My Short Story “The Mechanical Dragon” to be Published in “Clockwork Dragons: A Fantasypunk Anthology”

dragon

Announcement graphic from Zombie Pirate Press

I’ve been waiting a few days to be able to brag about this one.

About a month ago, I had hit a dry spell, and decided to “loosen up” by participating in a writing challenge, not something I do a lot of these days. I was considering writing a story for an open submission, but I didn’t know how to approach it.

So I crafted the 150 word tale The Clockwork Dragon.

That got things moving and I was able to forge ahead with the actual story. A few days ago, it was accepted for publication by Adam and Sam at Zombie Pirate Publishing for their upcoming anthology Clockwork Dragons: A Fantasypunk Anthology.

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The Engineer and the Clockwork Dragon: A Preview

dragon

from “The Hobbit” (2012)

Sixty-seven-year-old Rolf Liechtenstein was surprised to wake up alive, but that wasn’t his biggest revelation. Looking past the strange figure robed in crimson, tangerine, and green who was hovering over him, he saw a large, golden dragon collapsed on a wide, stone floor.

“I thought I only dreamed…” His voice sounded more like a croaking frog, and his throat was dry as desert sand. He had meant to speak in English, but had lapsed into his native German, a tongue he hadn’t spoken regularly outside of his home since he was a boy.

The hooded old woman muttered something incomprehensible, and wizened hands protruding from long, loose sleeves pushed his shoulders back onto a mat as he tried to get a better look.

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The Clockwork Dragon

Image of the Trans-Mongolian Railway station found at towardsrisingsun.com

“Bored, bored, bored.” Atlan manipulated the energy projecting into the boiler, cooling the steam. His partner Narangerel stood behind him in the locomotive’s cabin dilating time and slowing matter as they approached Sükhbaatar’s Trans-Mongolian station.

The eighteen-year-old girl looked at the back of her lover’s head. “You always say that, Atlan, but we are still apprentice elemental guides learning our craft.”

“I know.” The water cooled, he turned to her. “I’d just like a little excitement.”

As Narangerel released time and fixed the wheels of the stopped train, she looked out and up. “Atlan!”

From over the Russian border it appeared in the air, lit by the first rays of the sun. It was a man on a dragon, but the wings were made from massive brass rods and gears.

Atlan stared over Narangerel’s shoulder as the gleaming clockwork dragon and the dead engineer began the greatest adventure of their lives.

It wrote this wee missive for the What Pegman Saw challenge. The idea is to use the photograph/location presented by the Pegman as the prompt for crafting a tale no more than 150 words long. My word count is 150.

Today, the Pegman takes us to Sükhbaatar, Mongolia.

I admit that it’s been a long time since I participated in one of these challenges. Truth to tell, the steam has run out of me. I’ve encountered a number of personal and professional reverses and it’s left me tired and bored.

It’s true that so far in 2019, eleven of my short stories have been chosen for publication, but as the deadline looms for several more, I feel empty.

The story above is set in the universe I’d like to write my next story in (though it never occurred to me to set it in Mongolia) where people can naturally manipulate the elements as that world’s form of technology. The “clockwork dragon” and his dead (resurrected) rider, the engineer, are actually the beginning of the story, but I don’t have the heart to dive in.

So I created my 150 word introduction, if you will, as an attempt to jump start my creativity. So far it’s not working.

To read other stories based on the prompt, visit InLinkz.

My Short Story “The Dragon’s Family” Now Available in “Magical Reality”

dragon

Promotional poster for the my short story “The Dragon’s Family” published in the Pixie Forest Publishing fantasy anthology “Magical Reality.”

Available now!

A modern fantasy anthology from Pixie Forest Publishing featuring thirteen fantasy-related tales set in the modern world includes my short story “The Dragon’s Family.”

Aging retiree James Monroe finds a small, injured dragon in a vacant field behind his house, and taking the creature home, discovers that the grief and loss he, his son, and grandchildren are suffering from is mirrored in the existence of the mythical being. Together they learn how to demonstrate great sacrifice, healing, and love.

Magical Reality, edited by Jensen Reed and Donise Sheppard, is available now on Amazon.

Here’s what it looks like on my Kindle Fire:

dragon

Image of my short story “The Dragon’s Family” as seen on my Kindle Fire.

The Girl Who Could Do Anything

clouds and sky

© Sue Vincent

“Come on, Grandpa. Over here.” Three-and-a-half year old Jillie ran ahead of sixty-three year old Robert, who was starting to feel the icy talons of fear clutch his heart as his migraine interfered with his control.

“Coming, Angel.” Wiping moisture off of his forehead and locks of long, graying hair, he knew the migraine would not let him tolerate trying to run, but he walked as fast as he could, blue jeans and boots catching in the cheat grass, sweat clinging to his checkered flannel shirt and denim jacket. If she should stray too far ahead while he couldn’t concentrate, there’s no telling what would happen.

The blond child, dressed for the winter weather in dark blue jeans, a snug, long-sleeved shirt, and her favorite turquoise jacket with Elsa and Anna on it, dashed forward toward a copse of trees. Sunlight was streaming through a partially cloudy sky, rendering the barren branches of the tall maples ahead in silhouette.

She and her older brother Tyler had stayed overnight at Robert and Maggie’s house, and while his wife and grandson were making pancakes for their breakfast, he had taken the always active, rambunctious toddler into the field out back to run off some energy. Unfortunately, the migraine struck suddenly, and as the light around him haloed and nausea swept through his gut, he knew it was too late to get her back home.

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Marta’s World in Twilight

starry night

Image found on WeHeartIt

“Why did you want me to try to paint Van Gogh’s ‘Starry Night’ on your back? No one will see it unless your shirt is off, and I told you, I can’t make a perfect duplicate of it anyway.” Nineteen-year-old Danny Cross was waiting for his most recent touches to the painting on Marta’s back to dry. The white glare from the snow-covered college quad streamed in through the window of his second-floor dorm room, as she casually lay upon an old down blanket on the floor between the two beds. His slender left hand, looking so much like a girl’s, poised over the waistband of her stretch pants, and he felt a persistent urge and swelling in his own, while wondering if his rail-thin frame was pressing down too hard on her.

“I told you, it didn’t have to be perfect. I just want you to capture the style. Inspiration will do the rest.”

To the sophomore, her voice sounded like a young Lauren Bacall from the old movie “To Have or Have Not,” which he’d just watched in his American film classics class. He watched his pianist thin fingers, slip slowly under her waist band, and felt a sexual thrill at the warmth of her skin and the roundness at the top of her ass.

“Hey, get your hand out of there.” In mid-sentence, Marta’s tone shifted from annoyed to playful, but he jerked his hand away suddenly. “Not that I don’t think you’re cute, but we don’t have time for that right now.”

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The New Dragon Saga: Descending Darkness

vampire

Desktop background for “vampire”.

Chapter 9: “The trouble with being legendary is that it is very difficult for me to remain anonymous, at least for very long.” The infamous vampire, King of the Undead, Dracula stood before the seventeen-year-old wizard with a smirk on his face, just faintly revealing his twin, elongated fangs.

“So what happens now?” Landon had faced foes as powerful as the vampire liege before, but never without allies, especially his mentor and friend, the golden dragon. Now, on this half of a mysterious world forever in night, he was alone.

“Why whatever you want, my young magician.” Dracula clapped his hands twice and then sat back on his obsidian throne. Presently, a score of servants, all appearing as human as the teen, came out from behind curtains left and right, quickly supplying a table and chair in front of the sorcerer, and then producing platters of beef, chicken, assorted vegetables, and a flagon of ale.

“Having not partaken in a meal such as this in so long, it was difficult for me to decide how to serve you, so I selected a variety of food stuffs.”

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The New Dragon Saga: Impaler

dracula

Promotional image for “Theatre68 presents Dracula”

Chapter 8: The temperature on this “night world” had suddenly become sub-zero, but that wasn’t the reason for Landon’s paralyzed muscles as the vampire Estaban lunged for his throat. The seventeen-year-old wizard was still holding tightly to his staff, and in a panic, he released a wave of light from the iron covered top, now shaped to resemble an eagle.

The disfigured undead being shrieked in horror as the simulated Sun’s rays raked across his melted face, the result of being engulfed in a dragon’s breath, as he reeled backward. Brilliant illumination continued to shine forth from the head of the staff, engulfing a three meter in diameter area around the two of them, the only sanctuary from the otherwise arctic winter that had possessed the wooded landscape. The snow was streaming down all around them, driven by high winds, but inside the mystic bubble, everything was warm and calm, except that the screams of the vampire had now been reduced to a helpless mewing.

“Talk. What happened to you? Who’s behind all this?” The experience was far too close to his recurring nightmare to be mere coincidence, but Landon still didn’t have all the pieces to the puzzle put together yet.

“The Master,” Estaban gasped, agony coursing through him like poison in this veins. “You can’t stop him. You’re dead already, just like me.”

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Familiar

girl and cat

– PrettyScary @ Deviantart

Christina rubbed her soft, feline fur against Gwendolyn’s face as the ten-year-old girl looked into the distance at nothing and everything.

“Yes, I can see it now, too, dearest.” The child was entranced at the interplay between energies from four of the ten dimensions.

“Silly little one, Christina chided. I detected the intermix ages ago.” In mid-sentence, the white cat’s tone changed from one of annoyance to affection, for she dearly loved the girl, and she always would.

“That’s because you are wise.” To anyone looking at the scene, the fifth grader was lying on her bed on a lazy Wednesday afternoon after school, contemplating gray clouds which threatened rain later in the evening. Yet gazing into her eyes, it would have been easy to tell that they might as well have been blind, at least to anything in the so-called “real world.”

“It’s best not to get too lost in the vision, my sweet, lest you lose your way and be forever swept into other spaces.”

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The New Dragon Saga: Dark Quest

dark woods

Found at wallpapertag.com

Chapter 7: He was seven years old, alone in the dark, and he could hear breathing.

“Who’s there?” His voice quavered and he was shivering with cold and fright. “Daddy, is that you?” He felt like he were in a large room somewhere, but when he breathed out, he could see frigid mist as if he were in a gigantic freezer.

“Grandpa?” How did he get here? The last thing he remembered was…then he realized that he shouldn’t be seven anymore.

“This has got to be a dream. I need to wake up. Wake up.”

Then there was more than one something breathing in the darkness, a lot more somethings, and they were all around him.

“No. Get away from me. I won’t let you hurt me.” He tried to think of a spell, any spell that might get him out of here. The light spell. It was the first one he’d learned a long time ago when he was…seven. How could he be seven again?

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