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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 Five

A note of some interest to Marla fans: last week, I got the word that my publisher won't be continuing the series. Crappy economy plus lackluster sales = the end of the line. I'm sad.

Those of you who've read the end of Spell Games, which quite clearly sets up for the events of a fifth book, are also sad, judging by the e-mails I've received in recent days. So, here's what's up: my agent will see if any other publishers are interested in picking up the series, though that's always a tricky thing, and I wouldn't count on it. (If you're a publisher, and you're interested, drop me a note.) If not, I'll consider other options. Self-publishing, doing a project, a serialization like Bone Shop, something.

Book five – tentatively titled Broken Mirrors – isn't written, at all. There are some notes, and I know basically what happens, but there's no text. I don't know when I'll have time to write the book. I want to finish Bone Shop first, and I'm working on proposals for some other books that I devoutly hope another publisher will buy, and there's some work-for-hire stuff I'm in the running for, so I don't know how busy I'll be this year. But, when I have the time, I do plan to write Broken Mirrors, and get it to you... somehow. (I had a sixth book planned too, but I doubt I'll write that without a book deal.)

I've put Bone Shop under a Creative Commons license, though a pretty tight one – no derivative works, no commercial works. (No derivative works largely because the movie rights to the characters have been optioned, so they're not mine to give away. But if you want to translate it into another language or something get in touch and I'll probably say, sure. And if somebody wants to stitch the chapters into one document, make it printer-friendly, do an e-book version, whatever, that's totally cool too.)

So, on to stuff that's actually about this chapter:

How much does it delight me to be able to paraphrase Robert A. Heinlein in an urban fantasy story? So very much.

Marla not being particularly good at anything magical is one of her deep secrets, and it's why she became a brute-force-o-mancer, a foul-rag-and-bone-shop sorcerer – if you can't be awesome at one thing, be pretty good at a bunch of different things, to give you maximum adaptability.

Penis thieves aren't funny – it's some scary witch-hunt shit and it's happening right now, in these enlightened times – but it's interesting, and fit into Artie's magical style clearly enough that I wanted to mention it.

As I write this story, I find myself liking Artie more and more.

It's really a shame, what's going to happen to him in a few chapters.

Back to Chapter 5

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