Archives for posts with tag: Lisa Mason Fantasy and Science Fiction Author

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!

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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
lisasmason@aol.com to help support me while I recover.
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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The Garden of Abracadabra Cover Final

Crawl Space” is a spin-off from my urban fantasy novel, THE GARDEN OF ABRACADABRA (in print and an ebook). The book is “fun and enjoyable,” as reviewers have commented, while also teaching serious lessons of Real Magic.
Abby Teller, the heroine of the novel, makes a cameo appearance as well as Esmeralda Tormenta and her companion, Senor (plot spoilers of the novel appear in this story, oh well). Nikki Tesla is a regular in the novel and, most of all, the Garden of Abracadabra, a magical apartment building in Berkeley, California near the campus of the College of Magical Arts and Crafts, where Abby has started attending classes.
I hope you’ll take a peek at the novel, which took me two-and-a-half years to write. And a lovely two-and-a-half years, it was.
The Research
For a story of 4,000 words, “Crawl Space” packs a lot of plot and took me some fairly extensive research. First, there’s THE GARDEN OF ABRACADABRA, of course, which explores in depth the origin of the apartment building, which was built during the Gold Rush.
Then there’s plumbing. I got out my technical books on how to maintain your home, researched the tools Jo would carry and the tasks she was charged with.
Then there’s Italy and its famous fountains and ancient Roman aqueducts. I found my tourist books about the country and got the right spelling and details of the various landmarks.
And then there’s Berkeley, a famously eccentric college town where The Garden of Abracadabra is located. A cruise through my telephone book (yes, I still have a paper telephone book) gave me some hints of what Jo and her mothers would name their business.
Finally, I consulted Manly P. Hall’s massive treatise, The Secret Teachings of All Ages, for details about elementals, the spirits that inhabit the elements, which are key.
That’s a lot of research for under 4,000 words!
For the complete story, “Crawl Space,” join my Patreon page at https://www.patreon.com/bePatron?u=23011206. (You’ll also be able to read the delightful August story, “Crazy Chimera Lady.”)
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 Garden of Abracadabra
is an ebook on BarnesandNoble, Apple, Kobo, and Smashwords.
On Kindle in the U.S., the U.K., Germany, France, Spain, Italy, Netherlands, Japan, Brazil, Canada, Mexico, Australia, and India.
The Garden of Abracadabra is in Print in the U.S., the U.K., Germany, France, Spain, Italy, and Japan.
“So refreshing. . . .This is Stephanie Plum in the world of Harry Potter.”

10.18.17.TGOA.BOOKS

The September Story:
Crawl Space” is a spin-off story from my urban fantasy novel, THE GARDEN OF ABRACADABRA (in print and an ebook). The book is “fun and enjoyable,” as reviewers have commented, while also teaching serious lessons of Real Magic. The book has numerous subplots that I meticulously follow through, with two major plots that get resolved in the first book. I’m planning (if I live long enough after the violent Attack on me) on writing two more Abracadabra books to finish up a trilogy. Each book takes two years (or more), so your support on Patreon is vital.
Abby Teller, the heroine of the novel, makes a cameo appearance as well as Esmeralda Tormenta and her companion, Senor (plot spoilers of the novel appear in this story, oh well). Nikki Tesla is a regular in the novel and, most of all, the Garden of Abracadabra, a magical apartment building in Berkeley, California near the campus of the College of Magical Arts and Crafts, where Abby has started attending classes.
I hope you’ll take a peek at the novel, which took me two-and-a-half years to write. And a lovely two-and-a-half years, it was.
“Crawl Space”
Lisa Mason
People often ask, “Jo, how did you get into the plumbing business?”
If I’m feeling flip, I’ll say, “I’m into pipes. Pipes are a girl thing.” If I want to impress, “My mothers founded the business and handed it over to me when they retired. It’s an honorable family tradition.” For a friendly touch, I may add, “Phil taught me how to use her tools when I was a kid. While other girls were playing with dolls and plush animals, I was messing around with P-trap fittings.” If I’ve just filed my quarterly estimated taxes and feeling some pain, I’ll say, “Everybody needs a plumber. You called me, right? That’ll be two-hundred-fifty an hour plus parts.”
Tonight I’m reflective. “My mothers took me to Rome when I was ten. What a trip! We toured the Baths of Caracalla, the Acqua Vergine aqueduct, the Fontana di Trevi. Made quite an impression, y’know?”
“Yeah, all that feminine elemental water energy,” says Abby Teller, the superintendent of the Garden of Abracadabra. Abby landed herself an ideal part-time gig for a student at the Berkeley College of Magical Arts and Crafts. She’s one hell of a super and a crackerjack fledgling magician.
She figured out how to turn off the building’s incoming main when water began cascading through a crack in the ceiling plaster onto her favorite tenant’s means of a livelihood. Then she placed the emergency call to me at eight in the evening just as I was kicking back with a Bud Lite and some brainless dramedy on TV.
Abby has called me more than once to pinch-hit the plumbing problems of these grand old apartments. The Mediterranean building—a leafy walk away from the Magical Arts and Crafts campus—is an architectural treasure built during the gold-rush days and registered by an historical preservation society.
I love the place but things can get dicey there after sunset. Tonight on my way up to Apartment Thirty-nine, for instance, I ran into two of Abby’s other tenants. Esmeralda Tormenta carried a mason jar with a tiny tornado whirling inside it. Her companion, by day a Great Dane named Senor, walked by her side. Since the sun had set, he was wearing his customary red neckerchief (the Great Dane wears the neckerchief, too) and black leather jeans, resembling a youthful Daniel Craig with a scowl and jet-black hair.
Abby says—and who am I to doubt her?—that every one of her tenants is some stripe of supernatural entity, every apartment some kind of fairyland or hell. She told me this, with a weary sigh, the first time she called me. “Will that be a problem for you?”
“Nah, I’m okay with supernatural entities,” I said, desperate for the business.
Abby always pays my bills on time, never bounces a check. When she calls, I come, any day, any night. Abby and me, we’re good.
The tenant says, “Yeah, the Fontana di Trevi is pretty cool. ‘Three Coins in the Fountain.’”
I glance at him, surprised he’d know vintage movies. He looks like a classic computer nerd—but who knows at the Garden of Abracadabra?—with peculiar eyes glowing in his long, bony face, the irises swirling with color like the splash screen of some exotic software. His black hair, bushy eyebrows, and bushier mustache play up his suspicious pallor.
He looms protectively over his computers, printer-scanners, and a serious router with flashing green lights. He’s draped sheets of painter’s plastic over his expensive equipment.
An errant water-drop drips from the ceiling, splats on the plastic.
“Three coins in what?” says the general contractor standing beside the tenant, perplexity on his beefy face. This is the guy Abby calls for dry-wall patches and paint touch-ups.
“Roman tradition says when you toss three coins in the Trevi Fountain, you’ll fall in love and marry,” I explain.
“’Three Coins’ is a sappy romance flick from the nineteen-fifties,” the tenant adds and looks me over.
I’m decked out in my denim jumpsuit and a tool belt with brass hooks and loops of leather. The belt holds a flashlight, three sizes of wrenches and screwdrivers, a metal file, a tube of caulk and a caulk gun, a spray can of Rustoleum, a ball-peen hammer, and a deluxe Swiss Army knife. Tonight I’ve also got a dielectric union with a neoprene gasket dangling from a hook.
The tenant grins in a way that makes my heart go pitter-pat. Blue electrical sparks crackle from his fingertips.
“I got the ceiling opened up like you asked,” the contractor says to Abby and strides to the tenant’s kitchen. “Could we get a move on, please? I’ve got a nine o’clock call in Emeryville.”
In Rome, I’d wandered with Philippa and Theodora around massive stonework walls, vast ancient baths. Theo had turned to me, tears of pride in her eyes, and said, “Think of it, Jo. Plumbers built this.”
I may have been only ten years old but I knew very well that plumbers hadn’t built the Acqua Vergine. Slaves had built it and a master architect had designed it—some guy with an understanding of pre-Christian-era civic water management. Hardly what you’d call a plumber. But I’d held my tongue.
I’d had to do that a lot—hold my tongue—about my mothers, in spite of living in Berkeley. Hold my tongue around them, too. To their gentle unspoken disappointment, I’d turned out to be boy-crazy.
We all trek to the kitchen where the contractor has set up a step ladder to the three-foot hole he’s cut in the ceiling. The contractor and me, we’re not so good. We started off on the wrong foot two jobs ago when he looked at my tool belt and asked, “So where are your handcuffs?”
Phil and Theo had christened their business, “Dominatrix Plumbing.” I could have changed the name when they retired. But they’d built up a clientele, good will, name recognition, and a Better Business Bureau approval rating. Besides, it’s hard to grab people’s attention in Berkeley. “Frank the Plumber” just doesn’t cut it in this town. Flip open the Berkeley phonebook and you’ll find Peace & Love Plumbing, Progressive Sump Pumps, and my fave, Ganga Drains and Sewers.
I couldn’t really resent the contractor but he’s always got this smirky attitude.
He smirks at me now.
After they’d eliminated other possibilities—a rain leak from the building’s roof, tenants upstairs overflowing a water closet or a bathtub—Abby and the contractor decided the problem lies with an interior pipe. A five-point-five earthquake shook up Berkeley last week, and the building is old. Really, really old. Maybe a fitting in the aging galvanized piping has corroded and loosened?
“Water goes wherever it wants to go,” I concur. A plumber’s homily that either boosts a customer’s confidence or irritates the hell out of them.
Both the tenant and the contractor are looking at me like I’m the sacrificial virgin. The astronaut in 2001 fated to go outside the shuttle and fix the propulsion engine banged up by space junk. Or the coon-capped scout sent through enemy musket-fire to deliver a message to the bewigged general at the embattled fort upriver in The Last of the Mohicans. The chosen one, boldly going where no fool has gone before.
When you think about it, our world is made up of two places—private and public. I fix clogged kitchen sinks and leaky bathroom faucets, so I see a lot of private spaces where people keep the messy detritus of their lives deeply rooted within walls and locked doors. I also fix sewers and main drains and travel in my van from job to job, so I see a lot of public spaces, too, where people and creatures and things indiscriminately mingle.
But between the inner wall of private space and the outer wall of the public lies another dimension. In that interstice, elusive electrical cables take harbor, and secret communication connections, hidden heating ducts. Termites, spiders, centipedes, silverfish all call this place their home.
The crawl space.
* * *
For the rest of “Crawl Space” and the Afterword about the research I did for this short story,
join my Patreon page at https://www.patreon.com/bePatron?u=23011206.
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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!