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I have a lot of things I *should* be working on... so what happens?

Yep, that's right, as I should be getting up and getting in the shower and going, I catch sight of a friend liking a picture someone posted, and I look at a few other pictures posted on that page, and I catch a glimpse of a picture as I scroll by that might involve a certain watery tart and a sword (but it may not, I didn't look at it closely, so it might just have been a knight-lady in a sunny woodland glade or something entirely different) and suddenly I'm scrambling to open a new window in Open Office, and I'm typing... and this is (completely unedited) what I get:

Lady in the Lake

By Everett A Warren

That's not how the story goes.

Her voice is raspy, cold, weighted down by the years. There's wisps of grey visible from under the cloak, but not much else you can read from her. Maybe the hunching over, that curve like a sapling that reaches fast for the light and then, over time, bends closer to the ground... maybe that arc is from the weight of that cloak. A thick, heavy, unforgiving material like a warrior might wear. Why scratch the armour when that dense, uncomfortable fabric will turn the sharpest blade and dampen the mightiest hammer. The kind of weight that is not for old women to bear, but is invaluable to the young warrior.

So she tells me that's not how the story goes, and I'm caught. Story is my stock and trade, and I had been telling all about Arturo and Kam and the Table Round and The Sword and I know the tale, know it through and through, the words tripping off my tongue beautifully, and each word lovingly crafted into the whole.

I should know better, because I do know better. And who could know better than I? After all, it was not some poor, bent beggarlady who had watched The Sword from its Sheath leap out into Arturo's hand, glimmering with glamours and preternatural light. It was not some scraggly withered wench who listened attentively to the Wise Woman Myrlynne as she prophesied and advised and taught the Boy Who Would Be King.

And it was not, most certainly and empathetically not, no way, no how, some vile peasant wretch of a hag, a grandmother of shit and dirt and nothing of any worth whatsoever, who slid the blade betwixt Arturo's plate and into that soft, yielding under layer of his flesh, letting his blessed royal lifeblood flow on to the battlefield on that, his last day, and...

Pardon. A moment please.


You see, I was there.

It was I.

I am Mordred.

Oh, some say I was Arturo's younger brother, some say I was his son. We called each other brothers, and although we spilt much blood side by side through the years, the blood that ran within us was wholly our own.

But that is of little matter, it merely clarifies some of the tales you may have heard. Which brings me back to this tale, and the tale I had been telling when this mere woman claims I am wrong and that my story is not what I know it to be, and that the tale I am telling takes a different path entirely.

My anger rises, and the years fall from me, the curse revived, and still... I listen to her, ensnared, myself and my audience now hers. I hear her words wind and twist and echo and resolve, and I wonder briefly if this is Myrlynne, freed from her entrapment -- which I was quite sure involved her death as well, or as close as I could manufacture to it -- and come to seek revenge, because so magickal are her speakings that I can not help but believe.

Copyright 2013 Everett Ambrose Warren

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The Skeleton in Armour

By Everett A Warren

an excerpt, slightly but not nearly completely edited

My client was dead to begin with.

I'd say that you needed to understand this, or nothing after would seem wondrous strange, but this isn't Dickens and it's not even London. There, I would expect the cobblestones to be lousy with big lugs like this, crawling out of their mounds or wading ashore, as leaky as their tubs they sank to the bottom in, but this is Longfellow's town. It doesn't matter what manner of mischief came over with the Pilgrims, nor what slipped to our shores since from the Old Country or Older Countries, if you catch my angle, but the last thing I thought I'd see standing there dripping all over my fine Persian, one meat hook holding the damask canopy around my bed aside, filling my room and then some, was a massive Viking warrior in full battle array, just several centuries past his prime.

He set the axe down and I took a breath, thinking this just might not be the last thing I see, which took a load off, I can tell you. He almost crushed the little folding number I leave out for my dressing gown, and him not even skin with those bones, because whatever flesh he had fed the fishes long ago. I didn't quite hear his sigh -- no lungs, no air, you know how it is -- but it was there nonetheless as he settled into the chair.

I took a moment to compose myself, then quickly reached behind me and gave out my own little sigh of relief, with real live breath included, no less. My sweet butler sleeps deeply, but not that deeply, and I didn't want to have to replace the furniture if he woke up to find Snorri Skeletonson here in his squeeze's boudoir. Although an ogre's handy to have around for all kinds of reasons, I was more than happy to remember he was working down the docks to make some folding green while seeking his return to a more upscale vocation. As strong as he is, and no matter how I like him by my side, I don't think I would have been able to prevent him from being destroyed. See, I have an eye for power, and the bones before me were old, worn... and if their power were liquid, it wouldn't just drip like the saltwater onto my rug and robe. No, it would put the Molasses Flood of '19 to shame, and I'd have to find a new city to live in.

If I survived.

I shifted to the edge of the bed, leaving the silks behind, and walked across the room. His head turned to watch, flares of light within empty eye sockets following my progress, and me with all the flesh he doesn't have. I am not a modest dame by any measure, and to tell the truth if he had been hale and hearty, I might have done the same. Well, perhaps not, as I would have no need to gather a few things just to chin with my new friend, and I might even just ask him for the robe he's sitting on. Or I might give him lead poisoning, but you can't exactly let daylight into something that's been dead so long there's not a scrap of meat left behind to catch lead.

I grab some salts, some sands, and a little bit of that glitter I picked up at Filene's the other day. I say the words as I walk back towards him, casting a trail of colour with each hand, leaving the marks on the floor in just the right pattern. The glitter? Cut a doll some slack, I was losing out on my beauty sleep and needed something to add a little pretty to my night.

"So... tall, bone-white, and handsome wasn't in my cards. That gypsy girl hyped me, didn't she?"

I sit down in front of him and wait for him to speak. Sometimes it can take a while, but that is all up to them, and there's nothing for me to do but crack light to pass the time. I don't even have to try to think of a good joke, because he jaws almost before I'm even settled in. I listen to what he's got to say, and then I agree to take the case. From somewhere up in there under his deepest blue-green byrnie, where organs used to be, Beowulf's uncle pulls out a bar of gold that looks nearly as time-worn as he does. He sets it down almost gently on the floor at my feet, tops it off with a string of amber, gathers up his weaponry, nods once, and he walks out of the room.

I take it back. Maybe it is wondrous strange. Even with what all I've come across, it certainly plays out something surreal.

I stand, twirl and sweep an arm low, and all the signs and sigils are cleared, carried by little swirls of wind and tidied up in little piles under the armoire and, well, other corners of the room. Out of the way, and harmless enough until some morning when I need something to do. A whisper over the gold and it's off to safe keeping, only a slight haze that fades quickly, and a shimmer of glitter of the genuine variety left behind as I wrap the unfinished raw amber around my neck, glancing in the full length and finding them fair fetching with my fiery red locks. The weight of the gold -- and the even greater value of the amber to the warrior -- is a reminder this little romp won't be duck soup.

To reflect proper gravitas and give Leif Deadguy his due, I smile sweetly at myself in the mirror before a yawn rolls in and swallows me whole. I stretch and collapse into bed, asleep almost before I'm down and covered, visions of runes dancing in my head.

Copyright 2013 Everett Ambrose Warren

If you enjoyed this little teaser, stay tuned for news of what happens next ~ all I have to do is write it! Simple as that! And, of course, get it edited and published. And all those other little niggling kind of things. You can, however, read an earlier fantasy noir tale featuring this same private investigator, The Hollow Man, which can be found in the pages of Fae Fatales: A Fantasy Noir Anthology.
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With the exception of the incredibly good news regarding "The Hollow Man" (See this ~ help support the project! We are less than $300 from our stretch goal of art for all ten stories!), everything has been static since I started working back in October. On the one hand, it's good to be working, and paying bills is always considered a positive thing. On the other hand, it's an enormous amount of work to market and manage the an artistic career, and it's another enormous amount of work to go about doing the creative side of the business ~ or, at the least, in my case, a huge amount of spare time spent looking at a blank screen, and feeling settled and secure enough to relax and let the words out to fill some pages. Between starting a job, moving, and some major health speed bumps, it's been difficult to gather that time... but I will get to it. Hopefully soonish, because there's some characters that are starting to look mighty agitated that I'm not talking about them behind their backs...

Finished Works:
  • Full Moon Poetry, urban fantasy, 14,100 words ~ in editing ~ needs formatted ~ two markets in mind
  • Trouble and Captain Jack, steampunk, 8,600 words, submitted 8/27/2012
  • Ghost Dance, urban fantasy, 5,500 words, edited, formatted, waiting for market's reading period to open in October
  • The Hollow Man, fantasy noir, 4,600 words, to be published by Solarwyrm Press
  • The Sky Galleons of Mediolanum, Renaissance-Era Macedonian Empire steampunk, 4,400 words, submitted 9/27/2012
  • Of the Leaves and of the Waves, urban fantasy, 4,100 words, edited, formatted, waiting for market's reading period to open in October
  • A Rose for Princess, fairy talish fantasy, 3,800 words, submitted 9/24/2012
  • Gathering, urban fantasy, 3,100 words, edited, formatted, and submitted 9/24/2012
  • Never Ever After, myth/fantasy, 3,100 words, in editing, have market in mind
  • Empress Awakened, classic fantasy, 1,400 words, submitted 9/16/2012

In Progress:
  • Kryptos, Renaissance-Era Macedonian Empire steampunk novel, 53,700 words out of maybe 120,000 (mostly notes)
  • L'Abattoir, pirate steampunk novella, 17,200 words out of maybe 60,000
  • The Ellyssian Tarot, tarot deck and book, 13,000 words out of maybe 120,000 (mostly notes)
  • The Gauntlet, fantasy novel, 5,500 words out of maybe 120,000
  • Mad Max, steampunk, 3,100 words out of ?
  • Changeling, werewolf, 1,300 words out of ?
  • The Last Great Battle, classic fantasy, 1,200 words out of ?
  • green tracks, urban fantasy, 100 words out of ?
ellyssian: (Default)
"You don't talk aelfen royalty and hobgoblin kingpin tangled together without attracting some untoward attentions from every Tam, Dick, and Houri from Brú na Bóinne to Hy-Brasil." And yet, that's exactly the kind of tale a certain hard-boiled PI is going to tell you all about in The Hollow Man, Everett A. Warren's contribution to the anthology.

~ ~ ~

Which anthology? This fantasy noir anthology by Solarwyrm Press!

Your support will make it happen and help support the ten writers whose work graces the pages! There are options to get an e-book or a print copy, and there are other perks for those who can afford to provide more support. If you can't afford a copy at this time, then you can still help us out by liking the campaign, the Facebook page, the pages of the authors, and posting links to any or all of those kinds of things!

Thanks for reading!
ellyssian: (trees)
In honor of the second annual International Pixel-Stained Technopeasant day, and in the absence of any actual new work, I give you a short story that is only half-formed. It's a poor substitute for a finished product, but it will have to do. A rewrite on this has been in the works since pretty much the day after it was written. Although I received feedback from one person - and haven't implemented any of it yet - I would appreciate other impressions. The title remains a placeholder, sort of. There aren't any poems hiding out in the text.

Anywho, enjoy!

Full Moon Poetry
by Everett A Warren
June 10, 2006

Have you ever noticed that sayings such as "As the crow flies" always seem to have a connotation that differs from what one would expect should they analyse it closely?

Take this saying and translate it to its intent, and what you really come up with is "In a straight-lined path" which is a great simplification of the actual path any bird might take betwixt point A and point B, should they ever arrive at point B in the first place.

So following the given advice, one would think taking side detours for a fragment of shiny or for a small taste of prime road-prepared raw flesh would be quite apropos. Travelling that straight and narrow path would, of course, give way to more important things such as evading or mobbing predators. If one was to travel as the crow flies, one simply must engage in all manner of minor excursions, of storytelling, of crops theft, and of other random mischief.

Mina wasn’t really considering any of that as she tried to reconcile the spoken word with the small, touristy map with the lay of the land... )

Copyright (c) 2006 Everett Ambrose Warren

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Her Tears Tasted of the River Acheron
by Everett A Warren

an excerpt

Her tears tasted of the River Acheron.

That gave me pause. I couldn’t remember the last time I had felt such loneliness, such overbearing sadness. A subtle humour that, considering I live in a cemetery, but there you have it.

Now don’t go thinking I’m one of those boggarts or dweomerfale that feed off of that sort of thing, no, not at all! but when those tears spread across the surface of the pond like oil, coloured in a rainbow of agony and pain, I did feel a pang. Story is what I’m after, you see, and sorrow that deep has a tale to tell.

There are stories that tell of walking on water, and I was nearly needy enough to bolt straightaways over that tainted surface, but I held myself back for two reasons. First off, she was in a fragile state, and a forthright charge would do nothing to set her at ease. Even if she didn’t run, she’d not be likely to speak freely of dark secrets, now would she? No story would have meant no reason to rush to her in the first place – not that she’d know that – and I’m sure that if I went fleetly flying over the rippling waters, it would have her thinking all sorts of nasty things were about to occur, and she’d be downright uncommunicative. Not only that, but the second reason for not running the waves is even simpler.

I would sink like a rock.

~ ~ ~

I felt as if someone was watching me. Through the tears, the pond, the trees, the crypts, and the monuments blended and blurred, like an impressionistic painting. Perhaps if I had tried to focus, to wipe my eyes, even just to blink… but I didn’t really feel it was worth the effort.

Didn’t feel much of anything, really.


Like the eyes on me.

Did Van Gogh paint crypts? The one across the way, done with dashes of still-wet paint, held staring eyes. Dead eyes – no, undead eyes, I mused. Vampires, werewolves, and zombies, oh my. Or maybe a psychotic killer behind a headstone, who picked out the perfect prey – blinded by the tears in her eyes. On any other day, those kind of thoughts would drive me away. No sanctuary when you’ve got one eye peeled for madmen with axes and chainsaws and another on the lookout for gypsies and thieves, the third firmly fixed on chimeras and dragons that are feeling a nagging rumbling in their supernal bellies.

This particular day, though, no matter what weird creature might come by to grind my bones to make some bread, it would be my sanctuary.

It was the best I had on short notice, so it would have to do.

That, and, although I wasn’t exactly suicidal, if a serial killer or other monster stepped out from behind a tree and asked for a volunteer to be his victim, I’d be the first to raise my hand.

Yeah. So maybe a little suicidal.

“Hey,” I called out, throwing myself back on the perfectly manicured lawn, arms and legs spread wide, “Take me, I’m yours.”

Yeah. Overly dramatic, too.

Copyright (c) 2006 Everett Ambrose Warren

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I finished the first draft of Her Tears Tasted of the River Acheron - the story formerly, temporarily, titled as Mount Auburn. After finishing, I debated on the title for a while, and finally went with the first line of the story - something that I've done in poetry, but I don't think I've done with fiction.

It has changed in tone and subject from what I had expected - one of the characters was not who I thought they were, and, sadly, the other characters live to regret that. Or don't live, depending on which one you're talking about. And the ghouls had to keep as quiet as possible, so as to avoid attracting unwanted attention.

If anyone would like to give it a once-over, let me know. I've got a couple of questions of opinion that I'd like to ask after it's read - although, if I think about it for a while, I might make some changes in the way I tell the central part of the tale before I get any feedback on it.

Just for the record, I'm looking for both general and specific feedback - I'm not expecting line editing, just comments about what works and doesn't work for a handful of readers.

I've got one copy of the earlier short story, Full Moon Poetry, out there - two, if you count the one Deb is looking at. I'd like to get at least one other set of opinions on it before wrapping up all the feedback and getting it ready to submit for publication. For the record, Full Moon Poetry is not poetry - it is a fantasy fiction piece, with a title that seems to be misleading, and, thus, will probably be changed before it goes prime time.

Until I get that feedback, the only story I have floating around is the anachrotech Mad Max one. I've been listening in on the COALS list about steam power in Australia. I want to have a really good grasp on the trials and tribulations of 1) running a steam powered vehicle; and 2) doing so in Australia. Although this will probably be a short story - at least to introduce the character and setting - this will take a lot of research to get it right. Who knows, maybe a novel-length story concept will appear, with all the novel-length information gathering.

Oh, if you extend "story" from "short fiction" to "novel," I suppose that's not the only one I've got rambling around. I still have Kryptos to work on - the alternate history/anachrotech piece I started many, many moons ago. I suppose I could tie that into the world of the Mad Max story, but Kryptos is actually much higher tech at a much earlier time. The feeling of the two worlds is also very different - a Victorian Western vs. a Hellenistic Renaissance.


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