A Not-so-Nice Dose of Reality

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Today, I had a Did You Know…post planned about a mythical way to become immortal.

Instead, this is going to be more personal.

A reality check.

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I’m the kind of person who has lofty goals, constantly pushing myself to do more—if not obvious from my recent post about having a full plate. And I always overbook myself.

This year, however, I’ve been successful in keeping to many of my goals—a consistent four blog posts a month, a consistent word count for creative projects, a consistent editing schedule.

But working from mid-morning until eight or nine in the evening has its downsides. I grow exhausted after a few super-productive days and find that my focus becomes an elusive and slippery frienemy. Which means a lot of naps.

More than three a week lately, y’all.

And that scares me a little.

Progress means back tracking and side steps. I know this. But when this happens, I often feel discouraged. Why can’t I do more? I did all of the things yesterday, and today, I can’t.

I simply can’t.

And although I don’t often admit to it, anxiety consumes me. I don’t have the debilitating kind of anxiety or depression. I’m too much of a control freak.

So, I force myself to get out of bed. Pick away at some project. Because if I don’t, I will get depressed. My anxiety will win.

I choose to let it fuel me instead.

But I am reminded to give myself a break. Work on self-care.

And it’s hard.

Ain’t a lot of good that comes out of easy, so I guess I’m on the right track.

Well, thanks for sitting through my mini-therapy session. I hope y’all take care of yourselves.

 

Feel free to tell me how you manage stress and an overly-full plate.

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Did You Know…An Ethology Lesson on Muses.

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Much like Lily, muses are high up on my favorites list—just behind the chimera. This may be because I possess a living muse, my husband, whom influences so much of my writing without being acutely aware of it. And man, did he inspire the hell out of my Lily Graves series, more specifically, Evan Walker, my leading chimera.

In Lily’s world, they’re not so much gods or goddesses like in Greek mythology. Rather, they’re like the fey or elementals—immortal so long as nothing kills them—but their powers are limited to shaping others’ minds.

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According to Lily:

Muses were by far my favorite to observe and read about. How they could gather a group of artists, share time with them, and inspire such variations of themselves and their stories. They were creatures that could be found within most characters in assorted story types. Others talked to everyone about anything, spreading seeds on the wind to hope for germination. 

I see my husband do this ALL THE TIME. It’s fascinating.

Lily even gets to experience this:

Starr’s far-off look made me wonder if she whispered to the squirrels outside. Her hand fell to the piece on her easel before her attention followed, like a muse directed her.

I searched the room as casually as I could muster, which I had to admit, wasn’t much. A boy with a blue and purple fade and a flop of curls in front of his left eye moved his lips silently, but the cadence had energy, the kind I felt more than heard. He smiled around his words and a wave hit me.

My pencil hit the paper, scribbling before my mind caught up.

A flower.

With tear-drop petals.

A waterlily.

Floating.

I nabbed a pack of pastel sticks.

Water emerged around the pad.

Green, one dimensional under the lily.

I highlighted it with the blues and greens. Lightly. As the energy swirled and died around me.

I sucked in a breath as I set down the pastels.

Starr laughed at me. “You are funny.”

The elegant coloring of the flower struck me. I wasn’t being humble when I said I didn’t have any talent. But this…was one of those moments you get blessed with every now and again—that one when you’re in the right place at the right time and stuff works out perfectly.

“How am I funny?”

I got a shake of the head for an answer.

It’s how I’ve often experienced getting hit with inspiration, so it only made sense to reflect that in my version of the muse.

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In fact, they seem to combine the current culture’s depiction of muses with the Ancient Greek variety. The mythological muses are often seen as nine goddesses, the daughters or Zeus and Mnemosyne, who presided over the arts and sciences, becoming both their symbols and their protectors.  Essentially, they were inspirational goddesses and embodied poetry, history, music, tragedy, hymns, dance, comedy, and astronomy.

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In any case, these are some interesting folks, and I can’t wait to discover more about them.

 

Stay tuned for more mini-ethology lessons from Lily Graves’s world and sign up for an ARC of the first in her series, GIRL WITH THE GLOWING HAIR.

Full Plate: A New Novel and Three Shorts.

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I’ve been talking about a lot of upcoming projects lately, THE SHOEMAKER’S APPRENTICE, coming this summer; GIRL WITH THE GLOWING HAIR, coming this winter; and my on-going writer’s workshop, officially launching in June via Patreon.

Well, I also have two anthologies coming this year, which means two more of my own stories, too, and neither of these are canon. The first will be in TRANSCENDENT, our Dreams, Nightmares, Visions, and Hallucinations anthology, whose cover is AMAZING! Thank you, Dean. The second is IN THE AIR, which is our new elemental anthology to go with ON FIRE and UNDERWATER. Coming next year, an earth-related call.

So, I wanted to set up my thoughts as I brainstorm my untitled TRANSCENDENT story.

Currently, I’ve dubbed it Sin-Eaters because that’s the base of my concept. I got this idea from one of my students, who wrote about being an Eater, or one who will do anything to succeed. They live for it.

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My twisted brain went to satire and dystopia, two of my favorite niches. Think a more broken version of our world, where a select few become martyrs around puberty, typically eleven. These youth wander through cities, homeless but not hungry. They’re well respected and feared in the community. Their basic needs taken care of by the people they serve. All they have to do is eat their sins, literally consuming them and taking the karmic hit points rather than the sinner. This is why most of them die before they’re thirty.

As I plan to make this a serial, this first story will follow Jace as he meets his first female Eater, who’s running from the authorities. Soon after, he moves to the capitol and is dropped into a sick and twisted world where his life expectancy halves.

I’m unsure of the ending struggles, so I won’t pretend to know the specifics of where this is going, but I do know it will be dark. I don’t tend to write happy endings.

So, yeah. I hope you stay tuned as I write and edit for TRANSCENDENT, for the beautiful cover, and for the peeks into my new and repeat authors as they weave magical stories for us to enjoy.

What are you currently working on? Let me know in the comments below. I’d love to hear about them.

Gregory L. Norris, a Featured Spotlight

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If you haven’t heard of the On Fire anthology, this mini-interview and excerpt series will showcase the amazing authors I get to work with and their writing. And here’s our final author. Meet Gregory.

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Unfortunately, I didn’t get to interview Gregory for this series, but that doesn’t mean we can’t celebrate his contribution to the anthology with an excerpt.

From “The Arsonist” by Gregory L. Norris:

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His name was Ray McCandless, and he was an arsonist.

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 Sonny McCandless, Ray’s stepdaddy, gave the boy his last name when Ray was only ten. The same year, on a miserably humid Sunday, Stepdaddy Sonny also gave Ray the first of several scars on his arms with a line of cigarettes.

Ray screamed when the embers seared his skin as though the sun jumped down from the sky to feast upon his flesh.

Stepdaddy Sonny laughed.

“You tell anyone, I’ll burn you worse,” Ray’s stepdaddy said. “I’ll burn you real bad.”

Ray wore long sleeves after that, even on hot summer days.

He got good at keeping secrets.

3.

 He set fire to the Big Woods near their house.

Curlicues of crisp smoke drifted up from the pine needles. The flames spread, conquering whatever green things it encountered. They leapt onto branches, sipped the oily pinesap, spread indiscriminately to hemlock and paper-white birch. The hungry, hissing music sang to him as knots in the wood blew apart.

Smoke billowed into a cloudless sky. The blaze did not last long before discovery, but the match was struck, the message sent.

Ray soon grew high on the dense smell of burning forest. He couldn’t break away until the man in the devil costume stepped out of the inferno.

A man in a silly, cheap Halloween costume, shiny red satin cape, with a plastic pitchfork in hand, and fake horns on his head. His face was thin and average with one of those slender mustaches applied with eyeliner for a bad community theater production.

“There you are, Smoky,” the devil said, his voice infused with a soupçon of British accent.

“My name’s not…”

The man moved beside him, planted his plastic pitchfork like a farmer or Poseidon with his trident. Together, they watched the forest fire spread, its hunger expanding with shocking speed.

“You know, Smoky, you’ve done an impressive job here. Do you hear all those wild Lady Slipper orchids screaming out as the flames reduce them to carbon?”

“I’m Ray, not Smoky. And orchids don’t scream.”

“Just because you can’t hear them doesn’t mean that they don’t. Still, I’d like for you to aim higher.”

“Higher?”

The devil leaned closer and whispered. “Sonny.”

 

 

Gregory L. Norris is a full-time professional writer, with work appearing in numerous short story anthologies, national magazines, novels, the occasional TV episode, and, so far, one produced feature film (Brutal Colors, which debuted on Amazon Prime January 2016). A former feature writer and columnist at Sci Fi, the official magazine of the Sci Fi Channel (before all those ridiculous Ys invaded), he once worked as a screenwriter on two episodes of Paramount’s modern classic, Star Trek: Voyager. Two of his paranormal novels (written under his rom-de-plume, Jo Atkinson) were published by Home Shopping Network as part of their “Escape With Romance” line—the first time HSN has offered novels to their global customer base. He judged the 2012 Lambda Awards in the SF/F/H category. Three times now, his stories have notched Honorable Mentions in Ellen Datlow’s Best-of books. In May 2016, he traveled to Hollywood to accept HM in the Roswell Awards in Short SF Writing. In 2017, Norris was hired to pen the novelization of the classic made-for-TV movie, The Day After Tomorrow: Into Infinity—which he watched when he was eleven. Follow his literary adventures at www.gregorylnorris.blogspot.com.

ON FIRE is available now: Amazon, Nook, Kobo, and the Transmundane Press store.

Anniversary Sale, Broken World Edition!

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Hello, lovelies!

It’s been a year since I published BLOOD PHOENIX: IMPRINTED, the third book in Ria’s saga. As I jump into plotting out BLOOD PHOENIX: INFERNO and drafting THE SHOEMAKER’S APPRENTICE, I thought I’d slash some prices to celebrate my Broken World series.

BLOOD PHOENIX: REBIRTH, book one, is now free (MOBI on Automated download since Amazon isn’t a fan of free), Barnes & Noble, and Kobo!

BLOOD PHOENIX: CLAIMED & BLOOD PHOENIX: IMPRINTED are both just 99cents on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Kobo!

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Coffee addicted vampire, Ria, has more than her hands full with wonky powers, lovers, and enemies.

Made without her permission by a man that says she is his long, dead wife, she must pass the trials of their queen to remain one of the living dead.

But her physical makeup makes her and her allies question what they already knew about vampires, shifters, and the rules for mating with humans.

Now, this free-thinking and sassy hybrid must pave her own way under the thumb of a demented and power-hungry woman.

Can she survive? And what will become of their world if she doesn’t?

 

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My vampire creation story, MAIDEN OF THE UNDERWORLD, is always free (EPUB,MOBI,PDF).

Atlantis sinks, gods fall, and the first vampire is born.

Forced to sacrifice those she loves, Phea swears revenge on the gods responsible for their deaths.

Escaping from the Underworld, she must find a way back to its center and usurp the Death God’s and his wrath. The struggle for power feeds her new-found hunger, and she fears more pain and destruction.

Will she save her people or doom them all?

 

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And THE SHOEMAKER’S APPRENTICE is coming this summer, sign up for your free ARC copy now.

Long ago, the death of his little sister broke his family apart.

After a close call left him blind in one eye, Boden must return to the home he fled as a young leprechaun.

For hundreds of years, he has feared facing his family and punishment for his sister’s death.

Boden needs to make up for his mistakes before he can fight a war for the woman he loves.

 

I can’t wait to see how this Broken World expands as I finish Ria’s last two books, bring her world crashing into the LOVING RED saga, and pick up a few side stories along the way.

Did You Know…An Ethology Lesson on Sirens.

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I’ve just finished reading my initial draft of GIRL WITH THE GLOWING HAIR, and those sarcastic characters could seriously win the snark Olympics. Still absolutely in love with them.

Today, I wanted to focus on the siren.

According to Lily’s ethology book:

Sirens are nocturnal, prone to water, and travel in groups of three. They’re characterized by their smooth talk and pride—often challenging muses to musical competitions without much success. Most importantly, they’re dangerously tempting in a way that denies reason, allowing them to be dealers of destruction and death.

Lily experiences their power early on as one quiets her first class and subdues their teacher. His eventual disappearance sparks her investigation. Later in the novel, she also meets Thorn, another siren who’s flirty and smooth demeanor puts Lily off. Still, he’s more than willing to verbally spar with my protagonist as a member of the debate team.

My sirens come in the form of regular teens, but most mythology shows them as chimera, typically associated with the mermaid, or further back as a half-woman, half-bird. However, all mythology shows them as using hypnotic music to lure others to danger and death.

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Older depictions of the siren come from Greek mythology, like Homer, the Ovid, and the Odyssey. Typically shown as three women who enchanted men with their beauty, one using her voice, a second using a flute, and the last with her lyre, and they lured these men to watery graves.

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In Christianity, they’re symbolic of dangerous temptations and some Jesuit writers asserted their actual existence, who described such a woman as having the glance of a basilisk, an enchanting voice, and beauty that defies reason—a “voice and sight alike deal destruction and death.” Some argue that they were built aboard Noah’s Ark.

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In Russian mythology, the Sirin were portrayed as wearing a crown or with a halo. She sang to the saints of future fortune but was dangerous to humans. Often, men fought their hypnotic spells by shooting cannons, ringing bells, and making other loud noises to make them fly off. However, the Sirin was seen as positive, symbolizing eternal joy and divine happiness—only happy people could hear the Sirin.

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In modern literature, Margaret Atwood depicts a contemporary siren in her The Robber Bride as “the alluring and evil from both [traditional mermaid and mythical siren] into one devastatingly fearful and desirable woman. Judging by the marketing copy for The Robber Bride, Zenia, seems to be the modern exemplar of this mermaid siren/creature. She seduces and steals the men of her best friends, defrauds a substantial amount of money from one of them, blackmails another, and fakes her own death” (Trigg). She is also compared to a wolf, feral, fearsome, and brilliant, which furthers the connection to other half-animal creatures, like the mermaid. Trigg has compiled some nice references in her publicly-posted thesis, here.

It seems that as a whole, sirens depict manipulation, danger, and death.

 

Stay tuned for more mini-ethology lessons from Lily Graves’s world and sign up for an ARC of the first in her series, GIRL WITH THE GLOWING HAIR.

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Linda G. Hill, a Featured Spotlight

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If you haven’t heard of the On Fire anthology, this mini-interview and excerpt series will showcase the amazing authors I get to work with and their writing. Meet Linda.

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What motivates you to write?

People motivate me to write. Human behavior fascinates me endlessly: I can spend hours writing scenarios in which characters react to their surroundings and one another, just to work through what makes them tick.

How do you deal with writer’s block?

I deal with writer’s block by having a shower. I’m always amazed by how many other authors say they find inspiration there. Must have something to do with not having anything to look at but tiles…that’s my best guess anyway.

What interesting thing did you learn while writing your last story?

My current WIP, the third novel in my paranormal romance series, “The Great Dagmaru,” takes place, in part, in Ottawa, at the National Arts Centre. I was lucky enough to discover that they had an open house of sorts, where they allowed the general public access to the stage, the dressing rooms, the prop rooms and rehearsal halls – basically the entire building. During my self-guided tour, I had the opportunity to meet the stage manager and discuss a scene in my novel where my main character, a stage magician, has horses on stage. I was able to obtain the logistics of getting the animals into the building, and I had the chance to see the loading docks for reference. I found out they had an elephant on stage there once, so the horses weren’t as much of an issue as I imagined they’d be when I wrote the scene.

 

From “The Flame on Lick’s Island” by Linda G. Hill:

I wasn’t confident walking into Penny’s shop. Of the four ladies standing behind customers, talking to them in the mirrors, three were barely into their twenties. White-haired, Penny’s former beauty radiated past her wrinkles when she smiled at her client. At the jangling of my entrance, she dropped her comb, pausing on me a beat too long before she bent to pick it up and sink it into her jar of Barbicide.

“Can I help you?” She plucked another comb and ran it under the tap.

“I’m just here for a cut,” I said.

One of the other girls did my hair, but Penny’s attention made me uncomfortable. Before leaving, I asked for a word. I was surprised when she suggested a cup of coffee.

We sat in the familiar diner.

The staff eyed us.

“I heard Lick’s was passed on as an inheritance. Was Kristie a close relative?”

My turn to gawp. “We weren’t related at all. Hubert was my husband’s uncle.”

“You’re joking. You’re the spitting image.”

Unnerved, I twisted a napkin in my lap. “It must be a coincidence.”

Penny shook her head. “I’m guessing you want to know about her.”

“How did you know?”

“Because Kristie is still out there, on the island.”

My shoulders jarred against the metal seatback.

“I’m right, aren’t I? People like Kristie don’t just go away when they die. And after what Hubert did… He must have loved her, though.”

“What did he do?”

“Hubert had an affair. When Kristie found out, she had her third miscarriage. Nobody even knew she was pregnant that time. She lost all of them out on the island. Hubert took care of her body, but her mind…that was a different matter.”

“I understand you used to go out and do her hair.”

“Yeah. And she’d talk to me when I did. Then one day, I had an appointment. I got out of the boat on their dock—it was a hot day, just like this one.” Penny sipped of her coffee.

Out the window, the traffic stopped and started at the corner.

“She’d cut it all off. That wasn’t the worst of it. I can’t talk about the last time I saw her.”

I had the diary; I’d find out myself.

“It was a long time before I went out there again. Years.” She pulled a tissue out of her pocket and dabbed her eyes. “When I did, Hubert told me she was gone. I was the first in town to find out.”

“He didn’t hold a service or anything?” I asked.

“She had no family, and I was the closest thing she had to a friend. People asked the doc about her occasionally, but she kept to herself, so no one pried.”

That poor woman.

“So that’s it.” She looked me in the eye, her voice suddenly cold. “Was there anything else specific you wanted to know?”

“What do you know about the candles? Kristie seemed to like them. I keep finding puddles of dried wax everywhere.”

“She made them. The last time I was there, one was in the window by the front door of the house. Hubert had it lit like he was waiting for her to come home. Poor asshole.”

“Do you think she had anything to do with the fire in the apartment, here in town?”

The look in Penny’s eye made the temperature drop a degree, chilling my bones. “I have no idea.”

She paid for our coffees and left.

 

Linda G. Hill is a stay-at-home mom of three boys and the guardian of one beagle and two kitties. She concocts tales in her head 24/7 and blogs almost daily at lindaghill.com. Linda’s newest release, The Magician’s Curse, is the first in a series of Gothic paranormal romances. Also available on Amazon and Kobo is her romantic comedy novelette, All Good Stories. She lives in Southern Ontario, Canada.

ON FIRE is available now: Amazon, Nook, Kobo, and the Transmundane Press store.

Ashley Nicole Hunter, a Featured Spotlight

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If you haven’t heard of the On Fire anthology, this mini-interview and excerpt series will showcase the amazing authors I get to work with and their writing. Meet Ashely.

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Unfortunately, I didn’t get to interview Ashely. However, that doesn’t mean we can’t celebrate her contribution to the anthology with a nice, long excerpt.

 

From “Fire Song” by Ashley Nicole Hunter:

Walking on firm land again improved my mood, but the tension in my shoulders since leaving the photo shoot refused to ease up. That was nothing new; I couldn’t relax unless I was working, and for a photographer, I had an unfortunate dislike of travel due to all the restrictions. The flight from Indonesia to China hadn’t been terribly long, but the one from China to Los Angeles had been sheer murder. If not for the recording of the song I’d made, I might have gone unhinged with the need to take out my lighter. Now, settled into the airport to wait for the taxi I scheduled, I removed my earbuds and tucked them into my jacket pocket. I still couldn’t indulge the way I would prefer to, but neither could I afford to keep them in and risk missing my taxi. Instead, I pulled a file up on my battered phone, taking solace in the looped video of a crackling fireplace I’d downloaded. The real thing was better, of course, but beat the silence every time.

I hummed the song under my breath as a sixty-something woman sat down on the bench beside me and settled her bags around her feet. A large, red maple leaf was emblazoned across her chest.

“Well, I’m off to Canada,” she said, surprising absolutely no one. “Going to visit the grandkids before my daughter and her good-for-nothing husband finally end this sham of a marriage.” She inclined her head in my direction, making it clear that I was going to serve as her confidant until a taxi or the apocalypse rescued me.

This was another peril of travel. I switched off my phone, turned to face her, and waited. I had not volunteered to enter into this conversation, and I was determined, after seventeen hours in the air, to participate as little as possible in it.

Ignoring my bloodshot eyes, three-day beard growth, and my “Lick it or Kick It” t-shirt, Mrs. Maple happily pressed ahead with forging a connection between us.

“You know, if she had listened to me from the beginning, she could have saved a lot of money…her father’s money, anyways…and just stayed in Utah.” She laughed too loud, like the silence bothered her, too. “But kids never listen, do they? Think they know better.”

Reasonably certain that I was as old as her daughter, maybe a little younger, I was uncertain what she expected me to contribute.

To her credit, she must have realized this, because she nudged me with one plump elbow. “Don’t be shy, young man, speak up. Where are you off to?”

After ten years working freelance, I had prepared a method of self-defense for situations like this. Pulling in a deep breath, I leaned in towards her.

“Well, I am taking the advice of my therapist and going to stay with my brother, who I have not seen since I had a penis surgically attached and changed my name from Tracey to Trevor, to talk about family matters even more uncomfortable than who I like to screw.”

Mrs. Maple opened her mouth, closed it, opened it, then picked up her bags. She moved down to the next bench, nudged an elderly man trying to open his medication bottle, and nodded in my direction before she loudly whispered and made several phallic hand gestures. I thanked the gods that was done with and returned to my phone, not resurfacing again until my taxi deposited me at my brother’s door.

Craig, three years older than me, lived in a monstrously-large imitation of a ranch house that looked like it belonged back home in North Dakota rather than here in California, surrounded by Spanish-tile roofing and terra-cotta pots. I gave a low whistle as I got my first look at the place, wondering how much my sister-in-law’s dad had paid for it. The house was painted a searing shade of blue, and the door—a glossy, black thing with a sunflower wreath hanging from it—was tucked so far back in an alcove that I spent the first few minutes knocking on one of his three garage doors before I found the entrance.

I hadn’t been lying earlier; it had been ten years, plus or minus a few months, since I had been in the same room as my brother. After I’d dropped out of college and moved to New York to begin my career, I’d also started my transition process. Craig had been supportive over emails and phone calls, but we’d both had a pretty strict upbringing, and I used my coming out as an excuse for avoiding not just him, but all of our family. I hadn’t even attended his wedding; I’d just had Amazon ship him a set of mixing bowls and a few hand towels. I treated my brother terribly, and I hoped it gave him a reason to hate me the way that he should have, wouldhave, if he’d known the truth.

To my shame, Craig had assumed the blame was his. He often watched his words when he called or emailed me, and sometimes, when he was drinking, he would ask me to tell him what he’d done wrong so he could apologize for it. I tried to be more of an asshole to him…I missed birthday calls, mailed him gifts I knew he would hate, trash talked the wife I had never even met. Craig was a good person and a better brother than I deserved; he always took the blame and believed he deserved whatever I threw at him. He was so sweet and forgiving that I began to hate him for it, which only deepened my self-loathing.

When he had emailed me the previous month to ask if I would come stay with him after filming an eruption at Mount Merapi, I called my therapist.

“I think you should go.” Her voice crackled over the bad connection. “You’ve been carrying this burden since you were a child, Trevor. And your brother has a right to know.”

Physically closer to my brother than I’d been since I’d left home in the middle of the night, a cold pit settled in my stomach. Call the cab back, I thought, but just as I was shifting my bags to fish my cell out of my pocket, the front door burst open with a shout.

“Hey, buddy. Long time no see.” I barely had time to look up before my overweight brother, with his embarrassing fondness for plaid button-ups and Nickelback t-shirts, came barreling out and into my luggage-filled arms. “Here, let me help you with that.”

 

Ashley Nicole Hunter is the assistant editor for the Vortex literary magazine and the editor for the Arkansas Pagans website. She is currently writing a novel about werewolves on food stamps and a web serial about jogging naked through the woods. Her passions include community service, awkward conversations, and arguing in favor of ellipses and the interrobang.

ON FIRE is available now: Amazon, Nook, Kobo, and the Transmundane Press store.

Did You Know…About Hybrids & Chaos?

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In most stories or myths, hybrid creatures are rare. And no, I’m not talking about shifters or were creatures who can change form, as they have become a species in their own right.

Instead, I’m talking about those anomalies—the chimera, the centaur, the satyr, the harpy, the lamia, the sphinx, the Anubis, the gorgon, the Pegasus, and man, could I go on. In fact, here’s a link to a nice wiki list of them, if you’re interested.

More recently, fiction and cinema have mashed together more types of creatures in interesting ways to test the boundaries of fantasy and science fiction and horror, like the vampire-werewolf hybrid from Underworld, Supernatural,andThe Vampire Diaries.

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For me, these are the most fascinating because most lore indicates how vampire and werewolves, who both transform others via a bite, are poisonous to one another. This is true in my Broken World as well, although for a reason that I haven’t found for other mythologies.

I’ll take this opportunity to explain. Phea, the first vampire and their ruling queen, is also the mother of all shifters—or bosex as I like to call them. Her son, Anthemos Romulous Celampresian, is the Atlantean god of beast and the father of all bosex. My variety of species sprung from Anthemos mating with various human women, and their offspring took on animal forms until puberty. The problem arose when Anthemos fell in love with one of these human women. His mother, Phea, grew jealous, made threats, and made attempts to kill his family. Because of this, he made their blood poisonous to her, and therefore, all other vampires as a means to hinder her ability to bring them harm.

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This is why Ria’s ability to drink from Mark in book two throws everyone for a loop. She can do this because she’s the first natural hybrid in hundreds of years and only the second in existence, and her phoenix powers allows her to perform some strange feats.

However, her abilities are not the main reason for concern over her hybrid status, except maybe for her personal desire not to be dissected by her queen, Phea. No, she indicates a larger-world phenomenon. It means chaos, an undoing of the usual rules, and a time of transition, although what that means, nobody is really clear about yet.

Except for me, but I don’t count.

I have snuck in a few clues, like how Julia in book three is able to walk around in the sunlight when in book one, James made a pretty big deal about Ria being up before darkness. She explained this away as a part of her hybrid status, but was that it?

Well, I can’t tell you it all, now, can I? But the answer is both yes, and no…

 

Want to learn more about the intricacies of hybrids in my Broken World? Take a dive into the series.

Here’s a free download of the creation story.

Here’s the first three books in her series.

And here’s her parent’s story.

Did You Know? An Ethology Lesson on Fey.

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I’m presently celebrating having finished the first draft of Lily Grave’s debut book, GIRL WITH THE GLOWING HAIR. I’ve been working on this baby for over two years—distracted quite a bit by a few other projects—and it’s done. Yay!

 

Okay, so today I wanted to talk a little bit about the fey, which are more traditional than the fae/faeries in my Broken World series.

The most common species of the fey are fairies, but their range includes a wide and varied list, like pixies, brownies, sprites, elves, leprechauns, goblins, dryads, nymphs, gnomes, and banshees.

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Again, fairies make up the bulk of the fey, so much of what’s known about the species focuses on them.

Here’s what Lily’s ethology book says, “Fey move in a hive-like group. They often mimic their leader and may develop a collective consciousness, which allows them to think and act as a single entity. This makes fey a near unstoppable force when threatened.“

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Fey are perceived as good and light but are often tricksters and prefer to communicate with their minds rather than speaking. They have little general interest in human affairs and remain excluded.

This is why the fey have a highly defined royal structure, great love and respect for royal families, who are often the most beautiful.

The humanoid of the species don’t age physically, maintaining their alluring, enticing, and desirable forms; rather their appearance is dependent on their mental maturity and social status—age is a symbol of respect.

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Some of their powers include telepathy, photokinesis, portal creation, and levitation.

Mythology describes different fey as being able to change into otters or common farm animals, some appear as bright orbs of light, others were responsible for instilling magic into humans—like the druids, groups live around tree roots and are closely linked to elementals as well, and texts say that mermaids, selkies, and kelpies fit into the fey species.

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Stay tuned for more mini-ethology lessons from Lily Graves’s world and sign up for an ARC of the first in her series, GIRL WITH THE GLOWING HAIR.