Me Me Monday: On The Hand and the Eye of the Tower

Christopher: It’s Monday. Are we going to talk about it? The second book in Tales of the Navel: The Shadow Forest?

Me: Yes. Originally I thought it would be the first book in the series. I even called it Stealing Himself From Shadows.

Christopher: Only you brought Stealing Myself From Shadows back to live, along with me.

Me: You were in the story. I still had you on the mind. I brought you back, didn’t I?

Christopher: Yes, you did, although I shudder to think as what.

Me: Now, now, no spoilers. Let’s just say once I had Stealing Myself From Shadows again, it felt right to begin with you.

Christopher: Two books with different stories yet the same source of inspiration…the Greater Trumps in Tarot decks. This lead to two different versions of Omphalos connected by a Door.

Me: That’s not all they’re connected by, as Danyel and Tayel will find out.

Christopher: This is their story, isn’t it?

Me: Yes, although you’re in it.

Christopher: I’m painfully aware of that. (shudders) What’s the name of this second book?

Me: The Hand and the Eye of the Tower. I should have mentioned that earlier. Not feeling well, lately, sorry, readers. I’m about to crash and go lie down after I post this.

Christopher: First, do you have one of those, oh, what do you call it?

Me: A blurb? Like I said, getting sick has thrown me off, but I managed to come up with this…

It’s a quiet life Danyel and Tayel lead, in a cottage next to a garden right below a hill. No one is near them other than their mother and older brother…or is there?

What is this presence in the ruined tower which keeps getting stronger as their older brother gets weaker? Who is this master whom he serves? Why does their brother weaken while the invisible entity seems to quicken, each stone in the tower breathing and crying out?

Within its walls, a pair of Doors await. Beyond them lies answers and the power to save their brother. Only what path through the shadowy dreamscape will Danyel and Tayel have to walk to find them?

Christopher: You can do better than that.

Me: Oh, leave me alone. I’m just about ready to collapse…


#RainbowSnippets: Quartz and Prunella

Welcome to Rainbow Snippets!

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

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

For mine, Quartz shall be picking up right where he left off last Saturday…


“Conflict and destiny tend to be wedded to each other.” They fixed a yellow golden eye upon me. “Tell me, Quartz, why did you accompany Nimmie Not here if you desire a quiet life?”

I was about to say, “I owe him” when I realized I didn’t. We’d done a trade, even if it had involved trickery on my part. I didn’t owe the annoying little man anything.

Why was I here?

Me Me Monday: On Stealing Myself From Shadows


Christopher: So…descriptions.

Me: Blurbs. Blurb, blurb, blurby blurb…they’re called blurbs.

Christopher: Ah, right. Do you have one of these, err, blurbs for Stealing Myself From Shadows?

Me: Heh, keep this up and this might turn back into a normal blog where I actually talk about my releases. All right, here we go…


I was enjoying being a person, playing the role of Gabrielle’s son, returning the fragments of lost souls and memory to those who found themselves within the Navel. A shop is much safer than a forest of hungry shadows or it should be.

Only Damian Ashelocke disappeared from this shop, opening a Door right into the Shadow Forest. He offered me this existence in exchange for that Door. It was a fair exchange…only I know better.

Damian was lured away by the promise of whatever opened that portal to the world of dreams and hungry possibility. Now he’s being hunted.

I can’t leave him there. I must find a Door and open it, re-enter the world which once consumed me even if it means being stolen by shadows once more.


Christopher: It seems different from what you originally wrote down.

Me: It made more sense to let you say it. Stealing Myself From Shadows is in first person after all.

Christopher: My story, the first book in the Tales of the Navel: The Shadow Forest series.

Me: That’s right.

Christopher: What about the second?

Me: We’ll talk about that next Monday…

#RainbowSnippets: Prunella and Quartz

Welcome to Rainbow Snippets!

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

For mine, Quartz and Prunella are going to pick up where they left off last Saturday…


What was the point in lying? Dragons could sniff out the truth. “Sanctuary from the conflict that plagues my kind.”

“Hah, that’s an unambitious answer.” Prunella snorted, filling the air with smoke.

I cleared my throat, trying not to inhale the stench of brimstone, coal, and pepper.

Me Me Monday: An Overview of Tales of the Navel

Christopher: Good day, scribbler. This is the day you promote, strut, and celebrate your Me-ness, right?

Me: (mutters) Never should have let you and Quartz post together. It gave you a chance to bond. You’re developing a seriously bad attitude.

Christopher: And I suspect you’ve done something terrible to Damian so I really don’t care.

Me: You will be reunited with Damian, I promise…what do you want?

Christopher: Your NaNoWriMo project next November is My Tool, My Treasure, right?

Me: Yes, it’s the fourth book in my Tales of the Navel/The Shadow Forest series.

Christopher: Stealing Myself From Shadows was the first book, even though you’re still revising it, right? This was my story.

Me: Yes, it’s the book which permanently brands me as not being a romance author. Not with the twisted ending I gave you. Not that I planned to leave you there.

Christopher: (peeking into my head and relaxing a bit at what he sees) Why not? *I* was happy. I was with Damian once more.

Me: Yes, but I can guarantee it would make a lot of romance readers cringe.

Christopher: I thought it was romantic.

Me: Well, I’m not sure if people realize quite how twisted you can be, my dear. If The Hand and the Eye of the Tower had been the first book, it wouldn’t have been so bad.

Christopher: Only The Hand and the Eye of the Tower isn’t the first book in the Tales of the Navel: The Shadow Forest series. Stealing Myself From Shadows is.

Me: I like that colon much better than the slash! Ahem, returning to the topic. After posting the preludes here at the Cauldron in ongoing serials, you remember them, don’t you?

Christopher: How could I forget? Waiting for Rebirth was when I first came into existence and met Damian.

Me: While Unwilling to Be Yours is where you introduced Peter.

Christopher: (making a face) And Be My Valentine…Snack was when Peter and I almost became exactly that.

Me: All three of those stories took place before Stealing Myself From Shadows. Since I’d introduced you to the audence it made sense to tell your story first, leaving you at that twisted point before Danyel and Tayel get involved.

Christopher: Some of the scenes in Stealing Myself From Shadows and The Hand and the Eye of the Tower are the same, aren’t they? Only they’re told from my perspective in first person or Danyel’s in third person.

Me: Those were so hard to write! I thought they’d be easier since I’d done the dialogue already but no! I had to go back, double check everything, make sure it was consistent instead of just letting myself write like I do in a rough draft.

Christopher: Stealing Myself From Shadows isn’t exactly a rough draft.

Me: Don’t mention that version. I’m still traumatized every time I think of it. You weren’t really you either. I’m much happier with the NaNoWriMo 2015 draft.

Christopher: Right. The Hand and the Eye of the Tower, the story of Danyel and Tayel became Book 2.

Me: Exactly.

Christopher: It’s strange how I’m in Omphalos and they’re in Omphalos, too. Only they’re different versions of Omphalos.

Me: They’re connected by the Door, the tower, and you. Especially you.

Christopher: I’m not sure what I’m doing in The Hand and the Eye of the Tower. Am I stalking the twins or guiding them?

Me: Heh, perhaps both?

Christopher: Leiwell won’t like that at all. (A tiny smile plays at the corner of his mouth.) Not one bit.

Me: Now, now we’re on the edge of spoiler territory. Let’s not go over the edge.

Christopher: Very well. (He folds his hand and looks innocent, although his eyes glitter.) A Godling for Your Thoughts? is Leiwell’s story, isn’t it?

Me: And Danyel and Tayel’s, along with everyone else they interact with in Omphalos.

Christopher: Their Omphalos starts to become more like my Omphalos.

Me: A Navel hasn’t been opened. It’s more of a village than a town. There’s a lot more characters moving into the area.

Christopher: Because of Seraphix, right? The godling mentioned in the title.

Me: Everyone with a coin bearing the Sign of Seraphix plays a major part. Seraphix, whom is connected to you, even if you don’t remember them.

Christopher: I don’t have a lot of clear memories of before Damian pulled me out of the Shadow Forest.

Me: Hmm, this version of you doesn’t…

Christopher: What’s that supposed to mean?

Me: Let’s just say your actions and the twins in the first two books made Dyvian realize that Seraphix was possible. Not to mention the deeds you’ve forgotten, hmm…

Christopher: Oh, no, I hate it when you hmmm!

Me: I was just thinking there isn’t enough of you in A Godling for Your Thoughts? You should be more prominent.

Christopher: (shrinking back) Uh oh…

Me: I was also thinking I left a lot of the development of the villagers of Omphalos out of the draft I wrote, their individual arrangements with Seraphix or Dyvian, why they chose to make a pact with the shadow turned godling.

Christopher: Shouldn’t those moments be private? Intimate exchanges between Seraphix and themselves? Or between them and Dyvian, the Voice of Seraphix?

Me: Ah, but the story behind their motivations for making their pacts…you could be more involved in those. You should be.

Christopher: I should?

Me: There’s a lot you don’t known about yourself. Memories you’ve left behind in the Shadow Forest.

Christopher: True.

Me: These villagers could contain parts of you. Perhaps that’s why they’re drawn to the twins and Leiwell, whom you’ve given so much of yourself to.

Christopher: Only some of those villagers are drawn to Map.

Me: Yes, Map’s back story returns to haunt her in A Godling for Your Thoughts?

Christopher: Which returns us to My Tool, My Treasure. Whose story is it?

Me: Well, I intended for there to be a lot of Damian and Duessa Ashelocke, but there’s also a lot Dyvian and Leiwell. Along with you and the twins. Fidessa appears, not to mention Seraphix and Their Followers. Anyone whom is someone’s tool and treasure gets a voice.

Christopher: Sounds confusing.

Me: There will be some major rough drafting in November. I’m back to the original mission statement of NaNoWriMo, to crank out the story however I can.

Christopher: Where do we go after My Tool, My Treasure?

Me: Blades of Thought. That’s the fifth book in Tales of the Navel: The Shadow Forest. My Tool, My Treasure is more about the transformation the Followers of Seraphix go through. What they were, what they are, and what they’re going to become. Blades of Thought will be more about what everyone can do.

Christopher: And the sixth book? My Cusps Runneth Over?

Me: Tentatively. The final book is about the climatic consequences of the over all journey.

Christopher: You’re only just deciding on some of this as you talk to me, aren’t you?

Me: Shhh! (mutters) You’ve definitely been spending too much time with Quartz.

#RainbowSnippets: Prunella and Quartz

Welcome to Rainbow Snippets!

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

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

Quartz continues where he left off next week in a scene which may or may not fit in Of Cuckoo Clocks and Crystal Coffins, but he insisted on my writing it…:)


“Not a fool, yet still you like to live dangerously, dwarf.” Prunella blew steam out of their nostrils. “Tell me, what did you hope to get from this trade?”

I started to cough, unable to answer at first. “A home,” I managed to wheeze. “A home for my brothers and myself.”

Me Me Monday: Inspired by Beer

Now for a slightly different Me-ish moment, still connected to my characters, brought on by a flight of beers at the Rock Botton Brewery in Campell.

I decided to write about it while I was sitting there, drinking. Why couldn’t I do something creative while I tasted each one? Why couldn’t I do something creative?

I sipped the first. It was a bit warm, wheaty with hints of hops. Temperamental, that beer. The taste made me think of Quartz.

Quartz: Oi, scribbler! Why are you comparing me to ale? Are you trying to give visiting vampires ideas? (looks around, uneasy)

Hush, Quartz. I’m talking about beer inspiration here. Give me a moment.

The second was a honey hops with more of an emphasis on the honey. I couldn’t remember its name. Perhaps I’d call it Melyssa?

Melyssa: Are you sure the scribbler isn’t the one who’s been turned into a vampire? She’s talking about drinking us.

Not exactly, Mel. Or are you ‘Lyssa right now? No, I guess you’re still Melyssa at this point of breakage in the fourth wall.

The third beer was the hoppiest of them all. Had a temper, that one. I named it Amber.

Amberwyne: How dare you say I have a temper? I’m quite reasonable! Nor am I drinkable.

Melyssa: Oh, I don’t know. (looks Amber up and down in a hungry way)

Amber: (lays a hand on the hilt of her sword): We’re not longer in the same universe. You can’t eat me.

Melyssa: Such a pity.

I suppose I should expect my characters to chime in at this blog. If I wanted it to be about me, I should have gone to….anyway, ah, that fourth beer! Smoky, smoky, with a hint of sweetness…I thought of calling it Damian, no, not Damian. Christopher. This one was Christopher.

Christopher: Relax, everyone. She’s just thinking of us while she’s drinking a beer. That’s not a bad thing. Thinking of us can lead to stories.

Very true…the fifth was refreshing, clean with a touch of gold. Almost sweet…Danyel. That one had to be Danyel.

Danyel: I’m not sure. (inches away from me) She did create the shadow forest and shadows, which feed on the essence of living beings. How can we be sure she won’t drink us…or eat us?

Heh, true enough. At the same time, you’re all a part of me. The last one was cool, fruity, refreshing, yet with a warning sharpness. I figured that one had to be Tayel, sending me a warning through my tastebuds not to even think of drinking his twin, even if it was in a metaphoric fashion.

Tayel: (eyes glittering with light) Not simply a warning in the way you think. Dale Lowry shared poetry submission calls at their site. Use of names invokes the forces of copyright and complications. Simply turning the beers and the essences that make you think of into poetry could be a creative work in its own right.

You’re right, Tayel…so I’m now working on turning the experience of drinking those beers into a poem. It’s called Characterization of a Flight of Beer. It could be rejected, but I’m going to finish and submit it. Wish me luck!

Quartz: (sighs) She goes and does this, yet keeps running out of time to work on our stories.

Christopher: At least she’s thinking of us.

Rhodry: (from the hole) Don’t I at least get to be a beer in our creatrix’s thoughts?

Christopher: (stooping down to glance at the hole) You could be the same beer Damian and I are associated with.

Rhodry: Err, that’s all right. I don’t need to be thought of that badly.

Danyel: (crouches down by the hole) How about being the same beer as me? You’ve been in stories with me in other universes.

Rhodry: That would be wonderful…thank you!

Christopher: (looking a bit sulky) What’s wrong about being the same beer as me?

Tayel: You’re darker. Dark and murky.

Christopher: That’s quite something to say to your-

Tayel: No spoilers!