Grumpy old man

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Sample

(Just before this, the half-nymph Hozlefunashti began to explain about the situation in the fairy forest while Winstance undoes the curse trapping him to a couch. And, go!)

Deformed!

“What do you know of Moffer Bones? How does he look? Is he—deformed at all?” Hozlefunashti asked, and I got a bit distracted again and gave Hozlefunashti a disbelieving sort of look, because Moffer Bones is definitely not deformed, gosh. He’s, like, the most beautiful guy I’ve ever seen, and I guess Hozlefunashti could interpret the surprise in my eyes, because he smiled. “So Moffer was not born a monster? He has all his limbs and can see?” Hozlefunashti asked.

“Why would Moffer Bones be blind or have missing limbs?” I asked, feeling thoroughly confused, and Hozlefunashti laughed and waved a dismissive hand.

“It is the blending of god and fairy. It’s not natural, and children eons ago were often malformed when they sprang from the joining of such forced pairings. There was always great speculation during the pregnancy that Moffer would be unable to walk, or be missing large chunks of his body. So he is normal?” Hozlefunashti asked.

“How long have you been trapped here?” I asked, because I had no clue how all the timelines matched up.

“Oh, a long time. We can talk over all that as we pin down names and ages. But Moffer is hale and strong?” Hozlefunashti asked.

“He looks like a small human. He doesn’t have wings,” I said.

“Ah. There you are. Deformed,” Hozlefunashti said with a firm nod, and he rushed on before I could explain that Moffer Bones could still do magic and fly, even without them. “There was much outrage among all the royal family when Princess Danye threw herself at an ancient god. It meant that a big change was coming, and no one wanted another disruption of the status quo.

“This is why Amance is so urgent to transcend, so she can be on the other side before it happens. We’ll go back to our straightening-out of the whole situation as you work. I hope very much that I’ll be able to stand up when you’re done. You’ve no idea how onerous it is to be trapped perpetually on a couch in another form. I’m quite good-looking in my natural state. First, I will tell you the meaning and history of your name, Winstance,” Hozlefunashti said in this really decided, firm tone.

You’re reading Victor Poole, and in my current story, [redacted cool stuff] is happening!

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Another study

young man study

Sample

(So far in our story, the rebel fairy has found the half-nymph Hozlefunashti and is finding out about the real situation in the fairy forest. Enjoy!)

Background at Last

“What’s up with my mother? So far I’ve heard that she’s Zaeffo’s sister, that she chops off people’s wings a lot, that she’s been draining power from me and other fairies over the years, and that she’s an all-around sketchy character. So what’s the truth about Queen Amance?” I asked.

“To begin with, she’s not a Queen,” Hozlefunashti said with a happy sigh, settling his chubby arms along the back of the not-a-couch while he watched me work on taking apart the tangled magic. “If you want to understand the whole picture, you’ve got to get everyone’s age and origins pinned down. Whom do you know so far? Give me names and ages, for the people you’re familiar with,” Hozlefunashti said.

“This is what I’ve been trying to get for ages! I wanted a straightforward talk like this! Thank you! Well, I’m ninety-eight and my name is Winstance, which is the stupidest name ever,” I said.

I felt I’d better start at the very beginning, since I was not who I’d thought I was, and Hozlefunashti started to laugh again. He had a really funny giggle, and he shook his head and looked sort of gleeful. I hadn’t mentioned my name until this point, so I was a little surprised at his reaction.

“Winstance is a very important name, and was considered a beautiful one when I was young. What do you think it means?” Hozlefunashti asked, his eyes getting all twinkly with good-humor.

“It’s just an old-fashioned name that’s really awkward and I don’t like it. It means the fairies slapped a label on me after I was born,” I said with a shrug. I was in the middle of detangling a couple of really gnarly bits of magic that were caught right through Hozlefunashti’s thigh, and he was staring at me as I worked.

“You really do not know anything at all, do you? How did she manage that?” Hozlefunashti asked.

“I don’t know. Moffer Bones told me—“

“You know Moffer Bones?” Hozlefunashti demanded, and he looked so worked up that I got a little distracted and stared at him. “Keep working, please!” Hozlefunashti said, and I grinned and went back to undoing his curse situation.

You’re reading Victor Poole, and in my latest story, everyone is talking through what will happen next.

More practice for face construction

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Sample

(So far in our story, the fairy rebel has discovered her true parentage and gone to confront the half-nymph Hozlefunashti to find answers. Enjoy!)

Gratitude At Last

So I stood up again and glared at Hozlefunashti, trying to see any kind of invisible bonds around him, and sure enough there was some very sticky magic wound through his hips and binding him to the couch, which was not really a couch at all. The whole setup was pretty gnarly, once I really started examining the magical composition of the situation, so I set to work undoing all of it.

The couch turned out to be an enormous knot of really gross, sludgy magic that was connected into Hozlefunashti in several places. I felt sorry for the guy, because he had magical loops stuck inside his bones to bind him down against the whole spell. Like I said, it was mean and nasty, and it took me several hours to gradually tease apart all the different pieces and tied-up sections of yucky magic.

I won’t tell you all of that, because most of it was incredibly monotonous. I was enjoying myself, actually, because I felt so darn helpful, but you guys probably don’t want to hear ten hours’ worth of ‘And then I got this little piece of magic untangled from that yicky piece of magic.’ You know. It was repetitive but sort of soothing, I felt.

Anyway! Hozlefunashti was really unsure if my work would help at all, because for the first eight or so hours I was just untangling things near the outside of the whole mess and he didn’t experience much difference, but after I got enough of the cords untied and I could start tugging apart the crap that was strapping the poor dude down against the couch, he got super-duper excited and started to talk.

At first he just blathered on about how wonderful I was, and he said thank you over and over again, but once he’d kind of let off that steam of initial gratitude—and boy, was it nice to help someone who actually appreciated it! Gosh! Anyway, once he’d gotten some of his ‘thank you ever so much, merci,’ etcetera worked off with excessive gushing, I figured it was a good time to start getting some answers.

Finally, right?

I was pretty sure this dude, my half-brother, was definitely up for spilling his guts, and I was extremely happy to figure everything out and get names and identities pinned down better.

So to start with, I asked him about my mother.

You’re reading Victor Poole, and in my current WIP, someone is getting an alien medicinal treatment. My books are here.

Another horse study

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Some days I feel like I can’t draw for shit. Other days it’s like wooo! Look at my awesome stuff!

And some days it goes from no. 1 to the other feeling and then back again. Like, epic roller coaster of art ego. Whew.

Sample

(So far in our story, Winstance has stumbled upon the fact that Queen Amance and Prince Zaeffo are apparently her parents, and she has rushed to find the half-nymph Hozlefunashti to demand answers. Enjoy!)

Another Unfortunate Curse

Finally the guy calmed down a bit, and he said, “Who told you that? Zaeffo and Queen Amance are not related. They have always been a great love story. Who are you? What numbskull is going about calling them blood-relations?”

Well, I was very happy to hear that my parents were not brother and sister, and I, in a slightly overwhelmed manner, made myself human sized for the first time in my life and flung myself onto the wrapper-coated couch.

Hozlefunashti moved a little sideways to stare at me, and I let out this huge breath and just sank against the couch, because gosh, what a relief that was, to find that I was not, in fact, a warped product of hanky-panky between siblings, and Hozelfunashti said, “Who are you, little fairy?”

I had my wings, so of course he could see I was a fairy. I eyed him for a second, wondering if this was a guy I could trust at all, and then I said, wanting to test the waters, “I heard you were Zaeffo’s son. Is that true?”

He made this cynical face and said, “Yes, I am Zaeffo’s wild oats. He had an affair behind Amance’s back, and there was a big fight. My mother was deprived of her memory and Zaeffo chained me here in human form, to punish me for existing. It’s an ugly story.”

“Wait, you’re trapped here?” I asked.

“Yes, this is not the real me. I am cursed by my very bad father who wants always to outrun his poor character. So who are you? Another bastard from Zaeffo, like me?” Hozlefunashti asked.

“No, apparently I’m Zaeffo and Amance’s kid, but I had no idea,” I said.

“Oh, that is interesting. So Amance is trying to transcend again,” Hozlefunashti said.

“What does that mean? What’s she trying to do?” I asked.

“You’re young. How’s the forest doing these days?” Hozlefunashti asked, and I eyed him for a bit and figured I could probably undo his curse, trap situation.

“Hey, if I can get you out of there, will you answer my questions?” I asked. Hozlefunashti sat right up and started to look rabidly eager.

“Yes, yes,” he said. In French, of course.

You’re reading Victor Poole, and in my latest novel, a splinter group is playing a naming game. My books are here.

Horse study

horsewater

Sample

(In our story, Winstance has done magic to appear near her father and discovered, to her consternation, that Zaeffo, whom she thought was her grandfather, is apparently her dad. Enjoy!)

Hozlefunashti

Sooo . . . everything I had been told thus far was apparently complete crap, as Moffer Bones’ mother had suggested, and it is very, very lucky that I was still covered up in secrecy charms and invisibility magic, and that I was flying at this point, because Zaeffo didn’t realize that I’d appeared there. Ugh.

Uuuugh!

So, having discovered that this recently-a-river creepy dude was, you know, my dad—ugh! Um, having discovered that, I had the brilliant (I’m being sarcastic, okay?)—I had the brilliant idea to do the same kind of magic while thinking of my mother.

Oh. My. Gosh. Guess, guys. Just guess who I showed up next to this time. I bet you can’t guess. You guessed it, didn’t you?

Amance. Queen Mother freakin’ Amance, guys.

I mean . . . ugh.

And two seconds after I saw Amance, I realized that Moffer Bones had told me Zaeffo and Amance were related. Like, ew. I flipped out, and I thought right away of finding this Hozlefunashti fellow and demanding answers.

I did some magic, and found myself—well, brace yourselves, but I found myself in a tiny, sort of filthy one-room apartment in Paris, and there was this human-sized fellow in gray sweatpants sitting on a couch that was pretty well swathed in discarded cheeseburger wrappers.

I was frantic and really angry at this point, so I made myself visible and said, “Are you Hozelfunashti?”

The guy, who had a bald patch and several chins, looked at me—I was hovering a few feet above the ground, and of course I was a fraction of his size, being at this time about a foot tall.

Um, I demanded to know if he was Hozlefunashti, and the guy, he got this bemused grin and said, “Yes,” but he said it in French, you know. Um, fairies have a universal language thingie, and I don’t want to explain that right now, but I understood him just fine and he could understand me.

So as soon as he admitted that he was, in fact, Hozlefunashti, I said, “Are Zaeffo and Amance brother and sister, really?” You know, because I was super hoping Moffer Bones had had his facts wrong. Hozlefunashti started to laugh really hard, and he waved a hand at me, showing that he was totally going to answer as soon as he stopped chortling so hysterically.

You’re reading Victor Poole, and I feel kind of overwhelmed with busy-ness just at this moment. Ta!

More clothing practice

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Sample

(Thus far in our story, Winstance has found her grandfather, followed him sneakily to deduce what he’s up to, and is lurking outside a shack he vanished into. Enjoy!)

Some Sleuth Work

Well, what happened next, to cut a really long story short, was nothing for ages, and then finally the lock vanished and the shed door opened up again. This time a human walked out, and I had to stare for a few moments before I realized that it was Zaeffo. He was human-sized, and wearing flannels and camping-type clothes, and hiking boots, you know, and he had this old, weathered cap on that had some kind of store logo on the front. He looked like a really handsome, regular hunter dude out in the woods, and he shut the door of the shed and started walking towards the fairy territory again.

Now, I was still new to all this sneaking around, subterfuge kinda stuff, but the whole situation seemed very suspicious to me, and I figured Zaeffo was up to no good and probably had all manner of nefarious, bad-magic friends who lived in that shed. I wanted to find out what he was up to and figure out how to stop him, so—you know, in case he was planning something evil or harmful.

I wanted to find out his intentions and do something about them in case they were awful, and so I figured, since I’d already tapped out Moffer Bones as a source of help, and since my half-sister Monacsta really didn’t enjoy talking to me and also seemed utterly useless when it came to any kind of conflict, I thought that I should try to find my father.

You know, Hozlefunashti, the half-wood-nymph, half-fairy child of Zaeffo who had apparently fathered me. Zaeffo had told me that Hozlefunashti was a lazy, cheerful kind of dude who lounged about in sweat pants and expended his life-energy in the consumption of cheeseburgers, so I thought, hey, I’ll find Hozlefunashti and he will surely be able to tell me all about Zaeffo’s friends and what the creepy dude is likely to be up to now. Right?

Now, this is where it gets interesting. Uh, you remember how I had used my previously-unsuspected stronger-than-other-fairies’ powers to appear near Moffer and then near Zaeffo? Yeah, I figured I would just do the same thing again, but think of my father.

Now. Ugh. Guys.

Now, I could have, and probably should have—you’ll see where I’m going with this in two seconds, I’m sure, but—what I should have done is think of Hozlefunashti, and just focused on the idea of the guy. Right? But instead, without thinking about it, I focused on the general idea of my father.

And I used my magic, and . . . BAM. There I was, standing five feet away from Zaeffo.
Yeah.

You’re reading Victor Poole, and in my current novel, the group is having an important catch-everyone-up meeting! Ta.

Practice sketch

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This is just a working-on-building-faces sketch. I’m still messing about with the way the muzzle protrudes a little from the face.

Aaand, here’s some story:

Sample

(So far in our story, Winstance has followed her grandfather, who has started to seem sort of evil, to a shed. Enjoy!)

A Bit of Necessary Background

I haven’t told you a whole lot about all the different magical species living in various parts of the world because, again, that doesn’t have much to do with the story I’m telling you, but I’ll mention a tiny bit now so you have enough information to be getting along with, so that this next part makes sense.

So I’m a fairy, or half a fairy, anyway, and there are trolls, wood nymphs, witches, and a few kinds of pretty benign shapeshifters. Then of course there are other people like Moffer Bones’ dad who are actual gods, and a big variety of other sorts of magical or semi-magical beings that live all over the place in different circumstances, just like we fairies live in the woods and look out for romance and general naturey-niceness.

Um, and I have been kept pretty isolated, as I had lately been finding out, so I don’t have a big knowledge base to share with you about how these other kinds of people live, or what they’re really like. I know a bit about trolls, just because they’ll visit back and forth with the fairies and we have a kind of alliance about nature going on. You know, we cooperate to protect our different special areas, but there are a lot of creatures and beings that I really don’t know much about.

So that’s some background, and like I told you before, Zaeffo had gone up to this old hunting shed in the woods and picked up a stick. Zaeffo was still buck-naked and about three and a half inches tall, but very handsome. He didn’t look old, despite being closer to a thousand years old than to my age, and he had, um, really dark, dashing hair and intense eyes.

So Zaeffo had grabbed up this stick and started rapping and pounding on the shed door, and after a while, the old rusted lock on the shed evaporated and the door opened.

Now, I couldn’t see if someone was opening the door from the other side or if Zaeffo had set off some kind of magical reaction, because the inside of the shed was really dark and shadowy, but Zaeffo tossed aside his stick and went right in, and the door shut again behind him. The rusted-out lock materialized right where it had been, and I settled down in the forest to wait and see what would happen next.

You’re reading Victor Poole, and in my current novel, someone is on an important journey to an alien planet.