Hauntings: Fifteen Ghostly Tales

Not all ghosts can be laid to rest…

Whether you’re sitting around a campfire, or staying up late to read—you’ll eventually have to turn off the light, you know—you’ll love these fifteen tales of ghosts, haunted houses, and spooky goings-on!

Imagine waking every day in an old house, unable to leave the grounds because every time you do you get lost in the gray mist. What if the haunted section in the library was actually haunted? Seeing a ghost in a haunted house would be one thing…but what if it followed you home?

Step into the haunted worlds of the fifteen ghostly tales in Hauntings…if you dare!

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Hauntings is the first volume in The Haunted Anthology. Follow the series on Facebook to learn more!

The Stories

A young girl wakes every morning to find a note from her father in Travis Heermann’s “Daubs of Color.” She’s stuck in their old house, all alone, with endless gray sky and mist just beyond the hedgerows. Her only company is the many paintings which always change, as if someone comes during the night to replace them. The eyes of the people in the paintings watch her as she passes by.

The ghost of a 70s British rock god asks Nikki Ashburne, former Hollywood party girl who can now speak to ghosts, for help finding a song he wrote for his favorite groupie in “Communication Breakdown” by Dayle A. Dermatis. The only problem is she needs help from her musician brother, who doesn’t know about Nikki’s spectral ability.

In Jamie Ferguson’s “Haunted,” Jill is walking through an old, abandoned cabin in the mountains when she sees the ghost of a man who murdered his wife in 1893. Three days later he appears in Jill’s house: the ghost followed her home!

It’s the twenty-eighth birthday of the seventh son of a seventh son in Debbie Mumford’s “Seventh.” He is investigating a crime scene, and is startled when the dead woman speaks to him. The ghost helps him identify who killed her, but there’s no evidence…and now the murderer is after his next victim.

The tavern maid Blake dallied with killed herself—and her unborn child, who she claimed was his—in P.D. Cacek’s “The Lingering Scent of Apples.” He goes back to the tavern, which she now supposedly haunts, to make his peace with her family. But not all ghosts can be laid to rest.

Ellen Sugimori is afraid of ghosts, which is making it hard for her to write the ghost story due for her fifth-grade class, in “The Sugimori Sisters and the Haunting in the Library” by Brigid Collins. Her little sister decides to help Ellen by doing a scientific experiment to prove ghosts exist and that people can protect themselves from them. The girls head to the library and sneak into the Haunted section…which is, of course, actually haunted!

In Kristine Kathryn Rusch’s “Waltzing on a Dancer’s Grave,” Greta and her ballet company arrive at Grayson Place, and prepare for the company’s fiftieth-anniversary gala—but her memories haunt her. Karl Grayson died there twenty years earlier, and his death freed her once. Or did it?

Meredith has set up shop as a private detective in Rebecca M. Senese’s “Hanging On Letting Go,” but she’s not getting any clients until Priscilla, the ghost who only Meredith can see or hear, shows up with a case. Naturally, the client is also a ghost!

The Waverly Inn is one of the oldest hotels in Halifax, Nova Scotia in Steve Vernon’s “Lying in the Gutter, Gazing at the Stars.” The inn’s claim to fame is that Oscar Wilde haunts room 122…which is, of course, the only room available since the local blues festival has filled every other hotel in the area.

An angel made of tarnished concrete sits in the center of the cemetery in Jeff Wood’s “Gray Angel.” Years before, a young, pregnant woman died next to the statue and—according to the ghost stories—sometimes she appears…sad, weeping, and covered in blood. But those are just stories—she’s not real. Or is she?

In DeAnna Knippling’s “Nurse Kimberly Sits Vigil,” Wanda, Kimberly’s mother-in-law, is fading, and the only person she wants to see before she dies is Kimberly. At the urging of her sons—and the ghost of their father, who the kids are convinced still sits in his old chair—Kimberly heads to the nursing home in Atlanta, where she learns why Wanda wanted so badly for her to visit.

A young girl appears at Meredith’s grandfather’s funeral in Elaine Marie Carnegie-Padgett’s “The Haunting of Penelope,” but no one else sees the child. At first Meredith doesn’t know why the girl seems so familiar, then she remembers they played together when Meredith herself was very young, and didn’t realize Penelope was a ghost. Is there something Meredith can do to help the little ghost girl?

The high school Tiana and her friends attend has been transformed into a haunted house for Halloween in “Professor Polter In The Computer Lab With The Banshee,” by Tami Veldura. But it’s not just a haunted house—it’s also an interactive virtual reality game! The friends team up on their adventure, knowing the ghosts aren’t real…but what about the banshee?

In “Hoarding,” by Thea Hutcheson, the previous occupant of Selena’s house might have died, but he hadn’t gone, and he certainly hadn’t changed his ways as her belongings regularly disappeared. Dealing with a klepto ghost was annoying, but at least Selena had escaped her controlling, abusive boyfriend…or had she?

Carol haunts Bobby, her husband and murderer, as well as the new woman he’s seeing in Alicia Cay’s “At the Edge of the Well.” They can’t see, or hear, or touch Carol—she is not that kind of ghost. But in dreams, she can do many things.

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The Wild Hunt: 13 Tales of Magic & Enchantment


Ride through the sky with the Wild Hunt!

A fierce host rides across the winter sky at night
In wild pursuit of whoever crosses their path

Peals of thunder follow the horses as they gallop through the clouds
Fire flashing from their hooves

The baying of the hounds echoes across the sky
Their sharp teeth glinting in the light of the moon

The Huntsman blows his horn, and the Fae ride behind him
Their faces both beautiful and terrible to behold

When the nights are long and the winter winds howl, stay inside
Lest you cross the path of the Hunt…and become their prey

The Wild Hunt contains thirteen stories based on the wide and varied folklore of the Wild Hunt. In some tales, the leader of the hunt is Odin; in others it’s King Arthur, Herodias, or Herne the Hunter. Sometimes the riders are Fae; sometimes they are specters, or skeletons, or strange beasts never before seen by mortal eyes.

But no matter who the hunters are, you definitely don’t want to be the one they’re after…

Let the Wild Hunt begin!

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The Stories

Go on the Wild Hunt from a hound’s perspective in Thea Hutcheson’s “My Last Hunt,” and learn about the Fae—and humanity—from a new perspective.

Anthea Sharp’s “The Faerie Invasion” takes us to a world where the faeries have invaded the mortal realm. Ric and his little sister scrounge for food and hide from creatures they never imagined were real—especially after dark. But no matter how hard they try, they can’t hide from the Wild Hunt…

In Brenda Carre’s “Gigglebark Tea,” Lewis and his annoying neighbor are in the middle of an argument about a strange illness that’s going around, when Herne the Hunter shows up…and he and the hunt are after Lewis. Herne’s afflicted with the mysterious malady, and thinks Lewis is the cause. To buy time, Lewis brings out what’s left of his long-passed wife’s Gigglebark tea, not realizing what he’s going to learn as a result.

Emma is unable to move or speak in the real world, but in the virtual computer game of Feyland, her body is fully functional. Deb Logan’s “Emma: A Feyland Dryad” takes us along with Emma as she learns what it’s like to stand, to run, to dance…and to be chased by the Wild Hunt, which she discovers is as real as the Realm of Faerie, which Feyland is a portal to.

Linda Jordan’s “The Turning” tells the tale of a young woman who stands in between a man and the Wild Hunt, not realizing her stance will lead her to learn things about her past that she never even imagined could be true.

In “Take a Walk on the Wild Side,” by Rebecca M. Senese, Detective Maeve Hemlock is looking forward to a well-deserved vacation from her job at the Spells and Misdemeanours Bureau. But the Wild Hunt has arrived, and as a faerie from the North Court, Maeve knows just how dangerous this is for Crossroads City, which lies between the mortal and faerie realms. There goes her vacation…

Mary, a Ute woman, is married one of the Aos Si in Shannon Lawrence’s “Of Earth and Fae.” Conor left his ancestral lands for the Americas, and thought himself safe from those who had persecuted his people for centuries. But as Woden and the Wild Hunt approach, Mary and Conor realize he’s in grave danger after all.

James spends his time being a nobody in DeAnna Knippling’s “The Last Private in the Gray Hoodie and Blue Jeans Brigade.” He found if he practiced hard at being unremarkable and unnoticeable for long enough, the walking trails in his neighborhood got seriously weird, and led to someplace—or some places—completely different from the regular world. It’s kind of cool. An escape. Or is it really that cool after all?

In Lousa Swann’s “Scraggles Goes Hunting,” Scraggles the cat expected his night to be like any other night. He certainly did not expect to find himself the steed of a pixie, compelled to fly through the sky as part of the Wild Hunt. And he definitely did not expect to run into a dragon…

An Unseelie Fey breaks free of her prison and begins her own wild hunt in Kim May’s “Of Blood and Bone, Earth and Air.” Can the genuis loci who cares for the land vanquish his terrible foe before she is beyond his power to contain?

In “Getting Good,” by Brigid Collins, Stelli realizes her friends have been taking the game of Feyland far more seriously, and now they’re cutting her out because she’s not as good as they are. Determined to get better at the game on her own, she begins the quest of the Midnight Huntsman…only to find that Feyland is not just a game after all.

Married to the tetrarch of Galilee in Jamie Ferguson’s “The Call of the Huntress,” Herodias lives a life of luxury, but also a life of misery. She prays to the goddess Diana, but of course Diana isn’t going to respond to the pleas of a mere mortal. When Herodias’ daughter Salome arrives for a visit, she disrupts the fragile balance of Herodias’ life. Herodias calls to Diana, just like she has so many times over the years…but this time, the goddess answers.

Twig hadn’t planned to spend her night running from the Wild Hunt, but that’s exactly what she finds herself doing in Annie Reed’s “Murder’s Revenge.” An elf who spent years undercover in a motorcycle gang so she could find a way to rescue the gentle water spirit they’d enslaved, she’d managed to save the water spirit—but earn the wrath of the gang’s leader, who now rides with the hunt and wants revenge.

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A Procession of Faeries

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Story spotlight: “Something in Common” by Jamie Ferguson

Jamie Ferguson’s “Something in Common” takes place in a small town in western Pennsylvania in 1910, where a young woman discovers she has more in common with a recent immigrant from Austria-Hungary than she’d realized.

~ ~ ~

“Something in Common” appears in The Golden Door, a collection of stories showing the impact on people when they’re treated as “the other,” whether they’re immigrants to a country, a group of targeted within their own country, or something else besides. The title refers to Emma Lazarus’s welcoming words inscribed on the plaque on Statue of Liberty, “I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

Tales of mistreatment of “the other” abound in historical or religious writings from around the world and through all time. But there are also plenty of examples of people helping each other, caring for one another, learning about each other. Sometimes in big ways, sometimes in small—but they all add up.

All proceeds will be donated to Doctors Without Borders and the ACLU.

Find The Golden Door

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Excerpt

“How long have you lived here?” Jenny asked Helen.

“In Pennsylwaynya?”

“Yes, in Pennsylvania,” Jenny said, reminding herself that the conversation had been her idea.

“Come in fall,” Helen said. She pressed her lips together. “I take boat from, ehmm…Fiume, go New York. Then train. Then Pennsylwaynya.”

“It’s actually Pennsylvania,” Jenny said. The Hungarian girl’s English was simply abysmal.

“Pennsylwania.”

At least that was an improvement, if a slight one.

“Are you from wherever that place is? Fiume?”

“No, from leetle willage, in you say Hungary.” Helen glanced over at Jenny, then looked back at her stitching. “’Is you from Pennsylwania?”

“Yes,” Jenny said. “My grandparents came here from Ireland about fifty years ago. I was born in Connellsville.”

“Connellswille,” Helen said. Did all Hungarians not understand Vs and Ws, or was it just her? Helen began to say something else, then snapped her mouth closed as the bell on the shop door jingled.

—from “Something in Common” in The Golden Door by Jamie Ferguson

About Jamie

Jamie focuses on getting into the minds and hearts of her characters, whether she’s writing about a saloon girl in the American West, a man who discovers the barista he’s in love with is a naiad, or a ghost who haunts the house she was killed in—even though that house no longer exists. Jamie lives in Colorado, and spends her free time in a futile quest to wear out her two border collies since she hasn’t given in and gotten them their own herd of sheep.

Find Jamie

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Story spotlight: “The Envelope Trick” by Adrianne Aron

In Adrianne Aron’s “The Envelope Trick,” an immigrant learns the very system that’s helping him in his new country is also hurting him.

~ ~ ~

“The Envelope Trick” appears in The Golden Door, a collection of stories showing the impact on people when they’re treated as “the other,” whether they’re immigrants to a country, a group of targeted within their own country, or something else besides. The title refers to Emma Lazarus’s welcoming words inscribed on the plaque on Statue of Liberty, “I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

Tales of mistreatment of “the other” abound in historical or religious writings from around the world and through all time. But there are also plenty of examples of people helping each other, caring for one another, learning about each other. Sometimes in big ways, sometimes in small—but they all add up.

All proceeds will be donated to Doctors Without Borders and the ACLU.

Find The Golden Door

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Excerpt

“What have you got to complain about, compañero?” I ask my reflection, as I brush my teeth and feel my tongue rolling over the bottom row. Pedro’s tongue they cut out, because he spoke up for what he believed. My eyebrows match—both black, over brown eyes with lashes so long my mother used to say I should have been born a girl. Over there, they say things like that.

Yeah, my eyebrows match, but Rafa’s don’t. One of his, the left one I think, turned white, at the spot where the soldiers attached the electrodes. There’s guys at Guantánamo right now gone white all over. You’ve got to remember how everything’s relative, Sarita tells me.

—from “The Envelope Trick” in The Golden Door by Adrianne Aron

About Adrianne

Adrianne Aron writes both fiction and non-fiction, with social justice as a persistent theme. Her writings have been published in a number of literary journals and anthologies, and have been awarded prizes by Able MuseNew Millennium WritingsWomen on Writing, the Jack London and San Francisco Writers’ Conferences, and the California Writers Association. Human Rights and Wrongs: Reluctant Heroes Fight Tyranny, her essay collection about refugee asylum seekers, won the Sunshot Nonfiction Award and was published by Sunshot in 2018. She is the translator, from the Spanish, of essays by Ignacio Martín-Baró (Writings for a Liberation Psychology, Harvard University Press) and of Mario Benedetti’s play, titled in English Pedro and the Captain (Cadmus Editions). She lives in the San Francisco Bay Area and is at work on a novel, but continues to spend a little time with her “day job” as a liberation psychologist. She possesses a Ph.D. in psychology from the University of California at Santa Cruz.

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Story spotlight: “Friends” by Rei Rosenquist

Below the pristine mountains of Portugal’s countryside, a war rages on in Rei Rosenquist’s “Friends.” Thrown together in a dismal war camp, imported refugees share nothing but their suffering. No common culture. No common tongue. But friendship can spring up even in the toughest of times.

~ ~ ~

“Friends” appears in The Golden Door, a collection of stories showing the impact on people when they’re treated as “the other,” whether they’re immigrants to a country, a group of targeted within their own country, or something else besides. The title refers to Emma Lazarus’s welcoming words inscribed on the plaque on Statue of Liberty, “I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

Tales of mistreatment of “the other” abound in historical or religious writings from around the world and through all time. But there are also plenty of examples of people helping each other, caring for one another, learning about each other. Sometimes in big ways, sometimes in small—but they all add up.

All proceeds will be donated to Doctors Without Borders and the ACLU.

Find The Golden Door

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Excerpt

The air was a confused hum. Everyone who spoke Português was from a different place in the country: different dialect, accent, vernacular. I saw nobody from home. Everyone, a frightened stranger. At least half the people spoke a tongue that confused my ears entirely.

“Nihongo,” someone with a Português accent whispered.

I got the gist. Refugees who’d been shipped in.

More strangers, harder to get.

We were being forced apart, separated at the very seams.

I rebelled at the idea. If nothing else, we were humans and that would be enough.

I looked at the nearest fellow inmate and forced myself to look for—not the differences: hair color, eye shape, skin color—but the similarities. The sameness. Something to give me grounding. What I found were identical expressions. The same tight broken frown, brow knitted up, eyes narrow and without trust.

Our humanity, reduced to isolation and fear.

—from “Friends” in The Golden Door by Rei Rosenquist

About Rei

Rei Rosenquist is a queer agender (they/them) speculative fiction and romance writer who depicts a wide variety of identities struggling to find a place in a wide variety of worlds. They are also a barista, baker, musician, and lifelong semi-nomad.

Rei first remembers life as seen out the high window of a hotel balcony. Down below is a courtyard, swarms of brightly dressed tourists, and the beach. The memory is nothing but a blue-green washed image. Warmth and sunlight. Here, they are three years old, and this is the beginning of a storyteller’s life. Over the years, Rei has  traveled to many countries, engaged many peoples, picked up new habits, and learned new languages. Across lands, they find constant inspiration in the stories we tell each other, the food we share with one another, the music we make together, and the world we can build when we allow ourselves to dream.

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Story spotlight: “Spy in the Sky” by Tonya D. Price

A young boy who dreams of emigrating to the U.S. to study at MIT comes across a pair of Soviet officers during the Cuban Missile Crisis, and learns there’s far more at stake than he’d ever dreamed in Tonya D. Price’s “Spy in the Sky.”

~ ~ ~

“Spy in the Sky” appears in The Golden Door, a collection of stories showing the impact on people when they’re treated as “the other,” whether they’re immigrants to a country, a group of targeted within their own country, or something else besides. The title refers to Emma Lazarus’s welcoming words inscribed on the plaque on Statue of Liberty, “I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

Tales of mistreatment of “the other” abound in historical or religious writings from around the world and through all time. But there are also plenty of examples of people helping each other, caring for one another, learning about each other. Sometimes in big ways, sometimes in small—but they all add up.

All proceeds will be donated to Doctors Without Borders and the ACLU.

Find The Golden Door

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Excerpt

Father Pedro rolled the dial with two fingers. Then he reached back in his robe again. This time he pulled out a small box no more than an inch by two inches. He looked around.

Roberto followed Father Pedro’s lead. There was no one in sight.
“Hold out your hand by your side. Palm up.”

Roberto obeyed and Father Pedro, holding his hand upside down, dropped the small carton in Roberto’s palm. “Film. Five rolls. Do not let anyone know where you got this. Lives are at stake, Roberto. Do you understand?”

“I do.”

“If you are caught, you will be charged as a spy. They will torture you to find out who you were working with.”

“I’m a boy. I went out of curiosity.”

“I don’t think so.”

Roberto thought for a moment. “I work for the Americans as did my father.”

Father Pedro hung his head down as if in prayer. “They will believe you. And they will kill you for it.”

“Then,” Roberto tried to look brave as he imagined his father had been. “I will not get caught.”

—from “Spy in the Sky” in The Golden Door by Tonya D. Price

About Tonya

Tonya is a fiction and non-fiction writer who has published short stories across a variety of genres. She  has an MBA from Cornell University and draws on her extensive high tech executive positions in writing her Business Books For Writers series. Her Fiction River story, “Payback” was included in The Best American Mystery Stories of 2019. She is currently finishing her fifth non-fiction book Managing the Writer’s Money to be released in the spring of 2020.

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Story spotlight: “Myrna and the Thirteen-Year Witch” by DeAnna Knippling

A wealthy actress in Hollywood in the 1920s takes on a pair of immigrant faeries as indentured servants in DeAnna Knippling’s “Myrna and the Thirteen-Year Witch,” but she didn’t realize just how high the cost would be to keep them safe.

~ ~ ~

“Myrna and the Thirteen-Year Witch” appears in The Golden Door, a collection of stories showing the impact on people when they’re treated as “the other,” whether they’re immigrants to a country, a group of targeted within their own country, or something else besides. The title refers to Emma Lazarus’s welcoming words inscribed on the plaque on Statue of Liberty, “I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

Tales of mistreatment of “the other” abound in historical or religious writings from around the world and through all time. But there are also plenty of examples of people helping each other, caring for one another, learning about each other. Sometimes in big ways, sometimes in small—but they all add up.

All proceeds will be donated to Doctors Without Borders and the ACLU.

Find The Golden Door

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Excerpt

My husband and I were always just on the edge of setting the house-fae free. But there was always something, you know? It was after the Great War, when so many of the fae came over the ocean. Immigrants, only not human ones. Mythological immigrants.

Our house-fae, Ala and Elias, weren’t the pretty ones that you see in woodcuts in fairy-tale books, tall and elegant with long, wispy hair. I don’t know if those kind actually exist. I never seen any, anyhow. The house-fae we had were small, and gray, and wrinkled, and kinda ugly. But cute. I hadta stop myself from pinching their cheeks, when they first arrived. It woulda been rude.

I got them for a literal song, a sweet lullaby that I used to sing to our son, before he was killed in a car accident with Timothy’s parents. I don’t remember the song anymore. It was just the most ridiculous song, I remember that. Did you know you can buy house-fae for a song? But that if you do, you lose the song forever? Two house-fae, one song, and now I can’t remember the song. It’s just gone. I was joking around at the time. Timothy and I were slumming in Little Tokyo, going to clubs, when we stumbled across the two of them begging for work. They looked so sad and lonely that I just started singing to them. It was an impulse. I hadn’t exactly meant to pick up a pair of house-fae, and Timothy and I had words over the incident. But they moved in, and here we are.

— from “Myrna and the Thirteen-Year Witch” in The Golden Door by DeAnna Knippling

About DeAnna

DeAnna Knippling is always tempted to lie on her bios. Her favorite musician is Tom Waits, and her favorite author is Lewis Carroll. Her favorite monster is zombies. Her life goal is to remake her house in the image of the House on the Rock, or at least Ripley’s Believe It Or Not. You should buy her books. She promises that she’ll use the money wisely on bookshelves and secret doors. She lives in Colorado and is the author of the A Fairy’s Tale horror series which starts with By Dawn’s Bloody Light, and other books like The Clockwork Alice, A Murder of Crows: Seventeen Tales of Monsters & the Macabre, and more.

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Interview: “Clouds of Phoenix” by Michèle Laframboise

Blanche, a young girl walking in a cobbled-up exoskeleton, spends hours watching the strange clouds dancing in the Phoenix sky. She soon realizes that their coordinated figures signals a threat. Alas, the adults are too busy to listen to her. Even her sister Lupianne worries more about the oxygen plant’s dropping quotas and her similarly failing social life…

Then, as the cloud dances grow more complex and the temperatures rise to never-seen-before levels, the sisters must join forces with a despised artist to save their budding settlement from total eradication.

Clouds of Phoenix is available for a limited time in The Young Adult Charity MegaBundle.

Whether you’re looking for a pulse-pounding action in space, a witchy urban fantasy mystery, or a sweeter tale of unicorns and magic, this MegaBundle delivers! This bundle includes 28 books, including award-winning books from NYTimes and USA Today bestselling authors. Since money is tight for a lot of people right now, the floor of this bundle at a mere dollar, but if you’re in a position to spend a little more for this great collection, please do.

Half the MegaBundle profits will go to Mighty Writers, a non-profit organization benefiting children’s literacy.

Excerpt

Blanche soon found herself on the highest point of the dead city: the temple. At least, that had been how the archeologists named this abstract-patterned floor, surrounding a high table carved into black polished stone, like the sacrificial altar of the ancient religions. In a single leap, the young pioneer reached the top of the massive block.

A quick look at her oxygen puffer light showed a dark green circle. She still had time left to trot outside the “bubble” of breathable air that surrounded the town. Phœnix might be ranked as an “open” world, but its oxygen mass counted only for one percent of the atmosphere, not enough to breathe. The planet’s rating, O-, reflected the scope of the terraforming effort required.

Phoenix had a lesser rate than the “P” planets, soft-climate paradises where any patch of land was in hot demand. However, living on Phœnix was more enjoyable than squeezing families under the pressurized domes of airless worlds or in the bubbles-like cities hovering on gaseous giants.

Calypso, a G4 rated star, solitary and inconspicuous, lingered over the plateau, her light veiled in a milky halo. This halo was due to a thick dust layer hovering in high atmosphere. Those particles, diffusing the green wavelength, generated the sky color.

Blanche crossed her long legs, a tricky task, considering the intricate framework of metal, pumps and pistons enclosing them. Straps rose to her shoulders and encircled her waist to keep her inside the apparatus.

She used her basin and torso to direct the crude robo-servers inserted in the mechanical joints of the frame. She had been clumsy when her father had fitted her with the contraption, but her moves had soon become as natural to her as brushing her hair.

Those mechanical “overalls” enabled Blanche to run, fast. Only an off-road vehicle at full speed could catch up with her… if she let it.

A playful wind lifted her long hair, trying in vain to steal them. Blanche took out a nutrient bar and nibbled at the sweet chocolate and wheat savor.

This was her own precious moment of solitude.

—from Clouds of Phoenix by Michèle Laframboise

The Interview

What inspired you to write Clouds of Phoenix?

Clouds of Phoenix began by an image, of a girl looking up at clouds in the sky. I didn’t even know she was disabled, nor on another planet. Those ideas came later. The disabled girl is a solitary dreamer, and loves the shapes of clouds, like I did in my childhood.

The first version in French (Les nuages de Phoenix) won a literary prize, which is rare for a full-SF novel.

Did you make up any of the science used in your book, and if so, what and why?

I’m a geographer by formation, so there’s a lot of climate science and meteorology in the story, most based on actual sciences. The color of the sky is explained by a certain size of particles hovering in altitude. The catastrophe that threatens the colony if nothing is done is also explained in details.

I made up the “mood T shirt” of a character, which was cool when I came up with it about twenty years ago. On the purely human side, I imagined a disabled Blanche running fast in her cobble-up exoskeleton. Who wouldn’t love to see wheelchair-confined friends walking and running again with a little help ?

What are some of your favorite YA books as a reader, and what makes them stand out for you?/ Why do you think so many people, of all ages, love reading YA?

I searched my shelves, and my Goodreads, to find very few YA titles. If I can put a title, there is a book for adults, Watership Down, by Richard Adams, that described the rabbits with a lot of realism. That story I read 4 times, as I did Lord of the Rings.

I read indiscriminately every “age”, even some middle-grade books by Carl Hiaasen that are way funny (Hoots comes to mind). Before that I read the series Fantomette (by french author Georges Chaulet, about a young caped heroine) until my teenager years. I read more recently a Japan samurai trilogy by Genevieve Blouin, an historical piece.

In general, I love the social commentary in the YA books (of course, there is some in any book, but the voice is special), the alien environment, the adventure that this constrained (and confined!) life can’t bring. Especially Science fiction and fantasy. I like the originality, the voice, the humor, the historical exploration, and going as far from our here and now as possible. Exception: when it’s a contemporary teenage high-school-drama-oh-my-god-its-prom-night-and-I-don’t-have-a-date, I can’t relate at all. I’m not the age of that public and my school days were a different kind of hell that the glossy & glittery covers would suggest. But for any other books, when the drama does not rest solely on the young age of the protag, and when there’s cool older characters around (like in my own YA stories), I’m in.

Happiness is diving into a good story and emerging after, feeling refreshed.

What are you working on now, and what’s fun about what you’re writing?

I am currently working on a steampunk trilogy with a different style of narration for each one of the trilogy. First novel is done and in revision. Cover art done.

It is fun to build and enrich a culture, coming up with inventions, names, idioms (a lot of those!). It is a risky project but I love building that universe and its inhabitants. The specific narrative quirks of a steampunk period were a novelty for me, even if I had read a fair number of them.

However, anything signed Laframboise cannot redo the thousands of stories set in Alternate-Victorian era, in London City (love ‘em, read a lot of ‘em, but won’t imitate). So mine is set very, very far in the future… with a tiny cup of tea and big blimps.

My biggest hurdle is… coming up with names, and with believable events leading to the world I present. My science background does help, but it makes me take more time researching! As for the names, mine are often lame when I begin a story. Sometimes I begin with a name and will change it mid-novel, because something better knocked me on the head.

I don’t have a fixed method yet, it seems like a few strong SOW scenes (not just images, actions, emotions), that I later link with other beads. It’s like doing a puzzle. At a point, I feel that the story is ready, ripe for the typo edits.

About Michèle

Michèle Laframboise feeds coffee grains to her garden plants, runs long distances and writes full-time. Fascinated by sciences and nature since she could walk, she draws from her scientific background to create worlds filled with humor, invention and wonder. Michèle has published 19 novels and about 45 short-stories in French and English, earning various distinctions in Canada and Europe.

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Interview: “Night of the Hidden Fang” by T. James Logan

Mia’s only friend is gone.

Adults are acting weird – well, weirder than normal.

A rash of strange disappearances around town is going all but unnoticed.

When she finds some half-eaten human bones, her safe, suburban world is thrown upside down. Are they her friend’s bones?

Three runaway boys seem to know what’s happening. But what are they running from? And is it going to follow them to her doorstep, even as she’s finally caught the eye of the hunky poet from her English class?

Night of the Hidden Fang is available for a limited time in The Young Adult Charity MegaBundle.

Whether you’re looking for a pulse-pounding action in space, a witchy urban fantasy mystery, or a sweeter tale of unicorns and magic, this MegaBundle delivers! This bundle includes 28 books, including award-winning books from NYTimes and USA Today bestselling authors. Since money is tight for a lot of people right now, the floor of this bundle at a mere dollar, but if you’re in a position to spend a little more for this great collection, please do.

Half the MegaBundle profits will go to Mighty Writers, a non-profit organization benefiting children’s literacy.

Excerpt

He whipped out his massive ring of keys as he ran, searching for the right one.

Somewhere, a fire-door slammed. Where had that come from? The back of the dormitory? Somebody making a run for it? Somebody too stupid to realize that this was their last shot at avoiding juvenile detention? What had the kid in the hall been running away from?

A few seconds of fumbling at the door with the five-pound jumble of brass and zinc and steel, and he was inside, running for the stairwell to the second floor, where that camera was mounted.

The hallway was still dark, and the heavy puffing of his breath echoed down the empty, tiled corridor. The light from the bathroom still spilled a skewed rectangle onto the floor and wall. He ran for the bathroom, certain he was going to see some emo junkie hanging from a shower head by a bedsheet or left in a beaten bloody pile.

But when he reached the bathroom, he saw no such thing. Nothing at all in fact. Empty. Spic-and-span. Not even a dribble of errant urine on the floor, even though the kid who had run looked like he had practically peed himself. But what was this? Two long parallel scratches gouged into the paint of a toilet stall door, about two feet from the floor, so fresh that flakes of paint still hung from the edges. Why would someone want to deface the door so close to the floor? Most graffiti or vandalism happened at eye level.

Somewhere a door slammed, then a strange scratching-running sound. He pulled his Maglite and ran toward the noise. Sounded like it came from the door to the far stairwell. This building held three floors of boys ages six to eighteen, with the oldest boys on the top floor. At the far end of the hallway, the plastic box covering the light switches and thermostat controls were shattered, as if by a hammer. Shards of plastic littered the floor.

He flipped the switches, and the hallway lights flickered on. Another slamming fire-door, this one far below, drew him in a gasping rush into the stairwell. Looking over the banister down well, he saw a flicker of shadow disappear through the fire door. He charged down the stairs two and three and a time. Shelly would kill him if he fell and broke his neck. Seconds later, he plowed through the fire door back out into the night air. The rattle of the chain link fence snagged his ears. A trio of shadows landed on the other side of the fence, shapes barely glimpsed in the darkness before they dashed into the cornfield beyond with the rustle of leaves.

—from Night of the Hidden Fang by T. James Logan

The Interview

What inspired you to write Night of the Hidden Fang?

The initial kernel of an idea came from a dream my ex-wife had about three boys on the run from from their abusive soccer coach, and they jumped out of the woods naked along a bike trail, asking for help. So, that was the beginning of the book that would become Night of the Hidden Fang. The book has since evolved into what will be a trilogy. I finished Dawn of the Deadly Fang earlier this year, and am planning for Day of the Broken Fang in Winter 2021.

Why do you think so many people, of all ages, love reading YA?

For younger readers, it’s because they want to read stories about young adults their own age or maybe a little older facing adversity and overcoming obstacles. For older readers, I think it’s a desire to recapture youth, to remember the passions of young love, adventure, discovery, in ways that they can’t experience anymore. It might also be a desire for simpler stories. I don’t mean simplistic, because books like The Hunger Games are not “simple.” But my sense is that the storytelling in YA fiction is more direct, less prone to literary obfuscation or experimentation. My sense is that most YA audiences want a rollicking good story without an overabundance of literary bent.

Did you make up any of the science used in your book, and if so, what and why?

Well, the monsters in my book are SF based, but I invented a lycanthropic plague that transmitted by saliva. So if you get bitten, it’s highly likely you’ll get lycanthropy. But I also played around with some real-life viral weirdness to have it react different with our main character’s DNA. I wanted to keep it close enough to real science to be plausible, even though we’re talking about shapeshifting critters. I also made conservation of mass a concern, so a person weighs as much in their monster form as they do in their human form.

What are you working on now, and what’s fun about what you’re writing?

Right now I’m putting the finishing touches on the first volume of a new urban fantasy/cultivation trilogy called Shinjuku Shadows. Book One is called Tokyo Blood Magic.

One of the things I loved about it was exploring Tokyo and a couple of historical sites, but virtually. Because of the pandemic, my family and I had to cancel a long-planned trip to Japan. It would have been the first time I’d been back to Japan since moving back to the States, so that was a painful disappointment. So writing this book gave me a chance to play in Tokyo with Google Maps and Street View. It was also somewhat of an escapist experience to write in a world of monsters and magic, while the real world grinds to a halt.

About T. James Logan

Bestselling author T. James Logan writes a lot of different kinds of things, from science fiction, fantasy, and horror to working on roleplaying games and screenplays. In his persona as T. James Logan, he loves to recapture bits of childhood, those times when a glimpse of a werewolf on television kept him up at night, those times when crushes were crushing, and those moments of youthful exuberance when the world was all possibilities.

He lives in Denver, Colorado, with his family, plus a dog and a cat, neither of which are lycanthropes—at least he’s pretty sure.

Find T. James Logan

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Interview: “Fractured Memories” by Jo Schneider

Sixteen year old Wendy never knew the world before the Starvation. She’s learned to put her trust in her knives and her confidence in her fighting ability. When the Skinnies attack her compound, she’s the lone survivor.

Injured and near death, Wendy is rescued and nursed back to health by mysterious strangers. Her saviors offer her a place among them, but trust has never been one of Wendy’s strengths, and suspicion soon leads to evidence that these people might be the group who killed her family.

The decision to take the settlement down from the inside out is easy, keeping her distance from the first friends she has ever cared about proves to be much more difficult.

Fractured Memories is available for a limited time in The Young Adult Charity MegaBundle.

Whether you’re looking for a pulse-pounding action in space, a witchy urban fantasy mystery, or a sweeter tale of unicorns and magic, this MegaBundle delivers! This bundle includes 28 books, including award-winning books from NYTimes and USA Today bestselling authors. Since money is tight for a lot of people right now, the floor of this bundle at a mere dollar, but if you’re in a position to spend a little more for this great collection, please do.

Half the MegaBundle profits will go to Mighty Writers, a non-profit organization benefiting children’s literacy.

Excerpt

The two girls crossed the twenty feet between the outer buildings and the massive log wall separating the Den from the surrounding forest. The wall stood three times as tall as Wendy and could withstand an assault by a hoard of Skinnies. Wendy knew from personal experience.

A small ledge ringed the wall on the inside so guards could walk around and defenders could have a place to hide. Three men were gathered on the west side of the gate, all looking out.

“Has there been a follow-up signal?” Wendy asked.

One of the men, Grant, turned to look down at Wendy. “Not yet.”

Kenzie glanced over her shoulder. “Where’s Dad?”

Wendy climbed up the nearest ladder. Kenzie followed.

“How long has it been?” Wendy asked.

“Four minutes,” Grant said after he checked his watch.

“Too long,” Wendy said under her breath. Members of the watch were supposed to send a second signal within two minutes. Was it friend or foe? She had to stand on tiptoe to see over the sharpened ends of the logs.

“Who’s out there?” Kenzie asked Wendy, who organized the watch and patrol rosters.

“Liz and Hector.” Both were reliable. Both had been here for over a year. They knew the protocols. Why hadn’t they signaled?

“Five minutes,” Grant said.

Wendy shifted her weight from foot to foot. She glanced over her shoulder to search for her dad. This should be his call. A handful of faces looked up from below, but none of them were Ed’s.

Kenzie leaned over and whispered, “We should send someone.”

For all of Kenzie’s girlie manners and emotional tendencies, she was a good tactician. Better than Wendy.

Wendy studied the woods with the eye of a hawk, looking for small movements contrary to the wind, rustles of bushes that normally stayed still or foreign sounds.

Nothing.

“Six minutes,” Grant said.

The group continued to watch. The sun, which only a few moments before had brought warmth and cheer into the world, now beat down on Wendy like a hammer. The breeze disrupted any sounds they might have heard, and the clear sky caused dark shadows deep enough that anything could be lurking.

It only took five minutes to get from the Den to the watch point, and that was if you were walking. Wendy could run it in three.

Which meant something was wrong.

—from Fractured Memories by Jo Schneider

The Interview

What inspired you to write Fractured Memories?

This sounds really cheesy, but this book actually came from a dream I had in college. In the dream I woke up in a small cave, lying on a round bed (no idea where that came from), and there was a man with his back to me sitting at an old wooden desk. The only light came from a single candle on the desk. Through the process of editing and revisions, the scene changed so much it’s no longer recognizable, but that’s where the whole series started.

Why do you think so many people, of all ages, love reading YA?

For me, and I feel for a lot of people, the journey of a teenager finding their way in the world is both familiar and satisfying. I don’t think the process of finding yourself ever really ends, and YA books give readers a chance to see others struggling with and overcoming life, the universe, and everything.

What is fun, and what is challenging, about writing in a post-apocalyptic world?

I fell in love with post-apocalyptic fiction the first time I watched the original Planet of the Apes in the middle of the night. I was maybe twelve, and had a 12” black and white tv in my room. Super fancy, I know. The very end with the Statue of Liberty really freaked me out…and got my imagination fired up. The same things that make writing in a post-apocalyptic world challenging are also fun. Trying to figure out how people would react and what would happen when the world ends is honestly what the genre is all about, but even more important, it’s about how your characters decide to survive. Exploring the psychology of people and society is fun for me. Also, monsters. And sometimes I like killing characters.

What are you working on now, and what’s fun about what you’re writing?

My latest project is an epic science fiction series about a group of teenagers that volunteer for the military in order to save their pacifist parents from having to go. There is power armor, giant fleets, a character who I may or may not have modeled after Zuco from Avatar, and young love, all under the backdrop of clashing political goals and a traitor who will sacrifice anyone or anything to be king.

About Jo

Jo Schneider grew up in the wild west, and finds mountains helpful in telling which direction she is going. Her lifelong goals include: travel to all seven continents, become a Jedi Knight and receive a death threat from a fan. So far she’s been to five continents, has a black belt in Kempo and is still working on the death threat.

Being a geek at heart, Jo has always been drawn to science fiction and fantasy. She writes both and hopes to introduce readers to worlds that wow them and characters they can cheer for.

Find Jo

Website ~ Facebook ~ Goodreads ~ BookBub

Find The Young Adult Charity MegaBundle!

This bundle is available for a limited time at StoryBundle.com/YA.

Half the MegaBundle profits will go to Mighty Writers, a non-profit organization benefiting children’s literacy.

Grab the bundle today! You’re not only getting a fabulous deal, you’re also helping make the world a better place!

   
 

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