Keep the binge-reading going with the Summer Reading List.
Included in this giveaway is The Fine Art of Keeping Quiet, which now has a reading group guide. You can download the guide in PDF format here.
Looking for something magical and romantic to read? Head on over to the Summer of Love and Magic giveaway and download a book … or ten.
Summer is a great time to binge read.
Exciting news! The Drabblecast is back!
The full relaunch is in the fall, but you can head on over and listen to the backlist stories, including Ghost in the Coffee Machine. (Scroll down to the bottom of the page for the audio.)
I love this audio production. It has sound effects! And music! And artwork.
If you enjoy both speculative fiction and the audio format, be sure to click through and give The Drabblecast a listen.
It’s good to have them back.
Need a quick read this weekend? Hop on over to Flash Fiction Online and read their June issue. All the stories are wonderful, but I warn you, Five Times I Have Slept at Your Bedside should come with a supply of tissues (but go read it–it’s wonderful).
And while you’re there, you can also read Steadfast, my (very) short and modern retelling of The Steadfast Tin Soldier (with an unapologetic happy ending) from the December issue.
Previously published in Luna Station Quarterly #16 and Evil Girlfriend Media
A wolf seduced her sister, and a witch wrapped her bony fingers around her brother’s heart, so when a giant came for her, she told him she wouldn’t go.
He plucked a rose petal from the bushes that grew around his castle, and that was her bed. When the day grew hot, he offered dewy raspberries to quench her thirst. When she refused, a single tear fell from his eye and splashed at her feet. The salt on her lips tasted like sorrow. She was drenched, but unmoved.
Only when he left his almanac out—quite by accident—did she creep from the threshold of her cottage. It took all her strength to turn the pages, but turn them she did. The letters were as tall as she was, but read them, she did.
He caught her reading. If he wanted, he could have slammed the book shut, trapped her—
or squashed her. He didn’t.
He looked to the book and then to her. “Will you come with me now?”
“I am not a pet.”
“Of course not.”
“Or a meal.”
He blew air through his lips, the force of it ruffling her hair. “You are much too small for that.”
“Then what am I?”
“I need someone to tend to the mice. They are ailing. And the butterflies. My fingers are too clumsy, and I cannot mend the rips in their wings.”
“So you have work for me?”
“Good work, with good pay. You can keep your family well.”
“They would feed me to the wolves.”
“Then how am I any worse?”
How indeed? Did she trust this giant and his promises of mice and butterflies?
“Will you?” He extended a hand.
She stepped onto his palm and he her lifted higher and higher—even with his mouth, his nose, his eyes. Then he placed her gently on his shoulder.
“What made you change your mind?” he asked.
“The almanac. Will you read to me sometimes?”
“Would you like that?”
“I shall read to you every night.”
Mice and butterflies filled her days. On the back of the Mouse King she rode, clutching the soft fur about his neck, racing through the castle to tend to mothers with large broods, crumbs and bits of cheese tucked in a canvas sack. With thread from a silkworm, she repaired butterfly wings, her stitches tiny and neat.
The giant peered at her handiwork through a glass that made his eye all that much larger. When he laughed his approval, the sound rolled through the countryside. And every night, when he reached for his almanac, she settled on his shoulder and marveled at how someone so colossal could speak words with so much tenderness.
Even when his bones grew old, and all he could do was move from bed to chair, he read to her. When his eyesight grew dim, he recited the words from memory, so strong was his desire to keep his promise. Until, at last, the day came when the stories stopped.
A thousand butterflies fluttered into his room. Mice came from fields and forest alike, led by the Mouse King. They bore the giant outside, where they laid him to rest beneath the rose bushes.
It was there she learned that all her tears combined could not rival the sorrow contained in a single giant teardrop.
Head on over to Instafreebie for the Summer Magic Giveaway. More than one hundred fantasy books up for grabs (and for free)!
So, here I am, working on the fairytale series. About 5,000 words in, I realize that I haven’t completed all the world building. Mind you, I thought I had. But I’m running into things that I’m not quite sure about. Is it in a pseudo-Middle Ages, Grimm brothers Germany? Or is it more like Charles Perrault’s France?
See? This is something I should know. Beyond this, as I was writing, I also realized that there are other forces in this particular fantasy world that I hadn’t accounted for either.
Decision? Let it compost a bit more.
So I’m switching gears and diving back into the Coffee and Ghosts spin-off series.
I looked structure of that this week, I reread the manuscript, and used dictation this time around to take notes.
So instead of a half a page of strange cryptic notations that I don’t understand later on, I ended up with about 2000 words of excellent story notes.
Whenever I do a read-through, I always tell myself oh I’ll remember this. Thing is? I never do. With this new way, I have lots of notes to begin with. Granted, I do have to deal with things like:
Necromancer sunsets fuel the story.
But I keep the audio files until I have a chance to review the transcription. That way, if I can’t figure something out, I can listen to it.
I made a list of things that needed expansion and additional research. I swear, three books and two documentaries landed in my lap. Just like that.
I think this is the universe’s way of telling me I’m on the right track.