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Meleena’s Adventures

Welcome to my page for everything to do with Meleena and her adventures.

This is the place where you’ll find all the latest info on what Meleena is up to including the latest releases and everything to do with her home town of Bug Flat and the continent of Gallin.

Volume one of Meleena’s Adventures, Treasure Of The Umbrunna is out now! It was released 30 November, 2015, the first of Meleena’s many adventures begins with the search for a valuable pearl.

All she wanted to do was get rich. However, when she has to sacrifice it all to help another, she’s afraid if the word gets out, people may think she’s a nice person.

The ISBN numbers are:

ISBN: 978-1-934051-86-3/Paperback

ISBN: 978-1-934051-91-7/E-Pub

You can find it in both paper and e-book forms on line at Amazon and Barnes & Noble!

Book 2, Gods Of The Blue Mountains is now with the publisher and set for release soon. I’ll provide more details as they become available.

I’m hard at work on Book 3, Across The Endless Sea as well.

You can contact me at:

I also have a Meleena’s Adventures Facebook page at:


Just went through an extensive edit and finished it last night. Whew! Once it’s compiled, I’m sure I’ll have to go through it once again to make sure we didn’t creat more errors fixing the other errors! That’s all part of the process. What amazes me is that I got it done so quick and that I still missed what I did. Like I’ve said in many of my articles, forest through the trees!


My latest article is about Treasure Of The Umbrunna. I also tried to start an author page on Amazon and ran across a roadblock. The same happened when I tried it on Goodreads. Unless the book is actually out, they make it extremely difficult to start one. I haven’t given up yet, but…


Now that the book is out, I have pages on both Amazon and Barnes & Noble.


Always scroll to the bottom of the page. The latest updates to this page, which are now What’s Meleena Up To, are down there. The latest events with the books will be on my Facebook page at:’s%20adventures



We listened to you. Several of you were not real happy with the original cover. The font was too fuzzy.

We listened and our fantastic art department re-designed the cover and now, if you buy the book, this is what it looks like.

Hope you like it! The back has also been re-designed to make the blurbs easier to read.

Thanks to everyone for their kind and helpful feedback.

You rock!

As always, for the latest, consult the Meleena’s Adventures page on Facebook and don’t forget to scroll down to the bottom of this page to see what Meleena is up to. I DO update it irregularly, whenever I feel like it, so you never know when something will pop up. I do announce it on the Facebook site, so stay tuned. For those of you new to Meleena and her adventures, you have some catching up to do!


The cover of Gods Of The Blue Mountains is out now and it’s great! The book went live in late October, 2018.



New radio interview with James Kelly on his Aspects of Writing show.

Subject: Writing with the character in mind.


NOTE: Since time accounting in Meleena’s world has no correlation to ours, I’m using our calendar and time for simplicity…when I feel like it.

Tuesday, sometime in the past:

A gust of wind almost threw off the shot. Not that wind at this distance mattered that much, but the dust that blew in her eye, did. “Blow Harvel to the winds!”

She drew back, wiped the grit out of her eyes, and re-aimed. “One…two…three!”

The nut-sized rock flew from her sling shot down to the rump of a mule hitched to a cart loaded with pottery.

“Heehaww! Heeehaw!”

“Hey! My cart.” Jaloob Spaglat ran to catch up with his runaway cart, tripped on his long robes and fell face-first in a pile of donkey dung.

Meelena rolled over on the roof, out of sight of anyone below, and laughed so hard, she had to gasp for breath. She timed her fit with the moment the Esveen church tower next door rang the mid-day bells.

“Gods, I needed that.”

Ten moments later, she broke into the street below and moseyed past Jaloob, still trying to wipe the donkey dung off his shirt and pants.

“Maybe you should just tie your robe over yourself and go home and change.” She gave him a wink and headed down the street toward the Pig Splat.

With the cursing Jaloob fading behind her, she muttered, “I love the simple life.”

Today, July 3, 2015:

Chit Chit, Meleena’s best friend and confidante stopped by her usual table at the back of the room and dropped a fresh mug of ale in front of her. He clicked his mandibles and blinked all four of his eyes. “What’s with the somber mood?”


The green-skinned half bug-half human made his chitting sound and said, “never mind.” He walked back to the bar.

Meleena glanced at the retreating figure. “Did you say something? I’m not somber, by the way. I’m concentrating.”

Chit Chit threw a hand in the air, but kept going.

“Hmmm.” Meleena took a big gulp, wiped the foam off her lips and burped. She continued eavesdropping on the three Dwarves at the next table who argued about a Dwarf girl named Della and whether she looked better with two braids in her beard instead of three. They thought nobody else in the room could understand them because they spoke in their native tongue. What they don’t know.

Today, July 4, 2015:

Since there’s no such thing as a specific date like July 4 in Meleena’s world, let’s just say this is a special celebration run by the city elite. The upper class is throwing a birthday celebration for three of theirs who happen to fall within days of each other. An excuse to celebrate with festivities and pytrotechnics that evening, to the exclusion of the regular populace, of course. A perfect time for Meleena to do her thing.

From the Otraph River, Meleena knew an easy way to breach the wall at the outskirts of the upper class enclave. It was here, where there was less chance of a fire, that the magick users set up the racks of fire bursts they’d light and send into the sky. With dusk settling in and a few ales in her belly, she had little time to do her damage before they set them off. I’ll see to that.

The breach in the wall came out at a construction area. She weaved through the planks and barriers, careful of the guards surrounding the courtyard, and made her way to a nearby stable. “Unreal. They’re so worried about guarding those fire things, they never thought of the horses.” She didn’t even bother to whisper. There was nobody close by.

With the gate open, she unlatched the door to each stall, then took her flint and lit a pile of hay at the back of the stable.

Havoc ensued. The horses stampeded out of the stable into the square.

Meleena giggled, huddled back into the shadows and watched the fun.

Soon, all attention went from the square with the magick fire bursts to the fire in the stable. Meleena crept to the racks of devices. Using them for cover, she noted the angles, aimed to burst over the rich homes. Let’s see what I can do about that.

Though she worked as quick as possible, they almost had the horse stable fire under control and the animals gathered before she finished. Attention turned toward the fire bursts again.

“Oh gods, time to go.” She finished her work and skulked away into the dark.

“What was that?” One of the magick users threw a light ball toward a shadow.

Meleena already made it around the corner of the building and waved at the ball when it poked past. “That was close.” Nobody could see her from this angle. She rushed away.

Twenty moment later, she stood along the shore of the Otraph river, turned and waited.

A single fire burst shot into the air, exploded in a bright blue star. Then over the buildings, where the single fire burst came from, bright flashes in all colors burst in a tight dome of chaos. She heard faint screams. Then nothing.

She wiped her hands. “My job is done.”

Another Morning In Bug Flat. “Oh, the Cliché! (Actually, morning, July 5, 2015 in our world):

Meleena wakes with a hangover (that’s #1), goes to the water closet (uh, that’s toilet…bathroom…loo) looks in the mirror (that’s #2), describes herself to the readers (that’s #3).

I got up too early and my head still hurts.

She plops back into bed and covers her head with her pillow.

All you writers, editors, agents and publishers, you can stop screaming now. “Oh, the humanity!”

I’m done.

Seven sun cycles (years in Meleena’s world) ago, one spring morning:

“Come onnn. Move away from that door.” Meleena kept one eye glued around the corner on a door across the alley. The other, with a twist of her head, on the iron gate at the end of the walkway behind her. So far, so good. Nobody tried to open it and disturb her.

Meanwhile, two dandies yapped on in front of the back door to the jewelry shop. They blocked her way into a treasure trove on the second floor. Her half-rat, half-human friend Vaaaven said the owner of the store kept his most valuable pieces secured there. I can’t wait to give those locks a try. If these two sons of Snorgs would just move on!

The short one pulled out a flask, took a swig and handed it to the other guy. They leaned back and started a new subject.

“Gods, no!”

With her back to the wall, she put her hands over her face and grit her teeth. In all of her sixteen season cycles (or thereabouts), she still hadn’t learned patience.

Snort. Grrumph.

“Whoa.” The smell hit her at the same time more of those weird animal noises crept up from the alley around the corner.

Chit chit once told her that to avoid bad smells, breath through your mouth. She tried that and though she could almost taste the combination of dung and dead meat, at least she resisted the urge to gag. Meleena crept to the corner and peeked around.

The two dandies, upwind, jabbered  on, unaware that twenty paces away, a sewer grate near the wall across from them raised up. Ten paces in front of her, deft, clawed tentacles lifted the grate and moved it to the side. A horror of a beast, a Gleeb, squeezed through the wide opening.

Perfect! All I have to do is get that stupid thing to charge at those two guys. That’ll clear the door.

Meleena fingered her brand-new sling shot. Though she’d practiced a bit, she still wasn’t that good. This close. I can’t miss. She eyed the wall on the other side of the alley. I don’t want to hit that thing anyway. I want it to think those two over there did. All I need is a good rock.

A cross between a small rhinoceros and a lizard, Gleebs had a soft horn sticking out front. Three tentacles with suckers along the length and four-fingers tipped with claws at the ends, grew from their back for grabbing. They ran on four legs with padded feet similar to a lion. The biggest danger was their ugly disposition, fast movement and the mouth that could expand four times the size of their body. However, they couldn’t bite down hard with their two rows of stubbed molar teeth on the upper and lower jaws. Unless the victim was stunned or stupid, poking inside the tender upper part of the giant mouth could usually force their mouth open. Most received damage from the lashing claws on the tentacles or getting run over. Gleebs usually stayed in the sewers but were known to prowl above ground occasionally. As long as one left them alone, they usually went back underground without incident. Meleena had a few close calls before.

Not this time. “Heh heh heh.”

She backed from the corner and fished on the ground for a suitable rock. “Now, I put it in here and aim it like this? No, like this.”

When she figured she had it right, she crept to the corner, gave another peek, saw the Gleeb browsing in a trash pile. The two dandies took turns with the flask and ignored the beast.

Meleena swung the sling shot around and around. She took aim at a spot high on the wall so it would bounce back and hit the Gleeb from the other side.

She turned the corner and let go.

The rock flew out of the sling and right at the horn of the Gleeb!

“Oh Gods!”

“Rrrowagh!” Flailing tentacles, angry yellow eyes aimed for her.

Her feet took on a life of their own. Aiming for the iron gate, she slipped and fell on her face.

“Rrrowagh! Aaarghmph!”

A slimy tongue grabbed her legs, then teeth clamped onto her waist. She clenched her hands on the cobblestones but lost her grip. Her whole body slipped into the gaping maw.

She vomited, screamed, jabbed at the soft flesh.


The thing tried to swallow her, but the gullet was too small. She felt the teeth gnashing around her, missing. She couldn’t breathe, or see, her eyes clamped closed. A little voice in her head said, “The soft part, top of the mouth.” What’s up or down?

The tongue rolled under, trying to force her into the gullet, but her feet were too big. Tongue… under. She twisted around. With nothing but her hands, she poked with blind fury at the soft tissue.

“Hack hack hack!”

She flew through the air in a somersault, a whirl of black, white and yellow bile and slime. Her face hit the cobblestones but she slid at least ten paces backward, lubricated from the goo covering her.

“Hack hack hack!”

Arms flailing, she tried to get up, but could get no traction. Blind also from goo in her eyes, she screamed.


Cold water splashed on the back of her head.

“Sit up, Girl!”

Still afraid to open her eyes, she struggled to a sitting position.


More cold water poured onto her head. This time, enough came down to clear her eyes. She wiped her hands in her wet hair and rubbed her eyes, then opened them.

A man with a leather apron stood before her. Nest to him were two empty buckets.

“Good, you can see now. My job is done. Maybe next time you’ll know better than to mess with a Gleeb.” He shook his head, grabbed his buckets and walked to the iron gate. “Geez, kids.”

Meleena stood, covered in black, white and yellow slime, and gave one last yearning glance at the alley. “I need more practice with my sling shot.”

Seven sun cycles (years in Meleena’s world) ago, later that day:

“Whew! You stink!” Chit Chit waved a hand in the air then clicked his mandibles. “You’re not coming inside like that.”

“I need to get washed off. I can’t stand out here in the alley forever.” Meleena wiped goo from her hair, let the yellow mucus drip to the ground.

Her best friend and mentor let out a long breath. “Hold on.” Over his shoulder, he called out, “Get some buckets of water… make it warm water. And soap.”

Meleena emptied her pockets and placed her few items on an empty crate by the door. She unbuttoned her shirt and took it off, then her undershirt, pants, underpants, but left her leather boots on.

“You’re going to stand out there in the alley, like that?” Chit Chit said.

She glanced at her feet. “Oh.” The boots slipped off into the pile with the discarded clothes.

“Oh, gods, I don’t mean the boots. You’re standing naked. You do realize, you’re… you’re… well, for a full human or whatever you are, you have all the uh… well..”

“Lots of men have seen me naked. So what?”

“But you’re still a child, well, sort of.” His mandibles clicked.

“I’m sixteen, or thereabouts!”

Commotion interrupted Chit Chit’s next retort. Four of his assistants squeezed by with buckets. When they caught sight of her, each raised eyebrows.

“What?” she said.

“Just get about it. Wash her off.” Chit Chit stood with his arms crossed.

I’ve bedded two of these guys. The other two I wouldn’t touch. They try anything, I’ll let them know who I am. “Come on, give me the soap.” She pointed to the one with the blonde hair. She didn’t remember any of their names and didn’t care.

It didn’t take long to get wet, soap up and rinse off. With some left over water, the helpers made an attempt to rinse off her clothes, but they were a total loss.

The four men disappeared inside with the buckets.

“I need to go to my room and get some new clothes on.”

Chit Chit held up a hand. “You’re going to walk through the place like that? With a full crowd inside?”

She folded her hands over her chest. “How else am I supposed to get there?

“Gods! You have no idea what your naked body does to a drunk man.”

“I do, but they’d better not touch me.”

“Yeah, and I can’t afford the damages. Hold on.” He disappeared inside.

The alley remained clear both ways. This is the perfect way to go out in the night. The alley curved both directions so nobody walking by from either end could see.

A blanket hit her in the face.

“Whatever you got into, I hope you think better next time.”

“Gleeb…it was a Gleeb.”

A Few Months Ago (Our Time) – A Four Pocket Run

“You can’t do it.” Vaaaven’s rat-nose twitched, his long white whiskers twitched on his half-human face.

Fingers flexed, two deep breaths, Meleena closed her eyes. “Thanks for the vote of confidence.”

“Heh heh.” He put a hand on her shoulder. “I don’t want to see you end up in jail, that’s all.”

“I’m rusty. I need to prove to myself I can do it.”

“Four in a row? Those dandies keep their bags tight. They never take their hands out of their pockets. That’s the worst bunch in Bug Flat.” The rat man let out a sigh. “You’re asking for big trouble.”

“That’s exactly why I picked this crowd, my rat-faced friend. It’s not much of a challenge over in The Digs, now is it?”

“In The Digs, everyone’s pockets are empty.”

“Just be prepared with the diversion…in case.”


Meleena eyed the crowd moseying along the avenue in their finery. Lots of dandies in the rich neighborhood. The men carried their coin purses tight to their waists, hands clamped around them as if everyone nearby were a thief. Like her. “Keep your eye out.”

“Go, and make it quick!”

She slipped out of the alley, blended into the throngs and moved toward the intersection.

The first target turned to gaze in the window of an apothecary.

With her knife in her hand, under her vest, she slid next to him. Shorter, by two hand spans, she could point the blade up at the bottom of his pocket, slice and open her side pocket in one smooth movement. His coin purse emptied in a split moment, the noise covered by the crowd around them. She slipped into the crowd while he still looked into the window.

Target two wore a blue velvet robe.

The blood and adrenaline rushed through her veins. She maneuvered in front and glanced back where she could see his right hand fondling a money bag on his right hip. Meleena fell back and waited.

Mr. Velvet Robe stopped at a flower vender and commenced arguing over an arrangement.

When he bent down to point at something, his robe bulged in the right spot. She brushed by, sliced, scooped, and left in one swift movement. This is great!

Target three had his bag out to pay for some bread.

No good. Have to wait.

The man paid, then left with the bread but left the bag on the counter. The vendor didn’t notice.

No challenge at all! Meleena swept by and grabbed it. She shoved a basket of loaves into the stall to distract the vendor.

A moment later, yelling and screaming came from the stall. “Heh heh heh.”

Target four walked toward her with leather armor.

A soldier, not a dandy. Don’t do it, girl. That’s a working man. You just did three good ones, leave the guy alone and pick someone else…come on. Don’t do it. Don’t do it!

The guy spotted her and sneered.

Do it!

Her Elven blade cut through the leather like cloth.

Ten moments later, she found Vaaaven lurking in the same alley. She hefted her heavy pocket from her waist. “A four-pocket run. I knew I could do it.”

Labor Day, September 7, 2015 (In Meleena’s World, just another day)

The hand cart wheels creaked in protest as Meleena tugged it along the cobblestone path back toward Bug Flat. Nestled within the rails were eight cages full of trapped black beetles she’d just harvested for Chit Chit. Since he was too busy to get away from the bar for his staple meal, she often went out to Farmer Carbenell’s bean fields to get them for him, if she was in a mood. Sometimes, it was good to get away from it all. Lately, the pressures of her life warranted mundane things like this to keep her from going berserk.

Like on the trip out, she passed old lady Frella’s farmhouse. The grump was hanging laundry then and called her a harlot and a useless thief. “All true except the useless part. Heh heh.”

Humming came from inside the closed door. Heavy blue curtains covered the windows. The laundry flapped in the breeze. Meleena stopped in mid stride.

“Don’t do it,” she said through clenched teeth.

The temptation urged her on, especially with the old hag humming away in total bliss, unaware someone was outside. A good thing the old bat doesn’t have a dog.

“How many times have I passed by here and put up with her insults?”

It was no decision. The brat always won out. The real problem came with whether she could pull off the spell. Would it work? This time?

“I’m terrible at magick… terrible. But I practiced. Maybe, just maybe…”

She practiced the spell with several unfortunate outcomes, and finally got it right. Now was the time to try it for real and put Frella in her place…at least drive her nuts for a while.

With a glance both directions down the path, she crept closer to the clothes line, keeping an ear to the humming in the house. She pulled a vial of sulfur, a stick with markings and a diamond from her magickal pouch. She rubbed the sulfur on the stick, then holding the stick up so the markings were exposed, she tapped the top marking with the diamond. “Glabzeep hzakbahtgap traszshab dnabastash!” She then skipped a marking and tapped the third one.

A faint blue aura surrounded the clothing and sheets on the clothes line. They shrunk enough that she could see it when she did it, but not enough that anyone could tell right away.

“Heh heh heh. Wait until you try to fit into that stuff, you old hag. Call me useless again.”

She started to turn, but jerked back, and waved a hand over the stick and tapped it with her palm. “Gast!”

“Whew. Almost forgot!”

The last few times she practiced she forgot to close off the spell, which resulted in some unpleasant aftereffects.

With the cart wheels squeaking behind her, she sauntered merrily down the path and into Bug Flat.

Yup, Meleena is a brat!

September 26, 2015 (Meleena Tips A Few)

The air tickled her nose. A pipe tobacco and ale aroma pushed against her face like a heavy pillow. Meleena lifted her mug and took a deep swallow of Chit Chit’s finest ale. The tickle subsided.

“Gods, girl, how many of those have you drank?” Vaaaven rubbed his rat-shaped snout of a nose and his coarse whiskers bristled.

“I don’t count. I drink until I stop. Period. I don’t feel like stopping yet.” I’m not slurring my words yet. I’m still good.

“I’ve had three and I’m already dizzy. Chit Chit makes a good brew.”

The rat man couldn’t help but slur. He had a body mass about two thirds of Meleena and none of it was muscle. She said, “You can slow down. I don’t want you to get mugged on the way home.”

“Heh heh.” His beady eyes darted back and forth. “I can get home okay.”

He knew every sewer in town and every trap along the way. “Still, take it easy. You aren’t me.” I never used to care about you. Things change.

“I just…every time I tip a few with you, I’m shocked. Where do you put it all?”

“Well, it sure don’t stay in me long.” She nodded toward the hall with the water closets.

“You still spending from that four pocket run?” Vaaaven took another drink, wiped his mouth, then slammed the mug on the table. With a loud burp, he added, “That was quite a haul.”

Meleena moved her eyes around the room. With her back to the wall, she had a good view of everyone. “I’m running low. Time to build up my stash.”

“Oh, please tell me.”

First, she chugged what remained of the mug, then slid it aside and grabbed the next one in line. If Vaaaven had wanted to, he could’ve kept count. There were four empty ones to her right and five full ones to her left. This wasn’t even a heavy night. “The Esveen chapel.”

Vaaven,who’d been in the middle of another gulp, spat all over the table. When he recovered his wits, he gasped out, “You’ve got to be kidding! The most heavily guarded places in town? Which one?”

Meleena took the fresh mug she’d just grabbed, tipped it up and gulped the whole thing down. She slammed it on the table, let out a loud burp. “Now, that hits the spot. The one at the border of The Digs.” There were seven Esveen chapels in Bug Flat but only one sat on the border with The Digs.

“You’re going to rob from the poor? Isn’t that low even for you?”

Meleena grabbed another fresh mug, tipped it and drank it down in one huge gulp. She slapped it on the table and let out an even louder burp, loud enough to draw stares from the surrounding tables. She aimed a finger toward the hall to the water closets. “Time to remove that ale.” She pointed to one of the empty mugs in the row on the right. “I’d say that one right there.”

The rat man glared at her. “Unbelieveable. Robbing the poor.”

She stood, steady on her feet, turned to the hall and said, “We’ll see.”

March 30, 2016 (Watching)

“Look at them, like sheep going to slaughter.” Meleena peered through a gap in the crenellated roof of a tower across the street from Our Holy Father of Esveen Chapel Of The Blue Almighty Number Four. That mouthful of a name designated the only holy building servicing the slums of Bug Flat known as The Digs.

Poor people from the neighborhood filed in and out at random to do their prayers to Esveen.

“You don’t think much of other people’s belief’s, do you?” Vaaaven poked his head up, then backed away.

“Pffft. Never have. That stuff is for the weak-minded.” She scrunched her face.” On the other hand, I don’t fault anyone for believing in something beyond them, if they want. I’d rather just believe in myself.”

He rolled over and aimed his beady eyes at hers. “You think people that do are weak?”

“I…I don’t know. I can’t say. Maybe foolish?” Why that bothered her, she could not fathom. Heat crawled up her face.

“And…how long has it been since you said you were going to take that place?” Vaaaven jerked a thumb toward the chapel.

“Bah! You’re not getting the plan at all.”

He peered hard into her eyes. “I’m not sure whether you’re avoiding my question or are just hiding something from me.”

A little of both, but I’ll never tell you that. Meleena peered over the edge of the building again. The breeze coming from below cooled her face.

Movement caught her eye. That same wagon she’d seen five sun cycles before appeared from the back of the chapel. A tarp stretched over the back tight enough to strain the hoops holding it up. “There, see that wagon?”

“Wha? Oh, that? What about it?”

“How many wagons have you ever seen around here with such a tight top and sealed so perfectly? Notice there isn’t a single gap anywhere?”

“So, they’re great at stretching the canvas? So what?”

“They don’t want anyone to see inside.” Meleena tapped her head. “That’s not the real clincher. Take a look around the wagon.” She poked a finger. “What’s so important they not only don’t want anyone to see inside, but they need six armed thugs guarding it, but trying to pretend they’re not guarding it?”

Vaaaven did a double take. “Well, don’t that beat…” His head whipped around. “What is it you’re really after?”

“Hhhhhh….” Meleena eased back and stared into the cloudless sky. “Something I never would’ve dreamed of doing before.”

May 19, 2016 (Springing Into Action)

The wagon approached Red Bridge. Meleena always wondered why it got that name because there was nothing red about it. The same gray rock that made the castle rose from the crenellated towers along the sides of the largest bridge in Bug Flat. It had to be the largest because this was where the Otraph River split into the East and West forks, making the span at least five-hundred paces across. This was also the main trade route into town. She pulled back into the shadows of the bushes beyond the bridge. Vaaaven’s breath tickled her neck.

“You can ease back a bit. I don’t need your spicy dinner aroma in my face.”

“Uh, sorry.” Vaaaven eased back against a fallen tree trunk, his eyes still toward the road. “What’s really going on? Why wait so long and why this particular wagon? There’ve been lots of them. I thought all along you were going to hit the church.”

Meleena eased back, blinked. “Okay, we have a moment. Those flunkies are taking it slow.” She chanced one more peek, the dusk fell, casting shadows all around.

“Do you really think I’d bother with the till in the poorest church in town?”

“Snrrgh.” Vaaaven scratched his long nose. “Well…”

“Okay, I probably would under normal circumstances. However, for once, I’m thinking bigger.” She tapped the side of her head.

The rat man frowned, glanced around her at the approaching wagon. His frown deepened. “Oh…they’re not as poor as they make out to be!”

“Hhhhh…” Meleena let the breath out, shook her head, glanced at the wagon then leaned back against the tree. “Yes and no, but not the way you think.”

“I’m all ears.” He flicked his large, pink rodent ears.

“Not to mention…” She almost said teeth, but choked it off. “We don’t have time to go into it more, but let’s just say that we’re getting what’s in that wagon….in…” She noted the position of the wagon. It came parallel to a boulder across the road, the driver and guard next to him oblivious. She’d timed this after watching the same routine for a long time. She knew there would be no other guards until they reached the next town. She turned her head to face Vaaaven “…three…two…one,” and snapped her fingers.

A bright flash turned the dusk into daylight for a split moment.

“Aaagh! What happened?” Vaaaven rubbed his eyes.

Meleena would have warned him, but he was already facing away when it happened. Now she turned toward the wagon, crossing her fingers before she looked.

The driver and guard were froze on the bench seat, their eyes glazed over. The two horses, their feet posed as if they were prancing, stood still as statues. “Gods, it actually worked! Thank you Grel!”

“I didn’t figure you could do something like that.” Vaaaven stood and walked into the open. “You never told me a thing about this…about what you’d planned.”

“I couldn’t take the chance, sorry.”

Meleena came around the tree and into the road. She hurried to the wagon. No signs of anyone either from Bug Flat or coming the other way. That isn’t going to last.

“Come one, hurry!” She went to the back and unbuckled the strap holding the back flap. When she tore it away, two rows of at least twenty children, all bound and gagged, stared back at her.

“Mother of gods! What’ve we got ourselves into?” Vaaaven stared at the desperate faces.

“Come on, help me get these brats loose.” Meleena pulled her knife and went to work on the first one. Thank the gods they tied them with leather instead of chains.

Her Elven blade made quick work of the cheap leather. After a stunned pause, Vaaaven joined in and in ten moments, Meleena stood next to the wagon with a crowd of…kids. Sniveling and whiny. I didn’t count on this.

“Uh, I hate to break this to you, but what are we supposed to do with them now?” Vaaaven’s nose and whiskers twitched.

“I’m just interested in…Peeps, over here.” She waved at a human lad of about a dozen years. “You and your two buddies.”

“Thanks, Meleena! You saved our tails. We’ve been holed up in that basement since last winter. They finally sold us. How did you know?” Peeps wrapped his arms around her in a hug.

“Not so fast!” She shoved him back and grabbed her change purse out of his hand. “Now that’s not being very grateful.”

“We need to eat.”

“I could always give you back.”

The kid’s face reddened. “What do you want?”

“You three were my best spotters. What do you think? We take care of each other, right?”

Peeps blinked. “Really? You did that for me? You have my back?”

Heat rode up Meleena’s face. “Now wait a moment. I need spotters and you guys are the best. Just be more careful and don’t get caught by these religious crazies.”

One of Peep’s friends said, “Oh, they’re not religious crazies. At least not the ones that took us.”

“Oh?” Meleena glanced between them.

“I want my mommie!” A tiny girl, screamed at the top of her lungs.

“Just what I need.” Meleena threw up her hands. She went over to the screaming tot and yelled back, “Well, then go find her. What do you want from me?”

Taken aback, the tiny girl stared at her a moment, cranked up, then continued screaming. “Mommie!”

“Oh, gods!” Meleena walked back to Vaaaven and the others. “Anyone know what to do with that…that…” She turned to the other kids and noticed more than half of them were not much older than the little one. Most of the older ones had tears in their eyes also, though were a bit less vocal.

“She’s only a baby of three. She can’t find her mommy. She’s no orphan, either. She was stolen.” A girl with green skin, about Peep’s age approached. “I was too. I know about where she lives.”

Meleena wiped her hands. “Great. Problem solved. You can take you both home. I have some drinking to do after such a heroic day.” She turned to walk away.


“Grrrrr.” She stopped in mid stride and turned slow. “What now.”

“It’s almost dark, I don’t know the way from here and there are bad people looking for us. We need help getting there.” The girl hesitated, grinned. “Besides, there might be a reward.”

Meleena did not care about any reward. Then again…No! My reputation.

In the gloom, except for Peeps and his two buddies, twenty-odd young faces stared at her, teary-eyed, hopeful, expecting.

“Gods, I hate this!”

July 27, 2016 (A Harried Trip)

“I’ll tell all of you this only once.” Meleena had their rapt attention. Those young, wide eyes, snotty noses, fat cheeks. Don’t run off screaming. Keep it together. “Do exactly as I say and maybe you’ll get home safe. Ignore me at your doom.”

A tiny girl raised her hand.

“Sssss…” Meleena let out a long breath. “Whaaat?”

“What’s doom?”

“Oh…gods!” Meleena slapped her thigh. “Just shut up and follow me. Do what I say!”

She headed across the bridge, watched the road for signs of travelers…or worse. Lucky there’s no traffic this late.

“Uh, Meleena.”

“What Vaaaven,” Meleena said over her shoulder, not bothering to look back.

“What about those guys in the cart?”

“They should be that way for at least a bell. We’ll be long gone…and no. I know what you’re thinking. If someone comes along, they can’t wake them up either. Relax. Just keep an eye out for any traffic. We need to keep out of sight.” The nearest buildings loomed fifty paces ahead. She remembered an alley near there and crossed her fingers.

Despite her stomach lurching at every shadow, she managed to get the group to that alley without losing anyone or meeting someone else. “Okay, let’s stop a moment. Now, where—”

“I gotta pee.”

“Who said that?” Meleena scanned the shadowy faces.

A tiny hand stuck up in the back of the crowd.

“Right there.” She pointed to the wall behind her. “And hurry.”


“Do you want to be left behind?”


“Gods, someone shut her up before the entire queens’ army comes down on us!” Meleena glanced both directions.

“If you don’t mind, I got this.” The older, green-skinned girl tugged on her sleeve. “Please be patient.”

Meleena ground her teeth together. “Five moments and we head out again…wait. You never told me where we’re going. Where do you live? Where do the rest of these kids live? My time’s limited, you know.”

“Let me take care of her first and I’ll guide you.”

She let the green-skinned girl take care of the baby. In the meantime, she found an old crate and took a seat.

Vaaaven pulled himself up next to her. “I must say I’m surprised.”

“If you ever breathe a word of this—”

“Hey, we both have reputations. I don’t want anyone to know I helped you do this, either.” The rat man rubbed his ears.


Halfway through their trip across town, Peeps and his two buddies took their leave. Meleena let them go. “Remember our deal.”

“We’re in your debt. We’ll never forget!” With that, Peeps and his crew disappeared into the shadows.

“Okay, you know where you are yet?” Meleena said to the green-skinned girl.

The young girl led the way to the semi-rich neighborhood a few blocks from the good side of Sivrisinek Castle.

“Okay, what’s your name ma’am.”

Meleena tensed, her jaw tightened, the blood rushed to her head. “What did you just call me?”

“Uh, sorry, Ma’am. I don’t know your—”

Through clenched teeth Meleena said, “Don’t you ever call me Ma’am!”


“Her name’s Meleena. Call her Meleena,” Vaaaven said.

“Uh, sorry, Meleena. I need your name so I can tell my father who to give the reward to.”

“Ssssss.” The pressure eased in her head. “Oh…kay. That’s okay. So, which house is yours?” She eyed the crowd of kids. “What about this bunch?”

“Oh, my dad will see they get home. My house is that red one right there.” She pointed to the left side of the street.

Meleena followed her finger, peered at the building. All the blood drained from her face. “Ah…uh…oh.”

“Blow Harvel to the winds,” Vaaaven said with a badly disguised snigger.

She tried to elbow him but he was too far away. “Uh, tell you what. Why don’t you just go ahead and take the kids inside.”

“What? Don’t you want the reward?” The girl gestured toward the house.

“Uh, not this time,” Meleena said. “Why don’t you do me a big favor. After all, I rescued you, right?”



The green-skinned girl nodded.

“Good. Forget my name. Go inside and tell them strangers helped you escape but they just left and you have no idea who they are. Got it?”

The girl arched her brows, stared from Meleena to Vaaaven, then her eyes brightened. “Ah, I get it. You want to be unsung heroes. Wow, you’re even more awesome!” She rushed Meleena and grabbed her in a tight hug.

Meleena blushed. Nobody hugged her that tight since that drunk got a little too handsy with her in the Pig Splat the other night. She pushed the kid back. “Just go, okay?”

“Got it! You’re the best!”

Five moments later, she and Vaaaven skulked down an alley toward home. “That reward would’ve been nice.”

“Look at it this way.” Vaaaven kicked an old discarded shoe out of the way. “At least you got your spotters back.”

“And we didn’t have to get face-to-face with that green terror, Crongar.” She shared a shudder with Vaaaven.

Thanksgiving 2016 (PROWLING GREL’S OLD LAB)

Meleena fumbled the bag of sunflower seeds in her hand, tossed it in the air, and pretended to drop it.

“Ah! Careful with that.”

She smiled at the sound of the squeaky voice coming from a dark, dank passage in front of her. It had been a while since she’d snuck into the dungeons of Sivrisinek Castle. Now, she needed a guide to find her way to Grel, the royal magick user’s old lab. At least she hoped it was his old lab. The sunflower seeds provided the perfect bribe for Tweet the Quick, her obnoxious but reliable…well…usually, source of all things to do with below the castle. “Come on Tweet, show yourself.”

A glimmer of light flitted in the distance along the ceiling of the passage, it grew and a small, bird-like being flitted around her head, reminding her of an oversized dragonfly at times, a pixie at others. “Been a while, Tweet.”

“Not long enough, from the trouble you usually bring.”

“Well, if that’s the case, I can always take these—”

“No! Sorry, that’s okay. What do you want?”

Meleena handed the bag to Tweet. It always amazed her because the bag was not only larger but had to weigh at least twice what the creature did. Yet, he held it and flew like it weighed nothing.

“Hold on…” Tweet flitted off, disappeared around a corner in the dark then returned a moment later. “Okay, once again, what do you want?”

“Take me to Grel’s old lab.”

“Pffft! What do you mean, old?”

“He still uses it?” She figured since he became the royal magick user again, he had the run of the castle. He could set up his lab anywhere now. Why keep it in that depressing dungeon?

“A couple of times every few days. Besides, he has to feed that dung eater of his.”

“Uhhhg, Gods! I forgot about Woof!” Meleena leaned back against a nearby wall. Grel had a pet dung eater. That vicious beast could be a problem. “Is there a way around Woof?”

“Depends. That horrid thing wanders all over now. Then again, Grel keeps it well fed so it’s not as aggressive as it could be, I suppose.”

“Just great!” Meleena puffed. This isn’t going to be easy.

“Why do you want in his lab, anyway?”

“Just stuff. I don’t know. Something I can use, that’s all.” She did not really know what she was looking for. With all that junk he had down there, she hoped to find something she could use to cause a little mischief around town. Maybe help her steal something. “I don’t know why I’m telling you this, but I’m bored. I want to stir things up. He’s got to have something even my crummy magick skills can handle.”

Tweet flitted around, his color changing from satin white to pink and back again. “I never knew you to be suicidal. Messing with the most powerful magick user in the kingdom’s stuff is asking for…for…well…”

“Will you just try and get me there, safe?” She thought a moment. “And not like the last time, giving directions and running out on me. I don’t remember the route, and besides, I want to do less crawling this time.”

“Hmm…” I guess I can take you the long way, but I can’t guarantee we won’t find either Woof or Grel himself. You also have to worry about wards. What if he has it warded, trapped?”

She had never thought of that. “I guess I’ll just have to use my best skills to avoid them.” Now, it was a matter of the adventure and the quest as much as finding anything.

“Lead on.”


*          *          *


Though Meleena had prowled the dank, dark passages many times, she always got lost. There were just too many twists and turns and not enough landmarks. Her navigation always came to a bribe with a bag of sunflower seeds, and Tweet. Her sort-of friend never turned down that “gift”, or asked questions about what she stole from the castle. On the other hand, she had never asked him to deliberately bring her into Grel’s lab before. Tweet had not only a healthy fear of the old, once considered crazy magick user. Grel’s pet dung eater scared Tweet as well, even though he was much faster than the lumbering, slithering beast.

“These walls look familiar. Where are we?” Meleena noted sconces with torches in them, red brick walls with green slime in the mortar and a channel down the middle with effluent flowing against the direction they moved.

“You’ve been here at least twenty times that I can recall. We’re near the jail.” Tweet flitted in a figure eight. “That passage on the left leads to the jailmaster’s office. Up here on the right, that leads to the lower kitchen storeroom.”

“How do you remember all this?”

“Geez, how do you not?” Tweet surged ahead, keeping well ahead.

Meleena had an urge to draw her sword. I’m sure he just insulted me, but it’s not the first time. I need him too much to get even. She actually did remember this area, but could not help testing the little guy. Sometimes she wondered about him. In many ways, she probably could navigate some parts of this place on her own, but only if they went up, not down. In this case, they were staying level, which never happened before.

“This way.” Tweet reached a four-way junction ahead of her and went to the right.

When she reached the spot, all three choices glowed a sick orange, fluorescing from some kind of moss oozing out of cracks in what were now stone walls. No more brick. “Where are we?”

“Under the foundation of the main tower.” Tweet twirled in a loop, waved at her. “Come on, and careful. Be quiet.”

The hair stood on her arms. Meleena drew her sword. All this time, she had ignored the overwhelming mustiness and mixed odors so as not to get sick. Now, she detected something even more foul. “Is that what I think it is?” She whispered ahead to Tweet, who was almost too far ahead to hear her.

“Shhh! And yes, Woof is close. At least I think he is.”

Outside of the sickly glow, she could not see a thing amiss, yet she felt a presence somewhere ahead. Something animal…hostile. Her hand tightened on the sword.

The passage curved ahead and Tweet disappeared for a moment. Meleena slowed and crept forward, ears perked, eyes straining for any movement. She continued around the curve and caught a flicker of light. Tweet.

The creature waved at her and put a finger to his lips.

She crept forward to another junction.

“Around there,” Tweet whispered.

Meleena bent around the corner and caught a glimpse of Woof. The dung eater slithered along the floor, a huge blubbery blob of flesh, the size of a large cow. Two tentacles stretched from the mass with gaping claws, a huge mouth in the middle of his body gaped, full of razor sharp teeth, surrounded by seven eye stalks longer than her arms fully extended, each aiming a different direction. One claw grabbed the haunch from a dead cow, chomped on it, taking a few bloody bites, then threw it down. With a loud rumbling burp, it went still. Four of the eyes closed. The other three gazed randomly at nothing in particular.

She drew back around the corner. “What now?”

“Good question. Did you notice that door the carcass was lying in front of?” Tweet said. “That is, until Woof grabbed it for a bite?”

“Uh, not really. I was too busy taking in what Woof was doing.”

“Well, that’s the main door to Grel’s lab.”

A twinge went through Meleena’s stomach. “That meaning main, as in there are other ways in?”

“As in, no, not in this lifetime and not unless you are shrunk down to my size.”

“Blow Harvel to the winds!” Meleena leaned back against the wall, slipped on the slimy moss and stood up again. “Gods! What now.” She clamped a hand over her mouth.

Tweet flitted to the corner, peeked, then back again. He whispered, “No reaction. We were lucky. I don’t know how that thing hears. As far as I know, it has no ears.”

“Maybe vibration through the air…rock…who knows?” Meleena wanted to wipe the back of her hair, but did not want to find out what she just leaned against.

Instead, she crept to the corner, peeked around again.

Woof flailed his claws. All seven eyes were open, aiming the other way down the hall. His gaping maw clamped shut. “Grrrbubbb.” With that, he slithered down the hall, away from them.

“Hey, he’s heading off. Something’s up.”

Tweet flitted over her head. She felt a soft rush of air against her face and a faint whiff of cinnamon.

“I guess if you’re going to try and get in, now’s the time.” Tweet said. “Woof just headed to the main drainage system. If he goes all the way, you have probably ten moments.”

Meleena strained to see down the hall, the orange glow going green in the distance. She saw no sign of Woof now. “Okay, please…” she hated being that nice…“please keep an eye out while I go inside. I’ll try to be quick.”

“How are you sure Grel isn’t in there?”

“Well, ah…” She had not thought of that. “I’ll knock first.”

“Just be careful.” Tweet flitted off down the hall.

Meleena rushed to the unobtrusive door. The cow carcass lay down the hall ten paces. It reeked of death. Without another thought, she knocked.

No response.

She knocked again.


Wards? Many season cycles of skill and practice taught her the signs to look for, or so she hoped. After a careful scan, she found nothing. Was Woof his only ward? Did Grel retire this place after all?

“Here goes.” She gave a quick glance down the hall, saw no sign of Tweet and opened the door. Nothing happened.

The large, cluttered room was as she remembered it from the last time she’d been there. It had been a long time since she’d gone after that Umbrunna egg and the visit here. Over against the wall was the window, now dark where Grel showed her a birds-eye view of Bug Flat. She still could hardly imagine that weird image, coming from so far underground. Now, like everything else in the room, it took on a neglected, dusty appearance. Cobwebs lingered in the corners of the frame, the same with everything else in the room. Only the center and a few of the tables showed any signs of recent use. A few books looked like they’d been opened recently and the chair she’d seen him plop down in the last time looked disturbed.

She heard noise down the hallway. “Gods, already? I just got in here!”

In a rush, she scanned the cluttered shelves, full of so many odd trinkets, she could not begin to sort them in her mind. She went over to a shelf and ran her fingers over item after item, with no plan, no idea what she really wanted. Her fingers fell on a reddish wood stick, wrapped in thick paper. Something compelled her to pick it off the shelf.

Tweet flitted into the room. “You need to be quick. I think Woof is headed back this way.”

“I just got in her. Geez. I haven’t had time to…What’s this?” She pulled the stick out of the paper. It was reddish wood with a rich dark grain. Along the thick base, it had a few green gems embedded in a collar before it tapered to a point. “Hmmm. This looks pretty neat.”

“Looks like a wand to me.”

“I guess so.”

Tweet flitted around near her head. “Looks like it came with instructions. You going to read them?”

“What? Oh, these? Well…” She unrolled the paper.

With this device, you can focus a spell. Simply create your spell, aim the wand at your target and it will precisely target for you. Now for a word of caution. There are certain things to keep in mind…

Meleena zoned out after that. “Good enough. This looks—”

“We’d better go. I hear Woof.”

“Well, at least this is something.” Meleena tossed the paper aside and tucked the wand into her vest.

She came to the door, took one last look around the musty room and closed the door behind her. “Lead the way out my friend. I guess I have to take what I can get and be happy.”


*          *          *


“Te he he he he. This is going to be great!”

Meleena sat at a table by a window in Nerdal’s Books & Coffee in the middle of Bug Flat. The place, one of her hangouts when she wanted to scope the dandies coming from the shops along the boulevard, provided a great view of the street. Plus, she could get a good cup of coffee and even read something, if she had a mind.

Today, she sat amongst the usual gang of intellectuals. A few scholars, decked in glasses, two to five lenses, depending on their race, gazed at various tomes and sipped on exotic brews made at the counter next to the half man, half lizard who ran the establishment. He sat in a throne-like chair, counted his coins and calculated things on a complicated device with levers. Across from her at the other end of the long table, two Dwarves sat, puffing pipes and browsing thick books with gold trim. Two females of cat-like appearance, given the feline faces and tails, talked in hushed whispers and leafed through a pair of books at another table across the room.

Meleena sipped on a cup of coffee, strong enough to stand her spoon up straight, black, no frills. With over thirty varieties to choose from, she always had a hard time picking her poison. This time, she chose the coffee with the plain red label and a silver crown called, unimaginatively, Silver Crown. Maybe she chose that one because of the color of the wand, which she held under the table with her free hand.

Outside, the dandies rolled by, some with a wife or lover on one arm. Many by themselves, all primped and full of themselves. “It’s time to give them something to think about. Heh heh heh…”


“What did you call me?” Her face flushed. Meleena glared at the five eyes staring at her…or tried to.

The man blinked. “Uh, huh? Ma’am? I’m sorry. Did you say something?”

Meleena suppressed her anger. This fool did not know. “Nobody calls me ma’am. I’m no ma’am. I’m no lady.”

“Well, I—”

“Just remember that.”

The scholar went back to his book and scooted further away at the table. His face reddened. One of his five eyes cocked her direction, but rolled back in line with the other four. A wisp of blonde hair fell on his cheek. He brushed it away.

Meleena turned back to the window. Riled now, she spotted one particular man, frilly green shirt, haughty manner, as if he were above everyone else. He came from a hundred paces away, plenty of time to prepare.

Meleena started the itch spell. The last time she’d performed the spell, it had not gone so well for the victim. That was in a far off place. Since then, she’d practiced and practiced. She recited the words under her breath, fingered the ingredients with one hand. Ensuring five-eyes and anyone else wasn’t looking her direction, she raised the wand just enough to aim at the dandy.



Wait a moment. That scream came from inside here!

The dandy in the street did not react at all. However, all around her in the bookstore, chaos.

She tucked the wand into her sleeve and dared look around.

The beards of the two Dwarves at the other end of the table lay on the table and in their laps, spread in a halo of gray and white. She had never seen a Dwarf without a beard. “Gods, you look…look…normal! Well, except you have knobby noses.”

“Bu…bu…” The pair grabbed their faces, chunks of hair from their laps, the table.

“The book! The book!”

Meleena jerked around. “What’s going on?”

“The book’s blank…well not exactly.” Five-eyes leafed through the book he’d been reading. “What you have there? Open it. What do you see?”

Meleena grabbed the book she’d randomly selected from a shelf when she’d entered the place. It was an illustrated book on birds. She opened it and noticed there was no text, except for the colored inks in the illustrations. Anything in black ink was gone.

“My books! My books! What happened to the black ink?”

Meleena slunk down in her chair. She closed her tome, took another chug of her coffee and slinked out of the bookstore.

She made it two paces and ran right into Grel.

“Give it…now!”



Meleena pulled the wand out of her sleeve.

“If you’d bothered to read the instructions, you’d have seen that…well, never mind. Too late now. I just hope you didn’t kill anyone.”

“No, I don’t think so.”

“You know, I warded that door and the only reason I wasn’t there to stop you was that I was tied up and couldn’t get away. I also warded this, but once again, couldn’t get here in time to stop you. Still don’t know how you go out of there. Wish I could’ve neutralized it.” He shook his head. “The next time you want to snoop around, just ask. You’ll do less damage that way.”

With a huff, he turned and then…Pop! He was gone…vanished.

“Guess I won’t be reading any books at Nerdal’s for a while.” Meleena kicked a discarded piece of stale bread on the ground, watched it land in the middle of the street. She slinked back toward the Pig Splat.

July 15, 2017 (Just Another Day In Bug Flat)

Meleena sipped on an ale. In the corner, a trio of hairy maybe-men played a rowdy game of Tibbits, a local dice game. She never got the hang of the game and while she focused on the three men, she found their interaction far more interesting than that stupid game. She’d had sex with the largest one, his body close enough to human to give her pleasure. However, it took several moon cycles to finally convince him she only had three random times in the hay in mind and that was that. A little trim with her dagger near his privates finally convinced him she was serious. Since then, he ignored her. When their eyes did meet on rare occasions, she detected a slight hint of fear, which suited her just fine.

In all that time she never got his name nor cared, so she called him Hairy. In any case, Hairy was drunk enough he probably could not see across the room. Of his companions, one had a pointed head and a crown of hair at the tip and bald below that which reminded her of some vegetable. The other resembled a tall, skinny dwarf. They were not far behind him at being inebriated. They all slurred their words and spoke in a non-Fasstalk dialect. She had no idea what it was. Frustrated, she could automatically understand every word, every nuance, yet she had no inkling what language it was unless someone told her or she got a clue through something the speaker said. Her talent for languages was both a gift and a curse. She was careful to keep the gift part of it hidden

“Care for a game of Tibbits?”

Meleena whipped her head around, saw it was Chit Chit and acknowledged with a scowl.

Her best friend sat next to her with a fresh mug of ale and nodded his head toward the trio. “I can’t say I’m disappointed in the tab they’ve run up tonight.”

“I’m bored.”

“You know that’s the phrase I hate more than any other.” Chit Chit grimaced and his mandibles clicked together. “Makes me want to scream.”

“Sorry, I just want to…to…I don’t know. I can’t stand sitting around.”

“That’s the most ridiculous thing I’ve heard you say in what…a couple of bells?” Her friend and owner of the bar slapped a hand on the table and took a sip from his own mug of ale.

“The gang is off doing other stuff. I’m between jobs, I just—”

“For the gods, go out and about. I’m sure you can create some kind of mayhem. You always do.” Chit Chit stood, eyed the three playing Tibbits, then huffed off to the bar.

Meleena rolled her fingers on the table, took a sip of her fresh ale, licked the foam off her upper lip. “Decisions, decisions.”

She chugged the rest of the ale as if it were water, walked out the door and sniffed the night air. “As you implied, my dear Chit Chit, ‘Mayhem ensues.'”

July 23, 2017 (Mayhem Ensues?)

The dusty after-mid-day air tickled Meleena’s nose. She caught a glance of the sun and let loose a series of three sneezes. That left her nose running. Several passerby said various blessings in just as various languages, oddly enough, none in Fasstalk. She did not care. The sneezing attack irritated her more.

A bread vendor poked along the street with a mule. The poor beast had a stack of bread loaves piled twice his height, the top swaying precariously. Meleena caught a whiff of fresh baked bread. Her stomach growled. She noted the straps and cords tied all over, holding the loaves in place.

“Bread, fresh bread. Cheap! Twenty coppers. Nice and hot.” The further along his speech went, the lower the tone, as if the merchant ran out of energy.

Something about his voice struck a familiar beat. She maneuvered around the opposite side of the mule and pulled ahead. When she reached the next intersection, she spotted a raised porch. She climbed the steps and swiveled around a support post to glance back at the face of the bread guy without him seeing hers. “Leffey! So, you’ve stooped to ripping people off with bread now?” she said under her breath. Her skin crawled.

The man, Leffy, a real, honest-to-goodness human, like her, tried to rape her two season cycles ago. Unlike the one and only time when she was raped for real at twelve season-cycles, this idiot had no idea what he was dealing with. Much older, wiser and skilled, she turned the tables on him and did permanent damage, which set the scoundrel on a different path, or so she thought. It only made him worse until someone caught and “cured” him. She took perverse pleasure in learning that cure was not pleasant and much worse than what she did to him. What’s he doing still in Bug Flat, and selling bread?

All the pent up rage came back. From supposedly cured him did not sense that and killed him instead, she could only guess. What to do?

Already irritable and bored, she had expected to maybe stir the pot, cause a bit of chaos. Seeing Leffey again brought up a whole new set of emotions.

She blinked and stared at the street, but her new quarry and the mule were long past. “Whaaa?”

She spun and saw the top of his pile of bread turning a corner three blocks distant.

Her hand shook and slipped from the pillar. “Oh, gods! Why did I come out today?”

A sign across the street displayed the name of a dwarven bar. “It’s not the Pig Splat but dwarves can be entertaining.”

“You say something, Miss?” A man said, from down on the street.

“Grrrr…I’m no…Never mind.” Meleena chased the guy away with a scowl. She dismounted the porch and crossed the street to the bar. “So much for mayhem. At least for right now.”

July 29, 2017 (Dwarven Bar)

A blue-brown haze sat like a blanket just above Meleena’s head. From her undersized stool, she gazed across the room at the rowdy crowd. The bar stood to the right, with rows of bottles on shelves behind the barman. To the left tables filled the floor, most filled with both male and female dwarves. The majority of the males smoked pipes similar to the model Baldar liked to puff on. The females with beards braided neater than the males, smoked tobacco sticks or nothing at all. Otherwise, it was hard to tell them apart except a higher pitched voice.

In a corner opposite the door, musicians milled about on stools, on a break between sets.

She understood everything the crowd was saying, but could not tell if they were speaking Dwarven or Fasstalk. She flashed back on when she first left the Pig Splat a while ago and sneezed. All those people blessed her in various languages. Somehow she knew none of those blessings were in Fasstalk. Normally, she could not tell the difference, she just understood the words. Why did she know the difference, when normally, she needed some kind of clue they were different languages? Was this some kind of breakthrough?

She put down her mug of ale and rubbed her eyes. Automatically knowing how to speak, read and write every language sometimes drove her close to madness.

At the next table, a male dwarf puffed on his pipe without ever lighting it or putting anything into it, just like Baldar. Ever since she first met the dwarf, she had been trying to find out what he put in that cursed pipe and how he lit it without using a flame. He would never tell her.

“Excuse me.”

The dwarf looked her way. “Yessama’am?”

She grit her teeth. Nobody calls me ma’am. She kept a nasty comment to herself. “What are you smoking in that thing?”

The guy grinned and winked. “Pure pleasure, Ma’am.” He blew out a string of smoke rings, then took a big gulp of ale.


Meleena buried her face in her mug and took a swallow before she said something she would regret.

The band, composed of three women and one man, started playing a traditional dwarven folk song.

The hypnotic melody and rhythm took Meleena to a far off place. Soon, languages, the mysterious dwarven pipes and Leffy the rapist faded into oblivion.

March , 2018 (Voting Day)

“Are you going to vote?” Vaaaven twitched his long nose. His rat-like whiskers danced on the end of his nose.

Meleena let out a long sigh through clenched teeth. The whole idea of picking a new mayor of Bug Flat left her with a bad taste in her mouth. Jeevey Ledder, the last mayor, supported the campaign to round up all the riffraff in town, including the likes of her and Vaaaven. Though that campaign promise never happened, it was the thought that counted and she knew the real story behind it. Jeevey was a merchant in his day job and one reason he came by his wealth and prominence in the community was through a constant flow of bribes. Those bribes were to people like her and Vaaaven to steal goods from his competitors that would boost his business. Then, to have him play nice with the dandies and campaign for an end to the same corruption he practiced…well…

“I have a better idea.”

“Ssss…” Vaaaven caught his breath. “I see that look in your eye.”

She grinned. “Step right this way.” Meleena bowed, held out her hand, and gestured toward a nearby dark alley.

Across the street, three pollsters stood on the street corner, each with a box full of voting chits. Each box was labeled with the name of a candidate. Voters could choose which candidate they wanted to vote for, sign for a chit and take it to the polling place in the palace guard building next to the entrance to Sivrisinek Castle. Inside the building were booths where they could then drop off their chits in any of the three large bins.

Meleena did not like any of the three choices these guys represented. There were more in other locations, though they held just as much appeal.

When voting day ended, accountants from the largest bank, the Zawdone Gold Depository, would count each chit and tally the votes. Tomorrow, the winner would be announced.

With one last look at the three pollsters, out of the dozens stationed around town, she slinked into the alley, with Vaaaven at her side.

It was all a matter of numbers. The candidate with the most gold, hired the most pollsters to carry more of their boxes into different parts of town, touting their best features. There had also been speeches and parties where some of them promised what they would do to either change what the current mayor did or continue along the same lines.

Each voter could only place one chit into one of the bins. Their name and identity would be verified when they voted and they would be checked for multiple chits to ensure no cheating.

“Where are we going?” The rat-man practically rubbed against her as they walked.

“We’re going to have some fun, that’s all.” Meleena suppressed a giggle.


Late into the evening, voting was over, the guard house closed down. In the pitch dark, Meleena, with Vaaaven at her side, slinked along the wall while they dragged three large boxes with ropes from the cart she had commandeered earlier.

“Shhhh! Don’t let those things bump into the wall. Now, go check the side door.”

Vaaaven crept forward and tried the handle. “Locked, of course. You’re going to have to do your thing. You know, I’m no good at picking locks.”

Glad for a rest, Meleena let go of the rope and crept up to the door. She glanced both ways and spotted not a soul. All was quiet. She took out her tools and after making sure the lock wasn’t protected by a magickal ward, she made quick work of it and opened the door. “Okay, put on that Garashabba ring and go inside and make sure nobody’s guarding the boxes. We only have about half a bell before the accountants come in to start on the chits.”

Vaaaven slipped the ring on his finger and faded away into invisibility.

She felt his presence as he slipped by her through the door. A few moments later, he came back and popped into view.

“Okay, we’re clear if we hurry. Nobody’s in the main room. They’re all down the hall but we have to be quick in case someone decides to come out and have a look.”

“I see that look on your face. What’s wrong?” Meleena said.

“The door may not’ve been warded, but the boxes themselves are.”

“Heh heh heh.” She leaned her back against the wall and patted the top of one of the boxes. “After we left this afternoon, did you by chance wonder where I went?”

“Uh…well, yeah. You kind of left me. I thought you were mad, or in one of your moods or something.” Vaaaven’s eyes flashed in the gloom.

“Take a look at this box, here.” Meleena pointed to the side. “Look familiar”

Vaaaven squinted at the spot. “Hey, that looks—”

“Eeeyup. Just like the magickal ward marks in there, right?”

“How did…” The rat-man looked at the door, then the box and back to the door again. He sighed. “Never mind. Is this one real, this ward?”

“Mmmm…close enough. It should do just fine.” She grinned and winked at him. “It’s amazing what a low-cut shirt and puffing up one’s chest can do under the right circumstances.”

He shrugged. “Yeah, well, you’d have to be a gir…I mean….well, you know….”

“Yeah, I do. Now, let’s get busy.”

Working with practiced coordination, they slipped the three boxes into the building and switched them with the real ones. As they were dragging the last one out, someone came down the hall. Meleena and Vaaaven froze, halfway to the side door, totally exposed.

The figure came to the end of the hall, yawned, gazed at the three boxes in plain view, never looked to his left, then turned and went back down the hall.

Meleena’s heart was in her throat. Vaaaven trembled. Neither said a word, but continued to ease the box into the alley.

Meleena went back to each of the bogus boxes, uttered a phrase over each, then rushed out the door. She locked it and tied the rope around the boxes and dragged them down the alley the way they had come.


Pre-midday sun came through the window in the Pig Splat. Meleena sat with Vaaaven and Baldar at a table, all nibbling on the remnants of an early lunch.

“It’s sure taking them forever to count those votes, isn’t it?” Baldar nibbled on a cracker and took a puff from his pipe. “They were supposed to be done with it long before sunup.”

Meleena suppressed a giggle and gave Vaaaven a sidelong glance. “They must be making sure, I suspect.”

The door swung open and Leeth strolled in. He carried a sheet of paper. He spotted them and came over to the table. “This is the craziest thing I’ve ever seen!”

“What’s going on?” Meleena batted her eyes.

“The election!” Leeth plopped into the first available chair, grabbed Meleena’s mug of ale and took a big gulp, just as Chit Chit came over with a fresh pair for each of them.

Leeth ignored the bar owner and flapped the paper in the air. “This is crazy! They finished the first count by two bells. They couldn’t believe the results and did it again. By dawn, word leaked out and the candidates all converged on the building and demanded a visual recount in front of the accountants. It soon turned into a spectacle.”

He gave Meleena back her empty mug and grabbed the fresh one in front of him. After another swig, he wiped his mouth and continued. “Each of the known candidates got fifteen votes each. Exactly fifteen votes. Can you believe that?”

“Wait a moment. Fifteen. How many candidates were there?” Meleena counted on her fingers, all the while, keeping Vaaaven in her peripheral vision and trying not to laugh. “I think more people voted than that.”

“Uh, no kidding.” Baldar took another puff of his pipe. “So, who got all the rest of the votes?”

“This is where it gets crazy. Doonbar, the simple-minded stable boy at the Otraph Inn!” Leeth dropped the paper on the table and then slapped his hand down on top of it.

When everyone gasped, Meleena almost forgot to, then remembered, and let one out as Vaaaven wrenched his face into the start of a laugh. She kicked his shin under the table.

Time to go somewhere where I can let it all out. I never knew elections could be so fun!



Bug Flat – Meleena’s home town. Bug flat is the place where it all started. Meleena grew up in this modest town. It has a castle (Sivrisinek Castle) that dominates over the rest of the small city (a bit larger than a regular town). It sits in a curve of the Otraph River. There are the rich areas, the slums, and the regular places as well as the town square known as Head Choppers Lawn (each of these other named places will be addressed separately). Bug Flat is where all of Meleena’s adventures start. It’s also where she learned her main trade, which is thievery, and all the skills that go along with it.


Fasstalk – The common language of the world. Though there are thousands of languages spoken throughout the world, the common language that binds all cultures together is Fasstalk. Nobody knows how or why it became the universal language, but it did. The only persistent rumor is that the trend was somehow sparked by the mysterious lost race called the Rammanuta. There’s more to say about this mysterious race, but that’s for another time.


Rock Mimic – An always hungry beast that mimics rock. It’s favorite hunting method is to lie flat and blend in with solid rock. When someone steps on it, it devours the unfortunate person or animal. Very hard to detect. An experienced adventurer can detect them by the strong mortar smell.


Chit Chit – Half human, half bug. Owner of Pig Splat and Meleena’s best friend. He has four eyes and his “skin” is lime green. He has wings that normally stay folded against his back. He also has mandibles that click when he’s annoyed or laughing.


Esveen – Local religion. Has many fanatics. They hate magick. There’s much to this weird religion, but I can’t say more about it now without revealing major spoilers. Let’s just say it plays a major role in several of the stories, especially Gods Of The Blue Mountains.


Baldar Bane – A Dwarf that accompanied Grel on his first attempt to get the pearl. Baldar has bright green eyes, a face full of beard and rosy cheeks, when you can see them. He prefers and ax as a weapon. He carries a pipe that he never lights, never fills, yet smokes all the time. It’s a complete mystery to Meleena, and she’s never been able to figure out how he makes it work. It even has different aromas, depending on the day.


Sivrisinek Castle – The castle that dominates the town of Bug Flat and the home of the queen of Meleena’s kingdom. Meleena has quite a history with the castle, having spent a lot of time roaming the passages, robbing various rooms. However, she’s only recently become familiar with the dungeons, where Grel the magick user lives with his pet dung eater, Woof. The dungeons, in fact anywhere within the castle, is never accessible to her without help from her tiny friend, Tweet The Quick. This creature knows every passageway in the castle and is helpful with the correct bribe and/or threat. There’s a lot of history with Meleena and the castle throughout the series. NOTE: The word sivrisinek is the Turkish word for mosquito (in case you were wondering).


Gleeb – An obnoxious beast that runs in the sewers underneath Bug Flat and other towns throughout the area. A cross between a small rhinoceros and a lizard. Has a horn sticking out front, three tentacles with suckers along the length and four-fingered claws at the ends, coming from its back for grabbing, and two rows of stubbed molar teeth on the upper and lower jaws. It runs on four legs with padded feet similar to a lion. The biggest danger is it’s ugly disposition, fast movement and the mouth that can expand four times the size of its body. However, it cannot bite down hard and unless the victim is stunned or stupid, poking inside the tender parts of the giant mouth can usually help one escape, unless the hapless victim gets too close to the tentacles.


Blow Harvel to the Winds! – A common curse in Meleena’s world. Nobody really knows who Harvel is, or was, but that hasn’t stopped the phrase or the curse from being used. It’s the equivalent of son of a gun, or drat or any other colorful metaphor you want to substitute. The origin of the phrase has been lost in time.


Rabell – Rock creatures that look like stalactites and sometimes stalacmites. They are natural and all over the world. They are a face in the rock and tend to remind people of different people each time they look at them.


Aunt Leena – Meleena’s aunt who raised her in Bug Flat. Meleena left “home” when she was ten years old. The last she heard, her aunt was dead, but she isn’t sure. One day she may go back and look up Aunt Leena.


Gallin – Gallin is the continent in which Meleena’s adventures take place throughout the first and second books (and more). It’s a large expanse that includes multiple mountain ranges, deserts, forests, lakes, rivers, everything you’d expect on a continent roughly equivalent to the size of well…use your imagination. I’ll leave that for maps and further adventures. Let’s just say it’s big!


Baldar’s Pipe -As in the description of Baldar Bane above, this pipe is a total mystery to Meleena. She’s tried to get him to reveal its secrets but all he does is wink at her and reveal nothing. He smokes it without lighting it, never puts anything in it, it smells of different flavored tobaccos and he can put it away without burning his pocket. He’s not the only dwarf with one either, as she discovers in further adventures. They’re just as secretive about their pipes as Baldar.


Burning Jelly Beasts – They’re made mostly from acid, they’re related to amoeba. These creatures live in colonies of 40-45. They’re super-aggressive and won’t stop attacking until they’re dead. Their “blood” is corrosive to armor and weapons, unless magickally protected, and even then, they should be washed off as soon as possible. They can strike wounds with bites from spontaneously formed mouth stalks full of teeth, or acid burns from striking with potent slaps of flagellating paddle-like arms. They can also spit which is the worst, especially if one gets hit in the unprotected face.


Time – The Moment – Measurement of time is different in Meleena’s world. I used my own terms to measure things and if you’ve read any of the books so far, you’ll have noticed there’s no seconds, minutes, hours, days, months, years, etc. The shortest time measurement is the moment. That’s equivalent to about a minute. A second would be a split moment. That’s about as precise as time gets in Meleena’s world. Though there’s science and magick in her world to varying degrees, these practitioners handle more precise measurements different and I’m going to keep vague on the specifics. If a situation ever comes up where I need something more detailed, you can be sure it will be creative, but that’s as far as I’ll stretch it when it comes to time and measurements. This is, after all, a unique world, NOT ours.


Grelnik – Grelnik, also known as Grel, is the head magick user at Sivrisinek Castle and Meleena’s mentor and protector – whether she wants it or not! He’s a tall humanoid with four eyes, a beard he keeps tied in three braids, and long gray hair. He sometimes wears the standard magick user (nobody every uses the term “wizard” around him because he considers that a dirty word) robes and hat, but he’s often seen in blacksmith garb. He used to be banned to the dungeons of the castle after a falling out caused by the chief antagonist in Treasure Of The Umbrunna. No more spoilers.


The Series Continues – This is the last post of the year and I just wanted to wish every one of you a great new year. It’s been a fun ride and I’m looking forward to great adventures in 2019!

We now have two books going forward with Meleena’s Adventures. Treasure Of The Umbrunna and Gods Of The Blue Mountains are out there and I hope you are enjoying them. Right now I’m hard at work on Across The Endless Sea and already have A and B for the fourth book, though I haven’t settled on a title yet. I also have ideas for books five and six, though I still don’t have firm A’s and B’s yet.

I never figured I’d been writing fantasy way back when, though I never discounted it either. My focus back in 1995, when I first started, was science fiction, icky bug (horror) and adventure/thrillers. It was my wife that convinced me to take up fantasy, and I had a lot of fun digging into the world of Meleena. It was really, no different than any of the other genres for me. Still an adventure, Meleena’s world just happened to be fantasy instead of real world. So, it continues.

I’ll get back to tidbits from her world in January 2019.

All the best!


Queelan Lodar – Queelan is human and his skills lie with a sword. He’s got a quick wit but has a dark cloud hanging over him at the loss of his wife many years ago. He has a special connection with Meleena which would be a major spoiler for those that haven’t read the first book, Treasure Of The Umbrunna.


Slab – Slab is a vast underground city on Osterland Island. It’s called Slab because of the large stone that covers the only known entrance. The real name of the city has been lost to the ages and even when it was known, legend has it, the name was unpronounceable to humans. Even Meleena, who would be able to understand it and its true menaing, probably couldn’t pronounce it. The city has been visited and settled and abandoned many times over the ages, corrupted beyond measure. Rumor has it the complex of underground caverns were originally honed out by the Umbrunna, then refined by the alien Rammanuta. Nobody knows for sure, and more details would constitute spoilers.


RammanutaBuilt most of the buildings in Slab. Considered a magickal race. Some think of them as mythical while others think of them as gods. Came from the stars. Kept the world at peace until they just left and the world went back to chaos.


Blue Mountains – Home of the Gods Of The Blue Mountains. This range is a dividing like in the continent Meleena lives on. The mountains run northwest to southeast in approximately the ten to four o’clock direction. They’re mysterious and forbidden due to a magickal barrier that nobody has been able to penetrate. At night, strange, loud rumbling and lightning emits from within the mountains that everyone calls the “gods playing.” Nobody knows the real source or cause of this almost nightly event. It can be heard far away from the mountains and up close it’s quite disturbing. That’s one reason there are few settlements. Buildings have to be quite sturdy to withstand the vibration.


Tome Of Blad – The written history of the Snorgs. While the Snorgs themselves are not known for writing or reading, they actually (at least some) do. Despite being concocted by what seems to be an experiment gone wrong, though that’s not the case at all, there’s a certain civilization to them if one somehow got to know them and looked beyond their uh…limitations. This tome is quite interesting, if one had the ability to read it.


Vaaaven – A rat-faced slime ball that is part human and part rodent. Meleena has known him since they were kids. They’ve had an uneasy partnership more often than not, and if anyone besides Chit Chit would be considered a friend and ally, it would be Vaaaven. There’s a lot more to this guy than what first appears in Treasure Of The Umbrunna.


Snorg – Snorgs are everywhere in Meleena’s world. She’s run across these misunderstood creatures all her life. They’re big, smelly, and at first glance primitive. They’re appearance is half gorilla and half pig. They came from the mountains where a meteorite crashed and caused the original gorilla creatures to mutate into Snorgs. Can be aggressive. Almost always ill-tempered and not too bright, at first blush. Have their own civilization and can be peaceful. Pig snout and green warty skin. Razor sharp tusks.


Fillinia – The hometown and capital city of the elves on Meleena’s home continent. It’s a large, walled city dominated by a main castle and many smaller palaces. It houses three distinct elf races. It’s the scene of quite a bit of drama for Meleena and her crew. It’s also the hometown of Wiz, Niin, and their family. It plays a key part in Gods Of The Blue Mountains.


Woof – Woof is Grelnik’s pet dung eater. It’s a blob like beast with a dozen eye stalks and a large mouth full of teeth that crawls across the floor of caves, scavenging for food. They’re normally quite vicious but can be tamed if domesticated early, or magickally controlled. They normally have quite a nasty disposition and two claw-like appendages for grabbing.


Xalat Beast – A cross between a giant rooster and a bull. Can tell them by their smell. They’re natural to the world. They’re not predators, but can be fearsome when provoked. Herbivores but if mad, will tear apart their antagonist. Clawed front legs with hooks at the back of the shins, hooves for the back with bull-like body. They have antlers, but a head like a rooster with a comb and a long hooked beak for foraging in large bushes. Voracious eaters that can destroy a crop. More a nuisance but can be used for their meat, or riding by those skilled enough to tame them. Can also be used to kill by assassins with the skill to make them seen tame until the right moment. Not very common.


Fillinia – Fillinia is the hometown of the elves. It’s a walled city filled with palaces and castles. Its inhabitants contain the three main races of elves, the Hradlan, the Quixlof and the Praalen. Though they intermix to some extent, they also have their own enclaves separated with common areas where they conduct business and politics. Despite constant infighting and an oppressive religious sect, the city is quite vibrant with a booming economy.


Tweet The Quick – A cross between a mythical Pixie and a humming bird. Tweet has a penchant for sunflower seeds and hangs out in the dungeons below Sivrisinek castle. If anything is happening in the castle, especially in the dungeons, he probably knows about it.


The Digs – The Digs is the slum in Bug Flat. It’s the home of most of the poor people and the ne’er do wells. If you want to find trouble, that’s the place to start. Meleena grew up in a little better place than that, but once she went out on her own, she spent plenty of quality time there. She knows every inch of the place and most of it’s inhabitants. Most smart people avoid the place or if they don’t, go there for a specific reason, not usually on the up-and-up.


Rabell – Rock creatures that look like stalactites and sometimes stalacmites. They’re natural and all over the world. They’re a face in the rock and tend to remind one of different people each time they look at them. Some have names if they choose to tell you. Meleena meets a few through her adventures. They can be found anywhere there are caves.


Time – The Bell – I use a completely different time (as well as) distance measurement system in Meleena’s world. I’ve already gone over a moment and the explanation of the vagaries of time in her world. A bell is the rough equivalent of a hour. Towers throughout the land as well as those with chronometers (yes they do exist in Meleena’s world) mark off bells throughout the light and dark periods (more on that later).


Kanerra Mountains – A line of mountains northeast of Bug Flat that sit between Bug Flat and the Blue Mountains. On the other side are the Kaddalaa, a race of tentacled beings that have a taste for human flesh. So far avoided by Meleena and the gang.


Time – Sun Cycle – A sun cycle is the equivalent of a day. The description should make that pretty obvious. The sun cycles through the sky one time. Therefore, that’s a day. Nothing simpler than that! Oh, and the night period is just the other half of the sun cycle. It’s NOT a separately designated time period. The sun cycle INCLUDES the night. Just to be technical.


Wiz – Wiz Clarrava is an elf magick user. He’s Elf of the Fillin tribe. It takes Meleena a while to learn to trust him. He has quite a large family and his name has nothing to do with his skill as a magick user. He has several cousins, also named Wiz, some no good at magick.


Asbryxzybratha Crossing – A crossing deep in a canyon controlled by dragons. On the way to the Blue Mountains from Fillinia. They meet a key character here.


Donnick – Innkeeper at the Inn of the Valley – He has three eyes, two regular ones and one big one in the middle of his forehead. He can read people with uncanny accuracy. Friendly and able to mimic with a few select spells.


Is Meleena’s World Based On Anything Real? – In a word, no. When it comes to my other genre, yes, I’ve culled inspiration from the real world. However, when it comes to Meleena’s world, while the building blocks for everything, of course, have to come from some knowledge or sense of reality (geography, basic flora, fauna, architecture, language, religion, food, etc.,), her world derives from another place. It has no basis on anything in the real world as we know it. Does the real world influence how I put it all together? I’m sure it does. The core influence of Dungeons and Dragons, fantasy stories from the past such as the works of Andre Norton and to a much lesser extent than you may realize, Tolkein, play in there. However, just as much, so do The Outer Limits, The Twilight Zone, Star Trek, The Hardy Boys, Nancy Drew, Edgar Rice Burroughs, Lester Dent and others all have influences. I can’t forget Saturday morning cartoons, Saturday afternoon B-movies as well as the fantastic and freaky artwork that was quite often much better than many of the stories within those books on the science fiction and fantasy shelves. Plus, there was my original polka-dot sewer incident in kindergarten (my imagination) which led to all of this in the first place.

In a nutshell, and I don’t apologize for the cliché, Meleena’s world isn’t based on real places or real incidents, and isn’t meant to be. I save that for my adventure/thrillers and icky bug (and maybe science fiction if I ever get back to that genre).

There you go, the explanation – long version.


Time – Season Cycle – A season cycle is the equivalent of a year in Meleena’s world. When one talks about being twenty, that’s twenty season cycles of twenty years old. A millennia is a thousand season cycles, bla bla bla.


Thommm – A dragon at Asbryxzybratha Crossing. He’s a dragon Meleena and crew meet during their adventures. Thommm transports them across the river and ravine. Then he and Meleena develop a personal connection. I’ll just leave it at that.


Osterland Island – A large island off the east coast of Meleena’s home continent of Gallin. This island is the setting for much of the action of Treasure Of The Umbrunna. It has a diverse geography and is the home of the main populace of the Umbrunna clan in the novel. That’s not to say there aren’t other clans around the world, but in this story, it’s the home of this particular group. It’s also the location of the vast underground city everyone calls Slab. Now that’s another story!


Roving Teeth – The equivalent of a shark. Very nasty. The size of a cow and aggressive. Will attack and eat anything. Not very intelligent. Can’t hunt in schools because they’ll attack each other unless there’s plenty of other food around.


Esveen Symbol – A crest consisting of a Y with lightning bolts at the top of each arm of the y and a five pointed star just above where the two lightning bolts almost touch in the middle.


Thank You! – I want to take a moment to thank all of you readers for the positive reviews. While there have been one or two who haven’t found Meleena or maybe my writing to their liking, the overwhelming majority of you have expressed your pleasure with Meleena and her adventures. I sincerely thank you for your kind words and support! It means a lot, and right now, I’m pressing on with the third book in the series, Across The Endless Sea. I already have the basic idea for book four and inklings for book five dancing around in the back of my head.

While many who write fantasy and some who read it automatically think in trilogies (maybe I’ve mentioned this before, but it needs to be emphasized again), I’ve NEVER intended or even considered Meleena’s Adventures to be a trilogy. I’ve called it her “adventures” for a reason, as in “multiple” with no set number. As long as I keep coming up with ideas and my publisher agrees to keep putting them out, I’ll keep going.

Rock on!


Glurg – An aggressive but quite stupid quadruped, similar in size to a cow, but with two tentacles and a long sucker-like mouth with fine teeth at the end. Likes to eat poison berrybush fruit. Their blood is quite toxic which makes their meat useless.


Xarlan Castle – Meleena’s world is full of many vast and elaborate castles. One such is the main castle in Fillinia, the capital city of the elves. It’s quite elaborate and would put the famous fairyland castles of Germany and Disneyland to shame. Those elves sure like their architecture. Meleena has been there once. However, since she approached (mostly) from the ground, she’s never seen the full extent of the structure…yet.


Niin – Wiz’s younger sister. She’s also a magick user. Her mother calls her Weelee, which she hates. She’s very good at her craft, which is something the men of her clan don’t take seriously, especially at first. However, Meleena does, and it riles her that the elf’s family doesn’t at first give her credit for her capabilities.


Inn of the Valley – An inn in a valley between two volcanic peaks, run by Donnick. On the way to the Blue Mountains in Gods of the Blue Mountains. It sits before a lake that’s populated with various creatures Meleena and her friends encounter along the way. It’s been known as a popular way station along various routes in the area.


Dragzghat – Most common Dragon dialect. While there are many languages throughout Meleena’s world, the dragons only have a few in the mix, with Dragzghat being predominant. As her friends describe it, it sounds to them like a horse sneezing. Meleena automatically can speak it without accent.


Boimarran The Swift – The king of the dragons. Boimarran is the king of the dragons in the region Meleena visits. While not the only king, she’s one of the most powerful in the region. Also, just because she’s a female does not mean she’s a queen. To dragons, that makes no difference.


Fun Stuff – As some of you may have noticed, I’ve been rotating through my encyclopedia, or glossary, of Meleena’s world. I go from characters to places to things to icky bugs (critters), to standards. There’s a lot, and though at first, I was hesitant to do something like this, several fans suggested I do that because of the complex world I’ve built. What I didn’t want to do is have to create a dictionary. That is a big verboten deal for me. The last thing I want is my readers stumbling over words they have to learn or try to pronounce just to get what’s going on. Sure, I’ve thrown in a few doozies here and there but they’re not terms. These words are names of something. I also try to make them as phonetically pronounceable as possible, and keep the more complex ones to one-offs. At the same time, this is an entirely made up world, so I do have creative license. Being a fantasy setting, there’s going to be some stuff.

These stories are supposed to be fun, not work, so things shouldn’t be like a college textbook. I think back on Dune and the very complex dictionary/glossary required to understand half the novel, or so it seemed to me. It’s one reason I never got into the series. To others, that whole thing made it more immersive. Hey, it’s a classic. Don’t get me wrong. However, I didn’t want you, the reader to have to depend on the glossary to navigate through the story. These glossary names and descriptions are just bonus items. You don’t need them to enjoy the story. They just add extra color to things if you want to read through the entries. They’re supposed to be fun stuff, NOT required reading!

So…take this all as just that. Fun stuff. Trivia. Additional Easter eggs.


Xarlan Castle – The castle in Fillinia. It’s quite elaborate with multiple sections, towers, dungeons, courtyards and secret passages. It has to accommodate and satisfy the three races of elves.


The Garashabba Ring – This is an invisibility ring with quite a history, but one I can’t tell you without major spoilers. Let’s just say that it makes one invisible, everyone thinks it’s cursed, and it would be the crowning treasure of any thief to possess, if not for said curse. What only a few know is that it isn’t cursed at all. It does it’s job perfectly, with no ill effects. That makes it even more valuable to those that know the true nature.


Work On The Third Book Progresses – While progress is a lot slower than it used to be, I’m deep into the story of Across The Endless Sea. Things are coming along nicely on that front. Meleena has got herself into a difficult jam and has to figure a way out of it, as usual. There are plenty of twists and turns for her to navigate along the way and lots of weird stuff to confront. She has her hands full!


Tucu: Part 1 –  I’m breaking tradition a little bit, here. I’m introducing you to a character you haven’t met yet in the series. While I could just wait and bring him (it IS a him) in when the time comes, I’m doing so because of personal timing, which I have to keep secret (or I’d have to kill you), and because it also reveals no spoilers that will affect the third book, Across The Endless Sea. Call this an origin story, be that as it may. The origin part of the story is that we were driving back from Disneyland one year when we could afford to go. That place always stirred my imagination and was a big part of who I am. Too bad, though it’s gone through many fantastic innovations, it’s now priced itself out of our vacation possibilities anymore. Oh well, what was once a good thing…no more. Anyway, at one time, it was a huge source of inspiration. So, there I was full of said inspiration, at four-thirty-to around five in the morning, on a wet, foggy morning, just leaving Anaheim on the freeway. Traffic was light. Still, there WAS traffic. I pulled up alongside a beat up fuel tanker truck. As I drew next to it, I happened to glance over and saw a half scratched off, defective decal on the side. The black letters were supposed to say one thing, but they came out T.U.C.U. instead of whatever they were really supposed to say, which I never figured out. With a head still swirling with thoughts of Pirates of the Caribbean, The Haunted House and a bit of Mister Toad, I thought, yeah, Tucu would be a cool name to add to Meleena’s world. I scrambled for a pen and wrote it onto my hand and later transferred it to the back of one of my business cards (or something).

Folks, there you have it. The origin of a character in Across The Endless Sea.

Down the line, once the book is published, for those of you that read it (or want to read it), I’ll add in here a bit about this character. He IS quite a character!

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