A Ghostly Rainbow Snippet, by an author much better than Jeff Baker. November 28, 2021.

Photo by OVAN on Pexels.com

My post this week for the Rainbow Snippets group is a little different: We usually post a snippet featuring at least one LGBT character. None in this, but the writer is an LGBT icon–the legendary Oscar Wilde! And as Christmas is a time for ghost stories here’s six lines from Wilde’s “The Canterville Ghost,” a story that is readily available to read in print or online.

In the story so far, the Otis Family (the American Minister and their children) have moved into Canterville Chase, a home haunted by the restless (and very theatrical!) spirit of Sir Simon de Canterville who is determined to scare the vulgar Americans out! They earlier attempted him to lubricate his clanking chains with oil and now the ghost has confronted a frightening spectre in a hallway! We join him as he creeps back to investigate this interloping spirit.

Something had evidently happened to the spectre, for the light had entirely faded from its hollow eyes, the gleaming falchion had fallen from its hand, and it was leaning up against the wall in a strained and uncomfortable attitude; he rushed forward and seized it in his arms, when, to his horror, the head slipped off and rolled on the floor, the body assumed a recumbent posture, and he found himself clasping a white dimity bed-curtain, with a sweeping-brush, a kitchen cleaver, and a hollow turnip lying at his feet! Unable to understand this curious transformation, he clutched the placard with feverish haste, and there, in the grey morning light, he read these fearful words:-

YE OLDE GHOSTE

Ye Onlie True and Originale Spook. Beware of Ye Imitationes. All others are Counterfeite.






And I take back what I said earlier; the theatricality of this ghost, who has a costume room of spooky get-ups is certainly redolent of the LGBT attitude of the stage!

Here’s a link to Rainbow Snippets:https://www.facebook.com/groups/963484217054974

As I mentioned, Wilde’s story is readily available online and in print. It starts as a spoof of haunted house stories and turne into something quite different. Here’s the link to read it onlinehttps://www.wilde-online.info/the-canterville-ghost.html.



——–jeff baker







Posted in Fantasy, Ghost Story, LGBT, Oscar Wilde, Rainbow Snippets | Leave a comment

“Oh Stately Bird.” A poem for Thanksgiving by Jeff Baker. November 25, 2021

Photo by ASHISH SHARMA on Pexels.com

Note: I wrote the original version of this a number of years ago. Here’s a Thanksgiving feast. Happy Thanksgiving, everybody!

                                   Oh Stately Bird

                                      By Jeff Baker

            Oh stately bird

            Who is there that does not love you

            Our family gathered together, you the centerpiece of the table altar

            Old Ben Franklin, I am told

            Wanted you as the symbol of our fledgling nation

            Not the Eagle.

            If things had gone the other way, I cannot imagine us sitting down

            To a meal of tough, sinewy Eagle.

            Wild, bred, captured, fighting, wandering, independent, forever free.

            In many ways, our national symbol you may yet well be.

—end—

Posted in Poems, Poetry, Thanksgiving | Leave a comment

Two Rainbow Snippets from Jeff Baker, for November 20th, 2021.

If you’re just joining us, I post a weekly writing excerpt on “Rainbow Snippets” https://www.facebook.com/groups/963484217054974 where writers share six lines of one of their (or someone else’s) writing with LGBT characters or themes.

Something a little different this week. Two snippets promoting an anthology I don’t have a story in! “Schoolbooks and Sorcery” ed. by Michael Jones is a fine anthology of Y.A. stories with plenty of LGBT characters. And I DID submit a story, but it didn’t get in. So what does a writer do with a rejected story? Submit it elsewhere and (of course) pull out bits for occasions like this.

These two scenes involve Estrella and Xander, students at a school where everyone has some magical talent. They are explaining to the Principal how her gift of “seeing things as they are” let them find a very special book that wasn’t supposed to be there. Or anywhere.

Here’s our first snippet.

“I’m not even sure how old I was,” Estrella said. “I know that I hadn’t even started school yet. We had this full length mirror in the bathroom, behind the door, and I stared at myself and I just had a flash. I knew right then that I wasn’t meant to be male. And for an instant I saw myself as a grown woman, not as a little boy named Jonathan. This was years before I really felt I was different inside, but I knew right then and there.”

Can’t leave you there, here’s another snippet, from a scene in the cafeteria where they took the mysterious book. Maybe a line or two longer than six:

“We were sitting there with the yogurt and the book when Griff walked up, at least I think he walked up, he may have been standing there a while.” Estrella said.

“He’s the only other person who saw the book. Josh Griffin,” Xander said. “He’s in my Algebra class, he’s the one who…”

“Oh, yes. Invisible,” Dr. Saks said. That could be an inconvenient gift, he mused.

Thanks for indulging this double snippet post. Here’s a link to the book (again, which I’m not in!) https://riverdaleavebooks.com/books/5467/schoolbooks-sorcery-an-anthology-of-inclusive-ya-urban-fantasy

Posted in Fantasy, Fiction, Rainbow Snippets, Short-Stories | 4 Comments

Shave Every Day with Friday Flash Fics by Jeff Baker. November 19, 2021.

Shave Every Day And You’ll Always Look Keen

by Jeff Baker

“Mister Magruder.” The voice in the hallway was firm.

“Uh, yeah?” Lonnie said.

“At this school, you’re supposed to be clean-shaven. Even if you’re a senior.”

That was Mr. Eggelston, the Vice-Principal. He tried to run the school as if it was in an Archie comic book in the 1950s.

Lonnie sighed. He needed the graduation from the fancy prep school his folks were paying for to get into the college he wanted.

“It’s okay, Sir,” Lonnie said. “I have a razor.”

“It better be electric!” Mr. Eggleston’s voice followed Lonnie down the hall.

Lonnie sighed as he fished the electric razor out of his backpack. He rubbed his face. Yup. Looked like two days growth of beard, but he’d shaved that morning.

Damn the Moon, he thought.

He switched the razor on, glad he kept it charged for half the month. He pulled his face with his palm and started shaving, hoping that the hair wouldn’t grow back as he was using the razor.

Dark shreds of hair fell into the white sink. He was pretty pale in winter but not that pale. He muttered something as he shaved along his jawline and glanced in the mirror at the hair on his head. That was almost brown-ish, he mused. Wonder why?

Probably part of his heredity, he thought.

This was not a big problem, he mused. Just make sure to be home when the Moon was full and up so nobody noticed that he had a couple of weeks worth of facial hair in the full moonlight. The hair grew a little when the moon was waxing, especially close to full Moon.

Lonnie sighed, switched the razor off and stuck it back in his pocket. He splashed some water on his face and then stared at himself in the mirror. Not too bad-looking and his face had cleared up a couple of years ago.

Maybe that last was a result of the werewolf genes. He grinned. Eighteen years old as of last Saturday. Wow.

He rubbed his face again, glad that the only thing that happened was his hair grew. His arms itched a little. He sighed again. At least he could wear long sleeves in the winter. He remembered some girl he’d gone out with who’d been complaining about having to shave her legs.

Lady, he’d thought. You don’t know the half of it.

He grinned at the memory. What the hell.

He pulled off his jacket and shirt and the razor again and started to shave the hair off his furry arms.

—end—

Posted in Fantasy, Fiction, Friday Flash Fics, Friday Flash Fictions, Lonnie Magruder, Moon, Short-Stories, Werewolves | 2 Comments

Watching the Partial Lunar Eclipse; November 18/19, 2021. —–Jeff Baker

Full Moon, November 18, 2021, aprox. 10:00 p.m.

I’m going to watch the partial Lunar eclipse tonight and I will be posting updates. The Moon will be covered over 90% by the Earth’s shadow, so it should be almost like a total eclipse. I’ll try to post smartphone pictures.

The Penumbral phase should start just after midnight CST (Friday November 19) and the partial phase some time before 1:30a.m.

See you later!

Moon in Penumbral phase (can’t tell. Directly overhead 12:38 a.m. Nov. 19, 2021.

Went outside in the 35 degree temp to see if there’s any penumbral shading visible. Nope. But the next to longest full Moon night of the year is directly overhead in Wichita.

Moon in partial phase, 1:42 a.m.

Can see a chunk “eaten out of top of Moon, looks like dark smoke pouring down its face. Not that visible in phone pic.

2:09 a.m. Moon just looks like a smaller dot in this smartphone photo.

Moon more than half-eclipsed at 2:09 A.M. Smartphone pics don’t capture anything except less light. Oh well, it looks like a partial eclipse (which it is!)

3:04am. Moon looks like a pink glass globe.

Moon 90% eclipsed. Looks like a thick pink glass globe with a light inside and a bright light shining from one edge. Hanging between Orion on its Southest and the Pleaides to the Northwest. Beautiful! Smartphone pics do not do it justice!

Posted in Eclipse, Moon | Leave a comment

Rainbow Snippets, for November 13, 2021. Drabble, Drabble, Toil and Trouble.

Photo by Alessio Cesario on Pexels.com

For this week’s Rainbow Snippets, where we post six lines from a work of fiction (usually ours) I decided to see how much of the story I could squeeze into six lines. From four years ago, here’s part of a drabble I wrote. It’s from one of a couple of odd stories about Skip Smith and his boyfriend (who isn’t in this one)

Toil and Trouble

By Jeff Baker

“Four customers flew out the window.”

Skip said, “I used the stuff in the keg downstairs.”

“Downstairs?”

“Yeah,” Skip said. That big barrel labeled Witches’ Brew. You know, the House Special.”

Posted in Fantasy, Fiction, Rainbow Snippets, Short-Stories | 4 Comments

The Bright Silver Saucer in the Meadow. Flash Fiction Draw Challenge story for November, 2021, by Jeff Baker. (November 12, 2021.)

Photo by Mina-Marie Michell on Pexels.com

The Bright Silver Saucer in the Meadow

by Jeff Baker

Being married to the Grand Sorceress has some advantages. Most of the time.

The family complains, says I should live in a palace or at least a mansion. But we like it. It’s roomy and no maintenance. And it cost us nothing. And she calls me “The Woman of All My Dreams.”

Not that the Grand Sorceress can’t conjure up any money or gold or jewels (except silver, that little limitation.) And her family already owned the land which is temperate and pleasant and next to a river that never overflows.

Okay, the weather and the never-overflowing is due to Eridnia’s magic. So is the spell that ensures our privacy.

Which is good, because otherwise we’d have tourists all over the place if only to gawk at the saucer.

The invasion was all over the news a decade ago. But then the assembled mystics of the stellar system went up to deal with the invading spacefleet personally. Magic versus whatever space blasters the invaders had. The invaders had heard about the mystics limitations involving silver, but they didn’t realize it only meant magic couldn’t create silver, not that magic couldn’t destroy silver. So the invaders came in silver plated saucer-ships.

The mystics made short work of them.

And my Eridnia brought the biggest silver saucer down to give to me, “The woman of all my dreams,” as she said. “Tanaria, you shine brighter than the sun to me!”

So I happily sit now, in the cozy home we furnished out of a large silver spacecraft, perched on the edge of a flowery meadow. I am happily combing my hair before crawling into bed with the woman of my dreams. The comb is a gift from my beloved.

It had been the clawed hand of the leader of the invaders.

—end—

AUTHOR’S NOTE: The draws for this month’s Flash Fiction Draw Challenge (drawn by Jeff Ricker, thank you very much!) were a Fantasy, set in a spaceship involving a hairbrush. The title reminds me of “The Spaceship Under the Apple Tree,” a book I read in grade school and re-read years later.

The last line just came to me as I was writing it and made the story a lot darker than I planned but it was probably inevitable. And I think it works.

——-j.s.b November 9, 2021

Posted in Fantasy, Fiction, LGBT, Monthly Flash Fiction Draw Challenge, Science Fiction | 4 Comments

A Royal Message for Friday Flash Fics by Jeff Baker. November 11, 2021.

Royal Message

by Jeff Baker

Polly ran, ran, ran for her life.

The feudal barons of Domainia were this close to being in rebellion, let alone all-out war. Only the information she carried in the hands of Her Majesty could save them and stop the conflict.

Polly was careful with the small warm bundle wrapped in her clothing. Almost as important as the information secreted elsewhere. It would be her ticket into the royal presence.

When she left it had been before dawn. The torches and night-fires were being extinguished. She was grateful she had spent much of her girlhood running in competition with the boys and winning every time.

The palace, a low wooden building but surrounded by guards, was just ahead. She slowed down and put on her most girlish smile.

“Sir,” she said to the guard. “I have come a long way with this gift for Her Majesty.”

Polly held up the bundle. In it was a sweet-faced kitten with bright inquisitive eyes.

The guard examined Polly quickly with his eyes and gestured her inside.

“Your Majesty,” Polly said. “I grant you this gift from your loyal subjects.” She placed the kitten on the floor in front of the throne. The queen bent to examine the purring animal and then Polly quietly spoke the name of her father.

The Queen looked up startled.

“Sewn in the lining of this dress is vital information which may prevent massive loss of life,” Polly said.

The Queen summoned a messenger.

“Your secrecy was very wise,” the Queen said. “There are those, even in this part of the land who would not appreciate your efforts.”

“I realize that,” Polly said with a smile.

“Well, I suppose if this cat may look at a queen,” Her Majesty said petting the gray, warm purring ball of fur that had settled to sleep on the royal foot. “We can perhaps hope that this information may unite the nations with something other than swords.”

“And I hope,” Polly said “that in the future people will recall the deeds done this day and not some trivial and meaningless words we spoke.”

—end—

Posted in Fiction, Friday Flash Fics, Short-Stories | Leave a comment

Latest Book! (A Reprint This Time!) November 7, 2021

(Photo by Darryl Thompson)

Got the copies of the anthology “Swamp Life” reprinting my (as “Mike Mayak”) story “Summer Skies.” I look happy! It can be ordered from Puppycat Press. https://puppycatpress.com/

Posted in Anthologies, Mike Mayak, Promo, Writing | Leave a comment

Rainbow Snippets Goes To Ferrer City: Jeff Baker, November 6, 2021.

I’ve joined the Rainbow Snippets group https://www.facebook.com/groups/RainbowSnippets where we post six lines of our fiction on the weekend. This one is from a story I just sent off. I’ve used the setting on the Moon “Ferrer City” in a few other stories, none of which sold professionally but I may have posted one as the weekly flash fiction. “Ferrer City,” by the way is named for actor Jose Ferrer who played Cyrano de Bergerac on stage and screen. de Bergerac was one of the first to write about a journey to the Moon in science-fictional terms and he is quoted in the play and movie.

Someone packing a suitcase was one of the prompts that had to be included in the story.

Here’s the snippet:

I was stuffing my clothes into my suitcase there on the bed. I wadded a sock into a ball and tossed it at the ceiling.

It hung there for a moment and slowly floated back down. When it was six feet off the floor it suddenly fell with a plop.

And I hated the Enhanced Artificial Gravity Field.

Working on the Moon had lost its charm.

Posted in Ferrer City, Fiction, Moon, Rainbow Snippets, Writing | 2 Comments