Night Tightens Like a Noose

new day

© Sue Vincent

“The circle of an empty day is brutal and at night it tightens around your neck like a noose.” Elisa Gutierrez realized they only had a few seconds between the flash and the heat wave that would incinerate the both of them as they stood on the ridge overlooking what used to be greater Los Angeles. But she still turned toward Harvey Bowman, her boyfriend and co-conspirator, looking at his face, mostly hidden by the light suppressing lenses she also wore, amazed that he could wax poetic moments before they died.

“Are you nuts?” She grabbed his arm, feeling how perfectly still he was compared to her trembling. “We’re about to die and…”

Her voice, nasal Bronx accent and all, were cut off abruptly as the blast of heat, exceeding a hundred million degrees Celsius, reached them. They were both instantly rendered as dry, black ash. Seconds later, the shock wave hit them and they exploded, their remains scattered like autumn leaves in a hurricane. Amazingly, she could still see.

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World War Four: “Joey”

joey

© Gregg Cunningham

As I mentioned yesterday, my short story “Joey” will be appearing in the Zombie Pirate Publishing anthology “World War Four.” It’s available now for pre-order at Amazon for delivery to your kindle device March 1st.

Turns out fellow “Zombie Pirate” Gregg Cunningham has been creating individual cover designs for each of the short stories and posting them on the ZPP World War Four (private) Facebook author page. Above is the one he created for “Joey.” When you read the story, you’ll understand.

Thanks, Gregg.

Oh, and don’t forget to visit and “like” or “follow” my Amazon author page.

Publications Update

1929

Promotional image for Zimbell House Publishing’s anthology “1929”

A couple of days ago, I mentioned that I had a fourth story accepted for publication, but since the publisher hadn’t made a formal announcement yet, I couldn’t give out particulars. However, this morning Zimbell House Publishing on their Coming Soon page (scroll down) posted notice that “1929: A Zimbell House Anthology” will be published in both Paperback and eBook formats on March 26, 2019. My short story “The Devil’s Regret” will be included in the anthology.

Some of you may have read a few variations on that tale I had been playing with here on my blog in months past. My study group from the writing class I took last November, had plenty of opportunities to read refined versions of the strange adventures of sixteen-year-old Timothy Quinn, the boy who could hear news stories from the future on the radio, and discovered he was the only person standing between an innocent ten-year-old girl and murder.

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Shhhh…My Fourth Short Story Has Been Accepted for Publication

shhhh

Image found on multiple sites – no attribution given

I got an email yesterday evening that said one of my submitted short stories has been accepted for publication in an anthology (Hint: Not by a publisher who has previously accepted my work). They don’t have the pre-order info on their site yet, so I can’t give out details, what I just wanted to mention that for 2019, I’m four for four.

On the one hand, I’m incredibly delighted to add to my publications list and have another story put on my writer’s resume, but now I’m really worried when the bubble pops and one (or more, or a lot more) of my stories is/are rejected.

Naturally, I’d like everything I submit for publication to be accepted, but that’s not how the math works.

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January 2019 Wrap Up

boise winter

Winter in Boise, Idaho

Just a wee update. As you all know if you’ve been reading my blog over the past month, three of my short stories have been accepted for publication. You can find out all about them on my Publications page.

You also know that I haven’t been writing as much fiction here as in months past and have been, more or less, ignoring most of the writing challenge communities I enjoy so much. That isn’t an intentional snub. I’ve just been busy.

For instance, in the month of January, not only were three of my stories accepted, but I submitted 5 stories to various publishers. I can’t tell you anything about them because, after all, submitting is not being accepted, and I’ve fallen flat on my face plenty of times before, so there are no guarantees.

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Bookpunk

art

© Sue Vincent

Eleven-year-old Keel watched his thirteen-year-old sister Alina from behind as she trudged down the alleyway. "C'mon. Don't wanna b late," she signaled.

The thin, waif-like boy, walking through January’s half-frozen muddy puddles in dirty, sandaled feet, dressed in over-sized khaki shorts with hems down to his shins, and a ratty green sweater made from an old Army blanket, heard her synthesized voice and simultaneously saw the text on his head’s up.

"Geek off. We've got time," was his caustic reply. He had slowed so he could look at Gemmi’s tagging, he was pretty sure it was her work, freshly painted on the old bricks. He was oblivious to the cold breeze from behind, blowing his matted, tortilla-colored hair with violet tips (all that was left of last November’s dye job) into his eyes.

"This is more important than your hotties for Gemmi." She impatiently grabbed his wrist, causing him to regard his sib for the first time that morning. She covered the holes in her thin, coffee-stained white tank top with a black leather vest, the one she ripped off from the dying multiplex in the burbs last month. There were just as many holes in her black yoga pants (she liked retro), and if he’d listen to her actual voice instead of what came through the interface, he’d have heard the faint, metallic click as numerous piercings colliding in her mouth when she spoke.

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Lepers: A Short Story Review

keyan bowes

Author Keyan Bowes – image found at bigpulp.com – No photo credit given

I became aware of author Keyan Bowes‘s short story Lepers when I received it as part of the latest newsletter from Mysterion Magazine.

Since I’m interested in having at least one of my short stories published by that periodical, I thought it might be a good idea to see what they think is acceptable fare.

Oh, Mysterion is:

…an ezine of Christian-themed speculative fiction edited and published by the husband and wife team of Donald S. Crankshaw and Kristin Janz. We seek quality speculative fiction with Christian characters, themes, or cosmology. Join us as we rediscover the mysteries of the faith!

Lepers is a little over a thousand words long, qualifying it for something just a tad longer than flash fiction. It chronicles the brief encounter between Vijay and his former friend Raj, who he was told had died while studying abroad, but in fact, has become something like a zombie.

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Being Published in the anthology “Magical Reality”

magical reality

Announcement of the “Magical Reality” anthology from Pixie Forest Publishing

Sunday morning, I woke up to some wonderful news. Actually, when I saw the email from Pixie Forest Publishing with the title, “Decision for The Dragon’s Family,” I was prepared for another disappointment at being once again being rejected. Then I read this:

Thank you for submitting your short story “The Dragon’s Family” to Pixie Forest Publishing’s modern fantasy anthology. We really appreciate you letting us consider your story. After much consideration, we have decided we would love to include your story in our anthology.

I was still swilling coffee and trying to wake up, but at that moment, I could have been dancing on air.

Later, I found out that there had been 62 submissions to the “Magical Reality” anthology, and only 11 stories had been picked, including mine, “The Dragon’s Family.”

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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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The Art of the Deal

bomb

Found at NBC News – image credit not listed

Cass was a nightmare in white silk and pearls. Unfortunately, the mysterious figure was also the only way out.

“Are you bitches in or not?”

“You know we’re in, Cass. You don’t have to act so hostile just because you’re the only one to be able to speak to the Strundrun.” I was never sure if Cass was a man, a woman, or something else, and it was murder trying to constantly construct sentences without using personal pronouns.

“Then your group is the last, Carter. I never thought so many Idahoans, or is that Ida-hoes, would buy a ticket.”

Oh yeah, Cass was flirting with me, and right on the floor of the state senate. I’m supposed to call Cass “they,” and just then, I felt like “they” wanted to put me on the floor and do something to me that involved lubricant and swim fins.

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