The Monkey Attack – Two Years on ANM

If you know me in real life, you’ve likely heard (and stopped in stunned confusion at) my traditional birthday wishes:

Happy, happy birthday,
from all of us to you!
We hope you have a great day

I picked it up in high school, from a friend who has since been intelligent enough to realize that it is a ridiculous thing to say – or shout – to someone on their birthday. I, however, have never stopped being amused, and have never found an adequate reason to deny myself the pleasure of a simple silliness.

I imagine that’s an obvious thing after two years and six-hundred and eighty-seven blog posts here on Apprentice Never Master. And, as of today, it has officially been two years.

 photo Celebratorygesture_zpseced5d36.gif

And since it’s my birthday, and I can party as I like, I’ve decided this would be a good time to wish for a monkey attack.

GibbonMonkey #1: The Great Gibbon of Gratitude

I started this blog for myself, as a place for me to practice and play. I may have wildly dreamed of, but never expected the amount of support I have received over the last two years. I have received so many kind comments, talked with so many amazing writers, and been encouraged by so many friends, new and old.

As of right now, I have 2,510 subscribers, and have just broken 18,000 lifetime views. I have thanked you all before, and I’ll do it again.

Thank you. Each and every one of you has felt like a fairy godmother (or gremlin godfather), granting me wishes on the night of the ball. And nothing has turned back to pumpkins yet, so you must be awesome.

As a further thank you, I’m extending my usual offer: Leave a link in the comments to any of your own blog posts, and I will drop by, read, and leave a comment of my own. Please don’t feel any hesitance in doing this. I don’t have nearly as much time as I would like to read, and this gives me an easy way to find great stuff and have fun for an afternoon. I love reading your posts, and just wish I spent more time on your blogs.

PatasMonkey #2: The Prime Patas Monkey of Pride

While I’ve written some blog posts by the seat of my pants, at eleven o’clock, racing for a midnight deadline, I’ve also posted some pieces I’m really proud of. Here are just a few of them:

Land-BoundOn the ocean, a storm rolled the world under its palm like so much clay, shaping it into something flashing bright and alive…

DeathlessLediah’s Name Day passed in all the usual ways…

The Next BreathThe house slouched between its neighbors, too old to lean out on its walls or keep its eaves straight…

Skirling LadiesIt was a rude game, fast and thick and full of names for plays that no good man would say in a church…

All His LiesDeidei answered the door as soon as she heard the knock – his knock, the five sing-song raps he’d learned and borrowed from his father – and smiled before she’d pulled the door open…

Miles AwayShe tended to just tune them out when they started speaking in different languages…

Gray LinesVardan shut his eyes when he heard the key in the lock…

Waking the Rest of ThemLord Brance was singing. Loudly…

AbandonedThis was not an alley. Alleys were designed to be walked, to draw shortcuts between streets…

Killing TimeThe hourglass sat on the other end of the table, dropping sand with the kind of arrogant indifference that only inanimate objects can achieve…

If you remember really liking one of these, or one I haven’t mentioned, I would love for you to send it on to someone else who you think would enjoy it. Spread the love, the smiles, and the very strange stuff that happens on this blog. (It is my birthday.)

tamarinbabiesMonkey #3: The Terrific Toddling Tamarin

Two-year-olds are toddlers. Adorable toddlers, who have just discovered the word mischief, and make life interesting on a daily basis, but man, do they have a lot of growing to do.

I know. I was two once.

It was years before that shirt fit right. Don't get me started on the shoes...

It was years before that shirt fit right. Don’t get me started on the shoes…

This blog will hopefully continue for a long time, and will grow as it does. Feel free to click some buttons in the following poll, to help me see how you’re reading right now, so I can decide would be best for the future:

Roloway-MonkeyMonkey #4: The Repetitious Roloway Monkey

Thank you, again, for your time, your attention, and that killer smile. This blog is one of the main reasons I stay up too late, and wake up smiling.


DaBrazzasMonkeyMonkey #5: The DeBrazzas Monkey

Because it’s not really a party until you have five monkeys and one of them looks like a creature from a 1980s fantasy film.

Flash Fiction: Walls of the World (1159 words)

“Why?” He rounded the corner with a quick hop step so that he was ahead of her again, walking backward to talk to her again.

Osanne held in a smile. Ciro was never graceful, a little too abrupt in all his movements, but his backward steps jerked and his heels skidded against the carpet on almost every stride.

She had to slow a little, to keep from treading on his toes. Hesitating into her next step, she simply shortened her stride and folded her hands in front of her. Her skirts whispered a little softer on the carpet. The sunlight draping through the windows played a little longer in her hair. She didn’t much mind that he had cut her pace, but she kept walking, moving him steadily down the long, straight hall.

“Why would you give them the ships they asked for?” Ciro asked. As usual, he held her gaze earnestly, eager to know, eager to understand. He was the only historian she knew who didn’t reserve the look for inked and yellowed pages. More often than not, he gave it to people, and ignored the books entirely.

He was not Osanne’s favorite historian.

But he was foreign, and that excuse had held well enough to explain his too-tight breeches, and too-long coat.

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Flash Fiction: Newer Debts (824 words)

Lord Brance slipped into the room quietly. Nodding to the servant waiting at the wall, he let the door settle shut behind him, and took a few steady steps across the flagstones. On a good day, he would have entered at a stride that would make a lion jealous, the door swinging on its hinges, and moved immediately to the center of the room. So, Winton concluded, today was not a good day.

Glancing over his shoulder, Winton began slowly closing his ledgers, some of the day’s reports still between the pages.

“Can I help you, my lord?” he asked calmly.

Brance continued his measured pacing around the other side of the pillars that ran down the long line of the room. “The rumor is that you needed my help,” he said pleasantly.

Winton finished closing the last book, stood, and turned to face him. Leaning back against the desk, he crossed his arms. Then he uncrossed them, set his hands beside him on the edge of the desk.

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Wednesday Serial: Farther Part LXIII

Anie fire_hand


Mel wasn’t sleeping. She sat with her back to the cart’s wheel, hands dropped in her lap, one leg stretched out and the other bent beneath her. Her brown hair was a tangle, roughly braided, quick, in three strands, like she just wanted it out of her way. Usually, she would have been smiling, not just with her mouth, but with her eyes and the quick way she turned her head as she looked around. But she was slow this morning, tired maybe, but she wasn’t shutting her eyes, wasn’t laying down, wasn’t yawning.

Anie watched her, with her arm bent under her head as a pillow. Thea was asleep behind Anie, breathing deep and low. Darien, Chas slept too, on the other side of the cart. Every once in a while, Anie heard one of them shift, roll over in uneasy sleep, but she could still see them under the cart, flat on the ground.

Momma and Wesson were missing. Anie couldn’t remember when she’d last seen them. Momma told her to go, and she had. Wesson was loading the cart. The cart, they’d found near the trees, wedged as far under the twisting branches as it would easily go before the roots caught the wheels too much. It was full, with their things, and with other people’s things, with whatever they had space for as they tried things out of the camp before they caught fire.

But Momma and Wesson weren’t there. They must have run.

Anie blinked slowly, trying not to move as she looked up at Mel. Her older sister was mostly still too, but she turned from one side to the other, slowly scanning the edges of the camp. Looking for them to come back, Anie knew.

“Are you watching me?” Mel murmured after a few minutes.

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Flash Fiction: The Window (1360 words)

Terius climbed through the window an hour after midnight. In the gray dark, he was just a dim white shirt under his open jacket, just the shine of a leather boot set perfectly on the window sill, the shifting gleam of his close-cut blonde hair, a quiet shuffle as he braced himself on the moldings on the wall outside. There was a thin moon overhead, shying behind the clouds at every opportunity, so the shadows weren’t deep, and the shine wasn’t high. He was not a shadow – too quick, and too tall, and too adept at silently easing the latch out of its seat – but he was something similar. Lyneth watched him from the last step, hands locked loosely around her knees. She tried not to be impressed with how little noise he made.

Terius swung one glass pane free in a easy sort of way, and caught it before it banged at the far reaches of its hinge. Then he pulled himself around the square edge of it, setting one foot on the inside sill, then the other, while his fingers hooked in the top. And he stopped, one foot almost to the floor, head bent to fit through the short opening.

“Mother?” he whispered, too surprised to realize he’d just been caught.

“Good evening,” she said. Polite. Even.

And he didn’t let out his next breath, realizing where he was, where she was, and what was wrong with both.

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Flash Fiction: Follow Me (467 words)

“We don’t have time for this,” Toar said.

Alek glanced at his older brother over his shoulder, then continued down the overgrown path. He twisted sideways to brush past a long, leafy branch, then hit it with his palm to send it rustling behind him. “And yet, you keep following me,” Alek said.

“That’s what you’re supposed to do with madmen, to be sure they don’t hurt themselves,” Toar said. He hit the branch out of his way as well. “But we should go back.”

“Nothing’s stopping you,” Alek told him.

Toar stopped, looked behind them, considering. Alek didn’t pause, and Toar ran through three steps to catch up.

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Gwendoogle Part LXXIV – How to Cook, Sleep, Read and Clean House


Answers served with an incredible amount of flippancy

Flip the Otter searched: Where do I put the aprons?
That depends on whether or not you’re cooking right now.

If you’re cooking, put it on. You will immediately become The Magnificent Chef. You will sauté with ease! Make perfect, golden crepes! Turn perfect omelets with a single flip!

If you’re not cooking, protect your secret identity and hide that apron in the back of your closet, inside an old shoe box, under those huge sweaters that you don’t even take out in the dead of winter.

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Excuses X

#1 – I’m not writing today because an old wizard has shown up in town again. Things got kind of complicated for a moment, and I had to promise to go on a trip with my best friend to keep him from turning me into anything unnatural. (Joke’s on him.)

#2 – I’m not writing today because I’ve just had one of those days. Prison, and shipboard mutiny, and shipboard battles, betrayals, people who can’t resist doing something really stupid, some close encounters with death, and oh yes, a few more shipboard battles. I need to shoot something. Where’s the undead monkey?

#3 – I’m not writing today because I bought fare on the wrong ship. That’s what I get for picking by the look of the ship, not the destination. But I’ve been out of the world for a while… it seemed like a good idea to get back into it.

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Legal Theft Flash Fiction: Runaway Bargain (978 words)

“It’s raining,” Katja said. The dark cloth of her hood was dusted with the gleam of rain caught on its surface. She took it down and pulled off a single shower of droplets that fell silently to the carpet.

Aston looked up, one hand braced against the table. He squeezed the muscle above his knee with the other, gently kneading the ache out of the bones. He glanced at the line of windows running down the length of his study. Even if the rain hadn’t been sluicing down the glass, he would have known that the storm had rolled in.

But he smiled, bending his head back toward his papers. “Is it?”

“Like a bear,” she said. “Half the island is made of mud.”

He nodded and flipped a page in his ledger. “I heard three-quarters.”

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