Mrs Jago’s Handy Guide to the Meaning Behind Typographical Errors XXXIX

… or ‘How To Speak Typo’ by Jane Jago

ahd (acronym) – absolutely horrible dandruff

bastrad (noun) – asshole whose parents have disowned him

brather (noun) – inconsequential conversation with male relative

cncetrating (verb form) – of jelly to set very firm

colun (noun) – printer’s symbol indicating the above is gobbledygook print as it stands

delive (noun) – technical term for murder

ebfore (noun) – very low tide

fdribblingrom (noun) – the mouth of a very drunk person

fudhe (adjective) – squishy and smelling faintly of old underwear

grwon (noun) – supernatural being almost always invisible but discernible at all times by its galloping halitosis

hopefulyl (noun) – optimistic alien

hosemate (noun) – person who swings a mean length of rubber pipe

ireonic (adjective) – of facial expressions, annoyed in a long-suffering manner

irritaes (noun) – annoyed rodents with very sharp teeth

kake (noun) – strange green dessert made from honey and cabbage

lvoe (noun) – small furry armpit parasite

maoment (noun) – unit of time falling anywhere between twenty seconds and an hour as in ‘I’ll do it in a maoment’

migth (adjective) – applied generally to children – meaning small, pale, and given to developing strange illnesses

numer (noun) – bloke who sniffs dirty laundry

orefer (noun) – yellow bird with pink feet and an attitude problem

somethme (noun) – occasional herb

Disclaimer: all these words are genuine typos defined by Jane Jago. The source of each is withheld to protect the guilty.

Daily Drabble – Hilltop

“It’s a long way up.”
“It’ll be worth it when we get to the top,” he promised.
“But what’s up there?”
He wouldn’t say, just laughing and tugging her along in his wake.
When they reached the top of the hill she looked around in bemusement. It was just another hilltop. Then he turned her so she was looking at a stand of trees and a white stone that stood among them.
“Sacred to the memory of Arthur Merryweather,” she read.
The sudden tears filled her eyes.
“Oh. You’ve found it. After all these years. You found my dad’s grave…”

©️Jane Jago

Coffee Break Read – The Kill

Torwyn watched the Easterner as he advanced across the floor of the arena. Therloon was fully aware that this was his moment and the exaggerated grin that split the tattooed face was as much leer of derision as smile of victory. Only those nearest the edge of the arena heard the tattooed man’s words as he approached his unarmed foe.
“You want to take back what you said before?”
The Sabre backed off step by step as the other man advanced, his arms spread wide in a gesture of pacification or surrender and the roar of contempt from the crowd at this sign of cowardice swelled close to riot.
“Take it back? Why should I?” he said as if puzzled by the question.
“Because on that depends how fast you die.”
“I don’t see why.” The Sabre’s tone was soft. “No matter how quickly or slowly you kill me it is all still true, Gant. You are an imbecile, a laughably dumb brute. You have less intelligence than the beast they named you for.”
An animal growl in his throat, the Easterner shot forward, the long axe held lightly in his hands. Sabre stepped back in a nervous retreat and in doing so missed his footing and tripped, sprawling backwards over the body of Therloon’s previous victim. He fell on his back, arms wide, body spread open and helpless.
The Easterner charged the last few paces, his face congested by anger and hate and Torwyn knew he was going to make this kill one his audience would long remember.
Then the fallen man moved. His body rolled suddenly backwards, looking for all the world like a street tumbler, legs disappearing over his head and he finished the movement smoothly on one knee, the spear he had rescued in the process of completing the roll, held in his hands and braced solidly against his foot.
Therloon could no more have shifted his course at that point than taken flight and his eyes barely had time to widen in horrified comprehension, before his stomach was impaled upon the spear.
Sabre was on his feet as the impact was carried through, driving the point home deeply, twisting it to bite into the spine as the Easterner went down. Standing above his fallen foe, the sturdy fighting-slave looked down, without compassion at the tattooed face which was broken now by a rictus of agony.
“How fast do you die?” he asked savagely, for once allowing the fury and disgust to boil up through his veins. But the Easterner was beyond words, lungs pierced by the ripping barbs on the side of the spear’s head and breathing only in wheezing grunts.
The adoring ululation of the crowd ran like a hurricane around the arena and a monsoon of flowers and ribbons rained down onto the blood-drenched sand.
“Sabre! Sabre! Sabre!”
Torwyn straightened up and looked around as if seeing the scene for the first time. Then, strangely impatient and with no more than the most perfunctory of gestures to acknowledge the adulation, he ran his hand through his short rust-coloured hair and strode back through the now open gates, into the dark tunnel beyond.
The lanista was, predictably, already there to greet him from behind the bars with a grim smile of delight.
“You had the crowd really going there for a few, Tawn, but I knew you could do it. I had an entire moon’s takings riding on you.”
The fighting-slave shook his head in disbelief.
“You are a bad liar, Proculin. You meant that asshole, Gant, to take me – in fact I am sure you are disappointed he did not. Why else did you give him that axe and me nothing but a shiny twig? You knew I stood no chance with that against him, that if I tried to fight with the thing it would snap in two.” Torwyn, the man the crowds knew as Sabre, was feeling more than cynical. The intense exaltation that another had died and he still lived roared through him with a primal surge, making everything clearer, brighter, more perfect and intensifying every nuance of sound, sight, smell and sensation. He did not miss the false stiffness to Proculin’s smile.
“I hope you lost a lot.” Torwyn added sincerely, gripping the bars that kept him from the free-world. But for once the money-grasping lanista seemed unconcerned.
“It is no matter. I made on you anyhow. But don’t bother settling down too comfy, Tawn, you’ve been sold.”
There was a nasty edge of delighted malice in Proculin’s tone that the lanista made absolutely no attempt to disguise. The relationship between the owner of the Alfor Arena and his most famous and profitable fighting-slave had never been other than caustic, but this presaged something of a different order.
“Sold?” Torwyn repeated incredulous. “You would never sell me. You’d more than halve your profits to do so.”
“Well get used to the idea, because it happens to be true. As of the moment you spitted Gant you became the property of Qabal Vyazin. But cheer up, Tawn, I hear he has a Zoukai captain working for him nowadays, one who used to ride with the caravans keeping the slaves in order on the road. So you’ll be in professional hands.”
The lanista seemed to find his own joke very funny and he walked away laughing, leaving Torwyn still gripping the bars, his knuckles white, as the real consequences of his lanista’s words dawned on him with the cold chill of comprehension.

From Dues of Blood part three of Fortune’s Fools Transgressor Trilogy by E.M. Swift-Hook

Daily Drabble – Picnic

A family picnic in the orchard with parasols, white dresses and a tartan rug. Jean-Paul proposed over caviar and champagne, she’d accepted. He said he’d have the ring resized, but by ill-fortune it’d fallen from her finger as they packed away.

The ring was lost for so long, Elise forgot about it.

Children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren with their children, came for her hundredth birthday – a picnic in the orchard with parasols and champagne.

Through serendipity, her favourite great-grandson found the ring and Elise wept tears of joy. Then and there, with Elise’s delighted blessing, he proposed to his true love.

E.M. Swift-Hook

Author Feature: MeowOWeen edited by Stephanie Barr

MeowOWeen a charity anthology for children, edited by Stephanie Barr
Spooky, scary, otherworldly, magical…
You can find all kinds of tales and tails in this collection of haunting cat stories for children and the child in us all. And if you think the perfect solution to a frightening dilemma or phantom is a kitty or two, well, you might just be right.
But don’t make them angry…

Death crept closer.
There was a nest of baby birds perhaps three meters up the tree, but Death could leap that easily. The night was dark and the moon was hidden. The mother bird dozed on her babies, unaware.
Death was used to that. He was silent and dark. Many thought him harmless since he had no tail and no front claws. It was usually the last mistake they ever made.
Closer, he crept and closer still. The father bird was elsewhere so no threat. Even the mother could not hold her own against him. Death was a large creature, sleek, lithe, deadly.
His yellow eyes were all but hidden behind the dark of his pupils. His feet were silent on the fresh-cut grass. The nest was on the other side of the tree, but he could leap up there and be on the birds before they had a chance to defend themselves. He was Death.
Easily, he could feast on the baby birds, a week old or so. And probably the mother. He could offer his friends what remained as treasures once he had consumed his fill.
Death poised for the jump. His strong back legs—oversized to compensate for the tail he’d never had—were ready to spring and propel him up the tree…
A door slammed open to his right, bathing the yard with yellow light from the kitchen. “Alvin!” the man shouted.
Death hissed his frustration. He was Death, Death! And he was being interrupted.
The birds were awake now but where could they go? Death returned to his pursuit, ready to leap and destroy.
“There you are,” a human voice said. “There’s my little smoochy oochy.”
Death turned to warn him away with a hiss. The birds definitely knew he was there now. He could still kill, but he might not get out unscathed.
The human scooped him up and snuggled him despite his wiggling protest. “Who’s a handsome boy? Want some fresh salmon?”
I am not a handsome—wait, did you say salmon? After all, those birds would be there for several more weeks.
The man, who smelled of oil and gasoline, nuzzled his head. “That’s right, you beautiful kitty. Nothing but the best for you.” With that, he walked back into the house, Death cradled in his arms. As soon as he’d closed the door, he let Death back to the floor, then crouched and scratched Death’s head in just the right spot. He rose and moved to the kitchen, then paused. “You coming, buddy?”So what if he was Alvin here? He had nice humans to pet him.
And let’s not forget the salmon.
Life was pretty good for Death.

From ‘Death Stalks’ by Stephanie Barr

All proceeds from MeowOWeen go to St Jude Children’s Research Hospital whose mission is to advance cures, and means of prevention, for paediatric catastrophic diseases through research and treatment. Consistent with the vision of its founder Danny Thomas, no child is denied treatment based on race, religion or a family’s ability to pay. No family receives a bill for treatment.

All authors and illustrators have donated their work free of charge:
Stephanie Barr, Knixolate Bar, Rose Campbell, Jocelyn Dex, Ken Goudsward, Jane Jago, Debbie Manber Kupfer, RC Larlham, USA Today Bestselling author Lily Luchesi, Jen Ponce, DM Rasch, F Stephan and Donna Marie West

A Bite of… Stephanie Barr

Question one: How much truth do you think there is in the following statement, and why? If cats weren’t so fluffy and cute, people might notice that they are just about perfect killing machines.

I think that’s a lovely summation. So many cat adoption stories come from a kitten out in the “wild” walking up to a stranger and looking adorable with the person falling in love. The adorable nature of kittens is, without a doubt, a survival mechanism. 
Even when they’re older. “Punkin, did you tear up the bread and leave shreds all over the house?” Punkin (ginger tabby) rubs against your leg and purrs, with an added purry meow. “Well, don’t do it again.” Repeat endlessly. 
I find the fact that they’re also brutally capable hunters as well also appeals to me. Cats are amazing killing machines and, ounce for ounce, one of the most devastating killers out there. Hard for me not to respect that.

Question two: The connection between cats and Halloween is probably as old as the festival itself. Why do you think this is the case?

Cats are quiet, sneaky, slide easily into forgotten corners, can hide in plain sight, can be brutally vicious, and don’t bow down to the dictates of people as most other domesticated animals do. I think a part of it is driven by the faction of people who don’t like an animal that sees them as, at best, an equal. That’s likely the group that demonized cats.
For some people who love cats, their ability to get where they shouldn’t, their ability to kill effortlessly, their silent tread and stealth can seem like magic. And the purr. How many creatures have a mechanism that effortlessly reduces stress and even heals? Magic!
People who love cats can often love cats unreasonably, with an almost slavish devotion.
And most people who have cats have, at least at some point or another, seen cats staring at what looks to be a blank wall, as if there’s a spirit or some other otherworldly beast there. (The story “Fate” addresses this point directly).
Plus, who wants a holiday without cats? Maybe I should do a Christmas cats anthology next time.

Question three: As a person who loves cats would you agree that people may own dogs but they are owned by cats? And why are cats so addictive?

Cats can definitely get away with more than most and, people can become almost slavish in their support. I mean, we literally clean up their crap. Dogs want to make you happy, and, I think, dog people are definitely devoted to their dogs, BUT, dog owners know they’re the boss. Cats want you to clean up their crap and bring out dinner, chop chop. And pet them when they want you to, okay you can stop now. Don’t make me have to scar you.
So why are they so appealing, so addictive? Why do people have to actively stop themselves from having an indefinite number of cats? Part of tit is their apparent independence, their disinterest in what we think of their behavior. It’s hard not to respect that.
Part of that is their dangerousness. Having a deadly creature that cuddles up to you and jumps on to your shoulders is flattering.
Part of it is that cats—and especially kittens—are so damned adorable. And cats, often, do better with a friend to keep them entertained. And, once you have two, if you stumble across a new kitten, it’s hard not think, “So, how much more trouble is a third?” How do you take an adorable new kitten you find in your engine to a shelter? How do you leave a sad neglected stray to its own devices? They know how to appeal to the people they choose (there are dozens of examples of people who “hated” cats who became totally besotted). Then, suddenly, you have ten and nowhere to put another litterbox.
And cats are caring, too. Sure, they do their own thing and don’t need you, but people who have been depressed or are recovering from illness and injury will tell you how devoted a cat can be, even a standoffish one. Cats are very empathetic.
But, the same passion that people have for cats is not necessarily stronger than the antipathy some people have for cats. Feral cats are subject to abuse with little or no notice. And cats know true cat haters and respond accordingly (which is likely reinforces it both ways). I have a story about that in Pussycats Galore (“The Cutest Little Zombie Apocalypse Evah”).
Their very independence leads people who picked up a kitten for its cuteness but had no idea what they were getting into to abandon their cats. Cats can be very difficult. Some people just leave their cats behind when they move, neglect them, brush it off when they disappear. Toss ’em if they get expensive or difficult with age. It’s not all beautiful.
But, when it’s beautiful, it’s glorious.

Although Stephanie Barr is a slave to three children and a slew of cats, she actually leads a double life as a part-time novelist and full-time rocket scientist. People everywhere have learned to watch out for fear of becoming part of her stories. Beware! You might be next!

You can find Stephanie on Facebook, Twitter, her webpage, her blog – or sign up for her newsletter and be sure not to miss out on any new projects!

Daily Drabble – Freesias

I can’t stand bloody freesias. Had them in my wedding bouquet. They were white and pink and smelled like summer and happy ever after.
Only I ain’t gonna get neither by the looks.
I’m stuck here in perpetual winter, and the asshole I was stupid enough to marry has sashayed off back to his momma in sunny Florida.
Last week he sent me the divorce papers I been kind of expecting. I signed them and found myself smiling for the first time in months.
This morning my big bear of a neighbour brought me freesias. These ones smelled like hope.

©Jane Jago

Sunday Serial: Wrathburnt Sands 25

Because life can be interesting when you are a character in a video game…

The cavern entrance became a long tunnel that went down for a while, lit by a weird blue luminescence which seemed to come from the walls. Then there was an abrupt angle up and the rock had been carved into steps. Climbing these, Milla suddenly found herself emerging from water into a huge underground chamber, with the same spooky illumination coming from pillars of rock.
“Awesome!” Pew breathed. “We made it in.”
“Well, now we’re here. What are we doing?”
Milla wondered how Pew would explain the situation to Glory. It wasn’t going to be easy she was sure of that.
“We’re here to rescue someone,” Pew began. “It’s a kind of friend of mine and…”
“Well frack me! Pew, what you doing here?”
Milla spun around and saw a rather fat dwarf, with a long beard which was plaited into a complex design. But it wasn’t the beard that held her attention. It was more that he was wearing something that looked part way between a bikini and a sarong. On his head was a golden tiara set with a huge glowing diadem.
“String?” Pew sounded faint and Milla felt him grip her hand tightly as the dwarf waddled over towards them.
“Oh hello Milla. You here too? And who’s this?”
“Uh.. I’m Glory. Nice to meet you…um.. String?”
String smiled happily.
“I’m glad you came by. I’ve missed you buddy!”
“String,” Pew released Milla’s hand and put both his on the dwarf’s shoulders. “You’ve got to leave here. Come with us now before the Queen repops.”
String laughed.
“You fracking kidding? Leave? I got it all here, bro. You seen these Lamia? Let me tell you the Queen is the hottes…”
“String! You are being controlled by her. You’re stuck here. Like really here. Your roomies are going wild. You’ve got to come with us.”
The dwarf pulled away.
“I don’t think so.” Slowly he began to grow until he was almost twice the size he had been. A giant dwarf, now looking Pew in the eye, his inappropriate attire stretched almost to breaking over his bulging body. He produced a double-headed axe from somewhere, each blade engraved with dwarven runes of power and the haft bound with strips of black dragon leather. String grinned and gave it a test swing. “Nice action. Now, what were you saying, Pew?”
Pew stepped back shaking his head.
“You’re not yourself. Look at you. Dressed like that. Wake up!”
The giant dwarf threw back his head and laughed.
“You thought you had it good with a girlfriend in game. You don’t know nothing, Pew. Nothing.”
Then without warning his face transformed to a snarl and he leapt forward, axe swinging, aimed right at Pews neck. The axe blade clanged into Glory’s sword which was suddenly in the way, and then Glory was too, standing between Pew and String, sword ready.
“No, don’t attack him Glory. It’s too dangerous. If he dies here… I don’t know. He might really die. In the real world.”
The dwarf was swinging again and Glory parried and reposted, pushing him onto the defensive.
“Not sure I know what you are on about,” she said, her own face stone featured. “I didn’t start this with, fats here, but I’m going to finish it if he doesn’t put that axe down.”
String laughed maniacally and swung into full on attack mode, Glory moved and dodged the swing, bringing her sword up to cut into his unarmoured flesh, but the blade seemed to do little damage.

We will return to Wrathburnt Sands by E.M. Swift-Hook next Sunday.

Return to Wrathburnt Sands was first published in Rise and Rescue Volume 2: Protect and Recover.

Weekend Wind Down – Insulae Nero

The Insulae Nero was in the poorer end of Viriconium. One of a number of squat blocks with an external staircase leading to each floor’s front balcony. In some attempt to create an impression of a pleasant environment, the blocks were set out in quadrangles around what might have once been central gardens, but which now had the odd broken piece of playground equipment and banks of overgrown weeds with litter blowing through like tumbleweed.
Had this been in Londinium, Dai would have regarded it as decent enough non-Citizen accommodation. Indeed both himself and Bryn had lived in insulae not so very different from these in their time there. But here in Viriconium, it was anything but. They had parked up on the edge of the estate under a security camera and walked through attracting attention from local dogs and children. The adults saw them and seemed to either melt away or lurk threateningly as if daring them to approach. At one point a bottle smashed close behind them, but they just kept walking.
“Hello, SI Cartivel.” The speaker detached himself from the insula wall he’d been supporting and stepped into their path. Beneath a mop of dark brown curly hair, he was thin faced, with one ear and one nostril pierced. His tunic and trews seemed too stylish for the locale. Dai moved his hand to push back his jacket intending to both grip and reveal the nerve whip at his belt. But beside him he felt rather than saw Bryn sink into the casual stance that offered no aggression but left him ready to respond to any attack. Unlike Dai’s approach, Bryn’s was de-escalatory. Taking his lead from the man who knew this area best, Dai let his hand drop back.
“Hello Cas. Not your usual playground. You been barred from the Dog and Onion again?” Bryn sounded almost as if he cared.
The man called Cas, hawked and spat as if the name tasted bad. “You know I don’t run with the Broanan’s SI Cartivel, they are not nice people. And I’m here visiting my *llys-tad.”
“Which one would that be? You had a few growing up, so I’ve heard.”
Cas pulled his face into an expression of sorrowful hurt.
“What are you implying about my mother, SI Cartivel? She was a good woman. The best. Gave me a good upbringing.”
“I heard she was a generous soul,” Bryn agreed mildly. “Just a shame she weren’t so successful at teaching you the difference between right and wrong.”
“You insult me,” Cas sounded pained. “I’m a good man. I look after my own. There’s never been any crime laid at my door.”
“Well that is because you just feed on the profits of other people’s crime, isn’t it. Cas? You point them where to go and when. They do the deed and you sell it on. Worse thing is it’s the local kids you get to do it. They don’t even understand the consequences. You know we’ll get you for it one day.”
“Is that a threat, SI Cartivel? My lawyer told me you aren’t supposed to threaten me. I could report you for it. Get you suspended.”
“No, it’s not a threat,” Bryn told him, his tone still mild and amicable. “In your case, Cas, it’s a promise.”
He walked on and Dai stayed put, fixing the curly haired man with a cold glare until he turned away and loped off towards one of the insulae.
“Nice place,” Dai said when he’d caught up with Bryn. “Not sure I’d want to come visiting alone after dark.”
“Cas Ofydd is a cunnus. But a clever one. If he’d put that intelligence into something honest he’d have made good. Instead, he uses it to recruit kids to commit crimes he sets up for them. But there is never anything to link him to it all except their word if we catch them. I’ve seen the court send two teens to the arena in the last year thanks to that bastard, though that was as much the Magistratus’ fault in pressing the letter of the law on them when he could have chosen not to.”
“The Magistratus feels he has no choice.” Dai wondered why he was defending his superior. Perhaps because he had faced some really difficult judgements himself and knew how hard it was to draw the line in the right place. He got no reply and was left with the impression he had somehow failed a test.
“The people here are used to seeing authority coming in hard with nerve whips and menaces,” Bryn explained as he led the way up the stairs of one of the blocks. He gestured along the first balcony. “Most of the front doors have been forced so often they don’t lock properly anymore, so it’s not too hard if someone wants to walk in and take stuff.”
“Forced by…?”
Bryn shrugged and jogged up the next flight of steps.
“Most often Aiofe’s lot or one of her competitors collecting on illegal loans, though it is as likely to be the angry drunken ex-spouse or the drug-warped teenager who forgot their key. And our boys and girls, of course, though we only do it when they refuse to open up.”
He turned onto the next landing and made his way along the exposed balcony. Faces stared at them from the windows beside the doors – those that weren’t boarded over.
“This,” Bryn said stopping outside a door that had several cracks in it and a hole where the lock should be, “is Villa Gillie. A commodious residence with views over the local park…” he paused to gesture dramatically to the small square of mud and weeds with a couple of vandalised benches, “and built-in air seasonal air-conditioning.” Bryn put his hand above the absent lock, hooked his fingers through it and held it, braced against the frame. Then he knocked hard on the door a couple of times.
There was no reply so after a few moments, he knocked again a bit harder. The window beside the door was still in existence and a face appeared there briefly. Bryn let go of the door and it swung slightly open as he did so.

‘Dying to be Born’ is one of the exclusive bonus short stories The Third Dai and Julia Omnibus by Jane Jago and E.M. Swift-Hook

Biker, Biker

Biker, biker roaring past
In the street, night before last
What the hell possess-ed thee
To wake me up at half-past three?

On what distant motorway
Did you begin your ride that day?
On what tarmac didst you roll
From whence came you my sleep to troll?

And what hard shoulder fast depart
Could twist your manifold apart?
So that the popping of the sound
Could so reverberate around?

What did hammer your bike chain
To make it thunder in the rain?
What did make you choose my road
To burden with your heavy load?

When the stars – or sparks more like,
Flew from the tailpipe of your bike,
Did you wonder what fell fate
Left you back-firing by my gate?

Biker, biker roaring past
In the street, night before last
What the hell possess-ed thee
To blast me up at half-past three?

Moonbeam Farquhar Metheringham IV

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