Friday, December 20, 2013

Excerpt: Exile's End (a work in progress)

Brik’ken Pullid Ruanna of Ostracus Prime, often tired of overseeing his forest domain. Perched near the peak of Mount Shadow, his attention again drifted from the mundane facts of the World to loftier concerns. He gazed at the stars—distant imitations of the Sun separated by a vast desert of air so thin his great wings could not propel him. There were mysteries beyond that impenetrable void—mysteries stolen from the World by an ancient and almost forgotten conflict.
These thoughts raced through his mind in fractions of a second. There were other esoteric concerns, equally fascinating and considerably more complex, that also commanded his attention. It was such lofty daydreaming that led the Council to assign him here, overseeing this peaceful land that needed little intervention. There were no rock trolls or desert hags here.
But this night his keen eyes found something in the sky that did not belong. It was small—barely two knuckles in diameter. It was brushing the thinnest layers of high air leagues above the tallest spire.
He had heard of objects falling from the sky—another ancient tale resembling myth more closely than it resembled historical fact. But if he believed the Keepers, no object of import had been able to reach the World since the capture of Tora, the World's third moon.
But if that was so, then what was this?
He narrowed his focus and searched for detail. The things fall did not feel right. It was not dropping like a free weight. And as it descended into thicker air, it drifted against the wind. This was not an experience he could keep to himself. It would probably annoy her, but he poked Pril with a mental nudge. She was the only one he trusted with a clear line of sight to the object.
Pril parried the nudge gruffly. What?
Brik shared his vision with her. The object was still several kilometers away, but falling. Don't you think that's odd?
Stop making things up, she said.
Look for yourself, he urged.
She resisted, but finally he felt her relent. Her eyes joined his and focused on the object. The vision was now clearer. There were angular details. There was a mix of materials—it had a taste of alchemy to it unlike anything Brik or Pril had experienced in their centuries of adult life.
We have to tell the Council.
Brik recoiled. I'm not telling the Council anything—especially not something as strange as this.
Then Zara.
Brik shuttered. Even worse.
It could be dangerous.
No. Look at its size.
Then, as they watched, it broke apart. The two broadened their focus to understand the scope of the event. Relatively equally sized and composed pieces left in different directions. One selected a direction toward Brik's domain.
Their attention then shifted in unison to the approaching piece of the strange thing.
Is it alive? asked Pril.
Of course not. But I'm going to see what it is.
No, said Pril. I'm going to tell Zara and the Council.

Brik didn't argue. Pril was right. This couldn't be kept from them. But it would take them time to choose a course of action. In that time, Brik would hopefully have been able to satisfy his curiosity. But he had to act quickly if he did not want to be excluded from the event altogether. Good idea, he said. Pril's attention vanished from his mind. He stretched, surging strength and mobility through his limbs and wings and lifted from his spot to intercept the strange intruding thing.
Copyright (c) 2013 John Conway

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Open Calls at Static Movement

Attention Writers

For those unfamiliar with Static Movement, it is a “for the love” (no pay, only exposure) publisher of short stories, including a monthly online magazine and numerous themed print anthologies. Static Movement is now revamping its “to print” methods, with anthologies appearing now through CreateSpace and Amazon. Static Movement is looking for quality stories that fit its themes. Reprints are accepted. Anthologies go to editing and then to print when the 70,000 word count is reached or surpassed.

Open Anthologies

The Static Movement Anthologies I’m aware of that are presently accepting stories are: 
  • Alicorns and Hooves
  • The Badlands
  • Bloody Ghost Stories: An Anthology of Dark Supernatural Demise
  • Changelings
  • Colors
  • Demonology
  • Dragon Blood
  • Gifted 
  • Gypsies and Giants
  • Halloween Shrieks
  • Hardboiled
  • Here Be Clowns II 
  • Incense and Perfume
  • Legends and Lore
  • Love at First Bite
  • Magickally Delicious 
  • Modern Lovecraft
  • Neon and Blood
  • Retellings – YA
  • Shape Shifters
  • Sweet Dreams and Night Terrors
  • The Undead War
  • Undercurrents of Fear
  • Visions Across 20 Light Years
  • Werewolf versus Vampire

The abridged themes for each of those, as described by the Static Movement editors are:

Alicorns and Hooves edited by Brianna Stoddard

Unicorns: tame, wild, or otherwise. Make them blue or green or rainbow if you like. Try weaving in some extra creativity into the old tales and descriptions. I would like everything to be rooted firmly in fantasy and dark fantasy. Think of this one as a young adult collection, which shouldn't have sex or foul language, but not too tame.

     Alicorns and Hooves is at about 6 stories. CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFO

The Badlands edited by John Thompson

Weird western stories—stories have to be in a western setting (around 1840-1910), with correct historical information. They can include anything … vampire gunslingers, gangs of undead stage robbers, shape-shifters, were-wolf miners who migrated west to avoid detection, or just an old fashioned noir western with a weird slant.

     The Badlands is at about 51,113 words. CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFO.

Bloody Ghost Stories: An Anthology of Dark Supernatural Demise edited by Brianna Stoddard

Give me all your extreme horror ghost stories, featuring Dark Supernatural Demise. I want to see what you can weave out of a ghost story with ill-fated encounters with humans. Picture the classics (Poltergiest, Haunting in Connecticut, etc.) with a bloody not-happily-ever-after ending.

     Bloody Ghost Stories is at about 27 stories. CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFO. 

Changelings edited by George Wilhite

I am interested in variations on this legend. If you want to stick with fairies, trolls or elves, that is okay, but I would also like some original “legendary creatures” of your own design. Any genre, time period or setting works. I prefer dark tales but straight fantasy is fine as long as there is some kind of twist.

     Changelings is at about 39,000 words.CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFO. 

Colors edited by Jake Johnson

I’m looking for flash fiction and poetry based on colors. These colors can be either be vital parts of the stories they’re telling or just act as themes in the background. Be creative! Each story has to be named after the color it represents, and there can only be one story for each color.

     Taken colors: Albedo, Amber, Aqua, Aquamarine, AuroMetalSaurus, Beige, Black, Blonde, Crimson, Cyan, Dark Lavender, Ebony, Gold, Goldenrod, Gray, Green, Maroon, Midnight Blue, Orange, Pearl, Periwinkle, PINK, Red, Ruby, Rust Red, Sand, Sangria Red, Scarlet, Silver, Sinopia, Tiramasu, Turquoise, Violet, White, Yellow, Zaffre. CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFO.

Demonology edited by Dean M. Drinkel

I'm looking for original stories about Demons. Very best work please - and please be original with your story-telling (not interested in standard / usual demon-type tales); horror / dark fantasy preferred. Stories can be set anywhere and at any point in history (would love to have some medieval tales particularly).

Dragon Blood edited by Dorothy Davies

Are dragons monsters, or do they have a reputation they do not deserve? What are you dragon thoughts? Sad stories, funny stories, dark and light, send me your dragon related tales, see if we can get another first class Static Movement anthology out in the world!

     Dragon Blood is at around 60,026 words. CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFO

Gifted edited by Danielle Rose

The idea of having powers crosses everyone’s mind. How would the world be? What powers would you have? Could you fly? See the future? Or would you simply be immortal? Does everyone have powers or are only a few blessed? Is it even a blessing?

     Gifted is at around 72,750 words. CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFO.

Gypsies and Giants edited by Adam Francis Smith

Stories with gypsies or giants—both need not appear, but both may. I’d like to see stories spanning the genres, with, for example: magic-wielding gypsies, ancient giant creatures such as dinosaurs, space-faring gypsies, giant planets … Anything goes, really – surprise me with your creativity.

     Gypsies and Giants is at 13,276 words. CLICK HEREFOR MORE INFO.

Halloween Shrieks edited by Dorothy Davies

Explore all the aspects of Halloween, no holds barred!

     Halloween Shrieks is at about 43,151 words. CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFO

Hardboiled edited by John Thompson

Grab your brass knuckles, your grandpa’s sawed-off scattergun and enter the fray. I’m looking for killer looking (or not) dames that do some damage and killing, bank robberies gone bad, bad or good guys getting theirs the hard way and can be old school or modern settings. Make it tight, dark and ‘Hardboiled’.

     Hardboiled is at about 77,652 words. CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFO.

Here Be Clowns II edited by Dorothy Davies

What goes on under the paint and wig, what is the wild costume hiding, what secrets does a clown hold? Send dark, dark tales of clowns on the rampage, committing mayhem and murder and all manner of unearthly and horrible deeds—let's add to the world's paranoia of clowns!

     Here Be Clowns II is at about 38,710 words. CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFO.

Incense and Perfume edited by Chris Bartholomew

I want some really amazing, awe-inspiring stories. Give me the cream of the crop. Most genres. Use as much truth as you can. There are many wonderful resources out there full of knowledge waiting for you. See what you can come up with... Maybe you'll find something I don't know yet.

     Incense and Perfume is at about 15,443 words. CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFO.

Love at First Bite edited by Danielle Rose

Forbidden Attraction. Eternal love. The lure of this ecstatic pleasure is undeniable. Will the road to love be facile? Or will it prove to be the hardest path your character has ever taken? I’m not too picky about the overall idea (as long as it’s speculative in nature), but eventually, leave your readers with one question: Is love really all you’ll ever need?

Legends and Lore edited by Dorothy Davies

Monsters... Not run of the mill vamps and zombies—think Japanese, German, Early North American Aboriginals, African, many more! Obscure forgotten lore. They don’t have to be in their own time period; I don't care who lives or dies; but... they must be factual according to their lore.

     Legends and Lore is ataround 59,294 words. CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFO

Magickally Delicious edited by Brianna Stoddard

Erotic stories (adults only) with elements of fantasy or dark fantasy—strictly lesbian and bisexual female stories, so little to no male contact is required. Anything other than that I am willing to work with. Surprise me! Tease me with wild female fantasy! I look forward to reading them all!

     Magickally Delicious is at about 18 stories. CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFO.

Modern Lovecraft edited by Jake Johnson

Right now, the stars could be right. Right now, something with too many teeth is crashing to Earth. Right now, a man with an ancient book is summoning something that could end the world. What sanity-blasting things lurk in our everyday lives? What would H.P. Lovecraft have written about if he were alive today?

Neon and Blood edited by Ron Koppelberger

I would like stories set in the big city. Monsters and demons in the midst of the crowd, the busy streets of a bustling city. You may use any sort of monster you like just as long as it is frightening. Elements of modern society are welcome, leather, studs tattoos etc…..not required but encouraged.

     Neon and Blood is at about 33,602 words. CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFO.

Retellings edited by Rachel Towns

Think of the old stories like ‘Red Riding Hood’ and ‘Bluebeard’—make them your own. This could mean changing the time period, the location, or even changing the focus character—whatever interesting idea you have. Any genre is acceptable. 

     Retellings was opened this summer and is at about 8,600 words. CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFO.   

Shape Shifters edited by Ron Koppelberger

What is a shape shifter? Is it a monster or are the changes subtle tricks of light; smoke and mirrors or demons from the darkest pits of hell? Describe the changes a shape shifter goes through, what are they like—emotional beings or dark spirits seeking revenge, relationships or just looking to blend in with our human society.

     Shape Shifters is a new anthology and is at about 3,463 words. CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFO.

Sweet Dreams and Night Terrors edited by Ron Koppelberger

I would like to see stories set in the dream world. The stories can be the sweetest of dreams (No erotica) or the worst night terrors. These stories can be based on dreams you’ve had or heard about. Let us know what scares you or thrills you in the dream world. Poetry welcome as well!

     Sweet Dreams and Night Terrors is at about 41,286 words. CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFO.

The Undead War edited by John Thompson

Show me compelling stories about the survivors and their normal everyday living and their dealings with the living dead. Show me unique settings and characters. How did the zombie apocalypse happen? How do the survivors cope? What about weapons? Is the Government still functional or are they all Undead? Is there a ’safe haven’? The potential story-lines are endless. Let’s keep them near future or past.

     The Undead War is at about 45,105 words. CLICKHERE FOR MORE INFO.

Undercurrents of Fear edited by Ron Koppelberger

Fears, phobias and frightening occurrences of terror—I would like your best story about fear, psychological, mythological, horrific, monsters are good. Let me know what fear is to the lead in the story, what they feel, see, hear when confronted by things going bump in the night. If your lead is afraid of apples, tell a frightening story about apples.

     Undercurrent of Fear is at about 24,323 words. CLICKHERE FOR MORE INFO.

Visions Across 20 Light Years edited by Chris Bartholomew

In September of 2010 scientists made a long awaited announcement. Orbiting a red dwarf star about 20 light years, is Gliese 581g, the first planet we detected within its star’s habitable zone. I would like Science Fiction/Fantasy/Horror/Thriller/Adventure stories that explore this wondrous discovery—civilizations that develop, the people that would live there, whether other species study the indigenous life forms …

     Visions Across 20 Light Years is at about 38,669 words. CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFO.

Werewolf versus Vampire edited by Brianna Stoddard

I want all kinds of stories focusing on the dark and damned side of these creatures. Don't think too much like "Underworld", that's too tame for this. Think of battling clans with hatred for each other as well as themselves. Try to come up with some really raw, edgy, even noir-type stuff. Give me anything you got! 1,000 to 5,000 word limit.

     Werewolf versus Vampire is at about 25,420 words. CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFO.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Excerpt: November Elf

this is a key excerpt from “November Elf.” The setting is a typical business-district downtown street in a major city. Up to this point, the story has been a traditional first-person past tense. But memory, especially with this character, is a tricky thing. And at his age it’s just beginning. Still, if the encounter is what he believes it to be, this portion of the story conveys, as well as I could capture it, the confusion that should accompany the experience. If it is at all intriguing, please visitHogglepot and read the story.
I felt a light tingle in my temples. Was he erasing my memory? “Hey, wait a minute!” I yanked the glasses from the bridge of my nose.
“You’ve had trouble remembering,” he said.
“Well yes, but—”
“Then it’s a fair trade,” he said. “You’ve been most kind. Thank you.”
“What trade?”
He stared back pleasantly. A bus arrived. Its door opened with a whoosh and a clunk.
“Third Street,” said the driver.
I shook my head. The door hissed closed and a cloud of diesel followed the bus away. I checked the time on my cell. If I didn’t get moving, the commute would be torture.
I don’t recall why I sat at the bus stop that day, but the moment is vivid in my memory.
There is more leading up to this point, of course, and a little more that folllows. The narrative has been described as light and “breezy,” although the story itself is anything but.

Friday, March 22, 2013

New Story: Seed of Doubt at Untied Shoelaces

Untied Shoelaces of the Mind published my flash story, "Seed of Doubt," in its seventh issue. The online fiction magazine features quality stories of many genres and provides an audio version of each story. Here is an excerpt from the very short story:

"He's an illusion. I can erase anyone I want because I control reality."

"What?!" Bobby scrutinized Madison's expression. She seemed dead serious. The notion was nonsense. But what exactly should he say? He glanced again at Dean. "He's right there, stupid." 
"To you."
Bobby pointed. "To anyone."

She rolled her eyes. "He's an illusion. Only morons can't tell the difference. And if you don't leave me alone, I'll erase you. "

Bobby's neck tingled. Madison's threat was hollow. But if he didn't prove it right now she would think he believed her. He had to call her bluff.

Bobby drew a steeling breath. He sidestepped Madison's plastic structure, stopped ten inches from her and planted his hands on his hips. "Go ahead."

"I don't want to."

"Do it."

"I don't have to."

"I dare you."

"I don't feel like it."

Her expression remained fixed. She did not seem intimidated. If anything, she seemed even more arrogant. Bobby could not let this continue. His heart pounded. He grabbed her arm. It was thin and weak. He balled his right hand into a threatening fist. "Now!" he insisted.

Her lower lip quivered. He felt strong.

"Maybe I will!" she snapped. "You can hit me and I won't feel it. You'll be gone, and it won't be real!"

Bobby squinted.

She tightened her lips and glared.
Bobby has his pride, and Madison has a plan. Does one prevail over the other? Please read the story and decide.