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FIC: First Time (The Eternal Dungeon: Rebirth #3) [Sep. 22nd, 2020|02:23 pm]

duskpeterson
[Tags|, , ]

AO3 FICTION

*

First Time (The Eternal Dungeon: Rebirth #3).

"Layle had imprisoned his dark desire seventeen years before. And now his new love-mate had opened the cell where that desire lay bound."

One man seeks to heal from abuse. The other man dreams of abusing. Now they're in love.

As the Eternal Dungeon's chief torturer and the dungeon's newest member strive to find a middle ground on which they can meet, their lovemaking forces Layle Smith to return in his mind to an older dungeon he had long abandoned. In that dungeon lies a helpless prisoner . . . yet perhaps the prisoner is not quite so helpless as he appears.

Rated M. Boilerplate warning for all my stories + my rating system.

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FIC: Law of Vengeance (The Three Lands), Part 5/6 [Sep. 19th, 2020|05:58 pm]

duskpeterson
[Tags|, , ]

AO3 FICTION

*

Part 5/6 (four chapters) of Law of Vengeance (The Three Lands).

"For many years, I have wished to make a memoir of my life to pass on to future generations of Emorians who desire to learn what it means to have complete dedication to the Chara and his law. This is not to be the memoir I intended, but I find the time passing slowly here in the Chara's dungeon . . ."

For over twenty years, Lord Carle has told the heir to the Emorian throne that vengeance is only the other side of mercy, and that disobedience and treachery should never be forgiven. Finally it seems that his message has been received. Which makes it all the more unfortunate that Carle should have chosen this moment to break the law.

As war threatens and the foundations of his life crumble, his only hope for rescue lies with a man who has every reason to hate Carle.

Rated T. Boilerplate warning for all my stories + my rating system.

NEWS

Note that I'm switching over at this point to posting at AO3 multi-chapter stories or multi-chapter parts of novels. Except in the rare cases (like "Runaway") where I'm posting a single-chapter short story, all of my AO3 posts from this point forth will take the form of multiple chapters. So be sure to click the "Next chapter" button if you see it at the end of the page!

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"You dreamed dreams of what America was to be" [Sep. 19th, 2020|05:35 pm]

duskpeterson
[Tags|, ]

[I wrote this blog entry a week ago. Regarding the USA's latest loss, I can only say what others have already urged: Continue to fight the good fight.]

You were drawn across the ocean by some beckoning finger of hope, by some belief, by some vision of a new kind of justice, by some expectation of a better kind of life. No doubt you have been disappointed in some of us. Some of us are very disappointing. No doubt you have found that justice in the United States goes only with a pure heart and a right purpose as it does everywhere else in the world. No doubt what you found here did not seem touched for you, after all, with the complete beauty of the ideal which you had conceived beforehand. But remember this: If we had grown at all poor in the ideal, you brought some of it with you. . . .

You dreamed dreams of what America was to be, and I hope you brought the dreams with you. No man that does not see visions will ever realize any high hope or undertake any high enterprise. Just because you brought dreams with you, America is more likely to realize dreams such as you brought. You are enriching us if you came expecting us to be better than we are.

--Woodrow Wilson: Address to Naturalized Citizens at Convention Hall, Philadelphia (1915).


My maternal grandmother was a first-generation American, though her older siblings were immigrants. She was born in 1916, not long after her family immigrated to the United States from a village near Bari in southern Italy (the poorer half of that nation).


My mother in Rochester at age fourteen (1951).


My mother spent part of her childhood living in the Italian American neighborhood in Rochester, New York. She was immersed in Italian American culture, some of which she handed down to me. She must have been even more conscious than I was that our family came from immigrant roots.

I can't help but wonder whether this played a role in her decision, later in life, to become an election official.

Every time there was an election, my mother would ask me, "Are you voting?" Usually more than once. And more often that not, I did. Not because it was my civic duty to vote (though I usually ended up with a mild sense of satisfaction at having done so). But because I knew that, if I didn't show up at the polling station, my mother would know, and she'd be disappointed.

I spent most of my life apolitical. My father couldn't believe it a few years ago when he found I didn't know who the vice president was under President George W. Bush. I didn't tell him that I scarcely remembered there'd been a president named George W. Bush. (In my defense, George W. was in office during the time my eyes were at their worst. I wasn't reading any newspapers.)

I've always been quiet about why I chose to live in the United States. ("Chose" because I considered emigrating to England when I was twenty-seven.) I was taught to be understated about such matters.

Which made it all the more surprising that, when I had a polite email debate recently over whether there was anything good about the USA, I found myself pouring out the following:

I'm sorry if you think that the US Constitution should have been absolutely perfect at the time it was born. Because we, today, at this very moment, are not perfect. Three centuries from now, people of the future will recognize the errors made by people today - and that includes the people today who are fighting against racism and other forms of oppression. We are all making errors, some of them horrific and harmful. Future generations will recognize our errors, which we are blind to now.

That doesn't mean that what we're doing now is useless. Likewise, what the founders of the United States did wasn't useless. It helped. It was a big step forward from what they were breaking away from. More remained to be done. Americans continued to fight for what needed to be done. Black Americans improved our country. Native Americans improved our country. Every oppressed group in America improved our country, and yes, some of the non-oppressed Americans improved our country too.

So, yes, I'm proud of America. I'm proud of the Native Americans who have fought for their rights. I'm proud of the Black Americans who have fought for their rights. I'm proud of my fellow queer Americans who have fought for our rights. I'm proud of my fellow disabled Americans who have fought for our rights. I'm proud of my fellow low-income Americans who have fought for our rights. And I'm proud of the ruling-class Americans who have fought alongside us, lending their power and privilege to our battles.

I'm also ashamed of all the things Americans have done to oppress fellow Americans and to oppress non-Americans. I can hold both these sentiments at the same time.

We still have lots of fights against oppression to win, as the examples in your email demonstrate. But America is an immensely better place than it was in the past. It's better even than it was when I was born.


Whether you were born here or moved here, a lot of you who are American citizens chose to be here. You probably can also recite the good things and the bad things that the USA has to offer.

This is the time when you can do your part to make this country better. Please vote in this election. And please be like my mother: urge others to vote.

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FIC: Runaway (Waterman), news [Sep. 16th, 2020|05:12 am]

duskpeterson
[Tags|, , ]

AO3 FICTION

*

Runaway (Waterman).

"What wonders would he see in Yclau? Robots? Holovisions? Visiphones? Microwave ovens?"

Bat is in trouble. Again.

The only way out of the trap this time is to take a leap into the future, into a world of wonders that his mind can scarcely grasp.

But trouble awaits Bat at the border to his refuge. How he handles that trouble will determine his own future . . . and the future of what he is leaving behind.

Rated T. Boilerplate warning for all my stories + my rating system.

NEWS

Starting next week, I'll be switching to a three-times-a-week schedule of posting and announcing fic, which should last through till the week before Thanksgiving. I'll probably take a holiday break after that.

I apologize to those of you who are receiving these announcements by email; I know I promised only to stuff your inbox once a week. Next year, I'll be through with posting most of my backlist, so I'll only post fic once or twice a week.

What I'm going to be doing this fall is posting a novel part or full side story three times a week, from three different series. So it will look something like this:

First post of the week: Novel A - Part 1.

Second post of the week: Novel B - Part 5.

Third post of the week: Side story to Novel C.

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Fiction recommendations request: stories set in the ancient world [Sep. 16th, 2020|05:06 am]

duskpeterson
[Tags|]

I'm putting together my winter reading list. I'm in the mood for stories set in the ancient world (including late antiquity). My favorite novelists who write about the ancient world are Mary Renault, Mary Stewart, and Rosemary Sutcliff. I'd like to find more.

Some specific guidelines for ancient historical stories I'd like to read:

  • Any story location in the world is fine. Some ancient settings I've enjoyed reading about are Ancient Greece, Roman Britain, and Arthurian Britain. It would be nifty if I could find novels set in Africa outside of Egypt. (Not that there's anything wrong with Egypt, but it dominates Ancient Africa historical fiction.) Feel free to surprise me with other locations.
  • Any historical genre is fine, including historical speculative fiction, historical romance, and biblical fiction.
  • I won't rule it out entirely, but a story centered primarily on political intrigue (hello, I, Claudius) isn't my favorite topic. I get enough of that in the news.
  • If you know of good narratives, fiction or nonfiction, that were written during ancient times, feel free to recommend them.

And some general hints on what I like and don't like to read: I have a lot of likes and dislikes! )

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FIC: Love and Betrayal 7/7, Law of Vengeance 15-16/21 [Sep. 13th, 2020|04:28 am]

duskpeterson
[Tags|, , , ]

AO3 FICTION

*

Chapter 7/7 of Love and Betrayal (The Eternal Dungeon: Rebirth #2).

"'I agreed to become a Seeker because I believe you're right that if I find an acceptable outlet for my violent desires – ordering punishments only when it would be in the best interests of the prisoner to receive pain – that will stop me from losing control of myself again. But I'll never enjoy other people's sufferings. You mustn't think I'm a monster like that.'"

As a torturer learns the art of questioning prisoners, he discovers that the word "love" can have a darker meaning than he had supposed.

Idolizing a mentor who teaches him to place first the best interests of his prisoners, young Elsdon Taylor gradually realizes that the High Seeker of the Eternal Dungeon is hiding a secret. Now Elsdon must confront the man whose work determines the future of the dungeon's prisoners.

In doing so, Elsdon must also confront a demon from his past.

Rated M. Boilerplate warning for all my stories + my rating system.

*

Chapter 15-16/21 of Law of Vengeance (The Three Lands).

"For many years, I have wished to make a memoir of my life to pass on to future generations of Emorians who desire to learn what it means to have complete dedication to the Chara and his law. This is not to be the memoir I intended, but I find the time passing slowly here in the Chara's dungeon . . ."

For over twenty years, Lord Carle has told the heir to the Emorian throne that vengeance is only the other side of mercy, and that disobedience and treachery should never be forgiven. Finally it seems that his message has been received. Which makes it all the more unfortunate that Carle should have chosen this moment to break the law.

As war threatens and the foundations of his life crumble, his only hope for rescue lies with a man who has every reason to hate Carle.

Rated T. Boilerplate warning for all my stories + my rating system.

TIPS

How you can offer support, either financial or non-financial )

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HOME & WRITING: B.C. (Before Coronavirus), thoughts on mortality, & my AO3 posting schedule (again) [Sep. 13th, 2020|04:06 am]

duskpeterson
[Tags|, , , , , ]

I unpacked my backpack last week.

This was a significant step. I've worn a backpack, practically every time I've gone outside my home, for forty years. (You never know when you'll meet books that need a home.) But last week I realized: I'm not going to use this backpack again for the foreseeable future. It can't be washed. And it's not the sort of thing I want to be lugging around when I'm wearing contaminated gloves and sitting upon contaminated seating. I need something I can easily reach into and that I can set on my lap. (My World Fantasy Convention bag will do.)

Unpacking my backpack was like unpacking a lost life: Schedules of bus lines that no longer exist. Passes to subways I can no longer reach. Cash that I haven't used for six months. And most poignant of all: the shopping list that Joe wrote down for me on the last occasion I visited the local pharmacy, on the very day we went into self-isolation: March 7.

A few hours after I had put my backpack in storage, I read Dr. Fauci saying, "If you're talking about getting back to a degree of normality which resembles where we were prior to COVID, it's going to be well into 2021, maybe even towards the end of 2021."

And I thought: What kind of normal can we possibly get back to with this in our life?

For me, this is the new normal:

The Danse Macabre.

In a way, this acceptance of death as ever-present is something that has been creeping up on me. I've had multiple brushes with death during this century. Moreover, I'm 57; I always figured, when I was younger, that anything past age 50 was bought time.

But I never really thought that this would affect how I lived my life. I sort of figured I'd just go on doing the same things in the same way (including trying to care for my health) until the moment when it was all over.

There's a science fiction story by Alan E. Nourse called The Martyr, in which a way to extend life forever is found. The protagonist visits one of the men whose life has been extended: a skilled composer who, the protagonist discovers, is working on a new piece.

"Always before it was hit and run, make a stab at it, then rush on to stab at something else. Not this one." He patted the manuscript happily. "With this one there will be nothing wrong."

"It's almost finished?"

"Oh, no. Oh, my goodness no! A fairly acceptable first movement, but not what I will do on it—as I go along."

"I see. I—understand. How long have you worked on it now?"

"Oh, I don't know—I must have it down here somewhere. Oh, yes. Started it in April of 2057. Seventy-seven years."

They talked on, until it became too painful. Then Dan rose, and thanked his host, and started back for the corridor and life again. He had never even mentioned his excuse for coming, and nobody had missed it.

Chauncey Devlin, a tiny, perfect wax-image of a man, so old, so wise, so excited and full of enthusiasm and energy and carefulness, working eagerly, happily—

Accomplishing nothing. Seventy-seven years. The picture of a man who had been great, and who had slowly ground to a standstill.


Being aware of death, I had long suspected, has the opposite effect. Isaac Asimov was once asked what he would do if his doctor told him he had only six months to live. He replied, "Type faster!"

Or as Samuel Johnson put it: "Depend upon it, Sir, when a man knows he is to be hanged in a fortnight, it concentrates his mind wonderfully."

There is another apt quote, which has a zillion variations, but here is the version that catches my eye. It is attributed to Mother Ann Lee, the founder of the Shakers: "Do all your work as though you had a thousand years to live, and as though you were going to die to-morrow."

I would love to know what she was trying to say by that, because to me, those two instructions have a terrible tension. Perhaps it's because so much of my writing involves long-term planning. Here is when I started some of my novels, and when I finally issued them.

o--o--o

Wizard of the Sun: Started July 1995. Issued December 2018.

Breached Boundaries: Started September 1995. Issued August 2019.

Empty Dagger Hand: Started January 1996. Waiting to be issued.

o--o--o

Although I have way too many older works in progress, I've reached the point in my life where I'm highly unlikely to start novels that I work on for decades (or to hold the finished version of the novel on my hard drive for twenty-three years, which is what happened with Wizard of the Sun). But as I mentioned last month, issuing my AO3 fiction hasn't simply been a matter of plopping whole novels down on the site. Empty Dagger Hand has 38 chapters. Likewise, Breached Boundaries has 56 chapters. Serializing just those two novels takes nearly two years.

At least, that's how long I'd planned to take. But this is where the entrance of the Danse Macrabe comes in. Because if Death is forever here, extending its hand to me (and everyone else), then why am I risking dying unexpectedly while a considerable number of my stories have not yet posted at AO3? And with at least two new novels (Empty Dagger Hand and my current WIP, Search for the Jackal) artificially delayed so that I can serialize earlier, already-published novels in that series cycle?

At the moment, I have various fears about dying unexpectedly, or unexpectedly getting so ill or disabled that I can't work any longer. One of my fears is that the stories I've finished writing down won't all be on AO3, so they won't be preserved for future readers.

That fear is entirely of my own making. It's unnecessary. And I've decided I need to eliminate that fear from my life, so that I can have more room to deal with the real issues that need to be dealt with, such as editing my forthcoming stories and finishing Search for the Jackal in a timely manner. (The latter has been humming along nicely, by the way.)

So I'm going to speed up my AO3 posting again.

The time problem that I mentioned in my previous post on this subject still exists. I don't know how long it's going to take me to post my unposted works at AO3. And I certainly don't expect my readers to keep up with my posting. This is going to be story-posting on steroids.

But the nice thing for authors about online fiction? It's the gift that keeps on giving. Kristine Kathryn Rusch was talking this past week about a similar literary phenomenon, in the context of a discussion of traditional publishing vs. indie publishing. She first talks about how traditional publishing, for historical reasons, is set up so that nearly all the sales have to take place in the first few weeks after publication (which is having horrible consequences for publishers and authors during this pandemic). Due to limited bookshelf space, the books are usually yanked off the shelves of bookstores after those first few weeks.

Then she says, talking about the self-publishing of her and her husband, "Our entire career does not rest on the speed with which our books sell." She goes on to say to her fellow indie authors: "Readers will discover books over years, not weeks. Put your book out there. Yeah, maybe some reader won't find it until 2022. That's okay. Then they get to read your entire backlist."

That hit me over the head like a boom. Because here's what I've received kudos and comments on at AO3 so far this month:

o--o--o

Debt Price: Posted August 2015.

Broken: Posted February 2012.

Eternally Divided: Posted January 2012.

o--o--o

Readers will find an author's writings in their own time. Yes, exactly. Which is reason enough for me to make all my finished stories available now.

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FIC: Love and Betrayal 6/7, Law of Vengeance 14/21 [Sep. 10th, 2020|11:17 am]

duskpeterson
[Tags|, , , ]

AO3 FICTION

*

Chapter 6/7 of Love and Betrayal (The Eternal Dungeon: Rebirth #2).

"'I agreed to become a Seeker because I believe you're right that if I find an acceptable outlet for my violent desires – ordering punishments only when it would be in the best interests of the prisoner to receive pain – that will stop me from losing control of myself again. But I'll never enjoy other people's sufferings. You mustn't think I'm a monster like that.'"

As a torturer learns the art of questioning prisoners, he discovers that the word "love" can have a darker meaning than he had supposed.

Idolizing a mentor who teaches him to place first the best interests of his prisoners, young Elsdon Taylor gradually realizes that the High Seeker of the Eternal Dungeon is hiding a secret. Now Elsdon must confront the man whose work determines the future of the dungeon's prisoners.

In doing so, Elsdon must also confront a demon from his past.

Rated M. Boilerplate warning for all my stories + my rating system.

*

Chapter 14/21 of Law of Vengeance (The Three Lands).

"For many years, I have wished to make a memoir of my life to pass on to future generations of Emorians who desire to learn what it means to have complete dedication to the Chara and his law. This is not to be the memoir I intended, but I find the time passing slowly here in the Chara's dungeon . . ."

For over twenty years, Lord Carle has told the heir to the Emorian throne that vengeance is only the other side of mercy, and that disobedience and treachery should never be forgiven. Finally it seems that his message has been received. Which makes it all the more unfortunate that Carle should have chosen this moment to break the law.

As war threatens and the foundations of his life crumble, his only hope for rescue lies with a man who has every reason to hate Carle.

Rated T. Boilerplate warning for all my stories + my rating system.

TIPS

How you can offer support, either financial or non-financial )

LinkLeave a comment

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