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Prose: The Transition

Published June 25, 2015 by admin

Another quirky, open-ended little piece that I really like. I draw a lot of inspiration from Brian Froud when I’m out walking and when I’m collecting images. I love imagining where roads and paths may lead and what other purposes they might have. I’ve gotten some great ideas from this practice, and for whatever reason the thought of what might be possible usually pulls me out of a funk, too. Plus, I always perk up when I’m surrounded by green, and I just love seeing how trees grow. As a kid I lived in parts of the Midwest where I swear it was like the trees were barely restrained by guardrails on the highways – they were just waiting for mankind to turn their back so they could take back what was theirs. Branches arched over roads and met each other in leafy canopies. It was gorgeous to just be out driving on a nice day and be part of it all, wondering what else it could be part of.

Anywho, another little short from Lost in the Shadows!

The Transition

“You pass under those trees, lad, and there will be no comin’ back. I brought you out here to warn you, not to encourage you.”

The lanky youth shrugged his shoulders and tried not to look too eager or too hungry. His curiosity had always been his undoing. “What lies beyond the arch, Father?”

The elf sighed. With that one question, his son was already lost to him. “The mortal world, such as it is. It isn’t like in the old days. You wouldn’t be welcome, or even feared. We aren’t the Good Neighbors anymore. We aren’t even Neighbors.”

The boy leaned forward on gangly legs, his long auburn hair that had caught many a maid’s eye gleaming in the sunlight. He had such a bright future ahead of him, and now his attention was turned. Even if he went back home now he’d dream of nothing else and eventually deny all food and drink, wasting away at the draw of what could be.

“The adventure isn’t worth the price, son,” the elf lord sighed, though the warning was half-hearted. The boy was already walking, already doomed.

“I just want a peek,” the son said to himself. “Just a look at the other side of things. I’ll just lean through, have one foot in and one foot out.” He chuckled at his cleverness, though deep down he knew it was a lie.

“Good-bye, my foolish lad. Be careful,” his father whispered.

As he stepped under the bowed limbs he was momentarily cooled by their green canopy. The grass under his soft leather boots gave way to something hard, a path that had not been there moments ago. A strange crackling buzzed around him. His stomach dropped and an overwhelming fear snatched him round the throat.

He turned. There was no forest, no familiar village hidden among the trees. Only the path. He turned back and kept walking towards the little fence and the giant, unfamiliar-looking dwellings that were nowhere near as fine as what he was accustomed to. From somewhere he heard the laughter of children, though none of their words were familiar to his ears. Even the air smelled different. He shook as it hit him how unprepared he was to make his fortune in this foreign realm.

The elven youth turned and took stock of his surroundings and thrust his chin out sharply, defying his trembling hands. “Well then,” he murmured to himself. “I suppose this is how stories start, isn’t it?”

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Mary Sue Cthulhu Conquers Fandom Fest

Published August 7, 2013 by admin

So most people think I do everything myself. This isn’t true. I have a lot of people I enlist for help. I also have a presence that skulks around me. It’s usually too shy to say anything other than to whisper all the ideas that I should be working on in my ear. After all, how do I manage a persona that’s so sweetly evil? Well, cons apparently bring this elusive muse out of hiding and for the first time ever I was able to capture her on film when she thought I wasn’t looking.

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SH Roddey and I had set up our booth with all our lovely books and swaggy items. The problem was that we both had panels at some point, so we needed help to watch this thing and network for us. Just when I thought all was lost, I suddenly realized that someone had tagged along with me…

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While Booth Babe Bill is more than capable of handling things, sometimes genre stuff takes a special touch. Enter Mary Sue Cthulhu. She accompanied me last year to panels, but was picture shy. This year she has a new zombie sock monkey hat that apparently gives her the confidence to show herself to the masses. Here she is handing out Lost in the Shadows swag.

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Thankfully Susan didn’t mind when Mary Sue Cthulhu tried to give her pointers on engaging the public.

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She really hit it off with J. Cornell Michel (author of Jordan’s Brains)  in the booth next door. She either has developed a taste for zombie fiction or liked feeding on her brain purse.

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At one point I was back and forth at panels so I lost track of where she went. Then we all turned around and saw that she’d got herself into a bit of a, well…situation…

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Sigh. I keep telling her she can’t taunt ghostbusters, but she never listens to me.

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Thankfully, she got away and hid among the Seventh Star Press stacks.

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She’s an old-school sort of girl, so she’s not sure how to take urban fantasy. She and John F. Allen had words, but I think they finally reached an understanding.

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She was really intrigued Haunting Obsession, though.

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….Although she may have been a little too enthusiastic when she got a chance to meet the author, Rj Sullivan.

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I’m not surprised to find that she really loves Poseidon’s Children, especially with all the killer fish people in it.

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She may be the epitome of a sparkly evil eldergoddess, but she’s also a fangirl at heart. Michael West totally made her day!

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At this point J.L. Mulvihill came along and reminded us that we had the cosplay panel.

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She was a little self-conscious since she only had the one outfit. Thankfully, J.L. graciously let her borrow another hat so she could be appropriately steampunk.

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She took a break after the panel to admire Alexx Miller’s jewelry…

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Then she noticed Josh Young of Jitterbug PR giving out free stuff, so she wanted to check out the bookmarks…

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She may have gotten a little carried away with the free candy, but to be fair she hadn’t devoured many souls so she had to keep her energy up, somehow.

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But then it was back to business. She feels that I need to bump up my publicity, so she sat down with Josh to discuss my options for me.

I’m lucky to have such a great muse and helper (even if she is either too shy to show her face or a complete ham once she gets going). She definitely kept things interesting. Who knows? Maybe she’ll show her face again in the future. You never know where a sparkly eldergoddess will pop up…

The Very Serious Literary Picture Post

Published August 5, 2013 by admin

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This is one of my favorite photos from the whole con. Many, many thanks to John Collins  for the great conversation and for letting me use this photo. Definitely check his work out at the weird review! As you can see, I’m ready to go! Books are in hand, I’m bright and happy, and the weekend is all about literature! I think this post totally illustrates that in every single way…

So as I’ve said before, writing is a very serious business and much sophisticated discussion of genre, writing process, and the business in general happened at Fandom Fest. Here are some examples:

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Here are Alexx Miller and SH Roddey with me at a preliminary booth conduct meeting with Susan’s addition to the tribe: Booth Babe Bill. You can tell Charlie Kenmore took the photo because of it’s modern art leanings.

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Here I am with various authors, filmmakers, bloggers, et al in yet another important discussion about the state of genres today. It just so happens we’re using menus as a metaphor.

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Here I am with author Kayelle McClive lurking in the background. As you can see, I take how people see me very seriously and only wear appropriate business attire for these functions.

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More important business meetings as we discuss the day’s affairs and how we want to proceed on the morrow. Don’t be fooled – we just gather at restaurants because they have chairs. We’re too revved up about everything we have to do to eat. I would never, ever call Ali Justice and leave a message that sounds something like a starving velociraptor on her phone to get her to the Spaghetti Factory faster (and then nearly run into the front window trying to flag her down because I’m ready to pass out if I don’t get Italian food in me immediately).

I also had opportunities to really dive into genre studies:

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I’ve never been confident in writing action sequences, but now that I’ve soaked up the aura of  Power Ranger Jason David Frank, I am prepared for anything.

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At the Troll Pub a few blocks away, gathering Intel on the troll species so I could jet right home and finish work on Olde School. 

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Delving into the villain’s psyche. This may or may not become my Christmas card photo this year, just sayin’.

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Death is always a difficult subject to approach. Rj Sullivan, John F. Allen, and I attempt to figure out the matter for ourselves. This may also end up as a Christmas card if I have any say in it.

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Getting into the spirit of the horror genre by Sunday! As I approached thirty, I opted to postpone some sort of life crisis and make this dress from pretty fabric and liquid latex, instead. Somewhere I have full images that I’ll have to dig up someday, because it’s pretty hideous and amazing.

So as you can see, the weekend was full of grueling work and study and no fun at all. Now that you’ve gotten a look into all the work a writer goes through at a con, I’m sure you’ll wonder how I ever got back alive. Well, the truth is I had a sneaky assistant who I’ll introduce you to next picture post…

 

Fandom Fest Picture Fest: Meet my author buds!

Published August 3, 2013 by admin

So what would a con be without a picture post or three thousand? I’m going to share some of my misadventures with everyone in visual format. Not only will you be able to put faces to names, but you’ll be able to put links to faces and names as well, so you’ll get to check out all these authors’ work along with seeing their wondrous visages!

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Was so excited to finally meet the uber-talented John F. Allen, author of The God Killers. He’s a trip and a half and he treated us to an impromptu, rather intriguing reading of his book. It was also fun times to see my bud J.L. Mulvihill again. We did the cosplay panel and improv panel together, and fun times abounded (along with talking camels and corsets. It’s a long story, trust me). Her book Boxcar Baby is just out, and definitely worth a read!

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Rockin’ it out with Rj Sullivan, whom I met in person for the first time! He’s the author of Haunting Obsession, definitely worth a read!

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This is Alexx Miller mugging with J.L.’s Steampunk Squirrels. Her blog is amazing and you should check it out right now. Her husband is the always-insightful Charlie Kenmore, who writes some really great stuff of differing types, as well.  He’s usually behind the camera, doing his artsy avante-garde style photography thing, thumbs and blurry photos and all! <g>

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John Allen again, with his utterly incredible personal assistant living it up in the background. S.H. Roddey is also there with me, and judging by how happy we are, this is probably after we got to check out John’s impromptu reading.

Note: I have no idea why I have no normal shots of Eric Garrison  (Four ’til Late) or Michael West (every new horror book ever), but they are incredibly talented, as well. Also not pictured is our table-mate M.B. Weston who is a rockin’ YA author, and L. Andrew Cooper, who was incredibly insightful on the horror panel with me (and has suffered my author interviews on this blog in the past <g>)

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This is Stephen Zimmer, rock star among authors. Not only did he coordinate the lit track, save us when we got locked out of the hall, get us badges, and get our schedules up, but he also allows us to mercilessly harass him by claiming it’s his birthday while out to eat (not my doing) and taking obnoxious, spur-of-the-moment photos of him (obviously totally my doing).  I’m not entirely convinced that he’s human and not some super-author android sent to outdo all us mere mortals with his works of epic and urban fantasy.

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This is Ali Justice, adorable steampunk girl and PR Person extraordinaire. Seriously, she’ll blow your mind with how much she knows. She’s part of the powerhouse behind Jitterbug PR, which you should check out if you’re an author.

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No idea who this weirdo is, other than that he kept following me around all weekend. Actually, that would be the other part of Jitterbug PR, Josh Young. He does know what he’s doing even if he follows me around making faces like that instead of working his table.

So now that you’ve met most of the gang, next picture post we’ll take a look at the very serious, very literary things we all get up to at these things.

Lost in the Shadows gets an article on examiner.com!

Published July 23, 2013 by admin

So, so, SO excited! There’s a great article up about SH Roddey and I at Fandomfest (you can find our panel schedules there!). It also covers the release of Lost in the Shadows, so you should totally check it out (and then by a copy, because you’ll never get all its goodness from snippets and excerpts, no matter how hard you try!)

A big thank you to the amazing Deborah Smith Ford for the article. She’s an amazing writer, herself, as well as an all-around mega-talented lady!

To read about S.H. Roddey, myself, and our new project/labor of love, check out the article here!

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Amazon

Journey with authors Selah Janel and S.H. Roddey to a world where every idea is a possibility and every genre an invitation.

In this collection of forty-seven short stories, lines blur and worlds collide in strange and wonderful new ways.

Get lost with the authors as they wander among fantasy, horror, science fiction, and other speculative musings.”

Shadows can’t hurt you, and sometimes it’s all right to venture off the path.

Tuesday Tales Picture Prompt: Krampus Waits

Published January 14, 2013 by admin

It has been a long long LONG time coming, right? I’m finally (FINALLY, I know) getting back into Tuesday Tales, and I’m very happy to be doing so!

This week was a picture prompt with a max word count of 300 words. It’s such a peaceful, glorious scene, yet I couldn’t help but feel that I’d missed out on a lot of holiday-themed prompts. And there was something I’ve been wanting to do…someone I’ve been wanting to write about. So, since I like to shake things up, I decided to go with my first instinct and write a short about who might be looking down at such a glorious view and the villages that might be waiting at the bottom of the mountains. Obviously this would be Krampus, Saint Nicholas’ demonic henchman helper whose job it is to punish the naughty children. (Nope, totally not making that up. For a complete head trip and some educational information, you can learn about Krampus HERE

You know you missed me. Heh.

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Krampus Waits

The snow was crisp and the air cold, giving a pleasant tint to the scenic view. Trees sloped downward to the valley and mountain after mountain rose on its other side.

Soon.

Everyone in the tiny villages below was readying themselves for December sixth, for the feast of Saint Nicholas and all the good things that would bring. Somewhere, though, there were also those who shuddered, knowing that to get to those pleasant times, they had to get through December fifth.

The creature smiled at the thought. The cold couldn’t touch him through his heavy, dark fur. His claws twitched in anticipation and tendrils of saliva trickled off of sharp teeth.

Soon.

Wood smoke and pine curled his nostrils, but his keen sense of smell could pick up other smells, too. The smells of hot blood and young meat, the scent of youth and innocence just slightly tainted with disobedience. Children.  Naughty children.

The demon smiled, his long tongue lolling out of his mouth in anticipation. It had been a whole year and he’d worked up an appetite.

Very soon.

He could just make out the worried cries.

“He won’t get me, will he, Mama?”

“Is he real?”

“Have I been good?”

The innocent pleas of children. Parents reassured them, but they were nervous, too.  Terrified of the one who came down and helped the good saint. The one who would judge their children. The one who would drag them to Hell if he found them lacking.

Soon the old one will come for me. Soon it will be time to deliver gifts and good cheer…and other things.

It’s my favorite time of year.

Krampus cackled and went back to his den to wait. Far below in the village, for  no apparent reason at all, little children began to cry.

***

For more awesome stories written around prompts, check out the Tuesday Tales Blog!

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Tuesday Tales Picture Prompt: Beyond the Arch

Published May 14, 2012 by admin

Today’s Tuesday Tales is another picture prompt. We got to choose what photo we wanted to work with and I chose this lovely little picture here!

Beyond the Arch 

One did not go past the Guardian Arch.

It was a simple enough rule. Who knew what destinies and dangers lay outside the mossy stone that guarded all? Elaine was risking her very being just by getting so close to it. It was bad enough it was daylight; she should have been resting.

“Mother says there’s nothing beyond the arch that is any different than what’s on our side,” she whispered. The sound was so gentle and delicate – another mid-day breeze. Maybe what she’d been told was true and maybe it was the sort of thing parents told their daughters to protect them. Elaine could only look so far around the bend and it seemed to be just as her mother insisted: more stone. They were the same chiseled shapes that had greeted all her ancestors.

Shadows danced and trickled over the cracks and indentations, calling to Elaine, tempting her. She could barely hear the faint footsteps receding from her He was leaving her, probably forever. I shouldn’t have hidden from him like everyone else. How long has it been since people have visited us? What was I supposed to do? He’d been with a group that had studied the walls of her village, studying it all and making strange marks on little things in their hands. She could care less about them, though. One look at him and she knew that it didn’t matter who he was and where he came from, or any of the obvious differences between them. She was his. She just had to make him believe it…if she survived crossing Guardian Arch.

“I’m sorry, Mama,” she called, well knowing that everyone would hear her. With that, the restless spirit of the thousand-year-old girl took a breath and a chance and travelled under the arch.

***

…because apparently I have a thing for supernatural unrequited love or something. Anyway be sure to check out all the other great Tuesday Tales!