N. Renee Brown

Part-time Author, Full-time Book Junkie

Umami: The Trading Season Part 6

Birds of a Feather (soundtrack: a cat’s purr)

Olive stood at the door of the church, straining to smile at every face. They were slowly becoming familiar, too slowly, but she was trying. She struggled with every bland hello she could muster to remember this one and that one, when really she could care less. Down the line she saw the face of the only person in town, besides Mambo Cree, that she easily recognized. The Dogman, Rastus Ward.

The skin of his face clung to his head tightly, the bones of his skull prominent. Like a barely disguised death’s head, a skeleton masquerading among the living. The watery eyes and pockmarked flesh did little to encourage any other comparison. His long limbs swung wide as he strode toward the entrance of the church.

Olive had watched the way the other townsfolk edged away from him, like always. She met his eyes, and nodded, kin in isolation. He moved past her with the barest of glances, and moved into a pew near the front. A position of power. He wouldn’t have it any other way, and the town couldn’t afford to offend him. The dogs gave them something to hunt with, something to trade, and something in which to take pride.

Rastus had brought most of the breeding stock with him, or so went the story she’d been told. He walked out of the Big Death one day, his pack preceding him, and into the church. He and Mambo Cree spent a day and a night discussing the terms of his acceptance into the Flock. It was one of the reasons he got to keep a house so far out of town. Olive envied him that house, the quiet it afforded.


A delayed feast!

So, you will notice that there is no Umami this week.
WELL, that is for a VERY GOOD reason!
Next week, I shall be in New Orleans…home of deep fried fantastic food, Bourbon Street, and American voodoo!
New Orleans! Next week, I shall be ensconced in the loving arms and wrought iron balconies of the French Quarter. And next week, I shall be posting the next step in our story…along with photos from the Big Death itself!
It will be worth it, loves…I promise it shall.
I shall be writing with the fervor of Poppy Z. Brite herself! And channeling the talent of early Anne Rice!


Be on the lookout for it, and if you are in the area give me a hollar…let’s sit and drink in the lovely lady NOLA together!

Umami: The Trading Season, Part 3

Into the Unknown (soundtrack: Tool – Aenima)

Lisette hesitated, her gaze split between the gun and the red ember held in the bowl of the pipe.  She couldn’t be the first girl they’d ever had that didn’t sell.  What did they do with girls they couldn’t trade?  Surely they wouldn’t keep her.

“Girl, I am not going to ask again.  Git down here.”

She climbed over the tailgate, and jumped to the ground.  It was broken, almost springy, like a raft resting on water.  In the dark something splashed, and she jumped.  They were closer to the Big Death than she thought.  She kept one hand on the truck as she rounded it, heading toward the red glow of the driver’s pipe.  She stopped just outside grabbing distance.

“What are we doing out here?”  She wished she sounded less like a mouse, but there was little she could do for the squeak that emerged.

“Stoppin’, you got a problem with that?”

“N-no.”  She looked over her shoulder.  The trees swayed in the wind, and she thought she heard a moan.  She knew she could run faster than him, but where would she go.  Without a Flock no one would take her in, even after all these years the fear of infection was strong among the walled cities that littered the Bayou.


Umami: The Trading Season Part 2

I’ve added one little tidbit this week…a soundtrack.  I have always worked to music, and in the past I’ve wanted to share what influenced my writing but never had the courage.  Recently, I read the Weather Warden series by Rachel Caine and she’s included a song list at the back of the book…I figure if she can do it, why not me too?

Anyway, enjoy this installment…and let me know what you think!

A Manifest Destiny

# (Soundtrack: Deadmau5 – Raise Your Weapon)

Olive stood tall and fully aware of the girls staring up at her.  She smiled showing them only confidence, although inside she was shaking.  In front of them loomed the wooden stage, and beyond that stood the families that might be their own by the end of the night.  If they could prove their worth.


Umami: The Trading Season

It is time to introduce a new segment to my blog-o-liciousness, called umami.

In case you don’t know, umami is one of the five basic tastes that denotes savoriness…and that’s just what I’d like you to do…savor this new segment.

Umami will be my serial story segment. Every two weeks (barring illness or ennui) I will be publishing another slice to this tale we begin today…”The Trading Season”.

“The Trading Season” is a prequel to the story I wrote for Chizine.com (“A Viper Among Us” – it will make its grand appearance May 30th), and follows some of those same characters (specifically Lisette, our heroine).

I hope you enjoy, and come back for another slice in a couple of weeks!