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Stories abound.  They are everywhere.  Some stories are massive and glorious like a monument, a structure of marble and stained glass.  Some are humble and simple like a puff of cloud or a puddle of water.  And some stories–most perhaps–are somewhere in between, small, but complex, more than first meets the eye…like a feather.

Everyone has stories.  Here, I will tell you some of mine.

Welcome to Storyfeather.

The Arcanomen

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Digital drawing. A machine. Large central disc at center resembling an astrolabe, but without any markings around the rim, and only one pointer. The disc is supported by one small leg at left of viewer and a larger apparatus at right with a large hand crack attached and a small spinning lever below the crank. All other parts are behind the central disc. At left are arrayed three smaller discs with hands of various shapes and lengths. Left top, a polyhedron with knobs and circular openings. Above center, three pointers. Right top, a ring facing forward orbited by three rings at vertical and symmetrical angles.

Who built it, none can now say.  The ancestors of our ancestor’s ancestors might have known.  But that knowledge—that name—was lost.  It faded from memory.  It even faded from myth.  How it was built, none can now say.  When and where it was built, none can now say. 

But what the machine was and why it was is a story that still remains in the collective memory of the people who are descended from those who lived in the Age of the Arcanomen.

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A Realm Without Rain

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Digital drawing. Silhouette of a hooded figure seen from the back and from waist up, standing in front of a large window with twelve panes. Two glowing translucent wings, delicate like a fly’s, emerge from the figure’s back. The window is framed with dark fuzzy curtains. Outside, gray clouds loom overhead. A few spots of light and hazy shapes are visible past a haze of rain, falling at an angle. A few drops and trickles of water appear on the window glass.

“Tell me of your wanderings,” my sovereign said, as I bowed before them.

“I bring gifts and I bring tidings,” I said.  I gestured to the pallet of goods from the land I had recently visited. 

“Have you found a worthy place?” my sovereign asked, ignoring my gifts.

I raised my head, but kept my eyes lowered.  “Yes, sovereign.  Worthy, but…I encountered a great challenge.”

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Citizen Forsaken

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Digital drawing. Center left, a humanoid figure seen from waist-up and in profile reaches out with the left arm toward a ball of light surrounded by hazy light at top right corner. The figure has six digits on their hand and an elongated ear that rises into their flowing hair and above their head. Bottom right, dark hazy shapes suggesting skyscrapers and high-rises at night. The sky appears filled with iridescent clouds. Ghostly after images of the figure appear around the figure.

When the disaster happened, or the event, or whatever it was—I still don’t know to this day—I hadn’t yet noticed how much yellow there is in the lower city. 

There’s not a lot of yellow where I come from—except for light and that’s different—but here, in the lower city, it seems to be everywhere.

Maybe I’m from here now.  After a year, maybe I’m from Los Angeles.

I’ll say that to myself, sometimes aloud as I stare at the silent, solid bathroom mirror. 

As I try to stare into the mirror.

Home used to be that close.  I stepped through a mirror and I was in Los Angeles.  And I was supposed to step through a mirror and be right back home again.

But now there’s nothing to see but my own reflection.

And home may as well be a galaxy away.

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Coming Soon Storyfeather Merch

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  • Screenshot of the empty storefront of the Storyfeather merchandise store on TeePublic, displaying a banner with a collage of images. At the bottom left corner of the banner is an image of storeowner Nila’s face through an artsy filter. Next to that image are the words “Storyfeather” and “Earth,” indicating the store name and location. Below the bio image is a brief store bio. Below the main portion of the banner are various links and a search bar and sort buttons. The store contents currently read “There are no designs to display.” The screenshot is set within a frame with a title at top reading “Under construction.”
  • Screenshot of storefront displaying a few designs that are in progress. A watermark of the word "storyfeather" lays over the images.The top left corner reads “Inactive Designs” indicating these designs have been loaded, but not yet released. The four designs on the top row are titled “Dreamy Ladybug on Curly Fern,” “Four Hands and Four Elements,” “Mirror Portals,” and “Wolf Head.” The two designs at bottom are titled “Red Riding Hood and Wolf.” The titles are meant to be descriptive and therefore may or may not reference the associated short story.

The Storyfeather merchandise store on TeePublic is coming soon.  Here is an image of the storefront (slide 1) and a few designs that I will launch with (slide 2).

My aim is to launch on 11/15/21 mid-November 2021.  I am optimizing, and in some cases revising, the designs (images) that I’ll be putting on merchandise.  

Once I launch, I will release new designs on a regular basis, likely 1-2 per month. 

When new designs are released on TeePublic, they’re on sale for the first 72 hours.  So I’ll post an announcement when these first designs are ready for purchase.  The announcement will have a link to the store. I’ll also put a link in the site’s main menu. 

If you have any questions, concerns, design requests, or other feedback, please let me know, and I’ll do my best to address them.

Nila

[Post updated on 11/9/21. Launch date will be somewhat delayed, but will still be in November 2021. Apologies for any confusion. The next announcement I post will be after the store is launched.]



P. S.
Back in 2015, I launched an online store on Zazzle.  It still exists.  People can still purchase things from there (wolf design temporary tattoos seem to be popular). But it’s basically defunct, so I removed the link.  I plan on revisiting the Zazzle store in the new year. I’d like to revitalize it if it makes sense to do so, because they have a different set of merchandise. But for now, the focus will be on the new store.

The Distant Proximity

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Digital drawing.  Two figures in silhouette stand in front of a car seen in three-quarters view from back.  The car’s headlights are on. The figure at left holds up a device.  They’re in an open field at night. The sky is full of stars. Before them appears a large glowing shape that extends out of frame.

“We’re receiving a Proximity alert, I take it.”  Jora walked in and leaned over the console, scanning the incoming stream of data.

“They really should have called it something else,” I said, as I started up the retrieval protocol.

“Yeah…”

“I mean it’s confusing.”

“Well.”

I swiveled my chair toward her.  “Does it mean it’s closer or farther away?”

Jora glanced over at me and grinned.  “If you don’t know that, how did you get assigned to this station?”

I shrugged.  “I’m sure the person who hired me knew what they were doing.”

She elbowed me lightly.  “I hope I did.”

I swiveled back to the console and continued handling the incoming data.  “You did.  Trajectory just came in.  It’s not headed to Earth…this time.”

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Storyfeather Year 8

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Year Eight is finished! As always, thank you to everyone who read even a single story. Thank to you everyone who liked or commented. Thank you for your time and interest, and for being a part of Storyfeather, especially Year Eight.

This was the Year of Revisitation, in which I went back to a story I’d already written and wrote a new standalone story based on a character, object, continuation of events, or some other (sometimes flimsy) link to the earlier story.

A lot happens in the eighth year stories.  While investigating a murder, a single-celled detective is led into a world full of bacterial filaments, proto-multicellular colonies, and a new concept called “love.” The most popular wrestling show in five galaxies is somehow in danger of being shut down, but then the wrestlers—including the show’s first human—jump into action to save it. In the 400th story, six kids explore the possibility that dogs have been trying to warn humanity about a terrible enemy in their midst…the vacuum machines. And a kitchen mishap leads to the accidental invention of the most powerful ice cream in the world.

I did something new and made a year-end trailer for The Year of Revisitation. It’s posted here, and it’ll be on the Trailers page for a few weeks.

Music: “Space Discoveries” by Andrew Sitkov

I’ve written over 400 stories now, and produced over 200 podcast episodes. And yes, I do feel mighty. I do wonder if I’m repeating myself sometimes (I probably am, but maybe it’s okay if it turns out to be fun). It was more challenging than I expected to revisit older stories. Part of the challenge was that when I first started writing, I often added too many elements to a story. I still sometimes do that, but I believe I’ve gotten better at recognizing and streamlining. There were times when I wanted to revisit a previous story, or some element from the story, but in a longer work. Perhaps, in the future…

This year, I launched a few new features in the hopes of making it easier and more fun to navigate through all those hundreds of stories, and find the ones you’re most likely to enjoy.

  • Trailers page: The trailers for the most recent stories and podcast episodes, and links to older trailers.
  • Portals page: Buttons with images and taglines for recent stories. The buttons (portals) lead to the introductory pages for each story, which contain the trailer and more information. My hope is that I can add to these introductory pages in the future (more trailers, behind-the-scenes info, etc.).
  • You can also listen to the three most recent podcast episodes from either the Trailers or the Portals pages.
  • Hub pages for the current story year and podcast season, to make it easier to scroll through and read the titles and taglines of the stories, and either go directly to the story, or go visit the introductory page.

    In case you didn’t know about all these pages, or just haven’t checked them out, the buttons are at the bottom of this post. I also ran a couple of showcase campaigns to highlight stories that shared a theme. I plan to continue this effort with more navigation tools in the next year. So if anyone has any suggestions or other feedback, please feel free to reach out.

Expanding beyond this site, I also launched a new online course to help anyone who wants to write short fiction, and I’ll soon be launching a new online store with merchandise that features artwork from the Storyfeather stories.

All of these new things are exciting (sometimes grueling) but the stories are still the core of this endeavor.

Storytelling is still my true love, still my destiny, still my path.  Stories have been my hope and my haven all my life. First, the stories of others, and then my own stories as well. This year, stories and storytelling have also been my anchor.

Year Nine is coming.  The Wheel of Fiction. The theme is a continuation of Year Eight’s theme, but with a twist (pun intended). Season Five of the podcast is coming soon. The journey continues! I hope you’ll come along.

I have stories to tell you.
Nila


Portal Button. Elongated rectangle with rings of colored light emanating from the center. Text appears over the rings, reading "Storyfeather Year 8" and below it in larger font, "Revisitation."
Portal Button. Elongated rectangle with rings of colored light emanating from the center. Text appears over the rings, reading "Storyfeather Year 4" and below it in larger font, "Creatures."

[Summarized Video Description: Trailer. Duration, 96 seconds. Music: “Space Discoveries” by Andrew Sitkov. Title card with the Storyfeather main logo and “Year 8” and the story title are displayed in front of the image from the story “The Union of the Spyglass.”  The logo and title card fade. A watermark of the word “Storyfeather” appears at bottom right. Images from various other Year 8 stories appear and disappear in a series of wipes and animations. The following words appear and disappear, “Galactic! Microscopic. Hand pies! Aliens! Quests. Mischief. The 400th story” The video slows down as the image from the four hundredth story appears, “Attack of the Vacuum Machine Army.”  More images and words appear and disappear, “Dreams. Visions. Other Realms. Horror. Magic. Myth.” The video slows again as the final image appears. The watermark fades as the logo reappears at center, and above it, the words “The Year of Revisitation.”]

The Final Monster I Fight

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Digital drawing. Composite of several figures in silhouette. Bottom foreground left and center, two figures from chest up with various missing limbs and digits reach to the right. They are zombies. Bottom foreground right, a figure from chest up holding both hands against their head. Shadows representing gravestones lie at angles behind them. Left moving into frame is a ghostly cloud in which the outline of a face and a hand are visible. Right of frame, sitting on an outcropping, a werewolf howls against a glowing moon. Top center at a distance, floating in the sky, a vampire wearing a cloak and reaching out. At center from back, a hooded figure from torso up holding a long stake propped over the right shoulder. Upper left corner, a patch of stalactites.

The final monster I fight.  It won’t be long now.

Curses and cures.  Curses and cures.

I’ve tried everything.  Like most people in my position.

Everything reasonable that is.  I didn’t think I’d run out of options this soon.  I only started seeing the signs a couple of weeks ago.  Of course I’ve known it was coming, but I also hoped…I might be one of the exceptions. 

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There Lived A Crooked Creature

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Digital drawing: Portions of a creature. At right, fourteen eyeballs with triangular pupils framed by a mane of shaggy hair and held up by a segmented neck that looks like a series of polyps. The neck extends to the left and out of frame. Along the length of one polyp a mouth that looks like a tear with rows of small sharp teeth. Behind the neck is the creature’s body with cricket-like legs emerging from the side.

“We think the northeast corner of Laundry Room Four is a nexus to a demonic dimension, and one of its native creatures managed to lay a few eggs in our dimension, and now—“

“Whoa! Whoa, slow down. ‘Nexus to a demonic’ what now?” I glanced between the three kids standing before me, blocking my way to the aforementioned Laundry Room Four. 

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One Wicked Warlock

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Digital drawing. At center, the shadows of two figures cast against a stone wall. The figure at left is reeling backwards, arms outstretched, left leg raised and bent, chest pierced with a long spiraling horn, neck entwined with a segmented whip-like tail ending in a stinger. The figure at right stands upright, face in profile, right arm outstretched, holding a vial out above the first figure’s face. The vial is filled with a glowing substance. A green glow appears at bottom right. The left and right frames of the image depict the faint outlines of brickwork.

There is a tall tower to the north.  It is made of stone that looks a common gray from afar.  But I have been close enough to see the stone shift hues, to glitter with the gilded veins of an otherworldly ore, to fade into a pale so utmost as to be nigh invisible.

A warlock once lived there, it is said.  Now the tower is abandoned.

But that does not mean is it safe.

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The Infernal Bargain House

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Digital drawing. An oak tree at center whose six visible main branches spread in all directions, some dragging on the ground, some reaching upward, some reaching outward.  Diffuse patches of green in the background suggest leaves sprouting from the thinner branches.  A thin dark haze lays along the ground. A vaguely humanoid shadow floats beside the tree.

A gray shape darted past me to my right.  I turned to the ragged bushes entangled with dried weeds.  One of the stems shuddered and I heard a rustling.  But the overgrowth was too thick for me to see what was moving around in there.  Back home—my previous home—I would have guessed it was a lizard.  But here, in my new home, it could have been a rabbit.  A wild rabbit.

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