RIP Munchkin Special Tuesday #Caturday

the queenAmidala speaking.

MaMA had to take Munchkin to the vet today, and he didn’t come back. He’s been having trouble walking the past week, and he hasn’t done anything but eat and sleep for over a month. I know those are a cat’s favorite activities, but trust me when I say I know he wasn’t feeling well.

The vet said my foster brother had lost a little weight, after he had gained some on his hyperthyroid medicine. He never did stop sneezing and snotting, and the vet said he might have an infection where a tooth had broken off earlier in his life.

MaMA said the vet said the thyroid problem might have been masking other problems. It could be anything from diabetes to cancer — or all of the above. Finding out what was wrong would take some time and would mean doing tests, digging in his mouth, changing medicines ….

MaMA cried when she told me she decided she didn’t want to put him through all that at his age. (He’s older than I am, and I turned 15 in April.)

I’ve been sitting next to her all day, purring as loud as I can, trying to let her know she did the right thing. When my time comes, I know I can count on her to do everything she can to make me feel good but that she won’t make me stay if I can’t enjoy it.

Here’s a picture of Munchkin on October 28, when MaMA brought us home with her.

munchskinnyAnd here is was today at the vet’s.

Munchkin10-5-15RIP, brother. I’ll see you on the other side. Say hello to Ed, our former human, for me, and tell him we found a good home after he had to leave us.

A WRITING PROMPT FOR ANIMALS: Write a letter to a human or another animal who has gone before you.


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Imagination FAIL #amwriting #amrewriting

So I’m revising EEL’S REVERENCE, a kind of science fantasy (I guess), which has mermaids (mermayds) as natural beings rather than supernatural ones.

Why do I have to revise it?

Failure of imagination.

You would think that a book with mermayds and female priests had plenty of imagination, wouldn’t you? But that’s the funny thing about imaginative fiction: it isn’t enough to be fanciful; you also have to be realistic. And that’s the hard part.

This book has been released more often than a Walt Disney animated classic. And I finally got a couple of great reviews. By “great” in this case, I mean “lukewarm, with reasons given”. Honey, those are gold!

Where did my imagination fail?

I had men giving birth. The reviewer objected that this made no difference in the relative status of men and women. Actually, it did, at the time I wrote it; by the time he reviewed it, the relative status of men and women had changed to match the much more equitable relationship I had written, which was not the relationship at the time of the writing. Times caught up with me, and I hadn’t done anything plottish with the men-give-birth thing, so it turned into a matter of no importance.

Another reviewer pointed out that I used horses like cars: folks get on, drive them to where they’re going, get off, and walk away. Important tip: horses are alive. They need to be rested, fed, watered, cared for. I was all like, go from here to there, and then stuff happens. I didn’t imagine the horses.

GonEditinHow am I revising?

I have a bazillion stories and books in my head and in the pipeline; I really don’t want to do a complete overhaul. Making the men-having-babies an important plot point would necessitate that. So, sorry, guys – no soup for you! …Er, I mean, men no longer give birth in my imaginary world. Since it’s only part of a couple of scenes, they’re easily rewritten.

I invented desert ponies, which are easier for non-horse people to care for in difficult circumstances. Like, you know, in the freakin’ desert. I’m remembering to have the horses and/or ponies fed, watered, rested, and otherwise kept in mind. I’m pretending Mom and I are watching the book on television, because she’s a great one for asking, like, “What happened to his horse? Who’s looking after the horse?” Although it’s usually a dog. But it’s horses in this book. (Or ponies.)

I’m also taking out most of the character descriptions. If you read the book, you would probably be like, “I thought you said you took out most of the character descriptions.” And I would be like, “I did.” And you would be like, “Dear God.” Yeah, that much. I know there are still writers who tell you how many flecks of gold a character has in her eyes or the exact color of the veins that show on a character’s forehead and stuff, and that’s brilliant if it means something. Balzac was killer for making a physical description describe a character’s … er … character. But I’m not Balzac, in case you hadn’t noticed. When I reread the book, the lengthy descriptions made me want to chew off my own foot. So I pruned them. The descriptions, not my feet.

Here’s hoping the revisions improve the product and make the story shinier.

A WRITING PROMPT FOR YOU: Write a full description of somebody you know. Now take out everything that isn’t important and/or make what you describe tell or imply something about the person inside.


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Coming Sooooon #SampleSunday

30CoverHere’s another snippet from “Temple of Chaos”, the short story I have in the upcoming SWORD AND SORCERESS 30.

The Marion Zimmer Bradley Literary Trust says, “Sword and Sorceress 30 is available for pre-order in Kindle and Nook formats. It will be released on November 2nd. There will be a trade paperback edition, but unfortunately that can’t be pre-ordered.

So go reserve your e-copies now, eh?

Pimchan and the Bandits

excerpt from “Temple of Chaos”
by Marian Allen

The bandits were, of course, waiting for them.

The outlaws were dressed in mismatched pieces of stolen armor and stolen finery. Jewels glittered from the tangles of matted beards and greasy hair.

A man whose swagger marked him as the band’s leader faced Pimchan, his visage pinched with frustration.

“You were gone. We were told you left.”

“I came back.”

“You gave up your post. Why can’t we get in?”

“It’s still mine. Would you take what’s mine?”

The man spat. “You Warriors make me sick. Think you can fight better than anybody else, magic better than anybody else, do what you please. This town was as good as ours, before you came. Like having a goat somebody else had to feed and shelter.”

Other bandits laughed.

“You think you’re better than me? You take what you want and leave when you’re ready, just like me.”
“If you’re ready to leave,” Pimchan said, “allow my townsfolk to escort you out.”
The man bellowed something his followers apparently understood, for they shouted in response and charged the town’s defenders.

Pimchan ran to meet the chief’s charge. She would have been surprised, had she not been focused on protecting her own head, to see the vigor with which barbers and bakers met the bandits’ onslaught.

The outlaw chief was a better fighter than she expected though not, fortunately, as good as he thought. Parang in one hand, kris in the other, he swept toward her like a walking windmill.

Left. Right. Left. Right. The fool!

It was like fighting a puppet. As if her opponent moved in a slower time, Pimchan dodged, blocked, and deflected his predictable blows, her blue-steel saber ringing against his lesser blades. Had he never fought anyone who fought back? Probably no one who spent the day training, no one whose life was weaponry and fightcraft.

As he fought, his lips moved.

Cursing? A waste of breath.

A blow she should have met and repelled slipped through her guard and drew across her shoulder. It found a flaw in her armor – a near-impossible fluke – and blood ran down her arm. She didn’t feel the pain yet, but the gleam in the bandit’s eye chilled her.

Not ordinary cursing. Magical cursing. And the man had some power.


A WRITING PROMPT FOR YOU: An opponent has more power than the main character expects.


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