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I missed the posting deadline for Six Sentence Sunday for the second week in a row. Bad blogger, that’s me. By way of apology, I thought I’d offer a slightly longer excerpt from “Burning Down the House” from Hellfire Lounge 3: Jinn Rummy which will be launched at Balticon, May 25-28. I promise to share the date, time and details as soon as I learn them. Meanwhile, I hope you enjoy what happens after our poor protagonist Eddie Woodhouse sits in that big comfy chair:
“Do you have the bottle?” he asked.
A flash from the dance floor lit her eyes like an evil smile. She placed an empty absinthe bottle on the table.
“May your next transfer run as smoothly as the one from your bank.” The blare of the music muted the scrape of her scimitar nails along the glass. “Are you sure you wouldn’t rather do this someplace more private?”
“No.” The jinni inside him lashed his face. He couldn’t hide the bulge of their shared skin or his flinch of pain.
The woman added teeth to her smile. “Your funeral. I trust you’ll be more careful where you stick your straw in the future.”
Her exit line raised a different kind of welt, but he didn’t care as long as she left. Nobody paid any attention to a fat man in a club full of beautiful people. More importantly, the security cams and warding spells focused on the tables would keep her from trying anything more than what he paid for. He’d never been a contender in the magical department, but he never thought he’d sink so low that he’d owe his life to the sorcerous paranoia of Ducky “Duc d’Or”.
Eddie’s teeth chattered against the glass as he closed his lips around the neck of the bottle and chanted the first of the thirty-one goetic evocations from The Secret Key of Solomon under his breath. The words didn’t always make sense, but he suspected the real spell lay in his mind’s desperate prayer: “Take this damned thing outta me and I’ll never do magic. I’ll never so much as make a wish. Never. Ever.”
The words burned his throat. Never. The jinni swelled inside his lungs until he thought his ribs would explode. Ever.
What happens next? Well, you’ll just have to read the story–or come to the launch–to find out.
Posted 1 year ago at 1:51 pm. Add a comment
While I’ve been groveling–er, adjusting to The New Management, things have been popping on the news front. Hellebore and Rue has been named as a Goldie Award Finalist in Speculative Fiction, along with a collaboration between our editor Joselle Vanderhooft and Hellebore and Rue contributor and publisher Steve Berman. Which makes it a great time to plug Joselle’s freelance editorial services and fellow Hellebore editor Catherine Lundoff’s fiction and editorial projects. Speaking of Hellebore & Rue and Catherine, they’re both up for Lesbian Fiction Reader’s Choice Awards. Vote early and often.
Meanwhile, the world has been showing review love for The Modern Fae’s Guide to Surviving Humanity. The first is from Night Owl Sci-Fi, which mentions my story “Fixed” along side Elizabeth Bear’s, Anton Strout’s and April Steenburgh’s. (You should see my grin.) The second is from Janicu’s Book Blog on Live Journal, which gives you a little taste of every story in the collection. Obviously it’s time to update my review links.
Posted 1 year ago at 9:34 am. Add a comment
Hellfire Lounge 3: Jinn Rummy
Balticon is less than four weeks away, and I’ll be participating in two (count ‘em, two!) launch parties for two amazing anthologies, The Modern Fae’s Guide to Surviving Humanity and Hellfire Lounge 3: Jinn Rummy. In honor of the occasions, this month’s Six Sentence Sundays will be devoted to the stories featured in those anthologies. Since you’ve already had several snippets from “Fixed”, let’s take a taste of “Burning Down the House”, my story in Hellfire Lounge 3. Enjoy!
Eddie Woodhouse lurched between the tables of the Sixth Circle Club, apologizing every ponderous step of the way. Carrying a full-grown jinni inside his skin was hell. Its spine-crushing weight was only the start. Despite the swelter of July in New York, his thermal fleece sweatsuit, the heat of the crowd and the flames jetting in the six upright iron cages evenly spaced along the club’s circular wall, it was all he could do to keep from shivering as he approached the sorceress waiting at the shadowed table furthest from the door.
Gritting his teeth, he eased his tripled girth into the wide-armed leather chair across from her. The puffy cushions clenched around him like a boxing glove around a fist.
To read the rest, you’ll have to buy the book–and you can get it at Balticon. Hope to see you there.
Posted 1 year ago at 8:00 am. 10 comments
Here it is, your last Six Sentence Sunday entry for the month of “Fixed”, my story in The Modern Fae’s Guide to Surviving Humanity. And because I am evil, it is a cliffhanger. If you want to read more, well, you just have to buy the book.
“Just as I thought,” she said. “Prepare this animal for surgery. I need to operate immediately.”
His head shot upward. Backed against the steel bars, he couldn’t help seeing past her glamour. The lines scoring her forehead and bracketing the corners of her wide, lipsticked mouth floated like a painted veil over a pale, ageless face as perfect as a marble Madonna.
Posted 1 year, 1 month ago at 8:00 am. 8 comments
Last week I fell down on the Six Sentence Sunday job. Hey, a girl and her sweetie get only one anniversary a year. But I’m back with a third selection from “Fixed”, my story in the fabulous anthology The Modern Fae’s Guide to Surviving Humanity. Enjoy!
Even the kittens shut up, pressing their bodies to the wet plastic floor of their cage. A chill brushed his spine, lifting fur that had just begun to relax. Jack’s ability to sense magic was no better than human. The difference was he knew it existed and taught himself to read the warning signs in other animals. This one was lit up in neon. He hunkered down and tried to think cat thoughts; the last thing he wanted was to attract any kind of magical attention.
Posted 1 year, 2 months ago at 8:00 am. 12 comments
You already know about “Fixed” my story in The Modern Fae’s Guide to Surviving Humanity (aka #ModernFae in the Twitterverse), the wonderful fantasy anthology edited by Joshua Palmatier and Patricia Bray. (My blurb and an excerpt can be found here, if you somehow escaped my blog the first time through.) But what you may not know is there are thirteen (yes, exactly thirteen—for Thursday, no less) other wonderful reasons to buy the book. To quote the web site’s table of contents:
“We Will Not Be Undersold” by Seanan McGuire
Dan discovers the sinister reason why the employees of Undermart are always cheerful and ready to help consumers buy the latest cheap plastic imports. But when his snooping takes him to Oberon’s realm, Dan must pay the price for his trespass.
“The Changeling” by Susan Jett
Marisol Martinez thinks her son Tomas died in childbirth, until a midwife tells her it’s been stolen by the fae. Now she needs to save her son from the fairy’s clutches…by heading into the hill hidden in…Brooklyn?
“Water-Called” by Kari Sperring
The water spirit Jenny had once ruled a wide expanse of marshland, but now she was hemmed in by the modern world of concrete and drainage canals. But when a killer dares to hunt in Jenny’s realm, Jenny ventures into the modern city, and returns to her old ways.
“The Roots of Aston Quercus” by Juliet E. McKenna
A copse full of dryads is threatened by the construction of a new road, right through their heart. But how can they save their precious trees without exposing themselves to the world? All they have is their copse…and their memories, built up over hundreds of years.
“To Scratch an Itch” by Avery Shade
Young Autumn Sky has been told to always, always act normal. But when a storm threatens her roof garden, she acts without thinking, using powers she didn’t know she had…endangering not only her family, but all of the fae as well.
“Continuing Education” by Christine Smith
Stuck in a dead-end career, Lee had returned to college, seeking a different life. But when a fellow student disappears, she learns that the picturesque brick and ivy buildings of the old campus hide ancient secrets, and corporations aren’t the only ones recruiting students.
“How to Be Human” by Barbara Ashford
Is there anything more pathetic than a menopausal faery? Yes. A menopausal male faery leading a motivational seminar. For humans. At the New Rochelle Radisson. And when some of the local fae youngsters stop by to cause trouble, Finn rediscovers his own passion, and that his talks may apply more to the fae than the humans he’s glamoured his whole life.
“How Much Salt?” by April Steenburgh
Cut off from his clan as humans claimed the beaches once reserved for selkies, Dan finds a new home–and a new place to hunt–when he joins an aquarium show.
“Hooked” by Anton Strout
A rogue fairy lures unwary New Yorkers to their deaths in the heart of Central Park. But her latest victim is more than he seems, and the predator has just become the prey.
“Crash” by S.C. Butler
Where would a crafty leprechaun hide out in the modern world? Wall Street, of course! And Janet has just found the end of the rainbow. But stealing the leprechaun’s “gold” has consequences that she couldn’t have imagined.
“A People Who Always Know” by Shannon Page and Jay Lake
Someone is stealing the changelings and returning them to the fae world before their time. Hestia, the former queen of faerie, knows who is behind the kidnappings, but proving her suspicions requires her to venture into the mortal world.
“The Slaughtered Lamb” by Elizabeth Bear
Edie, a drag queen werewolf, has always been an outcast–from the fae and her pack. But when the Wild Hunt rides through the streets of Manhattan, she ends up learning that times have changed, and perhaps the pack needs her after all.
“Corrupted” by Jim C. Hines
Jessica had spent years as an FBI agent, protecting humans from rogue fae. But the years–and the steel of modern life–have taken their toll, threatening to turn her into one of the very monsters that she hunts. When the rogues threaten to destroy the fae realm, can Jessica find the strength for one last case?
Photos of The Modern Fae’s Guide in the wild at the Tustin Ranch, California, Barnes and Noble taken by the wonderful Catherine Gross-Colten on March 7.
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Posted 1 year, 2 months ago at 3:36 pm. Add a comment
This Six Sentence Sunday I’m super excited to share an excerpt from “Fixed”, my story in The Modern Fae’s Guide to Surviving Humanity, coming from DAW Books to a bookstore near you on March 6. Yes, you read that right: DAW Books. It’s my very first appearance in a mass market paperback. You’ll be able to go to the SF and fantasy section of your local mall bookstore and find it on the shelves. And you want to find it, because the table of contents features people like Seanan Mcguire, Elizabeth Bear and Jim C. Hines–to say nothing about my little story about a teenaged cat shifter who absolutely, positively does NOT want to get “Fixed”. It opens:
There were lots of advantages to being a part-time cat. Being chased by a Rottweiler named Bitsy through Holcomb Creek Park wasn’t one of them.
Heart pounding, chest heaving, Jack Tibbert raced down the bike path, insensible to the late November cold, the people on the path, or anything except escape. Bitsy’s heavy grunts grew louder as she closed the gap between them. His imagination added the heat of the dog’s breath on his neck as her massive jaws closed in for the kill. He had to take cover—high where her crushing teeth couldn’t reach—but where?
Posted 1 year, 2 months ago at 8:00 am. 7 comments
For the regulars here, this story is old news. But it’s only six sentences long, and for Six Sentence Sunday, I couldn’t resist:
“He came in through the window,” the princess said. As if that explained everything.
Fortunately, for her father the sultan, it did. The sultan ordered the harem eunuchs to remove the corpse of the Byzantine ambassador’s brash young son, and the wedding went forward as planned.
Nine months to the day, the caliph’s beautiful new wife delivered to her aged husband a fine, lusty son. The boy’s eyes were the same shade of pale green as the caliph’s–well, close enough.
Posted 1 year, 3 months ago at 8:00 am. 14 comments
This week’s Six Sentence Sunday feature is the opening of a story I just finished. It was timely when I started it, but even more so now.
“What do spells, copying and writing have to do with pirates?” Lord Bai, White Dragon of the West, whined—no, repined in a light baritone befitting his human form.
“Not ‘copying and writing’—copy rights,” hissed the sorcery student sitting next to him. “Like Professor Yeoh said: All magicians are endowed as creators with certain unalienable rights, among them the right to profit from all copies of their spells, amulets and charms.”
“Even if somebody else does the copying?”
Posted 1 year, 4 months ago at 8:00 am. 8 comments
This week’s Six Sentence Sunday offers offers the opening of a story you can read right now, “Billy’s Monster” from Hellfire Lounge 2: Rat Pack Redux. If you like your horror with a big helping of humor and fun, this is the book for you. I haven’t posted my usual information slug on the main page only because resizing the cover is giving me grief. The delay is killing me, too. In addition to great stories by C.J. Henderson, Danielle Ackley-McPhail, KT Pinto, Robert Waters and our fearless editor (and he has to be!) Rick Allen Leider, the book features a fabulous cover by Ben Fogletto and amazing interior art by Ed Coutts, Ben Fogletto, Denny Fincke, Jason Whitley and Paul London. (Face it, I’m all about the pictures. )
Billy was six years old when he brought home a monster. It had sharp, pointed teeth all around its mouth like a possum. Two rows of three stubby horns each grew from its forehead. Its spotted feathers were as soft as bunny fur, and it churred when Billy rubbed its tummy and fingered the satiny leather of its wings.
Billy’s parents didn’t know what to make of it. But it wasn’t too big, and they never did see a creature better at catching the mice and other varmints around the farm.
Posted 1 year, 4 months ago at 8:00 am. 13 comments