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FROM ALMA BOYKIN: Nominally Familiar: Familiar Tales Book Nineteen
A quiet day in Riverton . . . may be a contradiction in terms.
Ned Oescher deals with a dangerous ruby and dangerous men.
Morgana Lorraine and Smiley review a new Potoo Brothers textbook that just won’t go away.
Mallory Jones and Rosie the giant skunk face a computer mystery (and a system update. On the full moon.)
And more, in this short story set full of magic, courage, and terrible puns.
FROM S.T. GAFFNEY: Facets
Journey through the crystalline surfaces of short stories, that for the briefest of moments , reflect the light and shadows of what it means to be human. Just beyond the brightness of what we know, lurks the shadows of what we don’t yet know or understand. We pretend we stand on solid ground, turn on the lights, and perform rituals to ignore the horrors that surround us. When in truth, the greatest darkness lies within us all. But also, the greatest brightness. Like crystals we hold both. Turn us one way, and we know just how to kill. Turn us another way, and we know just how to love, a love that transcends both time and death.
What facet will speak to you? Rattle your brain, eat away at your heart? Haunt your dreams, disturb your peace? Make you smile, even laugh? Make you promise to live better? Comfort you just a little, teach you how to build a fire to burn away the night?
Come, take a break and read a story. Short stories for those short spaces of time when a novel is too much. Pull away the curtain, take a peek, and see what is reflected in the facets of your own mind.
Facets is a collection of 24 short stories of various lengths for a total of about 69,000 words. Also included is an author’s note at the end with comments on writing and on some of the short stories. They are organized by length, from shortest to longest. These stories do not as a whole fit any particular genre. However, I suppose one could say that most every story has a “strange” aspect about it. I consider myself a storyteller and I find labels only end up being argued about anyway. So, I’ve just decided to use the word “strange” and leave it at that. Some of these stories (not necessarily the same ones) might be enjoyed by those who look for science fiction, fantasy, and/or horror. And I think some don’t even fit into any of those genres. Like I said, I just tell stories. If you end up putting a label to any of them, fine. Just don’t tell me about it. It will most likely only confuse me. And I don’t need any help with that. I’ve successfully confused myself for years already and I don’t see that changing any time soon.
FROM FIONNA GREY: Save the Fate: A Professor Porter Short Story
Three years after becoming the magical protector of Paladin University, Dr. June Porter is ready for the latest adventure…marriage. But it’s just a wedding. What could go wrong?
FROM D. W. PATERSON: Mach’s Mission: Future Chron Universe
Elias Mach had given humanity the stars with his invention of the wormhole drive. In return, he was accused of treason and sentenced to death. Thus began a journey to clear his name, which would take him further from Earth than anyone had dared. And there he would discover the menace that was developing the most powerful weapons in the galaxy. Weapons that would soon be trained on Earth. To survive Earth would need Mach back.
If you like a fast-moving story, characters that never give up, and science with a sense of wonder, this is for you.
“Mach’s Mission” is set in the future (2390s) and is the second novel in the Future Chron Universe. If you enjoyed “Mach’s Mission” consider reading the next story in the series “Open Space” for more Hard Science Fiction – Old School.
See the author’s website futurechron.blogspot.com for more information including a recommended reading order and free stories..
What do ninjas, devout Christians, and Navy SEALs have in common? On the streets of Southwest Detroit, they’ve had to join forces in order to combat and, hopefully, defeat a vampire infection that’s unknown to the population and that could also end up taking down the planet.
Once the wealthiest city in the world, Motown in this dystopian future is a metropolis laid low by economic circumstances and a seemingly endless series of COVID panics, making it ripe for the taking by the master vampire and his sinister human familiar. Only two of Japan’s finest ninja warriors, four devout Christians – including a Baptist minister and a good Catholic girl — and a supersecret six-man team of SEALs from the US Special Operations Command are left to engage in the ultimate battle against the vampire horde and their human allies.
The fate of Detroit, the United States, and the entire world hangs in the balance because of the vampire scourge, and if humans lose, a nuclear holocaust, imposed on Motown by the US President and carried out by the shadowy Brushfire Organization, could be the end result.
If you like Stephen King, vampires, and the faithful Christians that fight those evil creatures, if ninjas and martial arts combat intrigues you, if Tom Clancy is your ideal for a military story, and the amazing things US special operations personnel do on a regular basis is what you’re looking for, then this fast-paced novel is the one for you.
FROM ANNA FERREIRA: A Summer in Scarborough: A Pride & Prejudice Sequel.
Miss Anne de Bourgh was delighted to receive a letter from her cousin Georgiana, explaining that she would be spending the summer by the sea, and requesting the pleasure of her company. A glorious few months of balls, shopping, and walking by the sea awaits- a wonderfully diverting holiday for Anne, who has rarely left Rosings before.
But Anne is a de Bourgh, and life is never simple. Before long, she finds herself caught between the attentions of two very different men, and must choose if she will follow her heart or disoblige her family. One must be disappointed, and Anne has never been very practiced in the art of disobedience. Must she give up everything she has ever known, will she find the strength to search for happiness elsewhere?
FROM KRISTEN MORTENSEN: Character Tool for Novelists.
I built this guided notebook originally for my own use, to help me create, document, and track characters as I write my novels. It has space to help you imagine and document up to 12 three-dimensional characters, including:
- Names, nicknames, and aliases
- Family trees
- Major life milestones
- Physical features
- Dress/clothing styles
- Personality traits
- Skills, abilities, and talents
- Occupations and finances
- Social identities
- Habits, tics, and pet peeves
- Interests and hobbies
- Conscious aspirations
- Unconscious needs
- Thematic roles
My Character Tool for Novelists also includes workspaces to brainstorm and list all your novel’s character names, making it easy to keep track of your characters as you dream them up (and to avoid using names that are too similar!)
My attention to character-building is a major reason that I recently won a first place Incipere award for my novel “Once Upon a Flarey Tale.” Characters engage readers. They enrich plots. They make novels come alive.
Vignettes by Luke, Mary Catelli and ‘Nother Mike.
So what’s a vignette? You might know them as flash fiction, or even just sketches. We will provide a prompt each Sunday that you can use directly (including it in your work) or just as an inspiration. You, in turn, will write about 50 words (yes, we are going for short shorts! Not even a Drabble 100 words, just half that!). Then post it! For an additional challenge, you can aim to make it exactly 50 words, if you like.
We recommend that if you have an original vignette, you post that as a new reply. If you are commenting on someone’s vignette, then post that as a reply to the vignette. Comments — this is writing practice, so comments should be aimed at helping someone be a better writer, not at crushing them. And since these are likely to be drafts, don’t jump up and down too hard on typos and grammar.
If you have questions, feel free to ask.
Your writing prompt this week is: DRUM