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WIP a dark blue brick wall with the words work in progress in white and a yellow status bar

Do you know why bears shouldn’t drink? Neither do I, which is how I ended up in the crow’s nest singing BTS songs. Smooth like butter… It’s fine, I’ve done it before, kind of. Usually, it’s Pearl Jam but times change, and the captain said she couldn’t take another rum-inspired Evenflow, so here we are. She might be missing it now. Like a criminal undercover

Sorry. Damn, that song is catchy.

Anyway, that’s when I got abducted by aliens. We’re not going to talk about the Galactic Civil War, my adoption into the royal line of succession of the N(t) = N0e-λt (a race of abstract entities defined by mathematical formulae), or the probing. Seriously, I am not going to talk about the probing. But the result of this, aside from me saving the lives of trillions of sentients, was the clone I ended up standing next to back on the deck of the ship. I had thought they would liquidate him, but instead, I’m left standing there next to a hairless monkey made from my DNA. Fuck me. Shit, I said I wasn’t going to talk about the probing.

Anyway, this fucker was made from my DNA, but he doesn’t have my memories. Apparently, they memory fed him a bunch of opera and shit and dropped him back here to plague my existence. Fortunately, he jumped ship. Rumor is he took the name Liam and shacked up in the wilderness north of Libertalia. He’s kind of a dick and believes he can write too. At least I hear he’s avoiding my noble smut and romance, sticking to more pedestrian genres like weird speculative fiction, litRPG, and dark sci-fi. If you see him and he annoys you, just whisper “Relax and it’ll be fine” in his ear. That’s one experience we shared anyway.

*reclaiming the quill from Sir Bear*

My apologies, I didn’t realise he’d nicked the quill again. I’m afraid the Quartermaster decided to challenge a bowl of zoop to a duel in the first shivering hours of the new year, and it didn’t end well. The zoop won. Sir got a vicious flesh wound the size of his paw, and he’s been out of it ever since. He seems to believe he’s been abducted by aliens and that his estranged twin brother, Liam, is some alien-engineered clone out to get him.

If you ask me, I think his brain has placed him in some kind of stasis to give the body a chance to heal. Bears have excellent healing properties, you know, but they can be stubborn to a fault, and they rarely take the time to look after themselves. What do you mean, am I keeping him on the rum? Are you suggesting I’d stoop so low as to give the bear of my dreams the strongest stuff we have in the cellars to knock him out? Fine. I did. I am. But trust me, it’s for his own good.

See, the story about the zoop is true. Sir was trying to improve one of his already excellent zoop recipes, and for all my nagging him about not stressing or pushing too hard (no Belle, that’s not an innuendo!), he “was just going to…” And that’s how he knocked the bowl over. Burned him good and deep it did, and if excessive amounts of Stroh Rum is what it’ll take to stop him from exerting himself and making it worse, then I’ll damn well pickle him in rum if I have to.

And what of his ramblings? Truth is, bears are territorial creatures and mine may be more so than most. At our New Year’s Eve party, when we opened the doors to our new guest house in Libertalia, I signed a publishing contract with Liam. It’s no secret that the brothers fell out with each other, over a woman no doubt, during their travelling years. They both came home to roost, or whatever the bear equivalent is, but they made their dens in different ports. As far as I know, they went no-contact for years. Twins will be twins, though, and they both took to writing.

Sir Bear, that’s Leto to you, writes cosy, uplit romance and raunchy, character-driven erotica. It’s often tongue-in-cheek and there’s always, yes always, food involved. (Still not an innuendo, Belle!) Liam, as I recently learned, is a different kind of writer. They have a similar sense of humour, but where Leto leans toward the sweet, the heartfelt, and slice-of-life stories that explore the human condition, Liam is all about the adventure, the unexpected, and stories that explore what would happen if…

You may be familiar with my penchant for levelling up. Well, this year we’re hopefully going to take our biggest leap yet and set up a more permanent base here in Libertalia. It makes sense as it is our home port, the place we keep returning to, and a major hub in our cosmos. Tying a few more writers and other creatives to our commune is an important step in that direction, even if one of the names makes Sir Bear growl.

On Monday, we’re setting sail again after our Yuletide break. Liam will be coming along as a passenger and given that he’s nowhere near as dangerous as a bowl of zoop, I’ll just sit back and let the brothers work out their differences in their own sweet time. If nothing else, it should make for some entertaining Ship’s Log entries going forward.

So, what else is happening this month? Well, between injuries and illness and delays and our much-needed break, we only have two (and a half) working weeks in January. We’re rolling out a new social media schedule across all platforms, and we’re hoping to release the first book of the year on the 31st. That’s all I can share for now, but I’m looking at our cards on my desk and I have to say they are looking pretty promising.

This year will be an adventure, I can feel it in me bones, but now I have to go tend to the wounded one. We’ll meet again soon, either at sea if you have booked passage, or on socials. Either way, we’d love to hear your plans for the weeks ahead.

Much love and big warm hugs,

//Linn & Leto


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