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  2. It's back to being a snow globe outside. Very pretty, but... ugh.
  3. droughtquake

    Keeping Vigil

    There was only the tiniest bit of fear that Cosmo wouldn't survive. You don't write those kinds of stories. You're not even remotely George RR Martin! ;–) I hate the long wait for word after surgery. There's nothing that you can do while you wait. You have to rely on the medical staff to inform you. Nothing you do will speed up the process.
  4. This is a subject I have dealt with nearly daily for the past two years. I am not trying to normalize anything, i am merely showing ine culture's solution to a problem many have. Personally, I find it sad that Sarah took the path she did. What you do not see here is the hours of agonizing over her decision, the thought I put into her situation, the steps that the medical professionals put in place to help her. It is a shame I was unable to show all that in the story, but a story is a finite thing, and I am not necessarily able to show everything that happens.
  5. You'll get at least two reactions off me, if not comments on both the prologue and chapter one.
  6. MCVT

    Two First Sonnets

    Sailor's Lament, deftly done. Thank you for these. v
  7. I promise at least two reactions for me if not a comment
  8. I'm with @Carlos Hazday in not liking most POV jumps very much. In fact, the stories I tend to enjoy best tend to have a consistent point of view throughout. Though I have enjoyed stories and novels that shifted POV, such shifts can be jarring, if not handled deftly. I seem to be in the minority where fanfic and gay stories are concerned in having something of a preference for the omniscient third person. My favorite authors generally use it, and it is very effective. You don't have to exploit it to the fullest for it to be useful. I can recommend the works of the sf writers, Lois McMaster Bujold, C. J. Cherryh, and Connie Willis, in this regard as being particularly deft, both at shifting points of view and at knowing how much to exploit (and when to refrain from exploiting) their narratorial omniscience. (These women are not writers of gay fiction, particularly, though they have gracefully handled gay and bisexual characters in their works, especially Cherryh, who recently married her longtime companion Jane. The other two are simply unprejudiced heterosexuals, so far as I know.) I was originally attracted to the sf writer David Weber because I was browsing in one of his early novels and encountered an extended passage about an admiral, in which, after several paragraphs, the pronoun "she" finally popped up. I enjoyed having my prejudiced thinking blown up so much, that I instantly became a fan. His works have many flaws, but an inability to pass the Bechdel test is not one of them. I also find myself in agreement with @Carlos Hazday that writers should write what they need to write, and it's up to the readers to accept or reject it, on their own terms. The reader's reasons for reading—or for not reading—don't have to match with the author's reasons for writing. For myself, a gripping story tends to overcome other flaws (and I hasten to point out that Jane Austen's stories are just as gripping for me as the wildest space battle, so there!).
  9. That's escapism, and that's why a lot of people read stories. I think it's also why a lot of authors write them too. I don't think there's anything wrong with that at all if those are the stories readers and authors enjoy. I tend to want to reflect my world in my writing. In that world are many strong women with their own voices, desires, and topics of conversations that don't include men. Representing them is my conscious choice, and I've committed to better representing my particular slice of human experience in my writing. I'm not doing it to be PC. I'm doing it because it's one step closer to my lived experience - and I want to write with that same realism.
  10. Keeping Vigil Part Two It's like I've said before, knowing it could or would happen and having it happen were separate things. Alec and Mercer were standing next to us. Alec was so close I could the voice coming through his earbud, but not enough to make what was said. I wanted to go help Cosmo. He had been stabbed and it looked bad. That was all we had been told. I tried to take comfort in the Mikell didn't say Cosmo was killed. I looked at Yuri who was looking...well...blank. He had no expression good or bad. I couldn't deal with that now. My every move now was being directed. The need to see Cosmo was almost overwhelming. Not being where I knew what happened and see what was going on was very uncomfortable. I didn't have any control. I saw Pano and Barry looking worried. They were uninjured and so were his many customers. Guilt came to me as I realized Peter and I had brought these men to them. No, we didn't bring them, but we were the reason they came. I caught Barry's eye and he and Pano walked over. “We're so sorry,” Peter said. I nodded and added, “We tried to cover our tracks...” Pano looked confused and held his large hand up, “Whoa, whoa, guys...” Barry shook his head, “You didn't do this,” he jutted his head toward the door and outside, “those three did.” I nodded, “Because of us.” "We think they are part of a band of pirates that are trying to kidnap one of us or kill us," Peter explained. “So?” Pano asked. “We don't care who or why, but you are unharmed.” “You or your customers could have gotten hurt,” I explained our concern. “But that didn't happen,” Barry pointed out. “They were going to attack you for money?” Edger came over and had heard what was said. “Whether it was about money or cause against you two being homosexuals doesn't matter. Steps were taken to ensure your safety.” I wondered how everyone knew what to do, “Steps? Who arranged that?” “Mikell,” Pano said smiling. “He called a few times to set that up.” He turned and looked at his customers. “They helped.” Peter shook his head, “Why?” A man I had seen the other two times rose from his stool, “You represent us.” or the other Another man near him nodded, “You represent all of us.” Pano chuckled, “You need to check your webpage again.” He put his arm around Barry. “There are over two million that have signed to say you're their representatives.” He waved at his bar. “These are just a few of your willing subjects.” He smiled. “Who else has stood up proudly in front of the whole world?” “Things aren't always good even in Greece,” Edger said quietly sad. “We have always been more liberal, but there are groups that don't approve.” He gave a grudging nod. “They are starting up again, but most of Greece doesn't approve of them, so they're losing for now. Most people don't care one way or the other.” We were in a bar with some loud music, but the sound of sirens could be heard. This had taken place in a matter of a very few minutes. My thoughts went to Cosmo. I turned to Mercea. “Is Cosmo alive or dead?” Mercea didn't know what to say. I saw Rolph come in followed by two police officers and I rushed to him and hugged him hard. I pushed him back a little. “Thank God you're alright!” I said. Peter had followed me and he hugged Rolph, “How's Cosmo?” Rolph nodded, “He was alive when they took him in the ambulance.” He looked at Alec and Mercea. "Mikell went with him. He got into an altercation with the bald one. The bald one pulled out a knife." He held his hands a good eight to ten inches apart. "It was bigger than one you see hunters use.” One of the officers was female. She was a pretty woman even in uniform. She was schooling her emotions, but there was a little excitement. The other was a man that...well...I'm sure somebody loved him. I don't think anybody is truly ugly, they just didn't know how to take care of themselves. She was in her twenties and he was in his mid forties. “What happened?” Peter asked. “Those three men left Big.” “What was said we don't know, Your Highness,” the male officer said in a heavier accented English more than Edger. It was clear this man knew English but didn't use it very much. "The witnesses tell that the man who attacked your agent. No one knows why yet. Your agent was stabbed in the...” he lowered his hand, “the stomach? But lower than the stomach.” “Gut?” I provided. “Den xéro ti légetai sta angliká. Eínai?” He asked the three Greeks with us. Pano smiled with a nod, "It is." Pano looked at us. "He asked if that was the word.” I shrugged, “There are many. You've seen assaults before.” I said to the officer. “Will he recover?” The man nodded, but not convincingly, “He was stabbed deeply. I don't believe it pierced any vital organs, but I'm not a doctor.” Rolph nodded, “There was a lot of blood.” I frowned, “A stab there kills if not treated.” I was speaking English to be proper, “Exsanguination is the reason.” I saw blank faces. “They bleed to death.” Then, if this weren't so serious, the reaction I got a half a dozen nods of understanding all saying "Ooh." "The man that attacked your agent was killed by this man, Your Highness." The female cop said jutting her head at Rolph. “He was going to kill Cosmo!" Rolph explained but getting a little upset. "I didn't have a choice." Yuri stepped up and he put his arm around Rolph's shoulder. “Of course, you didn't have a choice. I wasn't there, but you aren't a killer, Rolph.” He put his forehead against Rolph's. “You're a savior. You were trying to save a friend. You didn't have a choice.” He looked at the two police officers. “Do you need him for a statement?” The male officer gave a nod of sorts, "The papers you have from our government gives you..." he searched his mind for the word. "We can't charge you." I hadn't known this. “Diplomatic Immunity?” The male officer brightened nodding, "Yes! That's it." He became a more appealing human male. “But we aren't diplomats,” Peter said. "And neither are they," I added “And the man killed wasn't a citizen of Greece,” the female officer said. "As of now," the male officer added, "He is an unknown. I seriously doubt he was a citizen of Greece. He carried no identification and he had no wallet. Our government is not pursuing charges for wrongful death. The weapon was...discharged," he said that word like a question but went on. "By a man that is legally authorized to. That is his job.” “If the death had been more questionable,” the female officer said, “we would keep your agent for questioning.” “We had intended to leave this morning,” Yuri said. “Because of who you are with,” the male said. “That's understood.” “Damn,” I said. “I was sort of hoping we would have to.” I looked at Boris. “We could stay with Cosmo.” “He's going to get the best care,” The female officer assured me. “We'll be short by two agents,” Yuri said more to himself. “But we are going to Venice to go back to Makarovia.” “We can't just leave Cosmo alone!” Peter blurted. Yuri nodded and raised a hand to stop Peter and to calm down. “He won't be left alone, Peter,” He said quietly. “Mikell will stay until,” he hesitated, "one or the other thing happens. I hope Mikell has to stay here while Cosmo recovers. When he recovers enough he and Mikell will be flown back to Makarovia.” “We can't see him?” Peter asked softly. Alec looked at us, "Mikell says they're getting him ready for surgery to stop his bleeding inside and out." He patted his abdomen. “Then he will go to recovery and then a private room. Cosmo won't be coherent for a while.” “You two need to taken back to the Duchess,” Yuri stated he turned to Alec. “Is the transport here?” To which Alec nodded and waved at the back door. I turned to Pano and Barry, “We would like come back.” “Any time,” Pano said smiling as he hugged me. Barry nodded in agreement, “You two are members.” He hugged us. I grinned at Edger, "I enjoyed meeting you and hope to see you again." Peter chuckled, "We'll just have to work something else out about how we come and go from Big's." He pointed a finger at them. "We leave Makarovia at the end of August. A visit from you three will be welcome there." “Just let us know when and we'll make the arrangements," I said and shrugged. "The new airport is now working," I said to Peter who merely nodded. "Or a train. Come see us to the United States," Peter said. "We have another two years at Northeastern." "We will be school," I said. "So try to come to the first of the semester. We have mid-terms and then finals at the end. You three will always be welcome." “This situation didn't spoil your feeling about Greece?” Edger asked. "Absolutely not!" Peter said quickly. “Because of how Greece has responded to this and the other situations,” I said. “And how everyone here reacted, I'm loving Greece even more!” Yuri leaned closer to Peter and me, “I hate to break this up,” Yuri quietly. “They shouldn't try again tonight. If they were part of the team of pirates by that woman or another group, the police here will discourage them.” We were very confident they were from her. Those pirates from Somalia was certain as they said they spoke Somali. Arabic, too. Peter and I gave the others in Big's our thanks and good-byes. There were only seven going now. The vehicle would have carried all of us. We rode back quickly. We boarded the Duchess and Gretchen frowned. “What happened?” She asked all of us. “We heard sirens telling us something was wrong. That was you.” "Yes," Peter replied. "Cosmo was stabbed and Mikell is with him at the hospital.” Gretchen's reaction one of where she listened, nodding as she understood. "He went to the hospital. That means he's still alive.” “Yes,” I said. “And we hope he stays that way. He was pretty badly hurt.” Gretchen nodded her understanding. “Just let the Captain know of any change of plans.” Rolph was dealing with what he had to do. Nearly every person would have a reaction killing someone; even a bad guy. The hardest criminals may not have much of a reaction; even the pleasure of killing is a reaction. The scary feeling the first time releases endorphins in the brain is like a drug. That's why it was so important that a child that is cruel to animals and killing them needs psychiatric therapy before it escalates further. I was happy to see Yuri dealing with Rolph like he was doing. I would listen if he needed to talk about it, but Yuri had the knowledge experience to share with Rolph. I had known death and critical illnesses. I also knew needless death done by stupidity. I never killed anyone; be it the right reason or wrong reason. It was very quiet on the Duchess. Yet no one went to bed. We just sat in the living area of the Duchess: waiting. It was lighter on the horizon. Even Mercea, the endless bundle of energy sat very quietly. No one read anything or instigated a game of cards. Henri came over to us Peter's coffee, my coffee, one for Yuri, Boris, Alec, Rolph, and Mercea. "Nothing yet," Henri said. Our demeanor and general gloom told him what hadn't happened. It was after nine in the morning when Yuri's phone rang. Everyone looked at Yuri anxiously. It was agonizingly slow as Yuri listened to the call. "Hold on, Mikell," he said into the phone and he looked up. "Cosmo is in recovery. Mikell said the doctors managed to stop the bleeding." He nodded as Mikell heard the report he gave. "He said Cosmo is being watched for an hour or so, if he doesn't start bleeding again, he's going to a step-down unit?" Yuri looked puzzled and then was nodding and said to Mikell annoyed, "Yes, I gathered what that was." Everyone let out a sigh of relief. There was always a chance that relief could be too soon. He could still have potential problems and he could still die, but less likely due to since he had surgery. There were still dangers of bleeding again and Sepsis. Sepsis was a kind of blood poisoning. It came the body's attempt to combat an infection that came after surgery. It happened often and especially to someone with where Cosmo was stabbed in the abdomen. ou some “Which Hospital is it?” Yuri asked nodding as he was handed a pen and note pad by Boris. "I'm sending you some clothes and grooming supplies by courier. Hospitals never have good shampoo, I'll send you some. You have the card, use that for a hotel near the hospital.” He looked up from writing on the pad, “I expect a phone text or call everyday, understood? The Duchess will be leaving in the next few hours to go back to Venice.” I didn't like those one-sided conversations you overheard when someone was on the phone. The call ended and Yuri looked up as many eyes looked at him. “He is at the Evaggelismos General Hospital. He'll stay there until he recovers enough to be transferred to a medical facility in Makarovia where he can recover further." “We can't see him?” I asked. Yuri frowned, "It would be ill-advised. The only one that can visit for now is Mikell. He has the paperwork. You aren't family..." Peter was about to object. I could see it. Again, Yuri held a hand up to stop Peter. Yuri knew Peter enough to see it, too. "I know you may think otherwise, and you could probably get them to let you see him." "He does need to rest to recover," I said. "Sending flowers and cards will show him how we feel. It will have to be enough," I pulled my phone out. "I have an idea." Sending a text to who I texting was better than a call. Who knew if they were up yet. Peter looked at me smiling, “What's the idea?” I shrugged, “I was going to ask Pano or Barry if they knew where they could get a Kindle; get it activated so Cosmo will have something to read. He will have that massive library of things to read.” Mercea looked puzzled, “If he gets one from here...what language will it be? Greek?” I shook my head, "He can change the language he wants." I sighed stopping my two-thumb typing. "It's just a shame he can't choose Makarovian." Then I realized something. "You had textbooks in school, right?" Alec nodded with a smile, “Of course.” Mercea nodded, too. “They were sometimes old and discarded by other schools." He bounced a little. "When you begin school in Makarovia, you're taught English. I had a few textbooks from the United States, Canada, and England. You are taught that even if they are all in English, but spelling is different. Such as the word favorite. F. A. V, O, R. I. T. E. In England they put a U between the O and the R. They spell the word color differently, too.” Alec agreed with Mercea, “That's why most everyone in Makarovia can speak English so well.” “Our classes are taught in both languages,” Alec explained. “It's really so we can read the textbooks.” It made sense. Every adult in Makarovia spoke English well. When we showed Drew and Wayne the underground at Christmas, the children only spoke Makarovian. Their parents spoke both. "So," I thought aloud, "aren't you taught Russian? The Soviets' Communist Government fell apart in the early nineties.” Alec nodded, "My grandmother and grandfather were taught Russian, but after nineteen ninety-one the schools stopped doing that." Boris chuckled, "They weren't that well-liked." I nodded, "I have another goal now," I said resuming my two-thumb typing, "I know computers have programs to do this. I want modern, up-to-date textbooks translated into Makarovian. Published books and novels should be, too.” I looked at Peter, “And why the hell did you have any trouble with English?” Peter threw his arms up helplessly, “Because if you don't use a language, you begin to lose it!” I gave a shrug and a nod, "I suppose. I hardly used my Makarovian much in the past two weeks. I speak only Makarovian conversations with you, Peter." “When you can remember which language you're using,” Peter chuckled. At the table one night I switched from English to Makarovian without knowing I had. “Did you understand me?” “I did,” Peter said. “Then we're good,” I lowered my phone after hitting “send.” Yuri came over to me, “You were right.” He admitted softly. Who doesn't like being told they were right? I looked at Yuri. "About what exactly?" “The whole thing from me keeping my distance to keep the pain away,” Yuri said. “I was doing that.” I shook my head, "You were traumatized and hurt," I said quietly. "You were protecting yourself. I can imagine myself in Cosmo's place." I smiled. "It would be depressing to think no one gave a damn. Cosmo will be told we do give a damn about him." I leaned closer to Yuri. "You've been good to Rolph.” I did a quick point at Rolph. Yuri nodded looking at Rolph, “He's fired at people before and hit one,” Yuri explained. “He's never killed before.” “But you have,” I said without the knowledge as that was true. “I have on a few occasions,” Yuri said grimly. “All in Russia. Never in the service of Makarovia.” He folded his arms over his chest. “He's in for a rough few days. Our guards did in Boston, but those were random unknowns.” I hugged him again, “I knew that in that chest beat a heart of gold.”
  11. Will Hawkins

    The Day After

    The hardest person in the world to come out to is yourself. It is harder than your mother, your father or any member of your family.
  12. I'm thinking of turning chapter one into a prologue. Any objections to having two chapters go live at the same time? Seems the first one in every double post always gets fewer reactions/comments. Feels like I'm taking a pay cut after doing double the amount of work.
  13. Including any character in any form simply to satisfy a sense of correctness is in my view wrong. We're writing fiction. If readers like to escape reality by reading something with an all-male cast, well that's their right to do so. Not something I'd do but as I said during a discussion about new year resolutions for authors, I object to anyone even suggesting I include something because it's supposedly the right thing to do.
  14. Today
  15. Not yet. But ... that's an easy edit. 😄
  16. Most of my stories have a varied cast, including plenty of women, but I'm not sure how they stack up to this test. I dislike stories where every male is or turns gay, so I have plenty of straight people in them. @BigBen has a valid point concerning POV. In both first and third person, the majority of my stories are told from one character's view. I've come to dislike POV jumps within chapters. That means the MC's present in every scene these days. The POV switches between chapters in the one I'm currently writing, but both MCs are men, married to each other, and appear together in every scene. I did write one story from a six-year-old girl's POV, but the other two females in the cast were dolphins.
  17. Are there any scenes in Ash and Ember where the two women discuss food or the weather? ;–)
  18. Thanks for that observation. tim and I both use women in our writing when they fit, and they did. In particular, I couldn't possibly see Gail's role going to a male character.
  19. Funny you should say that Wayne, I was just thinking about how Trainwreck had three female characters that never interacted in the story (okay, one of them was a ‘fictional’ character within the story), but at least they were all named and one was very prominent. But that was less about your writing standing out as anomalous for the site than the fact that your stories pop up in my Notifications regularly. At least you had three named female characters! ;–)
  20. Kev

    DSS Chapter 12

    Shame about Lucas being ousted as i quite liked him... but still loving the story. He Quokka, iff I wrote a review it would be a little unfair as I love your work. I ave tried to write a story based around space and intergalactic but have failed dismally so far. I love the whole concept that you have created and how the characters draw you into the story. Looking forward to reading more tonight ( I know there is more out there just waiting for me). 🤗😂
  21. Hellsheild

    Chapter 80

    With all dead nothing to do but rummage through the pockets sell their boots and get a nice MLT
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