Conversations with Christopher: The Two Graces (and Theodoras)

Christopher sits in a central chair. To his left is a little girl with wavy, coppery-brown hair, a red cape spilling over her shoulders. To his right is another little girl with curly hair dressed in a red sweater. The two children look very similar, right down to the stuffed bears they hold in their laps, yet the child on the right has a little more expression in her face while the one on the left has a smooth, dreamlike quality as if she isn’t quite substantial.

Christopher: Good to see you both again…Grace. (He glances at each girl, unsure which he’s speaking to.)

Left Grace (the Grace on the left in the cape): Good to see you, too, and to meet you…Grace.

Right Grace: (the Grace on the right in the sweater): Oh wow! (She claps one hand on her cheek, almost dropping Theodora Bear.) It’s really you, isn’t it? You’re Princess Grace from Grace and Theodora: Magic and Mishaps, it’s so great to meet you! I can’t believe you’re real, only you’re not real, you’re here, you’re really here, wearing the cape, just like in all the illustrations-

Theodora: Growwr.

Christopher is trying very hard not to chuckle. The Grace on the left, however, doesn’t seem to mind the attention at all. The Grace on the right looks down at the bear in her arms and over at Christopher.

Right Grace: Sorry, sorry. I’m babbling.

Left Grace: (She shakes her head.) It’s all right. I’m really happy to meet you, too. (She gazes at the other little girl with interest.) Tell me, is that sweater really scratchy?

Right Grace: Would you like to try it on yourself? I’d love to try your cape.

Left Grace: Yes! (She bounces off the seat, only to set her Theodora down with care, and slips off her cape.)

Right Grace: (Just as eager, she almost falls out of her seat, knocking her Theodora over. She catches her bear just in time, putting her on the chair, and struggles to get out of her sweater.)

Christopher looks away, although there’s nothing really to look away from since the two girls are wearing dresses underneath. Both bears sit and observe with button eyes while one Grace hands her cape to the other, receiving the sweater in return. Christopher keeps his eyes averted while the left Grace tries to figure out how to fit her arms into the sweater, wincing at the roughness of the wool, yet seeming to delight in the discomfort. The Grace on the right swings the cape over her shoulders in sheer bliss, eyes dreamy, fingers playing with the material.
Left Grace: (at last inside the wooly garment) You were right in Wind Me Up, One More Time when you said this was scratchy. It’s kind like wearing a thicket that doesn’t leave marks on your skin.

Right Grace: Isn’t it? I’m not sure why Maia used that wool, but it’s supposed to keep me warm.

Left Grace: It is warm. Much warmer than the cape.

Right Grace: Your cape feels wonderful. Soft, softer than anything I’ve ever felt. (She hugs the flaps of the garment.)

Left Grace: You can keep wearing it if you like, for as long as we’re here.

Right Grace: Can I? (She pulls the edges tighter around herself, breathing in its smell.) Thank you.

Left Theodora: (sitting in the chair) Growwr.

Left Grace: Theodora says if she didn’t know me well enough to recognize me, she’d be really confused.

Christopher: She’s not the only one. You two look so much alike…and how is Theodora growling when there’s no one nearby to turn the crank in her back?

Left Grace: Oh, my Theodora, or rather, Nathalie’s Theodora doesn’t always need me to turn her crank to growl.

Right Grace: My Theodora does. At least I think so. Actually I’m not sure.

Right Theodora: Growwr.

Right Grace: Only it seems she doesn’t. How does she do that?

Christopher: What does she say?

Right Grace: This is the Cauldron of Eternal Inspiration, a fourth wall space of impossibility. Theodora can do things here she can’t normally.

Christopher: A bit like the Shadow Forest…no wonder I’m here so often.
Left Theodora: Growwr.

Left Grace: That makes sense and I agree. Grace, you look very pretty in that cape.

Right Grace: (fusses with a curl) Really? Thank you. You look very pretty in my sweater, prettier than I do.

Left Grace: Can’t say I agree with that. It’s great to meet you in person.

Right Grace: It really is.

Left Grace: I wish we could have met in Wind Me Up, One More Time.

Right Grace: Me, too! Think of all the adventures we could have had.

Left Grace: We could have had tea and apple brownies together. I could have met Heidi, Heather, Maia, and your Nathalie.

Right Grace: (She takes a step closer.) I could have gone with you in that scary wood, helped you find Iama’s heart.

Left Grace: (She takes a step closer as well.) We could have gone to school together, all of us.

Right Grace: (She’s very close to the other Grace.) I could have held your hand when you faced all those reflections in Iama’s hall of mirrors.

The two girls reach out to clasp each other’s hands.

Christopher gazes at this scene, his own eyes swimming with memories of taking someone’s hand himself, the moment he became a little more real. The Grace on the left now looks a little sharper, a little more distinctive.

Right Theodora: Growwr.

Left Grace: What’s she saying?

Right Grace: (ducking her head) Um, that Heather and Heidi might be jealous if they saw us like this, seeing as they want to marry me. I don’t agree. I think they’d love you if they met you.

Left Grace: (in a wistful voice) I wish I could meet them.

Right Grace: I wish you could, too.

Left Theodora: Growwr.

Left Grace: Yes, I know all sorts of things are possible in this Cauldron. I wonder if the scribbler would let me?

Christopher: You could always do what Quartz does. Pound on her imagination until she considers it.

Left Grace: (brightening) I could, couldn’t I?

(Somewhere offstage, I groan and rub my temples in anticipation.)

Left Grace: It makes me a little sad, being just a character in your story, Grace.

Right Grace: You’re not just a character! The thought of you makes me stronger! Reading about your adventures, why if I hadn’t, I never would have wanted a bear of my own! I never would have met Theodora!

Left Grace: Really?

Right Grace: Really! Lots of people love and fall in love with fictional characters. Why, we’re all fictional characters here!

Left Grace: Thank you. (She looks down at their small fingers, wrapped around each other’s.) I really don’t want to let go of your hand, Grace.

Right Grace: I don’t either.

Christopher: (He rubs his eyes) I wish I’d never let go of his.

Left Theodora: Growwr.

Left Grace: We’re making Christopher cry. Plus Theodora feels unhugged.

Christopher: Sorry. (He does his best to smile.)

Right Theodora: Growwr.

Right Grace: My Theodora feels the same way. I don’t want to let go, but I have an idea.

Left Grace: I think it’s the same as mine. You ready?

Right Grace: Ready!

The two little girls release each other’s hands. They walk over to their chairs, pick up their Theodoras. They walk back to each other, shifting their bears to one arm and grabbing each other’s fingers again.

Christopher: (gazes at them as if he’s just had a revelation) It can’t be that simple. Can it? (He speaks to himself more than anyone present.) All I have to do is find him and grasp his hand once more.

Left Theodora: Growwr.

Left Grace: Sorry, Christopher. We forgot you were here.

Christopher: It’s all right. I’ve been somewhat elsewhere myself.

Right Grace: Did you want to ask us questions?

Christopher: Well, I was going to, but the two of you were getting along so well, I didn’t want to get in the way. I felt a bit like a fifth wheel to be honest. (For a moment, he turns into a wheel, only to reform as a youth.)

Both Graces giggle.

Christopher: I’ll admit, all of this hand-holding is reminding me of someone. Someone who once took my hand and made me feel more real. Someone I miss.

Left Grace: Makes me jealous of you, Christopher.

Right Grace: Me, too.

Christopher: Why?

Left Grace: I never get to hold Grace’s hand like this in Wind Me Up, One More Time.

Right Grace: I’m guessing you got to hold onto your someone in your story.

Christopher: That’s true.

Left Grace: Treasure that moment. It might be all you’ve got.

Right Grace: (looking into her namesake’s eyes) Yes.

The two Graces and their bears disappear.

Christopher: That reminded me of a lot of moments in my story or stories. I can’t say I didn’t treasure the moment. It doesn’t mean I don’t want more.

 

Who doesn’t want more? Perhaps it’s just as well the Graces never did meet in Wind Me Up, One More Time. Heather and Heidi might have had some competition if they did. 🙂 To meet the Graces yourself in their story, here’s some buy links…

Mischief Corner Books/Shenanigans Press: https://www.mischiefcornerbooks.com/wind-me-up-one-more-time.html#/

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B081LPX2WH/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=Wind+Me+Up%2C+One+More+Time&qid=1573974211&s=books&sr=1-1
Kobo:https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/wind-me-up-one-more-time

Barnes & Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/wind-me-up-one-more-time-ks-trenten/1134959345

Apple: https://books.apple.com/us/book/id1488235515?fbclid=IwAR1_ox2T5jIHibPFBHUqTck0SNaP3pcZIgNM4DS3VAjU47mn3o5iu260bMA

#RainbowSnippets: My Tool, My Treasure

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…

https://www.facebook.com/groups/RainbowSnippets/?ref=group_header

For mine, Leiwell will pick up where he left off last week in My Tool, My Treasure…

Someone was watching him. Leiwell scanned the room, tried to spot whomever was staring. Maggie gripped his mother’s arm, even while Ashleigh dug her fingers into the coarse linen of the tavern mistress’s sleeve. Their tunics were open, exposing their own talismans, which gleamed in the light. Violet-blue eyes, only too like Leiwell’s little brothers’, fixed themselves with an almost desperate hunger upon Dyvian. Maggie brought her reddish eyebrows together and lowered her head, studying the Voice of Seraphix in anticipation.

Conversations with Christopher: The Two Iamas

Christopher sits facing two different women. One wears a long, black gown with a high collar, which literally covered with gold. The other wears a tight red suit with golden buttons. The latter keeps glancing at the former, stiff in her unease.

Christopher: So. You’re both Iama the Terrible in Wind Me Up, One More Time.

Iama: (the woman in the gown) Wrong. I am Iama the Terrible. (She stabs a slender finger with a long fingernail in the direction of the woman in the suit.) This is just some little girl pretending to be me.

Maia: It’s easy to pretend when your name, or nickname belongs to someone imaginary. Hello, by the way. I’m Maia Cassat. Fascinating to meet you outside the pages of Grace and Theodora: Magic and Mishaps.

Iama: Yes, fascinating. You’re not real any more than I am.

Maia: Some of us experience more slivers of reality than others. Such as having a job, working in management, experiencing heartbreak, never living up to our mother’s expectations. You know. Or would you? As a fairytale villain, you have a certain immunity to certain real life frustrations.

Iama: I am no stranger to heartbreak, little manager.

Maia: Please. You threw your heart away. Literally.

Iama: You did the same. Figuratively.

Maia: What would you know about me and my heart?

Iama: What would you know about me and mine?

Christopher: (in a soothing voice) That’s what we’re here to discover. After all, we’re all fictional characters here.

Iama: Yes, you offered some intriguing insights for both myself and the other enchantress when I last saw you. (She turns to Christopher.) How curious to see you again.

Maia: (also turning towards Christopher) Hello, Christopher. I recall getting a measure of insight myself when we last talked. What do you want to talk about now?

Christopher: The two of you, the parts you play in Wind Me Up, One More Time. Maia, I thought you were Iama the Terrible in the original draft of this story.

Maia: (She squirms a bit in her seat.) Well, not exactly.

Iama: Not at all. I was always there, a presence in the stories this one’s mother illustrated. (She gestures to Maia.) This one chose to use my name to impress her Nathalie. (She lifts her chin.) I did not need to impress my Nathalie. She was under my spell the moment our eyes met.

Maia: And this is better how?

Christopher: Only that moment between you and your Nathalie wasn’t part of the previous version of Wind Me Up, One More Time, was it? The one our scribbler first submitted to publishers?

Maia: Hah! I’ll have you know the scene where I impress my Nathalie was in it!

Iama: And that version was rejected. (She allows a tiny smirk to play in the corner of her mouth.) Clearly that draft lacked something. Perhaps a little enchantment?

Christopher: Meaning your enchantment?

Iama: Along with myself. (She allows her smirk to grow.)

Maia: (brindles) I’ll have you know the scene where I use your name is still in the story. Clearly neither the scribbler nor the publisher thought it needed cutting.

Iama: While I whispered to the scribbler’s imagination, inspiring her to shape the scenes from Grace and Theodora: Magic and Mishaps, scenes which got your story flowing again.

Maia: (glowers at Iama) I was in the story first.

Iama: As I said, I was in the story long before you, little manager. I came to life when the scribbler wrote its very first draft when she was eleven years old.

Maia: And she was so ashamed of what she wrote, she didn’t touch it for over twenty years. When she began rewriting it, I was part of Wind Me Up, One More Time. Not you.

Iama: Yes and she rewrote it again with me as a character in the final draft. Clearly our scribbler needed to illustrate the difference between you and me n its pages.

Christopher: Which brings us back to the subject. What is the difference between the two of you?

Iama: I’m an enchantress living in a palace where everything and everyone I touch turns into gold.

Maia: I’m a girl, growing up in her mother’s shadow in the little town of Verity, struggling to be an artist, yet struggling to be successful, even if it means working long hours at a job which takes me away from my art. Thus I get caught up in the gears of industry, as Grace would say. My Grace, that is.

Christopher: Yes, there are two Graces, two Theodoras, and two Nathalies; the ones in the fairytale within the story, Grace and Theodora: Magic and Mishaps, and the ones in the main body of the plot. Just as there are two of you. It might confuse some readers.

Iama: There is only one of me. This little manager can only dream of being me.

Maia: Yes, I wasted a lot of time, dreaming of being you, Iama. Only that was before I started figuring out my own dreams, discovering what I wanted. After that, I only played at being you.

Iama: A pathetic performance. What would you know of being me?

Maia: What would you know of being me?

Christopher: Ahem, about that. Maia, what did you discover that you wanted?
Maia: I wanted to be an artist. I wanted to become a part of Nathalie Morisot’s family. (Color rises in her ivory cheeks.) And I wanted Nathalie.

Iama: In this, we are alike. I wanted Nathalie, too, my Nathalie. Perhaps I even wanted her family as well, once I met her little sister.

Maia: Yes, I suppose we have Nathalie in common. Even if our Nathalie are different.

Christopher: How does your passion for Nathalie bring the two of you together in your respective stories?

Iama: It doesn’t. Grace and Theodora: Magic and Mishaps is a fairytale which reveals itself in segments at the beginning of each chapter of Wind Me Up, One More Time. This girl and I never meet within the pages as we are meeting here and now in this Cauldron.

Maia: Maybe we never meet, but I think love for Nathalie brings us together. At the very least, it puts us on parallel journeys.

Christopher and Iama: (at the exact same moment) How so? (Enchantress and shadow glance at each other)

Maia: We’re both lonely. We’re both unsatisfied. We’re both adding to our own unhappiness with the choices we make. We both need Grace and Theodora to show us where we went wrong and what we truly want.

Iama: (gazes at Maia with dawning respect) Perhaps you are right, little manager.

Maia: I’m an artist. Artists can be insightful about these things. What’s more, I’m the scribbler’s artist. It gives me a measure of insight into her mind.

Iama: I’m the scribbler’s enchantress. I have as much insight into her hopes and dreams as you.

Maia: Perhaps you do when you bother to look at them.

Iama: What do you mean?

Maia: Lack of insight can lead to isolation, something you and I know only too well. Did you even bother to consider there might be a connection between us? Or did you dismiss me as simply a little girl playing dress-up with your name?

Iama: You are a little girl playing dress-up with my name. At least you were at the beginning of Wind Me Up, One More Time.

Maia: There’s more to me than that little girl. Use your insight and maybe you’ll see the rest.

Iama: (considers this) Perhaps you have a point, little manager.

Maia: I told you. My name is Maia. Not “little manager”.

Christopher: Ahem, well, that was…insightful. Thank you, Iama, Maia, for stopping by.

Iama: Yes, our conversations are insightful, if nothing else, little shadow. (She fades away into a golden mist, which slowly thins and disappears.)

Maia: I guess everyone is little, compared to her.

Christopher: Don’t let it bother you. I’ve lost track of how many visitors called me little. Some of them were smaller than me.

Maia: Really?

Christopher: Oh, yes…

Wish to read more about both Iamas? Here is the novel they appear within…

Mischief Corner Books/Shenanigans Press: https://www.mischiefcornerbooks.com/wind-me-up-one-more-time.html#/

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B081LPX2WH/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=Wind+Me+Up%2C+One+More+Time&qid=1573974211&s=books&sr=1-1

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/wind-me-up-one-more-time

Barnes & Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/wind-me-up-one-more-time-ks-trenten/1134959345

Apple: https://books.apple.com/us/book/id1488235515?fbclid=IwAR1_ox2T5jIHibPFBHUqTck0SNaP3pcZIgNM4DS3VAjU47mn3o5iu260bMA

#RainbowSnippets: My Tool, My Treasure

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…

https://www.facebook.com/groups/RainbowSnippets/?ref=group_header

For mine, I’m going to pick up where I left off last Saturday in My Tool, My Treasure…

As for the tailor himself, Gryluxx had loaded himself down with finery beyond his means. Rings flashed on every finger, even as his velvet covered chest heaved. For once, he wasn’t wearing black, but a dark, twilight purple. The talisman of Seraphix was set in a medallion around his neck to glitter like a cold eye.

The tailor held his wife’s plump hand in his while keeping his beady black eyes fixed upon Dyvian. He paid no attention to Leiwell or anyone else.

Conversations with Christopher: The Other Nathalie

Christopher sits, facing a girl who looks very like Nathalie Morisot, only she’s a little younger, dressed in a gauzy peach gown, which one could easily imagine a princess wearing at a ball, or getting torn on the briars of an enchanted wood. This young woman’s hair falls in waves rather than curls over her shoulders, although it’s the same coppery brown as Nathalie Morisot’s.

Christopher: Hello. I understand you’re the other Nathalie.

Nathalie: Where am I? (She looks around with frightened eyes, much greener than the other Nathalie’s.) Am I still in Iama’s palace?

Christopher: No, you’re in the Cauldron of Eternal Inspiration. It’s a space between stories characters from different worlds come together within.

Nathalie: And you? (She draws herself up in her seat, looking Christopher up and down, sounding less frightened and more like a princess.) Are you from another world, another story?

Christopher: Yes. I’m part of our scribbler’s Tales of the Navel: The Shadow Forest series, the protagonist of Stealing Myself From Shadows. I’m in a lot of other Tales of the Navel: The Shadow Forest stories, too, both of the unfinished, unrevised novels our scribbler plans to publish and the freebie stories she shares in blogs.

Nathalie: Only our creatrix placed you here in this Cauldron, asking questions of other characters. Why?

Christopher: (He shrugs.) I’m not sure. I think…I worry that it may be to remind herself that I’m here while she gets distracted by other stories.

Nathalie: At least she’s reminding herself. (She relaxes a little.)

Christopher: How about you? You’re a character in the story within the story of Wind Me Up, One More Time, aren’t you? Grace and Theodora: Magic and Mishaps?

Nathalie: I’m trying to remember. Everything is a blur. All that remains clear…shining…is her.

Christopher: Her?

Nathalie: So golden. So beautiful. She filled my vision, my mind and heart, leaving space for nothing else. Only I could hear my sister calling me. My sister and my stuffed bear.

Christopher: You mean Grace and Theodora?

Nathalie: Yes. Only sometimes I get images, visions in my head of another Grace and Theodora, a life I never had.

Christopher: It sounds like you’re getting visions of the main story in Wind Me Up, One More Time.

Nathalie: I didn’t get these visions in the story. (Nathalie rubs her eyes.) All I could see was Iama the enchantress. All I could hear was her, until I started to hear Grace and Theodora.

Christopher: You may be getting visions because you’re here in the Cauldron. The fourth wall blurs here.

Nathalie: I think these images are important, that they connect somehow with my story. Or I connect with them. The visions are part of my story, even if I’m not aware of them. Does that make sense?

Christopher: Not exactly, but that’s normal for me. Most of my own existence doesn’t make sense.

Nathalie: Really?

Christopher: Well, perhaps I should say my existence is a riddle which I myself am trying to make sense of.

Nathalie: A riddle you’re trying to make sense of, yes, I think I feel the same way. Only I’m so caught up in the magic of the moment, in what’s happening to me in my story, I don’t see the riddle.

Christopher: It happens. When you’re overwhelmed with someone else’s light, that light becomes the illumination for your very existence.

Nathalie: You’ve felt this, too? You’ve been overwhelmed by someone else, dazzled by someone else?

Christopher: (His cheeks colour.) Oh, yes.

Nathalie: We may be different characters in different worlds, but it sounds like we’re very much alike, you and I.

Christopher: I hope we are.

Nathalie: You’re not sure?

Christopher: You have your happy ending. I’m not certain if I will.

Nathalie: You can’t just expect a happy ending to come to you. (She sits up a little straighter, seems a lot more sure of herself.) Look at me. I may be confused, bewildered. I may even be a damsel in distress, but I understand this much. You can’t just wait around for a happy ending. You can’t expect our scribbler to provide you with one without prompting her. You’ve got to make your own happy ending. You’ve got to grab her and never let go.

Christopher: Her?

Nathalie: Well, it doesn’t have to be a her. In my story, it is.

Christopher: Mine isn’t, but you’re right. You’re absolutely right. How my story ends is up to me. It depends on how tenacious I decide to be.

Nathalie: If you’re tenacious, our scribbler will respect that, no matter how much she may torment you.

Christopher: You may be right. Thank you for your advice, Nat-, err, Your Highness.

Nathalie: Please call me Nathalie. It was my pleasure…Christopher. Good luck in holding onto the light in your life.

Christopher: I’d wish you the same, but I can see luck has little to do with it…Nathalie.

Princess Nathalie simply smiles in return.

Intrigued by this meeting with the other Nathalie? Want to read her story; Grace and Theodora: Magic and Mishaps within the pages of Wind Me Up, One More Time? Here are some buy links!

Mischief Corner Books/Shenanigans Press: https://www.mischiefcornerbooks.com/wind-me-up-one-more-time.html#/

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B081LPX2WH/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=Wind+Me+Up%2C+One+More+Time&qid=1573974211&s=books&sr=1-1

Kobo:https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/wind-me-up-one-more-time

Barnes & Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/wind-me-up-one-more-time-ks-trenten/1134959345

Apple:https://books.apple.com/us/book/id1488235515?fbclid=IwAR1_ox2T5jIHibPFBHUqTck0SNaP3pcZIgNM4DS3VAjU47mn3o5iu260bMA

#RainbowSnippets: My Tool, My Treasure

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 LGBTQIA+.

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

https://www.facebook.com/groups/RainbowSnippets/?ref=group_header

I’m picking up where I left off last Saturday with Leiwell in My Tool, My Treasure, continuing until we reveal the identity of the voice…not yet, though. Here we get a look at a couple of the Followers of Seraphix, the haughty tailor and his wife, through Leiwell’s eyes, although it’s mostly his wife. This is a little bit longer than six sentences, forgive me…

 

Leiwell glanced around the throng of villagers gathered in the octagonal room, slashed with sunbeams. He spotted Meggie’s wild chestnut curls, escaping a half-hearted attempt to pin them up with what a small, oval shaped pin.

Ah, that had to Meggie’s talisman, the coin which bound her to Seraphix. It was slightly different shaped than Leiwell’s, only too easy to miss.

He reached up to touch the coin lying against his bare flesh, hidden beneath his tunic.

Meggie allowed her lips to part, yet her bosom heaved. She opened her hazel eyes wide, drinking in the sight of Leiwell, Dyvian, the assembled congregation. For the tailor’s wife, this was positively energetic.

Conversations with Christopher: Nathalie Morisot

Christopher sits facing a young woman dressed in a full, russet skirt, a loose blouse while her coppery curls fall in a cloud around her head.

Christopher: It’s good to meet you, Nathalie.

Nathalie: It’s good to be here. (She smiles, leans back in her chair, flexing lean fingers against the arms.) An unrepentent storyteller like myself should visit our scribbler’s Cauldron of Eternal Inspiration.

Christopher: Unrepentent?

Nathalie: That’s what Heather says, Heather being one of my little sisters’ friends. I tell talll tales, weave fact and fancy in a way that irresponsible. Grace loves it, though.

Christopher: Grace being your little sister.

Nathalie: Correct. Mama Morisot brought both of us back to Verity, her hometown where it would be safe for us to live and grow up.

Christopher: Your birthplace being unsafe to do either, I take it?

Nathalie: I don’t remember much about it, but I could smell the danger in the air. Have you ever felt it? That tense moment right before violence is about to erupt?

Christopher: Only too often.

Nathalie: My former home felt like that, only too often.

Christopher: You just said you weave fact and fancy together in a way that’s irresponsible. Do you think that’s true?

Nathalie: No, but I don’t take myself or my stories too seriously when I do so. It surprises me when other people do. (She chuckles.) It’s funny. My visual image was inspired by an actor our scribbler found extremely attractive. I’m named after one of the scribbler’s childhood friends. My love of tall tales, however, is something our scribbler’s father indulged in. I’ve passed that love onto Grace. There’s a scene in Wind Me Up, One More Time when Grace tells a tall tale of her own about a Stump of Wisdom. The Stump was inspired by a story the scribbler’s father told her about the Greedy Stump.

Christopher: The Greedy Stump?

Nathalie: Have you heard the story of The Giving Tree? Well, you haven’t heard that of The Greedy Tree. It was taking over half the trees in the world until it was chopped down. After that, the Greedy Tree became a Greedy Stump.

Christopher: Ah. (For all he’s a creature of shadow and imagination, this notion is new to him, too.)

Nathalie: Only the Stump was turned into sawdust, Greedy Sawdust, which became paper, thus spreading the greed over the world.

Christopher: Our scribbler’s father told her this story?

Nathalie: Almost word for word.

Christopher: I’m beginning to see why we and our stories are so strange. Strange ideas date back to our scribbler’s childhood.

Nathalie: Oh, Wind Me Up, One More Time is filled with references to our scribbler’s childhood! Apple brownies, scones, Forget-Me-Not china, gingerbread; a lot of those things played a part in her own childhood. Not to mention we characters are named after her girlhood friends.

Christopher: Including you.

Nathalie: I’m named after the one who gave her the teddy bear journal in which our scribbler wrote her first story. That friend, Nathalie, told her to write down all the tales waiting in her imagination to be told.

Christopher: And that first story became Wind Me Up, One More Time.

Nathalie: Yes, although I’m not the Nathalie in that story. The other Nathalie, Princess Nathalie appears in the story within Wind Me Up, One More Time.

Christopher: That story being Grace and Theodora: Magic and Mishaps, right?

Nathalie: Right. I’ll have the other Nathalie visit you next week…

Christopher: That could be interesting, if confusing.

Nathalie: Yes, won’t it be? (She grins at him.)

Christopher: I wonder if Nimmie Not’s mischief isn’t contagious…

Nathalie: Oh, I don’t need Nimmie Not to be mischievous! My mischief is all my own, thank you very much. (Her grin widens.)

Christopher: Is the other Nathalie mischievous as well?

Nathalie: You’ll find out soon enough…

 

Intrigued by Nathalie? Want to read more about her? Here are some buy links to the story she shares with Maia (her girlfriend/evil enchantress, OK, not really), Grace, and Theodora Bear…Wind Me Up, One More Time…

Mischief Corner Books/Shenanigans Press: https://www.mischiefcornerbooks.com/wind-me-up-one-more-time.ht

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B081LPX2WH/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=Wind+Me+Up%2C+One+More+Time&qid=1573974211&s=books&sr=1-1

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/wind-me-up-one-more-time

Barnes & Noble:https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/wind-me-up-one-more-time-ks-trenten/1134959345

Apple: https://books.apple.com/us/book/id1488235515?fbclid=IwAR1_ox2T5jIHibPFBHUqTck0SNaP3pcZIgNM4DS3VAjU47mn3o5iu260bMA

#RainbowSnippets: My Tool, My Treasure

Welcome to Rainbow Snippets!

Every Saturday or Sunday, those participating post and share six sentences of GLBTQIA+ 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 LGBTQIA+ stories, go to…

https://www.facebook.com/groups/RainbowSnippets/?ref=group_header

By popular request, I’m returning to My Tool, My Treasure, only it will be a little while before the voice reveals itself. Please appreciate Dyvian’s beauty along with Leiwell in addition to his sardonic observations about the Followers of Seraphix while we wait. 🙂 This snippet is slightly longer in the interests of having a good stopping point…

 

The Voice of Seraphix raised his arms, white sleeves billowing to reveal pale skin marked with a delicate tracery of veins. Such a human detail. Creatures of the Shadow Forest could mimic those simple creatures only too easily. Silver trim lined the edges of Dyvian’s robes, woven into the arms, neck, and folds with loving care. Had Gryluxx gone to this much trouble for his lord and master? Or had he foisted the task off on Meggie?

Where were they, the haughty tailor and his sleepy wife?

 

 

 

Conversations with Christopher: The Other Grace and Theodora

Christopher sits facing a little girl and her bear, only they’re not the same little girl and bear who’ve sat before him in the past. This child looks similar to the Grace he knows, only her eyes are greener, her coppery bronze curls are looser and less wild, plus she wears a long red cape and hood. Her bear’s fur (cloth?) has a slightly golden glow which the previous Theodora Bear’s didn’t have.

Christopher: Well, I’d say it was a huge relief to see you again after weeks of Dyvian and Nimmie Not, only I’ve never met you. Have I?

Grace: No, you haven’t. I’m the Grace in Grace and Theodora: Magic and Mishaps.

Theodora: Growwr.

Grace: This Theodora Bear belongs to Princess Nathalie, my sister. We become companions in our quest to save Nathalie from the enchantress, Iama the Terrible.

Christopher: Iama the Terrible, you mean the one that isn’t Maia. The Iama the Terrible who visited Quartz and myself, accompanied by Oriana, wanting to know which of them was the most evil enchantress.

Grace: Yes. Everything she touches turns to gold, including people.

Theodora: Growwr.

Grace: She lures Nathalie away, into the walls of her place, so Nat can no longer hear Theodora’s not-voice.

Christopher: A not-voice, what is that?

Theodora: Growwr.

Grace: Something only other stuffed animals can hear or a stuffed animal’s special child can hear. It takes a miracle or magic to get anyone else to listen.

Theodora: Growwr.

Grace: The not-voice is heard by the other Grace as well, used by the other Theodora. Along with Carrot Monster and the three nisse.

Christopher: Are the nisse really stuffed animals?

Theodora: Growwr.

Grace: They’re toys whom get chosen by a special child. I suppose that means they can use it.

Christopher: Only you hear it when Princess Nathalie stops listening.

Grace: Yes. Theodora comes to me for help when my sister stops. I’m able to hear and help.

Christopher: This is the plot of Grace and Theodora: Magic and Mishaps?

Grace: Yes.

Christopher: Just what is Grace and Theodora: Magic and Mishaps?

Grace: It’s a story within a story; a fairytale told between the chapters of Wind Me Up, One More Time. A little bit of Grace and Theodora: Magic and Mishaps appears at the beginning of each chapter.

Theodora: Growwr.

Grace: Theodora say it’s the closest part of Wind Me Up, One More Time to the original story our scribbler wrote when she was 11 years old.

Christopher: Why is this story within the story called Grace and Theodora: Magic and Mishaps?

Grace: That was the title of a series of books written by Isabeau Morisot and Marie Cassat; the mothers of Grace, Nathalie, and Maia, the main characters of Wind Me Up, One More Time. Morisot and Cassat’s deeds and stories haunt their daughters, as well as provide an example they constantly feel they have to live up to, while the three of them try to figure themselves out as individuals and artists.

Theodora: Growwr.

Grace: There’s a twist to the story Theodora and I am in, though, which we can’t really tell you about without spoiling the story.

Christopher: Do you think you’re similar to the other Grace, the main character in Wind Me Up, One More Time?

Grace: Yes. In some ways, I’m an idealized reflection of her. I’m the girl Grace wants to be, only that’s not quite right, wanting to be me.

Christopher: What do you mean?

Grace: The other Grace deals with sweaters, school, and smudges. She has friends, boring teachers, and missing mothers. I’m in the story within her story, trying to do one thing, to help Theodora save Nathalie. There’s nothing to distract me, other than Iama herself, but there’s nothing to develop me either.

Christopher: Would you like to be developed?

Grace: Not sure. Maybe.

Christopher: Maybe you should talk to Quartz? See if there’s space on his Secondary Characters Speak Out for you? It would be a chance to talk about some of this.

Theodora: Growwr.
Grace: Theodora thinks it’s a good idea, although other people may be visiting before us.

Christopher: Just think about it. It can’t hurt to ask.

Grace: That’s true…

 

Curious about this Grace and Theodora, as well as the other Grace and Theodora? Want to see more of Iama the Terrible? Here are some buy links to Wind Me Up, One More Time, the holiday fairytale within a fairytale they all come from…

Mischief Corner Books/Shenanigans Press: https://www.mischiefcornerbooks.com/wind-me-up-one-more-time.html#/

Amazon:https://www.amazon.com/dp/B081LPX2WH

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/wind-me-up-one-more-time

Barnes & Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/wind-me-up-one-more-time-ks-trenten/1134959345