I somehow completely dropped the ball on this. This awesome anthology–packed full of stories I can’t wait to read–was published at the beginning of the month. It features my “werewolf in space” story (which is more than just that, I assure you)–“Always Another Point”.
There are already a few reviews out for this collection. Katharine at VentureAdlaxre had kind words to say about my story:
This piece parallels many issues and discrimination we have in the world today, and is also incredibly sad. However, it also ends in hope. This is a strong piece that needs to be read, and I can’t recommend it highly enough.
Needless to say, I’m happy to have this piece out in the world and I hope you’ll take the time to check out this anthology (click here to view on Amazon). It’s said to have lots of dark tales–I’m looking forward to diving into it myself! Now I’ll leave you with a very short teaser.
Thanks for reading!
Jenna paced the narrow confines of the maintenance chamber. She checked the time again.
Her steps faltered as pain burst through her—a momentary flash that tensed every muscle to an unbearable degree. She bit down on a yelp, braced herself with one hand against the rusted wall, and dropped the other hand to cradle her swollen belly.
The physical pain subsided. Tears blurred her vision. She snapped her hand away from her stomach as if stung. Even after a week, she kept forgetting. There would be no reply to her touch—no playful kicks or gut-churning somersaults. Just stillness that birthed an unbearable ache deep in her core.
Jenna shook herself. There wasn’t time to mourn. Not yet. Another glance at her watch. Knox was late. Jenna had been clear in her instructions; his delay could mean only bad news.
I’m popping back in today to bring you guys two more published stories–both, coincidentally, with titles revolving around fire! Many of you have already read, commented, and shared both of these stories and I am beyond happy with the response both tales have received. For those of you who missed it, it’s not too late to read these two super short stories.
On Wednesday, freeze frame fiction launched it’s fourth volume, including my brief and non-genre (read: literary? maybe?) story, “Burn Me, Love.” I wrote this story initially during last year’s Story-a-Day May and it was, in it’s original form, a combination of prose and poetry sections. When I sent it along to Dino over at fff, he suggested that the story was more powerful without the poetry sections. I was happy to remove them (honestly, I’m not very good at poetry) and I think it was for the better. This is a little tale with a lot of pain in it and I love it so much. Some stories you just hold dear and this is one of them.
In her mind, she hears the voice of her seventeen year old daughter. The disgusted sigh, the cutting barb. You’re such a whore, Mom.
Two divorces and a string of three-week-or-less relationships. Her eyes always hunting, always haunting. She’s hungry. Does that make her a whore?
Yes, she tells herself. Yes.
She should tear her gaze from the man across the coffee shop.
But she can’t. She doesn’t want to.
On Thursday, Fantastic Stories of the Imagination launched their April issue, featuring my “science fantasy” flash piece, “Molten Heart.” It’s free to read at the moment, so be sure to check it out online while you can.
They didn’t want me to look human, so they didn’t give me eyes. They thought if they shaped me like a monster — a hulking ton of red Mars clay, mute and blind — that she wouldn’t love me.
They were wrong.
If you enjoy reading either of these publications, please consider donating a few dollars as a sort of tip. You can support freeze frame fiction in a number of ways–whether a one time PayPal donation or by becoming a supporter on Patreon. Fantastic Stories is actually running a IndieGoGo (sort of like Kickstarter) campaign to help raise funds to pay their authors (and they pay a fantastic rate, which is much appreciated by authors like me!).
As always, thanks for reading and let me know what you think! :)
I’m a bit behind announcing this, but you can pick up an awesome collection full of stories about “the good neighbors, the folk under the hill, the fae,” including my little bitty flash tale, “We Always Will Be.” Just look at this amazing cover art by the talented George Cotronis:
And just for fun, here’s a little snippet of my story!
I forced myself to keep walking toward the light, blinking in the distance. Fog rolled out of the tangled edges of the forest around me—white hands reaching for my feet, nearly obscuring the cracked and broken pavement.
The longer I walked, stutter-stepping between the metronome flash of light ahead, the farther away the beacon seemed to be. Some part of me realized this was wrong, all wrong, but I was drawn irresistibly forward.
Be sure to check Faed out, as there’s a host of excellent authors in this project!
The moment I see it, sprawling out lazily on the bumpy, slate walls, I long to touch it. It wafts in the slight breeze, gusting in from the cave’s entrance. Tendrils of green, spooling out toward me, interlaced inextricably with each other–
I want it to be interlaced inextricably with me, too.
If you’re looking for a short, creepy read you should check out my latest published story–“To Bear Fruit“–now available (free to read!) from Kasma SF. It has become a sort of ritual for me to have a story published with these awesome folks every year. I love working with Kasma’s editor, Alex Korovessis, and seeing what José Baetas comes up with for the artwork is always a thrill.
As you can see, I have Baetas’ past two illustrations from my Kasma SF stories–“Memory File #006” and “No Longer a Fragment“–framed and hung above my desk. I can’t wait to add this latest illustration to the collection.
Let me know what you think of the story if you get a chance.
I’m a bit late announcing this one, but I’m delighted to announce that my epistolary sci-fi story–“Subject Stellar”–has been published in Spark: A Creative Anthology, Volume VI.
It’s like someone took the night sky and wrapped her in it. Constellations of pin-prick stars beam from her black-abyss skin. She’s devoid of features–no lips, no mouth, no eyes. I could see where her eyes should have been, with only space in its infinite emptiness stretched over empty sockets.
Get a look at this amazing cover art:
This delightful cover art was created by Goodloe Byron, who also had these inspiring words to say in the foreword:
The stories in this issue are fables. They are lies and departures from the world. But these lies are attempts by their authors to move the audience with an ancient literary arithmetic.
Volume VI is, as I’ve come to expect, full of excellent stories by excellent authors. I am happy to be included in the pages of yet another volume of Spark. What’s even more exciting is that–for what I believe is the first time–I’m sharing the pages of a collection with my good friend Jeff Suwak. I just know you’re going to love his tale in this collection, “The Familiar and his Alchemist.”
I have very much enjoyed working the Brian Lewis and the excellent staff of Spark: A Creative Anthology. I hope you’ll take the time to pick up a copy of this latest volume and maybe review it if you get the chance. But I’d like to do more than hope.
I have two extra PRINT copies of Volume VI so I’m going to host a giveaway. Unfortunately, I can only ship to US addresses; I apologize to my international friends for this limitation. The contest will run from March 5th at midnight until March 12th at midnight. You can enter by clicking this link here to go right to the giveaway on my Facebook author page. Be sure to enter if you can and best of luck to you!
The time has finally come to announce the table of contents for Plasma Frequency’s Anti-Apocalypse special issue. Molly and I are so excited to bring you these fantastic stories in just two weeks!
Thanks so much to everyone who sent in stories or spread the word or cheered us on! I hope you’ll pick up a copy of the issue when it releases and let us know what you think! We’ll be revealing our cover art sometime soon via social media, so watch the official Plasma Frequency Twitter & Facebook pages for that.
Without further ado, I leave you with the Anti-Apocalypse TOC:
I’m a bit behind schedule this time, but here’s an interview with the very talented Gary Emmette Chandler, author of “When the Mountains Broke Away”–one of my favorite stories in Plasma Frequency‘s 15th Issue. The story is free-to-read and this interview may have a few spoilers, so please stop on by and read Gary’s beautiful story here before continuing.
Now on to the fun part!
Gary Emmette Chandler works from his apartment in Portland as a copywriter and web developer, mostly in pajamas, with a cat nibbling at his leg. His fiction has appeared or is forthcoming in Bastion, Pantheon, and Daily Science Fiction, among others. You can follow his hungover ramblings on Twitter @TheWearyLuddite, if you like.
Alexis A. Hunter (AAH): What inspired you to write “When the Mountains Broke Away”? Tell me how this story began to take shape.
Gary Emmette Chandler (GEC): When people ask where I grew up, I tell them “the middle of nowhere.” The middle of California is a bit more accurate, perhaps, but it definitely felt like nowhere as a kid, when the nearest major city was almost an hour away. To keep me occupied during those long drives, my mother would point out various makeshift landmarks, like “Dinosaur Rock” or “Dragon Tree.” I lived in the valley, and beyond the flat, endless stretches of farm land, there were these strange outcroppings of rock along the hills. That’s probably where the image first took shape: staring out at the foothills in the distance, and imagining that they were the spine of some great slumbering beast. I’m not sure why it took ten or twenty years to end up on the page, but it did.
AAH: Early on in the story, the grandmother mentions the importance of sharing the story with her grandchildren so that they can pass it on. I didn’t get the sense that they had ways to record stories—or at least not easily—so how do you think the tale will be affected by being passed down verbally from one generation to the next?
GEC: It may change, and grow in size, becoming more myth than history. I’m awful at telling a story from memory, but I like to think that oral storytelling is the sort of tradition that will persist along with humanity, regardless of what sort of technology we have access to. My earliest memories are of my mother reading books like The Hobbit aloud. I think there’s something powerful and resonant in the spoken word, which doesn’t always come through on the page alone, so I like the idea of this story being passed down – at least at first – verbally, alone.
AAH: Of the two children, Jamie seems much more interested in the tale. He knows how it starts, he always asks one thoughtful question at the end, while his sister fell asleep at some point. I couldn’t help but notice that Nadia also seemed less interest in the tale than she was in busying herself with practical things. Were the differences between these characters’ reactions to the story intentional? What, if anything, do you think it says about their personalities?
GEC: I suppose I saw Briana (who’s only seven at the time of the story), as taking closely after her mother, Nadia. As the head of the household, Nadia’s more concerned – like you said – with practical matters. She’s also heard the story countless times; first as a child herself, and then as her mother tells it to her own children, again and again. As for Briana falling asleep during the story, it felt natural for her age, and I liked the image it conveyed of how close the siblings were. For Jamie, I suppose it’s similar to how obsessed I was with dinosaurs as a kid: these enormous, awe-inspiring creatures from the past, that he wishes he could have seen.
AAH: There’s a bit of lovely description about Jamie, about his eagerness being so like to his father’s. It’s mentioned briefly that his father is dead. And the grandmother worries—briefly and not in a spotlight-stealing way—that Jamie may be too “vibrant and eager.” As you were writing, did you have an idea of how Jamie’s father died? And how that might connect to the grandmother’s worrying for her grandson?
GEC: I have seeds of it in my head: an accident where he was reckless, overconfident while working or scavenging. There might be a frozen lake somewhere in there. Mostly, though, it was there to convey the grandmother’s concern for the boy, and to provide a bit of suggestion, without going too far off course, while also paving the way for Nadia’s role as sole provider for the family.
AAH: One thing that struck me the first time I read this story was how strong the women in the story are. Was that intentional or do you often find yourself writing these types of women into stories?
GEC: Writing strong roles for women is definitely something I aim for in my fiction. I grew up surrounded by some incredible role models: my grandmother, who supported her family through truly difficult times, including the death of a child; my mother, who is an amazingly accomplished artist, and one of my closest friends; my sister, who owns the business that I work for, and continues to impress me all the time with her ability to juggle five billion things at once. Still, I’m sure there will be (and have been) times where I could do better in writing strong, believable women into my stories, and it’s an aspect that I hope to always keep improving.
AAH: For a somewhat apocalyptic story, this piece certainly has a lighter, more hopeful tone. Do you feel the story has any sort of special theme or meaning? If so, did you write that theme/meaning intentionally or did it sort of come about naturally?
GEC: I write post-apocalyptic fiction far too often. I think half of my published stories at this point have a post-apocalyptic setting – and most of them are bummers, even when I try to include a bit of light at the end. This story definitely had hope at its core as a theme. I have a tendency to focus on the darker things in life, and I think that sometimes comes through a bit too heavily in my stories. This was one of my attempts to shine a somewhat brighter light within my fiction – even if it still includes a partially destroyed earth.
AAH: What upcoming stories or projects are you most excited about at the moment? Where can our readers find more of your work?
GEC: December and January were actually pretty awesome months for me in terms of publication, with – I think – five stories out, altogether? For now, I’ll just mention two, as they’re sort of companion pieces, in terms of where they came from internally: “The Waters of My Mind” in the Winter issue of One Throne Magazine, and “This Life Without Wings” in the January issue of Pantheon. I have a few more stories accepted for publication right now, including one in Daily Science Fiction, but I don’t think those stories have dates scheduled just yet.
And that’s the end of our January/February interview. This segment of my blog should resume in March with Issue 16–our special Anti-Apocalypse issue!–of Plasma Frequency.
Be sure to check out the current whole issue if you get a chance. If you enjoy the stories, maybe consider throwing a buck or two our way–either through Patreon or Kickstarter–as we are determined to one day pay our authors the rates they deserve.