frustrated mother of teenager

A Table Of Contents, In Progress

As part of the January 13 Prompt Call, I started doing landing pages for series I write or worlds I write in.  I don't always write in an established world or series but I seem to have a lot of worlds and series out there.

Having created landing pages, they are of no use to any of us, if no-one can find them.  Hence this page.

The landing pages created so far are for:

The Angel Universe - a world of polytheism, angels, vard, and a lot of humans, including one group who believe they are the chosen of the gods.

Rensa - within the world of the Defensive Diaspora, there is a world where the revolution has wiped out the entire Imperial family.  Except for one princess, who was made a proposal she can't refuse by a man who's in his job because everyone else is dead.

The Prince of Cats - a father and son who aren't quite what they seem.

The Winged Cat Universe a contemporary world with magic, and winged cats.

After The Fairy Tale - so what happened after the fairy tale ended?

The Squad - four ship protection specialists in a space faring culture.

Mayin -  after a decade away fighting an interstellar war, a returned soldier tries to adjust to the civilian world with the complication of an unexpected suitor.

Erima -  the demons are taking over, the godssons are the free world's best hope, and Erima was not the child her mother hoped for.

The Elf - the elf has taken over the city.  He's up to something and he's being opposed, but the opposition doesn't care if they hurt people.

Nai - a mangaish road trip undertaken by a young, female, professional gi fighter and her instructor.

Frack - Ludwina Frack has reappeared after being missing for seven years, but her life of spaceships, piracy and offers she can't refuse isn't over yet.

Iphana - within the world of the Defensive Diaspora, on a world with extreme arctic climate changes, a young technician is almost abandoned for the winter...

Afterwhen - there was a catastrophe, maybe even an apocalypse, but that was a while ago and is just passing from living memory. Different groups have different resources, different skills and different issues.

The Unformed Coven - thirteen people who are quite happy as they are, with their own concerns and lives. Other people, it seems, have plans for them that they may not care for.

Dark Fantasy Bingo - based on the prompts from my Dark Fantasy Bingo card from 2013 we have the story of Sillan Denevda after she became Tamin Sorid - because of politics and stuff.

The Twisted Skein - probably space opera with star ships, isolated human civilizations, plus drama and intrigue if I can pull them off.

Inheritance - in the wake of an elderly man's death, secrets begin to come out and stories to reawaken. (Note: may contain super heroes.)

After I finish listing the various series, then I'll have to keep the landing pages up-to-date....
Flower person

Comfort Zone

 This comes from the Thimbleful Thursday prompt "Comfort Zone." It also follows on from "Wing It." It runs to 1,013 words and I hope that you enjoy it.

"Following this girl across the continent is not what I signed up for," commented Wyatt to his partner, Kouth.

"Wasn't what I signed up for either," agreed Kouth, "but everyone was certain she'd lead us to another nest of those star-marked, and she hasn't."

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Flower person

Wing It

This is way over word count, but came from the Thimbleful Thursday prompt of 17 December 20 "Wing It".  It also follows on from my previous story "Cards Close To".  It comes in at 1,448 words.  I hope that you all enjoy it.

"Is this going to work?"  The male person her own age wearing a Foot Regiment lieutenant's uniform neatly stripped of its insignia sounded concerned.

He wasn't the only one who felt that way.  "I have no idea," admitted Saleetha.  "I thought spring engines weren't supposed to blow up in the first place."

"They're not," he replied grimly.  "They can be blown up, but I can't smell anything like the aftermath of explosives, and I know those taints."

Saleetha looked sideways at him and ventured, "The air's too clean, isn't it?"

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This is now followed by "Comfort Zone."

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Flower person

Cards Close To

So, this came out of the Thimbleful Writing Challenge for 10 December 20 of "play/hold/keep one’s cards close to the/one’s chest/vest" and I managed to come in at only twice the desired length. On the other hand, I actually wrote something I can share.
I hope you all enjoy this.

"I'm looking for a card game," Saleetha told the barman.  "My grandfather told me that haucha is the game of choice in these parts."

The barman assessed her calmly.  "If you're not after high stakes or card sharps, I'd suggest the table in the far corner under the punctured shield."

Saleetha looked and there was, indeed, a long shield hanging high on the wall with a grey fletched arrow sticking out of it.  The table directly under it had three men at it, all of them sitting with their backs to the wall.  "They look like they could use another two or three players for a good game," she agreed.   "Is it the custom here to take over a round of drinks by way of introduction?"

"In these parts folk are more likely to worry that a stranger bearing drinks has dosed the booze," the barman told her.  "We still get impressmen in about here."

Saleetha paused in picking up her cider and turning.  "You do?  The Navy can't pay the crews they've got, and the Foot Regiments are reducing - all the 3rd Battalions have been disbanded.  There are a lot of unhappy men about on the roads."

"Never was the Navy or the Foot Regiments in these parts."  He nodded for emphasis.  "You should be careful, and only take your drinks from me or the waitresses."

"I'll keep that in mind, thank you." Saleetha gave him a friendly nod and went over to the table of three men in the corner.

She would have placed all three as being more than ten years older than her, probably fifteen, and all wore well-tailored clothing in mostly darker shades.  It was also well-worn clothing.  Their cuffs weren't fraying but the signs of wear and tear were there.  Two of them had noticeable silver threads in their pulled-back dark hair, and none of them were pale from lack of sun.

"Excuse me, gentlemen," Saleetha was smiling and cradling her cider as she spoke, frankly hoping that it would excuse her from bowing or curtseying.  "I'm hoping for a game of cards and the barman suggested that you might be open to another hand joining you.  My grandfather told me that haucha was the game of choice in these parts."

The three looked at each other, conducting a conversation of sorts with facial expressions that Saleetha could see but not entirely read.  It was the one with his back to the corner who spoke, "We are, and it is.  Are small stakes good enough for you?"

"As long as small stakes are copper part-pence, I am," agreed Saleetha.

"Pull up a chair," said the man on her left, who had intertwined silver snakes, swallowing each other's tails, embroidered on his waist coat.  "If we start playing we should get one or two more to join us after a hand.  Do you mind using Ulfman's cards?"  He indicated the man across the table from him.

"Not at all."  Saleetha pulled up a chair and settled herself at the table, her mug in front of her but out of the way of play.  "I'm Sal Grimsdower, out of Runhaven."

The man opposite her nodded.  "Runhaven's brimming with Grimsdowers.  I'm Bailed."

Ulfman pulled a silk wrapped block out of his pocket and unwrapped the cards in the middle of the table.  "You know who I am because Rais introduced me.  Let's cut to see who shuffles - widdershins around the table."  He lifted the top cards off the deck and laid them face up in front of him on the table.

When the cutting was done, Saleetha had been last and left a few cards on the silk in the middle, it was Rais who'd had the high card with the Bishop of Flowers, so it was he who dealt. 

Saleetha's first hand was all flowers and hearts, with a single blade card.  The Ace of Rubies, out of Bailed's hand, had set the first trump of the game so she spent her turns trying to build a winning hand run instead of trying for tricks she couldn't win.  She failed and Ulfman won the pot.

Another two men joined the table for the next game, leaving Saleetha to shuffle her chair around so that she sat between Rais and a red-haired man with his beard plaited in two thin braids and wearing a gunmetal coloured waistcoat under his charcoal coat.  The other man had brown stars tattooed around the finger knuckles of each hand.  They played two more games, the star-handed man won the first, Bailed won the third, and Saleetha hadn't lost more than she could afford.

Then it was time to change the deck, if there was another deck at the table.  When Ulfman voiced the query, Saleetha admitted, "I have one," and let the man gather up his cards and tie them away in their silk covering.

When the table was clear, Saleetha pulled the purple-indigo wrapped deck from her coat pocket and laid it as close to the centre of the table as she could reach, and opened it up.  She cut the cards first, and as they went widdershins around the table it was clear that the deck was marked with dried fluids. 

It was Bailed who asked, "What happened?"

"The nice, new, benevolent governor decided to clean house, so to speak," replied Saleetha as Ulfman gathered up the cards to deal.  "Mirenpreese, Fartell, and Hanglorn Market have been levelled.  There isn't a building or a man bearing the five black stars still standing in all of Runhaven."  She paused.  "I can't guarantee that I'm not being trailed to see where I go and who I talk to, but this was my only chance to pass early word of what happened."

Star-hands said quietly, "We thank you for the news.  The bands and brotherhoods will hear it.  We are sorry for your losses."

"Thank you."  Saleetha's words were quiet as Ulfman dealt.  "At least I have not yet lost myself."

This is now followed by "Wing It".

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cat wearing fez

Artefact Disposition

 So, @lasrina on Twitter wrote a thread on things she will do if she marries a dashing widower with an ancient family estate.  (I believe she has been watching Rebecca and The Haunting of Bly Manor.)  The thread, with the part on relics prominent, is here.  If her user settings mean that you can't see the thread, the relevant part says:
Regarding relics: anything from foreign lands with a mysterious provenance will be promptly offered back to the country of origin. If they don't want it, it goes to the British Museum by courier; their karma's bad enough and Hubs and I can use the tax writeoff.
Which is how we got to this little effort of ~830 words.  I hope that you enjoy it.

"Mrs Winthrop, this is a most generous offer you and your husband are making," the cultural attaché from the Ankoran Embassy was a charming man and his smile oozed genuine enthusiasm, "however, we cannot possibly accept it.  The value of this item to our people is incalculable, but it was legitimately sold to your husband's ancestor by someone with the authority and right to do so.  We cannot just simply take it back.  It would be offensive to us."

Amelia Winthrop suggested, "Perhaps a token payment?  I understand that Anderson's great-great-grandfather originally bought it with blankets."

"We could, potentially, trade the original blankets back," admitted the cultural attaché, "but they are now a critical component of the Ankoran National University's colonial artefact collection.  Even if the University could be persuaded to release them, it might require legislation to allow them to leave the country."  He added smoothly, "And of course, your government might not wish to allow such a valuable artefact to leave the country without appropriate safeguards.  They might, for instance, specify storage conditions that must be met before the item can return to us."

"It's been sitting in a cabinet in the foyer of my husband's family home for at least the thirty years," replied Mrs Winthrop.  "Surely it would be hypocritical to demand anything?"

"That's not stopped a number museums making such stipulations about items in their holdings," returned the cultural attaché gravely.

Later, after Amelia Winthrop had left the embassy grounds, the cultural attaché dropped into his seat in the embassy conference room and groaned.  "They really want to give it back.  This new Mrs Winthrop is determined to clear out the family's dubious acquisitions, and although I agree in principle, of course I tried to dissuade her from giving or selling us that thing.  Is there any way we can avoid even negotiating the subject?"

"There's a limited number of people who could agree to receive custody of it," remarked the embassy legal officer thoughtfully.  "What if all of them went on a religious retreat or a pilgrimage at once?  Or simply went away on extended holidays without leaving a forwarding address?"

"Perhaps a back-country wedding would make a good story," suggested the military attaché.  "If we pick the right location and degree of relationship, we can explain their absence for months."

"This is way over our paygrade and definitely beyond our scope," said the ambassador grimly.  "I'll alert the Foreign Ministry, and they can contact the President's Office."

The subsequent gathering in the Ankoran capital had been described as "informal drinks and canapes" and the guest list would have raised serious questions, except everyone who would have questioned it had a representative in the room.  A well fleshed, comfortably dressed woman of middle years had the floor.  "My predecessor thought he'd found the perfect person to give that object to," she said apologetically to the room.  "Stephen Winthrop was a grasping, acquisitive colonial monster.  He took everything of value that came within his grasp and broke it if he couldn't take it away.  It never occurred to the then Elder Uncle that a Winthrop would try to give anything back."

"The then Elder Uncle was probably right," soothed the representative from the Treasury.  "The new Mrs Winthrop shares no bloodlines with her husband and genuinely seems to be trying to make her new family into better people than they have been.  No-one could have predicted that, especially from so long ago."

"Regardless," the middle-aged woman replied, "we thought that we'd gotten rid of it and now it looks like we may not have."

"We need to stop that thing from getting back within our borders," said the President grimly.  "How do we do that?"

"If the problem was just the land borders," replied the Treasury man, "it wouldn't be too difficult.  Customs can man the road and rail entries twenty-four hours a day, and the various local interest groups can keep the spaces in between secure."  He carefully didn't look at any of the poachers' or insurrectionist groups' representatives who were in the room. "Air travel is what complicates things.  Once the plane lands, its contents are on our soil, and that's too late for our purpose."

One of the senior military officers in the room cleared her throat.  "What we really want is for that object not to leave the land mass it's on now.  If we can get someone else to do the work for us, better still."  She looked around the room and asked, "Who can we make want it?  Desperately, desperately want it?  For knowledge, prestige, or just to stop us having it?"  After a moment she added, "Preferably someone we don't like."

"I have a list of names you might be interested in."  Everyone turned to look at the quiet young woman who'd come with the National Museum's director.  "Do you have a preference for the type of unpleasantness we'll be rewarding?  My list is coded for artefact theft and various types of gatekeeping."

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Engaging With Family

This follows on from “A Negotiation” which can be found on Dreamwidth, LiveJournal, and Patreon. The entire series of these stories is tagged ‘Erima’ but the complete set is only on LiveJournal here. This story comes out of kelkyag’s Dreamwidth prompt for “the next segment on an open multi-part piece” and it runs to 1,929 words. I hope that you enjoy it.

The visit to Chatham had gone well.  Denfia Sarobrast had discussed new siege machines with the workshop supervisors and managers, while Erima had talked delivery schedules, space requirements and maintenance needs.  Alvithis Mordvill had made notes about floor space and clearance requirements.  When they were done, Erima and her little retinue of experts moved on to the stone quarries at Sudentenvale, travelling in the cart supplied and driven by Temus Porter.

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Saylie: Lessons Vignette 2

This came from thnidu’s prompt on Dreamwidth.  After taking a hard pivot around a plot hole, this piece came in at 683 words and did not end where I expected it to.  It follows on from Saylie: Lesson Vignette 1.

Today's lesson was taking place under an irregularly shaped gazebo in the back garden of the home of Saylie's mentor, Magister Herotus Zallack.  There was a collection of stools scattered around the covered over space and a small table sat in the middle of the room.  A hammock was strung between two of the supports so that it occupied the length of one wall.  Magister Zallack was wearing his usual outfit of a toga over a kilt, all of it undyed, while Saylie was wearing a greenish-blue sari over a dark blue bodice constructed of silk, knots, and firm twists.

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Saylie: Lessons Vignette 1

So, this comes from [personal profile] chanter1944 ’s Dreamwidth prompt for “… can I ask for Saylie Chaterhalm in the early days of learning about, and finally succeeding with, her magic once she was out from under the heel of her mother's insistence on order and control?”.  This piece came in at 793 words.  Other pieces about Saylie can be found with this tag.

Saylie's mentor was an older man with whose skew-whiff hair and beard were grey lightening into white. His clothing was, essentially, a toga over a kilt with fraying edges on both pieces of cloth. He was, as he had told Saylie, a chaos Magister, and his name was Herotus Zallack. Right now, he was trying to find out what Saylie already knew.

"So, your mother tutored you at home, but no-one has ever discussed your magic's affiliations or alignment with you?" He looked like he was trying to be hopeful and encouraging. "How far along are you in your training?"

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This is now followed by "Saylie:  Lessons Vignette 2". This entry was originally posted at There have been comment count unavailable comments there.

The Cabbage Seller in the Capital

Ada Kerman on Patreon asked for, “More Nai. More Liavan. A link to the other appearance(s) of the cabbage seller that got a cameo in Nai's story.” As a consequence we now have 2,095 words on the cabbage seller who hadn’t had any other appearances to link to….

It was four in the morning and Jie Bai was at the markets to buy vegetables.  The Jie family had been selling vegetables to the households of the Tang-jian Capital for four generations and it was part of his job to choose and buy the produce that the family's network of stalls and shops would offer to their customers.  Later in the day he would take over the cabbage stall that his elderly cousin, Jie Bo, ran while the old man went home for lunch with his daughter and an afternoon nap.  Jie Bo would come back to finish off the day and lock up, while Jie Bai went home to eat, bathe and sleep before he got up at three to go to the markets again.
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Caterpillars and Parsley

I wrote this 746-word piece to an anonymous LJ prompter’s request. This is my third attempt, the first one resulted in the first few paragraphs of Liavan: Summer but then I got took a wrong turn with that and set it aside for now, so here we are. I hope you enjoy this.

"And the only things you can find in common between these...incidents are parsley and caterpillars?"  Edmona looked sceptical.

"There are theories," admitted Treece.  "Generally, Devlin finds them for me late at night in funny little holes of the internet being promulgated by self-identified bot accounts."

"Oh, really sound theories then."  Edmona was less than impressed.

"At least they have theories," riposted Treece.  "I've got nothing.  Zilch.  Nada.  Maybe a supposition."

"Certainly not the missing antiquities."  Edmona thought for a moment.  "You've factored in that all the taken items have less than pristine provenance?"

"Yes, but it's not the same less than pristine provenance."  Treece sighed.  "Multiple points of origin.  Multiple, mainly unrelated collectors.  Multiple periods of manufacture.  They were all 'liberated' from their original locations within a two-hundred-year time frame but none of the items taken were acquired at the same time.  They've never been in the same exhibition or the same collection.  They haven't been through the same auction house.  Other items sitting right next to them that were collected by the same person from the same place and at the same time as a stolen item were left behind.  I'm asking about past and current curators, cleaning and admin staff now."

Edmona looked quizzically at her.  "Someone's taking their favourite pieces?"

"That possibility is as close as I get to a theory." Treece sighed again.  "Whoever it is has either skills or money to buy skills.  Also, I have nothing to explain the parsley and the caterpillars."

"So, your latest acquisition is off to its new home?"  Pemberton was sipping tea and watching Fredericks over his teacup.
"More like its original home," corrected Fredericks gently.  "A place it should never have left."

"Your ancestors would be upset with you," commented Pemberton.  "Some of them went to great lengths and expense to have those items acquired."

"I choose not to support all of my ancestors' choices," replied Fredericks.  "I also choose to...rectify some of their actions.  I also admit to being selfish enough not to give away everything I inherited from them because I like living in comfort."

"Which also allows you to take those rectifying steps."  Pemberton acknowledged.  He put the teacup down and picked up the plate holding his chosen slice of cake and a cake fork.  "May I ask what you're planning to repatriate next?"

"You may not.  However, congratulations may be in order shortly - I intend to acquire a certain lady investigator...for my personal collection, so to speak."  He drank some tea.

"Gerring Fredericks, do I need to be worried about you?  You do realise that you can't go around collecting people, don't you?"  Pemberton put his cake down again.

"Don't worry, I have no intention of staging an abduction or kidnapping."  Fredericks smiled and added, "I am allowed to scrape an acquaintance and launch a courtship, aren't I?"


"I find her attractive.  Also, she's beginning to ask questions that will eventually lead her to some gardeners and a landscaper, and as my wife she couldn't be made to give testimony in a trial, if I went to trial.  If she were my wife, I could offer persuasive arguments and blandishments for her not to become involved in my trial, if it came to that."  He smiled again and added, "I can make it possible for her to be far more comfortable than she is now."

"Is she uncomfortable now?"  Pemberton picked up his cake again, elegant brown hands contrasting with the pale china.

"She's a freelance investigator living with a rather ramshackle brother - no readily apparent moral issues on the brother's part but no reliable apparent source of income either."  Fredericks drank a little more tea.  "If she were married to me, she would be financially secure."

"Money can't buy happiness but lack of it can make you miserable," noted Pemberton just before he ate a forkful of cake.  "When do you think your investigator is going to connect you to the liberated items?"

"Probably after I introduce her to my butterfly house."  He squinted while he spent a moment considering his options.  "As late in our courtship as I can contrive, I believe."

“What has your butterfly house got to do with your other endeavours?”  Pemberton loaded up his fork with more cake and some whipped cream.

Fredericks smiled beatifically at his friend.  “I left caterpillars in my garden work for those fine establishments I moonlighted at.  The world needs more butterflies, don’t you think?”