Showing posts from April, 2021

Old friends and rules on fornication

Tiago walked by my side as we ascended the stairs after dinner. Both of us had been underdressed, but I couldn’t berate him for acting his age, and my excuse had be pointed. And poisoned. Captain Dumas was close behind. “What happened to ‘unbearably ordinary’?” I asked the boy in a low voice. He snickered. “ Mai-am told me to say that. Viscontessa Greco is the only one who can bring mai-am to a draw in any game they play and she said if you were clever, you would still convince her to house you.” “That little game put my life on the line.” “Did she threaten you with a poisoned knife?” I looked down at him. “Does she do that often?” “It’s her favorite tactic.” “She was very convincing.” Tiago’s tone grew serious, “I didn’t mean to suggest she wouldn’t have killed you, Don. She has killed before. I only mean that it hasn’t yet failed her. But House De Santis trusts in your abilities.” “You are my living nightmare.” “I promise I won’t lead you astray with any other nob

Underestimate at your peril

She led me to a long hall lined with portraits and statues; each held an inscription, but I listened to the information she provided, asking a question for clarity now and again. I’d hoped to impress her with my interest and appeared to succeed. Her knowledge on the subject of her lineage was incredible. It was no wonder she wanted to flaunt it; how often did she get the chance? The hall ended in a window overlooking the rear of the estate where the hills rose and a road meandered into the distance. “Why have you come here, Don?” she asked quietly. Her tone was different from what I’d expected and I glanced at her, but she was looking out the window and her face revealed nothing. “De Santis wrote that you held a new inheritance and wished to travel and meet your peers. We both know Gentillini is not a family outside of the stories, and ‘Don’ does nothing but hide your true title.” “Who do you believe me to be?” I asked. “Questions with questions until only questions remain. My gr

Where do we go from here

I knew it was coming. It happens in all of my books, honestly; the fact that I was able to get out a whole trilogy is still completely mind-boggling to me because I cannot plot to save my life. I have two WIP that I've been posting here (hopefully that's been clear because otherwise you would be incredibly confused). Venice is still moving along; I have a couple more ideas on where to take it, but honestly not that much and it's sitting at 21,772 words right now. Partners in Magic however... I've stalled. 12,738 words and I'm stalled. Sorry guys. Honestly, if you have ideas or questions or issues I haven't addressed I would love to hear it. Comment away, amigos! I do wonder how other *pantsers deal with this. There are by far more pantsers than plotters in this world, and a healthy hybrid, but so many established authors crank their works out and I am beyond impressed.  I have some plotting from Hunter and Magus on a corkboard, but it's because I had an idea

Thoughts of change and family

Captain Dumas got us through the attack with surprisingly little bloodshed on our part. Tiago would be basking in the glow of his small part for years, having provided a distraction and then taken the initiative to bite one of the attackers with a fury that unsettled me in no small way. Only two of the bandits forced our hand, but the rest were taken prisoner and secured to the back of the final wagon until we arrived at the estate of Viscontessa Greco. The Contessa had written ahead and so we were met by servants instead of rogue crossbow bolts. The horses were led away and the supplies were sorted and members of the household guard came to secure the bandits until they could be escorted to town to receive their sentence. “Why do people turn to banditry?” I asked Tiago. He looked up at me. “Thievery is easier than honest labor.” “Is it? How far from home were they? Do you think they slept in their beds or on the forest floor? The weather can be unpredictable, and you always r

Meet the boss

I wasn’t sure exactly what I expected to see, but there was a significant lack of white tile and floor drains and tables with straps. The place was more like one of those crazy houses built like a compound with more rooms than you could ever need and the expectation that the people living in them would rarely wear clothes, and even then, it would be uncomfortably short robes for visitors. The shag carpet and floral wallpaper was removed and reasonable depth carpet and boring paint was in its place. No chandeliers dangled threateningly overhead, but fluorescents kept the place brighter than anyone could possibly have requested. Computer equipment and high-tech gadgets were all over the place and there were employees of various sorts working here and there on projects I didn’t bother to try and take in as we strode past. None of them had taken the opportunity to wear long, white lab coats, which I found to be somewhat disappointing. What was the point of working for a secret organiza

World exploration

“I’ve visited the Viscontessa Greco only once before,” Tiago told me. “ Mai-am once described her as ‘unbearably ordinary’.” I laughed. We were on horseback and had been for several hours already. The sun had finally risen enough to burn away the mist and allow a warm breeze to thaw me. Tiago assured me this land was plenty warm in the summers, but my island was warmer still and I missed the heat. “ Principe , may I ask you a question?” “Yes, Tiago, of course; you can ask me anything in private, and you may call me Pietro. Please only call me ‘Don’ unless my true title is known.” Tiago made a bow in his saddle. “Do you believe the Viscontessa Greco will back your claim to the throne?” “I certainly hope so. While I don’t need her support so much as I needed your great-grandmother’s, she is a powerful woman and her acknowledgement and pledge will help me.” “I was proud to pledge fealty to you, Pietro,” the boy said. He was clearly wondering how to phrase his next question.


I took and released a deep breath, relieved that the sound of gusting wind had fallen silent. The relief passed a moment later when I realized I was alone. I closed my grip where Andromeda had been seconds before, but I was holding only the memory of her touch. “You’re very new to your magic, aren’t you?” I stared around to locate the voice and found a small speaker in the wall. There was a push-to-talk button. I ignored it for the moment and took in the rest of my space. The floor was carpeted and soft and the dark green of it faded into a lighter shade for the paint on the walls. It all smelled relatively fresh. A couple of beanbags were stacked in the corner with a fuzzy blanket folded on top. I could sense the lack of magic in the room. The walls were concrete underneath the paint and there weren’t any windows. The ceiling was solid, too, but I didn’t see a camera. I had no doubt there was one, or they had other methods of monitoring my movements. “Well?” the voice asked, w

On work and lies

Tiago had gone to bed. It was very late and I could not sleep. In the library still, I ignored the stack of books at my elbow and focused my attention on the past. Each memory led to another, another, another and I wasn’t sure how to make them stop, or if I even wanted to. So much of my time had been spent focused on what waited for me, the trials I had to overcome, and now that I’d had a momentary reminder of my past, it all felt like too much. “If you’d be raised by anyone but Tiziano, I’d expect you to have a drink in your hand with that expression.” The Contessa sat at my table. “He never was one to drink; couldn’t stand what it did to people.” She started to unwrap the bundle Viola had brought to me and I didn’t stop her. “Someone packed you a snack.” She slid the small bundle to me and I saw a dozen of Davide’s favorite biscuits. Most were broken from the journey, but the sight of them made my mouth water. I turned to face the table and laid my chin on my arms, eye on the bi

Portals, portals everywhere

Jin led the way with a quick and nervous stride, explaining as he went, “Normally you’d get a councilor to help with your magic and figure out what you can do as a trio, as you know. They’re provided for free by [acronym]. But if Andromeda is right and they or someone else is going to be ‘after us’, I’d rather we didn’t draw more attention than we need to.” We were in an area of town that had been under construction for as long as I could remember. Plenty of trios came to practice here, and occasionally brave Batteries to play with small magic. There were a couple of abandoned buildings haunted by those who didn’t want to conform to society’s expectations, or those who couldn’t for one reason or another. I thought about the news a few years ago when a trio had snapped and started killing. Plenty of people were mad, but I had always felt so sorry for them, trying to imagine the kind of stress they’d been under for that to happen. One was killed by the [acronym]’s Safety Force, and a

A rollercoaster of emotions

Near to another week passed before my delivery arrived. I was in the library when Tiago entered and announced, “Viola Romano and Antonello Giordano for you, Don.” I looked up sharply to see faces that were once as familiar as my own, but now I hardly recognized. Had they changed so much in so short a time, or was I seeing them with different eyes? Viola stared in amazement around the library and I remembered how much she loved to read. I’d last seen her in the remains of my home, surrounded by torn book remnants and glass. Antonello was staring directly at me. He had always been difficult for me to read; we’d never been close. Tiago remained in the doorway, looking them both over. I wondered idly how much experience he’d had with anyone outside of the nobility and made a mental note. I waited for them to speak before realizing they were doing the same to me. I cleared my throat. “I hope the journey wasn’t too arduous.” Viola shook her head. “No, it was fine.” She stood awkwardl