Saturday Snippet

It’s time for #RainbowSnippets! On Saturdays, the participants over up six sentences of GLBT fiction. It can be their own. It can be someone else’s. It just needs to be GLBT. To see a wide variety of remarkable GLBT fiction, check it out!

Mine is a little over six sentences. It’s from my recently completely Camp NaNoWriMo project, ‘On the Other Side of the Mask’. (Although my Inner Editor keeps poking at me, mumbling we’re not finished yet, before we’re ready to submit this.)

Freedom. It was a dangerous word, but one he loved to think about, secretly, in his heart. His eyes darted from the small, skinny shapes of the other church wards, only to be drawn, as if by magic to a pair of blue green eyes.

Shelley was watching him. When their eyes met, the tiny smile upon the other boy’s lips grew. It tempted Byron’s own mouth to twitch and bend, until it yielded in an answering smile.

No. He wouldn’t yield his smile to Shelley, not so quickly. Not yet.


Me, Me, Me Monday

It’s ‘Me, Me, Me Monday’ for QueerSciFi, where we promote ourselves, toot our own horns, showcasing our published works, or works in progress.

I decided to share a little more of the project, which has been obsessing me for most of July, my Camp NaNoWriMo project! ‘On the Other Side of the Mask’ was originally an 6000 word submission for Lethe Press’s ‘Gents’ anthology. It was also my April Camp NaNoWriMo project.

‘On the Other Side of the Mask’ is a surreal Victorian steampunk alternate world, with elements of Baroque in it. The story centers around the city of Paradise and its environs, which is ruled by the representatives of the One True Goddess, the pale lords. This Goddess is feared more than she is loved, plus she is particularly feared, when she is loved. The same can be said for the pale lords. Bits of pieces of the world Paradise left behind find their way into the hearts and minds of the people, even the unwanted wards of the church. This is how two boys get the idea of taking on the names of Byron and Shelley, in the hopes to embody some of the spirit of freedom those otherworldly poets believed in.

Here is a small snippet from ‘On the Other Side of the Mask’…

Poems can shape the world, just as poets shape it with their thoughts and ideas. Their legacy causes ripples across realities, inspiring the inhabitants of other worlds. Their very names invoke power.

Which was why two, shivering boys brought before the court, before they were consigned to the church’s grasp called upon them. The court warden looked down upon them from her lofty dais, only to scowl upon her wards.

“Your bodies and souls belong to the temple,” she said, as she turned her scowl from their small faces to their tiny, clapsed hands. Affection had no place in court, or in church, unless it was given to the Goddess. “The only thing, which belongs to you is your name.” She rose from her seat, the judgment of heaven resting upon her powdered head. “What name will you choose?”

The first boy, a sleek, dark haired lad, with bluish veins standing out from his small hands, raised his head with the pride of an aristocrat.

“Byron, Your Honor,” he said, in a clear, ringing voice, which carried throughout the room.



‘On the Other Side of the Mask’ Snippet

Welcome to #RainbowSnippets! Every Saturday, six sentences of GLBT fiction is shared and posted. It can be your own. It can be someone else’s. It can have another genre, as well. It just needs to be GLBT.

My own comes from my July Camp NaNoWriMo project; an expanded version of ‘On the Other Side of the Mask’. Here it is…

Danger was approaching. It was getting closer with every step, as the wardens dragged Byron and himself to a heavy, old fashioned wooded door, trimmed with iron.

The door opened. The danger was revealed. It hid itself behind a smiling, pleasant human face, which beamed with fatherly tolerance at Byron and Shelley.

Shelley couldn’t help himself. He shrank back.

Promotional Friday

The incomparable A. Catherine Noon reminded all the ChiWriMos (and myself, the lone Californian ghost haunting the group) that it’s Promotional Friday! Time to toot your own horn, share a little of what you’ve been working on. This includes projects you haven’t published yet, so I decided to share a little of my July Camp NaNoWrMo Project, ‘On the Other Side of the Mask’.

This started out a submission to Lethe Press’s ‘Gents’ anthology. I talked to Matthew Bright about expanding ‘On the Other Side of the Mask’ when I submitted the original under 6000 word version in April, after he’d rejected the first version. (I’m still waiting to hear if he accepted the second version.) The expanded version has been my July NaNoWriMo project, which I worked on in paper notebooks at first, before returning to my laptop.

The big change is an extensive visit and look at the estate of Lord Ruthvyn, one of the pale lords who rules the city of Paradise, in the name of their Goddess. Shelley and Byron are two of his caged songbirds, but there have been others before them. What was the fate of the others? Will Shelley and Byron share their fate?

Here’s a scene with Byron interacting with Nathaniel and Olympia, Lord Byron’s two servants…

“You’re one of Lord Ruthvyn’s songbirds now,” Nathaniel said, as he approached Byron, playing with the white socks. They coiled around his hands, like a pair of flexible snakes. “Or are you still not good enough for stockings?”

“Or too timid to wear them?” Olympia asked. She steered him towards the chair, giving him a firm shove, so he collapsed into the seat. “Is wearing these garments too daring for you, little Byron?”

“The original Byron would have dared,” Nathaniel said, kneeling at Byron’s feet. He took one of Byron’s ankles in his hands, caressing it. “He would have dared anything.”

Byron tried not to tremble. Nathaniel’s touch wasn’t nearly as unpleasant as he’d have liked it to be.

Wednesday Challenge

This is my answer to @Paula Wyant’s Wednesday challenge…as well as an attempt to some work on my Camp NaNoWriMo project, which has gotten sadly neglected, as I spent time researching Correggio and Parmagianino. (You can find some of their amazing art at my ‘Renaissance Art’ Pinterest board.) However, back to ‘On the Other Side of the Mask’, where I at last get into Lord Ruthvyn’s head a little…

“I may have accidentally sort of adopted some dragons.” Lord Ruthvyn raised the glass of wine to his lips, so he didn’t have to look directly into Her eyes. Dragons were a metaphor for demons, monsters, creatures who destroyed the harmony of flocks. However, some of the most powerful, influential, and most interesting people of the world could be considered dragons.

The true Lord Byron might have been considered a dragon. Certainly, as far as Paradise and her flocks were concerned.

“A dragon? You?” Louise Marie threw her head back to let out a harsh laugh, although it wasn’t truly Louise Marie who was speaking. None of the pale lords were quite themselves, when the Goddess chose to speak directly through them. “After adopting so many sweet songbirds, has one of them developed scales and claws?”

“Two,” Lord Ruthvyn admitted. Why was he so reluctant to speak of Byron and Shelley? What belonged to him belonged to the Goddess. “I fear they have something different than claws.” He relinquished each word with slow reluctance, as if something inside him struggled to keep his fear in check. No, not his fear. His secrets. His secrets about his boys.

“What is it?” Louise Marie asked. She reached out a pale hand, paler than Lord Ruthvyn’s own, to touch him. He fought the urge to recoil. This was their Goddess, speaking to him from her chosen vessel. At any time, it might be Lord Ruthvyn himself. Her icy power had already entered him, on numerous occassions. Leaving him chilled and hollow, even when he was one with Her.

Why should this cause him concern? Lord Ruthvyn was one of the pale lords, a superior being, ranked higher than the mere sheep in the flocks of Paradise! He was one of her Chosen! The Goddess would always take care of him.

“Will She?” Lord Ruthvyn could almost see Shelley standing before him, his lips forming the question. His blue green eyes had been so solemn, so innocent in their earnestness, as he regarded his ‘father’. “Does she truly take care of you?”

“Questions,” Lord Ruthvyn murmured, releasing the word with slow reluctance. Saying it almost felt like a betrayal. It shouldn’t be. Everyone served the Goddess, including Shelley. The sooner the child learned this, the better. “They have questions.”

“Questions,” Louise Marie said, as she shuddered. It sent her pendant and blood stone earrings swaying, as every lace covered inch of her quivered. “This songbird of yours may be something much worse than a dragon.”

“Have pity, Beauteous One,” he murmured, inclining his head. “He’s just a child. He doesn’t know your ways, your glory. He has yet to taste your song.”

“Yes, although We’ve had a taste of his,” Louise Marie said. The whites of her eyes gleamed like ivory, as they swallowed her irises and pupil. Her tongue flickered out of her mouth to touch her red lips. “A dangerous flavor, but not without savor.”

“He shall be yours,” Lord Ruthvyn vowed. He didn’t raise his head, as his curls tickled his cheeks, concealing his eyes. It was a boyish mischief, to hide your expression from the One Who Sees All, but his hair had a will of their own. Parts of his body were starting to express themselves, as if reminding him of the time, when he’d been a man. When he’d had hopes and dreams, as he lived in a very different place than Paradise…

…when he’d been lost. When he’d been alone. Before he’d found her glory, her majesty.

“Know your place, precious,” she murmured. She seized his chin, raising his head. Forcing him to meet her sightless eyes. “Your duty is to find Us songbirds to sing Our glory. To worship and love me, as all creatures of Paradise must. To offer up their songs to Our Being, so We can stay strong enough to keep Paradise enclosed.”

“Yes, Beauteous One,” he murmured. His skin crawled at Her touch, but he loved it, as always. Just as he loved and hated Her.

Wait a moment, when had he ever hated his Goddess? Paradise’s savior?

Confusion threatened to overwhelm him, but She was there. Cool fingers caressed his face, banishing his doubts, banishing his new awareness. He belonged to Her. Lord Ruthvyn was Her pale lord. Always.

Now, he was hungry, almost as hungry as She. Only his new songbirds could satisfy this hunger.

He hoped Byron and Shelley would not disappoint.

‘On the Other Side of the Mask’ Snippet

I’m back…regarding my Cauldron of Eternal Inspiration with teary eyes. I had a wonderful time, going off on vacation, but I have missed this place! I’ve also missed #RainbowSnippets, our wonderful Saturday group of GLBT posters. Each Saturday, everyone contributes six sentences of GLBT fiction. It can be your own, or someone else’s. The six sentences just need to be GLBT.

I’m sharing my current Camp NaNoWriMo project; an extended version of ‘On the Other Side of the Mask’. I submitted a shorter version of it to Lethe Press’s ‘Gents: Steamy Tales of Steam’ anthology. It was rejected, so I changed it and sent it again. I also talked to the anthologist about working on an extended version of it for Lethe Press’s general submissions. I said I’d work on that extended version during July’s Camp NaNoWriMo, so here it is….it’s slightly over six sentences, so forgive me. (bows)


“Besides, how do you truly know what we want?” Nathaniel countered. “You don’t even know what you want!”

“Shelley!” Byron’s lips shaped the name, breathing it out as a shout. “What I want is Shelley. He’s mine and I want him back!”

“Ah, but how can you want him, if he belongs to you?” Olympia asked slyly. “A boy wants what he doesn’t have.”