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Bone Shop is a free, serialized online novella by T.A. Pratt, supported by donations from readers. Pay whatever you like.

If you like this story, visit to learn about the novel series.

Notes for Chapter Six

This is the chapter that almost wasn't. I had to do some freelance work with a looming deadline, that necessarily pushed writing this chapter back, and I had a bizarrely social weekend -- went out with a friend on Friday (his last night in town) and met with my writing group on Sunday, for the first time in a couple of years. All good stuff, but it did eat into chunks of my writing time, so I was hammering away at this chapter at 8:30 p.m. on Sunday night on an empty stomach. (I am, as I type, eating an enormous sandwich; that's helping my outlook.) Blowing a self-imposed deadline is lame, and I'm glad I made it. Hope to get a little ahead next week. Forgive me if these notes are short. I'm tired, and have miles to go before I collapse in a gibbering heap.

So, the big event this chapter is the arrival of Lao Tsung, who longtime readers will remember from Blood Engines, the first Marla novel. (He has rather more to say in this story than he did in BE.) Lao Tsung is as much fun to write as Artie. Half the reason I wanted to do this novella was to have some scenes where these characters could do some talking. And punching.

There's also some more Daniel/Marla... not exactly flirting. Sparring, bantering, whatever. Trying to write something romantic with Marla is difficult, since she's about as romantic as an industrial washing machine, and it doesn't help that Daniel is still emotionally at the stage of yanking a girl's pigtails to indicate romantic interest. Plus bonus lewdness. But those crazy kids will work things out, I'm sure. Right?

All the peripheral stuff with Jenny Click going undercover and bringing Artie greasy mystery bags and so on will pay off eventually, I promise. And there will be some actual scenes with her, soon. I'm not shuffling her offstage. She's just doing stuff Marla's not yet privvy to. But before long, that'll change.

Back to Chapter 6

T.A. Pratt lives in Oakland, CA, and works as an editor for a trade publishing magazine.