duskpeterson: (bookshelves)
My apologies for the lack of fiction updates last week. Stuff happened. My replies to last week's post are coming tomorrow, but it's my bedtime, so I decided to just post this tonight.

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.




Men and Lads


"'You have committed a vile and savage act, one that any other nation would punish with death. Our punishment, on the other hand, will only be to give you what you want. You have sought to live in a world without boundaries of civilization, and such a world shall henceforth be your dwelling place.'"

A cold-hearted murderer. A vicious abuser. A young man hiding a shameful secret. A bewildered immigrant. A pure-minded spy.

All of these men have found their appointed places at Mercy Life Prison, where it is easy to tell who your enemies are. But a new visitor to Mercy is about to challenge decades-old customs. Now these men's worst enemies may be hiding behind masks . . . and so may their closest allies.




Sweet Blood


"He tried to keep his voice calm, though his pulse was racing."

Time is running out.

Vito de Vere has ten days to prepare for his performance in the Eternal Dungeon's first play. He may have fewer days than that to fight for his career and to save his prisoner's life.

As the Eternal Dungeon prepares for the greatest change it has ever undergone, Vito must prove his worth by breaking and transforming a criminal. Nobody else is likely to manage it. And nobody but himself cares so passionately whether his prisoner survives.

As an actor, Vito portrays the qualities of courage, love, truth, and trust. Now he must find the strength to take those qualities into the breaking cell.




To receive notices of my fiction by e-mail )
duskpeterson: An apprentice builds a boat as a man looks on. (Default)
I can't reply immediately to your comments (here and by email) because my laptop is currently buried under a pile of papers as I deal with a small crisis. (For the same reason, I can't update my fic this week, darn it.) But as soon as I dig myself out, I'll respond to your wonderful, heartwarming comments. I truly am grateful to you for all your kind remarks.
duskpeterson: An apprentice builds a boat as a man looks on. (Default)
So, eleven years ago, when I first began to suspect I was grey-asexual, I posted about my asexual character Merrick at the main asexual forum.

It didn't go well.

http://www.asexuality.org/en/topic/20059-life-prison-fantasy-story-w-asexual-character/

Rereading that thread, I'm not sure why I writhed from the comments, except that . . . Well, read on.

So I mostly avoided the asexual community from then on. Fast forward to 2017, when yes, I'm sure now that I'm grey-asexual. So I got up my courage and mentioned Merrick to another asexual person.

It didn't go well.

https://mobile.twitter.com/duskpeterson/status/911342888272912384

Subthread:

https://mobile.twitter.com/duskpeterson/status/911418499800629249

Afterwards, I tried to beat back my tears by reciting to myself the valuable mantra, "It's not about you. It's not about you. You're the one who offended, so don't make this about you."

Still . . .

I wish I wasn't so darned sensitive during the coming-out stage. I went through this when I came out as bi, I went through this when I came out as nonbinary, and now I have to go through it *again*, this feeling that I'm not a proper [insert category] till I've been welcomed into the [insert category] community. (This isn't pure paranoia. My nonbinary coming-out experience in the gay/lesbian/bi community and trans community was a horror story.) And so, if I encounter even the slightest sign that I'm not 100% accepted, I curl up into a ball and whimper.

So basically, I could use a few "Yay, you're asexual!" comments from you kind folks.
duskpeterson: An apprentice builds a boat as a man looks on. (Default)
The Three Lands


"Have you ever heard of a place where the custom is for friends not to touch each other?"

Adrian knows that friendship is a fundamental custom of all mankind. Or so he thinks, until his closest friend discovers a mysterious journal.

A commentfic for [personal profile] schneefink. This story can be read on its own, but it does have spoilers for the chapters of "Law Links" that I have already posted.

  • Online fiction: Famine or Feast at AO3.

  • Series: The Three Lands.

  • Series resources: The Great Peninsula: series resources for The Three Lands.



  • 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.




    Men and Lads


    "'You have committed a vile and savage act, one that any other nation would punish with death. Our punishment, on the other hand, will only be to give you what you want. You have sought to live in a world without boundaries of civilization, and such a world shall henceforth be your dwelling place.'"

    A cold-hearted murderer. A vicious abuser. A young man hiding a shameful secret. A bewildered immigrant. A pure-minded spy.

    All of these men have found their appointed places at Mercy Life Prison, where it is easy to tell who your enemies are. But a new visitor to Mercy is about to challenge decades-old customs. Now these men's worst enemies may be hiding behind masks . . . and so may their closest allies.




    Sweet Blood


    "He tried to keep his voice calm, though his pulse was racing."

    Time is running out.

    Vito de Vere has ten days to prepare for his performance in the Eternal Dungeon's first play. He may have fewer days than that to fight for his career and to save his prisoner's life.

    As the Eternal Dungeon prepares for the greatest change it has ever undergone, Vito must prove his worth by breaking and transforming a criminal. Nobody else is likely to manage it. And nobody but himself cares so passionately whether his prisoner survives.

    As an actor, Vito portrays the qualities of courage, love, truth, and trust. Now he must find the strength to take those qualities into the breaking cell.




    To receive notices of my fiction by e-mail )
    duskpeterson: (bookshelves)
    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.




    Men and Lads


    "'You have committed a vile and savage act, one that any other nation would punish with death. Our punishment, on the other hand, will only be to give you what you want. You have sought to live in a world without boundaries of civilization, and such a world shall henceforth be your dwelling place.'"

    A cold-hearted murderer. A vicious abuser. A young man hiding a shameful secret. A bewildered immigrant. A pure-minded spy.

    All of these men have found their appointed places at Mercy Life Prison, where it is easy to tell who your enemies are. But a new visitor to Mercy is about to challenge decades-old customs. Now these men's worst enemies may be hiding behind masks . . . and so may their closest allies.




    Sweet Blood


    "He tried to keep his voice calm, though his pulse was racing."

    Time is running out.

    Vito de Vere has ten days to prepare for his performance in the Eternal Dungeon's first play. He may have fewer days than that to fight for his career and to save his prisoner's life.

    As the Eternal Dungeon prepares for the greatest change it has ever undergone, Vito must prove his worth by breaking and transforming a criminal. Nobody else is likely to manage it. And nobody but himself cares so passionately whether his prisoner survives.

    As an actor, Vito portrays the qualities of courage, love, truth, and trust. Now he must find the strength to take those qualities into the breaking cell.

    Also, note that Sweet Blood now has an epigraph. Scroll down to the beginning note of Bond.




    To receive notices of my fiction by e-mail )
    duskpeterson: An apprentice builds a boat as a man looks on. (Default)
    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.




    Men and Lads


    "'You have committed a vile and savage act, one that any other nation would punish with death. Our punishment, on the other hand, will only be to give you what you want. You have sought to live in a world without boundaries of civilization, and such a world shall henceforth be your dwelling place.'"

    A cold-hearted murderer. A vicious abuser. A young man hiding a shameful secret. A bewildered immigrant. A pure-minded spy.

    All of these men have found their appointed places at Mercy Life Prison, where it is easy to tell who your enemies are. But a new visitor to Mercy is about to challenge decades-old customs. Now these men's worst enemies may be hiding behind masks . . . and so may their closest allies.




    Sweet Blood


    "He tried to keep his voice calm, though his pulse was racing."

    Time is running out.

    Vito de Vere has ten days to prepare for his performance in the Eternal Dungeon's first play. He may have fewer days than that to fight for his career and to save his prisoner's life.

    As the Eternal Dungeon prepares for the greatest change it has ever undergone, Vito must prove his worth by breaking and transforming a criminal. Nobody else is likely to manage it. And nobody but himself cares so passionately whether his prisoner survives.

    As an actor, Vito portrays the qualities of courage, love, truth, and trust. Now he must find the strength to take those qualities into the breaking cell.

    Also, note that Sweet Blood now has an epigraph. Scroll down to the beginning note of Bond.




    To receive notices of my fiction by e-mail )
    duskpeterson: (eternal dungeon)


    The Organization for Transformative Works, which hosts Archive of Our Own, where my online fiction is located, is ten years old as of September 4. OTW is having a month-long celebration that includes visits from published authors. (I'm looking forward to the visit from OTW co-founder Naomi Novik.)
    duskpeterson: (bookshelves)
    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.




    Men and Lads


    "'You have committed a vile and savage act, one that any other nation would punish with death. Our punishment, on the other hand, will only be to give you what you want. You have sought to live in a world without boundaries of civilization, and such a world shall henceforth be your dwelling place.'"

    A cold-hearted murderer. A vicious abuser. A young man hiding a shameful secret. A bewildered immigrant. A pure-minded spy.

    All of these men have found their appointed places at Mercy Life Prison, where it is easy to tell who your enemies are. But a new visitor to Mercy is about to challenge decades-old customs. Now these men's worst enemies may be hiding behind masks . . . and so may their closest allies.




    To receive notices of my fiction by e-mail )
    duskpeterson: An apprentice builds a boat as a man looks on. (Default)
    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.




    Men and Lads


    "'You have committed a vile and savage act, one that any other nation would punish with death. Our punishment, on the other hand, will only be to give you what you want. You have sought to live in a world without boundaries of civilization, and such a world shall henceforth be your dwelling place.'"

    A cold-hearted murderer. A vicious abuser. A young man hiding a shameful secret. A bewildered immigrant. A pure-minded spy.

    All of these men have found their appointed places at Mercy Life Prison, where it is easy to tell who your enemies are. But a new visitor to Mercy is about to challenge decades-old customs. Now these men's worst enemies may be hiding behind masks . . . and so may their closest allies.




    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?




    To receive notices of my fiction by e-mail )
    duskpeterson: An apprentice builds a boat as a man looks on. (Default)
    "The problem is . . . how to remain whole in the midst of the distractions of life; how to remain balanced, no matter what centrifugal forces tend to pull one off center; how to remain strong, no matter what shocks come in at the periphery and tend to crack the hub of the wheel.

    "What is the answer? There is no easy answer, no complete answer. I have only clues, shells from the sea. The bare beauty of the channelled whelk tells me that one answer, and perhaps a first step, is in simplification of life, in cutting out some of the distractions. But how? Total retirement is not possible. I cannot shed my responsibilities. I cannot permanently inhabit a desert island. I cannot be a nun in the midst of family life. I would not want to be. The solution for me, surely, is neither in total renunciation of the world, nor in total acceptance of it. I must find a balance somewhere, or an alternating of the pendulum between solitude and communion, between retreat and return. In my periods of retreat, perhaps I can learn something to carry back into my worldly life."

    --Anne Morrow Lindbergh: "Gift from the Sea."


    (I wrote this post last weekend but didn't post it then because of the tragedy in Charlottesville.)


    What I've been up to )
    duskpeterson: Vacuum cleaner (vacuum)
    It's Retro Home. Here's the beginning of what I say on the new blog's profile page:

    o--o--o


    This is a blog where I talk about my current daily life at home and in my hometown, comparing it to American daily homelife during my childhood and college years (1963-1987) and during earlier eras. I also post reviews of books (nonfiction and fiction) that show the history of American everyday life at home.

    If you'd like to see more links and photos, visit Retro Home's Twitter account @retrohomelife.

    o--o--o


    I'll continue to post at this blog, duskpeterson, about my daily life as a writer. But if you're interested in my daily life as a homemaker and mentor, my earlier years, or American daily homelives throughout history, I hope you'll also join me at Retro Home.
    duskpeterson: (bookshelves)
    Firstly, my apologies for not posting announcements last week. It was a heck of a week. I did post the actual fic last week, so this announcement will encompass both weeks.

    Secondly, I wasn't sure whether to post my fiction chapters this week. I thought of simply linking to this.

    But then I looked at my chapters for this week. They consisted of (1) a protest against people who commit violent oppression, (2) a protest against people who commit violent oppression, and (3) an apology from a character who committed violence.

    So yes, I've posted my fic this week. But I'll put off other announcements till next week.


    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.




    LifePrison


    "'You have committed a vile and savage act, one that any other nation would punish with death. Our punishment, on the other hand, will only be to give you what you want. You have sought to live in a world without boundaries of civilization, and such a world shall henceforth be your dwelling place.'"

    A cold-hearted murderer. A vicious abuser. A young man hiding a shameful secret. A bewildered immigrant. A pure-minded spy.

    All of these men have found their appointed places at Mercy Life Prison, where it is easy to tell who your enemies are. But a new visitor to Mercy is about to challenge decades-old customs. Now these men's worst enemies may be hiding behind masks . . . and so may their closest allies.




    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?




    To receive notices of my fiction by e-mail )
    duskpeterson: An apprentice builds a boat as a man looks on. (Default)
    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.




    LifePrison


    "'You have committed a vile and savage act, one that any other nation would punish with death. Our punishment, on the other hand, will only be to give you what you want. You have sought to live in a world without boundaries of civilization, and such a world shall henceforth be your dwelling place.'"

    A cold-hearted murderer. A vicious abuser. A young man hiding a shameful secret. A bewildered immigrant. A pure-minded spy.

    All of these men have found their appointed places at Mercy Life Prison, where it is easy to tell who your enemies are. But a new visitor to Mercy is about to challenge decades-old customs. Now these men's worst enemies may be hiding behind masks . . . and so may their closest allies.




    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?




    To receive notices of my fiction by e-mail )
    duskpeterson: An apprentice builds a boat as a man looks on. (Default)
    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.




    LifePrison


    "'You have committed a vile and savage act, one that any other nation would punish with death. Our punishment, on the other hand, will only be to give you what you want. You have sought to live in a world without boundaries of civilization, and such a world shall henceforth be your dwelling place.'"

    A cold-hearted murderer. A vicious abuser. A young man hiding a shameful secret. A bewildered immigrant. A pure-minded spy.

    All of these men have found their appointed places at Mercy Life Prison, where it is easy to tell who your enemies are. But a new visitor to Mercy is about to challenge decades-old customs. Now these men's worst enemies may be hiding behind masks . . . and so may their closest allies.




    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?




    To receive notices of my fiction by e-mail )
    duskpeterson: (bookshelves)
    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.




    LifePrison


    "'You have committed a vile and savage act, one that any other nation would punish with death. Our punishment, on the other hand, will only be to give you what you want. You have sought to live in a world without boundaries of civilization, and such a world shall henceforth be your dwelling place.'"

    A cold-hearted murderer. A vicious abuser. A young man hiding a shameful secret. A bewildered immigrant. A pure-minded spy.

    All of these men have found their appointed places at Mercy Life Prison, where it is easy to tell who your enemies are. But a new visitor to Mercy is about to challenge decades-old customs. Now these men's worst enemies may be hiding behind masks . . . and so may their closest allies.




    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?




    To receive notices of my fiction by e-mail )
    duskpeterson: An apprentice builds a boat as a man looks on. (Default)
    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.




    LifePrison


    "'You have committed a vile and savage act, one that any other nation would punish with death. Our punishment, on the other hand, will only be to give you what you want. You have sought to live in a world without boundaries of civilization, and such a world shall henceforth be your dwelling place.'"

    A cold-hearted murderer. A vicious abuser. A young man hiding a shameful secret. A bewildered immigrant. A pure-minded spy.

    All of these men have found their appointed places at Mercy Life Prison, where it is easy to tell who your enemies are. But a new visitor to Mercy is about to challenge decades-old customs. Now these men's worst enemies may be hiding behind masks . . . and so may their closest allies.

    Note: Don't be confused. This is the extension of "Life Prison," which I started serializing last week. I made the belated decision to serialize the entire novel in one go.




    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?



    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?




    To receive notices of my fiction by e-mail )
    duskpeterson: An apprentice builds a boat as a man looks on. (Default)
    Following up on our discussion of this topic earlier, I've simplified my content ratings and have tried to bring them more into line with American standards in ratings. (Which means treating sex and violence differently, darn it.)

    When I filtered my current online stories by content rating, I discovered that, out of my 61 stories at AO3, 53 were rated T or M. The other eight stories were borderline cases. Therefore, taking my cue from Wattpad's content ratings, I now have only two ratings for my stories:

    T = References to sexuality, brief onscreen violence, and/or sensitive topics.

    M = Onscreen sex, extended onscreen violence, and/or extended treatment of sensitive topics.

    I've made a few adjustments to my ratings of older stories to fit with my current definitions. As always, if you have specific content questions about my stories, you're welcome to shoot me an e-mail.
    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.


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