For everyone as broke as me--COUPONS! You get a coupon! And you get a coupon! I'm throwing coupons at you!
They're for stories up on Smashwords, but still, coupons. (And remember, there are free stories up on Smashwords too. FREE! THE BEST THING!)
Treat yo' self! Personally I have a hard time spending money on myself. Sometimes it helps when there is a sale. In this case, 50% off! *sings like Donna and Tom Haverford* Treat Yo Self 2013!
Coupon Code for With Everything I Have
Coupon Code for Ideas of Sin
(for the brave who are into pirateses and rough sex and 1600s religious debate and things) is LD78Q
Both good until January 6, because I like the sound of Twelfth Night. And don't forget the free ones. Freeeee! Have fun.
Meanwhile, people, so all I seem to want to do is write short stories about Wicklow and Rhoades and that is no fun for anyone since I don't even know if Dreamspinner wants them. (ah the nervewracking wait for a response) What should I do if they don't? Smashwords them? Amazon? Hmm I also kind of want to write a cracky alternate universe story with Tim and Nathaniel where Tim in a prince(ss) trapped in a very tall tower (until he escapes) and Nathaniel is the long suffering knight trying to help him/get laid.
Poor Nathaniel, he never gets laid. At least not by Tim.
I am really failing at short stories for the Christmas season. Hmm... maybe John and Rennet at Christmastime? Oh shit. I don't think anyone knows John and Rennet either. Well boo. I swear I've been writing. Just... I've been working on long things and short stories that don't really have a home. (yet) Sorry. Have an excerpt while I continue to plug away.
A little bit of Kazimir the Firebird.( Read more... )
"That was quite a show," remarked a voice from the shadows, and Kazimir angled his head toward his audience. His head still ached, but he kept his chin up while the man came forward until his toes were on the edge of Kazimir's soft circle of light. His audience was a man of average height, handsome, though part of his face was hidden by an unfashionable growth of beard and a small mustache. Curls of brown fell into his face where they were not tucked behind his ears, and glasses hid his eye color, but his clothes were plain, a shirt and pants, with braces, or suspenders as Americans called them. He was American too, though his French accent was better. Kazimir had the impression of a direct gaze before the man glanced away again. His lips were full and pliant.
"At the theater tonight, or what just took place on my balcony?" Kazimir stared at him, waiting for the man to look at him again, wondering why he would look anywhere else with Kazimir in the room with him.
"That." The emphasis in the word was almost amusing. "What just took place. Though I also thought your performance tonight was incredible. Not everyone gets an opera written for them, not everyone deserves it."
He implied that Kazimir did, which Kazimir already knew. But Kazimir nodded after a moment, and the man took a drink from his own glass. It held something brown, with ice. The man swallowed with evident pleasure and then said nothing, continuing to keep his eyes from Kazimir.
"You should not capture a Firebird," Kazimir addressed the topic at hand, and watched soft lips open on what could have been a silent laugh. His glow was flattering to the man's cheekbones, the light olive tone to his cheeks.
"Should not?" The stranger moved and Kazimir got a hint of dark eyes narrowed in thought. "Was that act for his benefit then?"
"If not his then for the next creature he tries to buy." Kazimir shrugged and sighed loudly at the stillness from the man opposite him. "You have more to say? You think I was cruel? That he did not deserve rejection?"
The man considered him over the wire rim of his glasses, direct and indirect at once. Kazimir knew he was being studied, and yet could not catch the man's gaze. The strange, somewhat insolent human took another drink of his brown booze. "You didn't have much respect for his feelings."
Kazimir surprised himself by letting out a short, icy laugh "He should have had respect for mine."
"Were yours clear?" If possible, the man seemed equally amused, though Kazimir did not understand why he should be, unless he found Kazimir himself funny. The human could have been one of those men who feigned disgust at things like magic or the blended world that magical creatures lived in, where human morals and customs did not apply. He barely looked over thirty, but it was not only old men who regarded fairies and demons with hatred and loathing. Lately many seemed to, as if the problems of the world were to be laid at their door, as if beings of magic had been the ones destroying banks and dividing countries up into arbitrary pieces.
Kazimir drew himself up and curled one hand into a fist, two remaining pearls hard in his palm. "What responsibility is it of mine to make my feelings clear? My feelings are mine." His voice was clear, the little American would not argue. Kazimir kept on. "He was told no. It is not my fault he did not listen."
He let out a puff of air and wished for more vodka. It was a long time before he thought of speaking again, but when the American did not say a word, he chose to answer with silence, and so they stood. Then the American shifted forward again, coming further into Kazimir's light but stopping before Kazimir had to step back. Kazimir wondered if the man had seen him shudder away earlier, or if this human had simply been raised with better manners. He inclined his head, as though granting Kazimir the point, but did not admit his fault aloud.
Kazimir felt something, not altogether fear, slide down his back. He frowned and made his smile cold. "Human men in general do not give ground until forced to," he pronounced, bitter and unsurprised, and wondered if a mere glimpse of his neck would be enough to undo this one, or if more would be required.
The American stared to the side for a moment longer, then took another drink. He gave Kazimir a short look, then snorted and spoke in English. "Fucking true enough," he remarked, "we will defend to the last man salients of no value to avoid the appearance of retreat."
It was a confusing statement, one Kazimir was not entirely sure he translated correctly. Before he could ask, the American went on, growing warmer at the subject or from his liquor. "Not to say you have no value, or that you are a piece of land. Merely agreeing with you. It's difficult to let go. It can be difficult." He scowled down at his glass.
"You are drunk." Kazimir was neither amused or shocked, though he was not certain why he bothered commenting. His guests were currently swimming in gin.
"Usually," the American hummed a little, a piece from the opera tonight, "I usually am, when not working. May I ask you something?" He paused. "Did you not like the pearls? The gesture was beautifully executed, and I applauded, but outside of this apartment people are hungry."
"And the inhuman creature throws away pearls while the bread lines grow." Kazimir looked down to straighten his robe and when he raised his eyes, the American was looking right back at him. It took him too long to speak again. "Perhaps I prefer diamonds." He held the man's gaze even with the touch of electricity down his back and the ache in his bones. "Do you have diamonds?" he ducked his head to inhale greedily, and glanced up, an unrivalled courtesan. He swept a look over the American's clothes, noting the lack of starch in the shirt as if it had been worn a few times since its last cleaning. It might be the man's only dress shirt. Kazimir clucked his tongue pityingly and straightened. "I don't think you do," he sighed as if bored and waited. When insulted, some dogs licked your hand, others bit.
This dog tilted his head to one side. "You want diamonds? Common diamonds?" He seemed unwilling to admit the possibility that anyone would see a diamond as anything other than a shiny stone, though he returned the same sweeping look Kazimir had given him.
Kazimir felt himself go still. The human pretended not to see, though he must have.
"No, rubies surely. You must have been offered rubies too," the American went on, then wrinkled his nose and gave Kazimir another of his brief, searching looks. "Forgive me but as much as I can see you in jewels, your own natural beauty would render them redundant. You're handsome, yes, your jaw, your shoulders, your tapered waist and straight nose, but mostly… beautiful. Beautiful is the only word that suits you, or, I should say, it is the only word that comes to mind that wouldn't embarrass me."
"So you offer me no jewels at all?" Kazimir could have played coy, accepted the compliment and whatever money the man did have. He intended to, but the words came escaped him in a lilt, a graceful humming note when there should have been a blast of sound.
"Flowers. Those I would give you, if I had the money to, which I don't." The American nodded and took another drink. Kazimir could not tell if he meant it at all; the man looked at him in the same way as before, direct and then from the side, strangely shy. He was a schoolboy until he spoke.
"Roses?" Kazimir angled his head up and let out a pointed, light yawn. His heart would not slow. "Orchids?"
"Mere weeds!" the American scoffed, serious or playful, Kazimir could not determine, and did not allow himself to react though the American went on, "painted blooms in paper coffins, cut and wrapped and stuffed into a vase for display. No, not those. Not for you."
"What then?" Kazimir leaned back against a wrought-iron stand, velvety fern fronds tickling his bare skin. He put his wrist to his forehead like a film actress. The American's breath seemed to leave him in a rush, and when Kazimir looked, the man was watching him, earnestly now, if he had not been before.
"Wild flowers, the kind I have only ever seen in fields in Belgium. The kinds that grow on this continent no matter what is done to the land. Cascading colors so bright they're obscene. Blooms so beautiful they make you forget that even flowers fight for survival. Wild flowers, hardier than anything grown in a nursery. I'd make you a crown of them."
"Free flowers then?" Kazimir countered, his hand falling to his throat, though the weight of the pearls was long gone. The American threw his head back and laughed. It was too loud from drink, but still a rich, pleased sound that drew attention. A few people stopped at the doorway to peek at them.
"No jewels and no flowers will please you, Monsieur Firebird?" He was charming now suddenly, this American, leaving Kazimir to stare and wonder where his shyness had gone.
"I have never asked for them," he insisted, still with his hand at his throat, and the man dropped his crooked smile before Kazimir had even fully realized it was there.
"So you throw them away as though they are nothing?" He was gruff but quiet, and once again Kazimir could not tell if he was joking. He could not ask any more than he could ask for stories of these fields where wild flowers grew. He had traveled by train many years ago but had never stopped to look out at farmland turned grey with trenches and rain. He took a breath.
"That is no way to talk, Monsieur L'Américain, not if you wish to win a firebird." He was not drunk, but he sang it out, so sweetly it seemed a mockery.
The American frowned. "You said I should not--" he started, but was cut off by the arrival of Michel, who turned on the lights as he strode in. The American shut his eyes for a moment and swore, in the crude manner that seemed his habit. "Fuck."
Kazimir took a moment to study him in the light, from the shine in his brown curls to the dull scuff of his shoes. His trousers were recently ironed, but frayed, and a tarnished watch was ready to fall from his pocket. His lips were indeed yielding and pink, but held lines at the corners that spoke of pain. He was no schoolboy, but older than thirty, though not much. He was thin, and his skin had a tint of its own, as if good food and sun were all that were needed to make him beautiful, and perhaps a shave. He was not a picture of health. His skin was dotted with sweat despite the chill, like a human, a tipsy human without much money who had not eaten a solid meal in some time.