Posts Tagged ‘Short Stories’

#Readercon 23, And Yes, I Came Back

July 25, 2012

Yeah, I kinda fell off the radar after Readercon, didn’t I? Well, this has been the craziest few weeks for me, so busy that I seriously considered skipping Readercon this year.

I am SO GLAD I didn’t. Once again I got to stay with my great friend and fellow author, R.B. Wood, @rbwood, and his lovely wife, and enjoy all that is Readercon. (To the left you see us participating in the annual take-a-picture-of-ourselves-sticking-our-tongues-out-while-waiting-for-the-Bad-Prose-Competition-to-start with Glenn Skinner, @keyaquests.) I got to meet Chris A. Jackson, @ChrisAJackson1 and have dinner with him and Gregory A. Wilson, @gregoryawilson both of whom are in the upcoming anthology, When the Villain Comes Home.  I also got to have lunch with a lovely man I met at Ad Astra this spring, Peter Halasz, this year’s chair of World Fantasy, who was at Readercon this year doing his tireless work to support Canadian authors with the Sunburst Award.

I met editor and lovely man, Marty Halpern, and I may have gotten slightly, ahem, inappropriate with Scott Edelman. ——->

Speaking of everyone’s favorite part of Readercon, the Kirk Poland Memorial Bad Prose Competition, I had a special treat this year. Last year, my first ever Readercon, was also the first time, in 25 years, that the audience won the Bad Prose Competition. Yay! So this year, they gave a prize to one random audience member who had been part of the winning audience and also there for the first time. There were about a dozen of us, and from among them, I drew the random prize. Ain’t it great??? (below)

I’d write up a long, detailed account of the rest of the con but, well, Mr. Wood already did that, so I’m totally going to steal it from him. So, want to know how our Readercon went? Go here:

Readercon 23, by R.B. Wood

ANNOUNCEMENT! When The Villain Comes Home

April 10, 2012

Dragon Moon Press is very pleased to announce a follow up to its award nominated SF/F fantasy anthology WHEN THE HERO COMES HOME: When the Villain Comes Home.

Heroes can save the world. But Villains can change it.

From co-editor Gabrielle Harbowy: We’ve assembled a great mix of science fiction, fantasy, and speculative fiction. Come with us while we explore villains of all stripes — sons and daughters, lovers and fighters, minions and masterminds, in this giant volume of thirty great stories by award winners, rising stars, and bold new voices.

Camille AlexaPinktastic and the End of the World
Erik Scott de BieHunger of the Blood Reaver
Chaz BrenchleyVillainelle
Eugie FosterOranges, Lemons, and Thou Beside Me
David SakmysterPrometheus Found
Marie BilodeauHappily Ever After
Richard Lee ByersLittle Things
K.D. McEntireHeels
Peadar Ó GuilínThe Sunshine Baron
Jim C. HinesDaddy’s Little Girl
Ari Marmell Than to Serve in Heaven
Karin LowacheeThe Bleach
Jay LakeThe Woman Who Shattered the Moon
Julie CzernedaCharity
J.M. FreyMaddening Science
Clint TalbertBirthright
Rachel SwirskyBroken Clouds
Tony PiThe Miscible Imp
Leah PetersenManmade
J.P. MooreLord of the Southern Sky
Ryan McFaddenBack in the Day
Todd McCaffreyRobin Redbreast
Erik BuchananCycle of Revenge
Gregory A. WilsonThe Presuil’s Call
Rosemary JonesThe Man With Looking-Glass Eyes
Gabrielle HarbowyStarkeep
Ed GreenwoodA Lot of Sly Work Ahead
Mercedes Lackey / Larry DixonHeir Apparent
Chris A. JacksonHome Again, Home Again
Steve BornsteinThe Best Laid Plans

…and another fantastic cover by Scott Purdy.

Preorder information will be available soon on the Dragon Moon Press website.

The first anthology, WHEN THE HERO COMES HOME is a finalist for ForeWord Book of the Year in the Anthology category!

If you’d like to check it out, it’s available in trade paperback and ebook, at Amazon, Powell’s, Barnes & Noble, and (in print, epub and kindle formats) at the Dragon Moon Press website.

If you have read and enjoyed WHEN THE HERO COMES HOME, please take a moment to review it on Amazon, Goodreads, and/or your blog.


So I’m totally going to copy J.M. Frey’s idea and give you a sneak-peek at my story, Manmade, that will appear in WHEN THE VILLAIN COMES HOME.


The castle called to him. Lord Andrew Rorin rode on through the creeping grey mist of dusk. He was determined to spend the night within the castle walls. In a sack tied to his saddle, the head of a king bumped a pleasant tattoo against the horse’s flank. Rorin smiled and urged the horse faster toward home.

The siren song of the keep danced together with visions of meats roasting over the fire, fat sizzling and popping on the coals below, of spiced mulled wine to warm his bones, and a wench or two to warm everything else.

The gates came into view and Rorin’s pulse quickened. He was eager to show off his latest trophy. He loved the expressions on their pretty little faces as they looked at, while trying not to see, the grisly proof of his latest conquests. That this was the head of a man only sweetened the victory.

For Lord Rorin’s intolerance for other men was legendary. He allowed no man in his presence save the heads of those he had killed, carefully bound with spells so that their last expression of fear or pain or the sweetness of surprise was forever preserved.

The lights in the windows were a cheery glow and the bustle of activity in the courtyard was proof that the castle had rallied its inhabitants to welcome their lord home. Rorin galloped through the gates and reined his horse to a stop in front of the great doors where, turned out to serve their lord and master…were a dozen men. Tall, hairy things like a grove of blight oaks planted in his yard.

Rorin flew off his horse, trembling with rage.

He stumbled to a stop in front of a thick, furry one. The words rushed to his lips, power gathering in his cupped hand.

Something massive darted in his peripheral vision, slamming into his side. Rorin fell. A moment before he hit the cobblestones he was snatched up by the very blur that had knocked him down.

“Don’t, my lord.”

The deep, resonant voice sent red fury racing through Rorin’s veins. He rounded on the speaker. The man was tall and beefy, with hands that looked capable of snapping small trees in half.

“What is the meaning of this? Get out of my sight! Where are my servants? Charlotte!”

“Here, my lord,” the same man answered.

Rorin stared at him.

“They call me Charles, now,” he amended after a long pause.

It was so absurd Rorin sputtered, a spray of astonishment and rage.

Charlotte, his current favorite, was thin at waist and wrist, plump where it mattered—breast, hips, lips. Her hair was the color of new wheat, eyes the strange, enigmatic dusky color of moss in the dry season. She was the loveliest of the ladies he had acquired in the forty years since he’d claimed the keep.

This thing, this man, couldn’t have been more different. Although the hair that brushed his powerful shoulders and shadowed a strong jaw was the color of new wheat. And under thick, knitted brows his eyes were the enigmatic, dusky color of dry moss.

“Don’t you ever, ever touch me,” Rorin hissed, clenching his teeth against the involuntary shiver the man’s touch had excited.

He wouldn’t have time to craft a spell with the man’s eyes on him. “Don’t even speak to me you lying, disgusting, monstrous—”

Snatching his belt knife, he thrust it two-handed at the man’s neck. The man’s hands flashed up and snatched at his wrists, a painful, crushing grip. Rorin gasped in a breath but before he could do anything with it, a beefy fist slammed into his temple. As darkness descended he heard a faraway, “Forgive me, my lord.”


Stay tuned to find out when and where you can get your copy of WHEN THE VILLAIN COMES HOME!

Rule of Three Blog Fest!

September 26, 2011

Have you heard of The Rule of Three and their blogfest coming in October?

From their site:

The Rule of Three Fiction Writing Blog Challenge

Once upon a time, four  Writers Who Blog (WWB) got together to create a shared world, the Town of Renaissance, where they invite writers to come and take up residence and explore it’s environ and citizens. During the month of October 2011, one a week, a story will emerge, linking three characters into one final cumulative story.  It’s up to you, the writer, to choose the way they interact, or not, and how the final story in the fourth week ends is the journey’s end.  Damyanti Biswas, Lisa Vooght, and JC Martin and I are the WWB, and we welcome you to Renaissance. Enjoy your stay. Oh…one last thing…

Now I’ve been remiss in posting this because I thought it started in October, but now I see the first prompt is already up, so if you’re going to get in on this, GET OVER THERE!

#5MinuteInterview with Brian Cortijo from When the Hero Comes Home

September 15, 2011

He’s Brian Cortijo, @briancortijo and I like him a lot. He was our judge for 5MinuteFiction this week, and he’s also one of the authors featured in When the Hero Comes Home, the new anthology from Dragon Moon Press. I like it a lot.

Now, let’s meet Brian. He’s agreed to one of my long, tortuous, 5MinuteInterviews (without any spaces between the words, even.)

So, because we only have five minutes, let’s not muck about:

1. Your short in When the Hero comes Home, “One and Twenty Summers” sticks with me even now, months after reading it. What do you think, as the author, was the one thing that really made that one work?

To respond to that question, I’ve actually got to hearken back to a lesson I’ve learned as a reader: the story doesn’t begin and end with what’s on the page. As an author, I think one of the most difficult things to do is to avoid the temptation to tell all of the story. We’re coming in on a moment, a snapshot of the lives of our characters–sometimes the most important, but not always–and that there are two things that we don’t always need to know about: the after, and the before.

2. So I’m impatient for the next Brian Cortijo effort. What else is coming from you?

Well, I’ve recently been asked to participate in a follow-up anthology to When the Hero Comes Home, and I’m tinkering with a short story or two of my own that I may start shopping around in the beginning of next year.

There’s also my game writing, for D&D and Pathfinder. I’m in the middle of a rather large series of articles for Dungeon and Dragon Magazines (the online, monthly installments of D&D support), of which I’m rather proud, to be honest. Not quite fiction writing, but honestly, some of it’s pretty darned close.

3. When the day comes that you’re a fabulously successful and wealty author, and you look back and say “this is where it started for me,” what is “this” going to be?

Hmm. That’s a toughie, because it assumes there’s a single moment. There could be the first time I played D&D. Or the time I decided to pipe up and say something on an RPG author’s message boards. Or the day that author (Sean K Reynolds) offered to forward some of my stuff along to Ed Greenwood for him to look at. Or when I read the email I got back from Ed saying that he’d love to see fiction from me, even though I’d never written any of it.

As an author, I’ve been blessed with a number of supportive people as readers, editors, and developers, and my current fiction work grows out of that. But the fiction work comes from my RPG roots, which all goes back to finding the old red box in a friend’s basement.

4. What’s the question you wish I’d asked that I didn’t? And what’s the answer?

“Will you please write more so I can give you all my money?” It’s a lovely question, and the answer is always “sure!”

More seriously, the question that I wish you’d asked is “What is your favorite part of writing? Your least favorite?”

I love creating living things: characters, settings, creatures. The idea that I’m making something whole cloth that someone else will look at, and get the feeling that there is something larger to that thing–a before and an after and a before-before–is a splendid one for me.

What I like least is the part I call ‘choreography.’ While I appreciate that a story has to hit certain beats, sometimes it’s painful to force your characters or lovingly crafted details to contort to meet those beats. As a writer, I’d love the opportunity to let the story live its own life without my guidance. Of course, that’s not usually the case, so then the dance begins.

So don’t forget to check out Brian Cortijo, @briancortijo one of the authors featured in When the Hero Comes Home, the new anthology from Dragon Moon Press.

#5MinuteFiction Week 68 FINALISTS!

September 13, 2011

Did you like the prompt sentence? It’s the first line of the short in When the Hero Comes Home, “One and Twenty Summers”, written by today’s judge, Brian Cortijo, @briancortijo. It’s a great story. You should read it.

But look what y’all did with it! All over the place, as usual. So many good ones to choose from. But Brian picked only these five finalists:

TheGlitterlady, @theglitterlady

Jen DeSantis, @jend_author

Sharon Wachsler, @aftergadget

Eric Hamilton, @pyritedreamer

Miranda Gammella, @MLGammella

Congrats everyone! Here are their entries, folks. Read them, vote for your favorite, send your friends to do the same, and then be back tomorrow when I announce the winner. Don’t forget, this week Brian has graciously offered a copy of When the Hero Comes Home to the winner and as part of my effort to get everyone in the world to read it, I’m giving away a Kindle version of When the Hero Comes Home, to one participant chosen at random! So tomorrow morning, come ’round to find out if you’re a winner too!

TheGlitterlady, @theglitterlady

Finally, the digging was over, there are only so many lies you can tell before your face starts telling the truth. How many lies did I need to puke from my throat before the lieing was over? Too many to count I believe that if anyone dug deeper they would see my inconsistancies… or my lack there of. Too planned, too reheased, too scared of the consequences of being found out.
It’s not every day that you try to suprise your wife with rose pedals and wine on ice.
But I was too good.
Too good at lieing that as I stand here staring over my unconscious body I know I shouldn’t have crept up behind her with my man at attention.
“George! How could you? You know I hate suprises!” She drags my body down the hall and notices the rose pedals on the ground, “Don’t you remember when you gave me the stun gun last anniversary?”
I’ll never try to suprise her again.

Jen DeSantis, @jend_author

Finally, the digging was over.

I wiped my brow and looked up at the man I used to love. He was fidgeting with something in the pocket of his jacket and looking everywhere but toward me. I understood. There’s nothing sexy about a woman covered in mud from digging a shallow grave.

“Let’s get him in,” I said.

He jumped, but then nodded. We were in this together, right up until the time we laid the last of the dirt on the grave. Then I was going to forget him faster than he could say “goodbye.” There’d be no looking back or plaintive sighs. This little pickle he’d gotten me into had pretty much sealed our fate.

I was appalled at how weak he was. He groaned and strained as we moved the body. “Oh, come on, Dusty. He’s just not that heavy. Put some oomph into it.”

He muttered under his breath and groaned a little louder. At this rate, the whole town would hear us. I nearly broke my back getting the stiff’s torso into the grave. The rest of him sort of flopped in and I heaved a sigh of relief. Until I saw that he was sideways. There was no way the dirt would lay flat like that.

“Oh, for fuck’s sake. Really?” I slapped the side of my thigh in aggravation. This night would never be over.

I hopped into the grave and started trying to maneuver the body into a flat position. All I could manage was twisting him from one side to the other, never getting him fully flat.

“You could help,” I said through gritted teeth.

He shook his head silently, backing up. “I’m not getting in there. With him. And you.”

I put my hands on my hips, my finger brushing the butt of my concealed gun, and smiled up at my partner in crime.

“What’s a matter, Dusty? You frightened of little old me?”

Sharon Wachsler, @aftergadget

Finally, the digging was over. I wiped the sweat from my brow and chugged from my water bottle, spilling it down my chin and onto my my thin, white tight tank top, which — without a bra — exposed the shape of my breasts. My nipples were visible, thanks to all the water.

“They’ll never find the aliens in here,” I turned to my hunky counterpart. “You bring the corpses while I radio to mission command.” I tottered in my high-heeled space boots to the truck.

“Cut!” The director shouted. “Okay, Sandra, that was great, but I’d like to go again. I need you to spill more water on your top.”

He paused, looking around.

“Makeup! And she needs a dry top. Someone towel her off — she’s a mess!”

I sighed and sat down on the truck’s tailgate while the minions hurried over to make me more presentable again. Julliard, NYU, the Actor’s Studio, and I was reduced to this. Well, I had made this choice. Nobody was forcing me to take these parts.

“Sandra, we’re ready for you.”

I teetered over to the pit and grabbed my shovel, trying not to dislodge any of my long, red press-on nails.

“Tarantula Alien Sexpots from Outer Space, take seven! Action!”

I thrust the shovel into the dirt. “They’ll never find the aliens in here,” I turned to Brett. “You–”

Clunk! My spade had struck something. I hit it again. It clunked again. I jumped into the pit.

“Cut! Cut!” the director shrieked. “What are you doing? Get out of there!”

Was that a giant, hairy leg I saw, waving from within the metal box we’d just unearthed? Oh. My. God.

“Do you like it?” The FX guide sauntered over and asked.

“We made it look really realistic, don’t you think?”

I sighed. I wished everyone would stop staring at my nipples.

Eric Hamilton, @pyritedreamer

Finally, the digging was over. Thirty-three graves in one night. It was a new record.

“What’s the haul for this evening, gentlemen?” Cigar embers gave Mason’s face a demonic red glow.

“Twenty-seven wedding rings, thirty fillings, two gold teeth, five watches, twenty-two slightly used tuxedos in various sizes . . .” Geraldo monotonously rattled off the list.

Mason grinned, chewing slightly on his almost nonexistent cigar. “Excellent.”

“Sure doesn’t seem like it’s worth all the effort of digging up graves,” Malarkey, one of the new guys, grumbled as he wiped the sweat off his brow.

A large meaty hand latched onto Malarkey’s throat. Mason’s eye’s twitched, “Do you know how much they get you on tuxedo rentals nowadays? It’s highway robbery!”

“Okay, okay,” Malarkey gasped, “Sorry I said anything.”

“I detest robbery,” Mason continued, “It’s disgusting what people will do nowadays for just a few more bucks.”

Miranda Gammella, @MLGammella

Finally, the digging was over. The damn dog just wouldn’t stop digging holes. My beautiful yard that I had spent so much time and money on could now pose as the surface of the moon.

The dog was mental, he really was. I wish I understood why my husband wanted this particular dog when there were several others at the APL that needed homes. He thought this digging was cute.

We’ll see how cute he thinks of it when he has to fill the holes in tonight.

Damn dog.

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