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What it says on the tin! You can now see the new black and white illustrations I did in full detail, as well as read the new little bit I put in the end! Go buy read –> here.

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You can listen to it on my libsyn site or on iTunes. You can read the original post, “Losing My Shoes in Venice,” here.

A reminder that today is the last day to pre-order my Monsters novella! If you follow the blog, you’ve read it here, but this version has new illustrations and a new bit at the end!

Story no. 40, the seventh and FINAL part in my retelling of Beauty and the Beast. If you are just finding my blog now, you probably want to read part one, part two, part three, part four, part five, and part six first. Friends, I don’t even have words for how excited I am to have this finished so you can all read it! 

I have more exciting plans for this novella, but I will wait until I’ve got a bit more done to talk about them here. 

If you’d like a print of this story’s illustration, you can find that here

If you want to support me or this project, I have a Patreon


the_forest small

The studio was a flurry of people coming and going and yelling at each other when Khirkara arrived. It had been a real struggle not to just lie down on the floor in the apartment and sleep, and the world tilted off its axis if he didn’t focus on staying upright.

Eleth actually waved a hand at him when he walked past the costume shop. “Khirkara! I’m using those embroideries from your research folder for the court scenes! They’re really shaping up well . . .” He held up a beautiful half-jacket of black damask, the front points stiffened with knotwork in silver thread.

Khirkara smiled at him and mouthed a compliment, feeling both gratified and bewildered. Those designs are from the wrong century, he wanted to say. And that knot was only ever popular in Rathsgar. Isn’t the movie set in Rathskun now?

He had clearly labeled all of his research folders with the period and region of the information contained inside, using red plastic clips and a bold shorthand on each page in case it got separated from its parent document. There was no way that Eleth could have missed those tags.

The movie was outside of time, he thought, breathing deeply through his nose. It would be very pretty. Read More

Story no. 39, the penultimate sixth part in my retelling of Beauty and the Beast. If you are just finding my blog now, you probably want to read part one, part two, part three, part four, and part five first.

If you’d like a print of this story’s illustration, you can find that here

If you want to support me or this project, I have a Patreon


FADE FROM BLACK to a grassy hill near shortly before sunrise. The sky is pale blue. The land rises in front of the camera, blocking the long view of the plains. The yellowish plants are tipped with frost. It is still early spring, but the weather is beginning to break.

The SHEPHERD’S MOTHER crosses onto the screen, a lamb under each arm. She looks less feeble than the last time we saw her, when the SHEPHERD showed her the head of the sheep slaughtered by the Beast. It appears that the year of his absence has been a good one for her; her face is fuller and browner, and her gray hair is more neatly braided.

She disappears over the hill. The camera pans to the left, where the SHEPHERD is kneeling next to a small fire, a bundle in his arms.

Cut to the SHEPHERD in profile. Behind him we can see many white lumps huddled in the grass: sheep who have yet risen for the day. The bundle in his arms is another lamb, head poking out of a piece of fabric, probably a torn cloak. He is vigorously toweling off the lamb. It bleats sporadically and indignantly. The BRACELET of brambles around his wrist is visible as he holds the lamb with first one arm, then the other. Read More

Story 36, part three in my retelling of Beauty and the Beast. If you are just finding my blog now, you probably want to read part one and part two first. At this point I am expecting this story to take two or three more installments to finish up, so I guess it’s more of a novella?

If you’d like a print of this story’s illustration, you can find that here

If you want to support me or this project, I have a Patreon


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Now the beast led Heleth’s son,

This time to the very heart of the wood.

To a castle, once goodly and fair,

Now knocked one stone from another

Until only a single tower stood.

The trees wrapped its stones in their embrace,

The vines sought the warmth of its hearth.

This was the home of the beast.

They walked on a path made between

The white flowers of the snow,

For the beast’s only gentle acquaintance

Was with the green-growing things.

“Beast, will you not speak to me?”

asked Heleth’s son.

“I have done all you have asked me to do.

Why do you not speak?”

The trees rumbled and cracked,

Voices came from deep within.

“Do you not know that the Beast has no words?”

“They have been taken from her.”

***

Khirkara wasn’t sure if he’d really been walking in the wrong direction, or if the old man was leading him in a bizarre, looping route to confuse him about the actual location of the house and its occupant. Or maybe his mother had covered far more distance than he had thought possible in her semi-delirious state. It was impossible to say, and it didn’t seem like a good time to question the rigid shoulders rapidly moving away from him.

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Story no. 35, part two in my retelling of Beauty and the Beast. I’ve recently had some life changes (preparing for a move and then making it, as well the death of a family friend and an impending nephew,) but I should be able to focus on writing for a little while!

If you’d like a print of this story’s illustration in black and white, you can find it here on my Society6 shop. EDIT: The color version is here.

If you’d like to support me or this project, you can subscribe to my Patreon.


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From the translation monograph of Nazar Alibek on the Harbin manuscript:

The beast of the poem is peculiar, among animal-bridegroom type stories, for being remarkably unsympathetic. Some have suggested that the beast’s behavior may reflect the depredations of an actual human-hunting wolf pack local to the story’s originators, particularly the lines describing dismemberment and disembowelment. While intriguing, this seems somewhat unlikely, as real wolves tend to hunt children or otherwise weak individuals. This mythical beast’s victims include knights and an armored princess with her “death-hooked spear” (probably a halberd of some sort,) seized from the midst of her hunt. Likely this reflects discomfort and resistance on the part of tale-teller to the contemporary shift from clan-based governance to feudal hierarchical structures.

This theory is further supported by the fact that our hero, presented as a deeply virtuous youth, does not hunt the beast until his own flock is attacked.”

***

Anasi had done a few runs of dried foods into Rathskun from Elasar province. It was not a profitable route—lots of small company stores, few of which sold branded products, and some homestead compounds which each ordered a hundred sacks of flour and milled pulses. Still, the territory was technically covered by the Northwestern Freight Syndicate. Their mother had been driving at night, hoping to avoid any other trucks who might notice that she didn’t have a union license taped to her windshield.

Khirkara watched his brothers while she explained this. Khirlaion’s face became stiller and stiller, until he might have been made of wood; Khirhebek’s went whiter and whiter, until he might have been carved from wax.

She didn’t really know what had happened, the night that she had gone off the road. She might have hit an unseen patch of ice, or she might have fallen asleep for a minute. Maybe the fan belt she had been expecting to break had finally done so, stalling something in the engine just long enough for her to lose control.
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