Free Fiction Friday: Ghosts of the Dead

No new short stories to share so I decided to give you this one this week. This one of the ones that always makes me cry by the end. Hope you enjoy!

POD Ghosts of the Dead Ebook Cover 05

Description:

Survival was hard enough but when your space station was half destroyed and the population was slowly trickling away it became even harder. Paulina lived with the scars of the accident that had nearly killed their station. She wasn’t sure if she could live with the plan her lover Tina and their friends had come up with to revive the station’s failing future.

It was hard enough to live with the ghosts of the dead in her heart. Paulina wasn’t sure she could stand to be surrounded by them all the time.

Ghosts of the Dead is a near future SF story of recovery from disaster, regaining your strength and moving into the future.

Ghosts of the Dead

By Meyari McFarland

1. Water Damage

“Ugh,” Paulina complained. “It stinks.”

“The whole station stinks,” Tina said with a shrug that was anything but casual. “Will until the filters are all replaced.”

That was true enough that Paulina didn’t reply. The smell of smoke and melted plastic had almost gotten familiar in the last couple of months. It lingered on Paulina’s tongue, stained the back of her nose until the burning seemed normal.

Nothing was normal, not anymore. Too many people were dead. Too many had fled the station with what little they could salvage. Paulina had a moment of vertigo as she remembered the burnt and twisted wreckage of the other half the station drifting away with Keiko Lewis still chattering away about keeping people safe.

She’d died. Her body was still in the wreckage a few thousand klicks away. She wasn’t the only one ‘buried’ in vacuum. Paulina shut her eyes against the rush of faces she’d never see again. So many people had died but Paulina had been left behind to struggle on through life. The too-familiar sourness of vomit rose at the back of her throat, threatening to spill Paulina’s meager mushroom and spinach piroshky out onto the stained carpet covering the floor.

“It smells like mold,” Paulina said once she’d pushed the nausea down again. “We can’t buy a place that’s full of mold, Tina.”

“We can fix it,” Tina replied as she pushed the theatre’s double doors open so that they could see the stage and seats.

“Sure’n it’s a beautiful sight,” Boss Johnson said in the back of Paulina’s head. His accent was as off in memory as it had been in real life. “Perfect place to take a lovely lady fer a night of fun.”

Paulina cringed away from the flashback. She didn’t want to remember. Her first date with Tina had been to see an amateur production of Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night in this theatre. Tina had grinned when Paulina marched up and asked if she wanted to go. She’d been so nervous that she’d almost shouted it, much to the amusement of her and Tina’s coworkers out on the Docks.

The smell of mold fought with Paulina’s memory of popcorn and laughing kisses as they watched the play from the back of the theatre. It had been perfect, a perfect shining moment that was completely destroyed by seeing the condition of the station now. When she tried to remember what Tina’s expression had been, Paulina couldn’t.

Faces didn’t make sense anymore. She could see eyes, a nose, mouths, even hairstyles but none of it made any sense. It didn’t coalesce into ‘Tina’s happy’, ‘Tina’s angry’ or ‘Tina’s sad’. Instead Paulina had to piece the separate elements together against a mental register of remembered explanations and hypothetical assumptions. She’d gotten better at figuring out what people’s expressions meant about their emotional state but the doctors had said that Paulina would never regain the skill for facial recognition and emotional comprehension. It was gone just like everything she’d loved about their space station.

Paulina slowly drifted towards the stage. Her fingers brushed against one of the seats. The once-soft velvet was sticky with fire suppression foam residue. She snatched her hand back, fisting it. Everything was ruined, completely ruined. Well, Paulina thought as she stomped up the stairs to the stage, that didn’t mean that they couldn’t make new memories. That was what Tina kept saying, not that Paulina thought they could make something out of this place.

It was a disaster. Boards lifting up, nails coming loose and that didn’t even touch the condition of the drapes; she’d never seen a stage in such horrible condition. The rest of the theatre was in equally bad shape.

The walls looked as though a thunderstorm had poured through the roof, staining the walls. She could smell mold everywhere in the theatre, a truly horrifying thought given that the space station was supposed to be ‘fully refurbished’. It obviously wasn’t but Paulina already knew that. Everyone who lived on the station knew just how much was left to be done. The station management’s advertising only applied to specific public areas. Any privately owned spaces were officially the responsibility of the owners.

“You can’t be serious,” Paulina complained to Tina without meeting her eyes. “This place is a dump.”

“Yeah,” Tina said with a far too casual shrug. “But it’s in our price range.”

“Why a theatre?” Paulina whined in part because it was this particular theatre full of memories that Paulina would have preferred to keep intact. “Seriously, this is insane. How can we set up a shop in a theatre, especially one this rundown?”

Tina glared. The punch to Paulina’s shoulder was expected. Didn’t stop it from hurting even though Paulina was better at pain than most after her dockside accident. Tina was a good foot taller than Paulina and from a station with full Earth gravity. She hit a lot harder than Paulina could dream of. Tina’s arms crossed over her chest looked as big around as Paulina’s waist, as brown as mahogany and corded with muscle.

Growing up on a low-grav station had left Paulina with a much more delicate body than Tina’s. Paulina’s slender build prevented her from ever being effective in combat that didn’t involve remote controlled robots. Besides, her scars weren’t the sort that went numb from nerve damage. No, Paulina got lucky and had scars that ached all the time.

Her whole body ached. Sometimes Paulina thought about using the pain pills the hospital had given her but no. No. The dreams she got were worse than the aches, worse than her scars brushing against something and sending screaming fire through Paulina’s body. Better to deal with what was around her, the damage, the destruction, the shell-shocked expressions she couldn’t comprehend anymore, than dream of what it had been like before.

“We can’t afford anything better,” Tina growled. “I checked. There’s literally nothing left, Pau. All the good places have been taken. This is still available because the fire suppression systems malfunctioned and flooded the place. No one wanted to clean it up.”

“I don’t want to clean it up,” Paulina complained. “This place stinks and it’s going to take most of our budget just to renovate. We won’t have money for buying stock.”

“Yes, we will,” Tina said. “All we have to do is work with Sue and Andrea. They take part of the building and we take the rest.”

“Which part?” Paulina asked immediately.

The theatre wasn’t that big. It held just over two hundred seats, most arranged in the main part of the floor, a few on the tiny balcony. The backstage portion was small with very little room for props or, in their case, stock. The offices were tiny, barely more than closets. Out front, where the most effective sales presence would be, there was a decent lobby but that was run down and water damaged, too.

Besides, Paulina wasn’t terribly fond of Sue. She wasn’t that bad, really. It was just that her voice was always too loud and her Southern accent frequently confused Paulina. She was from Earth, after all, and every Earther that Paulina had met was convinced of their inherent superiority over space-bred people.

If Sue was bad, though, Andrea was worse. Her smile always had that plastic quality of a person forced to smile when they’d rather curse. Paulina had no idea why Andrea though so poorly of her but it showed. There was nothing like watching a person go from laughing and carefree to fighting to keep a fake smile on their face the instant you showed up. Even with Paulina’s problems interpreting facial expressions Andrea’s issues with her were obvious. That smile was so fake that it stuck out like a sore thumb.

“I don’t want to have to deal with them all the time,” Paulina told Tina. “You know I don’t get along with them.”

“Everyone knows that,” Tina groaned as she rolled her eyes. “Really, it couldn’t be any more obvious if you tried. They said they’d like the offices and the backstage area. A tiny accounting firm doesn’t need a bunch of room. We should be able to take the rest of the theatre for ourselves. No storage space but then we can’t afford much in stock anyway and there’s not that many people on the station anymore so it will be okay.”

“Why are we doing this?” Paulina asked. “You’re right. There aren’t enough people on the station. There aren’t going to be. It’s old. It’s worn out. Half of the damn station is gone, Tina! Everyone knows that the station’s dying, dead, gone. They all want to go to stations that are new and fancy, with big open spaces and plenty of room, where it doesn’t stink of fire and death and fear.”

Tina pulled Paulina in for a hug without answering the complaint. There was no reason to. They’d talked about this for months as Paulina recovered before deciding that it was the best of their limited options. Neither of them had any family to speak of. Their jobs had been cut when the station management downsized due to decreased traffic and residency. And neither of them had the funds to move to a different station. Starting a shop was their only choice.

“It’s big,” Andrea murmured at the double doors that led from the lobby to the theatre.

“Yer gonna be fine, sweetie,” Sue reassured her. When Paulina peeked around Tina’s side Andrea looked frightened of the sheer size of the theatre. “We’ll take the store rooms an’ make ‘em ours. Might even be a service corridor we could use to enter so ya don’ have to deal with the space in here.”

Paulina blinked up at Tina, surprised. She hadn’t thought that Andrea had agoraphobia. How she survived on a space station Paulina didn’t know. Tina turned the two of them and Andrea’s smile instantly went plastic. Her fingers tightened so much around Sue’s wrist that Sue winced.

“There y’all are,” Sue said loudly enough that Paulina winced. Her words echoed through the theatre making everyone wince along with Paulina. “Yow, I’m gonna have ta practice my indoor voice, aren’t I?”

“Please,” Paulina begged. “It’d help.”

To her surprise, Andrea swallowed down a laugh. She looked almost as shocked by the aborted giggle as Paulina felt but Sue didn’t seem to notice either. Sue grinned and nodded, flapping her free hand at Tina and Paulina.

“I’ll do m’best,” Sue promised. “But Lordy-God, this place needs a ton of work. We even gonna be able to do it?”

“I have a friend who had a team that does refurbishing work,” Tina said. “If we chip in labor then he’ll cut the cost.”

“I still don’t know what we’re going to sell,” Paulina sighed. “There isn’t a demand for food. The big grocery store is too cheap. And no need for knickknacks either when the station’s half gone and the other half is emptying out.”

“Games or toys?” Andrea suggested hesitantly. “There are a lot of families and no good entertainment options anymore.”

Sue shook her head no, sighing. “Don’ see that working. Too far away from the center concourse.”

Paulina sighed and nodded her agreement with Sue. She might be annoying but she was right. They really didn’t have a good plan. All Tina had been able to come up with so far was ‘open a shop’. That was better than Paulina’s half-cracked ideas of somehow making millions out of nowhere.

“I don’t know if we can even make this place work,” Paulina said. “I mean, look at it. It’s designed to be a theatre, not a shop. Unless we’re selling ghost stories about all the dead people on this station we’re not going to get much business.”

Tina stiffened. She looked around, a grin slowly blooming on her face. Sue whistled but it was low enough not to go straight through Paulina’s head. Even Andrea gasped and then smiled a real smile, the one that quirked her lips and made her eyes wrinkle up in completely different ways from the fake smiles Paulina had learned to recognize already. Their reactions made Paulina stare and then huff.

“What?”

“Pau,” Tina said, “you’re brilliant. What better to sell than ghost stories? The entire station is turning into a ghost town. Why not play on that? There’s plenty of material, after all.”

“How?” Paulina demanded. “I’m not a writer. Neither are you. How do you sell ghost stories, anyway?”

“Oh, that’s easy, darlin’,” Sue said. “When we get this place fixed up we make sure ta leave it a bit bedraggled. Have some water stains, torn seats an’ the like. Then we fill the front lobby with all sorts of spooky toys and books. Then maybe dress up in torn coveralls, spooky makeup. Y’know, like Halloween costumes jus’ all the time. It’ll be easy for you.”

Paulina bristled at that, making Andrea shiver and hide behind Sue. Tina glared at her, too. That made Paulina feel a bit better. She knew how her scars made her look. There was no need to rub her nose in it.

“Not like that,” Sue sighed. “Seriously, y’all are too sensitive about those things. Yeah, they twist up your face on one side bu’ it’s not tha’ bad overall. No, I meant yer size, sweetie. Y’all make the perfect pair for that sort of thing. One little ‘n’ scary-fast, the other big ‘n’ looming. It’ll work well.”

“We’d still need stories,” Paulina said with a glare that didn’t bother Sue at all even though it made Andrea quiver behind her. “Or shows or something. We don’t have that. I can’t act.”

“You can sing,” Tina said entirely too mildly for it to be anything more than her taking the idea seriously.

“Traitor,” Paulina hissed at her. “I am not singing for anyone but you. I’m not that good.”

Tina grinned and shrugged. “You are, too. Well. And I do a good job of telling stories. All it would take is some research. We’ll have time to gather stories to play off of when we’re fixing the place up. Maybe we could do some actual plays, you know, spooky ones that only take a couple of actors.”

“That’d be a load o’ fun!” Sue exclaimed much too loudly again. “Oops. Sorry! Really got great acoustics in here. I c’n act a bit if y’all don’ mind an accent.”

“Um, I know how to decorate things,” Andrea offered. “I could make costumes, maybe some props. Sue can sew cute toys for kids.”

Paulina pulled out of Tina’s arms to stare at each of them in turn. They were serious. They really thought it would work. She shook her head, mouthing ‘no’ at Tina. It didn’t work. Tina smiled wryly at her and shrugged. Sue clapped her hands and bounced on her toes. Even Andrea looked as though she thought it was a good idea if the way she met Paulina’s eyes was anything to judge by.

“You’re all insane!” Paulina complained. “We’ll go broke and end up on the chain gang for our debts.”

“No, we won’t,” Tina said. “It’ll work. Besides, do you have any better ideas?”

Paulina’s shoulders tensed until they felt like they were made of stone. She didn’t. There weren’t any other ideas that showed any signs of succeeding. They couldn’t grow anything in the theatre because permits for independent food production were prohibitively expensive. None of them had the skills to pilot, the really big earner on the station. And there wasn’t any other place that they could afford to buy.

“No,” Paulina sighed.

“Well, then,” Tina declared. “We have a plan.”
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Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!

Or happy Thursday for those who don’t celebrate it. :)

Sorry I missed yesterday’s Worldbuilding Wednesday post. I really am running out of ideas for that weekly post. And well, I was off yesterday, and am off work until Monday, so I decided to challenge myself to write a short romance novel over Thanksgiving.

It’s in the Manor ‘verse, a sequel to A New Path focusing on Shizuka’s younger sister Keiko, and it’s going quite well. I’m up to 19,126 words in just a few days. I highly doubt that I’ll finish it before it’s time to go back to work but I should have a healthy chunk of it done before then.

Anyway, I just wanted to wish everyone a good Thanksgiving and check in. Have a great weekend, too! *hugs everyone*

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Novel Monday: Repair and Rebuild Chapter 7

POD Repair and Rebuild Ebook Cover 05

Description:

Rebuilding the future that was nearly lost.

When the Tourmaline Seas limped back into port, everyone in Raelin’s family was stunned that she’d made it. She’d lost a mast and had so many holes in the hull that it was only with the Goddesses’ blessings that her crew and cargo had survived. More than anything, Raelin wanted to see her back on the seas, blue Dana sails snapping in the wind as her crew sailed around the world. To her shock, Raelin got to observe Mistress Chie, owner of Sunrise Shipyard, as she rebuilt the Tourmaline Seas.

Raelin’s joy in repairing the Tourmaline darkened as the Delbhana plotted to steal the Tourmaline away. When that didn’t work the Delbhana struck straight at the heart of the Dana Clan, trying to steal all the children, Raelin included. If she failed, Raelin knew that she might never see her family and home again.

Repair and Rebuild is a fantastic coming of age story set in the Matriarchal world of Muirin.

Chapter Seven: Confrontation

“Raelin wouldn’t start a fight!”

Mother’s bellow carried through the warehouse easily. Raelin took a deep breath and straightened her shoulders to try and brace herself for the fight she knew was coming. She’d been right that the Delbhana were already there. Mistress Chie’s hand tightened painfully around Raelin’s for a moment as she tugged Raelin straight towards the fight that was the source of the noise.

Lady Etain was there, glaring down at Mother with enough fury that Raelin quailed for a moment. She couldn’t hang back for long because Mistress Chie pulled Raelin along like a tug boat guiding a ship to shore, except that their sizes were reversed for that. It was more like Raelin a tugboat wrestling with a too-large barge that was out of control.

The two big shipwrights pushed through the gathered Dana and Delbhana surrounding Mother and Lady Etain easily, depositing Raelin by her mother’s side with Mistress Chie. Raelin’s aunts made way easily but the Delbhana didn’t until a couple of Guards standing behind Lady Etain spotted her and waved at them to move.

“Raelin!” Mother gasped. She caught Raelin’s chin, checking her face. “What happened?”
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Free Fiction Friday: Hide and Seek

Another blast from the past for Free Fiction Friday: I decided to revisit Muirin’s early stories with Hide and Seek. Hope you enjoy it!

Ebook Hide and Seek Cover 03

On the matriarchal world of Muirin, Dana Aravel was looking forward to a quiet afternoon spent knitting socks for his mother while everyone waited for the next ship to arrive in port. However his little sister Anwyn’s bad mood destroyed that hope. She was so cranky that Aravel knew there was no chance he’d get the quiet needed for concentration.

Instead, he proposed a game of Hide and Seek for all the kids in the Dana family with the reward of a special treat to the winners. He was sure that he and Cadfael could win the game but then he was distracted first by the possibility of cookies and then by the chance to right a wrong and make his Uncle Athol happy.

All Aravel had to do was convince the adults that a marriage between Athol and his best friend Ruark would solve all their problems. A deal between the Dana and Ruark’s family would benefit both sides as well as protect Ruark from the racial stigma he faced on a daily basis. It wouldn’t be easy but Aravel was determined to make Uncle Athol and Ruark happy, no matter what stood in their way.

Hide and Seek

By Meyari McFarland

Aravel hummed happily as he carefully picked up the white yarn and began working it into the blue ribbing he’d knit before going down into the offices for his daily lessons. It was lovely yarn, nice and thick for the socks he was knitting for Mother. The first sock had turned out very well, the leg and sole of the foot patterned with blue and white ‘X’ and ‘O’ shapes. If he managed to copy it properly, he should have a very nice gift for Mother to wear this winter.

The light coming through the window was wan and gray. His window seat was usually a lovely place to sunbathe at this time of day but it seemed like fall had come early. Instead of warmth, cold seeped through the window to chill Aravel’s left arm and leg. He tucked a pillow between his body and the window, smiling as that fixed the problem. If he kept working he might be able to finish the leg of the sock before it was time to help Father make dinner. Maybe they could have honey buns; Aravel loved how they tasted and smelled. Honey buns always made the house smell wonderfully sweet for days.

“I don’t want to stay in bed!”

Aravel winced and dropped a stitch on his knitting as Anwyn’s wail of outrage carried out of the bedroom and through their entire suite of rooms. He carefully picked the stitch back up but got the yarn tangled as he tried to continue knitting. His efforts to untangle the yarn sent one ball rolling off his lap onto the floor, much to Aravel’s dismay. Before it rolled too far, Aravel caught it so that he could rewind the ball before continuing to knit.

He couldn’t blame Anwyn for being bored and frustrated, even if her response to the restrictions made him wince. She’d been stuck in bed for eleven days now, only allowed to get up for trips to the toilet and for meals. The meals had been a new thing in the last two days after Doctor Bernice had visited and pronounced Anwyn’s stomach healed enough for sitting up and solid food. That was a lovely thing that they’d all celebrated with a special meal that Anwyn got to choose.

She still had the broken ribs and ankle though. Doctor Bernice had told Anwyn that it was going to be another month before the ribs healed fully and probably another month or two after that for her ankle. Anwyn hadn’t like that at all. She’d pouted every day since, trying to get out of bed whenever an opportunity presented itself.

“Annie, you’ll stay in this bed or I’ll call your mother up here to make you stay put,” Father said sternly enough that Aravel winced from his spot on the window seat.

“But I’m bored,” Anwyn whined at the top of her lungs. “I’ve read all my books and my back is sore from lying in bed and I want to do something, Father!”

“I know you’re bored, dear,” Father said almost as loudly as Anwyn. “You still don’t get to get up. You could take a nap.”

“But I’m not tired,” Anwyn complained in a tone that made Aravel feel as though his teeth were on edge.

“Doesn’t matter, you’re still not getting up, Annie,” Father said. “You’re staying in your bunk. I’ll stay with you and tell stories if you’d like.”

His tone wasn’t as soothing as Aravel expected. He sounded so annoyed that Aravel carefully finished winding his ball of yarn only to set down the sock he’d been knitting on the plush window seat. There didn’t seem to be any sense in knitting, no matter how lovely the yarn. He’d just make a thousand mistakes that would have to be unraveled and re-knit.

Aravel stared out the window as he put the pillow back where it belonged. The cold seeping in the window mixed with the sound of the rain pounding on the window and roof. There was no chance of going outside to play today. He’d have to find something else to do.

Aravel went in search of his twin sister Raelin. Their suite of rooms were warm and bright with a common room for eating and spending time plus a kitchen that was full of the smell of rising bread. He smiled at the sour-wheat smell of the bread dough, nodding that the towel draped over the bowl was damp enough before heading to the kids’ rooms.

Raelin would never hide in the little kids’ room, not with Anwyn and Father still arguing about what she could and could not do. She wouldn’t dare to invade Mother and Father’s bedroom either. None of them were brave enough to invade their parent’s sanctuary. That left the big kids’ room which was their older brother Gavin’s domain; unless Raelin had gone to talk to their cousins in other parts of the Dana Clan house.
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Worldbuilding Wednesday #71: Patience

Worldbuilding Wednesday #71: Patience

Welcome back to another Worldbuilding Wednesday! Today’s topic is something I’m still working on: Patience.
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Novel Monday: Repair and Rebuild Chapter 6

POD Repair and Rebuild Ebook Cover 05

Description:

Rebuilding the future that was nearly lost.

When the Tourmaline Seas limped back into port, everyone in Raelin’s family was stunned that she’d made it. She’d lost a mast and had so many holes in the hull that it was only with the Goddesses’ blessings that her crew and cargo had survived. More than anything, Raelin wanted to see her back on the seas, blue Dana sails snapping in the wind as her crew sailed around the world. To her shock, Raelin got to observe Mistress Chie, owner of Sunrise Shipyard, as she rebuilt the Tourmaline Seas.

Raelin’s joy in repairing the Tourmaline darkened as the Delbhana plotted to steal the Tourmaline away. When that didn’t work the Delbhana struck straight at the heart of the Dana Clan, trying to steal all the children, Raelin included. If she failed, Raelin knew that she might never see her family and home again.

Repair and Rebuild is a fantastic coming of age story set in the Matriarchal world of Muirin.

Chapter Six: Escape

“Hand it over,” Sinead snarled at Raelin.

“I’m sorry, but I can’t do that,” Raelin said in a loud clear voice that made the Guards watching wince. “It’s not mine. I’m just delivering it.”

“You little brat!” Sinead snapped. “Hand it over!”

“No, I’m sorry,” Raelin said more slowly and loudly enough that the people around them started muttering. “I can’t do that.”

Sinead grabbed the upper edge of the portfolio at the same time that two of her friends grabbed Raelin. One caught her arm while the second fisted her hand in Raelin’s hair. The other three glared at the Guards as if to forbid them from interfering.

Raelin shouted in pain as tears sprang up in her eyes. Sinead tried to pull the portfolio away from Raelin but she hung on until the one with a grip on her hair wrenched Raelin’s head so hard that she couldn’t hang on anymore. When Sinead finally wrestled the portfolio out of Raelin’s arms, Raelin screamed.

“Stop it!” Raelin screamed while twisting her body so that she could kick the girl holding her hair in the knee. “Give that back!”
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Free Fiction Friday: Sound of Obedience

Have a blast from the past on this one. Sound of Obedience was one of the first stories I put up. I’m still very happy with it so I figured I’d share it this week. I really have to get back to this verse and write more stories…

Sound of Obedience Ebook Cover 07
Description:

A generation ago America passed a law allowing a bankrupt person’s debts to be bought by rich Masters. The debt slaves then belonged to their Masters for the duration of the debt. Cain, a debt slave with the soul of a Master, was bought by the Master of Tucker Industries, Dave.

In each other they found what they had always been looking for. Cain found the perfect submissive while Dave found the perfect Master. Their private relationship has to remain their secret, requiring them to reverse the natural roles while in public.

That’s difficult enough but when the mysterious terrorist Black attacks a party they’re attending, Cain is injured and Dave has to protect his lover and secret Master. The party and its aftermath test their relationship, their acting abilities and their lives. Has Cain trained his lover and Master to play his public role well enough that they can both survive?

Sound of Obedience

By Meyari McFarland

1. Obedience

“Quiet,” Cain said as he put his work out of his mind, abandoning the numbers and math of his accounting job to focus on Dave.

It wasn’t easy to set aside the role he had to play outside of Dave’s bedroom. If his family’s debts hadn’t been so high, Cain would never have become a debt slave.

The requirement to be servile and obedient grated against his more dominant nature, just as Dave’s more submissive personality ill-suited his position as Master of Tucker Industries. Neither of them was comfortable in the roles society demanded of them.

Not that any of that mattered once they were alone. Here they were both free to be exactly who they truly were. Cain smiled, allowing a long slow breath to slide through his nostrils as he listened to Dave behind him.

The faint creak and slither of rope painted pictures of Dave flexing as he tested the knots tied around his body. Dave’s breath puffed, rapid and shaky with combined excitement and nervousness. This wasn’t a game they played all that often. Nervousness was to be expected, if not acknowledged in his role as Dave’s secret Master.
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Worldbuilding Wednesday #70: Promotion, sort of

Welcome back to another Worldbuilding Wednesday!

I’ll probably have more thoughts about publishing next week or the week after. I’m looking at setting up a Patreon account (see yesterday’s post and comment if you have opinions, please) but I want to get a better understanding of that before I say anything other than ‘hey, this looks kind of interesting’. Which, hey, Patreon looks kind of promising for authors and artists looking to make a living from their art.

Advertising is hard. Promotion is hard. I don’t understand enough of it to really have a great opinion to offer you right now. But I can share my thoughts so far, under the cut. Personal opinions below, subject to change at any moment!
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Patreon Thoughts

Okay, I haven’t mentioned on here but I’m thinking of creating a Patreon for my writing. Because it looks like a pretty good way of going from just scraping by to actually making it with your art.

Now, I know myself well enough that I know I can’t say ‘this Patreon is strictly for this one ‘verse!’ My brain doesn’t work that way. I need to dance between ‘verses or I stop writing.

So.

Given that, this is the plan that I’d like feedback on.

Post something every Tuesday and Thursday (since I already have Mon, Wed & Fri filled on my WP site).

Tuesday will be a new chapter, fresh off the keyboard, of a book / novella. Maybe a short story but probably a book or novella.

Thursday will be background worldbuilding data, character sketches of that book, side stories or odd bits of text that don’t fit in the novel, plans for the future for the whole ‘verse, thoughts on the process for developing that story. Basically, cool random stuff I never get to share because people want the story, not all the stuff I create to write the story.

Saturday/Sunday, maybe 1-2 x month, I’d post a special post. Say… put up an ARC of the book once it’s finished so people can read and review. Or maybe do little videos / book trailers. Podfics of me reading passages of the book aloud? And of course, I could put up my sketches of characters, places, etc from the current book. Or maybe future books.

I figure that way people who subscribe would get regular value for their donation, which matters to me. I hate asking for money anyway so if I do this I want to make it worth people’s while.

Opinions? Feedback?

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Novel Monday: Repair and Rebuild Chapter 5

POD Repair and Rebuild Ebook Cover 05

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Rebuilding the future that was nearly lost.

When the Tourmaline Seas limped back into port, everyone in Raelin’s family was stunned that she’d made it. She’d lost a mast and had so many holes in the hull that it was only with the Goddesses’ blessings that her crew and cargo had survived. More than anything, Raelin wanted to see her back on the seas, blue Dana sails snapping in the wind as her crew sailed around the world. To her shock, Raelin got to observe Mistress Chie, owner of Sunrise Shipyard, as she rebuilt the Tourmaline Seas.

Raelin’s joy in repairing the Tourmaline darkened as the Delbhana plotted to steal the Tourmaline away. When that didn’t work the Delbhana struck straight at the heart of the Dana Clan, trying to steal all the children, Raelin included. If she failed, Raelin knew that she might never see her family and home again.

Repair and Rebuild is a fantastic coming of age story set in the Matriarchal world of Muirin.

Chapter Five: Rebuild

“She almost looks like a ship again!” Raelin exclaimed as the final few boards were hammered into place.

Her breath puffed in the air. It had gotten much colder over the last week or so, the weather promising snow that it hadn’t yet delivered. Raelin was glad. She wanted them to get as much done on the Tourmaline as possible before the winter weather closed in and made it hard to work. Mistress Chie had already said that they’d have a hard time with the glue and caulking once the temperature dropped too low. Cold and snow would slow their work dramatically.

“We’re getting closer,” Mistress Chie chuckled. “There are still the decks to install and the masts but the hull is getting there.”

One full month, forty days, after the Tourmaline had been brought into dry dock, they were finally getting to the point where she looked like a ship again. It made Raelin so happy that she didn’t mind running around constantly to carry Mistress Chie’s messages.

She was running farther now than she had in the beginning. Mistress Chie had her running to suppliers, to bring payments to the bank and to carry records both home and to the city court. The Delbhana had insisted on reports on what had happened to the Tourmaline Seas after their ship never made it to port.

“Damn meddling bitches,” Mistress Chie grumbled as she slapped the portfolio filled with the required reports shut. “I’ve told them before that they need stronger ships. Not my fault that they’re getting an object lesson on that.”

“Um, should I be the one to carry the report?” Raelin asked nervously when Mistress Chie shoved it into her hands. It was as wide as her forearm and as tall as her whole torso from chin to waist, plus being too thick for her hands to hold it easily. “I mean, it is the Delbhana requesting it and I’m Dana. They might try to say that I messed with the reports.”
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