BOOK CLUB!

For those of you who like reading novels, I host a book club group on Facebook.  It’s super laid back with plenty of time to fit a novel into your busy schedule – a book club for people who DO NOT HAVE TIME for book club.

As I post this, we’re having a discussion on “The Fault in Our Stars” by John Green and our next book is “The Way of Kings” by Brandon Sanderson.

You’re all welcome to join. Just click the link and request an invite.

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Swevenfall :: Oh Sleeper, Rise


The readers here voted in favor of a serialized story. They chose fantasy and literary for the genre – Swevenfall is that story. Catch up on past chapters here.

Listen to the growing Swevenfall soundtrack as you read. Each chapter corresponds to the same track number (track 07 – “Sleep Baby Sleep” by Broods – for chapter 007). 


 

:: 007 ::

“Oh Sleeper, Rise”

 

CARDEA

 

 

The sirens wouldn’t stop. She kept willing them to shut up, but they never really listened to her even though she begged them to inside her mind, even though she desperately clung to the hope of another hour of sleep. They ignored her still, so she braved one eye open.

She was not in her bed. A rubbery tension surrounded her mouth.

Where was she?

She was at the slumber party. At the Gibb’s house, it was okay.

Only it wasn’t okay. She wasn’t at the Gibb’s.

She was in an ambulance with an O2 mask on her face. Why? It hurt to move her hands but she went for her mask anyways and asked the paramedics who were working on her legs and torso, “Where am I?”

They snapped to attention as one stress (that she was comatose) replaced another (that she was wakeful and resisting) took its place. They replaced the mask and one named Ryan said, “You had an accident. We think your body’s flushing out something like a poison with the sweat. You’ll be okay.”

She felt pain down below and she looked up and there were puncture wounds on her lower half. “And my legs?”

“Someone attacked you.”

She remembered. The bed of spikes, of course. The spikes that no one had saved her from. The spikes that called her a tart.

It had been a dream.

And it hadn’t.

It just had been.

“Don’t worry, miss. The police are investigating. We’ll take care of you.”

Could the police go inside dreams? Or chase a bad guy through one dream and into another?

She doubted they could.


 

:: PAST CHAPTERS ::

Ostinato

001 :: Light Took and Made It Real  – [CARDEA]
002 :: Against False Dreams – [JEREMIAH]
003 :: Echo Someone Else’s Music – [HILLOW]
004 :: Mistaken for a Mortal Wound – [TALON]
005 :: So Beautiful, Sometimes – [ABÛRBRÛATHA]
006 :: Feed on the Volcano’s Arrow – [HILLOW]
007 :: Oh Sleeper, Rise [CARDEA]

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Swevenfall :: Feed on the Volcano’s Arrow


The readers here voted in favor of a serialized story. They chose fantasy and literary for the genre – Swevenfall is that story. Catch up on past chapters here.

Listen to the growing Swevenfall soundtrack as you read. Each chapter corresponds to the same track number (track 06 – “Dream” by Husbandsnds – for chapter 006). 


 

:: 006 ::

“Feed on the Volcano’s Arrow”

 

HILLOW

 

 

He woke up on the other side of the jam with the sort of stereotypical snort/jolt so frequently seen in movies about dreams and nappers and so seldom experienced in true waking.

And he said what was expected of him: “Where we at?”

 

“Five miles east of Kingdom City,” said the driver, old man Mac.

“Where’s Kingdom City?” Hillow asked.

“Five miles west of where we’re at.”

“Good God, come on.”

“Missouri, Hill, you’ve been here before. Remember the BBQ place?”

“Panhandler’s?”

“Panheads, I think,” John said.

“Shut up, John, what do you know?”

“The name of the–“

Hillow grabbed his pillow and started beating John as he would if he still rode with the Outlaws MC. But it was a pillow.

“You hit like an old man,” John said.

“I am an old man, you–“ and then Hillow sang out a three-four time signature measured in monosyllabic curses.

By the time the old men finished their pillow fight, Mac had pulled the bus off the interstate and brought them around to go to the BBQ joint.

“Mac Mac Mac,” Hillow said. “Gotta get smokes.”

“You quit,” Mac said.

“Giving up’s the easiest thing in the world. Done it thousands of times. Smokes, man.”

He felt the phlegm at the back of his throat and refused to clear it. He didn’t want Mac getting on to him for the smoking again, so he held in the cough and tears came and instead of coughing he did this attention-nabbing throat moan.

“You alright?” Harvey asked.

“Peachy,” Hill managed.

They pulled over seconds later at the Phillips 66 and Hillow hobbled to the front and got out of the bus and then, when he thought he was out of earshot, he hacked over and over again, but once the coughing caught hold of him, it threw him into a fit that was much worse than what little resistance he might have encountered had he let a little bitty cough slip through. Bowed double, then, he hacked on until a nice-sized chunk of tar came up and onto the pavement. He growled at his own now-subdued cough, turned and found the four of them behind him, staring. “What?” he said and walked inside.

He bought a pack of Pall Malls, the same one’s he’d seen in the commercial as a kid: fine tobacco is its own best filter. He refused to pay any more than he already had, even though he had the money, so he grabbed hold of one of the expensive butane lighters on the counter, lit his cigarette right there inside the store and walked out having stolen their secret fire.

When he got his barbecued ribs at the joint, they weren’t that great but John’s catfish was wonderful so he ordered a second plate. He had the money and wanted to pay more than he already had. “Weirdest dream,” he said.

“Yeah?” John asked.

“I was flying. While I was napping, I was flying.”

“You had wings?” Harvey asked.

“No, Harve, I was flying. Listen: I played my guit fiddle and the notes made me fly.”

They laughed at him and John slapped his knotted old back.

“I’m serious,” Hillow said. “There was this girl screaming somewhere off.”

“Had one of those recently,” said John. “Doc says its because I’m scared of my daughter growing up too fast.”

“This wasn’t my daughter’s scream,” Hillow said. “This is a scream I didn’t know. Crying too.”

“Huh,” John said. “Mine was sobbing. What she sound like?”

Hillow thought, took another bite, then said through catfish bones, “Like someone had ahold of her and wouldn’t turn loose.”

John nodded. “Yeah… huh…” He looked out the window. “Yeah… weird what the subconscious does, right?”

Hillow said, “I don’t believe in that crap,” and bits of catfish fell out onto his wasted ribs.

“Well I do,” John said. “We just had a similar experience, that’s all.”

“If that’s all,” Hillow said, “explain the sirens.”

“You heard sirens too?” John said. “Well… so?”

Hillow snorted and took a drag from his cigarette. He then started back on the ribs and they tasted better the second time around, especially having been seasoned with bits of the cat. “I’m just saying,” he said again through food, and took a slurp from his rum and Pibb, “people can hallucinate – you know that.”

Harvey laughed. “Oh yeah they can…”

Hillow continued, “But they ain’t never gonna have the same hallucination, even tripping at the same time. Same with dreams, John. You got to know that at least. Explain the sirens.”

John thought, looked to Mac and Harvey and Rich for help and when he found none, he met Old Hill’s eyes again and said, “Can’t.”

Hillow ruminated.


 

:: PAST CHAPTERS ::

Ostinato

001 :: Light Took and Made It Real  – [CARDEA]
002 :: Against False Dreams – [JEREMIAH]
003 :: Echo Someone Else’s Music – [HILLOW]
004 :: Mistaken for a Mortal Wound – [TALON]
005 :: So Beautiful, Sometimes – [ABÛRBRÛATHA]
006 :: Feed on the Volcano’s Arrow – [HILLOW]
007 :: Oh Sleeper, Rise [CARDEA]

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Christmas Music: The Calendar Years

Remember when I wrote that song last Christmas?

 

Well the team at The Calendar Years added it to their Advent EP and I love their rendition. It reminds me of one of my favorite musicians.

You can grab “Hope For Soon” and three more of their Christmas / Advent songs over at Noisetrade.

As always, more to come…


 

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New Free Stories from Conference Readings

Morning gang,

 

For the convenience of my fellow Un-conference attendees, I added the stories that I read during the Bedtime Stories reading series. Every night, we’d sip cider and tea and munch on donuts and gummy bears (I made many failed attempts to throw the latter into a competitive young lady’s mouth ). Our fourthmeal appetites appeased, we’d then read bedtime stories to each other.

It was laid back and wonderful and super encouraging to hear from so many divergent voices. And, of course, I wanted to make sure you were included. I’ll be sending these out slowly over the next few email blasts, but you can have them now if you’d like if you go to either the Free Stories?! or Books and Stories pages.

As always, more to come.


 

 cover image via April Killingsworth
CC  BY 2.0

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Swevenfall :: So Beautiful, Sometimes


The readers here voted in favor of a serialized story. They chose fantasy and literary for the genre – Swevenfall is that story. Catch up on past chapters here.

Listen to the growing Swevenfall soundtrack as you read. Each chapter corresponds to the same track number (track 05 – “Piano Concerto No. 14″ – for chapter 005). 


 

:: 005 ::

“So Beautiful, Sometimes”

 

ABÛRBRÛATHA

 

 

 

Abra had hoped she’d have more to say.

 

In general. Had always hoped that. Had asked The Source often for the gift of having more to say, but only a handful of the Alpen people could speak words in human languages and fewer could cross the chasms.

Communication had been shifted drastically when It shattered and her forebearers had scattered It, but that did not stop her from hoping.

After all, one fine day in the aftertime all tongues would no longer be forked.

Until them, she would reach out like the rest of them with the bliss symbols. With other Alps this actually got to the heart of the matter easier like two subconsciouses refusing to beat around the bush, move from symbols straight to the essence of the thing itself. Or maybe that meant that these were the only true symbols in the universe.

All of this she thought in the blink of an eye as well as over the slow course of a thousand years. And the thoughts did not appear to her in the English you’re reading or, if this has been translated, in your native tongue. They came as essences.

Abra found herself wishing that she could reach into the dreamscape and send up that symbol many of the people of the Earth dreamed after watching that rather violent story about the man in the black leather – it was the symbol of a foggy black bat nested in a nimbus. She needed her bat nimbus.

And yet, she knew when the ones in her care needed her.

She reached into the dreamscape, projecting in three-dimensional onyx:

And it sent back a series of symbols, starting with the following wreathed in white flame:

 

She drifted slowly out of her gyroscopic form and moved through a flaming chariot into something like a seat of marble, one that could walk. She let the weight of her chosen appearance carry her away from Somnolory and into the threshold between image and dream, that threshold the Gergian storyweavers insisted on calling Swevenfall.

Well, she couldn’t hear it as “Swevenfall.” It had been translated to her as a grassy:

Which was basically the same thing in our language. She thought that the concept worked better as that series of images than of something like a cobblestone:

Swevenfall was less a time, more a place. Although “place” doesn’t suit it as much as an “act” or a “method.” A train is not a place, but some thing you take. A tunnel is belongs not to the architects before the transit authority.

Swevenfall was her road and she took it into the dreamscape of the humans. And they took it to Somnolory once in a blue moon. The red moons seldom brought humans her way.

But she could hear the weeping in the dreamscape as she moved closer, though she heard with her mind’s eye 

 

:: PAST CHAPTERS ::

Ostinato

001 :: Light Took and Made It Real  – [CARDEA]
002 :: Against False Dreams – [JEREMIAH]
003 :: Echo Someone Else’s Music – [HILLOW]
004 :: Mistaken for a Mortal Wound – [TALON]
005 :: So Beautiful, Sometimes – [ABÛRBRÛATHA]
006 :: Feed on the Volcano’s Arrow – [HILLOW]
007 :: Oh Sleeper, Rise [CARDEA]

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Giving Back to Writer UnBoxed: Cold Brewed for $0.99

I wouldn’t be here if Porter Anderson hadn’t told me to sign up for the scholarship and Therese and  Kathleen hadn’t awarded it to me. It’s been a crazy year for travel and there was no way I could have afforded one more conference.

But here I am in Salem, Massachusetts thinking about how I read The Crucible in highschool back in Salem, Illinois. Bizzare. I’m super grateful.

So to give back and pay it forward, I’ve made Cold Brewed available for $0.99 from now until Friday.

Cold Brewed Cover

a brooklyn, new york author

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