Conversations with Christopher: Pausania

Christopher sits in his stone chair facing a young woman with long loose tresses of auburn hair. Only she’d never call herself a woman. She’s a lifer, thank you very much and at the moment a lost one. She sniffs at the mists of the Cauldron with distaste. 

Pausania: Honestly, can’t you adjust the background here?

Christopher: What would you like to see?

Slightly curved sandstone pillars rise around Pausania and Christopher. The two of them are sitting on a floating terrace under a magenta sky with the occasional crystal drifting by to twinkle in the rosy air. 

Pausania relaxes into her chair, made of vines and something like a cross between bamboo and cedar. 

Christopher glances down at his own seat to see it’s the same. 

Pausania: Much better. Ah, I remember when my lover took me here. I was as wide-eyed as Phaedra at the time. 

Christopher: Where are we?

Pausania: Calliope III, my poor child. No one has taken you here? It’s one of the most relaxing planets in the Intergalactic Democracy. Much better than Semele. Everyone goes to Semele, but every girl should come here as well.

Christopher: Well, I’m not exactly a girl, so I’m not sure if I should. It does look interesting, though. 

Pausania: Wait, what? (She shrinks back from Christopher the same way Phaedra did.) What are you? 

Christopher: I’m Christopher. We’re actually in the Cauldron of Eternal Inspiration, our scribbler’s blog. Err, a place between worlds, err, universes on the web. Sort of. It can be Calliope III, though, if you want it to be. 

Pausania: A Cauldron? A place between universes? (She tightens her grip on the arms of her chair.) Are you some forgotten godling from Ancient Earth come here to make mischief? Are you Dionysus?

Christopher: No, I’m not Dionysus. (He considers her words.) I suppose as Happily Ever After I could be considered a godling. Perhaps. I’m not trying to make mischief. I’m only here to talk. Phaedra was here last week. 

Pausania: Phaedra?! What have you done with her?!

Christopher: Nothing! We just talked. She disappeared after we spoke, the way all guests do when they’re done talking here. 

Pausania: Is that so? (She narrows her eyes.) Make a lot of guests disappear, do you, Happily Ever After? Am I next?

Christopher: In a way. Once you’ve finished talking, you’ll return to your story. 

Pausania: My story? (She raises an eyebrow.)

Christopher: Your universe. Wherever you were before you came here. 

Pausania: Where I was was home. Phaedra just walked out on me. 

Christopher: She mentioned that. 

Pausania: She did, did she?

Christopher: Yes. She said she missed you.

All the snark seems to run out of Pausania. She slumps in her seat.

Pausania: Godling from another universe, I’m about at my wit’s end. You call yourself Happily Ever After? What happily ever after can I have after the things I said? I regret them, yet I wonder if I wasn’t meant to say them, giving Phaedra a chance to say everything she couldn’t. Not until I was cruel enough to give her an excuse to. 

Christopher: What did you say?

Pausania: What I thought I was supposed to. What I thought was true. Now I’m no longer sure. Of anything. I just want to find Phaedra. I want to talk to her. 

Christopher: She’s probably on her way to a symposium? She really wanted to go. 

Pausania: (She buries her head in her hands.) That’s the last place I want to go. (She lifts her face, staring at something only she can see. Or someone.) Only if Phaedra is determined to enter the predator’s cluster, I can’t let her go alone.

Christopher: You’re going to this symposium, then?

Pausania: For Phaedra’s sake, yes. (She lets out a strained groan.) Here’s hoping I don’t regret this. 

Christopher: I hope you don’t either. 

What happens at the symposium? Will Pausania regret going? Find out at…

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#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 sample different LGBTQIA+ stories, go to…

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

“Phaedra, beloved of Pausania.” A melodic voice, filled with sly suggestion, came from the orb. “I’d be very pleased if you and your lover would attend my symposium in space.”

“A symposium?” I murmured, confused by the archaic word. It conjured more images of Ancient Earth, but this time of our patriarchal past. 

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Conversations with Christopher: Phaedra

Christopher sits facing a young woman in an orange jumpsuit and short purple hair. Long bangs fall over her pale forehead. 

Christopher: That’s an unusual outfit. 

Phaedra: It’s the latest lack of fashion, according to Pausania. I’m dressed like the pilot of a ship even though I don’t have a ship. (She blushes a bit.) Well, I didn’t have a ship. 

Christopher: I take it you do, now?

Phaedra: Yes, the Timea. I’m surprised I’m not at her controls now. What is this place? (She looks around at mists surrounding her, at Christopher seated in his stone chair opposite.) Some sort of transportation nexus? 

Christopher: What’s that?

Phaedra: I’m not sure if I can explain it myself. It takes you out of your ship, transports you into a different part of the star cluster it’s part. 

Christopher: And what’s a star cluster?

Phaedra: (grimaces) Something a lot fancier than a space platform or station. The only one I know anything about is the one Agathea created. She’s one of the richest citizens of the Intergalactic Democracy, so it’s not something just anyone can afford.

Christopher: I see…no, actually, I don’t see at all.

Phaedra: Neither do I. And why am I trying to answer your questions when you haven’t answered mine? Where are we?

Christopher: This is the Cauldron. It’s nothing like Agathea’s star cluster. Actually I’m not sure if it is or not. Both are creations of our scribbler. Maybe they are similar. 

Phaedra: Why would they be? Who is this person you call our scribbler?

Christopher: Our creatrix, yours and mine. The creatrix of our respective universes. This blog, this Cauldron, this place is a space between universes where we can meet or interact. 

Phaedra: Blog? Cauldron? Those are some old-fashioned words. Particularly blog. Rhymes with bog. Or frog. 

Christopher: Blogs don’t exist where you’re from? Places where people post online?

Phaedra: Online? That’s another old-fashioned word.

Christopher: I guess you don’t do anything like that. 

Phaedra: Maybe. I have shared poems on in the intergalactic web. Along with trains of thought or trails. Sometimes we just call them trains or trails.

Christopher: That makes sense.

Phaedra: Judging from your expression, you’ve never heard such an expression. Not for the intergalactic web.

Christopher: To be honest, I shudder a bit at the notion of an intergalactic web.

Phaedra: Why? It keeps all lifers connected. 

Christopher: What’s a lifer?

Phaedra: You really don’t know? Lifers used to be called women back on Ancient Earth. It was a term for a girl when she matured to womanhood. Goddess, I’m using some archaic terms. You do still use the terms women and girl, don’t you? You’d still be referred to as a girl? 

Christopher: (trying to keep a straight face) Yes, we use the terms women and girl where I’m from, but neither of them would apply to me. Not right now.

Phaedra: Huh?

Christopher: I’m a boy. Sort of. 

Phaedra: What? Really? (She draws back, taking a sharp look at him.) Wait, what do you mean, sort of?

Christopher: I’m made of shadow, scattered bits of memory. Some of them belonged to girls and women. Only my current form is that of a boy.

Phaedra: Wow, that sounds so weird! You must be the product of some extremely advanced science! 

Christopher: Actually I think I’m the result of magic and will. My existence is a bit of a mystery. 

Phaedra: I shouldn’t wonder! This explains why you don’t have even a trace of a beard. 

Christopher: I don’t think boys had beards. Not in the Gardens I dimly recall once living in. 

Phaedra: Gardens? That sounds lovely. I admire any world which emphasizes an active plant life. This is one of the few things Pausania and I had in common. (She looks sad.)

Christopher: That’s the second time you’ve mentioned Pausania. 

Phaedra: Pausania almost became my lover. She wanted me to be her beloved. She was beautiful, charming, eloquent, interesting…only she was also irritable, constantly finding fault with me, and sucking all the cheer out of a room. 

Christopher: Sounds like a challenging person to be with. 

Phaedra: Oh, she was. I wonder if she wasn’t too challenging. (She lets out a sigh.) Being with her was stifling.

Christopher: You’re not with her any more? 

Phaedra: I’m not sure. We had a fight and I walked out on her. Perhaps it was the wrong thing to do, but I really wanted to go to the symposium.

Christopher: The symposium?

Phaedra: A gathering in space at Agathea’s star cluster. I’ve never been anywhere like that before. 

Christopher: Pausania didn’t want to go?

Phaedra: She didn’t want either of us to go. She wasn’t too nice about it, either. Not that it was just about the symposium. A lot of things which had been building up between us were finally said. There’s no way to unsay them. I’m not even sure if I want to. 

Christopher: I’m sorry. 

Phaedra: Don’t be. I’m having an adventure, perhaps the first real adventure ever, making my way to the symposium. 

Christopher: Good luck in getting there. 

Phaedra: Thank you. 

How does Phaedra get there? What happens at the symposium? Find out in A Symposium in Space available at…

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#RainbowSnippets: A Symposium in Space

Welcome to Rainbow Snippets!

Every Saturday or Sunday, those posting 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 sample different LGBTQIA+ stories, go to…

For my own, I’m going to offer a taste of my novella, A Symposium in Space which I’m in the process of reading right now…

The invitation resembled an eyeball. 

A floating, pink orb drifted up to the open panels of Pausania’s apartment and fixed me with its lidless stare. 

I froze, unsure how to react. An unfashionable citizen of the Intergalactic Democracy, I still ran around in a vest with pocket protectors, unfamiliar with the latest technology. The bobbing globe made me think of tales of magic from Ancient Earth.

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Secondary Characters Speak Out: Quartz and Dousselmause

Quartz sits, glowering somewhat sulkily at the tall, imposing stern-faced man with neatly combed mustaches and a trimmed beard, crossing his long legs covered in dark slacks with a hint of red pinstripe. He wears a long black cape lined with crimson silk over his shoulders.

Quartz: So you’re Dousselmause. Cracktooth’s uncle. Marchen’s godmother. The bane of all mice.

Dousselmause: (raising a winged brow to look down on Quartz) That is why I chose to reveal to the people around me and the mice that fear me. 

Quartz: What’s that supposed to mean?

Dousselmause: I might address you in turn as the oldest of seven dwarves who live in a cottage in the Forest of Tears under questionable patronage. I might refer to you as the keeper of the crystal coffin of dubious properties. I might add that you harbored a human princess from her relations and her realm, an action which led to your untimely demise. 

Quartz: (brindling) Do I look dead to you?

Dousselmause: (brindling right back) If am, indeed, the bane of all mice, why did Madam Mousenip live to squeak about it? Not to mention Mousetrick himself?

Quartz: (stops in the middle of his glowering, considers) Huh. You have a point. 

Dousselmause: (drawing himself up haughtily) Of course I do. 

Quartz: Right. You’ve got so many points, you’re pointy. I didn’t get myself killed, taking my Fairest in, nor anyone else. 

Dousselmause: Are you certain of this?

Quartz: I told you. I’m not dead. Just sleeping off a curse. Or the backlash of a curse.

Dousselmause: And I told you. I’m not the bane of all mice. Otherwise I wouldn’t have humoured Cracktooth’s ridiculous romantic feelings. 

Quartz: You didn’t. Not at first.

Dousselmause: Can you blame me? He fell in love with a mouse! 

Quartz: Right. You’re the one who gave him paws, whiskers, and a tail along with an affinity for things squeaky. 

Dousselmause: (brindling once more) And you’re the one you let yourself be sweet-talked into listening to a kobold’s promises. Not to mention you opened your door to a human princess, in spite of sensing that trouble would follow her. 

Quartz: (glowering at Dousselmause) Like you never let your best intentions get the better of you.

Dousselmause: (glowering in turn) You’re a fine one to talk after what happened to you.

Quartz: And you might have known or guessed what would happen to your nephew. 

Dousselmause: I never! (standing up) Not as things happened!

Quartz: (standing up as well, aware that he’s only a fraction of the magician’s height) Neither did I!

The two glare at each for a long moment, breathing hard. Abruptly both sit down again. 

Quartz: Guess we’re both stubborn old fools. Knowing better just makes us bigger fools. 

Dousselmause: Wiser words were never spoken. (He speaks with a weary sarcasm, mocking his own mockery.) I just wanted my nephew and Marchen to be happy. Happier than I ever was. 

Quartz: Got it. I just wanted my brothers and my Fairest to be happy. Happier than I’ve ever been. 

Dousselmause: Were you truly unhappy?

Quartz: (thinks for a moment and shakes his head) No. Not really. Been luckier than some. Worse than others, but better than some. 

Dousselmause: As have I. (He draws a slow, considering breath.) I’ve been an outsider in the time and place I’ve lived. I lack confidants, playing the part of a mystery. Or perhaps simply a freak of nature to those I live under the same roof with. When I’m not outright at odds with them. I’ve still had that roof over my head, patronage, resources. Even if I’ve had to play a part to have them. 

Quartz: Do you play a part with Cracktooth and Marchen?

Dousselmause: (pauses to think about it) To a lesser extent than with others. I’ve been their guardian and father, a role I willingly accepted, due to a lack of either in Cracktooth and Marchen’s lives. 

Quartz: Aye, I’ve been the same. To both my brothers and Fairest. 

Dousselmause: Honestly, they drive me mad sometimes! (clenches his hands into fists) I just want what’s best for them. 

Quartz: Aye, me, too. 

Dousselmause: (slumping in his seat) What can we do when they make choices which confound and perplex us?

Quartz: Try to understand them, even when it’s a challenge. Moments like that define a dwarf. A man, too.

Dousselmause: I’m not always a man. 

Quartz: That so? Take the chance to be more, then. Someone wiser, more accepting. 

Dousselmause: Even though we may never understand our children’s choices? 

Quartz: Doesn’t mean you should stop trying to understand them. Or not accept them. 

Dousselmause: (lets out another sigh) I guess you have a point. 

Quartz: ‘Couse I do.

Dousselmause: You’ve been just waiting to say that, haven’t you?

Quartz: Heh, as expected of someone with a sharp set of whiskers. You’ve got a sharp mind, too. 

Dousselmause: I don’t always have a sharp set of whiskers.

Quartz: Sorry to hear that. 

Dousselmause: Don’t be. Having a different form that this one I can slip into is enlightening. Satisfying. Fulfilling in a way most cannot understand. 

Quartz: Sounds like you’re lucky in this. 

Dousselmause: I am, even if countless others try to convince me I’m not.

Quartz: Don’t let them.

Dousselmause: Easier said than done. 

Quartz: Right. As if anything worth doing was easy. 

Dousselmause: Well, well. You make an admirable argument. 

Quartz: (a bit huffily) No need to sound so surprised. 

Interested in what you’ve been reading? Want to learn more about Dousselmause was talking about? Here’s the story he, Cracktooth, Marchen, Madam Mousenip, and of course Mousetrick all appear in…

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#RainbowSnippets: Wind Me Up, One More Time

Merry Christmas! Happy Holidays!

I’m not actually here. Hopefully I’m having a Merry Christmas of presents, dim sum for breakfast, and spending the day with my family; the two-legged and four-legged members. 😉 I wanted to post something for Rainbow Snippets, something which seemed perfect for today…

Forgetting neatness, she tore open the paper.

A brown furry head with small, cloth ears emerged. Two button eyes regarded the little girl over a solemn muzzle.

“A Theodora Bear!” Grace squealed in delight, pulling the rest of the paper from her round torso and stubby legs. “Oh, thank you, Nat!”

“Actually they’re called teddy bears, but yes, this could be a Theodora Bear.” Nathalie nodded with grave seriousness.

Want to read more about Nathalie, Grace, and Theodora Bear? Here are buy links to their story, along with the fairytale alternate versions of them appear in…

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#RainbowSnippets: Seven Tricks

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 sample different stories of an LGBTQIA+ vein, go to…

For my own, I’ll be finishing up my free taste of Seven Tricks…no, this is not a vampire story. Don’t be confusing by the biting, even if it was love at first bite. Vampires can’t have all the fun. Mice and nutcrackers want to make a point of this or perhaps a nip? :)=

I sank my teeth into his hard shoulder.

His head turned very slowly. He regarded me with wide hungry eyes. The strange prince dropped his jaw, only to close it on my snout.

In a moment of intimacy, we bit each other.

I awoke with the taste of bitter sawdust in my mouth, mixed with the salty residue of nuts.

What comes after a mouse prince is once bitten and all the more smitten? Find out by reading the rest! 😉

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Conversations with Christopher: Mousetrick

Christopher sits in a surprisingly cushy red chair in front of a roaring fire in a comfortable, old-fashioned living room. Instead of mist, there’s endless amounts of tissue paper everywhere. A huge platter of cheese and gingerbread sit on silver platters on a marble-topped table with clawed wooden legs. 

In a red cushy chair opposite him stands a little mouse with dark fur, whiskers twitching. 

Mousetrick: There. Isn’t this better? Much more comfortable than your usual stone seat surrounded by mist. I even provided us with refreshment!

Christopher: You provided yourself with refreshment. I don’t exactly eat food like that. I can only handle a tiny morsel and not always. 

Mousetrick: Really? (twitches his tail) You poor creature. Not only do you have a hideously ugly countenance, but you’re incapable of savoring cheese and gingerbread? They’re among the finer things in life!

Christopher: (a bit wistfully) Are they?

Mousetrick: Indeed! I’ll just help myself if you don’t mind.

The mouse runs down the leg of his chair only to climb up the claw of the table to where the cheese awaits. He starts munching on a piece of cheese, only to be distracted by his reflection in the silver platter.

No, not his reflection. In the etching of a nutcracker’s face into the platter itself. 

Mousetrick: (after swallowing) I must say there is something to be said for this Cauldron, the way it changes into whatever you want. It’s quite pleasant to be surrounded by dainties and loveliness. No wonder you spend most Mondays here. 

Christopher: Err, thank you? I can’t really take credit for the Cauldron. The scribbler set it up with her husband’s help. It’s all part of WordPress. Our current setting comes from, as you say, your own desires and wishes. 

Mousetrick: Really? Qute the discerning and cultivated Cauldron this. Our scribbler is much better at conception than she is at performance and direction. 

Christopher: Hmm, yes, I see what you mean.

Mousetrick: My dear giant, how could you not? I pity that Polkadot Mouse, trying to channel my magnifence, puppetted by the scribbler’s clumsy human hands. 

Christopher: Are you talking about our scribbler’s reading of Seven Tricks last Saturday?

Mousetrick: Honestly. I know the scribbler created us, but I pity a great, gawky human like her. Trying to depict Madam Mousenip and myself, convey the scope of our hopes and dreams through with human lips and a human voice. 

Christopher: Err…

Mousetrick: The scribbler has a big brain. I’ll give her and other humans that. I suppose her hands and her mouth scamper desperately to keep up with her mind and her words. Ah, well, she’s only human.

Christopher: True. 

Mousetrick: I pity not just her, but all humans. Not only are you big and ugly, but you have such long, dull lives you plod through with all your heaviness. With all that time, where’s the drive, the impetus to truly scamper toward your cheese? Or anything else you want?

Christopher: I’m not sure if I can answer that question. I’m not exactly human. Nor do I eat cheese.

Mousetrick: That’s very odd. You look human.

Christopher: Yes. This is the form Damian visualized before drawing me forth in this shape from the Shadow Forest.

Mousetrick: You’d think this Damian would give you a handsomer form. Shame on him. 

Christopher: (touching his own face) Am I truly that ugly?

Mousetrick: Well…(takes another bite of cheese, chews, and considers) I suppose you’re not all that different from other humans. If this Damian himself has a hideous human countenance, he may not know any better.

Christopher: (brindling) Damian is not hideous!

Mousetrick: (lifting a conciliatory paw) Now, now, don’t go thundering, giant. I suppose you giants all look very handsome to each other. Still what’s with your jaw? (He waves at the image of the nutcracker embossed in silver.) Now that’s a jaw! 

Christopher: Is that face handsome to you?

Mousetrick: Is that face handsome?! It’s beyond handsome! It’s beauty guaranteed to make cheese curdle, tissue shred, and a thousand scamper into traps willingly! It’s legendary loveliness! 

Christopher: Do other mice think so?

Mousetrick: Well, err, no. Other mice think I’ve gone mad, swooning over that face.

Christopher: Have you met the owner of that face?

Mousetrick: In my dreams. I hope to meet him. I’m hoping to prove myself to him. Handsome is as handsome does. 

Christopher: Really?

Mousetrick: Well, no. Not at first. Handsome deeds are a way to make your beauty shine for a larger audience. Why do you think I’m performing seven tricks, giant? A fine pelt and expressive whiskers will only take you so far. 

Christopher: I see what you mean. Good luck in scampering the rest of the distance. 

Mousetrick: Oh, I mean, too. I’m just going to enjoy this Cauldron cheese and gingerbread while I can. 

Christopher: You should. It may well fade away once we finish talking. 

Mousetrick: (eats the rest of a chunk of cheese, chews, swallows) All the more reason to enjoy it while it’s here. (starts nibbling the gingerbread) Enjoy everywhile while it…and you…are still here. That’s age-old mouse wisdom, squeaked to each generation.

Christopher: Is it? That’s good advice.

Mousetrick: Of course it is. (takes a bigger bite of gingerbread) 

Enjoy meeting Mousetrick? Want to read his story of how he meets the legendary beauty, err, nutcracker mentioned? Here are buy links to their tale, Seven Tricks…

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#RainbowSnippets: Seven Tricks

Welcome to Rainbow Snippets!

On either 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 my own, Mousetrick will get a little more aggressive with the mysterious beauty under the human’s ornate shrub…

Was he mocking me?

I nudged him with my snout.

He rocked on his stiff wooden legs but didn’t budge. The creature stood like a human being, but no human possessed so broad and beautiful a mouth as he. Nor did they smell so deliciously of roasted nuts.

“Maybe you’re a giant nut yourself,” I said in the way of mice, which sounds like chittering to anyone without the talent to understand our speech. “Do you taste as good as you smell?”

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#RainbowSnippets: Seven Tricks

Welcome to Rainbow Snippets!

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

To sample different LGBTQIA+ stories, go to…

For my own, Mousetrick will continue to examine the mysterious, yet provoking beauty under the bizarre holiday shrubbery humans decorate…

The scent of roasted nuts wafted from his mouth, making my nostrils flare with hunger.

I crept up to this still, defiant beauty.

He didn’t move, or acknowledge me, even when I was a paw away from his face. The strange prince just stood there and grinned.

This infuriated me. Who was he grinning at, if not myself? Was he mocking me?

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