Things at the plasma place were very fast. I was called only a few minutes after I sat down, and the donation was done in 4 cycles, the last two having some "Smart Last Cycle" action going on. The movie of the moment was Catwoman. I've seen it at least twice before, so I read one of my rescued romance novels instead.
The romance novels seem to indicate where the bulk of the cutdown is going to come in Circle of Fire. There is not all that much exposition; the story just jumps in with loins hot and issues blazing. Circle of Fire has exposition, and not much loin-blazing going on yet. I'm writing it like contemporary fantasy, not like a romance novel.
Yesterday, after I had gotten back into the car after emerging from the mall, I looked at the pink and slightly blurred remains of the careful lipstick job I'd done a few hours before (when I thought I'd be leaving at 3pm) and asked the Whispering1: "How does [Darkside] prefer to see me?"
I was expecting an answer of either "The way you naturally are," or "a little bit of makeup so you look your best, but nothing overdone or slutty."
What I got, instead, was so very unexpected and direct that I had no doubts of the veracity of the answer: "Smiling."
1 "The Whispering" is a term lifted directly from Diane Duane's fantasy series involving both young and cat wizards; it is the name of the direct source of wizardly knowledge. It is unquestionably good and also obscure. One asks a question of it, or one is just in a situation, and the Whispering makes one aware of what is going on, or what to do, like asking a question of a mentor and having them whisper enough information to work from directly in your ear.