Story spotlight: “The Storyteller” by P. D. Cacek

Telling stories is Walter Book’s responsibility and his joy, just like it’d been his daddy’s, and his granddaddy’s and his great-great grandaddy’s before him. Because what good’s a Book without a story?

Every night he tells the children their bedtime story, and this evening he tells one called “The Princess,” the tale of a little girl named Veronica who’s waiting for her daddy to return.

Veronica is well past the mid-point of her twelfth year, and is of course no longer a child in spite of what her father thinks. So when she’s at the hotel, waiting for her father to return from his business trip on the last train of the day, she’s grown-up enough to know to ignore the voices when she hears ghosts. Her father taught her if you don’t acknowledge a ghost, it will feel so ill used that it will depart of its own free will.

But the ghosts at the hotel are restless…

“The Storyteller” is in the Haunted bundle. You can learn more on BundleRabbit, Goodreads, and the bundle’s Facebook page.


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About the Author

P.D. Cacek originally aspired to be an actress, but her dreams were dashed when, while playing Dinosaur Number 1 in her high school’s production of By the Skin of Our Teeth, she inadvertently crawled off the stage and landed in the orchestra pit. Dinosaur Number 1 died that night, but the experience put her on the significantly less perilous path of writing horror.

P.D. is the author of over 200 short stories, and has won both a World Fantasy Award and a Bram Stoker Award for her short fiction. She’s written five novels: Night Prayers, Canyons, Night Players, The Wind Caller, and The Selkie.

“Horror is an emotion, something that reaches past all the barriers and finds the one dark corner of our self-image that has not grown up. Horror doesn’t have to include dismemberments or gushing wounds or ancient demons dredged up by a new housing development. Anything, even a simple evening’s walk, can be horrific if you look at it the right way … and I do.”


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Story spotlight: “Skydiving to the Gods” by Stefon Mears


A beautiful sunrise over the ocean west of Hawaii. A perfect morning for a skydive. An even better opportunity for murder.Eric Jarlsson plummets toward his death. His parachute sabotaged. Two thousand feet above an unforgiving sea.

He couldn’t know a god’s net awaits him.

“Skydiving to the Gods” a contemporary fantasy short story featuring adventure, magic, romance, conspiracy and Norse gods. From Norse myth scholar Stefon Mears, author of the Ars Portlandia series and the Rise of Magic series.
 
 
“Skydiving to the Gods” is in the Beneath the Waves collection. You can learn more on BundleRabbit, Goodreads, and the collection’s Facebook page.
 


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Stefon Mears grew up in California, Middle-Earth, and Amber. He went to U.C. Berkeley intending to major in Genetics, but the call of storytelling compelled him to graduate with a B.A. in Religious Studies (double emphasis in Mythology and Ritual). He later earned an MFA in Creative Writing from the Northwest Institute of Literary Arts, with a Fiction major, and has published many short stories, poems and essays.

Stefon has been an invited guest at a major Vodou ceremony in New Orleans, taught classes in the Brazilian martial art of Capoeira, spoken on a panel at one World Fantasy Conference and given a reading at another, and engraved his own set of Norse runes.

Stefon has worked as a professional audio engineer and played straight pool for money. He is an avid, lifelong fan of the San Francisco Giants. He lives in Portland, Oregon, with his wife and three cats, and when not writing he can often be found playing roleplaying games.


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Story spotlight: “Snap A Trap, Inc.” by Louisa Swann


 
What do trolleys, bananas, and impudent fairies have in common? A fairy hunter named Zola and her newest blind date: Milton B. Flannigan, III. Unfortunately, dear old Miltie isn’t everything he’s been made out to be. He’s more.

Then again, so is Zola.

A laugh-out-loud tale from the streets of San Francisco.
 
 
 
“Snap A Trap, Inc.” is in The Faerie Summer bundle. You can learn more on BundleRabbit, Goodreads, and the bundle’s Facebook page.
 


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Growing up in the wilds of the Sierra Nevada mountains, surrounded by deer and beaver, muskrat and bear, Louisa Swann found ample fodder for her equally wild imagination. As an adult, she interweaves her experiences with that imagination, creating tales of fantasy and science fiction, mystery and thrillers, steampunk and historical fiction. Her short stories have appeared in Fiction River anthologies, including Reader’s Choice; Mercedes Lackey’s Elementary Magic and Valdemar anthologies; and Esther Friesner’s Chicks and Balances. Novels include light-hearted mysteries (It Ain’t No Bull, The Trouble with Bulldogs) and her new steampunk/weird west series, Abby Crumb and Myrtle Creek (with Brandon Swann).


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Story spotlight: “Midnight Oil” by Lisa Silverthorne


 
 
Mistaken identities, misplaced sympathies, and witches on the eve of Beltane.
 
And the man caught between Halloween magic and mayhem.
 
 
 
 
 
 

“Midnight Oil” is in the Witches’ Brew bundle. You can learn more on BundleRabbit, Goodreads, and the bundle’s Facebook page.


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Writing has been Lisa’s life-long passion. She’s been writing since she could hold a pen and have published two novels and over 70 short stories in the fantasy, science fiction, romance, horror, and mystery genres.

Lisa writes about the magic of ordinary things and about things that scare or anger her. Anything that moves her in some way is an inspiration for new work. That and the Pacific Northwest, which is a great inspiration to this Midwesterner. Much of her work is dark, and it often falls between the many cracks in between genres.


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Story spotlight: “Mother of the Waters” by Leigh Saunders


In the spring of 1810, the death of his father – and discovery of an unknown uncle – sends fifteen year-old Samuel Harlowe from his simple life in England across the sea on a journey filled with dangers and wonders he never imagined.

And when a kraken attacks his ship, Samuel must choose to whether to let his crewmates perish in the watery depths, or to pay the price demanded by the Caribbean goddess Mami Wata, the Mother of the Waters.
 
 
 
“Mother of the Waters” is in the Beneath the Waves collection. You can learn more on BundleRabbit, Goodreads, and the collection’s Facebook page.
 


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Leigh Saunders grew up as a “military brat.” And while she’s long-since settled in her Rocky Mountain home (with her husband and a pair of feuding cats that vie for her attention), her life-long wanderlust regularly inspires her to write about the people and places that spark her imagination. In her day job, Leigh writes user materials for a large software company—an endeavor which is often not all that far from writing science fiction.


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Story spotlight: “The Fake Path to True Memory” by Brigid Collins


“Those memories might be important some day,” Charlie’s husband whispered. “You might want them after I’m gone.”

Charlie did remember two things about his husband: the man had known Charlie wasn’t human, and he’d made Charlie promise to always remember his Faerie Realm origin. Now old age has left Charlie with nothing to occupy his time but those two facts and his quest to reclaim his most treasured memory: the name of the man he spent a mortal lifetime with.
 
 
“The Fake Path to True Memory” is in The Faerie Summer bundle. You can learn more on BundleRabbit, Goodreads, and the bundle’s Facebook page.
 


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Brigid Collins is a fantasy and science fiction writer living in Michigan. Her short stories have appeared in Fiction River, The Young Explorer’s Adventure Guide, and The MCB Quarterly. Her fantasy series, Songbird River Chronicles, are available in print and electronic versions on Amazon and Kobo.


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Story spotlight: “The Curse of the Soiled Doves” by Dale Hartley Emery


As California’s Department of Thaumaturgy battles a deepening drought, a mysterious force limits the flow of magic in downtown Sacramento.

Tasked to find an answer, Purvis Klemp—Senior Advisor to the Chief of Staff of the Thaumaturge General of the State of California—must entertain all manner of crackpot theories.

When the latest crackpot offers the most outlandish theory of all, Purvis must struggle to keep his cool …

… And to keep his job.
 

“The Curse of the Soiled Doves” is in the Fantasy in the City bundle. You can learn more on BundleRabbit, Goodreads, and the bundle’s Facebook page.


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Dale Hartley Emery writes fiction in a variety of genres, including fantasy, science fiction, and mystery. His short stories include Tailor’s Tears, Yantriel’s Privy, and The Last Whiskey Bacon Cheddar Burger at Saint Florian’s Abbey.

Dale has worked as a failed shoemaker, reluctant dairy farmer, and ruthless ice cream man. For several years he monitored the nuclear test ban treaty, making sure those pesky commies didn’t blow up the planet. (They didn’t.)

When he isn’t writing, Dale advises software teams and leaders about how to play nice together. Colleagues in Dale’s industry once created a special award for him for being reasonable.

Dale lives in California with his wife.


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Story spotlight: “The Rusalka” by DeAnna Knippling


Vlad’s secrets surround him like a cloak of mist: one secret hides another. He’s a gay man in Volgograd, Russia…and a drug dealer…and a vedmak, a witch, who can release the souls of the dying, if they wish it.

His secrets keep him safe…until he meets a rusalka, an undead water spirit who drowns the men who get too close to her, and has to face the terrible truth she brings…
 
 
 
“The Rusalka” is in the Beneath the Waves collection. You can learn more on BundleRabbit, Goodreads, and the collection’s Facebook page.
 


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DeAnna Knippling is a writer, a parent, and an overthinker who boldly paranoids where no one has paranoided before. Her superpower is speed reading. She ghostwrites novels for fun and profit. She has an essay in the award-winning Women Destroy Science Fiction! collection. She has had stories published in Penumbra, Three-Lobed Burning Eye, Black Static, and more. Her latest novel, Alice’s Adventures in Underland: The Queen of Stilled Hearts, comes out of her obsession with all things Alice. She writes books for middle-graders as De Kenyon.


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Story spotlight: “The Body Plot” by Rebecca M. Senese

Called to a crime scene, Detective Maeve Hemlock identifies the body as a faerie.

A faerie dead in the normal world.

No identification. No obvious cause of death.

As a faerie herself, Maeve feels obligated to investigate.

But that means crossing back into the Nether Realm. The one thing she hates. All because of a dead faerie.

Visit the strange world of Crossroad City, where magic and the normal world collide. And where detective Maeve Hemlock and the Spells and Misdemeanours Bureau struggle to keep the law and the magic in check to save all.
 
“The Body Plot” is in The Faerie Summer bundle. You can learn more on BundleRabbit, Goodreads, and the bundle’s Facebook page.
 


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Rebecca lives in Toronto, Canada where she survives the frigid blasts of winter and boiling steams of summer by weaving words of horror, mystery and science fiction. Garnering an Honorable Mention in “The Year’s Best Science Fiction” and nominated for numerous Aurora Awards, her work has appeared in Fiction River, Tesseracts, Ride the Moon, TransVersions, Deadbolt Magazine, On Spec, The Vampire’s Crypt, Storyteller, Reflection’s Edge, Future Syndicate and Into the Darkness, among others.


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Story spotlight: “Chains” by T. Thorn Coyle

Clara just wanted to bake bread, read her tarot cards, and find a girlfriend.

And then the candles started doing something weird…The flames were each two inches high, and wavering. Like something was moving in the room.

And it wasn’t her.

“Read for me.”

“Who are you?” Clara asked.

The candles wavered once more.
 
 
“Chains” is in the Haunted bundle. You can learn more on BundleRabbit, Goodreads, and the bundle’s Facebook page.
 


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A salty-tongued, tattooed mystic, Thorn is the author of the nine book Witches of Portland series, the alt-history urban fantasy series The Panther Chronicles, the novel Like Water, and two short story collections. The Witches of Portland series will be out in Spring, 2018. She has also written multiple non-fiction books including Sigil Magic for Writers, Artists & Other Creatives, Kissing the Limitless, and Crafting a Daily Practice. Thorn’s work appears in many anthologies, magazines, and collections.

She has taught magical practice in nine countries, on four continents, and in twenty-five states. Her other occupations have been numerous, and include working four years each on the Pacific Stock Options exchange (as a young Anarchist punk with a blue, flat-top Mohawk), in a woman-run peep show, and full time in the San Francisco soup kitchen she ended up volunteering at for twenty years. All of this, along with her activism, informs her fiction.

An interloper to the Pacific Northwest, Thorn joyfully stalks city streets, writes in cafes, and talks to crows, squirrels, and trees.


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