Weekend Writing Warriors: Sunday 20 July 2014 (WIP: Leonie Hallward)

My mother and Basil argued over color, in a way that was immediately familiar when I was a student at the Academie Julian, drinking strong tea in the cafes with my friends. Those quarrels were the grown-up correspondent of my brothers’ wrestling bouts: undertaken with no real animus but a joy in competition. Amelie and Basil were colleagues, for all he did not paint in watercolor and she did not paint in oil. 

And he admitted to her alone that he found her medium daunting, like fresco that must be painted patch by patch, not too differently: pigments in water. 

Amelie (yes, I’m old enough, and my mother is dead) looked more like his sister than his sister-in-law: something in the cast of the face. They were relatives when they argued, in that friendly way that stepped outside the proprieties of the drawing-room and the tea-table. 

There was no condescension in it on his part, which I recognized even then, because I heard grown men talk to her much as they did me, as if she were some pretty child in lace and satin, a sort of animate doll. Of course it was some decades beyond my seventh year that I learned that was the general manner of men to women, but that’s another story.


POV Leonie Hallward, niece of the painter Basil Hallward from Oscar Wilde’s Portrait of Dorian Gray. From novel-in-progress, Leonie Hallward and the Secession of Greenwich Village. 

Weekend Writing Warriors offers eight-sentence excerpts from a variety of writers; see the other excerpts here.


In other news:

Cover design by Glass Knife Press Technical Services.

Cover design by Glass Knife Press Technical Services.

Tales from the Inhabited Worlds has been released!

Welcome to the complex landscape of the Inhabited Worlds. Survivors of a failed terraforming project have developed a brilliant culture organized around music, dance, and safety. An immortal dictator rules a fortress planet. Sentient starships dance in space. Aristocratic clans vie for control of the Mother of Worlds. Rumored space pirates lurk at the margins. Three different cultures stand on the brink of catastrophic change, in these nine tales of politics, family relationships, star-crossed love, space battle, and would-be empire.

This collection of multicultural science-fiction stories introduces the world and characters of E. P. Beaumont’s forthcoming Ship’s Heart Trilogy.

Published by Glass Knife Press. Now available on Amazon; other distributors to follow.



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Weekend Writing Warriors: Sunday 13 July 2014 (WIP: Leonie Hallward)

The summer after my uncle Basil’s disappearance, we stayed at his country pied-a-terre, in which my father was part-owner. Nothing had been changed; the place was still as it had been. The studio was closed off; one afternoon Ralph and I ventured in there, and it was eerie to see it, the palettes awaiting the master, the brushes freshly cleaned and arranged in the way that Basil would have them.

His workroom, awaiting his arrival, taught me how to lay out my work when my own time came. 

In the atelier in Paris, the master smiled very slightly when he saw how I set my palette. “Mademoiselle Hallward,” he said, and from the way he inflected the surname, he didn’t need to tell me that he remembered my uncle, for all that his work had long since fallen from fashion. I was beginning too late, in my twenties, but my body remembered what I first had learned with my eyes, those many years ago. 

What has been rehearsed with the eyes, long before the hands are permitted it, comes to hand with facility.


POV Leonie Hallward, niece of the painter Basil Hallward from Oscar Wilde’s Portrait of Dorian Gray. From novel-in-progress, Leonie Hallward and the Secession of Greenwich Village. 

Weekend Writing Warriors offers eight-sentence excerpts from a variety of writers; see the other excerpts here.

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Weekend Writing Warriors: Sunday 7 July 2014 (WIP: Ship’s Heart)

In the center loomed up a monument, unlit, a bulk of shadow against the stars; Martisset squinted into the darkness to make out details–hooves and legs of a horse, leg of the rider–then no longer needed to, as Martisset the Elder had uprooted one of the path-beacons. 

The beacon’s steady glow revealed a rider mounted on a horse, but the figure missing from the waist upward. The right hand held a sword, the left a severed knot (at first she thought it a bundle of entrails). Behind the saddle — terrifyingly realistic in the low light, heads hanging in a bundle by the hair, the faces picked down to the skull. The empty sockets stared back at her, hollows of shadow.

 Martisset felt a chill and a drop in her midsection that was nothing like the exhilarating free-fall of a skimmer landing. 

“The Pale Rider,” said Martisset the Elder. “Our namesake.”


POV Martisset, age six. From novel-in-progress, Ship’s Heart. 

Weekend Writing Warriors offers eight-sentence excerpts from a variety of writers; see the other excerpts here.




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Flash Fiction: Bad Parents

 “No, I do not think that a wise idea.” Tethys watched their expressions fall.

“But others have done it.”

Three of her own children, many times over that in clan-children and marriage-protegees, and she never ceased hearing that excuse. She forebore from asking if others leapt into vacuum, would they do the same.

Tethys imagined that elders at the time of the journey-ships and before were asking their juniors the same.

“But it’s already done.” The young woman drew herself up. “I’m already pregnant with our body-child.” Her clan-spouse looked on, beaming.

Well, clearly it was both their idea, and Tethys could guess who had given them that notion — well, whose son. Bad ideas long outlived their original propagandists.

She sighed. “Well, done is done. At a minimum, let me ask you to do your child a favor.”

The young couple looked at her expectantly, faces aglow. You would think both of them were pregnant, sharing that legendary luminosity. “We’ve given her every possible advantage. Our body-parents lent their prestige to our application for the Genetic Pantheon.”

Tethys forebore from sighing, as she mentally upgraded the situation from folie a deux to folie a six. Both sets of body-parents, plus the culprits themselves. Not clear if they’d listen, but honor required that she make the attempt.

“At very least, don’t name her Naime.”

They blinked, which told her yes, that had been their notion.

“She’s a Full Clone of the Great Shipwright herself. Don’t, for the love of the Queen of Snows, …” Words failed her. If it wasn’t perfectly clear to the young fools what they were contemplating, how to explain it to them? “Your child will be recognizable as a clone of Naime yr Astok long before she’s of age. Even if you don’t tell her whose genotype she bears, she’ll hear it from others. And yes, right now you’re thinking of your prestige, and how you’re bringing back one of the Great Ones. But your child isn’t Naime yr Astok. Her time is past, and we live in a different world.”

The young man leaned forward. “How should we name her, then?”

“You hadn’t picked out a name?”

They shook their heads.

No contingency plan whatsoever. So they hadn’t anticipated any opposition from their clan-patron, which she supposed she could put down to the frivolity of youth, but their body-parents had no excuse. No, things were going rapidly to the bad. One could fight folly in the debating arena, the official field of honor so to speak, but when it reared its head under the mask of fashion, the fight verged on hopeless.

Nonetheless, she owed the offspring of folly and vanity her best effort, the wisdom of a clan-elder–

If only they’d thought a bit sooner, so that her wisdom might be applied to prevention.

But that wasn’t the way the world worked.

“Give her an ordinary name. Yasmin, for example. Perfectly ordinary name, so for a while at least …”

For a while at least, that blameless child-to-be could live an ordinary life, without the expectation of a life already lived with a different upbringing and a story already brought to conclusion. A glorious conclusion, Great Shipwright and distinguished Ship’s Captain, a combination not even possible now that the Ships were something very different, not a prototype but a practice embedded in the culture.

Forerunners were very different from inheritors.

They nodded.

“Yasmin it is, then,” the young woman said.

It wasn’t acceptance, she realized, nor agreement, but blind obedience.

Tethys sighed. She would have preferred an argument; in the struggle of thought, one could learn; she would have divined where their true passion lay, what aspect of the Full Clone had drawn them.

“And do you plan to have other children?” Tethys asked. She dreaded the answer, though the guardians of the Pantheon could be expected to do their duty with a second request from the same couple.

The young woman shrugged. “Well, if this one survives, we suppose we might conceive more, some ways later. On the random plan, of course.”

“Not that we’ll have a choice,” the young man said.

Tethys wondered how far into shadow those subsequent children would fall.

“We’ll wait till after the patronage ceremony,” the young woman said. “Probably till Naime — I mean Yasmin — is seven.”

Tethys closed her eyes, then enveloped that gesture of exasperation into the traditional obeisance to the Fates.


Flash fiction in response to this week’s terribleminds flash fiction challenge, Bad Parents.

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Live (more or less) from CONvergence 2014

Jet-lagged without the glamour of actual travel, I’m reminding myself that moderation is the secret of sanity at an event this big. At 12:30 US Central, I’ll be participating on a panel on Magic Realism, and will probably have interesting thoughts as a result of that conversation.

In the meantime, I’m trying to pass as a conscious human. I got up quite a bit earlier than usual for the morning commute (thanks to my buddy on con-com who loaned me her vehicle). But it’s wearing now, and I feel as if I just took a quick spin in the time machine to university days.

So today we’re going to turn in early, to be ready for the intense stuff tomorrow. Trying not to be Patient Zero for the high-octane post-con immune crash aka Con Crud.

Meanwhile, I’m drafting a Bad Parents story in the Ship’s Heart universe, in response to Chuck Wendig’s flash fiction challenge. If I’m still awake after I get home, I might actually meet this week’s Friday noon (US Eastern) deadline.


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Goals: July releases, CONvergence panels, and editing blues

I’m still putting in the edits from the final review of Tales from the Inhabited Worlds, whose release is being moved into July. And I’ve come down with a cold, not such a a big deal except that CONvergence impends.

And I’m going to be on panels! One on magic realism and another on fanfic!

No finalized covers yet, but releases for July will be as follows:

  • Tales from the Inhabited Worlds
  • Inside the Jump
  • The Lost Pissarro

The wonderful thing about revising to a deadline (with the help of ruthless beta readers and editors) is the moment when panic metamorphoses into inspiration with the thought:

The Big Knife Is My Friend. 


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Weekend Writing Warriors: Sunday 29 June 2014 (WIP: Ship’s Heart)

The gene-parents and the co-parents explained it all to them, as they rehearsed the steps of the vortex dance, how the ship came every year with supplies for Sarronny Dome, by treaty, and also by treaty they took away with them the year’s output from the mines, as well as those who had been chosen by lot from that year’s adulthood initiates to go to the Academy at Karis.

“But why?” Yasmin asked. Jehen wanted to know why too, but Yasmin always spoke it first. 

“Because that’s what the treaty says,” Sita said. “We have things they need, and they have things we need.”

“And we wrung it from them in spite of everything,” Altair said.

“Do they go away forever?” Jehen said.

“No, but it’s a long time,” her gene-father Matar replied,


POV Jehen, age six. From novel-in-progress, Ship’s Heart. 

Weekend Writing Warriors offers eight-sentence excerpts from a variety of writers; see the other excerpts here.


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