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This story was commissioned by Katharine Kerr for her anthology, The Shimmering Door: Sorcerers and Shamans, Witches and Warlocks, Enchanters and Spell-Casters, Magicians and Mages, and published by HarperPrism in 1996. The anthology includes so many wonderful writers of fantasy, I can’t type all the names. I’m pleased and honored to be among them.
The Hanged Man
Lisa Mason
There is no such thing as magic in telespace. Telespace is the aggregated correlation of five billion minds worldwide, uploaded into a computer-generated virtual reality. In a word, technology. And technology is scientific. Provable. Repeatable. Logical.
Whereas, magic. Well, magic is superstition. The belief that supernatural forces exist. That you can contact them, these supernatural forces. Manipulate them. Command them. But that’s an illusion, all right? You cannot depend on magic.
So Snap was outraged when a Hanged Man popped out of nowhere in the industrial telespace he was jacked into. “Damn telespace! Crashing again?” He’d been wrestling with a recalcitrant code and muttering to himself. He would never finish the TeleSystems infrastructure proposal if telespace crashed again.
Sometimes you cannot depend on technology, either.
A gruesome sight he was, too. Snap had never seen such a thing. Not some purple-faced, black-tongued, bug-eyed corpse throttled at the neck and dangling as hanged men do. Snap could have dealt with that. He would have thought Chickeeta was pecking at the resolution switch again. Was it Halloween? Snap had jacked in for three days straight, burning hypertime on the infrastructure proposal. For a moment, he couldn’t remember what month this was. What day. Dawn or dusk.
No, the Hanged Man dangled from his foot, his long, golden hair streaming down. A noose bound his right ankle. His left leg was crossed behind his right knee. His arms were trussed behind his back. He wore scarlet leggings, an azure jacket. And the Hanged Man was alive. He gazed at Snap with lucid, sorrowful eyes. His expression of silent agony was terrifying.
Then ping! he was gone.
Fear prickled through Snap’s telelink. He felt nauseated and dizzy, like the time some mooner had bumped the back of his motortrike in the gridlock and nearly killed him. Black streaks oozed in his perimeters. He dropped the code, which landed on the floor of the industrial telespace with a resounding plop and lay there, gelatinous as a jellyfish out of water.
“So help me,” Snap muttered, an expression he’d picked up from Chickeeta. “Whip you into shape later,” he promised the limp code.
Snap talked to himself a lot these days. He’d been ungainfully employed as a freelance telelinker ever since he’d been downsized out of a steady job with a utilities company two years ago. Except for a rented friend who’d been hired for three days because Snap couldn’t afford a longer term, he lived alone with Chickeeta. He saved the three days’ work on the TeleSystems infrastructure proposal to his backup drive, praying that the drive had enough space.
Praying. Now there’s some magic for you.
He jacked out of telespace.
And found himself strapped into the workstation tucked in his shabby studio apartment a story above the gravity dancing club deep in the wilds of the nightclub district. What the gravity dancers lacked in technical skill, they more than made up for in charm. Snap himself never patronized the club, but he often saw the dancers crowded around the front door, sneaking a smoke of this or that. Flashing gap-toothed grins, they lingered there in their fourth-hand danceskins and retreaded athletic shoes.
Snap’s studio apartment was not the kind of place to show your grandmother, but he liked it fine. Plus the price was right for a freelance telelinker. Snap unclipped the straps, cut the electro-neural. Feeling like three loads of dirty laundry, he dragged himself out of the workstation. Swigged a can of tweaked Coke. Threw open the window shade.
The damp chill and glimmer behind the eastern hills told him maybe four-thirty, maybe five a.m. Chickeeta huddled by the wallboard heater, eking out a bit of warmth, and glanced at him with glossy eyespots that always seemed too wise. Or wise-ass.
“Hey, idiot, where’ve you been?” Chickeeta said, ruffling its plumes. “I want to live, I want to dance, I want to cha-cha-cha.” Chickeeta let loose a tremendous shriek, then muttered, “So help me, ol’ salty boy.”
Snap grinned. He’d acquired the microbot from one of the sailors who frequented his lovely neighborhood. The sailor had mooned out in back of the club next to the door that led up to Snap’s studio. Someone had relieved the sailor of just about everything but the shirt on his back and the microbot.
Snap let the sailor sleep it off upstairs, gave him a pair of jeans and a ten-credit disk. For that small favor, the sailor gave Snap the microbot. A tiny, graceful entity with a bright copper head, anodized emerald aluminum plumes, and a silver rotary propeller extruding from its slender spine.
The exchange with the sailor turned out to be a good deal. Snap had the microbot appraised and discovered it could fetch up to five thousand credits through classy first-hand markets. Wow! But when a potential buyer responded to his telespace posting, Snap had to admit he didn’t want to sell, after all.
He’d grown attached to Chickeeta. The microbot was a pretty little thing. Smart. Sassy. Always nagging him. And at least Snap could complain to someone—something—other than himself.
Snap finished the tweaked Coke, which lessened the pounding in his head, sweetened the sourness in his stomach. A decent deal. He shuffled to the fridge. A small glacier calved out of the freezer. Down below, the fridge held the withered wrapper from a toner cartridge and half an organic apple that had seen better days.
Snap shredded the wrapper for Chickeeta. Sliced the apple for himself. Boiled tap water, mixed up instant coffee. Which could have been dishwater except it was black.
“You look like hell, amigo,” Chickeeta said, seizing wrapper shreds in its beak. The microbot processed metals and motor oil, automatically repairing its internal hardware.
“Tell me about it,” Snap muttered. “So help me.”
“Heh, heh, heh, so help me,” Chickeeta said. “Yeeeek!
An anomaly, that’s what the Hanged Man was. Snap sighed and sipped coffee. The brew tasted like freeway grit, but the caffeine wended its way to his exhausted brain. An anomaly. He’d heard of them, of course. Who hadn’t? The Hanged Man’s eyes were glossed with some awesome emotion, a strange intelligence that Snap couldn’t place at all. He shivered. Anomalies were random manifestations in telespace, erratic bits of electro-neural energy. Anomalies could never be completely deleted, not even with all those terabytes of artificial intelligence.
Yes, but telespace was technology. Technology was science. You could depend on science. Couldn’t you?
The Hanged Man meant Snap’s telelink was whacked. He didn’t know how it happened, but he had to get himself fixed. And fast. The TeleSystems infrastructure proposal had a deadline. He was depending on landing this gig. He tried to cast away the thought of his debts stacking up, the rent due in a week, his empty fridge. His unemployment compensation had long since expired. He would wind up on the street if he didn’t land this gig.
Snap stroked the microbot’s gleaming back. Chickeeta nuzzled his elbow. If Snap were to give up Chickeeta on the street, bargain and sell the microbot, he’d be no better off than the sailor in the alley. He’d be without Chickeeta. He’d be no good at all.
“Gotta go downtown, big bopper,” Snap said, draining the last drops of the coffee.
“What’s happenin,’ massa?”
Microbots cannot really understand concepts, Snap reminded himself. They don’t have much memory, let alone intelligence. They just repeat routines they’ve learned.
“Need to check with Data Control. Ah, what am I saying. You don’t really know what I mean, right?”
Chickeeta winked. Or maybe the microbot just had to clean a speck of dust on its eyespot.
“I won’t be long,” Snap added, just in case.
Chickeeta ruefully picked at the shredded wrapper. The microbot was looking rather scruffy lately. So was Snap.
“I’ll get some decent grub for us, too, okay? I’ll charge it, what the hell.”
Microbots can’t smile, either, but a grin curved Chickeeta’s beak. “Charge it, what the hell, heh, heh, heh!”
*   *   *
The gridlock idled downtown, emitting a filthy haze over the morning. The toiling masses were decked out in their facemasks and oxygen tanks. Since the air-borne San Joaquin fever caused a half million deaths in the city last year and toxic fumes claimed nearly another million, masks and tanks had become a necessity, despite escalating robberies and police protests.
To read the rest of “The Hanged Man” and find out how Snap solves his problem, the woman he meets who changes his life, and an Afterword about the story’s setting, please join Join my Patreon page at https://www.patreon.com/bePatron?u=23011206 and support me while I recover from the Attack. I’ve got lots of goodies for you there—more stories, recipes, movie reviews, book excerpts—with more on the way.
Donate a tip from your PayPal account to lisasmason@aol.com.
Visit me at www.lisamason.com for all my books, ebooks, stories, and screenplays, worldwide links, covers, reviews, interviews, blogs, round-tables, adorable cat pictures, forthcoming works, fine art and bespoke jewelry by my husband Tom Robinson, and more!

Movie Night Extravaganza, reviewed in reverse order of when we viewed them. Why? Because I will have more to say about the first film we viewed than the others following.
Masterpiece Theater’s “The Virgin Queen: Elizabeth I” was good for three hours. There were no radical deviations from the history, unlike BBC’s TV series “The Tudors” about Henry VIII and Hilary Mantel’s Booker Prize winning Wolf Hall, which each wildly differ on many points of history and characterizations.
“EI”, the series starts at Elizabeth’s imprisonment in the Tower by her half-sister, Queen Mary, and goes all the way to her death. “Elizabeth” with Cate Blanchett covers that same starting point but only up to her historic announcement about her marriage. (“I am married to England.”)
I didn’t need to know more than that, really, and Blanchett is easier to look at than Anne-Marie Duff. In fact, Blanchett looks remarkably more like the historic person from what I can see on EI’s Wikipedia page. Duff had a huge role, though, and was up to it.
So my history about Elizabeth I is substantially complete.
Minor quibble: throughout the series Duff’s voice sounds like a young woman. Oh, she shouts and rouses the rabble but when she speaks privately she sounds young even when she’s depicted as middle-aged and as very old. Duff, I’m sure, would have been up to the task of modulating her voice to sound old. I suppose that was the director’s decision. Or maybe EI’s voice sounded youthful and melodic even when she was old.
And now I’m giving sixteenth century British history a rest for a while. A long, long while.
Next up: “All Is True” and “Captain Marvel”.
Join my Patreon page at https://www.patreon.com/bePatron?u=23011206  and help support me after the Attack. I’ve just posted “Arachne”, my FIRST story published in OMNI magazine, the premiere fiction venue at the time. Upcoming in a few days, a blog about how I got my first story published in OMNI, inspiration, influences, and research, plus the October Writing Tip, how to expand a novelette into a novel.
Visit me at www.lisamason.com for all my books, ebooks, stories, and screenplays, worldwide links, covers, reviews, interviews, blogs, round-tables, adorable cat pictures, forthcoming works, fine art and bespoke jewelry by my husband Tom Robinson, and more!

ARACHNE.1.28.18.SMLL

“Arachne”, My First Published Story, Published in OMNI Magazine, Newly Revised
The flier levitates from a vermilion funnel and hovers. Stiff chatoyant wings, monocoque fuselage, compound visual apparatus. The flier skims over the variegated planetscape, seeking another spore source. Olfactory sensors switch on. The desired stimuli are detected; another spore source is located.
Down the flier dips. But the descent is disrupted for a moment by atmospheric turbulence. The flier’s fine landing gear is swept against a translucent aerial line, as strong as steel and sticky with glue. A beating wing tangles in more lines. The flier writhes.
The trapper hulks at the edge of the net. Stalked eyebuds swivel, pedipalps tense. At the tug of the flier’s struggler, the trapper scuttles down a suspended line, eight appendages gripping the spacerope with acrobatic agility. The trapper spits an arc of glue over the flier’s wings, guides the fiber around the flier’s slim waist. A pair of black slicers dripping with goo snap around the flier’s neck.
*   *   *
Carly Quester struggles out of the swoon. Blackout smears across the crisp white cube of her telelink like a splash of ash rain down a window. It’s happened again. Her system crashes for a monstrous second, she plunges into deep, black nothing. Then, inexplicably, she’s in link again, hanging like a child on a spinning swing to a vertiginous interface with the Venue.
Panic snaps at her. How many seconds lost this time?
“We will now hear Martino v. Quik Slip Microship, Inc.,” announces the Arbiter. Edges of his telelink gleam like razor blades. His presence in the Venue, a massive face draped in black, towers like an Easter Island godhead into the upper perimeter of telespace. The perimeter is a flat, gray cloudbank.
“On what theory does Quik Slip Microchip counterclaim to quiet title when Rosa Martino has been titleholder to the Wordsport Glossary for thirty-five years? Mediator for defendant? Ms. Quester?”
Carly hears her name—muffled, tinny—through the neckjack. Her answer jams in her throat. Weird, she shouldn’t feel her body in link. For an eerie second she feels like she’s inside the telelink, sweating and heaving inside the airless, computer-constructed telespace itself. Her body, hunched over the terminal in her windowless cubicle at Ava & Rice, wrapped up in a web of wires, mutters a curse.
But her presence in the Venue is struck dumb.
Gleeful static from the two scruffy solos representing the plaintiff, Martino. Carly can hear them ripple with excitement, killers closing in on their prey.
Of course, they’re on contingency, and old lady Martino probably couldn’t even scare up the filing fees. One of them, a weaselly hack, shrugs at the whirring seconds on the chronograph and says, “Not defaulting on your crooked counterclaim, are ya, hotshot?”
“Mediator for defense? The mediator from Ava & Rice? Ms. Quester?” thunders the Arbiter. “You have thirty seconds to log in your counterclaim.”
Telelinks of the jury, two rows of red-veined, glassy eyes floating across the purple right perimeter of the Venue, glance doubtfully at each other. The silvery pupils dart to and fro.
Gritty bile bites at the base of Carly’s throat. A peculiar ache throbs in her jaw, thrusts icy fingers into her neck. She tries audio again, but her presence in the Venue is still silent.
“Huh, hotshot?” goads the solo. His telelink has the sloppy look and gravelly sound cheap equipment produces. But for a second, he manages to hot-wire an I-only access into her telelink.
“You ball-breakers from the big firms, with your prime link. You think you’re so tough. Watch out, hotshot. I’m going to eat you alive this time, hotshot.”
The big board across the back perimeter of the Venue hums and clicks. Gaudy liquid crystal projections in each division indicate the moment. In Stats, the luminous red Beijing dial registers another three hundred thousand births. Chik-chik-chik-chik! Ten seconds later on Docket—bing!—the eminent mediation firm of Ava & Rice registers as defense for Pop Pharmaceutical against the Chinese women who claim they took glucose, instead of birth control pills. In Trade, bids for rice futures soar. On News, reports of fifteen suicides of corn investors are filed.
“In ten seconds your client will have defaulted, Ms. Quester, and I will cite you for contempt of this Venue—obstructing the speedy dispensation of justice,” says the Arbiter.
“I’m sorry, Your Honor, request a recess,” Carly says finally. Audio feeds back with an earsplitting whine.
Her telelink suddenly oscillates crazily, sharp white edges flipping black-white-purple-white, like her terminal’s shorting out. It’s all she can do to keep logged in. Metallic tickle–pain of electrical shock gooses her body to raise a limp hand and refocus the projection.
“On what grounds?” demands the Arbiter.
“I’m—I’m sick.”
Jagged flash; the Arbiter’s gavel cracks; telespace vibrates. “Mediation recessed until next week, this same time. Ms. Quester, you will approach the bench.”
As Carly approaches, the solo zooms in with one last I-only. “Hey hotshot, hotshot,” he says in a cushy vibe. “You new, right? A word to the wise, hotshot. The Arbiter, he hates to wait. Got a reputation for the fastest Venue in town. He disposes sixty mediations an hour sometimes. You hold him up, hotshot, you in trouble. Better talk fast, better have a rap. I’ll see you in the Venue, hotshot.”
The solo logs off, extinguishing the smeary bulb of his presence in telespace.
Fully in link at last, Carly slips and slides up to the Arbiter’s quarters. No privacy in the gleaming metal construct of telespace; no shadowed corner, no hidden booth behind which to hide her humiliation. All the blank eyes stare at her.
“Ms. Quester, you are hereby cited under Rule Two of the Code of Civil Procedure for obstruction of the speedy dispensation of justice. You are suspended from this Venue for thirty days.”
Thirty days. Thirty days suspended from the Venue could cost Carly her first job, a great job, with the prosperous mediation firm of Ava & Rice. How many other bright, qualified applicants did she beat out for this job? Three thousand? How many other bright, qualified applicants would vie for her position if she lost it? Ten thousand?
Her presence in the Venue sparkles with bright panic. “I’m permitted to show reasonable cause under Rule Two, Your Honor.”
“Proceed.”
“I blacked out for a second, I’ve not been well . . .”
“If the mediator cannot prepare the mediation you extend, you re-petition, you re-calendar, you notify the Venue, Ms. Quester, in advance. Dismissed.”
“But, Your Honor, I had no warning. I just went down for a second, no warning at all. I’ve not been well, it’s true, but not so bad as to keep me out of the Venue. Your Honor, I had no warning, please believe me.”
The Arbiter’s eyeball zooms in on her flickering link for a close-up. His glittering pupil pulses with his plain doubt. “You’re not been well but not so bad, but your system went down. All of a sudden! Oh, yes! You young wires, holding up my Venue with your lame excuses. I know why link fails most of the time. I should cite you for abuse of altering substances, too.”
Carly’s teeth begin to chatter; a puddle of urine floods her plastic seat. Then a fouler, hotter wash of shame. During her first link fifteen years ago, her ten-year-old body had disgraced her like this, in the presence of two hundred other link-prep students. She feels her body stress out at the memory of her juvenile dishonor. Her presence in the Venue vacillates.
“I’m not on drugs, Your Honor. I’m ill, I tell you, it’s something insidious striking without warning. It could be cancer or radiation poisoning.”
“Or the flu? Or a hangover? Or the disposal ate your brief?”
The Venue quivers with pitiless laughter from scores of unseen throats. The spectacle of a peer’s downfall is cause for rejoicing.
“Your Honor, request permission to enter medical documentation to establish reasonable cause.”
“Oh, very well, you’re new. Permission granted, Ms. Quester. Submit your documentation before your next mediation date. This Venue will now hear Sing Tao Development v. Homeowners’ Association of Death Valley. Issue is breach of warranty under federal standards governing the relocation of low-income housing into public parkland. Mediation for the defense?”
A team from Ava & Rice logs into the Venue with a brilliantly constructed defense. A silver spiral twirls across telespace, frosty tail ejecting wisps of pale yellow sophisms into its own blue-lipped devouring mouth. Standards met under the extraordinary circumstances of the relocation or standards not applicable under the extraordinary circumstances of the relocation; thus, in either case, no breach. Mediation for plaintiff withdraws the complaint in two seconds. Screams of outrage and despair whistle through the public telespace. Someone logs in a whimpering five-year-old child dying of third-degree sunburns. The Arbiter’s gavel booms like doom. Dismissed! In one second the homeowners’ association files suit against its former mediator. Teep! On Docket, Ava & Rice registers as new mediation in the malpractice suit brought by the Homeowners’ Association of Death Valley.
Carly logs out of telespace.
And links out into a heap of flesh and ooze, sprawled in her windowless cubicle at Ava & Rice. Blown it, she’s blown the mediation bad. Every first-year mediator’s nightmare come true. Carly rips the neckjack out, spills half a bottle of denatured alcohol into the needle-thin aperture. Grimaces as a tincture of pure alcohol bursts into her brain’s blood. Messy, careless—shit! Get too much of that old evil backrub up your linkslit—bang!—you’re dead, grunt. Happens every now and again around the firm, someone just drops dead.
She swabs herself off as best she can and flees her dim cubicle, link still flickering with fluorescent green light. Jogs down the endless corridor of cubicles, working off panic with sheer locomotion.
The mediation firm of Ava & Rice boasts five hundred partners, three thousand associates, one thousand secretaries, five hundred clerk-messengers, and ten thousand terminals interfaced with a mammoth sengine, all installed in a forty-story building downtown.
At every open door, the limp body of a mediator is wired up to a terminal. Some are as wasted as junkies, rolled-back eyes between precipitous skull bones. Some are bloated with the sloth, raw lips crusty with food solutions piped down their throats.
Everyone’s got a different handle on practicing mediation, but the basics are the same. Time is of the essence. When in doubt, dispute. When in the Venue, win. The volume of mediation is astronomical. Planning for the future becomes obsolete overnight. Catastrophe strikes with regularity. Billions of bucks are to be made, and you’d better grab them before someone else does.
How many bright, qualified applicants would vie for Carly’s position when the personnel committee finds out about her failure in the Venue? Fifteen thousand?
*   *   *
For the rest of “Arachne,” (the story is 9,000+ words) please join my Patreon page at https://www.patreon.com/bePatron?u=23011206 and support me while I recover from the Attack. I’ve got lots of goodies for you there with more on the way. I’ve just posted “Arachne”, my FIRST story published in OMNI magazine, the premiere fiction venue at the time. Upcoming in a few days, a blog about how I got my first story published in OMNI, inspiration, influences, and research, plus the October Writing Tip, how to expand a novelette into a novel.
Donate from your PayPal account to lisasmason@aol.com. Even a tiny tip will help!
Visit me at www.lisamason.com for all my books, ebooks, stories, and screenplays, worldwide links, covers, reviews, interviews, blogs, round-tables, adorable cat pictures, forthcoming works, fine art and bespoke jewelry by my husband Tom Robinson, and more!

9.14.19.VIT.C

On Monday Tom went to our local UPS store to drop off a package and came back with that tell-tale feeling—he was getting sick. He was well when he went; his sinuses were already to seize up when he got back. He’s scrupulous about touching things in the public that could harbor germs and even more scrupulous about touching his eyes, nose, or mouth after being out in the public and before thoroughly washing his hands when he gets home.
My theory is that he walked through an aerosol cloud of germs. The UPS store is a closed space; someone probably sneezed or coughed in there. I had that same experience maybe ten years ago, walking through the market. Without touching anything, I came back with a ferocious vicious flu.
As he descended on Monday into a bad cold or a mild flu—sneezing, coughing, sore throat, severe headache—we immediately went into prevention mode for me. Tom put on a surgical mask. When he had to cough or sneeze, he went into his bathroom. He didn’t touch any of my drinking glasses or dinner plates or water bottles.
As we proceeded into Tuesday and Wednesday, he got better, stabilized, then got a little better. So far, so good.
He would have taken colloidal silver early on Monday. We’ve had good success with silver before—as soon as we started feeling sick, we took four drops of silver in a glass of water. And the cold or illness went away. Silver is not preventative (in our experience), but it knocks an incipient disease right out if you take it early enough.
But we were all out of silver. I went up to the market on Tuesday to buy some. The market had a silver that was unfamiliar to me; also it was a spray bottle, not drops. I wasn’t sure this silver would work.
Tom started on that, spraying his throat; he was still sick.
Despite all our precautions, when I woke up Thursday, I had that clenching feeling in my eyes, copiously dripping sinuses, violent sneezing, violent coughing, a sore throat, a little bit of an earache, and a serious headache. By the end of the day, I was burning up with a fever. Damn.
First thing, I started spraying the silver in my throat.
But I had another therapy that Tom doesn’t use.
Linus Pauling long researched and advocated supplemental Vitamin C. (Pauling lived to be 92.) He especially advocated mega-doses of Vit C. He published at least one book on the subject.
Vit C is water-soluble, so the vitamin is not dangerous to your liver like some other non-water-soluble are, such as Vitamin A. Your body simply excretes excess amounts it can’t absorb.
So why ingest mega-doses of Vit C that your body will excrete? That’s some mighty expensive piss.
Because your body absorbs more Vit C than the minimum daily requirement. Some experts say Vit C—in the form I use—alkalinizes the whole body and can even penetrate the blood-brain barrier to good effect.
What form of Vit C do I use? Pills are notoriously difficult to digest. I remember an anecdote—some Congressman was driving to work when he got some pains in his abdomen. He immediately went to an emergency room, thinking he was having a heart attack. The ER doctor examined him, pronounced him sound, and asked, “What did you have for breakfast?” The Congressman answered, “A cup of black coffee and a Vitamin C pill.” The doctor said, “Eat something for breakfast.”
I too have had problems digesting Vit C pills, so it was a revelation many years ago when a friend told me about Vitamin C powder. A quarter teaspoon has 2000% of your minimum daily requirement.
I started taking a quarter teaspoon of the powder in a glass of spring water instead of orange juice, which has way too much sugar for me. But I was careful to drink the vitamin water through a straw. Vit C is acidic; you don’t want to rinse your teeth with it lest your tooth enamel erode. Same if you sip on water with a lemon slice. Be careful of your teeth.
Now. Above I mentioned alkalinizing your body. This is vitally important to fending off all diseases of all kinds. You don’t want your body to be acidic, which promotes disease.
But how can consuming a substance that’s acidic—like Vit C powder, oranges, tomatoes, bell peppers, and other fruits and vegetables—promote your system to be alkaline?
It’s one of the confusing things about what we know about nutrition. Because acidic fruits and vegetables convert in your metabolism as alkaline. Which is great.
Whereas meat, especially red meat, potatoes, refined grains, oils, and dairy convert in your metabolism as acidic. Which is, frankly, bad.
So. On Thursday when I woke up really sick with a bad cold or a mild flu (colds usually don’t come with a fever), I increased my dosage of Vit C powder to four quarter teaspoons spaced throughout the day. And I sprayed the silver in my throat, also throughout the day.
I drank lots of water, but didn’t have any appetite. I ate a tiny dish of chilled fruit—half a nectarine, some red grapes, blueberries. I did some writing work but went to bed early.
But I couldn’t sleep at all. The headache kept me in a semi-slumber, not fully sleeping. I didn’t take aspirin. I don’t like aspirin. The OTC drug causes stomach bleeding and sometimes stroke.
At some time in the dawn, I literally felt the fever break. When I woke up after several hours of good sound sleep, my sinuses had completely dried up, the cough had quieted, the sore throat, the earache, the headache—all were gone.
On Friday, I felt a bit weak, having been sick. But all those vile symptoms were GONE.
Tom, who used the silver (a bit too late in the cycle) and eats a very healthy vegetarian diet (thanks to me, thank you) recovered in four days, with some sinus symptoms still lingering.
But I—after a regimen of Vit C powder and colloidal silver—recovered completely in twenty-four hours.
So there you have it. I’m not a doctor—take what you will from this account.
Join my Patreon page at https://www.patreon.com/bePatron?u=23011206. Thank you for your support while I recover from my injuries after the Attack.
Donate from your PayPal account to lisasmason@aol.com. Any small tip will help.
Visit me at www.lisamason.com for all my books, ebooks, stories, and screenplays, worldwide links, covers, reviews, interviews, blogs, roundtables, adorable cat pictures, forthcoming works, fine art and bespoke jewelry by my husband Tom Robinson, and more!

8.14.19.SKULL.1

This is my memoir-in-progress about a man’s violent criminal attack on me on a sunny summer afternoon, the most terrible thing ever to have happened to me. Bast Books will publish the finished book; this is a work in progress. After I woke up from three hours of surgery, I received a blazing vision of this book. I wanted to write what I had to say in a month. I worked out an extensive outline with paper and pencil on a clipboard while recuperating in bed. I had my husband bring in and hook up my laptop so I could continue writing, also in bed. As soon as I was barely able, I got out of bed, sat down at my Internet computer, and did much research.
Now it is over a year later, and I’m still sorting out my thoughts, my research, my reactions. Other people’s reactions, too. There are many facts—controversial facts—that may figure into my story.
This will be difficult for me. But I’m working the writing out exclusively on Patreon, with introductory blogs on WordPress. When the memoir is finished and polished, I will give you, my Patrons on Tier Four, the ebook of the memoir (and all of the rest of posts on the Tiers, of course.) And then I’ll start something new.
And so….
Sticks and Stones Will Break My Bones
Copyright 2019 by Lisa Mason
After the Attacker shoved me into the street in front of two lanes of oncoming traffic, and I shuffled my feet to prevent myself from crashing into a car, and I fell on the concrete street curb on my hip. Heard my scream strangely echoing.
After all that, I calmly sat up, saw my cap and sunglasses from where they’d fallen in the gutter, and picked them up.
In retrospect, I’m amazed how calm and rational I was. In retrospect, too, when I looked at the videos that the police took with their body cameras and the still photos, I’m screaming in pain and clearly in shock.
It’s odd that I don’t remember that at all. Other than my strangely echoing scream, I remember being calm and rational. I don’t remember the pain.
Three bicyclists immediately surrounded me with their bikes, shielding me from the Attacker. (Later, I saw the bicyclists standing around the scene on the police videotapes, so I didn’t imagine that.) I looked to my left and saw the Attacker striding down the sidewalk along Lake Merritt Boulevard, still yelling. He rushed at another woman with long, dark hair. She’d been approaching me on the sidewalk, witnessed the Attack, and backed away from him in a hurry.
Then he advanced on a young white man with blond hair holding a skateboard to his chest. The white man brandished his skateboard defensively, and they exchanged yells. I couldn’t see much of the confrontation, because the Attacker had his back turned to me at that point, but the white man shouted, “Give me back my skateboard.” I saw the Attacker run down the switchback, holding the skateboard, toward the lake.
Two women rushed over to me with their cellphones. One called 911, summoning the police and an ambulance. The other called my husband, who was just getting home. He ran outside, intending to jog around the lake to the crime scene, which I described to him. Luckily a neighbor was just pulling out of her driveway and drove him in two minutes to where I lay in the street.
Meanwhile, a kindly man knelt behind me, offered me water, and advised me to lean against his chest. He said he lived at 1200 Lakeshore, and I told him it was beautiful building.
I tried to stand up again, could not. My legs were like water, and the right leg lay at that tell-tale odd angle.
We waited for what seemed like a long time—it was rush hour and the police and ambulances were busy with car accidents on the freeways, I suppose.
Finally, a police car pulled up, a tall handsome black-haired officer climbed out, and took my story as fast as I could tell it. He immediately got back in his car and sped away. We all looked at one another like, “What was that?” and in another minute, police cars were speeding around the lake with their sirens on.
Another police car stopped next to the scene of the Attack, another white police officer got out, and took my full story. He asked for my name, address, phone, and email, asked did I have an ID.
I carry a little card case stocked with Author’s business cards in my jogging bag (you never know when you may connect with a new reader!) and gave the police officer several cards so I wouldn’t have to repeat the information.
Much later, I found out that the police officer had been videotaping me. He took my business card, with a nice little photo of me and the legend “Author”, clipped the card to his clipboard on a report that said, “Victim # 1.”
Several police cars and an SUV pulled up. I saw a police officer interviewed the woman with long, dark hair. She was pointing toward the bushy hill where the Attacker had been standing.
At last an ambulance arrived. My husband got in the front with the driver. Two emergency medical technicians lifted me, screaming in pain (there’s a nice police photo op of that), onto a gurney and loaded me inside. They closed the rear doors.
An EMT, a tough older man, quizzed me about my prior health conditions (none), my allergies (none), my smoking and drug use (none). When I tried to prop my right leg up, he said, “Forget it.”
In the interval, the police had apprehended the man who Attacked me on the other side of the lake and asked if I wanted to identify him.
“He can’t see you,” the EMT assured me. (Did you know that ambulances have one-way mirrors on the rear windows? You can see out, but the Attacker can’t see IN.) A police officer brought the Attacker, handcuffed and struggling, to the ambulance doors.
“That’s him,” I said at once. I had no doubt whatsoever that was him. The EMT told me the man had also accosted a police officer in the course of the arrest (actually, the EMT told me the man had bitten the police officer). That information remained hearsay until later when I verified through the District Attorney the man had accosted several other victims, including a police officer.
To the Hospital
* * *
For the rest of Excerpt 2 from Sticks & Stones Will Break My Bones, join Tier Four of my Patreon page at https://www.patreon.com/bePatron?u=23011206. You’ll have access to all the posts on the previous Tiers.
Donate from your PayPal account to
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Visit me at www.lisamason.com for all my books, ebooks, stories, and screenplays, reviews, interviews, blogs, roundtables, adorable cat pictures, forthcoming works, fine art and bespoke jewelry by my husband Tom Robinson, worldwide links, and more!

9.8.19.CHROME.PRINT.BOOKS.1

CHROME
Lisa Mason
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are either products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously and are not to be construed as real. Any resemblance to actual events, locales, organizations, or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.
Copyright 2019 by Lisa Mason.
Cover, colophon, and art copyright 2019 by Tom Robinson.
All rights reserved.
PUBLISHING HISTORY
Bast Books Ebook Edition published July 9, 2019.
Bast Books Print Edition published August 13, 2019.
No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage or retrieval, without permission in writing from the publisher.
For information address:
Bast Books
Bastbooks@aol.com
Thank you for your readership! Visit Lisa Mason at her Official Web Site for her books, ebooks, screenplays, stories, interviews, blogs, cute pet pictures, and more. Enjoy!
CHROME
Excerpt 2
2
The Conversation
A hulk in a wolf mask and a full-body wolf costume, reeking of Eau d’ Lycanthrope cologne, stands with his back turned toward Lightfoot, tense against the banister. An ostrich with impossibly long legs towers before him on the terrace. A smirk on her lush lips. Hands planted on her shapely hips.
There is no mistaking Rex Whoever and the lovely, leggy Zena Kinski.
Lightfoot stills her breath until nothing, no sound, no sigh, emerges from her nostrils or mouth. The pupils of her eyes widen. Her sensitive ears prick up.
“I know exactly what’s going on at Hades, Mister Big Shot,” Kinski says in a smug whisper.
“How could you know,” he replies, his whisper poisonous with contempt, “exactly?”
“I’m famous on Chrome. I’ve got fans and friends everywhere. Every kind of Blend. I’m an open-minded sort. What they know, I eventually know.”
“You don’t know a thing,” Rex growls in that forced, affected way. “You have no clue what dangerous business you’re stepping into.”
“Don’t I? Ten thousand free-trade credits a month says I do.”
“I won’t be intimidated by the likes of you.”
“Ten thousand credits. Or else.”
“Or else what?”
“We’ll expose you. For starters, I know you’re not a wolf. Not even a canine or a canid. Not a Feralist, either, hm?” She plucks at his ruff with polished fingernails, her Tatt strobing scarlet on the back of her hand. “I know who you are and what you are.”
He jerks away. “You know nothing.”
“Don’t I? You’ve got a lot to lose, Sir High and Mighty.”
“So do you.”
Like what?”
“Try your life.”
Kinski chuckles. A throaty chirp. “Are you threatening me?”
Rex doesn’t answer that. “What assurances can you give me that your sordid little scheme won’t escalate into higher sums? Or you won’t expose me after you’ve had your fill at the trough?”
“Dear me, I can’t at all assure you the monthly sum won’t go higher if your activities at Hades continue. But I can assure you that as long as I have my fill at the trough, I will never expose you. And I can certainly assure you I will never have my fill. I like luxury too much. A dancer’s career has a limited lifespan. Even a famous dancer like me. In a few years, I’ll require something extra to supplement the lifestyle to which I’ve become so happily accustomed.”
Rex falls silent. Then, “What if I told you you’re interfering with the most important advancement for every Blend on Chrome to come along in two centuries?”
“Oh?” A smirk in her whisper.
“The most important advancement since Liberation Day!”
“What if?” Kinski answers. “Don’t tell me you’re appealing to my conscience. You.”
“Maybe you’re satisfied with yourself, but millions of Blends aren’t.”
“Isn’t that just too bad for them.”
“You have no pity for other Blends who only want to improve their lot in life?”
“Why should I? I’m delighted with mine.”
“You’re selfish and vain and cold.”
“On the contrary, I love all the Blends. I wish every Blend well. And I’m sure they can improve their lot in life without your sordid little scheme.” Kinski executes a perfect pirouette and moves to the terrace door opening onto Bunny’s bedroom. “I’ll expect to see your free-trade credits in my bank account tomorrow morning. And on the first of every month after that. Till death do us part. Kind of like a bond-mate, isn’t it?”
“The most important advancement for every Blend,” Rex repeats, desperation in his voice.
“This conversation is over, sir.”
“Yes, it is.”
* * *
For the rest of Excerpt 2, join my other patrons on my Patreon page at https://www.patreon.com/bePatron?u=23011206 or https://www.patreon.com/lisamasonfantasyandsciencefictionwriter?alert=2. Thank you for your support while I recover.
Donate from your PayPal account to
lisasmason@aol.com.
Visit me at
www.lisamason.com for all my books, ebooks, stories, and screenplays, reviews, interviews, blogs, roundtables, adorable cat pictures, forthcoming works, fine art and bespoke jewelry by my husband Tom Robinson, worldwide links, and more!
The ebook of CHROME is on
Barnes and Noble, Smashwords, Apple, Kobo.
And on
US Kindle, UK Kindle, Canada Kindle, Australia Kindle, India Kindle, Germany Kindle, France Kindle, Spain Kindle, Italy Kindle, Netherlands Kindle, Japan Kindle, Brazil Kindle, and Mexico Kindle.
CHROME is in
U.S. print as a beautiful trade paperback. Also in U.K. print, in German print, in French print, in Spanish print, in Italian print, and in Japanese print.
* * *
NOTE: To be continued in October, 2019.
On Tier Three, you’ll receive all of the posts of Tier One, including The Essential Digest with a Tribute to Yoshio Kobayashi, my original vegetarian recipe for Spicy California Rice, and the September movie review of “Can You Ever Forgive Me?”, all of the posts on Tier Two, including a delightful new Lisa Mason urban fantasy story, “Crawl Space,” with a Foreword and an Afterword, and my Monthly Writing Tip. And on Tier Three, CHROME Excerpt 2. After I’m done posting CHROME, I’ll give you the ebook and start excerpting another novel.
If you continue on to Tier Four—and I hope you do—you’ll receive my memoir-in-progress, Sticks & Stones Will Break My Bones, about the violent criminal attack on me and the aftermath.
Added Note: In October 2019 on Tier Three, I’ll be starting blogs about the inspiration, research, and literary and historical influences of CHROME.
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10.18.17.TGOA.BOOKS

You could pay $4K for some “legendary” how-to-write racket. Or you could pick up writing tips from an author who has been publishing stories and books since 1987 (that would be me). You could pay ME $4K, too, but you don’t have to. You could join my Patreon page at https://www.patreon.com/lisamasonfantasyandsciencefictionwriter?alert=2.
It turns out that writing can be a tricky business. You wouldn’t think so, in these days of push-button churning out of words and push-button editing.
But perhaps it’s trickier than ever, now that we are wedded to a keyboard and not writing by hand in pen or pencil on recycled trees, otherwise known as paper.
Some writers—Jennifer Egan springs to mind—claim they write first drafts by hand, then transfer the words to a computer. I have been known to apply this technique myself, especially with stories. But also with key parts of novel.
Others swear by read-throughs, which is always a good idea since then you can hear the sound of the language. When you are speaking spontaneously—not a rehearsed speech—you seldom think about your word choices. The words just flow. But when you write for publication, suddenly word choices become significant. And oddly, sometimes difficult to control.
You want to have a Voice. You want to have a distinctive sound in your written work. See? That was a repetition—“You want to”. A deliberate repetition.
I’m talking about inadvertent, unconscious repetitions of words, usually distinctive words beyond the usual “but” and “and” that are only too easy to write. Those repetitions detract from the bold, precise language you want to use.
A writer in a workshop I once participated in called it “writer’s echolalia.”
I see inadvertent repetitions frequently in published fiction. These are words that have been through several pairs of professional eyes—the writer herself, an editor, a copy editor, and a proofreader.
But even a team of the pros often can’t catch it.
The longer the manuscript, the more difficult it is to catch this stuff. It’s only when you boil things down for print publication, are down to the wire, need to blow through 130,000 words in a few days, not a few years—when you see those clean, shiny proofs ready to go off to the printer—that you can spot writer’s echolalia.
Sometimes.
* * *
For the rest of The September Writing Tip, join my Patreon page at https://www.patreon.com/bePatron?u=23011206 or https://www.patreon.com/lisamasonfantasyandsciencefictionwriter?alert=2.
Donate from your PayPal account to lisasmason@aol.com.
Visit me at www.lisamason.com for all my books, ebooks, stories, and screenplays, reviews, interviews, blogs, roundtables, adorable cat pictures, forthcoming works, fine art and bespoke jewelry by my husband Tom Robinson, worldwide links, and more!
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