Archives for category: CHROME

9.18.19.8.BOOKS.2

I cannot tell you how happy I am to have these books back in print, with ebooks for the ebook readers. This represents years—decades—of research and work.
Just nine years ago, this wasn’t possible and, believe me, I looked into it. Nine years ago, you had to invest $ 25,000 per book to produce an independent title.
Now, thanks to Amazon and your own ingenuity, the cost is negligible.
The scheduling freedom, control over your own marketing, and the reaping of the monthly profits is the reason why most traditionally published authors I know publish at least some of their new titles and most of their backlist independently.
First, you need to secure the reversion rights from the original traditional publisher—usually not a problem.
Then you need to master the correct format for a print book (and the correct format for an ebook). You no longer have to know HTML to do this, though; the website these days does the programming for you.
Then you can either go with Amazon’s cover creator function, buy cover art at a website like Dreamstime, or hire a cover artist.
Amazon’s cover creator is useful if you want to be sure your cover meets the specifications—and you don’t care whether your cover is ho-hum.
Buying cover art from a website runs the risk that your book will look exactly like some other author’s. I’ve seen this phenomenon multiple times, including from small publishers who should know better!
Hiring a cover artist may be expensive, but you will be assured of a unique cover for your book.
If you opt for the latter two choices, next you also have to hire a paste-up artist who will know how calculate and lay-out the back cover, the spine, and the front cover.
Fortunately for me, I’m married to an accomplished artist plus an old-fashioned lay-out artist! Hooray for Tom Robinson! (While he was a student at the San Francisco Art Institute, he worked for Francis Ford Coppola’s City Magazine.)
But yes, I pay him. He’s expensive!
Here are the links to the print titles above:
CHROME (“I was enjoying the characters and the story so much that the superb writing simply did its job”) 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.
Summer of Love
(a Philip K. Dick Award Finalist and San Francisco Chronicle Recommended Book) is in print as a beautiful quality trade paperback in the U.S., the U.K., France, Germany, Italy, Spain, and Japan.
The Gilded Age (a New York Times Notable Book and New York Public Library Recommended Book) is in print in the U.S., the U.K., in France, in Germany, in Italy, in Spain, and in Japan.
The Garden of Abracadabra
(“Fun and enjoyable Urban Fantasy”) is in print in the U.S., the U.K., Germany, France, Spain, Italy, and Japan.
Cyberweb
(“Some very deep philosophical questions are posed…a very entertaining and thoughtful story.”) is in print in the U.S., in the U.K., in Germany, in France, in Spain, in Italy, and in Japan.
ARACHNE (“Highly recommended and very memorable.”) is in print in the U.S., in the U.K., in Germany, in France, in Spain, in Italy, and in Japan.
One Day in the Life of Alexa
(“[An] absorbing read with an appealing narrator and subtly powerful emotional rhythms.”) is in print in the U.S., the U.K., Germany, France, Spain, Italy, and Japan.
Strange Ladies: 7 Stories (“A must-read collection—The San Francisco Review of Books) is in Print in the U.S., in the U.K., in Germany, in France, in Spain, in Italy, and in Japan.
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 there for you with more on the way.
Donate 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!

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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.
Please disregard any ad placed here. They have been placed without my permission.

9.8.19.CHROME.PRINT.BOOKS.1

At last the publisher sent me print copies of CHROME. (They’re on the East Coast and apparently affected by the storm.) The cover, by San Francisco artist Tom Robinson, is comprised of a dozen different elements which Tom carefully researched. We think the imagery looks kind of mid-century. I love the color scheme.
And yes! A Brand-new Reader Review of Chrome, the First One:
“So Walter Mosley reread Animal Farm and The Island of Dr Moreau and says to himself, “Oh, yes indeed, I’ve got a terrific idea for my next best seller.” But! Lisa says, “Hold on, hot stuff. You’re too late. Chrome is already on the streets. Haha!”
Wow! I just tore through Chrome. So much fun. Oh, I guess I should take a time-out to say that it was very well-written too, but I was enjoying the characters and the story so much that the superb writing simply did its job and I had to consciously reflect to notice the excellent and clever construction and reveals. Uh, isn’t that the definition of good writing?
I’m not usually a fan of sequels, but could we please have at least one more romp with Ms Lightfoot and her sidekick Terralina?”
Yes, I’m working next on CHROME COBRA and a third book to round out a trilogy, plus a prequel novella. LIBERATION DAY, which will explore the mysteries of the events leading up to freeing of the Blends from their cages.
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.
The ebook is on US Kindle, Barnes and Noble, Smashwords, Apple, Kobo, and on 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.
Join my Patreon page at https://www.patreon.com/bePatron?u=23011206.
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!

I’m putting the finishing touches on my Patreon Tiers, which I’ll be blogging on WordPress as the autumnal days progress.
Tier One features a Tribute to Yoshio Kobayashi, the beloved Japanese translator of science fiction and fantasy who suddenly and tragically died in May, 2019. I considered him a friend. Tier One also features my original vegetarian recipe for Spicy California Rice and the September movie review, which will probably be a critique of “Can You Ever Forgive Me”? Plus, I’m adding The September Lifestyle Blog to Tier One.
On Tier Two, you’ll find another delightful Lisa Mason story. This one, “Crawl Space”, is an Abracadabra spin-off, with a Foreword introducing the story and an Afterword exploring the extensive research that went into writing a 4,000 word story. Plus, I’m adding The Writing Tip of the Month, analyzing inadvertent repetitions in a manuscript and how you can fix them. You could pay one of the how-to-write venues $4,000 to learn this stuff (and you can pay ME $4,000 if you like), but Tier Two will cost you a mere four bucks.
Your pledge at Tier Three gives you access to all of this material in One and Two, plus the on-going serialization of my acclaimed new novel CHROME. I’ll be adding Chromian blogs about the inspiration, research, and literary backdrop to this Tier.
Finally, your pledge at Tier Four will give you all of the above (at your leisure), plus my on-going memoir Sticks & Stones Will Break My Bones, about the violent criminal Attack against me. The aftermath of the Attack is why I need your help and support at Patreon.
Join my other patrons on my Patreon page at https://www.patreon.com/bePatron?u=23011206.
Donate from your PayPal account to lisasmason@aol.com.
Check out my books and ebooks, which are being updated for 2019.
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!
Please disregard any ads placed here. They were placed without my permission.

CHROME.MED.295.KB

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
Preface
In The Forbidden District
The pupils of her golden eyes widen and her nocturnal vision takes in every stirring shadow, every moonlit glimmer.
Dark blocks of buildings brood beneath the starry night, regimented like military barracks. Grim windows glint under eaves, too tiny to crawl through, grilled in by metal bars, some with the panes of glass half punched out. Stacks of rickety brick jut from the endless tarred roofs. Chimneys for the crematories where the failed experiments were once consigned to an oven’s flames?
Lightfoot doesn’t know. A lot of failed experiments, that’s what the histories say.
She spies the collapsed trough of a rain gutter, a door twisted off its hinges, a scatter of shackles abandoned on the gravel where the survivors, newly freed from their cages, had torn their prison apart.
Lightfoot drops to a crouch, stilling the breath in her chest. Slowing the pound of her heart. She shouldn’t be here. She wouldn’t be here, if not for the clue she’d found.
Silence, save the keening wind.
Desolation bears down like the boot of an oppressor. She shouldn’t be here.
So different from the honking, howling, squealing, squawking, yapping, yowling of Chrome City. Different, too, from the boroughs of the Blends, the sprawl of their habitats, their meadows and mountains, jungles and deserts, ponds and aeries. Different even from the Wildlands with its savage brambles and untamed trees.
No life wants to live here. Not in this cursed place.
Lightfoot shivers. Then steels herself, tensing her muscles for the task ahead.
The Forbidden District must be haunted. She can practically hear the ghostly screams of the failed experiments two-and-a-half centuries ago.
The screams of her human ancestors.
1
Luna Lightfoot
Later, when she’s prowling off from the heist, a pounce in her step, the pilfered treasure in her pocket, Luna Lightfoot sees something she is not supposed to see.
On Chrome, the artificial planetoid orbiting Earth, everyone celebrates Jamboree on the cusp of spring, donning masks and costumes and indulging in their fondest fantasies, usually with impunity. Lightfoot loves Jamboree. She’s scored her richest heists while everyone is swilling gin, devouring feasts, and mating up with their specimen of choice.
“Cage free to you, Lightfoot,” growls Dom Swifty Panterr, gnawing a gobbet of bloody beef impaled on a toothpick feathered with green tinsel. “Fine mask.”
“Cage free to you, Dom Panterr,” she purrs, unreasonably pleased the criminal kingpin has noticed her slinking through the ballroom among the high-society herd.
Lightfoot wonders—but only briefly—why he has been invited.
Oh, that’s right. Swipe a slice of bacon and you’re a thief bound for jail-time in a Chrome City lockup. But swindle the hard-earned wages of a million mice and sheep and quite a few dogs, commission and commit extortion and murder-for-hire, prey on gazelles because you just can’t help your instincts, peddle cram and soot and tobacco—all of which Dom Panterr does in the usual course of his enterprise, if the rumors are true—and you’re an honored, respected guest at Bunny Hedgeway’s shindig on a sultry spring evening during Jamboree.
Who can be surprised? That’s the law of the jungle. Only Chrome is no jungle. A higher high-tech megalopolis than Chrome City doesn’t exist among the sorry burgs down on Earth.
This is Chrome.
To read the rest of this excerpt, join me on my Patreon page at https://www.patreon.com/bePatron?u=23011206.
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!

10.18.17.3.ATHENA.IN.BOX_NEW

The August Lisa Mason Story
I first told this true story, event by event, on Facebook .and received such expressions of worried suspense and relief, delight and enjoyment that I was inspired to write the lovely story below, taken one fantasy level above reality.
Some time before we adopted Athena, we saw the outstanding documentary, “The Elephant in the Living Room,” about people who are compelled to keep wild animals and the wild animals that often live near—and endanger—our civilized homes (think huge serpents, mountain lions). I have to wonder about our domesticated cats and dogs, who sometimes still have one paw in the jungle, and why we love them so.
“Crazy Chimera Lady”
Lisa Mason
“It’s now or never,” Thomas says as we breathe the scent of lavender perfuming our garden. “We should adopt another chimera. And soon.”
“Before we get too much older and have to worry about the chimera outliving you and me?” I sip my chilled chardonnay.
“Yes.” My husband contemplates his cabernet sauvignon. Thomas prefers red, I prefer white. In the two-hundred-forty-five chimera years of our marriage, we’ve never had a wine fight. We’ve both come to think about time in chimera years. It has made us feel closer to them. “And so? What do you think?”
Midnight after a productive day. I’ve woven half a tapestry commissioned by a wealthy coder. Thomas has carved a dozen gemstones for a day-trader who, despite her abrasive manners, always pays in full and on time.
“I don’t know.” I sigh. It’s been fifty-six long chimera years since Alana died at the age of a hundred-twenty-six. A good long life for an ivory-wing, a breed not known for its longevity. Six chimera years earlier, Luna had died. We didn’t know Luna’s age when we adopted her from the animal shelter, but she was a blue-wing, which is a long-lived breed. She probably had been older than Alana.
After fourteen chimera years, the grief for my girls eventually subsided. Became a distant ache rather than tears streaming down my face while I slept. Now I’m not sure I can watch another beloved chimera grow from clutchling to full-fledged to oldster and die. Which they do. Usually before we do.
“I’ve loved chimeras since I was a kid,” my husband argues. “My dad always had a clutch of seal-wings in the house. I want a chimera again, Susan, I really do.  Before it would be irresponsible of us to adopt.”
“We’re having this conversation now that we’re four-hundred-thirty-four chimera years old?” I joke. “Not when we were two-hundred-ten?”
“Yes.” Maybe Thomas is in such a serious mood because we’ve just executed our wills, powers of attorney, and all those other fun documents that force you to contemplate your own mortality. That’s not something you do when you’re two-hundred-ten, either. “Now or never, for the rest of our lives.”
“Never, then,” I whisper.
He chooses to ignore that. “I wish you’d search the Web one more time.”
It’s not as if I haven’t. Though I’ve searched only for another ivory-wing like Alana—golden eyes, plumy white tail, white feathery wings. I’d found such an enchanted creature thirty-five chimera years ago. But she was—as her foster mom honestly admitted—a biter. My seal-wing, Sita, had been a biter. Blue-eyed and beautiful, with fawn-colored wings and paws, Sita had often made my life difficult. I was a university student, then a graduate weaver looking for a husband. She’d left a scar across my left hand.
I couldn’t have a biter who looked like my gentle Alana. That would have been too hard. I had to let that chimera go.
Going on Facebook hasn’t helped. Everyone, it seems, has a beloved domesticated chimera. Posts adorable photos and videos. Chimeras snoozing in the sun. Chimeras leaping in and out of crates. Chimeras flapping happily in aviaries, fetching Frisbees. The big wild chimeras, in zoos and wildlife preserves, have their own photo opps, too. Frolicking with their clutchlings in grasslands. Soaring over mountaintops.
A Facebook friend, a weaver in Australia, started posting photos of the silver-stripe clutchlings she’d rescued from a parking lot in Sidney, and I found myself straying into the pet supplies aisle at Whole Foods. Sure enough, the Whole Paws label offers high-quality canned chimera food and bagged kibbles with a low ash content. No soy, corn, grain, or dairy. Just whole ground rabbit fortified with B-6, calcium, and other vitamins and minerals.
Rabbit—not fish, fowl, or deer—is a chimera’s food of choice in the wild. Rabbits are the reason farmers domesticated chimeras centuries ago and bred down their size. Which is fine with me. If you think rabbits are cute, you’ve never tried to grow vegetables. There’s nothing cute about ravenous lagomorphs gnawing your carrots and spinach into mulch.
I push back my patio chair, go inside to the computer. “If it’ll make you happy,” I tell Thomas, “I’ll search now.”
“It’ll make me very happy,” my husband says and follows me.
I log onto the Web, go to the usual websites—Ebay, the Tri-County Society for the Protection of Chimeras, and Purebred Chimeras Rescue. Thomas stands behind my chair, leaning over the screen.
“Oh?” I click on an Ebay listing for a blue-eyed, blue-wing clutchling. “Damn! Her breeder is up in Redding. You must be kidding me.”
“What is that, a four-hour drive from Piedmont?”
“Try five, and that’s just one way. This won’t work. I can’t see ten hours on the freeway to adopt a chimera, no matter how sweet she looks.”
Thomas brings me my glass of wine. “Keep searching.”
Tri-County has hundreds of listings of the usual domesticated chimeras. Though they look appealing and desperately need homes, we can’t find a likely candidate. We’ve both been raised with seal-wings. For the last chimera we will probably ever own, we want an exotic.
I go to Purebred Chimeras Rescue. The website has three pages of promising exotics, but they’re all males. Ara, our flame-wing who died sixty-three chimera years ago, had been a lovely boy chimera, but he didn’t have that loving maternal instinct which, in my experience, all female chimeras possess. The last chimera we will ever own has to be a girl.
Then there she is.
Baby Blue is a nine-month-old clutchling surrendered by an ailing, aging breeder to the San Jose SPOC. Purebred Chimeras Rescue took her from San Jose to their headquarters in Davis for registration, then to a vet in Salinas where she was de-wormed, given surgery under anesthetic to spay her, treated for fleas and lice, and given the full battery of vaccinations. From Salinas, PCR took her to Chimera Hill in Santa Cruz for adopting out.
“Born and bred in cages and carrying crates all her life,” Thomas says, “with a history like that.”
“Yes.” I frown. “They’re calling her a blue-wing mix, but look. She looks like a lilac-wing bred with an ivory-wing.”
“They must have named her Baby Blue on account of her eyes.”
Oh, her eyes! Her slanted, almond-shaped eyes are the color of a cloudless summer sky. Her description says she’s shy. Fearful of people. She struggles to escape when a human handles her. Possibly, the description says, she will be a problem chimera. A biter. A clawer. A potential killer.
You see that now and then on the Web. A chimera kills her human.
In the shelter’s four photos, Baby Blue looks shy and fearful and gorgeous. She looks like Luna and Alana miraculously combined into one chimera. A blue-eyed ivory-wing with a lilac face-mask, artistic splotches of lilac on her silky white coat and wings, and a plumy lilac tail.
My fingertips hesitate on the keyboard. “What do you think?”
“Fill out the application,” Thomas says. “Do it, Susan.”
“A problem chimera?”
“She’s young. We can train her.” He adds, “She needs us.”
I feverishly navigate through the website. “You know, it will be a lot of extra work, caring for a chimera again. Just when our businesses are doing so well. Our careers transitioning into Act Two.”
I can picture who will take care of the chimera. Clean her eyes, trim her talons, floss her fangs, brush her coat, comb her wing feathers, feed her rabbit meat, change her drinking water, clean her litter box, take her out into the aviary, toss around chimera toys, ooh and aah.
That will be me.
Thomas looks at me. “I’ll take care of her, too. I promise.”
“It’s till death do us part. When she dies, we’ll be a whole lot closer to our own deaths. Are you prepared for that?”
“Absolutely. I’ll work harder than ever on the gemstones. Please, Susan.”
I click on “Apply.”
The application asks a lot of nosy questions. Are we married? Do we rent or own our home? Do we have children living there? How about other animals? Are we financially secure? What is our estimate of an acceptable veterinarian bill for medical services? Do we have heirs or other arrangements for the chimera if anything happens to us? Do we know how to train a chimera? What is our position on neutering, de-taloning, de-fanging, wing-clipping?
Neutering, yes. Everything else, no.
The application requires that we provide two local personal references and their phone numbers. It’s sobering and a little saddening to realize that, at four-hundred-thirty-four chimera years, Thomas and I don’t have a lot of local references. Friends have died or moved away. We’ve each run our independent businesses for a hundred-seventy-five chimera years, deal with gallery owners and clients and agents, but don’t have business partners or employees. Thomas’ parents and step-parents died many chimera years ago, as have mine. His cousins live in Washington State, my only sibling in Colorado.
I understand, I suppose. Purebred Chimeras Rescue is serious about adopting out chimeras to legitimate people. Not to people who would adopt an exotic chimera, then resell her for three times the price. Or de-talon and de-fang and clip her wings. Or sell her to a research laboratory. Or sacrifice her in some satanic ritual.
I shudder to think of it.
We’ve got Stuart as a local reference. Stuart is my tech guy at General Computer Store who replaced the motherboard on my aging Dell. And we’ve got Yoshio, a recluse who’s lived in our neighborhood for two-hundred-and-one chimera years. Yoshio owns a hundred-forty-year-old blue-eyed blue-wing. This last March, he asked us to feed, water, medicate, and fly her while he went off on his annual hike in the Sierra Nevada Mountains. We gladly did.
I electronically sign and send the application. “When I was at the university,” I tell Thomas, “I saw an ad for Sita in the Ann Arbor Gazette. I drove to a farm outside of town, handed over ten bucks, and left with my clutchling, fleas and all. No questions asked.”
“It’s a different world,” Thomas agrees.
The next morning a woman emails me. She identifies herself as Gwyneth from Purebred Chimeras Rescue, asks for my phone number and when is a good time to call for an interview.
An interview? Yes. She informs me that twelve other people have applied for Baby Blue. That we shouldn’t be too disappointed if we don’t get her.
“What?” I shout at Thomas. “We finally find a chimera who could be our last and they’re playing games?”
“Send her another email,” Thomas says. “Insist. You’re good at insisting.”
I send Gwyneth another email reiterating how much we want this chimera. I beg and plead. I send the Web address of my weaver’s website, which features two pages of Luna and Alana, two pages of my husband’s carved gemstones, and twenty pages of my award-winning tapestries. A photo of Thomas and me on our wedding day. A photo of me holding Alana in our kitchen. Her furry white arms wrapped lovingly around my shoulders, plumy white tail curled around my waist, white wings fluttering. Thomas took it, one of those once-in-a-lifetime photos you cherish forever.
Gwyneth calls exactly at three in the afternoon.
“So you were this hot-shot industrial weaver and you left it all to make art?” she begins. For someone who wants to adopt out a chimera for a hefty fee—two thousand dollars, cash or check, no credit cards—her tone sounds  a bit belligerent.
My story is no secret. I’ve laid out my checkered life on my Bio page. “Yep,” I say amiably. “I love the craft of weaving. I just didn’t fit into an industrial setting.”
If she thought I was going to pull an attitude, apparently she doesn’t think so anymore. “I know exactly what you mean,” she replies. “I’m an architect myself, but I didn’t like dealing with clients. Now I run a boarding facility for chimeras. Go figure.”
“Which is amazing,” I say and mean it. I looked up Chimera Hill on Facebook. Found photos of a clapboard house beneath a giant avocado tree. Gwyneth is expanding the house, constructing aviaries adjacent to the cages so the chimeras can stretch their wings in the sunlight. “Really amazing.”
She gives a little chimera-like trill. Quizzes me about my previous chimeras. Had Sita, the biter, been de-taloned? Yes, she had. Vets did that in those unenlightened days. Now they won’t because it’s cruel.
“Oh, some vets still de-talon,” Gwyneth snaps. “That’s probably why Sita became a biter. Talons are a chimera’s first defense in the wild.”
“That’s a good point. Extract the talons, and the chimera has to resort to her fangs.”
“Exactly.” Gwyneth sounds pleased. “Do you understand about chimera nutrition? You and your husband look like New-Agey types.”
She’s baiting me. “I totally understand. Chimeras are obligate carnivores.” I recently stumbled upon this term in a chimera magazine. I’m happy to trot it out now.
“Obligate carnivores,” Gwyneth echoes as if she’s never heard the term before, either, but will use it to good advantage with some hapless interviewee in the future. “How do you feel about adopting a female chimera? Some people think they’re inferior to males.”
“Oh, no! We definitely want a female.”
“Okay.” A rustle of papers on her end. ”Just so you know, we’re keeping Baby Blue in a cage with two males. When the vet spayed her two weeks ago, she wasn’t pregnant.”
I don’t like the sound of that. I don’t want our chimera staying in that cage one more night. “I’ll come and get Baby Blue tomorrow.”
“I’ll pencil you in for Saturday.” Gwyneth is paying for the long-distance call but that doesn’t mean she’s allowed to bully me.
“Gwyneth, Saturday is the Fourth of July. Traffic will be hellish up to Santa Cruz. Drunk drivers?”
“Yeah, but tomorrow’s not good.” More rustling of papers. “Our reference checker has to teach class tomorrow. How about Thursday?”
They’re actually going to call Stuart and Yoshio? “Thursday, it is. I will be there for my chimera and I will see you then.” I’m not taking no for an answer.
“I’ll email you directions. Is Thomas coming with you?” Her tone turns coy. “His gemstones are beautiful.”
So she has given our website a going-over. How many of the other twelve applicants have a website with two pages of chimera pictures? “Nope. Thomas will be taking the chimera tree out of storage. And the water bowls and food bowls and chimera toys. And staking up the aviary in the backyard. Our new chimera will be the heiress to the bounty of our chimeras past.”
“Wonderful,” she trills. “But I do hope Thomas will come. I’d love to meet him. He’s really cute.”
I smile. “Yes, he is.”
For the rest of the brand-new August Lisa Mason cat fantasy story, join Tier 2 on my Patreon page at https://www.patreon.com/bePatron?u=23011206.
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The Critic’s Corner
Review of Aquaman
Aquaman stars Jason Momoa as the title character, with Amber Heard, Willem Dafoe, Patrick Wilson, Dolph Lundgren, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, and Nicole Kidman in supporting roles. The film premiered in 2018, and we saw it at home in Late Spring, 2019.
This is yet another film based on yet another lucrative DC Comics universe. The outsized eponymous character, played by the amazing Jason Momoa, is a spin-off of a previous Avengers multicharacter universe. Apparently Aquaman made such an impression on the fans (and on the movie producers) in his brief appearance and role in that Avengers film that he got to make his own showcase.
First of all, the underwater scenery is so original (and what other comics take place mostly underwater?) and so dazzling that the visuals of the film nearly overwhelmed me. Seahorses as warrior horses, jellyfish, sharks, darting schools of colorful fish, even sea dragons. Wow. Yes, the visuals were overwhelming to this viewer.
Some overwhelming complex films I want to see right away a second time before I have to return the DVD to Netflix, or buy the film for our collection to see again sometime in the not-so-distant future.
But….
For my reservations and the rest of my Review of Aquaman, join me on my Patreon page at https://www.patreon.com/bePatron?u=23011206.
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!