Welcome to the sixth week of Short Fiction Wednesday, in which I feature the first 1.5-2k of a story from my ebook collection Night Bird Soaring and Other Stories, which features 17 different reprint selections ranging from fantasy to horror to alternate history. If you enjoy what you read here, you can purchase the full collection at Amazon or B&N for $2.99.

Night Bird Soaring and Other StoriesToday’s selection is a flash fiction horror piece, so you get the full story below! It originally appeared in Dark Recesses, and rather than go into much about it, we’ll just move onto the story. Be warned that this is a horror story, so the usually content cautions apply.

Someday

Someday, someone will find her and he’ll love her, that much is certain. She can be difficult to love, but there must be someone strong enough.

Today a cowboy on a chestnut mare finds her. Or maybe he’s a cattle rancher. She’s not sure. He’s rugged, handsome in his sweat-stained brown Stetson, and he wears a ratty yellow bandana around his neck, hanging slightly askew. She loves how he stares at her with his stubbly jaw hanging open. Certainly he doesn’t see such lovely creatures poking out of the barren desert floor everyday. She’s been here for a while; her once long, blonde hair is red from years of sweeping it through the dust, and her skin’s a little leathery from the sun. I’m still beautiful though, she muses. Many have told her so.

The cowboy’s shadow gives her a welcome respite from the afternoon heat. “Mighty hot today, don’t you think?” she asks with a bright smile. Polite small talk is always a nice opening into real conversation.

“What in God’s name happened to you? Someone bury you up to your neck or somethin’?” he asks.

“I deserved it.” She sighs. “I was a bad girl.”
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Welcome to the fifth week of Short Fiction Wednesday, in which I feature the first 1.5-2k of a story from my ebook collection Night Bird Soaring and Other Stories, which features 17 different reprint selections ranging from fantasy to horror to alternate history. If you enjoy what you read here, you can purchase the full collection at Amazon or B&N for $2.99.

Night Bird Soaring and Other StoriesThis week’s selection is “So Weeps the Thunderbird”, which originally appeared in a Lilith-themed anthology called Lilith Unbound. It’s a bitter-sweet story of love and betrayal, featuring the Thunderbird of Native American lore and of course Lilith, who appears here not as a demon but rather an angel. She’s every bit the selfish, manipulative creature of the old stories though and ensnaring the Thunderbird’s affections will not only bring great destruction on the world, but will see him lose everything he holds most dear.

So Weeps the Thunderbird

Wakinyan the Thunderbird landed in the Kingdom of Heaven’s pastel-and-marble city center and shook the rain from his enormous wings. A couple of angels sitting on nearby stools, playing Takhteh Nard, protested the shower, but Wakinyan ignored them, ruffling his golden-brown feathers then smoothing them, making sure he looked proper for his audience with Yahweh. He then hopped toward the palace entrance, his talons clicking on the marble surface.

In the hallway he encountered the angel Samael—Yahweh’s eldest son—who appraised him with amusement. “Can I help you with something?” he asked the giant bird.

The Thunderbird blinked his impatient yellow eyes. “I bring greetings to your father from the Great Spirit. You will show me to him.”

Samael narrowed his icy-blue eyes but then turned and led the way. Wakinyan had met him the summer before, when the Great Spirit invited Yahweh and his young angels to watch the stick-and-ball games on the mighty plains. Samael spent much of the time comparing his wing color with Raven’s, absurdly stupid since they both had ill-kept, dingy black feathers that appeared to be crawling with lice. Wakinyan didn’t like how Samael smirked at his hopping gait. Not that Wakinyan ever liked anyone; he found it easier to be suspicious rather than cheery.
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Welcome to the fourth week of Short Fiction Wednesday, in which I feature the first 1.5-2k of a story from my ebook collection Night Bird Soaring and Other Stories, which features 17 different reprint selections ranging from fantasy to horror to alternate history. If you enjoy what you read here, you can purchase the full collection at Amazon or B&N for $2.99.

Night Bird Soaring and Other StoriesWith this week’s selection, we move back to science fiction. “My Sweet Andromache” is a time travel love story inspired by The Iliad, and a particularly fascinating class on Greek history I took in college. Nikias is an Observational Historian, sent back in time to observe history first hand, and he’s been sent back to find out the truth about the Trojan War and the collapse of the Bronze Age in the Aegean. To his surprise, some of the characters from Homer’s poems do indeed exist as real people. He secures employment with Hector, a nobleman known for his skills with breaking horses, but when Nikias falls in love with his wife Andromache, history could start unraveling….

My Sweet Andromache

I kissed Andromache gently on the forehead, letting my lips linger for a moment as I filled my nose with the smell of oil, sweat, and lilies. I didn’t want to leave. But Hector would return soon from the council meeting in the city and only a fool wished to test the man’s legendary brutality with a sword.

Out the door and over the side of the wooden deck I went, lowering myself to the top of the garden’s stone wall. I dropped behind a partition of crisp evergreen bushes growing along the outside and walked crouched until I came to the front of the house. Crickets hummed in the hot summer evening and the air smelled of jasmine and tasted of sea salt.
At the end of the hedgerow, I checked for slaves then stepped out and headed for the barn.

“The troublemaker emerges at last.”

No one had spoken English to me in several months, so I flinch and whipped around. A woman—the Continuity Monitor Catherine—sat on the corral’s rock wall, the breeze rippling her sheer gown. Her leather-sandaled feet were crossed at the ankles, mimicking her stern, folded arms. Her skin glowed white from the subspace shield covering her from head to foot.

“Why would you sneak up on a man in the middle of the night?” I asked, glaring at her. But I already knew the reason for her visit.

Catherine shook her head. “You couldn’t help yourself, huh, Nik?”

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I’ve been sitting on this news since before Christmas, but now that everything is finalized, I can finally announce:

I’ve sold The Bone Flower Throne to Panverse Publishing! It’s the first book in my feminist retelling of the myths and legends surrounding the Toltec priest-king Ce Acatl Topiltzin Quetzalcoatl, and it’s scheduled to be published in late summer, early fall. WorldCon might actually be necessary this year, so I can do some lead-up promotion.

I’m planning to do that Next Big Thing meme about it in the next week or so, so stay tuned to find out more about the book.

Welcome to the third week of Short Fiction Wednesday, in which I feature the first 1.5-2k of a story from my ebook collection Night Bird Soaring and Other Stories, which features 17 different reprint selections ranging from fantasy to horror to alternate history. If you enjoy what you read here, you can purchase the full collection at Amazon or B&N for $2.99.

Night Bird Soaring and Other StoriesThis week’s selection takes us back into ancient myth. “Love, Blood and Octli” originally appeared in Paradox: the Magazine of Historical and Speculative Fiction and follows the life of Ayomichi, the wind god Ehecatl’s first priestess. The god grants the people many wonderful gifts like love, but his darker half cannot help but delight in also releasing chaos to turn happiness into suffering. And as the darkness grows stronger in him, only Ayomichi can save the world–and him–from losing all hope….

Love, Blood and Octli

On my seventh birthday, the feathered serpent gave me my name.

Many snakes lived among the reeds near the pond, most of them full of poison and spite, but this one was different. He was no bigger than the other snakes but was covered in feathers; white ones on his slender body, and long, exquisite emerald ones—like those of the precious quetzal bird—around his neck. I met him as I swam around the pond.

“What a strange creature you are!” I called when I saw him flying above me.

The feathered serpent looked at me with keen yellow-slit eyes. “Ah, Ayomichi,” he declared.

I laughed. “I’m not a turtle.”

“You swim like one.”

“I’m a girl.”

“I can see that. But you’re also Ayomichi. It’s your name.”

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