short fiction


I expect that I’m about to frustrate a lot of people, but that’s the way it is.

Back in 2007, I started a “Hurricane Katrina” story.  I wandered around in my post-apocalyptic Probably New Orleans, got lost, deleted 5,000 words, rewrote it a bazillion times, sent it through my writer’s group several times, and had a friend tell me to give up on the story in exasperation.  Another friend kind of felt it was too soon.

Trunk time.

In 2013 I fished it out.  It was better than I remembered.  Also, it kind of predicted the Occupy movement.  I sent it through my writer’s group, sent it to a friend who told me it was a novel, and sent it to my sister.  My sister felt that there wasn’t enough voodoo (fixed!), and advised me to fly to New Orleans and soak up atmosphere (appealing, but…).

I sat on it for another three months, but as I am unlikely to add 80,000 words to my 7,250 word story, I decided to send it out instead.  So, “The Salvage of Nola City” is now making the rounds.

Chinequa could feel the network congestion, almost like sinus pressure. Too much information. She tried to tune it out so she could concentrate on her job, but she could still feel it, trickling at the edge of her consciousness like a crowd in the distance. It didn’t help that Mr. Libby had the door open so he could load his transport, and the heat and humidity were getting in, nor did it help that she didn’t even know if her sister Keisha was still in the city. She hadn’t seen Keisha since Grandma’s funeral, which hurt, because they’d been inseparable as children. But if she got fired the bank would repossess her neural interface implants, so she needed to think.

Thing the first:  My story “Ondine’s Curse” is available in the latest (last, alas) issue of Electric Velocipede.  The Kindle version is here.  The Nook version is here.

Thing the second:  I have two more flash pieces in circulation and forgot to post snippets!

“Lady of the House”:

Aiele’s gold bracelets jangled as she adjusted her veil in the mirror, making certain that the bruises didn’t show. She didn’t want anyone to know that she had already failed to please her new husband Notan. Bruise or no bruise, limp or no limp, she had food to order for Notan’s dinner party.

“Toads and Roses”:

“Hello, Bianca,” the wizard said as he walked through the sitting room door. He was old and fat and rich, and smelled of horrid things–pickled frog’s eyes, perhaps. His hair was greasy and white, and he was dressed in black from head to toe.

Bianca resisted the urge to scoot closer to her sister Esmerelda on the couch and shivered, but not from the cold. She cast her eyes down in an effort to be demure, staring at her dress–blue silk and lace. Esmerelda’s dress was dark and brown, like the wood paneling on the walls, and not as nice as Bianca’s. Bianca felt guilty about that. She didn’t know why her parents liked her best.

WOOHOO!  My story “Saving Alan Idle” is now available as both HTML and a podcast.  I’m so excited!

http://escapepod.org/2013/07/05/ep403-saving-alan-idle/

Thanks to everyone who helped me critique it, including, but not limited to: Gary David Henderson, Beth Dawkins, Matthew Quinn, Terra LeMay, Woodrow Jarvis Hill, Michelle Dupler, and Sandy Parsons.

It’s got me and a lot of other awesome women in it, and it’s FREE.  Check out Broad Spectrum: The 2012 Broad Universe Fiction Sampler.  My story starts:

Last time this happened, I was Orpheus.

Ethan was lost, pale, gone in a haze of Zoloft and Lithium and anorexia, and he assured me he was in hell, and I missed him so much that the rocks and trees wept. And when neither of us could bear it any more, I descended into the underworld and went to the King. I sang such a song of grief that I even moved the King of the Underworld to tears, and he said I could bring my Eurydice back to the light of day if only I didn’t turn back and look upon him. As I walked through the fluorescent halls and the smell of bleach and urine I knew this was hell, and I couldn’t bear the thought of my beloved locked away from the sun like this forever. So I led the way singing, and the janitors and nurses wept and cleared a path for us as we walked down the hall.

Read more…

I just used the desktop version of Write or Die to get my daily words in.  It was a birthday present from my sister, and it was painless.  The nicest part was when I started to sit around and ponder a name for a walk-on.  I could stare at the screen and try to come up with the perfect name all day, but when the screen started to turn red I named him Smith and moved on.  Heh. 

Those were some fast words, too.  I may have to up my daily goal if this continues.

Have an excerpt:

Rumor had it that the Mirosians worshipped some kind of monster as a God, and that he was to be a human sacrifice. Ted lowered his eyes to avoid glaring at the bald green glare of his captor’s head, and found himself staring at his wings instead. There were other rumors, too, tales of insectoid hive minds and such, although those might have been an overactive imagination’s response to the exoskeleton. The guards spoke among themselves in a soft murmur that Ted couldn’t understand, so they must have some kind of individuality.

I’m hoping this is close to the last draft of my bug story.  It’s about 4800 words of insecty goodness!

Um.  Yeah.  Trust me on this.  Heh.

In other news, I have a huge pile of stories that need to go back out because of commute hell.  Maybe I should go do that now.

Yay! I’m really excited! This story took a long time to sell (two years, three months), and the rejections all said it was really good but not really something they buy. I never lost faith in the story, though, and am really happy that such an awesome place picked it up. I was never really in danger of giving up, because I’m obnoxiously stubborn that way, but I admit it was getting a little disheartening.
You can read it here.

I’ve been sitting on this one for awhile, and it’s time to release it into the wild. It’s called “The Will of Venus.”

It was a day that all young girls both dreamed about and feared. Mostly feared. Aelia Prima had done all the traditional spells to see the face of your future husband, but they’d never worked. Which was odd, because she had a knack for spells–finding lost objects and the like. She asked the household Gods, the Lares, for help, but got the distinct impression that things were being managed by something higher than them.

Thanks to my sister for suggesting the title “In Sickness and in Health.”

Robbie didn’t sleep, but if he did he would have been awakened by the sound of Lydia vomiting. It echoed all up and down the house through the plumbing.

He padded downstairs, watching his feet. They looked indistinguishable from human feet, if perhaps a bit less veiny. He went into the guest bedroom downstairs, where Lydia had moved because her bones were getting brittle, and moved into the bathroom.

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