Conversations with Christopher: The Other Iama the Terrible

(Christopher sits facing a petite woman with shoulder-length dark hair, ivory skin, slightly slanted brown eyes who wears a red suit with golden buttons down the front.)

Christopher: I’ll admit, I’m confused. Right now Quartz is with another Iama the Terrible. I thought you were Iama the Terrible?

Maia: (She smiles.) Iama the Terrible was a villain in the children’s books my mother illustrated. My name is actually an anagram for Iama.

Christopher: Someone is worried, very worried about you becoming Iama the Terrible.

Maia: (Her smile disappears.) That would be Grace. Honestly, she’s too imaginative sometimes. Just because I got promoted doesn’t make me terrible. Nathalie encouraged her far too much in her storytelling, but what can I expect from Morisot’s daughters?

Christopher: It sounds like you didn’t care much for Nathalie and Grace’s mother.

Maia: I didn’t know her, not really. Oh, she was brilliant. One can see that just by looking at the books she wrote. Morisot was, however, extremely impractical. Her daughters picked up that impracticality. Both Nathalie and Grace spin fantasies right and left about the world around them, trying to make it a more magical place, and end up frightening themselves.

Christopher: While you’re more down-to-earth?

Maia: I want us to live well. It’s not enough to have a big house that Nathalie and Grace got from their mother. I want to turn it into a palace. I want to surround us with precious things, beautiful objects which will soothe and distract us from our pain. If I even wish to think of such a goal, I’ll need a job that doesn’t just pay well. I’ll need one that pays extraordinarily well. I’ll need to not just settle for being manager. I’ll need to take over the factory itself, make it grow, expand, even if that means sacrificing a few things to accomplish this.
Christopher: What do you need to sacrifice?

Maia: Well, our old way of life can’t continue, can it? Nathalie just walked away from it. Verity needs to change, to grow, to stop being a dull, somewhat old-fashioned little town. I’ll need to give up some time with Grace. Nathalie asked me to look after her while she went off on her mournful little soul-search and I’m doing my best, but Grace’s school tuition is expensive. Oh, we have enough to live comfortably, but that’s not enough. Not enough for the sort of lifestyle I dream of the three of us having. That’ll require serious effort.

Christopher: Just what have you done that Grace found terrible?

Maia: Well, I may have been a little harsh towards an employee who’s the mother of Grace’s friends in front of Grace. I’m not about to just start handing out vacations to people I’m not prepared to take.

Christopher: Did this employee need the vacation?

Maia: Well, it wasn’t like it was an emergency. Just some holiday time she wanted to take and spend with her family. You don’t see me taking any holiday time. I used to. I used to enjoy the holidays with Nathalie and Grace, but Nathalie just left. The times we spent together weren’t enough to convince her to stay. Why should I indulge other people in a frivolous waste of time when I know there’s no point to it?

Christopher: Maybe you see no point to it, but you’re the boss or manager at this factory, right?

Maia: For now. I intend to go higher. Much higher. All the way to the top.

Christopher: Perhaps, but the other people below are your responsibility, aren’t they? Their happiness while working at the factory is your responsibility?

Maia: Happiness, pah! Their productivity and welfare are my responsibility, not their happiness. They can find their own happiness. They can choke on it.

Christopher: Err, I see.

Maia: Lazy, ungrateful scabs, we’ll see how much they’ll continue to keep that up once I’m truly in charge. The way they smile at each other, taking it easy, never making any extra effort like my mother. They’re so content with what they’ve got. Well, not me. I spit upon their contentment.

Christopher: You do?

Maia: What right do they have to smile when Nathalie is gone? When I miss her so much, I want to scream? The only thing that makes the pain go away is work!

Christopher: Ah, I see.

Maia: I’ll get her back. Once I’m rich and powerful enough, I’ll make her come back. Grace, too. She’ll come around. Once we become truly wealthy, all thoughts of anything terrible will disappear. All of our troubles will go away. I’ll drown us in wealth until there’s no time to get lost in sad thoughts. Neither of them will leave me or doubt me, if I succeed.

Christopher: I’m beginning to see why Grace is worried.

Maia: What was that?

Christopher: Nothing. Thanks for stopping by.

Maia: You should thank me. There are several projects on my desk I could have made progress on while I was here.


#RainbowSnippets: A Symposium in Space

Welcome to Rainbow Snippets!

Every Saturday or Sunday, those participating post and share six sentences of LGBTQIA+ fiction on their blogs. It can be their own. It can be someone else’s. It just needs to be LGBTQIA+.

To read a wide variety of samples from different LGBTQIA+ stories, go to…

Pausania is going to pick up where Phaedra left off last week. In fact, she would like to rant…only Phaedra is ready to argue…

“Men saw women swelling with life, only to be eaten with envy at the sight?” Men were always the villains of herstory as far as Pausania was concerned. “Don’t make excuses for them. Nothing can ever pardon them for what they’ve made.”

“What about what we’ve done?” I glanced at Pausania’s hand.

Intrigued by what you’ve read? Want to read the novella? Here are buy links…

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Conversations with Christopher: Danyel and Tayel Return

Christopher: What are you two doing here?

Danyel: Surprise! Did you miss us?

Tayel: Wayward inspiration often steals our scribbler away. It led her back to the shadow of the hill where we dwell and the stories we’re a part of.

Danyel: What he means is our scribbler added a whole new section to A Godling for Your Thoughts? Isn’t that wonderful? She’s been meaning to revise that novel for months, only she keeps putting it off to work on other projects.

Christopher: That is wonderful, even though I wasn’t part of whatever she wrote. I feel a bit left out.

Tayel: Shadows play less of a part than substance many a shadow has become in A Godling for Your Thoughts?

Danyel: Heh, you just asked a question!

Tayel: Did not. That was the title. Not me.

Christopher: I wonder at our scribbler having the time to work on our stories. Isn’t she supposed to be finishing a draft of Wind Me Up, One More Time for Camp NaNoWriMo?

Danyel: Oh, she is! (He giggles.) I think maybe that’s why she wrote about us. She wasn’t supposed to.

Tayel: The temptation of the forbidden often lures a scribbler away from her sworn tasks.

Christopher: Heh, maybe we should be forbidden more often?

Danyel: Maybe!

(A red curtain appears behind Christopher, Tayel, and Danyel.)
Theodora: (from behind the curtain) Growwr.

Grace: (from behind the curtain) Theodora says don’t distract the scribbler! She’s in the middle of writing my bear’s moment of glory, her heroic turning point in our story. Don’t mess it up or she’ll send Alf, Leif, and Rolf to mess up your cottages!

Danyel: Um, what was that about? Who are Alf, Leif, and Rolf?

Christopher: I’m not sure if I have a cottage to mess up, or if I even still have the Navel. Sorry! Alf, Leif, and Rolf are three nisse who are in Wind Me Up, One More Time. If nisse are anything like brownies or boggans, we don’t want to anger them. They could well mess up your cottage, just as they’d be just as good as cleaning it.

Danyel: Cleaning it? Oh, Map might love to have one of these nisse come by for a visit!

Tayel: Or she might hate it, depending on whether they’re cleaning up a mess or making one. If you believe anything he says. (nods at Christopher)

Danyel: How do you know all this, Christopher?

Christopher: Well, I’ve had characters from Wind Me Up, One More Time show up every Monday this month for a conversation. I might also have caught a glimpse of the scribbler’s thoughts.

Tayel: Hah!

Christopher: Anyway it’s best not to distract the scribbler from her Camp project. It’s only for a couple more weeks.

Danyel: Aww…

Tayel: Imagination is a curious thing. You never know what might lure it in a certain direction.

Theodora: (from behind the curtain) Growwr.

Grace: (from behind the curtain) No luring!

Danyel and Tayel: (sighs)

#RainbowSnippets: A Symposium in Space

Welcome to Rainbow Snippets!

Every Saturday or Sunday, those participating post and share six sentences of LGBTQIA+ fiction on their blogs. It can be their own. It can be someone else’s. It just needs to be LGBTQIA+.

To read a wide variety of samples from LGBTQIA+ stories, go to…

For mine, Phaedra is going to pick up where she left off last week in A Symposium in Space…

What would it have been like, to grow inside another woman’s body, being nourished by her, my heart beating inside her? It sounded terrifying, being that close to someone else, needing someone else so utterly and completely.

Perhaps if I had experienced such closeness, I wouldn’t seek it with other people. I wouldn’t need them so badly.

Perhaps I wouldn’t have been desperate for any kind of affection I might get from Pausania.

“Men might have done those things to fill the emptiness inside of them,” I murmured. “A child could never grow within their bodies. Maybe that inability to create life became a void they sought to fill.”


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Conversations with Christopher: Theodora Growls

(Once more Christopher sits in a chair facing a small girl holding her stuffed bear.)

Christopher: This Monday I’ll be talking with, uh, Theodora Bear. Hello, Grace. (He gies the bear a once over.) I think I’m supposed to talk to your companion, but she seems like the silent type.

Grace: Don’t worry. I’ll just turn her crank and tell you what’s she’s saying. It may just sound like growls, but Theodora always means something.

Christopher: Uh…

Grace: This cranks of hers is part of why our story is called Wind Me Up, One More Time. (Grace starts turning the small device sticking out of Theodora’s back.)

Theodora: Growwr.

Grace: She says you smell dangerous. You’d better not hurt me. Theodora may be only a stuffed bear, but she’s from a mighty assemblyline of stuffed bears going back a great hunter.

Christopher: Really?

Grace: Yeah. According to Nathalie, a hunter called Theodora once battled a bear which attacked her village. Theodora killed the bear, only to find she had a cub. Theodora took the cub in and raised her herself. A toymaker in Verity, that’s our town, made a stuffed bear, which she called Theodora’s Bear. This is where you get the name ‘teddy bear’ from.

Christopher: Is that true? I catch glimpses of our scribbler’s thoughts. From what I’ve seen, that’s not accurate.

(A red curtain appears behind Christopher and Grace.)

Me: Actually, Teddy Roosevelt once refused to kill a young bear. Someone designed a toy bear afterwards, calling it Teddy’s bear. The toy was a hit.

Grace: Well, I like Nathalie’s story. It’s nice, isn’t it? Wait, Theodora has something to say. (She turns to crank.)

Theodora: Growwr.

Grace: She says if I believe something is true, it’s true for Theodora. This is the way of not only stuffed animals and their children, but of all toys. What was that? (She twists at her bear’s back.)

Theodora: Growwr.

Grace: The toys that she’s met, anyway.

Christopher: Have you met a lot of other toys?

Theodora: (after Grace twists) Growwr.

Grace: In our story, Theodora spends a lot of time with Carrot Monster. That’s Heidi’s stuffed rabbit. And there’s also Leif, Rolf, and Alf, the three nisse Heather takes home.
Quartz: (his voice coming from behind the red curtain) Those three had names? The rascals never told me!

Theodora: Growwr.

Grace: Theodora says you never asked. Besides they might not have told you. A name is something a toy’s child gives him. Whether she says the name out loud or not is up to the child.

Quartz: Cheeky bear. Cheeky old geezers.

Theodora: Growwr.

Grace: Theodora isn’t sure if the nisse even had names when they met you, Quartz. They only happened, the names Leif, Rolf, and Alf, in the draft our scribbler is writing now.

Christopher: For Camp NaNoWriMo?

Theodora: Growwr.

Grace: Uh huh. Theodora says she’s finding out all sorts of this in this draft she didn’t know.

Christopher: Are you happy with how the draft is going?

Theodora: Growwr.

Grace: Sometimes our scribbler doesn’t get Theodora’s voice or growl right, but she will. Theodora will keep growling at her until she gets it right.

Quartz: You tell ‘er, sister!

Theodora: Growwr.


#RainbowSnippets: A Symposium in Space

Welcome to Rainbow Snippets!

Every Saturday or Sunday those participating post and share six sentences of LGBTQIA+ fiction on their blogs. It can be their own. It can be someone else’s. It just needs to be LGBTQIA+.

To read a wide variety of samples from different LGBTQIA+ stories, go to…

For mine, Phaedra will continue where she left off last Saturday in A Symposium in Space…

I’d been raised by Timea, my mother’s assistant, and a number of maternal substitutes.

My own mother had been too busy to bother with me. Donating her ova to a fetal creche had been her way of being gracious enough to offer her superior genes to society.

When I turned out to have little ambition worth notice, my mother lost interest in me. Timea had remained in contact with me before she died from space sickness, one of the few illnesses the doctors of the Intergalactic Democracy couldn’t treat.

Losing her made me think more about life and birth, the value of both.


Interested in what you’re reading? Want to read the whole novella? Here are buy links…

Nine Star Press:


Barnes & Noble:




Me Me Monday: Conversations with Christopher

(Christopher sits across from a young woman with bronze skin, with full, coppery curls which seem to float around her heart-shaped face. She’s wearing a loose, orange-golden blouse, a green pendant, and full, green skirts, keeping a leg crossed with relaxed casualness beneath the fall of verdure cloth. She relaxes her arm on the chair’s arm, fixing a bright, hazel eye upon the slender boy sitting across from her, whose short hair is as bright as hers, even if his tunic and trousers are much more dark and drab than her attire.)

Christopher: You’re a storyteller. (His own violet-blue, rose, and purple irises, swimming with shades of green, golden and silver regard the other character from another universe with avid interest.) I wonder if that accomplishment is impressive in your setting as it is in mine.

Nathalie: Oh, I’d defintely say so. At least I think so. (She grins.) The real storyteller was my mother. She’d collect memories, tales, ideas from all the places she’d visit and turn them into stories. With her partner’s help, that is.

Christopher: You mean Cassat, Maia’s mother.

Nathalie: Auntie Cassat. She was supposed to keep an eye on us when my mother left, but she had her own family to look after. Plus I was almost an adult. I didn’t want anyone looking after Grace but me. Eventually I came to my senses and let Maia help me with that.

Christopher: You, Maia, and Grace live together in a town called Verity. That’s a pretty name.

Nathalie: Isn’t it? Once it belonged to a girl, who was the town’s founder. She was an accomplished seamstress, who wanted to create her own designs for clothes and stuffed animals. She ran away to do it, but she couldn’t do it alone. The factory at the center of town was created by a group of local women trying to help her.

Christopher: This was your mother’s town, wasn’t it?

Nathalie: Born and raised there, until she ran away to see the world. She returned and started writing with Cassat until Cassat got married. After which, she ran away again, only to return to Verity with Grace and myself.
Christopher: Only she left again. Where did she go?

Nathalie: I’m not sure. It was about a year ago. I’d just finished school, but Grace was still very young.

Christopher: You and Grace are living together in Verity during Wind Me Up, One More Time, aren’t you?

Nathalie: Well, the story begins with me recalling a few scattered memories from the village we were born in. We live in our mother’s house for most of the story, only Maia comes to live with us. Marvelous stroke of luck, meeting her at the factory. I’d seen her before, but we never talked. She was Cassat’s daughter, but we sort of noticed each other in a way we never had, when Grace and I saw her artwork in the factory entrance.

Christopher: Sounds romantic.

Nathalie: It was. Maia starts visiting us, bringing food, spending evenings with us where I write, she draws, and Grace colors papers with crayon. These nights became so regular, eventually Maia moved in with us. Only she starts getting more serious when she moves in. Trying to push Grace into going to a particular school, for me to be more serious about my writing. She means well, but the pressure she puts on us make things a lot less comfortable.

Christopher: (sighs) Maia is starting to remind of a young man I know in my universe. (He smiles a wistful smile.) Meaning well doesn’t always turn out well.

Nathalie: It certainly doesn’t. We all mean well, but we make mistakes in this story. We try to fix them.

Christopher: You’ve got a much bigger part in this story than you did in the previous draft, don’t you?

Nathalie: Yes. I begin by talking a little about Verity, my vague memories of the place Grace and I lived before Mama adopted us. After that, I step in from time to time, describing a little of what’s happening from my perspective. It’s still Grace and Theodora’s story, but I’ve got a more active part.

Christopher: Are you looking forward to it?

Nathalie: Yes and no. Happiness and sadness await me in equal measure in this tale. I can’t say too much without spoilering things, but I’m both looking forward to the completion of this manuscript and dreading it.

Christopher: I’ve felt the same many times, believe me. (His sad smile turns into a wry grin) All I can say is good luck in getting through the emotionally rough parts. Savour the happiness when it comes.

Nathalie: The same to you. From what I’ve seen in the scribbler’s imagination, you’d best take your own advice.

Christopher: Yes, I’d better. (He sighs and gives a sideways glare.)

(I try to look innocent and fail.)