In Which I’ve Been Super Busy

That’s right folks! I’m back! And how have I spent my summer vacation? The short answer is mostly crying while being sick. The slightly longer answer is a I got a new job! A very, very stressful job (see previous answer). But that’s not all I’ve been up to!

HOLYSHIT

My “transformative work” (aka fanfic) Points on a Circle has reached over 45k views, and is within the top ten most kudos McHanzo fics on Archive Of Our Own! I’m glad so many enjoy my story, but at the same time I’m not sure how it’s gotten over 95k words and growing. Hopefully I will have the second-to-last chapter up soon, so why not check it out in the meantime? Unless you’re not into reading about characters from Overwatch kissing, then just ignore everything I said. But hey! Speaking of characters from Overwatch kissing…

toashes

bullseye

I’M GETTING PUBLISHED IN TWO FANZINES!

The first one, To Ashes, is a fanzine exploring the relationship between Hanzo Shimada and Jesse McCree within the themes of Life, Death, and Rebirth. I am getting two short stories published in this zine (‘Dress Rehearsal’ and ‘Sugar on Top’) with art based on my stories by great tumblr artists like Dubosi, Loch and Load, Mad Maz, Wyntera, Kidd, Ixiiee, Diefuss, and maybe others I can’t remember at this moment! I will be posting more about this zine as it comes closer to the preorder release!

The second zine, BULLSEYE, is the creation of the McHanzo Tumblr! This zine is more focused on the different parts of McCree and Hanzo’s relationship from their past, to their meeting, falling in love, and beyond. I only have one story published in this one but I know there’s a lot of other great artists and writers in here! You can pre-order the zine here.

theworthofhair

After the completion of ‘Points on a Circle’ I will be focusing on completing ‘The Worth of Hair’, the first in my planned Midwife Fable Short Stories. This is a story about love, about terrified parents-to-be, about a sister, about a wicked cool dagger, and most importantly about a Midwife. I am planning on self-publishing these stories on Amazon. And, as you can see above, I am in desperate need of an artist. More updates as the story progresses.

awwreyes

What of Hawthorn? Don’t worry, I haven’t forgotten about Hawthorn! Part of my summer was spent coming to a very important realization: I have to completely re-do the second half. And change the climax. And the villain. I’m pretty much gutting the story to the foundation and building out from there. It will take time, and patience, but it will be written. And I’m glad I’m able to take this journey with all of you.

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In Which I Visit An Old Fear

I’m five years old and visiting my cousins who lived in a house with a basement next to a large field. These things are important to five year old Amber, so they’re what I remember. The basement is large, messy, and is pretty much kids-only territory. After growing up in a home where my parents were always one room away the idea of a basement Just For Us is thrilling beyond words. It also had a TV and VCR that we would watch terrible old VHS tapes on. The memories are faded with time, but there is one I remember clear as day.

That fucking CGI VHS tape.

I didn’t hate CGI when I was little. I feared it. Everything about it was wrong wrong wrong. In my experience as a child there were three known realities: People, video games, and cartoons. CGI wasn’t any of that. CGI was a unknown monster that made me feel like I was going to fall out of the world from just looking at it. To this day watching clips of old computer animation gives me an odd sensation that I cannot describe. Like if I walked outside and met myself walking back in. It’s wrong. It’s impossible. It’s animated by PIXAR.

Why do I bring this up now? Because my dear cousin Jennie found that fucking VHS tape online because of course she did.

BEHOLD! The greatest of Little Amber’s Fears!

So with almost thirty years between me and the last time I viewed this tape I sat down to watch and you know what fuck this I’m skipping around like hell I’m subjecting myself to everything I have enough nightmares as is THANK YOU VERY MUCH

ahem

Highlights Include:

2:30 – A fish and bird get freaky

3:41 – fuck yeah robot dinosaurs

9:05 – Lucasfilm…oh! PIXAR!

17:17 – FABRICATED RHYTHM

21:23 – Naked robot lady! You know, maybe my younger self was wrong. This isn’t so-

27:08 – no no no no NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO STOP STOP BAD STOP NO

28:13 – well brain that was a fucking weird reaction to some random cgi heteronormative bullshit shapes but I’m sure I won’t have any more

46:40 – oh no

46:41 – oh no I remember this

46:42-48:44 – *quiet sobbing*

49:08 – Okay, okay I’m better. Might dream of flesh tunnels but I’m better.

51:40 – oh hey it’s my adopted baby Voyager 2 whatup you cool baby

1:01:21 – And then Dire Straights because we gotta

And the rest after that is credits!

Well, I hope some of you have developed a slight understanding towards my old fear of computer animation. Or you think I’m even weirder than before. Which frankly is saying something.

 

In Which I Have a Phobia

I’m afraid of needles.

When I tell people that I always get the same response: ‘Oh, I hate needles too’.

This is incorrect. I do not hate needles. I’m terrified of them. I have a full-blown needle phobia, aka Trypanophobia. Just seeing a needle or someone talking about injections would cause me to have a panic attack. I actually went and got some very expensive therapy to help me cope with my fear of needles because I once screamed so loud while getting my blood drawn at the hospital the nurse warned the other nurses about me. “Careful with that one, she’s a screamer. Woke everyone up.”

The good news is that with the help of said so-very-expensive therapy I’ve mostly gotten over my fear. Mostly. I can go about 3-4 injections in one sitting before I start crying. And getting an IV put in still turns me into a blubbly sobbing mess. But hey, at least I’m not screaming! That’s good, right?

The reason I’m bringing this up is today I got a wart removed (yay) and before the doctor did whatever he did while I was squeezing my eyes shut he injected something into my finger to numb it and…nothing. Nada. I mean yeah pain, but I didn’t even feel the slightest flutter of panic. And as much as I’d love to think my brain is improving I think this confirms that the needle phobia is 100% location base. So far from bottom to top:

Feet/Legs: Meh I’m fine

Wait did I get a shot for my IUD: Don’t want to think about it

Stomach: I let out a soft nuuuuuu but no other side effects

Finger: Didn’t care

Back of hand/wrist: Flutter of panic, maybe a few tears but I can keep it together

Arm anywhere besides crook of elbow: Staring to freak out a little. Can hold it in check, might start crying if it’s a IV because FUCK it’s in there it’s in there I can FEEL IT but it fades after watching some daytime TV.

Crook of Elbow: HOLY FUCK I AM GOING TO DIE THE DOCTOR IS GOING TO KILL ME THIS IS HOW IT ENDS TIME TO SCREAM IN HOPES THAT SOMEONE WILL REALIZE THAT THIS DOCTOR IS TRYING TO KILL ME WHILE THE RATIONAL PART OF MY BRAIN IS ALREADY GETTING READY TO APOLOGIZE TO THE NURSE FUCK*

*Note, after therapy this is back down to sobbing. Like I said, improvement!

Shoulder: this sucks but I won’t get the flu/die a horrific death from tetanus

Mouth: Slight worry, but I imagine the dentist is simply pricking me with a sewing needle and I’m fine. NOTE bizarre image works no where else on body.

So I guess the moral is that even after greatly improving I am still never going to get piercings or a tattoo. Sigh. One day I’ll be able to get that Dreamcast logo on me.

 

 

In Which I am Down One Organ

Well, it’s been a week and over 24 hours since I’ve had a painkiller. I think it’s safe to write again.

Hello everyone! If you couldn’t tell by the fact I’m alive I made it through my gallbladder removal surgery A-OK! Honestly the worst part of it all, besides the daytime TV forced upon me in every room, was getting the IV in. Turns out the massive therapy I went through to help me with my needle phobia doesn’t really work with “having a needle stay in your arm” phobias. Dang it. Well at least I didn’t cry and scream too much during all of that.

I’d give a better report on how things went and the days afterwards but as I mentioned: painkillers. Good Lord. Here’s my general memory of events of the past week:

  • Pre-Surgery. According to Steve Harvey’s talk show I am a spineless whimp if I do things like ‘let my date answer a call on his phone’ or ‘go dutch on the meal instead of insisting he pays for it’. Sadly I do not get to hear more from Steve’s professional dating expert because I am wheeled into the surgery room
  • Wow! I think as I’m wheeled away, just like in Silent Hill!
  • I should not be thinking of Silent Hill right now, I continue
  • Turns out surgery rooms really do look like that, big lights and beeping machines and everything. I’m moved over to bed/sacrificial platform and the nurse announces she’s going to give me the happy juice.
  • I wake up in the recovery room. Bwuah?
  • Now I’m in short term??? Max is there? When did Max get there?
  • MAX HAS MY PHONE I take a selfie because priorities
  • The nurse says I can’t go home until I pee so I down what must be the most delicious bottles of apple juice, cranberry juice, and like three waters.
  • I PEE WOOHOO GET THIS IV OUT OF MY ARM NOW MISS NURSE
  • Oh hey I’m in my clothes and getting wheeled out
  • Now I’m in Max’s car?
  • Hurray in bed and Dad’s here with my painkillers oh lucky day

Then for the next few days it was:

  • Wake up
  • Soup
  • Walkies
  • I wanna wriiiiiiiiiiiite
  • My various online supports tell me I can’t write
  • But I wannaaaaaaaa
  • Stupid pre-surgery Amber informed them to make sure I don’t write
  • SIGH
  • “No Cujo-ing” my brother says as he hands me a gatorade
  • SIIIIIIIIIIGH
  • Fall asleep listening to My Brother My Brother and Me
  • Repeat every four hours

All while slowly weaning myself painkillers. Now that I’m off them completely I’m finally back to my normal semi-lucid self. And you know what that means…

WRITING TIME! AND NONE OF YOU CAN STOP ME!

In Which I Get My Gallbladder Removed

You know what’s terrible? Gallstone pain.

You know what’s slightly less terrible in the long run? Gallbladder removal surgery.

You know what just sort of sucks? Finding out that I’m pretty much going to have no income while I’m recovering from said surgery.

So if you want to donate to the “Amber needs to eat while she’s out of work fund please consider donating to:

My Paypal!

My Patreon!

And if you can’t donate then please spread the word around! Tell people all about that robot-smooching author you know and how they’re going to steal an organ from her body! Then while they’re trying to parse that sentence steal their wallet!

Thank you!

Emergency Repairs

“So what does being a robot feel like?” Asked Molly.

Ava looked up from her self-repair job. There was Molly, all wide-eyed and curious as always. Sweet Molly, dumb Molly. Ava reached for a screwdriver and did her best to make her voice come out as not-sarcastic. “I don’t know, Molly. What does being human feel like?”

Molly considered that. Her nose always wrinkled when she was using her fat-and-nerve-based brain too hard. “Squishy? There’s a lot of random itches. And I’m sorta aware of things like how hungry I am, if I need to use the bathroom, this one themesong I have stuck in my head, can I want five to ten minutes to use the bathroom or should I go now, this weird itch on my foot, stuff like that. Do you have the same thing?”

“Partially.” Ava braced herself as she forced the screwdriver between the two stuck plates in her chest cavity. “For example, this hurts.”

“Can’t you make it not hurt?”

“Yes.” Ava cut off her voice modulator long enough so Molly wouldn’t hear her scream of pain. The last thing she needed was her human to panic. “Yes! Yes. But if I did I wouldn’t be able to tell what exactly in me is broken. Okay. Hand me that roll of tape.”

Molly did so, her eyes still wide. “Can you feel any other sensations? Physical ones I mean.”

“I can use my external sensors to detect textures.” Ava wished Molly would stop talking. She also wished Molly would keep going if only for a distraction. Or sing. Ava rather enjoyed Molly’s singing. She ripped a piece of tape off on her metallic fingers and stuck it to the back of her hand.

“Like ‘this is on fire’ or ‘this is a rock’?”

“I wouldn’t call fire a texture, but yes.” Ava tore off another piece of tape. That one went on her arm. Not perfect, but it kept the coolant inside.

Molly sat down next to Ava, her fingers fidgeting with a loose string on her uniform. “What about stuff like softness, or warmth?”

“Warmth still isn’t a texture,” Ava tossed the roll of tape over her shoulder, “And where are you going with this, because if this is about my overheating issue-”

The thing about humans is that they were impossible to predict. History was an attestment to this. So while Ava’s processors were busy trying to keep all of her various fluids from leaking out Molly acted in a way that was only obvious in retrospect. Ava’s external sensors, working independently from the internal ones screaming in pain, picked up the following:

Molly’s gloved left hand on the small of Ava’s back.

Molly’s ungloved right hand on the side of Ava’s head, right under the ocular lens, setting off notes of ‘rough’ and ‘unusually cold’.

Molly’s body shifting across Ava’s lap, picking up as ‘weight’ and ‘pressure in Ava’s mind.

Molly’s lips on Ava’s faceplate. Soft. Chapped. Moist. Warm. No, hot. Like fire.

Too soon Ava detected Molly pulling away. But the warmth stayed even if the weight and softness did not.

“Did your sensors pick that up?” Molly said.

Ava answered with a glitched noise that may have been a yes.

The Worth of Hair

“Tell me if you’ve heard this one before.” Kika held up the knife the stranger had given her up to the light.  “There’s this mermaid, right? Can’t be more than fifteen, maybe even younger. One day she sees some bloke chilling by the ocean and what do you know the idiot falls in. She saves him, she leaves before he wakes up, but she’s already fallen in love. Somehow. Never understood that part.”

The stranger said nothing. Kika continued, silently admiring the skill that went into the short blade. “Anyway, the mermaid is head over tails for this guy. No idea who he is, what his deal is, but she’s already in love. Feh. Can’t blame her too much. I remember being her age. Love happened hard and fast back then. Love was everything. There was this guy back in my village named Hugin that…well. That’s a different story. Not the one you’re probably interested in.

So this mermaid, this sweet little thing decides to go take matters into her own hands. She swims to the very bottom of the ocean and meets with The Sea Witch. A creature so powerful you gotta say every part of her title with capital letters. She, The Sea Witch, makes a deal with the mermaid. In exchange for the mermaid’s voice she’ll turn her into a human.”

“Where are you going with this?” The stranger finally said, her voice raw. “You’re wasting my time.”

“Fine, I’ll skip a bit. Bloke was a prince, prince was already getting married, and just as the mermaid is about to jump back into the ocean and end it all her sisters show up with a way for her to come home. Do you know what they had?” Kika paused, knowing that the stranger wouldn’t answer. “A knife. They gave their hair to The Sea Witch and got a knife in return. The story goes on from there but honestly that’s where I lose interested. Me, I always wanted to know more about that knife. A knife made by The Sea Witch would be a powerful object. One made from the tears of the mermaid’s sisters, sharp enough that a teenage girl could kill with only the flick of her wrist. I’d love to see a knife like that with my own two eyes.”

Kika let a heavy silence fall between them as she ran a finger down the carvings on the knife’s hilt. It truly was a beautiful piece. The only flaw was the obvious bent tip at the top of the blade. The stranger was still staring at her. The stranger didn’t seem to be aware of how often one should blink. “So where did you get this knife, stranger?”

The stranger wobbled. She couldn’t have been older than fifteen. “It’s mine. I paid for it. It’s mine. Can you fix it?”

Kika nodded. “I ain’t The Knife Maker for nothing. Give me until sunset and I’ll have it as right as rain. I gotta ask though, how did you bend the blade like that?”

The stranger remembered to blink. “It fell into the ocean. Hit a rock. Are you sure it’ll be ready by tonight?”

“Sure will. Gotta close up shop in time for the big wedding celebration tonight.” Kika watched the stranger hobble towards the window. The streets were already filled with party goers, booze and music flowing freely between the dancing masses. “Ain’t every day that a prince gets married.”

She watched the stranger in silence as the stranger watched the crowds out the window. Couldn’t have been older than fourteen. It was hard to put an exact age on the stranger with that boyish haircut of hers. The stranger turned to face her. “How does the story end?”

Kika licked her lips. “I think you already know.”

For the first time since she arrived the stranger smiled. “Sunset. I will be back at sunset. Just in time for the celebration.” With those words the stranger limped out of the shop, legs too stiff to walk properly.

Kika wondered if she should stop her. Warn someone. Warn the prince and his bride-to-be at least. But she remembered what it was like to be that age. Love was everything.