Review: The End of the Trail by Louis Rakovich

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It’s been a long time since I stopped in here for another book/story review, but I’m happy to bring you news of a new novelette from author Louis Rakovich.  I’ve read and enjoyed Louis’ short stories before and was eager to get a chance to read this dark tale.  Before I tell you what I thought of the read, here’s a bit about the story:

A barren land of salt and snow; a castle where underground paths twist and turn in endless circles and a reclusive king has not shown his face in years; a forest where few things are what they seem. An unnamed hero must navigate through these places as he takes on the task of tracking down a supposed witch, in a story that blends dream and reality, rumor and truth, danger and hope.

  Then begins the forest. It’s possible to sleep there at night without a roof over your head. The wind is calm, and a good bonfire will hold. There are few animals there, and one creature who whispers your name while you sleep.

I read this novelette over the course of two days worth of lunch breaks at work–it proved an excellent respite from my day job, a quick and dark escape.  I found The End of the Trail to be a gorgeously written tale with a lovely, haunting atmosphere.  The characters are beautiful with their sharp edges and their quiet need.  The tale unravels at just the perfect pace as the trail winds and wends, offering just enough history to make the world feel deep and complete and more than it shows us.  I wanted the end to linger a bit more, give me time to process, but found it beautiful nonetheless.

For more information and links for purchasing this novelette through various sites, please click here to visit Louis’ website.  Thanks for stopping by and happy reading!

~Alexis

“N is for…” Published in B is for Broken Anthology

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I’m a bit behind in announcing this, but I’ve had another story published.  This time I can’t share the whole title. You may remember back when I had a story (“Y is for…”) published in Rhonda Parrish’s A is for Apocalypse anthology.  I’m back again in another Parrish anthology–this time with “N is for…” in her B is for Broken anthology.

The idea for this series of anthologies is so great.  Each one of us authors was given a letter and we each wrote stories around those letters, all dealing in some form or another with the theme of ‘broken’.  My story is an urban fantasy tale dealing with the good and bad side of magic, as well as the good and bad sides of ourselves.

So here’s a bit more information and you can pick up a copy of the anthology HERE.

Thanks for reading!


Broken people, broken promises, broken dreams and broken objects are just some of the ways these 26 fantastic stories interpret the theme of ‘Broken’. From science fiction to fantasy, horror to superheroes the stories within these pages cover a vast swath of the genres under the speculative fiction umbrella.

 

Featuring all new original fiction by:

 

~ Brittany Warman ~ Milo James Fowler ~ C.S. MacCath ~ Sara Cleto ~ Samantha Kymmell-Harvey ~ Megan Arkenberg ~ Gary B. Phillips ~ Alexandra Seidel ~ Jonathan C. Parrish ~ Simon Kewin ~ Beth Cato ~ Cory Cone ~ Cindy James ~ Alexis A. Hunter ~ Michael M. Jones ~ Steve Bornstein ~ BD Wilson ~ Michael Kellar ~ Damien Angelica Walters ~ Marge Simon ~ Michael Fosburg ~ Suzanne van Rooyen ~ L.S. Johnson ~ Pete Aldin ~ Gabrielle Harbowy ~ Lilah Wild ~ KV Taylor ~

 


 

 

Praise for B is for Broken:

 “This collection is a massive and magnificent assortment of truly enjoyable stories. There is simply no way to read this book and not find a story you can connect with or love. This is the book to have in your travel bag. In it you are sure to find a tale to fit any mood. Each time you open it, a new adventure begins.”

~ Anita Allen, Assistant Publisher/Editor, Mythic Delirium Books

 

“Always Another Point” Published in Insert Title Here, a FableCroft Anthology

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”.

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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!

Alexis


 

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.


 

 

April on Fire: “Molten Heart” & “Burn Me, Love”

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.

Is she?

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.

Fantastic Stories Molten Heart

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! :)

~Alexis

“We Always Will Be” Published in Faed

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:

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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!

 

“To Bear Fruit” Published in Kasma SF

Art by José Baetas
Art by José Baetas

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.

desk2As 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.

Thanks for reading!

Alexis

 

“Subject Stellar” Published in Spark: A Creative Anthology, Volume VI (Giveaway!)

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:

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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.”

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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!

 

Thanks for reading,

Alexis