smell. That said, a few days after Cody’d seen the strange woman riding up to the high pasture, he came to notice that he hadn’t had to step past Whitey- who could be reliably found at the mouth of the alley between Miss Nannette Corbet’s and the saloon, reclining with his back against the broken hitching post there- Cody hadn’t had to step past him in more than a day, maybe two. Cody stopped in on Jeb, the undertaker, to make certain that he hadn’t planted him in the potter’s field (he hadn’t) before putting Prentice on the case. Jitters was alternately pleased to have Cody showing trust in him and disappointed at the person he was meant to find. Seemed that looking under haystacks for the town drunk wasn’t the kind of work he’d been hoping for.

Two days later, Whitey came stumbling back into town with a wild-eyed story about beams of bright light and green skinned strangers poking at him while he screamed and thrashed about. Jitters was bit twice by Whitey’s reappearance, firstly because it meant that he would again have to endure the stench of Whitey on a long hot August afternoon when the wind blew easterly, wafting it gently into the door of the Sheriff’s Office, and secondly, it meant that Jitters had failed to solve the first case Cody had given him on account of not being able to find a drunkard on a three day bender. Thing was, Cody had watched Prentice going about looking for Whitey and he hadn’t done a half-bad job of it. The fact that Jitters didn’t come up with Whitey didn’t go against the truth of it that he’d done just the same as Cody would have- looked under the same rocks and behind the same outhouses. By what he did, Prentice should have found Whitey, only he just didn’t.

Less than a day later, it was the Mayoress that Cody came to notice he hadn’t seen hide nor hair of in a day or so, which was just unheard of, so he decided to take on the mystery of the disappearances himself, her being kin and all.

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Bent or the Modern Tiresias(3)

Genre:Fantasy
Word Count:2,145
Rating:teen
Muse:Tiresias
Warning:Cussing
Summary:Lauren juggles playing Portia’s boyfriend with being her sister, and another visit to Hera Lake makes Lauren wonder how hopeless her situation is.

Previous Parts (1) (2)

The Way About Her

And despite the fact that Lauren’s life felt as if it should be on hold until she got her real body back- and saved Terry from the fate of forever being a frog- it wasn’t. Portia and Lauren’s parents got her letter and promptly forgot about how worried they were, getting angry at her instead. Lauren couldn’t blame them. If she had really run off with no word to anyone so that she could find herself, it would have been supremely stupid and selfish. Somewhat ironically, finding herself was kind of what She was having to do- well, it was more like finding Terry’s self– finding out who he is and what he does so that she could fake her way through his life well enough that his mother would stop worrying and Portia would stop looking at her funny for continuing to be nice to her even though the crisis of Lauren’s disappearance had blown over.

Lauren had thought that she had been doing a pretty good job of not making Portia suspect anything while Lauren hedged and stalled while waiting for the day that Terry was scheduled to get on a plane to the other side of the country to start college. She thought she had been doing a pretty good job. Apparently she was wrong.

“Okay, that’s it! I can’t take this anymore, so just do it already!” Portia shouted at Lauren right after she had offered to go shopping with Portia so she could use Terry’s ridiculously muscle-bound arms to carry packages for Portia.

“Umm-” Lauren said, stunned, because Portia never spoke to Terry like that- Lauren she had used to scream like a banshee at, but Terry? Never. Also she had no clue what she had done wrong.

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Categories: fantasy, fiction, serial fiction | 1 Comment

Underground Society (3)

Genre: Sci-fi
Word Count:1,774
Rating:10+
Summary: Maya learns that injustice isn’t confined to the surface dwellers.

Previous Parts (1) (2)

Part 3

Along with the diplomatic work of finalizing dozens of treaties, preparations for the wedding continued over the next weeks. The fact that Maya had long had serious doubts about the idea of marriage meant that she had never really delved into what planning a wedding entailed- especially one of this great size. (Even as a child, she was not the type to fantasize about her perfect wedding day the way some other little girls did. In fact, she found the way some of those girls went on about pink and purple, doves and rainbows pretty annoying.) And, certainly Selen did much work in arraigning the wedding, but he was more in demand for the political meetings than Maya was- everyone wanted to meet the Lizard King. So, overseeing the wedding plans- making certain that her mother and grandmother, along with the many underlings of Selen’s who were assigned to help, didn’t go too far over the top was Maya’s job. Strangely, it was not without benefits. . .

Until the beginning of the second week in December, the only person from the Interior Tribes that Maya had met was Selen. She had, of course, see pictures, both photographic and artwork (she was trying to learn as much about the Interior cultures as she could as quickly as she could- hence artwork), but images, even video footage didn’t really tell the way that being in the same room with ten or twelve really tall people with greenish-brown skin did. After the first day of listening to them tell her about the myriad wedding traditions that the differing Interior Tribes had in their sibilant accented English, she went home to her grandparents house with nary a clue as to which traditions were required and which could be left out.

By the third day, she was ready to call the whole thing off- see if Selen would run away to Vegas with her (or the Interior equivalent, which seemed to be hiding together in an out of the way cave for three days, which seemed to be the longest the Interiors seemed to think that any couple could resist consummating a relationship if they were left alone- hence three days later, you were married or you were breaking some sort of chastity taboo). Selen was touring in Russia and the Baltics, signing preliminary treaties that would go into effect when he signed the one that was, officially speaking, with the United Nations on Christmas Day. His absence was likely part of Maya’s frustration because he was the only Interior to whom she could pose questions without worrying that she might phrase her inquiry too bluntly and offend. Even those who were assigned to work closely with her seemed to hold themselves very formally with her and Maya suspected that they were not all completely convinced that the wedding should happen.

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Categories: fiction, science fiction, serial fiction | 1 Comment

Time in Jelly Jars (3)

Genre: Sci-fi
Word Count:1,750
Rating:10+
Summary:Lindy continues the strange tale she began in parts 1 and 2.

Previous Parts: (1) (2).

Lindy’s Tale Continues

“One afternoon, as Henry and I were hiding (in the small rough space under the wooden front porch of my father’s house) from Heather, pretending that we were fierce and bloodthirsty pirates and she was a privateer captain working under the command of the East India Trading Company, who was looking for us to reclaim the treasure we had plundered (some gingerbread we had taken from the kitchen), we heard a certain rough voice in the street. ‘The old woman in the market said she saw a strange African man in the lane behind this street less than a fortnight ago. He could still be close.’ I shushed Henry and strained to hear more, but aside from telling someone to search back behind the houses, the rough voice did not tell me anything more.

“‘That is Clement Monprix, the slave hunter come from the Carolinas,’ Henry whispered to me. ‘Father called him a worse savage than any of those he hunts.’ A wicked glint came into his eyes and he added, ‘We should see what they are doing.’ Then he was out from under the porch before I could reply, the gingerbread pirate game forgotten completely. Crawling out from under, I just saw Henry’s back running past the hedges and into his back garden. I followed as swiftly as I could. I found Henry leaning against the side wall of the stable, listening for the men in the lane behind the gardens. He put a finger to his lips to tell me to keep quiet and I saw that he thought that this was just another game to play (like gingerbread pirates and the East India Trading Company and Knights of the Round Table). I found myself wishing that I would told Henry about Jonah hidden in the cellar so that he would know that this was a matter of true worry for me. Perhaps he might be able to help me lure the slave hunters away from where Jonah was hidden, if he knew. But, now if I tell him I have runaway slave hid away in the cellar, he will take it for a part of a game.

“We hear the men coming closer in the lane, beating on the hedgerows and poking at the fences to look for gaps and hidey holes. I remembered the little nest of hay in the stable where Jonah had been harboring from the cold before I brought him into the cellar. We had left the stump of his candle and some scraps of fabric there. What if the men found it? They would know that he had been here for certain. They would look much closer around here in case he was still near. I had to keep them from searching in the Wrights’ stable.

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Categories: fiction, science fiction, serial fiction | 1 Comment

Broken

Genre: Sci-fi
Word Count: 257
Rating: 10+
Summary: Another way out? There is no other way out.
Author’s Note: In honor of the serial I was intending to post today being overly coy, I’m posting this little slice of a story that I will likely never develop into anything else. There will be two serials next week.

Broken

Broken- it is broken- and Meriafta doesn’t think there will be time to fix it, let alone set the dials, align the templates.

“Is it optimized?” Brilltan asks in a huffing breath thrown over her shoulder between volleys. The sounds of the battle sluice through the air from beyond her.

“No. It’s shot,” Meriafta hollers back at her, “We need another way out.”

Next to Meriafta, her junior- Kellin- is panicking. “Another way out? There is no other way out!” she screams and tries to pull the unit from Meriafta’s hands. It falls from both their grasps and hits the stone floor with a sickening crack. Pieces of the housing skitter across the room and the power source hisses and fizzles out. “Oh! Dibrit save us!” Kellin wails and stoops to pick up the pieces.

Meriafta leaves her to it, knowing that there is no hope of ever making it work again now. “Brilltan! We need that other way,” she yells, pulling her weapon and coming up close to their rear defender. “Brill!” Meriafta barks at her.

Brilltan ducks down behind the wall she has been using for cover and looks over at Meriafta, her face a hard smirk. “Ria, I’m on it. Their numbers are great, but I’m on it.” Brilltan reloads, steadies herself and spins back around the corner firing away.

Meriafta watches as enemies go down in rapid succession. She hefts her weapon and follows in Brill’s wake, taking out a few of them, but her contribution is nothing compared to the rear defender’s.

Categories: fiction, science fiction, very short stories | Leave a comment

Burgess Gulch (3)

Genre:Sci-fi/Western
Word Count:2,166
Rating:10+
Summary: Cody Burgess, continues to investigate the disappearance of the missing cattle, but seems to find more questions than answers.
Author’s Note: This began as my 2006 Nanowrimo Novel.

Previous Parts (1) (2).

3

On the slim chance that Prentice might just be right and Princess Cloudfeather had been pulling their legs, Cody figured on stopping in at Prowess Copse and shaking Deadeye Brody until Cody was good and sure he and his weren’t a party to the missing cattle. The numbers the irate ranchers had given were likely bloated up a bit- they always did get to blowing hard at each other when they got together, bragging about headcounts, but even figuring that in, it were too many for Cody to leave it be.

Deadeye Brody, much as you might expect, couldn’t shoot worth a darn, which had been a complication when it came to his former trade- that of being Cody’s deputy. His situation hadn’t been helped by his general laziness and greed. Cody himself wasn’t one to quarrel with a man who enjoyed life at slow pace, having made pursuing the snail’s particular brand of existence one of his own ambitions, but he just couldn’t brook a lawman with no regard for law, or at the very least fair-mindedness. So, when it came down to choosing, Dillon Brody chose cheating and Cody choose to cut him loose. Cody was expecting to have to put Brody down when next they crossed each other. Be an interesting time of it with Jitters along, if he had to do it today.

Prowess Copse wasn’t much of one- just a few scraggly bunches of scrub brush out near the edge of town with some falling down buildings that once were a homestead and some craggy caves that marked the entrance of the goldmine. Whatever Blackhats were lingering round Burgess Gulch could be found there.

Cody rode up to the copse with Prentice lagging behind and complaining loudly about his horse’s gait.

While they were still a few hundred feet off from the buildings, Deadeye’s voice called out, “‘Less you got a writ, I’d just turn your ass back round, Sheriff.”

“Now, Dilly, you know I can’t get this nag to heed if she ain’t got a mind to,” Cody drawled back lazily. It didn’t put a body in a better position to rile Deadeye. It was true that he couldn’t shoot to save his life, but his little hired gun Gater was a crack shot, and he’d gladly take a poke at anyone Deadeye looked sideways at.

“No further, Sheriff, or my replacement gets it between the peepers,” Deadeye warned.

“Uh- Sheriff, what does he mean- his replacement?” Prentice muttered from behind Cody.

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Bent or the Modern Tiresias (2)

Genre:Fantasy
Word Count:4,375
Rating:teen
Muse:Tiresias
Warning:Cussing
Summary:Lauren tries to deal with the very strange change in herself. A serial fairy tale about a girl and a frog- No, not that one- not that one at all.

Find Part 1 here.

2. Portia and the Letter

Lauren was awake in the night- all night. Everyone kept telling her to try and rest- that it would all look better, be easier, in the morning. Lauren didn’t really expect a night’s sleep to make a difference, but staying awake and getting this strange body sick wouldn’t help matters any, so she tried to catch some sleep anyway. Terry’s eyes (which felt overly large and tight in their sockets- she could almost hear them sliding against his eyelids as she moved them) continually popped open on their own.

And his ears- the ones that could hear eyes moving- the ears she was wearing kept alerting her to useless things- little innocuous sounds making her borrowed heart skip faster and faster.

She sat up in bed, turned on the light and looked around Terry’s bedroom. She was in a foreign land- everything in the room, things that belonged in it, made her nervous. She didn’t belong there, but everyone still thought she did. At least, they thought Terry’s body did.

She sat there, being green with someone else’s stomach and thought about the last week….

“Aye no, midge, I cannot do it. I cannot switch you and the great brute back- not until he is not an enchanted frog anymore,” Tris, the pixie’s voice echoed in Lauren’s memory.

“So, turn him human again,” she had answered, incredulous that the little magical beast was refusing to fix the mess he had made.

“I cannot change what I cannot see. Find me the frog and I can make all well.”

“But, he hopped away!” she cried, frustrated. “His tiny frog brain was too stupid to know he should have come back.”

“Then there is naught I can do for you.” Then the weasel of a pixie disappeared from sight and didn’t come back no matter that Lauren had called and called for him until Terry’s voice grew hoarse.

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Categories: fantasy, fiction, serial fiction | 3 Comments

Time in Jelly Jars (2)

Genre: Sci-fi
Word Count:2,067
Rating:10+
Summary:Lindy continues the strange tale she began in part 1.

Find part 1 here.

The Key (And Lindi’s Tale Begins)

A long time later (a good fifteen minutes of play-explore-bicker-with-their-cousins time) Rosalind started talking again (in that same strange, sure voice) and this time, they could not make her stop. Oddly, it did not worry them quite so much as it did the first time- children changed all the time- they just figured that she had maybe been holding in this story for a while and now she was ready to tell it. Also, it was kind of a good story, so they let her tell it, each of them still playing at sorting the crazy assortment of stuffs that were in the shed.

“Might be best if I started from the true beginning of the tale- who I am and where I am. My name if Katherine Dalton. Katie-girl to my mother, although she is gone now, gone to see Jesus and the Angels. She died before- when we still lived in the country house and my father still grew wheat. Now, we live in Elizabethtown in the newly reformed Royal English Colony of New Jersey and Father is a merchant. He owns great ships with his business partners and they bring all kind of good things from England to sell in the shop they run in town. I am his only daughter and nearing my seventh year.

“I do not like the town house (so close to the next nearest house that I can see into the Henry Wright’s bed chamber from my own, and so loud with the passing of people and horses on the street) nearly as much as I loved the country house (wide and quiet- smelling of honeysuckle in the spring and ripe golden wheat at the harvest, smelling of mother). Father used to come in from a long day in the fields working with the servants and kiss mother’s cheek, tousle my hair and call us his ‘darling girls’. Now Heather, an old Scotswoman has charge of me. She is indentured to my father, who bought her contract from a man who treated her ill. She is kind and speaks with a lilt soft and strange, but she is deaf in one ear from having had them boxed by her old master too many times and she is not in any way like my mother. She also has charge of the kitchen and the other serving maid, so she has little time to spend on games and sweetness with me the way mother always did.

“Father has said that next spring, he will get me a tutor so that I may learn the ways of society and be a proper little woman instead of always running out with young Henry Wright (who is a year younger than me, but already has a tutor because he is a boy) and getting all covered in filth in the gardens. But, I do not wish to be a proper little woman (sewing and dancing and playing the pianoforte). I wish I could stay as I am (playing and singing and frolicking about the house and the nearby streets) or return to the country house. Still, I do think it may please me to have someone other than Heather pay some mind to me. Father has stopped noticing me, even when I come to the dinner table unwashed and smelling of the horses I sometimes brush in Henry’s father’s stables.

“Maybe how I wish for Father to pay some mind to me is why I felt so pleased when Jonah came around. I first saw him as a quick as a wink flash rushing past the Wrights’ stable and into the brush that lines their back gardens. I was certain that his intention was not to be seen at all, but perhaps (like all the other adults, save Heather when she remembered) he did not see me, so small as I am. Perhaps he thought he had made his mad dash without being seen. Still, he did not seem to be doing harm to a soul or even Henry’s family’s property, so I did not alert Henry to what I had seen. I just turned back to the nervous mare I was next to and kept brushing her.

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Categories: fiction, science fiction, serial fiction | 2 Comments

Underneath His Hat

Genre:Humor
Word Count:407
Rating:All
Summary: Underneath his hat, Will tried not to think too much about what exactly he was doing.

Underneath his hat, Will tried not to think too much about what exactly he was doing. Because it would have been strange and kind of wrong if he had been doing it in just about any other situation, but here and now, it was what was needed. It was required. He pulled the hat down a little more snuggly on his head, as if that might do something to stop the ideas from getting out or maybe in- as if the hat were made of tin and maybe somehow protective. He looked across the table at the six pairs of inhuman eyes staring at him coldly expectant. There was a certain way of doing this and Will knew it was vitally important that he get it right because if he didn’t- well, the results wouldn’t be pretty, to say the least.

He reached out across the table, gripped the ceremonial vessel and raised it to his lips. He didn’t drink from the contents- it certainly wouldn’t have quenched, but it would have caused offense if he allowed his hostess to know that he didn’t drink, so he tipped the vessel up and mimed drinking. He partook of the ceremonial food- it was dry and crumbly, but he swallowed it down anyway- to do anything else would have been worse than not drinking from the ceremonial vessel, for his hostess had made it with her own pampered hand. Then he pretended to drink again for good measure.

The hat itself was quite ridiculous, wide brimmed, oddly floppy and colored embarrassingly, but like the faked drinking, it was required, so he wore it like a shield, protecting him from messing up his assignment (one for which he was wholly unprepared and had been thrust into with no advanced notice when his partner had been vitally needed elsewhere). Soon he would be called on to recite, or perhaps even sing, and so knowing this, his mind raced as he struggled to recall the ritual verses, ones he had never been familiar with. He settled on a verse he knew would please and was reasonably sure that he remembered well enough not to offend and ran through it again.

He was just beginning to think he might just be able to manage the situation without his partner when his hostess proclaimed, “After we finish our tea party, we should be ballerinas, Daddy!” And Will knew he was doomed.

Categories: fiction, very short stories | 4 Comments

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