That moment in the rubble, Lou/Boyd backstory from ICoS

Ok, I originally wrote this (IMO terribly embarrassing) story back in 2011 for The Slash Pile’s Anthology in the winter; it was called Presents and had to be holiday-themed in some way. You can still find the anthology nowadays but apparently  it’s a bit more difficult now. Some readers had found this old story and mentioned how difficult it was to find. Since some people may want to read this, I thought it was only fair to share it.

It’s not terrible, really. I don’t know why I’m so embarrassed by it uggghhh but I ammmmmm ugggggggghhhhhhh OTL

But I make it a point to share even things that embarrass because it’s true that I wrote it and it’s part of my progression as a writer so pretending it didn’t happen doesn’t make it not have happened. Also, lbr. I think everything I write sucks so, by my measure, I would never share anything and some people may find that problematic lol

So here you go. Below is what I sent them back then, in its entirety.

Welcome to a Lou and Boyd backstory for In the Company of Shadows. Have fun and happy reading! (?)


Title: That moment in the rubble
Author: Ais
Rating: R for swearing
Warnings: Swearing. Fluff? And light kissing-type scenes. Also, this is a Lou/Boyd back story for In the Company of Shadows. You don’t need to have read ICoS or know anything about it to read this.

That moment in the rubble

In the Company of Shadows back story by Ais

“You’re gonna fall in that water one day and I ain’t gonna do a thing to stop it,” Lou called up to Boyd. It was a lie, of course. He knew he’d end up jumping in the filthy water in some ridiculous and unnecessary rescue attempt but he figured he’d keep that part to himself. “Get your ass down here, man. It’s gettin’ cold.”

“You’re such a wuss,” Boyd said from atop his favorite pile of rubble. Crater Lake spread before him; stagnant water that filled a massive hole one of the bombs had created just off center of the city.

When he looked down at Lou, the sky silhouetted him. The sun was setting behind the clouds, turning the ever-present grey to deeper silver. The half-crumbled buildings lining the street framed him perfectly as he balanced on a looser chunk of concrete, one hand held out as counterweight.

It was that teasing grin Boyd gave him that had probably done Lou in all those months ago– the way it stretched Boyd’s full lips and made his golden brown eyes spark. Boyd’s blond hair swirled in a stirring of wind that Lou couldn’t feel down here on the ground, and with it Boyd tilted his head to look out at the water once again.

“I’m waiting until I can’t see the color anymore.”

Lou made a face at Boyd and kicked a rock into the water. Crater Lake was nothing but foul-smelling water that slowly killed the scavengers and Ferals, as far as he was concerned. They were the only ones stupid and desperate enough to drink and bathe in it. But Boyd loved the browns and greens of it; the way it stained a near-red at just the right moment of sunset and looked nearly black afterwards.

He wanted to be irritated with Boyd but he couldn’t be, not entirely. Not when he looked at Lou like that.

Continue reading

Advertisements

A true story (maybe a series of them?)

When I was 14, I became Wiccan. I think that’s also the year I became vegetarian. There are a lot of stories that stem from those two turning points in my life, but this is the one I want to tell you now:

Maybe it was my willingness to believe in magick and foresight, or maybe it was something else. But I remember knowing with certainty after I became Wiccan for sure, but maybe even since before then, that I wasn’t going to live past 18.

I knew it deeper than I’ve ever known anything in my life. And I knew how I was going to die, too. A car accident. I didn’t know if I would cause it or if it would be out of my control, I only knew that was what would happen. I felt the vibrations of the violence of it in my dreams at night; not as nightmares but as a dread conviction.

I knew it so completely that I came to simply accept it. I woke up in the morning, I breathed, I knew my time was limited. It became something that was comforting, in a way.

And because I knew I would die by the time I was 18, I knew I had to write at least one of the stories that wouldn’t leave my mind. So I started what is now Incarnations, but back then was called Calling of the Onyx. I started it when I was around 12/13, around there, and wrote about 150 pages before I had to stop and start over because it wasn’t right. It wasn’t right. And this was my only chance, really, to write the right story before I would die.

Time passed, high school continued, my attempts to write my story marched on.

I don’t remember how old I was on that day. I was in high school still, definitely younger than 18. Was I 16? 17? I hadn’t yet had my 18th birthday, I’m sure.

Back then, my older brother drove us to and from school, and he also picked up or dropped off friends of mine along the way when it was convenient. This day would have been like any other day, except it wasn’t.

When school was out, my brother said he’d drop my friend Tara off at her house. The plan was to drop her off and then I’d go home with my brother. But for some reason that day, Tara asked me last minute as she was stepping out of the car if I wanted to come inside and hang out–study for a math test that was coming up the next day.

Was it a surprise test we’d only just learned of that day? I don’t remember.

What I remember is there was a moment where I hesitated, sitting in the passenger seat. I kind of didn’t want to go to her house, because I wanted to go home and watch TV and roleplay online and just chill. And in that hesitation she urged me to come inside, it’d be fun, and I said I wasn’t sure, and she said come on just come in, so I asked my brother if that’d be okay and he said he didn’t care.

I went inside and my brother drove off.

Tara and I spent the next hour half studying, half goofing off. Until her phone rang and she picked it up, and said it was for me. I answered the phone, heard my mom’s voice and figured she was about to ask when I wanted to be picked up, but that wasn’t at all what she was calling to say.

My brother had been in a really bad car accident, she told me. His car was totaled, she said.

Within blocks of Tara’s house, he had gone through an intersection properly but an SUV hadn’t paid attention to the stop sign and had sped through the intersection. It slammed into the passenger side of the car, T-boned it. Destroyed the car.

My brother was okay.

But if I had been in that passenger seat like I was supposed to be, I wouldn’t have been.

I felt that that was the car accident I had felt all these years. That was what had been weighing on me for years, knowing it was coming, thinking I had no choice. But at the same time I thought, surely that can’t be the accident I expected? Because I somehow missed it, by pure luck and Tara’s insistence.

I think that happened around the time I was 16, because I think I remember there being years after that where I still anticipated that vehicular death even as I no longer felt the certainty as I had before that day at Tara’s.

I wondered for a long time after that why I hadn’t died like I’d expected. When I turned 18, and then 19, and then beyond, I didn’t know what to do with this life I’d never expected to have. I didn’t understand why I had been spared something that had been written in stone for so long.

When I got into fanfic writing and saw the community that came from fandoms, when I had to come up with a reason for why I was alive, I thought that a dream for this unexpected time I had on Earth was for there to someday be something I could write that could be meaningful in whatever way possible to even just one other person. I thought that if I could have anything, if I could find meaning in a dream, then my dream was for something I was involved in writing to have a fandom, no matter how small it may be.

Just one fanfic, one fanart, one anything, would be incredible. Anything beyond that would be astounding, and would fulfill that dream I didn’t dare breathe aloud.

ICoS ended up accidentally fulfilling that dream of mine, which left me feeling free to go back to that story I started all those years ago. Back when I thought I’d have only a few years before I was gone. Now I named it Incarnations, and now I’m trying to finish writing it this year.

Because of ICoS, because of the amazing readers for that story, because at least one person found it meaningful, because at least one person made fanfic or fanart or anything else, because of that community, I’ve been able to dare to have another dream.

This one may never happen, and if it doesn’t I’m honestly completely okay with it. The fact that my first dream was met is more than enough for me. I hardly dare hope for more. But if I could have it, it would be this:

I would love, someday, to be able to quit my job and write a book that gets published. I would like to make just enough money to be able to scrape by as a writer (I don’t expect to ever be rich or well-known). But mostly, even if I can’t do those things, what I would really love is to even just change jobs so I could do what I’ve really wanted to do for years:

I would love to be able to meet people in person. I would love to be able to go to a convention. I would feel incredibly lucky if I could ever be on a panel in a convention, or be a main speaker or the only speaker in one of those panels. I would love to be able to do a book signing sometime in my life. I would love to be able to sit in an Artist’s Alley with books and draw little Ais’ Terrible Art cartoons for anyone who is interested and who was kind enough to stop by. And I would love, someday, to be able to somehow incorporate charities into what I do, like somehow make just a bit more than enough money to scrape by so that extra bit could go to one of my favorite charities, so the people who want to donate know it’s going to a good cause.

I would love any and all of these things, but I also know it’s entirely likely none of this will happen. And I know that even if I were lucky enough to be able to go to a convention as Ais, no one would probably know who I am or care. If I were ever on a panel, particularly if I were the only speaker, or if I ever did some book signing, I would worry that no one would care and no one would show up.

I would have to convince some friends to come so I wouldn’t be sitting there alone in silence. But at least with friends we could hang out and talk, so it’d still be great.

But as much as I would love for any or all of that to happen, I also know it doesn’t have to happen because I was lucky enough for one dream to already have been met, and that alone is more than enough. That alone is more than I’d ever hoped to have.

For every person who ever wrote to us about ICoS, who ever cared about the series or a character, who ever drew anything or made an edit or wrote anything or made music or anything else–to each and every one of you, I can never thank you enough because I don’t have the words to explain to you how incredible and important that is to me.

I wondered why it was that day after school Tara was so insistent, and why I went against my nature to unexpectedly stay at her house. I wondered why I lived when I was set to die.

A few years ago I realized, was it so ICoS could happen? That life-changing event that also wasn’t planned, that also happened accidentally, but that also had positive repercussions in my life going forward? Was ICoS important to someone who needed it at that moment in their life, for whatever reason? Was that why I was spared, so that accidental event could happen for them?

I don’t know, really. Maybe I was also spared so I could rescue my dog. Maybe there’s something I don’t know of yet. I don’t believe in fate, exactly, nor do I think everything has to happen for a reason. I think a lot of things just sort of happen and we roll with them and it’s our reactions to them that affects our options in the future.

That’s how I generally feel, but I can’t feel that way about that accident, because that accident was something I felt the repercussions of years before it happened. That accident was something I knew would happen. That accident is something that so very nearly did happen to me. So the fact that it didn’t is what makes me curious the reason why.

And most days, lately, I feel like the existence of ICoS maybe is that reason.

A series?

There are some true stories I’ve considered sharing, or things I struggle with sometimes, in the event they are helpful for anyone else or even just interesting to read.

In particular that’s been on my mind the most has been my struggles over the years with anorexia and ways I’ve dealt with it or tried to get over it, as much as can be done. For example, lately I’ve been struggling with how a person loses weight when they don’t know if they should be losing that weight and are afraid of triggering right back to where they started on anorexia.

Would that be useful and/or of interest for anyone? Let me know if so.

ICoS Master List (Feb 2016 edition)

So, tumblr decided to be an asshole and remove literally over 600 hyperlinks from the master list I had over there. I thought I’d have to redo the ENTIRE thing to which I said no way no how, not right now. That took me a week or longer to make the first time. And Internet Archive and Google cache didn’t save it, and I thought I’d saved an older version but I didn’t apparently.

However, the good news is I DID apparently email myself the entire thing when I first finished it in February. This means I’m missing 2 months worth of information and all of the tagged Santino & Ais convos I had ugggghhh BUT it does mean eventually updating it will take less time. I’m not going to spend the time right now to update it since February 15, 2016, but at least I can share what was available then (and this time, fuck tumblr, I’m going to migrate the list somewhere else — eventually my site but, of course, right now my site isn’t working either):


In the Company of Shadows/ ICoS Master List of Links

Master list last updated: February 15, 2016

On this page you will find a compilation of information from around the internet (mostly tumblr) regarding In the Company of Shadows and/or Santino & Ais. Many of these were questions asked by readers that are answered by one or both of us (Santino & Ais) somewhere online. If you know of information that is not listed here, please let me know so I can add it. This is a work in progress and I will try to keep adding information as it goes.

I tried to note spoilers where possible but I probably missed information. Just assume there will be spoilers.

Note: within the specific categories (like, “Boyd + family” or “writing questions” etc) there is no specific order to the bullet points – you may notice the links jump around between years or books, unless I knew a specific conversation was happening across posts and then I tried to keep them in order.

I also am considering making a second master list, which would list all the questions that are in the Q&A/interviews linked in the #1 group below. I considered putting that at the end of this page, however the length of this page prohibited such an endeavor, when tumblr and/or chrome and/or firefox repeatedly froze in the course of me making this page. If I ever make that separate page with the listed questions, I will link it here. For now, you can just go to the Q&As and read through the questions at your leisure.

Note: Santino used to be known as Sonny, in case you are confused by old links.

Last note: to make it less confusing, in most of the links I tried to say “Ais” instead of “I” – so if you see “I” outside of the Santino & Ais section that should mean the wording is coming from a reader, unless I made a mistake.

Sources for this page include: Santino’s tumblrAis’ tumblr, our Santino & Ais tumblr, our Goodreads blogs (SantinoAis – although I didn’t go through those to be really complete, only did what was linked on tumblr), livejournal (The Slash Pile), and host blogs where we did interviews.

*    *    *    *    *

*    *    *    *    *

Please see the below breakdown to better navigate this page.

THIS IS SPLIT INTO GROUPS:

  1. Questions about Santino, Ais, ICoS as a series, the Agency in general
  2. General character information (like birthdays, ages, height)
  3. Detailed questions about relationships
  4. Detailed questions about individual characters
  5. Post-Fade, sequel, and prequel questions
  6. Bonus material and fan-made items (includes fancasts of characters)

*    *    *    *    * Continue reading

2014 DC Evenfall Q&A – SPOILERS PAST EVENFALL, post 2 of 2

Please reference this post for a full explanation of this. This is regarding ICoS.

SPOILERS PAST EVENFALL BELOW!!! BEWARE!! Read with caution! There could be spoilers as far as the end of Fade!

This is the second section of the Q&A Santino and I did on our S&A GR group in September 2014. This is the section with all the spoilers past Evenfall. ONCE AGAIN – BEWARE SPOILERS!!

Continue reading

2014 DC Evenfall Q&A – EVENFALL SPOILERS ONLY, post 1 of 2

Back in September 2014, in honor of our release of the Director’s Cut of Evenfall (volumes I and II), Santino and I decided to do a massive Q&A on our Santino & Ais Goodreads group. You can find the thread here, but you have to be a member of the group to access the page.

Recently on tumblr, I was asked if there was a way to share Q&A material somewhere that was accessible to people who didn’t have Goodreads accounts and therefore could not join that group. I have split the Q&A into two posts to stay in line with the way the Q&A was split up on that thread: the first section, this post you are reading, contains only spoilers for Evenfall. The second section, this linked post, contains spoilers past Evenfall so you should proceed with caution if you are not finished with the series.

There are two places in this section where there is a reference to something in Fade, and although it does not give specifics I still put it between **SPOILER** notes in case anyone wants to be very careful and skip those parts.

MAJOR THANKS to everyone who participated in the Q&A in 2014, and an especially huge thanks to Lenore, who took a lot of her own time and energy to compile all the questions that were asked and get them to Santino and me, and then she also organized the questions and posted it on our S&A group. Lenore, you are a legend. Thank you!

All the questions and answers are below a cut for length and so that anyone who has not even finished Evenfall will not see spoilers.

For anyone who may stumble upon this post and be very confused: All of this is regarding the series Santino and I wrote, called In the Company of Shadows.

Continue reading

Fade ch 40 spoilers – the Scottish dude

I SWEAR I had posted this somewhere before but now I can’t find it, so I’m posting this here. A quick overview of how I was going to go full Scottish brogue with the character who appears in Fade chapter 40.

SUPER SUPER SUPER IMPORTANT NOTE!! THE BIGGEST SPOILERS EVER ARE BENEATH THIS CUT!! DO NOT READ IF YOU HAVE NOT READ THROUGH FADE CHAPTER 41!!!!

 

Continue reading

Solitaire Unraveling – an old HP fic snippet

I know this is very random but in trying to find an old writing to answer a tumblr post, I ran across this fic which I’d planned to be an epic Remus-centric Harry Potter fanfic. I started writing it on Thursday June 29, 2006, but never got beyond the first 9 pages.

It’s kind of awkwardly worded and I ended up stopping and starting over because I wasn’t sure if James and Sirius should have known of each other beforehand or how the Potters and Blacks should have viewed each other, and maybe some parts were too cheesy, etc. I never finished it. But rereading it now, idk. It was kind of fun to read so I decided to share it here just because. All of what you see below is straight from that 2006 document, almost entirely untouched/unedited since then.

Obviously, Harry Potter and all its characters are owned by JK Rowling and whatever other companies own rights.


 

Solitaire Unraveling

Ais

6/29/06 – Thursday

Remus love forever.

S/R love for just as long.

Title from the Mushroomhead song.

Solitaire Unraveling was going to be the title of a collab fic in another fandom years ago, but it never got off the ground. When thinking of this story, I really wanted to examine Remus’ difficulties in letting people in, and, even more so, letting them go once he had accepted them. I wanted to explore how hard it is to trust, and how he had kept himself apart, and how that changed with the Marauders. The song title popped into my head quite suddenly at that point, so I went with it.

But when I looked up the lyrics later, I realized they were far more relevant to the story idea than I had remembered. And that’s the story of this fic’s name. Titillating, I know.


Remus J. Lupin felt distinctly awkward at the Platform of Nine-and-Three-Quarters.

The bag he held clutched to his chest was not nearly as nice as ones children around him carried and his single suitcase seemed pathetically inadequate compared to the large amount of trunks he saw being loaded continuously on Hogwarts Express. Kids his age and older swirled around him, nervous and excited and making more noise than Remus had been subjected to since the remote village that tried to sing and dance away his affliction.

But mostly he felt awkward because of his mother.

Continue reading