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Posts Tagged ‘Anthology’

As I receive contracts and final edits from authors, I’ll post a teaser from their story here and on our Facebook page.  You know where to get the rest, right? Comments are welcome.

Boll Weevil

 By

Nathaniel Lee

Jess drove his truck down the lines in the middle of the road on the grounds that he was drunk and it was safer that way. A half-empty bottle of Jameson sloshed on the bench seat, carefully secured with the passenger seat belt. Most of the rest of the liquor from the ABC store rattled in the truck bed. Jess wasn’t normally a thief, but he figured at this point it was technically just collecting abandoned property. Trespassing, at worst. Either way, he wasn’t spending the end of the world sober.

The lines were hard to see under a rippling carpet of shiny black bugs. The truck’s tires made a constant crunching sound, as if driving over bags of potato chips and pork skins. Didn’t smell nearly so nice, though.

So, why did we take this story? We liked the droll delivery of  apocalypse (of a sort). Not much happens, but it happens with panache.  Two of us liked it better than the other two, but all agreed it was a nice contrast to stories we had in hand. The original was 1000 words; final edit is 1000 words.

Tune in tomorrow for our next tease. The full Table of Contents is here.

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As I receive contracts and final edits from authors, I’ll post a teaser from their story here and on our Facebook page.  You know where to get the rest, right? Comments are welcome.

A Feast of Kings

 By

David Sklar

She always slept on a bed of nails, but the night she took me home with her she had to be on top, and her gyrations ripped the flesh from my back. The candlelight showed wrinkles that I could not see by day, and I reached up to breasts that had looked firm when she was dressed but now hung over me like the Gardens of Babylon, withered pendula swinging through broad ovals as her face contorted above the noise of the two of us together.

I dreamt of bones in the desert, of sand beneath the sun.

In the morning I woke to the car horns of lower Manhattan, and she brought me breakfast in bed. The pins sank deeper into my bottom as I sat up. From a bowl of unglazed clay she fed me a dish that was both meat and mead, lifting morsels between her thumb and first two fingers to my mouth. Her cats prowled satellite paths around us, their hungry orbits tightening with each loop.

So, why did we take this story? There is power in this voice and skill in the telling. That aside, it’s a fascinating story of an epic power struggle through eternity and/or madness in Manhattan. I was a fan from the first read and two editors came aboard soon thereafter. The original was 1750 words; final edit is 1700 words.

Tune in tomorrow for our next tease. The full Table of Contents is here.

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As I receive contracts and final edits from authors, I’ll post a teaser from their story here and on our Facebook page.  You know where to get the rest, right? Comments are welcome.

Lord God Bird

 By

Sarah Frost

Sal comes down from the tree and shakes his head. He wipes smears of black moss off his hands. I turn away. I will not let him see me cry. I sneeze, and blow my nose, and blame the damp wind that seeps through my clothes. It’s getting colder. Soon it will be winter, and time for us to leave. Time for us to move on to a new world, a springtime world, and begin our search again.

The bird haunts my dreams. I hear wingbeats when I go to sleep. I wake to her golden eye gazing into mine. I see her shadow in the trees when I go out, and when I come home. My people called her a god long after the Frenchmen informed us that gods wear the bodies of men, not birds.

So, why did we take this story? We liked the concept and cultural awareness of the story, as well as the way it embedded background through the main story action. Not to mention the intriguing take on an SF topic we’ve seen before, but never quite like this.  The original was 1800 words; final edit is 1775 words.

Tune in tomorrow for our next tease. The full Table of Contents is here.

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As I receive contracts and final edits from authors, I’ll post a teaser from their story here and on our Facebook page.  You know where to get the rest, right? Comments are welcome.

A Claw from the Western Paradise

 By

by Gwendolyn Clare

It was spring in the Valley of the Western Paradise, though Ao Jun knew not which spring. The valley air sung like a dirge with the approach of a living soul, music for Ao Jun’s ears alone, rousing him insistently. He shifted on his ancient nest, scales hissing with a sound like the patter of desert rain. He lifted his sinuous body, and the bones beneath him clattered.

In the pond to the south, the lotuses bloomed, white and pink blossoms suspended above the serene water. A thin gray mist clung to the valley floor, cluttered with bones, and to his sluggish thoughts.

Ao Jun let out a sigh through flared nostrils, his breath a cloud of rising steam. He had thought that he was, finally, the last of his kind — that no more would come. He had not expected to wake again.

So, why did we take this story? We liked the fable-like feel of this and the interaction between characters. We had some issues with story pacing and sequencing of the opening. Gwen worked on these issues in revision. The original was 2200 words; final edit is 2150 words.

Tune in tomorrow for our next tease. The full Table of Contents is here.

Now, a word from my ego. Happy to report that my flash fiction “Godless” went live on the Daily Science Fiction site. Cool.

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As I receive contracts and final edits from authors, I’ll post a teaser from their story here and on our Facebook page.  You know where to get the rest, right? Comments are welcome.

God in the Machine

 By

by Charles Patrick Brownson

Sequestered in a tower rising far above the center of a groaning, gas lit metropolis, I sat upon my bed counting the rivets on the iron walls of my celestial cell. The distant creak of carriages clattering over cobblestone, the roar of train cars moving along elevated rails recalled the bustle of city commerce. I smoothed away wrinkles on my filthy, threadbare dress. All I must do to end this exile was confess the sin of heresy in front of Lord Drake and the British Inquisition. But though I grew weary and longed for human companionship, I would not relent. The integrity of my husband’s work depended on it. A steam whistle cut through the day, its disconsolate tone mirroring my own.

The sudden entrance of my friend, Marlow the marmot, startled me. Looking bleary-eyed and forlorn behind his spectacles, he announced that he was having trouble with his laptop. “It won’t turn on,” he said. “I think it may have a virus.”

So, why did we take this story? We were hoping to get some steampunk for this issue, and this story delivered it in a very entertaining package. We had some issues with the opening and climax. Charles blew those worries into oblivion with his rewrite and a subsequent tweak. The original was 4900 words; the rewrite came in at 5400 words; final edit is 5200 words.

Tune in tomorrow for our next tease. The full Table of Contents is here.

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As I receive contracts and final edits from authors, I’ll post a teaser from their story here and on our Facebook page.  You know where to get the rest, right? Comments are welcome.

The Gold in the Straw

 By

by Amanda C. Davis

The first time it happens you wake up with your head on a stack of spun gold, your fingertips bleeding from clawing through bales of straw, and your mother’s ring is gone. So is the straw. The spinning wheel is still there, though. Gold thread weeps from the spindle.

The prince comes in and you stand up and dust straw from your apron and hold out your arms: Ta-da! Maybe your father wasn’t just boasting after all.

But it wasn’t you who turned this stable into a treasury. How could it be? The dwarf did it. The dwarf that you saw only dimly: the evil little thing, the ugly twisted monster that saved your life.

So, why did we take this story? We’re not fans of second person, yet we were unanimous fans of this story. It utilizes its viewpoint to great effect and takes a well known fairy tale to some quite interesting places. Yum. The original was 1300 words; final edit is 1300 words.

Tune in tomorrow for our next tease. The full Table of Contents is here.

Read Full Post »

As I receive contracts and final edits from authors, I’ll post a teaser from their story here and on our Facebook page.  You know where to get the rest, right? Comments are welcome.

Zafir, the Saudi Superhero

 By

by Madhvi Ramani

Uncle Mabub looks like a levitating sultan. His huge body envelopes the chair he sits on, and, with his legs crossed loosely beneath, it seems as though his entire mass is dancing lightly on his toes. I go over to him without looking at Baba, whose eyes are red and narrow, and he lifts me up onto his knee. I am nine years old – too old to be sitting on anyone’s knee – but Uncle Mabub makes me feel like I’m still five.

“Zafir, you know that I’m going back tomorrow,” he says. I nod; I will miss him. He is the only one here who moves, makes the room vibrate with his loud American voice, and even makes jokes and laughs. He is like a breeze in the desert.

“Do not pull a long face young man!” says Uncle Mabub as he reaches into his baggy pockets and pulls out some DVDs. I will have to wait till tomorrow, when the mourning period is over, to watch them. Zara and I always used to watch Uncle Mabub’s movies together, but now she’s dead. I am an orphan-sibling.

So, why did we take this story? We all liked this one to varying degrees right out of the chute. It’s clever, culturally relevant, and features a wonderful protagonist. It’s also quite touching. We had some issues with logic and escalation, which Madhvi addressed extremely well in revision.  The original was 2900 words;  rewrite came in at 3000 words; final edit is 2900 words.

Tune in tomorrow for our next tease. The full Table of Contents is here.

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As I receive contracts and final edits from authors, I’ll post a teaser from their story here and on our Facebook page.  You know where to get the rest, right? Comments are welcome.

Ezekiel

 By

by Desmond Warzel

In 1585, the first English settlement in North America, the Virginia Colony, was established on the island of Roanoke, in present-day North Carolina. Food shortages, coupled with the enmity of most of the nearby indigenous tribes, forced the settlers to flee back to England. In 1587, a second group of colonists arrived; suffering the same troubles as their predecessors, they convinced their governor, John White, to sail to England for help, and prayed that they would survive until his return.

#

The Disposition of the Plantation at Roanoack

Written by Master Ananias Dare. 1587.

It had been the Assumption of all of our Partie, that our Historie would one Day be set down by Master John White, our esteemed Governour and the Father of my dear Wife, Elyoner, his Eloquence being held in such great Esteem by all; however, Fate has commanded otherwise, and, tho’ I be unworthy, it falls to me to record recent Events of an unusual Nature, that those who follow us to this Country, and Master White in Particular, do not despair of our Whereabouts.

So, why did we take this story?  This one was so different from anything we had seen that we had to scratch our collective heads a bit. It is not an easy read, but rewards the effort with an ingenious alternate (perhaps) history. In the end 3 of 4 editors signed on and we gave the green light for a rewrite addressing some issues of escalation and clarity. Desmond came through with a very nice tweak of the original and it’s now an integral part of the anthology.  The original was 4900 words;  final edit is 4950 words.

Tune in tomorrow for our next tease. The full Table of Contents is here.

Have you checked out our Kickstarter project yet? 34 hours left to get your name in the acknowledgments, a signed copy of Last Contact, cover art print, or a complete set of the last five anthologies. Not to mention a huge dose of gratitude.

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As I receive contracts and final edits from authors, I’ll post a teaser from their story here and on our Facebook page.  You know where to get the rest, right? Comments are welcome.

The Reel

 By

by H. M. Tanzen

When I found the first of my silver hairs, amid the autumn-storm of gold and copper, the sight of it almost brought me to my knees, there in the bathroom of our old city house.

The first lesson in what it meant to be human.

The easiest one of many.

#

Humans worshiped me once, the idea and essence of me, in the long, gossamer age before. Kings and mighty warriors loved me, brave young farm-girls, knights at arms. They pined and died for me.

In the heaviness of time, I married a bus driver.

So, why did we take this story?  Because it’s freaking awesome. Sometimes that’s all that’s required.  The original was 1770 words;  final edit is 1700 words.

Tune in tomorrow for our next tease. The full Table of Contents is here.

Have you checked out our Kickstarter project yet? 4 days left to get your name listed in the acknowledgments.

Read Full Post »

As I receive contracts and final edits from authors, I’ll post a teaser from their story here and on our Facebook page.  You know where to get the rest, right? Comments are welcome.

City of Bones

 By

Deborah Walker

Edmonda’s jaunt is designed in three acts. First is the orgy. We gather in the square of the derelict town. We five avatars, decanted into flesh.

“Loretta and the twins shall go first,” says Edmonda. She’s a white-robed priestess. Her hair is braided into an elaborate confection. A bronze torc encircles her throat

Arice and Prophecy step forward wearing identical skin-suits and identical bodies. They were born as twins and have retained that identity in the simusphere. They squeal and giggle as they touch me. Youth is their second conceit: these two old minds in child-sized bodies. Knowing hands push me to the broken stone pavement. The twins work my body in tandem.

The illusions of the simusphere do not work in this city. The constraints of our flesh bodies limit us. Light is something for the mind to perceive. As I make love to the twins, I feel the cracked stones under my back, and the caress of the encroaching cold, wet grass. The sex is unsatisfactory. In the simusphere Arice and Prophecy speak and move in perfect accord. Here their movements are clumsy delayed reflections, mirrors out of step with intention.

So, why did we take this story?  It was a tricky call. We all liked the world building, but most of us felt there was too much confusion in the opening scene and some sag through the escalation. We suggested some rearrangement of scenes and Deborah took it from there, delivering a strong rewrite.  The original was 2300 words; the rewrite came in at 2700 words;  final edit is 2600 words.

Tune in tomorrow for our next tease. The full Table of Contents is here.

Have you checked out our Kickstarter project yet? 5 days left to get your name listed in the acknowledgments.

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