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Story no. 53. What a perfect delight this section was to write! I thoroughly advise everyone to pick up A.S. Byatt and P.G. Wodehouse when they are feeling under the writing weather.

As before, if you want to catch up on this story, you can read parts onetwothreefourfivesix, and seven. The illustration for part six is currently in progress. 

If you’d like to support this project, I have a Patreon! $1/month gets you art process posts; $3/month gets you extra stories and illustrations. There are also links to my Kofi and Paypal on the right-hand side of the page. 


 

“I can, of course, leave any time I like,” Mr. Jenkins said primly. “I was just performing a bit of reconnaissance to assess the scope of the problem here.”

“Of course,” Aunt Thompson said sourly.

“Of course,” the human echoed faintly. It was staring at a clay hedgehog with its brow furrowed. The hedgehog was wearing a pink bowtie and a purple vest. “Is there any chance this place is—ah—a outgrowth of a real place? Or maybe an amalgation of real places?”

“Almost definitely,” Mr. Jenkins said. “Why do you ask?”

“I recognize that hedgehog,” the human said. “It’s right at the top of Aunt Lara’s garden. Uncle Klaas kept vanishing it into the cellar until she hid it behind a rhododendron.”

“So what?” Aunt Thompson snapped. “It’s only a shadow.” She picked up the hedgehog and threw it at the ground; it dissolved into a little pile of sand. When we looked back at the shelf, the ceramic hedgehog was back in its former location, but now its eyes were narrowed and it was holding a little clay knife.

“If it’s a shadow, it’s still got a link to the thing casting it,” the human said. “I might be able to set up a gate back to where it’s throwing from. If,” it added, inspecting one hand, “you give me back my book.”

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Story no. 52. Friends, we have survived the holidays and the shortest day of the year! Let us bounce forward, hopefully not into a brick wall! 

As before, if you want to catch up on this story, you can  read parts onetwothreefourfive, and six.

If you’d like to support this project, I have a Patreon! $1/month gets you art process posts; $3/month gets you extra stories and illustrations. There are also links to my Kofi and Paypal on the right-hand side of the page.

Edited 5/30/2019: If you would like a print of this story’s illustration, you can get it here from my Society6 page. 


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Aunt Thompson climbed out of the hole first. As low as the ceiling had gotten, it was still no easy task for the human to lever itself after her. Gremlins, as I believe I have already conveyed, are not entirely affected by the laws of physics in the way a non-Lathustran might expect them to be, so I had already swarmed up the wall and flung myself through the opening by the time the human’s rather substantial nose poked over the edge.

“Care for a hand?” I asked.

The human grunted and rolled an eyeball filled with malice in my direction as it jerked an elbow over the edge. Apparently its powers did not include levitation (at least not while its small book remained in Aunt Thompson’s possession).

It had just gotten its other elbow planted when Aunt Thompson grew tired of waiting and hooked a hoof into the collar of its robes and hauled it up to stand with us.

We were standing in a sort of library of towering shelves receding in all directions in tight rows. Instead of books the shelves held a variety of ceramic objectsteacups, teapots, round cats with bobbing paws, and little yapping dogs frozen just at the moment before they catch their tails. Light suffused the space, yellow light, red light, cold white light, coming from any number of directions, in spite of there being no windows in evidence.

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Story no. 51! I had to take a brief hiatus to work on an illustration for Lackington’s issue 18, which should be released sometime this month. I was very excited both about the watercolor I finished and the story which inspired it, so I am very much looking forward to having everyone see it! Besides that, there is also cow art.

As before, if you want to catch up on this story, you can read parts onetwothreefour, and five.

If you’d like to support this project, I have a Patreon! $1/month gets you art process posts; $3/month gets you extra stories and illustrations. There are also links to my Kofi and Paypal on the right-hand side of the page. 


aunt thompson 6 edits small

The magic that rushed forth out of the human as it shouted – from its mouth, sure, but also from its hands, eyes, and curiously, its left ear – formed a thin skin between us and the pressure of the whispering. The onslaught of hostile magic from the voices of the dead sparked and slapped against the barrier, turning it various nauseating colors.

The human took another deep breath and the power of the mummies shoved it back toward us, wrapping the membrane tight against our faces. This seemed like the sort of thing that would be a problem for the human, so I wriggled my way over its shoulder and put my elbow up against the magic near its nose. A bit of pressure, and I was able to make a fist-sized opening; a bit more more peeled the magic away from its lips.

It shouted again, this time a little louder and a little longer, and the bubble expanded. This time when it ran out of air, it threw the little book up in front of its face, sending a shock wave of light out into the room.

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Story no. 47. Both the story and the illustration are pretty involved this week, which is why they took a while to get up. Pretty happy with the results, though. 

You can purchase a print of this story’s illustration on my Society6 page

If you’d like to support this project, I have a Patreon! $1/month gets you art process posts; $3/month gets you extra stories and illustrations.


the rose maze signature copy small

“Hel-lo! We are here to make! You! Over!

John’s head jerked up from the rose bush.

There was no one in front of him.

He wiped a hand across his forehead, creating a little rivulet of sweat that coursed down his temple. The headache that had been growing since the sun swung overhead pulsed at the back of his skull. He slowly twisted his head to one side, and then the other. The smell of slowly-burning flesh caught his nose; he’d sweated off his sunblock.

The rose maze was still empty of people.

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Story no 46. I spent two months (May and June) working on a farm, which included three charming and very goatish goats. They found all the holes in the fences and made some new ones, all in pursuit of snacks.

You can purchase a print of this story’s illustration on my Society6 page

If you’d like to support this project, I have a Patreon! $1/month gets you art process posts; $3/month gets you extra stories and illustrations.

about a goat small copy

(You’ve got them all figured out, then,) Khazar said. (Every woman and child has been tagged to a homestead.)

Kazed considered, and Khazar watched a cascade of thoughts flicker across the top of his mind. Clearly not all the displaced had been assigned to new accommodations.

(There’s a problem,) Kazed finally allowed.

Khazar bared his teeth, and Kazed’s already-thin mind voice faltered.

(What sort of problem would that be?)

(There’s a woman—with—)

By accident or providence, a heart-stuttering scream rent the air at that moment.

Both Khazar and Kazed dropped to all fours and dashed toward the noise.

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Story no. 42. I’m doing the thing again, i.e. POSTING WITHOUT AN ILLUSTRATION. Alas! But I’m making solid progress in finishing my novella illustrations, so I should be able to come back with illustrations for this story and the last one soon.

As before, you can pre-order the novella ebook of Monsters, with nine new black-and-white illustrations, on Amazon.

I released the first part of this story way back at the end of 2014, which you can read here.

Edited to add on July 22, 2018: Illustration! Exists! You can get prints from my Society6 shop!


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The Lady looked at Aunt Thompson and said something that neither Bill nor I could hear. She then did the thing where she didn’t exactly vanish, but between one moment and the next she was suddenly very far away from us, on the top of the next hill.

“We’ve got to fetch that jewel, wherever these cousins have taken it,” Aunt Thompson said.

We?” I said.

Why?” Bill said.

“Do you want someone setting up a new Lathustra?” she asked. She rose to her feet and gestured for us to follow with a jerk of her antlers.

“It’s none of my business if they do,” I said piously. “To each their own demise.”

“You’re an idiot, Teapot,” she said. “Come along.” She was suddenly much taller, taller than her house or the trees that surrounded it, while Bill and I were still just a gremlin and a hobknob. She held out her great hands. With worrisome sighs, we each sat astride one of her wrists.

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Story no. 41. I promised myself I would never do this again, but I’m putting this up without an illustration, to be added later.

Why, you ask, am I doing this?

BECAUSE I am currently working on the new set of illustrations for Monsters! I am releasing the novella, somewhat edited from how it appeared on this blog, as a Kindle book and, later, a paperback, with nine new black and white illustrations!

If you enjoyed reading the seven parts of Monsters here, consider pre-ordering the novella on Amazon. I also have a Patreon, where I will be putting up process images for the novella illustrations soon for $1 and above patrons.

EDITED as of 4/16/2018: Here is the illustration! I will be uploading a nicer scan when I’m back in the U.S. and have access to my scanner again. 

EDITED AGAIN as of 7/18/2018: Now you can purchase a print of this illustration!


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When Delia woke up, she was in a different century.

She was wearing a shift this time, and there were clothes folded over the board at the foot of the bed: quilted stays, a wool skirt of indeterminate color, a much-patched jacket. Stockings and a white cap hung off the bedpost.

She sat up, and the cat curled into her side made a soft noise, a mrrp, and stretched extravagantly. Delia offered her finger, and the cat sniffed it and then rubbed its whiskers against her hand.

There was always a cat.

The first time she tried to get dressed, she put the stays on before the stockings. Delia was quite proud of herself for getting herself up snugly but realized too late that she couldn’t bend over properly. Several minutes of tugging at the ties and wriggling later, she had gotten free again and could finally pull on the stockings.

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