Not-so-Wishful Thinking

You know, yes you, YOU know that sometimes you wish for a fantasy life. To live in a beautiful, magical, wonderful, did I mention magical, pseudo-medieval-world, and attend a comfy mage school somewhere, and then go save the world – from behind a brave warrior with more hit points.
But you know what? You’re wrong.
You’re incredibly wrong, and I know. I have four words for you: leaves, rocks, straw, rags and soap. Four of which we have too much of, and one of which was have exactly the wrong sort of. I say ‘we’ because I speak from the perspective of someone living the dream you wish you were living, and by ink and quill, it’s not what you think it is.
Leaves: Leaves have far too many uses around here. Especially in the form of personal hygiene. You need a band-aide? You get a leaf. You need insect repellent? You get a leaf. You need air freshener? You get a leaf, or, for variety, a burning leaf. You need toilet paper? You get a leaf. You won’t like the leaf, either. It’s not a quilted northern leaf, let me tell you.
Rocks: Rocks are everywhere. Especially if you are on a campaign to save the world. Rocks mysteriously appear under you, whenever you attempt to plough a field, sit down and/or sleep. It’s rather amazing. Magi have studied it for years and are baffled at the spontaneous creation of matter which only seems to happen with rocks, enemy soldiers, and/or occasionally poison ivy.
Straw: Straw is not comfortable. Straw smells, itches, moulds, rots, sticks up pointy-bits in all the worst places you can imagine, and is generally the bedding material of choice, because it is better than rocks, see above.
Rags: Once a month, you, if you happen to be of the female persuasion, get a very personal and intimate relationship with rags. Let us not discuss this any further.
Soap: Anything rendered from lard and ashes is just plain nasty when rubbed on the body and in the hair.

You sit there thinking you wish you were me, but really, you wish you were me only about 1% of the time – the “potentially beating up the foule goblins at a safe distance by using magic” portion of the time. And that 1% of the time is certainly fun, but the 99% of the time spent wandering around without internet connectivity, smelling of muck and horse and sweat and really bad soap, with no coffee and rarely tea, and even the small beer is beyond consumption because no one ever thought of the idea of a water filter… Well, you can romanticize it and say I don’t know any better but, dear reader, I do know better, for I am staring through the mists of time rolling my eyes at you. I know I have been shafted by having a medieval romantic life that is foot-sore and travel-weary and does not include nearly enough cosseted-up-in-the-corner-of-a-warm-and-not-very-smelly-cozy-homely-secluded-and-did-I-mention-warm-again-hut-reading-a-spellbook time.

So think twice about what you yearn for, and next time you invent a wonderful fantasy world, be sure to dream up some really brilliant soap.

Forgotten Fiction 2

It was a bright sunny day and Nycteris was outside in a dirt-smudged next-next-next-best robe and heavy boots, when a smallish, sleepy, dragonish creature approached her.

“Hail archmage of the polysyllabic and impressive titles that you are required by law to put on your business card.” Nyc turned, shears in hand, to see which smallish dragonish creature it was. She knew rather a lot of them. “What intricate and dangerous ritual are you about to undertake?” continued the dragon.

“I’m pruning the hedges.” She said with the intonation of someone who didn’t entirely enjoy pruning the hedges outside on a windy day when her gravity was radically impaired. One of the hedges had a nasty gash cut through the top due to a strong gust of wind. She would convince it to regrow later. It wasn’t hard; plants like growing, especially if they think they’re getting away with something.

“Don’t you have ethereal minions to do that, or something?”

“Would you trust ethereal minions wandering around enthusiastically with big, sharp pruning shears?”

Forgotten Fiction

Since I’ve been putting some snippets of fiction in here I thought I’d dump this one in too; it amuses me because I just found it as an e-mail draft to myself in 2005 and completely forget writing it at all, or what it is about.

Some old stories like this are worth going back to, to try to finish.  I’d say… those are the ones I actually vaguely remember. I have a tale about a man named Woodbridge that I really sincerely want to finish.

This isn’t it.

“You can’t do that. You… just can’t do that. This is insane – those are children!” She knew she had the backing of the Mission. But he could be working for Weregeld for all she knew. She hoped he was – maybe they could finally get some answers.

“They are not genetically pure.” His voice was bland.

“OF COURSE they aren’t! No one is! Listen…”

“I am Order.” He cut the connection.

She cursed in frustration and cycled frequencies trying to reestablish the link. If this really was Order… a neural connection would be deadly. Or worse. She grew cold at the thought of those children. Would he perfect them? Could they survive it? The others hadn’t. Their noetic patterns were so changed they didn’t look like anything… anything living.

“Take it easy, Hunter – we’ve dispatched an F unit already…”

“I won’t take it easy! Get me a D unit too – he’ll slaughter them!” Send me. Send me.

“Hunter you do not call the shots here!” He spun her chair so she faced him. “And I am not sending you. I may only be borderline but your ems are off the chart. Downshift Beta. Now.”

She knew he was right, of course. She paused to realign her mental state. That was where Order had everyone beaten: no emotions. The scanners read him as less than an AI.


I am trying to add to this blog, if not every day, a lot more often than I did in December (or else how would anyone even find it?), so pardon me if some topics are kind of weak. While we’re at it, I’m sure it’s wrong and terrible to start a blog with an apology about its contents.

Do you have a blog? And does your blog have a topic? (plug your blog in my comments!) I am afraid this one doesn’t really have a set topic; it’s usually just about something I feel like writing. It’s not quite my LiveJournal (at which I fail) or NaNoWriMo, but I am trying to write more, until it is somewhat a habit. I should see if Mur Lafferty’s I Should Be Writing podcast says anything about how to write engaging blog posts.

I, Rachel Ross, sole author of, give you, dear reader, permission to SKIP this blog whenever you want, because I’m pretty bad about reading other people’s blogs. Stick it in your Google Reader or any other convenient RSS aggregator, and if the headline appeals to you by all means read it. But if it doesn’t I promise not to be mad at you for not reading it. There isn’t a single blog out there that I read every entry to.

But I don’t know much about crafting blog entries.

So I thought I’d check out a few lists of tips by people who do.

Now I’m off to take notes on these myself!
I’m sure this blog post violates all the principles of a good blog.

Also check out this authoring software: