duskpeterson: An apprentice builds a boat as a man looks on. (Default)
LifePrison


"I'd heard of guards like this; they existed in prisoners' tales like beautiful princesses exist in the tales of ugly boys. I supposed that I ought to be grateful to have been assigned such a guard. . . . I didn't feel grateful."

In the unmerciful world of Mercy Prison, there is no rule but unending pain. For Merrick, the arrival of his new guard provides hope that he may break beyond the boundaries of his life prison. But appearances can be deceptive, and Merrick does not yet recognize the danger this guard poses to his future.

Merrick's guard is bound in his own special imprisonment. The meeting of these two troubled men will determine their destinies, and the destiny of their nation's life prisons.




Law Links


"Sometimes I feel that he is as mysterious as the gods, and that he is hiding something of vital importance from me. Something that would transform my life."

Few events are more thrilling in a young man's life than a blood feud between two villages. Or so Adrian thought.

Torn between affection toward his traditional-minded father and worship of his peace-loving, heretical priest, Adrian finds himself caught between two incompatible visions of his duty to the gods. Then the Jackal God sends Adrian a message that will disrupt his world and send him fleeing to a new and perilous life.




Checkmate


"It's all about torture. That's what I didn't understand for a long time. The High Seeker has been seeking out and punishing those of us who wish to show greater mercy to the prisoners than the Code allows. Those of us who question whether it's right to torture prisoners."

The Eternal Dungeon is no longer a prison. It's a battlefield.

Split apart from their closest loves and friends, a small group of prison-workers seek to abolish the use of torture against prisoners in the queendom's royal dungeon. Time is running out, for the deadly High Seeker has already flogged and executed prison-workers who oppose his policies.

Do the reformers have enough time and skill to bring about radical change in the dungeon? Will they be able to overcome their mistrust of one another?




Survival School


"This is the right place for you, boy. They'll school you here to be a right-standing man, one who can keep control over his actions, like any good man should. You just got to keep yourself open to learn and to grow."

How far can trust grow, when you're in a place you despise?

Arrested for a crime he doesn't regret, Bat ends up handcuffed to a group of fellow city boys and sent on a long journey into the countryside. He know that he is being transported to a prison for delinquent servant boys, but what form will his imprisonment take?

Tattooed with the rank-mark of servant, Bat must learn how to keep from losing his temper with the men who carry the keys to his freedom. But in the unbelievable world where he has been deposited, in which a genial master orders strict punishments and a servant acts like a master, will Bat be able to locate the door to his release? Which of his fellow prisoners can he trust to help him?

And will he survive long enough to find out?

Inspired by true events at a turn-of-the-century reform school, this novella (short novel) is set in an alternative version of the Chesapeake Bay region during the 1910s.




Spy Hill


"Fairview was the finest friend a man could have, and the finest battle-companion. I dared not risk doing anything that might break our friendship."

On a hot summer's day, on a high hill surrounded by the enemy, the best battle-companion can turn out to be the truth.

Rook and Fairview have worked alongside each other for years, first as officers in the navy, then as officers on a steamship, and finally as colonels in an invading army. Members of a nation where tiny differences in rank are considered all-important, the two men defy convention by treating each other as equals.

But now their life-long bond is about to meet its greatest strain, when they are ordered to seize and defend a hill whose landscape is unknown, in the company of soldiers who may be incompetent or treacherous. Will Rook and Fairview's friendship remain by the end of the battle? Or will their lives take an unexpected detour as they struggle to survive on Spy Hill?

duskpeterson: An apprentice builds a boat as a man looks on. (Default)
First, a curse on all incompetent blurb-writers; this is the second time in a month that I've encountered a blurb that gives away virtually the entire plot. Fortunately, I know better than to read the blurbs of books I'm guaranteed to read.

I first encountered Mary Stewart's novels on my mother's bookshelf when I was thirteen. Mary Stewart's Merlin novel The Crystal Cave is my favorite (and by "favorite" I mean one of my top five favorite novels), but her romantic suspense novels aren't far behind. I reread them every few years.

The Wind off the Small Isles is a 1968 novella that was "long-lost," which I assume means that someone eventually got around to tracking down Mary Stewart's published short fiction. The novella is romantic suspense, but - unlike most of her novels - it isn't crime fiction, which helps to shorten the storyline.

What suffers most from the shorter length, I think, is the romance. Even though Mary Stewart drops an appropriate foreshadow of love at first sight, it's rather difficult to see what draws the hero and heroine together, other than good looks and an ability to survive the travails of a volcanic island. Character development suffers especially. All that I gathered about the hero is that - like all Mary Stewart heroes - he is charming, handsome, intelligent, affectionate, and alarmingly competent in crises. All that I gathered about the heroine is that - like all Mary Stewart heroines - she is charming, beautiful, intelligent, affectionate, and alarmingly competent in crises. Clearly, the two are well-matched for each other, but there never seems to be any doubt about that. In a word, there is no conflict, which makes for a rather dull love story. The suspense is exciting, however, which helps to make up for it.

Where the novella shines is where Mary Stewart's stories always shine: in the combination of landscape and history. I always want to grab a map and encyclopedia after reading her novels, because she makes the setting as exciting as the characters. In this case, the setting is one of the Canary Islands, and the fun is in trying to predict exactly what aspect of the island is going to end up getting the heroine into trouble. In the meantime, the description of the island is lush, the minor characters are interesting in their own right, and the history is vibrant. This story made for a delightful lunchtime reading.
duskpeterson: An apprentice builds a boat as a man looks on. (Default)
"Brain: Look at this plot twist I just came up with! It's so great!

"Me: It's unsolvable.

"Brain: That's what makes it GREAT!

"Me: You do realize that, as the author, I have to solve it?

"Brain: SO GREAT!"

--Stephanie Leary.


What I've been up to )
duskpeterson: (bookshelves)


THIS MONTH'S THEME: Middle East & North Africa

A number of my characters come from societies that are partially based on societies in the Middle East and North Africa.

The Koretians and Daxions of the Three Lands series are descended from a desert people who are based loosely upon the Bedouin. (Very loosely. When I started the series at age sixteen, I had a vague sense of the Koretians being connected with desert life; the rest I gradually pieced together as time went on.) Although the people of Koretia and Daxis have lost most of their desert customs over the centuries, their cultures remain strongly based on kinship; in Koretia, this often takes the form of men vowing to be blood brothers. In addition, the traditional Koretian system of justice is based partially on honor codes. By the time that the Three Lands series begins, the Koretian justice system has been tainted by such practices as blood feuds.

An early test cover for an installment of Breached Boundaries:

*

Southern Vovimians appear in several parts of the Turn-of-the-Century Toughs cycle: Transformation 3: A Prisoner Has Need (The Eternal Dungeon), Sweet Blood 4: Checkmate (The Eternal Dungeon), Whipster (Michael's House), Mercy's Prisoner (Life Prison), and Hell's Messenger (Life Prison). Southern Vovim is what we would call a pan-African settlement in the New World, but its original founders were from the Toughs world's equivalent of the Kingdom of Kush in what is now Sudan (and also Egypt, during the century in which Kushites were pharoahs). More can be learned about the Kushites in the Wikipedia article on Meroë. (Again, it took me time to figure out this connection.)

Turning back the Toughs cycle: In ancient times, when these people settled in what would become the southern-most province of Vovim in the New World, they brought with them a tradition of creating textiles, jewelry, and works of gold, which would help to make Vovim the most arts-oriented country of the Midcoast nations. Unfortunately, the southern Vovimians' native tradition of iron-working died out, with the result that neighboring Yclau would later pioneer the Industrial Revolution, rather than Vovim. However, southern Vovimians are one of the two "tribes" that helped to form Vovim, the largest country in the Midcoast nations. Among the Midcoast nations, Vovim is rivalled only by Mip (which Vovim helped to found) for its multicultural splendor.

Cover for Whipster, showing a much later resident of southern Vovim, whose ancestors came from further south in the Old World:

*


*

I'VE SET MY MULTIFORMAT E-BOOKS FREE

Enjoy and enjoy. My e-books at other bookstores are available free too, except at Amazon, where they're 99c.
 

*

NOW AVAILABLE FREE IN MULTIFORMAT: Law Links (The Three Lands)

Few events are more thrilling in a young man's life than a blood feud between two villages. Or so Adrian thought.

Torn between affection toward his traditional-minded father and worship of his peace-loving, heretical priest, Adrian finds himself caught between two incompatible visions of his duty to the gods. Then the Jackal God sends Adrian a message that will disrupt his world and send him fleeing to a new and perilous life.

This novel on a young man's encounters with soldiers and spies can be read on its own or as part of The Three Lands, a diverse fantasy series on friendship, romantic friendship, romance, and betrayal in times of war and peace. The series is inspired by conflicts between nations during the Roman Empire and the Dark Ages.

Available as a free multiformat e-book or as a 99c Kindle e-book: Law Links (The Three Lands).
 

*

NEW ONLINE FICTION: The Eternal Dungeon, The Three Lands, and Life Prison

Information about my online fiction. Click on the titles for the full blurbs, tags, and stories.
 

Ma'am (The Eternal Dungeon). The guards who serve under her are mocking her. In other words, it's an ordinary workday.

Wildfire (The Three Lands). He was a loyal servant of the god. But even loyal servants have their limits.

Shifts (The Eternal Dungeon). Midwinter's god is as cold as cruelty and as warm as a loving heart.

Adversaries (The Three Lands: Breached Boundaries #1). When an endangered slave visits an imprisoned spy, she discovers that she has more options in life than she had thought.

Open-Soul Surgery (The Eternal Dungeon). He expected death. What arrived was worse.

Emancipation (Life Prison). Civil war is tearing apart the land. Again. . . . "Emancipation" is loosely inspired by events at a border-state manor during and after the American Civil War. This is a special Juneteenth holiday gift story for my readers.


*

REISSUED ONLINE FICTION: Leather in Lawnville, The Eternal Dungeon, Young Toughs, The Three Lands, and Life Prison

Information about my online fiction. Click on the titles for the full blurbs, tags, and stories.
 

Leatherdar (Leather in Lawnville). The narrator goes on the hunt at a college ballroom dance.

Prison Food and Fondness (The Eternal Dungeon). "All she needed to gather were the ingredients for the meal. This she tried to explain on one summer morning, standing by the outer dungeon's exit while confronting two guards who had their daggers pointed at her."

Far Enough Away (Young Toughs). He knew he wasn't normal. Now he must save others who have been left behind.

Pinned (Leather in Lawnville). A rude top and an interfering family member prove to be an explosive combination at the Eagle bar.

In Hot Water (The Eternal Dungeon). They are two of the most talented prison-workers in the world. It's a pity their skills don't extend to dishwashing.

On Guard (The Eternal Dungeon). A bloody knife from a crime scene becomes a mystery to be solved and a foreshadow of trouble to come.

The Whipping Post (The Eternal Dungeon). Ten minutes left to contemplate what lies ahead, before the end begins.

Bonds (The Eternal Dungeon: Sweet Blood #1). A prisoner meeting his fate. A torturer meeting his demons. And between them, a man whose bonds are on the point of shattering.

Green Ruin (The Eternal Dungeon). Three guards and a mysterious substance provide a temptation too great to be missed . . . especially when two torturers add their skills to the mix.

New-Fashioned (The Eternal Dungeon). The Eternal Dungeon's youngest torturer has a special talent. He's about to discover what it is, at the worst of moments.

Searching (The Eternal Dungeon: Sweet Blood #2). Walking into a trap may be the only way to create one.

Bard of Pain (The Three Lands). In the battle-weary lands of the Great Peninsula, only one fate is worse than being taken prisoner by the Lieutenant: being taken prisoner if you are the Lieutenant. (Also available in free Braille and DAISY editions).

Split (The Eternal Dungeon: Sweet Blood #3). It was his duty to transform the prisoner's soul. But which one?

In the Silence (Life Prison). He can't speak. He can barely see. He experiences only fear and the faint whispers of something he had once known. But an intruder into his secure retreat from danger will pull him into awareness of what stands before him. What stands there is renewed danger . . . and the hope of something more.


*

CURRENT ONLINE SERIALIZATIONS: Leather in Lawnville, The Eternal Dungeon, Young Toughs, and The Three Lands

Information about my online fiction. Click on the titles for the full blurbs, tags, and stories.
 

Spy Hill (Commando). On a hot summer's day, on a high hill surrounded by the enemy, the best battle-companion can turn out to be the truth.

Survival School (Young Toughs). How far can trust grow, when you're in a place you despise?

Checkmate (The Eternal Dungeon: Sweet Blood #4). The Eternal Dungeon is no longer a prison. It's a battlefield.

Law Links (The Three Lands). Few events are more thrilling in a young man's life than a blood feud between two villages. Or so Adrian thought.



*Certificate: 2016 Rainbow Awards. This certificies that Dusk Peterson has been awarded Best LGBT Alternative Universe/Reality for Risk (Dark Light #2).

RISK IS A WINNER IN THE RAINBOW AWARDS 2016

For the fifth time, the Rainbow Awards has honored one of my e-books. Risk (Dark Light) received the following honors:
 

  • 3rd Place, Best LGBT Book.
  • Winner, Best LGBT Alternative Universe/Reality.
  • Finalist.
  • Honorable Mention.


You can read the judges' comments (with an understandable but fairly serious couple of errors in the first sentence).

In addition, you can browse through a list of my e-books that were previously honored in the Rainbow Awards on my Awards page.
 

NEW STORY TAGS

I've updated the story tags page with additional stories and with the following new or expanded tags:
 

  • adventure, suspense, and thrillers (which is basically what I write, yeah).
  • fantasy.
  • historical fantasy.
  • 1870s.
  • Middle Ages.
  • Renaissance.
  • physically disabled characters.
  • chauffeurs.
  • craftsfolk.
  • diplomats and peacemakers (expanded tag).
  • monolatrism (see definition).
  • pluriform monotheism (see definition).
  • arsonists.
  • assailants.
  • assassins, murderers, and terrorists (expanded tag).
  • traitors.
  • war criminals and aggressive seizure of foreign lands (expanded tag).
  • soldiers and former soldiers (expanded tag).
  • father & daughter.


Just do a Find search on the story tags page to find these tags.
 

OTHER ADDITIONS TO THE WEBSITE

I changed my mind; I've brought back my young adult site.

At duskpeterson.com, I've added a page listing interviews with me.
 

Words per year

2016 WORD COUNTS

I've posted my word counts for 2016. I issued fifteen new stories last year, which is a number I'm pleased by. Unfortunately, my wordage continues to be so-so: 114,186 last year, which is no better than it has been every year from 2010 onwards. Granted that I had a legitimate excuse last year (I was spending a lot of time getting ready to launch my new business), but still, I could be doing a lot better than this. Fortunately, my 2017 wordage is looking good so far.

For the first time in seven years, I've also updated the wordage charts. I use these charts to help me see work patterns I might otherwise miss noticing. One chart reveals what I never would have guessed: My words per hour keep going up.

The last chart on that page, which shows how many stories I've published and reissued each year (with the e-books mainly showing up in red) . . . Do I get some sort of award for workaholism?
 

2017 PLANS

First, a bit of crowing, for I hit a personal milestone last year, without noticing it: I've issued over one hundred stories!

I began the year by posting a lot of long works of online fiction rapidly, but because of the demands of my new day job, I've had to switch over to a chapter-a-week serialization schedule. The good news is that I'm serializing more than one story at a time.

Here's my main serialization schedule for this year. The serializations run parallel with one another, though they don't all start on the same day (as you'll already have noted, if you've been following the updates at my blog).
 


Because I've set my multiformat e-books free, you can read ahead in older stories if you like, but this will give folks who don't know about my e-books a chance to read my stories gradually. And if you like book-club-style read-alongs, you can join fellow readers in reading and discussing each chapter as it's posted.

Breached Boundaries (The Three Lands) and The Awakening (Dungeon Guards) are at the editing stage. However, those two volumes collectively add up to 320,000 words, so it will take a while to finish editing them. (I'd originally hoped to issue Breached Boundaries at a rate of one installment per month, while the later installments were being edited, which was why I posted the first installment in January. But once I finished writing the remaining sections this March, it became clear that all the sections of Breached Boundaries would need to be edited at the same time, for continuity reasons.)

A reminder that, if you want to know at any point where I am in getting a new story issued, you can check the bottom of the series pages at duskpeterson.com, where I place my progress reports. My weekly updates (including announcements not made at the online archives where I post stories) are available through my blog and my e-mail list.
 


REVIEW: Rebirth (The Eternal Dungeon)

"Thank you. Thank you for this story, for these characters, the stealing me away from a cold Winter day and giving me a hot prison to feel like home, a little cell of my own to feel safe and Layle and Elsdon to restore my faith in humanity." —Elaine White / Divine Magazine on Rebirth (The Eternal Dungeon).
 


*

FEATURED BACKLIST TITLE: Blood Vow (The Three Lands)

"I had come to tell him, in the cheerful manner boys have, that our world was about to be destroyed."

He has taken a blood vow to the Jackal God to bring freedom to his land by killing Koretia's greatest enemy. But what will he do when the enemy becomes his friend?

Thrust into exile and pain, young Andrew has no choice but to accept the friendship of the very person he had vowed to kill. When he returns with his friend to his homeland fifteen years later, though, he finds himself in a land of conflicting loyalties . . . where a vengeful god awaits him.

This novel on a young man's quest for true manhood can be read on its own or as part of The Three Lands, a fantasy series on friendship, romantic friendship, romance, and betrayal in times of war and peace. The series is inspired by conflicts between nations during the Roman Empire and the Dark Ages.

Available as a free multiformat e-book or as a 99c Kindle e-book: Blood Vow (The Three Lands).


Excerpt

Peter turned away and carefully undid the sorting I had just made of his clothes. "I fear that I have led both of us into a pitch-black cave, without bothering to bring a light with me," he said. "Let us move on to another subject. How did you spend your day? Aside from listening to insults from Lord Carle, I mean."

"I spent my day doing absolutely nothing."

Peter continued to look down at the items he was aimlessly moving from one pile to another, but a smile crept up the side of his face. "That sounds glorious. Where did you do this nothing?"

I came over beside him and took a belt out of his hands. "In the council library, to begin with; hence my embarrassing appearance at your closed meeting. I must apologize to Lord Dean tonight before he takes vengeance on the porter."

"I wouldn't bother." Peter left the sorting to my hands and sat down on the bed near me, leaning back against the wall. "I was witness to the porter's own apology, which was the most eloquent piece of poetry I've heard since I had a Daxion bard up on charges of stealing a bit of butter from the palace pantry."

"You put a bard on trial for stealing butter?"

"It's hard to believe, but the law classifies that as a major crime. Any use of the Chara's goods or money for forbidden purposes is considered a crime of disobedience – though you'll be relieved to hear that I let the bard go free. As for the porter, he has nothing to worry about; Lord Dean is fully occupied with planning this trip. Where did you go after you left the meeting?"

"Out to do more nothing. I did it under a certain tree in the garden."

Peter smiled and pulled his knees up to his chest, wrapping his interlocked hands around them as he leaned further back. "I'm glad that you found a good use for my birthday present. You've no idea the trouble I had in convincing the gardener that Emor would not crumble if he planted a Koretian tree in the palace grounds."

"Is it a Koretian tree? I didn't know."

"It turned out to be less expensive to bring a sapling over the black border mountains than to buy one of Emor's few remaining trees. I hope you won't stop using it, now that you know its barbaric origin."

I didn't bother to reply, but tossed a tunic at Peter. Laughing, he prevented it from landing in his face. "If you've spent an entire afternoon doing nothing, then you must have had a particularly terrible morning. I hope that our talk in the Map Room wasn't what drove you to seek pleasure ahead of duty."

I shook my head and knelt down to pull Peter's travel pack from beneath his bed. I knew that it was there only because I had cleaned the floor around it during my time as his slave. Over ten years had passed since it was last put to use.

As I stood up, I saw that Peter was still watching me expectantly. I said, "Lord Dean saw me in the council library before the meeting. We had a talk on marriage."

"Ah." Peter let the word drop like a heavy pebble into water. When the ripples were beginning to fade, he added, "Well, you needn't pass on to me what he said. I'm sure it's the same that was said to me at the meeting. That was what the council spent most of its time discussing: my ill-considered decision to visit a dangerous land when I have no heir. Fortunately, the lords did not insist that I beget an heir tonight, before leaving Emor."

I began to fold the tunics in the tidy manner which had never come naturally to me, but which pleased Peter. After a while, Peter said, "It seems a curious topic for Lord Dean to discuss with you. Did he say why he chose you as the messenger of his views?"

I noticed that his voice had taken on a note of quiet authority, but I ignored this and said simply, "He has asked me to mediate for him in the past."

"That isn't what I asked." He waited. When I did not reply, he said, "Andrew."

I continued to stare down at the tunics, but my hands were checked in their motions. Peter said, "Andrew, it is my duty as Chara to know what methods my council lords are using to try to influence me. Do not make me have to command you in this matter."

I stared at the items I was packing and took a moment to still my heart before saying, in the neutral voice that the Chara's clerk adopted when reporting the words of a witness, "Lord Dean said I would be able to demonstrate clearly to you the importance of fathering an heir. He also said he was sure that, like any other man, I understood the desire to raise a family."

I did not look up at Peter, but I heard him slowly let out his breath, as though he himself had taken the blow. "May he die a Slave's Death," he said. "He actually told you that?"

I did not reply. His voice dangerously low, Peter added, "High Lord or not, he can be summoned on a charge of insulting a free-man. I would request such a charge if you wished."

"No." I reached over and picked up the dagger without thought, and then placed it hastily in the pack before reaching for the tunics from the chest. Finally I said, "He probably just forgot."

"Lord Dean never forgets."

The bitterness in Peter's voice made me look up. Peter was staring into the distance as though peering at an invisible scene. "When I was four years old," he said, "Lord Dean took me to see some kinsmen of his in his hometown of Busedge. It was the first time I'd ever left the palace, and it was one of the happiest periods of my life. The High Lord let me have my way in everything; he wasn't strict with me the way my father always was. Toward the end of the visit, I confided to Lord Dean that I had once tried on the Pendant of Judgment to see what it felt like. Lord Dean promised to keep my secret – and he did, for many years. Then, one day about a year before my father died, I was talking with my father and Lord Dean – you may remember, for it was on the night when we first spoke. Suddenly, to gain a trivial point in an argument with my father, Lord Dean mentioned what I'd done. I've never forgotten the look my father gave me, and I've never trusted Lord Dean since then."

He pulled his gaze away from the past, reached to his tunic, and unclasped the emblem brooch in order to toss it to me. "You'd better pack this now. . . . It was perhaps unwise of Lord Dean to reveal his true nature so clearly to the Chara To Be. These days, if I were about to be cut down in battle and needed the help of either Lord Carle when he was being his most brutal or Lord Dean when he was being his most amiable, Lord Carle is the one I'd turn to."

"It's not a choice I'd want to make," I said, wrapping the brooch carefully in a face-cloth before packing it. "At any rate, Lord Dean does have a point in what he said to me."

"Lord Dean's points are like dagger points; they can only kill. Listen to me." Peter pulled himself forward so that he was kneeling on the bed close to me. "If I ever need advice on who to marry, it is you I will go to, not a man like Lord Dean. You know me better than anyone, better than even my father knew me, and nothing of what you are to the world changes what you are to me."

I said nothing, did not even look his way, but let my smile be my reply. . . .
 

Available as a free multiformat e-book or as a 99c Kindle e-book: Blood Vow (The Three Lands).


duskpeterson: (bookshelves)
In the Silence


"Images came, like flickers of a candle: Dark stones. Dark metal. Faint fire. A spoon in his hand, as someone urged him to eat. A stinking pit that he knew he was duty-bound to fill. A loom nearby that he vaguely remembered he had once known how to work, but which now stood as silent as the rest of his world."

He can't speak. He can barely see. He experiences only fear and the faint whispers of something he had once known.

But an intruder into his secure retreat from danger will pull him into awareness of what stands before him. What stands there is renewed danger . . . and the hope of something more.




Law Links


"Sometimes I feel that he is as mysterious as the gods, and that he is hiding something of vital importance from me. Something that would transform my life."

Few events are more thrilling in a young man's life than a blood feud between two villages. Or so Adrian thought.

Torn between affection toward his traditional-minded father and worship of his peace-loving, heretical priest, Adrian finds himself caught between two incompatible visions of his duty to the gods. Then the Jackal God sends Adrian a message that will disrupt his world and send him fleeing to a new and perilous life.




Checkmate


"It's all about torture. That's what I didn't understand for a long time. The High Seeker has been seeking out and punishing those of us who wish to show greater mercy to the prisoners than the Code allows. Those of us who question whether it's right to torture prisoners."

The Eternal Dungeon is no longer a prison. It's a battlefield.

Split apart from their closest loves and friends, a small group of prison-workers seek to abolish the use of torture against prisoners in the queendom's royal dungeon. Time is running out, for the deadly High Seeker has already flogged and executed prison-workers who oppose his policies.

Do the reformers have enough time and skill to bring about radical change in the dungeon? Will they be able to overcome their mistrust of one another?




Survival School


"This is the right place for you, boy. They'll school you here to be a right-standing man, one who can keep control over his actions, like any good man should. You just got to keep yourself open to learn and to grow."

How far can trust grow, when you're in a place you despise?

Arrested for a crime he doesn't regret, Bat ends up handcuffed to a group of fellow city boys and sent on a long journey into the countryside. He know that he is being transported to a prison for delinquent servant boys, but what form will his imprisonment take?

Tattooed with the rank-mark of servant, Bat must learn how to keep from losing his temper with the men who carry the keys to his freedom. But in the unbelievable world where he has been deposited, in which a genial master orders strict punishments and a servant acts like a master, will Bat be able to locate the door to his release? Which of his fellow prisoners can he trust to help him?

And will he survive long enough to find out?

Inspired by true events at a turn-of-the-century reform school, this novella (short novel) is set in an alternative version of the Chesapeake Bay region during the 1910s.




Spy Hill


"Fairview was the finest friend a man could have, and the finest battle-companion. I dared not risk doing anything that might break our friendship."

On a hot summer's day, on a high hill surrounded by the enemy, the best battle-companion can turn out to be the truth.

Rook and Fairview have worked alongside each other for years, first as officers in the navy, then as officers on a steamship, and finally as colonels in an invading army. Members of a nation where tiny differences in rank are considered all-important, the two men defy convention by treating each other as equals.

But now their life-long bond is about to meet its greatest strain, when they are ordered to seize and defend a hill whose landscape is unknown, in the company of soldiers who may be incompetent or treacherous. Will Rook and Fairview's friendship remain by the end of the battle? Or will their lives take an unexpected detour as they struggle to survive on Spy Hill?

duskpeterson: (bookshelves)
Emancipation


"They always held their breaths when the soldiers passed by, but so far, no battles had been held anywhere near Doughoregan Manor or any of its quarters. And sometimes a posse set out with the hounds, to hunt down the quarry."

Civil war is tearing apart the land. Again.

For centuries, the Kingdom Vovim to the northwest and the Queendom of Yclau to the southeast have fought each other for the border territory of Mip. Sometimes the Vovimians are lords of the land. Sometimes the people of Yclau are.

The only Mippites whose lives don't change are the slaves. Young Sling knows that his own life's work has already been determined: he is to be a house slave, serving his master's son. But secret meetings in hidden places with his master's son make Sling uncertain of what will happen next.

When news arrives of a proclamation that will allow Sling to leave his hated master, Sling faces a difficult choice: whether to flee to safety or to stay and face the dangers of an unknown future.

"Emancipation" is loosely inspired by events at a border-state manor during and after the American Civil War. This is a Juneteenth holiday gift story for my readers.




Law Links


"Sometimes I feel that he is as mysterious as the gods, and that he is hiding something of vital importance from me. Something that would transform my life."

Few events are more thrilling in a young man's life than a blood feud between two villages. Or so Adrian thought.

Torn between affection toward his traditional-minded father and worship of his peace-loving, heretical priest, Adrian finds himself caught between two incompatible visions of his duty to the gods. Then the Jackal God sends Adrian a message that will disrupt his world and send him fleeing to a new and perilous life.




Checkmate


"It's all about torture. That's what I didn't understand for a long time. The High Seeker has been seeking out and punishing those of us who wish to show greater mercy to the prisoners than the Code allows. Those of us who question whether it's right to torture prisoners."

The Eternal Dungeon is no longer a prison. It's a battlefield.

Split apart from their closest loves and friends, a small group of prison-workers seek to abolish the use of torture against prisoners in the queendom's royal dungeon. Time is running out, for the deadly High Seeker has already flogged and executed prison-workers who oppose his policies.

Do the reformers have enough time and skill to bring about radical change in the dungeon? Will they be able to overcome their mistrust of one another?




Survival School


"This is the right place for you, boy. They'll school you here to be a right-standing man, one who can keep control over his actions, like any good man should. You just got to keep yourself open to learn and to grow."

How far can trust grow, when you're in a place you despise?

Arrested for a crime he doesn't regret, Bat ends up handcuffed to a group of fellow city boys and sent on a long journey into the countryside. He know that he is being transported to a prison for delinquent servant boys, but what form will his imprisonment take?

Tattooed with the rank-mark of servant, Bat must learn how to keep from losing his temper with the men who carry the keys to his freedom. But in the unbelievable world where he has been deposited, in which a genial master orders strict punishments and a servant acts like a master, will Bat be able to locate the door to his release? Which of his fellow prisoners can he trust to help him?

And will he survive long enough to find out?

Inspired by true events at a turn-of-the-century reform school, this novella (short novel) is set in an alternative version of the Chesapeake Bay region during the 1910s.




Spy Hill


"Fairview was the finest friend a man could have, and the finest battle-companion. I dared not risk doing anything that might break our friendship."

On a hot summer's day, on a high hill surrounded by the enemy, the best battle-companion can turn out to be the truth.

Rook and Fairview have worked alongside each other for years, first as officers in the navy, then as officers on a steamship, and finally as colonels in an invading army. Members of a nation where tiny differences in rank are considered all-important, the two men defy convention by treating each other as equals.

But now their life-long bond is about to meet its greatest strain, when they are ordered to seize and defend a hill whose landscape is unknown, in the company of soldiers who may be incompetent or treacherous. Will Rook and Fairview's friendship remain by the end of the battle? Or will their lives take an unexpected detour as they struggle to survive on Spy Hill?

duskpeterson: (summer night shells)
"The most important thing is habit, not will. If you feel you need will to get to the keyboard, you are in the wrong business. All that energy will leave nothing to work with. You have to make it like brushing your teeth, mundane, regular, boring even. It's not a thing of effort, of want, of steely, heroic determination. (I wonder who pushed the meme that writing is heroic; it must have been a writer, trying to get laid.) You have to do it numbly, as you brush your teeth. No theater, no drama, no sacrifice, no 'It is a far far better thing I do' crap. You do it because it's time. If you are ordering yourself, burning ergs, issuing sweat, breathing raggedly through nasal channels that feel like Navajo pottery, you're doing something wrong. Ever consider law? We definitely need more lawyers."

--Stephen Hunter (via Advice to Writers).


Thank you to all of you who sent your best wishes concerning Jo/e. He's out of the hospital now, feeling fine. The exploratory surgery revealed absolutely no problems with his heart. He's still having periodic chest pains, so he's going to be exploring with his doctor what are causing those.


What I've been up to )
duskpeterson: An apprentice builds a boat as a man looks on. (Default)
*


"Sometimes I feel that he is as mysterious as the gods, and that he is hiding something of vital importance from me. Something that would transform my life."

Few events are more thrilling in a young man's life than a blood feud between two villages. Or so Adrian thought.

Torn between affection toward his traditional-minded father and worship of his peace-loving, heretical priest, Adrian finds himself caught between two incompatible visions of his duty to the gods. Then the Jackal God sends Adrian a message that will disrupt his world and send him fleeing to a new and perilous life.




*


"It's all about torture. That's what I didn't understand for a long time. The High Seeker has been seeking out and punishing those of us who wish to show greater mercy to the prisoners than the Code allows. Those of us who question whether it's right to torture prisoners."

The Eternal Dungeon is no longer a prison. It's a battlefield.

Split apart from their closest loves and friends, a small group of prison-workers seek to abolish the use of torture against prisoners in the queendom's royal dungeon. Time is running out, for the deadly High Seeker has already flogged and executed prison-workers who oppose his policies.

Do the reformers have enough time and skill to bring about radical change in the dungeon? Will they be able to overcome their mistrust of one another?




*


"This is the right place for you, boy. They'll school you here to be a right-standing man, one who can keep control over his actions, like any good man should. You just got to keep yourself open to learn and to grow."

How far can trust grow, when you're in a place you despise?

Arrested for a crime he doesn't regret, Bat ends up handcuffed to a group of fellow city boys and sent on a long journey into the countryside. He know that he is being transported to a prison for delinquent servant boys, but what form will his imprisonment take?

Tattooed with the rank-mark of servant, Bat must learn how to keep from losing his temper with the men who carry the keys to his freedom. But in the unbelievable world where he has been deposited, in which a genial master orders strict punishments and a servant acts like a master, will Bat be able to locate the door to his release? Which of his fellow prisoners can he trust to help him?

And will he survive long enough to find out?

Inspired by true events at a turn-of-the-century reform school, this novella (short novel) is set in an alternative version of the Chesapeake Bay region during the 1910s.




*


"Fairview was the finest friend a man could have, and the finest battle-companion. I dared not risk doing anything that might break our friendship."

On a hot summer's day, on a high hill surrounded by the enemy, the best battle-companion can turn out to be the truth.

Rook and Fairview have worked alongside each other for years, first as officers in the navy, then as officers on a steamship, and finally as colonels in an invading army. Members of a nation where tiny differences in rank are considered all-important, the two men defy convention by treating each other as equals.

But now their life-long bond is about to meet its greatest strain, when they are ordered to seize and defend a hill whose landscape is unknown, in the company of soldiers who may be incompetent or treacherous. Will Rook and Fairview's friendship remain by the end of the battle? Or will their lives take an unexpected detour as they struggle to survive on Spy Hill?

duskpeterson: An apprentice builds a boat as a man looks on. (Default)
Jo/e is in the hospital again, due to chest pains. He's going to have exploratory surgery done on him tomorrow, so I'm going to have to delay posting this week's online fiction.
duskpeterson: An apprentice builds a boat as a man looks on. (Default)
*


"This is the right place for you, boy. They'll school you here to be a right-standing man, one who can keep control over his actions, like any good man should. You just got to keep yourself open to learn and to grow."

How far can trust grow, when you're in a place you despise?

Arrested for a crime he doesn't regret, Bat ends up handcuffed to a group of fellow city boys and sent on a long journey into the countryside. He know that he is being transported to a prison for delinquent servant boys, but what form will his imprisonment take?

Tattooed with the rank-mark of servant, Bat must learn how to keep from losing his temper with the men who carry the keys to his freedom. But in the unbelievable world where he has been deposited, in which a genial master orders strict punishments and a servant acts like a master, will Bat be able to locate the door to his release? Which of his fellow prisoners can he trust to help him?

And will he survive long enough to find out?

Inspired by true events at a turn-of-the-century reform school, this novella (short novel) is set in an alternative version of the Chesapeake Bay region during the 1910s.




*


"Fairview was the finest friend a man could have, and the finest battle-companion. I dared not risk doing anything that might break our friendship."

On a hot summer's day, on a high hill surrounded by the enemy, the best battle-companion can turn out to be the truth.

Rook and Fairview have worked alongside each other for years, first as officers in the navy, then as officers on a steamship, and finally as colonels in an invading army. Members of a nation where tiny differences in rank are considered all-important, the two men defy convention by treating each other as equals.

But now their life-long bond is about to meet its greatest strain, when they are ordered to seize and defend a hill whose landscape is unknown, in the company of soldiers who may be incompetent or treacherous. Will Rook and Fairview's friendship remain by the end of the battle? Or will their lives take an unexpected detour as they struggle to survive on Spy Hill?




*


"The High Seeker surely could not know in full what Vito was thinking and planning. If he'd known, he'd have ordered Vito strapped to a rack."

It was his duty to transform the prisoner's soul. But which one?

When Vito de Vere is assigned a prisoner who is not quite what he appears to be, Vito must penetrate the mystery of his prisoner's unexpected appearance in the Eternal Dungeon, arrested for a crime that is no crime.

But Vito himself is hiding a mystery from the other members of the dungeon. Increasingly filled with tenderness toward his vulnerable prisoner, can Vito accomplish his secret mission without sacrificing his prisoner?

duskpeterson: An apprentice builds a boat as a man looks on. (Default)
Clip 1, near the beginning of the movie. Clip 2, with no major spoilers but not safe for work.

I watched this British movie - which I had never heard of before I happened upon a fanvid of it - for three reasons:

1) It features miners. I researched miners last year for an upcoming story.

2) It's set in Britain in 1984-85. I lived in Britain in 1982.

3) It features the gay and lesbian community (as it was called in those days) in 1984-85. I joined the gay and lesbian community on October 2, 1985.

I know the exact date I joined because, on the evening of the day that I walked (with great trepidation) into the quarters of the University of Maryland's gay and lesbian student club, I ended up sitting with the other members of the club in front of the student union, holding a vigil in honor of the passing of Rock Hudson. The next morning, my picture - along with the pictures of other vigil-holders who had given their permission - was on the front page of the university paper.

I mentioned this incident a few years ago to a college-aged reader, and she asked, "Who was Rock Hudson?" Boy, did that make me feel old. "Pride" made me feel young again, because it begins with a wet-behind-the-ears college student being swept into the gay and lesbian community at a time of police hostility, gay bashing, and AIDS.

Based on my own experiences, I'd say that the movie captures perfectly the blend of darkness and joy that was the gay and lesbian community in 1984-85. But this is not your typical gay pride movie. Miners, remember? This is about a meeting of two very different cultures, and the most extraordinary thing about this comedy-drama is that it's based on a true story.

The story is beautifully told: very funny and very moving at the same time. "Heartwarming" is a much overused word to describe films like this, but the word is applicable in this case.

What I most appreciate about this movie is its restraint and its diversity. The original story that the movie is inspired by featured violence, yet only some profanity and some brief mentions of sexuality propelled the movie into an R rating; otherwise, the movie would have deserved a PG rating. As for diversity, we aren't presented with a stereotypical group of gays and lesbians, or a stereotypical group of miners and miners' wives; instead, what we encounter are a wide variety of people, each with their own story. This gives the film added depth.

This is the best movie I've seen for several years. I highly recommend it.

Historical resources for after you've seen the movie (because the website has a major spoiler on the home page).
duskpeterson: (summer night shells)
"The dilemma of evil is that even as it carries out its dark, sinister work, it always ends up strengthening good."

--Roberto Miranda.


What I've been up to )
duskpeterson: An apprentice builds a boat as a man looks on. (Default)
*


"This is the right place for you, boy. They'll school you here to be a right-standing man, one who can keep control over his actions, like any good man should. You just got to keep yourself open to learn and to grow."

How far can trust grow, when you're in a place you despise?

Arrested for a crime he doesn't regret, Bat ends up handcuffed to a group of fellow city boys and sent on a long journey into the countryside. He know that he is being transported to a prison for delinquent servant boys, but what form will his imprisonment take?

Tattooed with the rank-mark of servant, Bat must learn how to keep from losing his temper with the men who carry the keys to his freedom. But in the unbelievable world where he has been deposited, in which a genial master orders strict punishments and a servant acts like a master, will Bat be able to locate the door to his release? Which of his fellow prisoners can he trust to help him?

And will he survive long enough to find out?

Inspired by true events at a turn-of-the-century reform school, this novella (short novel) is set in an alternative version of the Chesapeake Bay region during the 1910s.




*


"Fairview was the finest friend a man could have, and the finest battle-companion. I dared not risk doing anything that might break our friendship."

On a hot summer's day, on a high hill surrounded by the enemy, the best battle-companion can turn out to be the truth.

Rook and Fairview have worked alongside each other for years, first as officers in the navy, then as officers on a steamship, and finally as colonels in an invading army. Members of a nation where tiny differences in rank are considered all-important, the two men defy convention by treating each other as equals.

But now their life-long bond is about to meet its greatest strain, when they are ordered to seize and defend a hill whose landscape is unknown, in the company of soldiers who may be incompetent or treacherous. Will Rook and Fairview's friendship remain by the end of the battle? Or will their lives take an unexpected detour as they struggle to survive on Spy Hill?




*


"The High Seeker surely could not know in full what Vito was thinking and planning. If he'd known, he'd have ordered Vito strapped to a rack."

It was his duty to transform the prisoner's soul. But which one?

When Vito de Vere is assigned a prisoner who is not quite what he appears to be, Vito must penetrate the mystery of his prisoner's unexpected appearance in the Eternal Dungeon, arrested for a crime that is no crime.

But Vito himself is hiding a mystery from the other members of the dungeon. Increasingly filled with tenderness toward his vulnerable prisoner, can Vito accomplish his secret mission without sacrificing his prisoner?

duskpeterson: (moon)
"There are certain pitfalls you might fall into [when writing m/m fiction], especially [if] you decide to write historicals, but don't panic, I'm here to help. . . .

"When creating a historical character, it's vital to give him morals and sensibilities that the 21st reader will easily comprehend. He must eschew slavery, be entirely politically correct (for the 21st century, remember, not the times in which he lives) and fight to correct injustice like a historical superhero. He will be outwardly proud of being gay and will not attempt to hide it. He will - if he can - marry his beloved in church."

"Whatever you do, don't get bogged down in the era where your hero lives. Don't hesitate to call him Lance, or Calico or Lennon. There's nothing nicer than having a really unusual aristocrat, like Lord Amber or Baron Damocles."

--"Spare Us the Details, Please!" by Erastes, who goes on to note the value of using weather names like Frost or Storm or Zephyr or . . .

(Um. Well. At least I didn't foist my nickname on any of my characters.)


What I've been up to )
duskpeterson: An apprentice builds a boat as a man looks on. (Default)
*


"This is the right place for you, boy. They'll school you here to be a right-standing man, one who can keep control over his actions, like any good man should. You just got to keep yourself open to learn and to grow."

How far can trust grow, when you're in a place you despise?

Arrested for a crime he doesn't regret, Bat ends up handcuffed to a group of fellow city boys and sent on a long journey into the countryside. He know that he is being transported to a prison for delinquent servant boys, but what form will his imprisonment take?

Tattooed with the rank-mark of servant, Bat must learn how to keep from losing his temper with the men who carry the keys to his freedom. But in the unbelievable world where he has been deposited, in which a genial master orders strict punishments and a servant acts like a master, will Bat be able to locate the door to his release? Which of his fellow prisoners can he trust to help him?

And will he survive long enough to find out?

Inspired by true events at a turn-of-the-century reform school, this novella (short novel) is set in an alternative version of the Chesapeake Bay region during the 1910s.




*


"Fairview was the finest friend a man could have, and the finest battle-companion. I dared not risk doing anything that might break our friendship."

On a hot summer's day, on a high hill surrounded by the enemy, the best battle-companion can turn out to be the truth.

Rook and Fairview have worked alongside each other for years, first as officers in the navy, then as officers on a steamship, and finally as colonels in an invading army. Members of a nation where tiny differences in rank are considered all-important, the two men defy convention by treating each other as equals.

But now their life-long bond is about to meet its greatest strain, when they are ordered to seize and defend a hill whose landscape is unknown, in the company of soldiers who may be incompetent or treacherous. Will Rook and Fairview's friendship remain by the end of the battle? Or will their lives take an unexpected detour as they struggle to survive on Spy Hill?




*


"The High Seeker surely could not know in full what Vito was thinking and planning. If he'd known, he'd have ordered Vito strapped to a rack."

It was his duty to transform the prisoner's soul. But which one?

When Vito de Vere is assigned a prisoner who is not quite what he appears to be, Vito must penetrate the mystery of his prisoner's unexpected appearance in the Eternal Dungeon, arrested for a crime that is no crime.

But Vito himself is hiding a mystery from the other members of the dungeon. Increasingly filled with tenderness toward his vulnerable prisoner, can Vito accomplish his secret mission without sacrificing his prisoner?

duskpeterson: An apprentice builds a boat as a man looks on. (Default)
"You can't archive on tumblr, can't find anything later, and it takes to serious discussion rather like airplanes take to lakes: Sure, it can be done, but even when it works, it's pretty damned obvious to everyone that it's not how things were intended to happen."

--Elf.


What I've been up to )
duskpeterson: An apprentice builds a boat as a man looks on. (Default)
*


"This is the right place for you, boy. They'll school you here to be a right-standing man, one who can keep control over his actions, like any good man should. You just got to keep yourself open to learn and to grow."

How far can trust grow, when you're in a place you despise?

Arrested for a crime he doesn't regret, Bat ends up handcuffed to a group of fellow city boys and sent on a long journey into the countryside. He know that he is being transported to a prison for delinquent servant boys, but what form will his imprisonment take?

Tattooed with the rank-mark of servant, Bat must learn how to keep from losing his temper with the men who carry the keys to his freedom. But in the unbelievable world where he has been deposited, in which a genial master orders strict punishments and a servant acts like a master, will Bat be able to locate the door to his release? Which of his fellow prisoners can he trust to help him?

And will he survive long enough to find out?

Inspired by true events at a turn-of-the-century reform school, this novella (short novel) is set in an alternative version of the Chesapeake Bay region during the 1910s.




*


"Fairview was the finest friend a man could have, and the finest battle-companion. I dared not risk doing anything that might break our friendship."

On a hot summer's day, on a high hill surrounded by the enemy, the best battle-companion can turn out to be the truth.

Rook and Fairview have worked alongside each other for years, first as officers in the navy, then as officers on a steamship, and finally as colonels in an invading army. Members of a nation where tiny differences in rank are considered all-important, the two men defy convention by treating each other as equals.

But now their life-long bond is about to meet its greatest strain, when they are ordered to seize and defend a hill whose landscape is unknown, in the company of soldiers who may be incompetent or treacherous. Will Rook and Fairview's friendship remain by the end of the battle? Or will their lives take an unexpected detour as they struggle to survive on Spy Hill?




*


"The High Seeker surely could not know in full what Vito was thinking and planning. If he'd known, he'd have ordered Vito strapped to a rack."

It was his duty to transform the prisoner's soul. But which one?

When Vito de Vere is assigned a prisoner who is not quite what he appears to be, Vito must penetrate the mystery of his prisoner's unexpected appearance in the Eternal Dungeon, arrested for a crime that is no crime.

But Vito himself is hiding a mystery from the other members of the dungeon. Increasingly filled with tenderness toward his vulnerable prisoner, can Vito accomplish his secret mission without sacrificing his prisoner?

duskpeterson: An apprentice builds a boat as a man looks on. (Default)
*


"This is the right place for you, boy. They'll school you here to be a right-standing man, one who can keep control over his actions, like any good man should. You just got to keep yourself open to learn and to grow."

How far can trust grow, when you're in a place you despise?

Arrested for a crime he doesn't regret, Bat ends up handcuffed to a group of fellow city boys and sent on a long journey into the countryside. He know that he is being transported to a prison for delinquent servant boys, but what form will his imprisonment take?

Tattooed with the rank-mark of servant, Bat must learn how to keep from losing his temper with the men who carry the keys to his freedom. But in the unbelievable world where he has been deposited, in which a genial master orders strict punishments and a servant acts like a master, will Bat be able to locate the door to his release? Which of his fellow prisoners can he trust to help him?

And will he survive long enough to find out?

Inspired by true events at a turn-of-the-century reform school, this novella (short novel) is set in an alternative version of the Chesapeake Bay region during the 1910s.




*


"Fairview was the finest friend a man could have, and the finest battle-companion. I dared not risk doing anything that might break our friendship."

On a hot summer's day, on a high hill surrounded by the enemy, the best battle-companion can turn out to be the truth.

Rook and Fairview have worked alongside each other for years, first as officers in the navy, then as officers on a steamship, and finally as colonels in an invading army. Members of a nation where tiny differences in rank are considered all-important, the two men defy convention by treating each other as equals.

But now their life-long bond is about to meet its greatest strain, when they are ordered to seize and defend a hill whose landscape is unknown, in the company of soldiers who may be incompetent or treacherous. Will Rook and Fairview's friendship remain by the end of the battle? Or will their lives take an unexpected detour as they struggle to survive on Spy Hill?




*


"The High Seeker surely could not know in full what Vito was thinking and planning. If he'd known, he'd have ordered Vito strapped to a rack."

It was his duty to transform the prisoner's soul. But which one?

When Vito de Vere is assigned a prisoner who is not quite what he appears to be, Vito must penetrate the mystery of his prisoner's unexpected appearance in the Eternal Dungeon, arrested for a crime that is no crime.

But Vito himself is hiding a mystery from the other members of the dungeon. Increasingly filled with tenderness toward his vulnerable prisoner, can Vito accomplish his secret mission without sacrificing his prisoner?

July 2017

S M T W T F S
      1
2 345678
9 101112131415
16171819202122
23242526272829
3031     

Syndicate

RSS Atom

Most Popular Tags

Page Summary

Style Credit

Expand Cut Tags

No cut tags
Page generated Jul. 25th, 2017 12:39 am
Powered by Dreamwidth Studios