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Archive for the ‘About Us’ Category

How We Write – Merry Spacemen

Orion has long had a fascination with Robin Hood and the Middle Ages. In fact, she got her bachelor’s degree in English, specializing in Medieval and Renaissance literature. (Ask her how that worked out!)

Later in life, she discovered the Society for Creative Anachronism, an international group that spends its weekends recreating the Middle Ages complete with period garb and armor, but with toilets and without the Black Death. Concurrently, she was attending science fiction conventions! Things got confusing at times.

Presented with the prompt ‘between worlds’, Orion combined her two loves, outer space and Robin Hood, for a romp of a story.

Kyros created the picture that accompanies this story by photographing a model of the Liberator sitting on a starfield displayed on his iPad. (The Liberator is from the British TV show, Blake’s 7, from the 70s about a small band of outlaws fighting against the repressive, galaxy-wide Federation. Very like Robin Hood himself. Look it up. Though it featured cheesy sets and special effects similar to the original Star Trek, its ideas and values are worth your time.)

When we began editing this story for the blog, we found it required extensive work. It was originally written in 2013 and we’ve learned a lot about dialog and exposition, and show, don’t tell since then.

We think the story is much better now. Let us know what you think in the comments below.



“This is Alliance Frigate Notttingham.” The speakers crackled for a moment. “Lincoln Green, shut down your engines. Surrender and prepare to be boarded!”

Thumbing the comm button, I countered, “We do apologize, but that’s not going to be possible. Our engineer says we can’t shut down right now.”

“Now listen here…,” the Alliance Captain started. (more…)

How We Write – The Woods Are Lovely, Dark, And Scary

The prompt for this one was to write about a real-life incident. Orion doesn’t know why this particular piece of her past surfaced, but even all these years later, it was still vivid in her mind.

It happened when she was a newly-minted English teacher living in a new, strange town. Being raised on a farm and not used to the noise and bustle of a city, even a relatively small Midwestern one, she often sought the peace and quiet of local parks. While the events of this story only happened once, it did put her off that particular park.

When she first wrote this story, she mostly just stated the facts of what happened, like a victim recounting the event to the police. When she and Kyros edited the piece for this blog, they fleshed it out into an actual story, framing the incident in thoughts and emotions, while still keeping it 100% true to Orion’s experience from when she was (much!) younger.

Photo by Cecile Vedemil on Unsplash




I took a deep breath, letting the light and air and peace of the wooded park seep into my body through the open car window.

I really need this. I’m still not used to this city with its loud noises, cars, and people running everywhere. I need reconnect with nature.

Out of the corner of my eye, I saw a man jog into view. (more…)

How We Write – Newly Recurring Afterlife

Prompt: The wounds we cannot see

For the month of June, we’re going to showcase some of the political stories we’ve written, starting in June 2016 as we led up to the last election.

First up is Newly Recurring Afterlife, the most recent one we wrote.

Kyros woke up one morning, shortly after the school shooting at Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, FL, with this story racing through his head. He immediately dashed to his computer and started writing. Normally, when we write a story, we outline the basic idea, then go back over it, filling in details, embellishing here and there. That was not the case with this story. It poured out whole cloth. He messaged Orion to join him before the normal start of their day. He was only a couple paragraphs in at that point. They went to work and the entire story was written in just over an hour. For comparison, a normal short takes about one hour to outline, and about 2-3 hours more to write and edit. This story demanded to be told!

We both felt strongly about the reactions from sitting Congressmen who, rather than actually working to prevent another tragedy, only offered up the hollow phrase “You’re in our thoughts and prayers.” This is the same thing they’ve done since Sandy Hook in 2012! We decided that a bipartisan response was needed, so we wrote one.


“Physical injuries heal, but it’s the wounds we cannot see that do the most damage because the damage is to our psyche, not to our body.” -K. Starr


The Congressman woke up.

He tried to move.

He couldn’t.

Struggling, he found he was tied to a post.

“Help! Can anybody help me?” (more…)

How We Write – Future Tense

The prompts for this story were grand, judgment, and stone hammer. The prompt, grand, reminded Kyros of the Grand Canal in Venice because he had just come back from a vacation there. The prompt, judgment, immediately made both Kyros and Orion think of tarot cards because they both use them occasionally. That left the stone hammer. Being fans of Viking culture, Orion and Kyros always liked Thor’s hammer necklaces. Kyros also remembered that the Eight of Pentacles in the Morgan-Greer Tarot deck has a stonemason using a hammer.

Our story of a woman on vacation getting a tarot card reading unspooled from there, as did the plot, a nice little romance.



“The first position indicates your past year.” The tarot reader tossed her hair back as she turned over the first of the five star-covered cards to reveal a medieval workman at his bench. “The Eight of Pentacles. Hmmm. It looks like you’ve been working too much, my dear.”

Oh, she has no idea, Elizabeth thought to herself. This last year’s been nothing but work! Well, maybe not all. A wry smile came to her lips. There’s always Jason. Though all we’ve done lately is fight… She let that thought trail off, giving her mind a shake. This business meeting in Venice was the perfect excuse to take him somewhere he’d never been before. Hopefully, this beautiful setting will help rekindle our romance. C’mon, what’s more romantic than the Grand Canal?


How We Write – Founding Father

The prompts for this story came from the writing group that Orion started in her building. They had the word bounty. Since Kyros hates just having one prompt, they grabbed, extra prompts from a cool little thing he found on Amazon called Storymatic. The prompts that came from there were: shouldn’t have touched it, nobody is watching, trespasser.

The way we got into this story was that we wondered “what was it that the person shouldn’t the person have touched.” Orion suggested a dragon egg. Kyros liked that idea and thought it would be funny to steal it from a museum. That’s why she hides out in a museum in the middle of the story. That’s where she stole it from in the first draft of the story. It wasn’t until we were writing the very end of the story that Kyros got the humorous idea about who the father of the baby dragon should be. That caused us to go back and re-write our protagonist stealing it from the White House instead of a museum.

Orion used to sell stone eggs as dragon eggs at medieval fairs. When children asked if they would really hatch a dragon, she told them, “Of course, in two hundred years or so. If the egg doesn’t hatch, they should bring it back to her for a refund.” Behind the children, their parents were usually trying not to laugh and spoil the fun.

Now she collects stone eggs for herself. They live in a woven basket on her countertop where visitors can handle them while she regales them with the origin story of each one. She hopes they don’t hatch anytime soon. Though maybe the cat would like a new playmate.

When she went looking on Google Images for a picture of a stone egg for this story, she found herself drooling over pix of eggs she didn’t have…yet! The picture she settled on is a dragon septarian stone egg from Madagascar and she wants one!


“Excuse me, miss,” the man in the ebony suit called to her. “We need to check your bag before you can leave the White House.”

Icy panic raced through her veins. Did they see me take it? I thought nobody was watching. Did they catch me on a camera? I shouldn’t have touched it, let alone taken it. But I had to have it. (more…)

The (Bird) Brains of the Outfit

Orion and I have been writing together off and on for over twenty years. Ever since we started writing full time though, we’ve had another very opinionated, if uncredited, writing partner: my feathered companion, Abigail. Here’s her story….

I had just lost my job and had lost my fifteen-year-old kitty, Kalki, a few months beforehand. Depressed and killing time before a doctor’s appointment, I wandered into a pet store in Berkeley called Your Basic Bird. I’ve always wanted a companion bird but had never found one that I connected to. The birds were always pretty, but I never got that ‘click’ I’ve gotten with all my other pets. (more…)