I wish they’d make a “Are you sure you want to publish this?” button. Sorry for the link-less last email that went out, folks. That was a premature release reveal.
Best laid plans and all…
I was going to participate in a “call” for flash fiction awhile ago that I saw on one of my author groups, but you know…I just kept coming up with stuff that didn’t work. It was either longer than I think the call-er takes (the guidelines asked for 300 words) or it didn’t end happily. ;) So, for your giggles, here’s what I came up with.
The picture for the prompt looked something like this:
Note the fact that the dude has no hair on his chest (or at least I don’t see any in the picture). Looking at this, a little shapeshifter story popped into my head for your Halloween reading pleasure. It goes something like this: (**Might have a bit of language some of you might consider offensive. Be warned).
Scratch til it bleeds
Once king of the Known Savanna the humans bested him. He couldn’t remember now how it happened.
The concubine’s soulless eyes swept over them; one after another she scrutinized the men standing in line with him.
Balless twits the lot of them. And every one of them shaved clean. He’d never known such a shifter pride to be so chicken. Every one of the shifters beside him exuded an arrogance he didn’t deserve. Did they see what they’d given up for a chance in her bed?
He kicked himself for he followed the example. Pride, survival? T’was a hard call.
His skin itched from the shave he’d given himself trying to blend in with the conqueror. Foolish move, that. He’d give anything right now, to scratch! But she watched. And he wouldn’t let her know she’d won. Be still. Overlooked. Freedom awaits!
“You!” she said.
He touched his hat. “Ma’am.” Damn. Caught. Time was, he’d crept across the savanna like a hunter, not the hunted. You’ve grown weak, son.
She pointed at him.
The guards grabbed his arms and escorted him into her quarters. Opulence oozed from the walls, but the furs gracing the bed and marble floor made him shiver. Lion, leopard. His kin.
His skin itched as his fur wiggled beneath the human facade. He couldn’t help himself; he drew his sheared-short fingernails across his chest. Damn playing a human was hard!
She shut the door and slid out of her robes, standing naked before him.
“Really, now.” She stalked closer, as if he were the prey and she the lioness in tall grass. “Why do you scratch?”
He gave her a cheeky grin. “Come here and I’ll show you.”
She removed his hat, pushed him down on the bed, and stripped him of his jeans. Her caressing hands made it hard to concentrate.
She kept missing the right spot!
His lush golden fur wouldn’t be contained; as it slipped through his skin relief flooded him. “That’s why,” he said.
She screamed bloody murder… His claws came out…
He dropped her corpse and scratched, sighing relief. Satisfied, he picked up his hat, wondering, were the thin blood streaks across his chest from her claws, or his?
Hehe. I hope you enjoyed this little bit of flash fiction
copyright 2014, Juli D. Revezzo
*Sorry. I do not know the photographer of the above cowboy. It was just provided as part of the prompt.
There are very few things in life I love better than a book, and if it’s old? Oh, dear.I’ve been known to Geek out about them. (Did I ever tell you I owned a reproduction Medieval manuscript?) *removes Geek hat* So when my next guest, author Vanessa Finaughty, mentioned she had a little essay about ancient books, ancient books of magic, at that, I couldn’t resist. So without further ado, I’ll let her enlighten us on the subject. Vanessa, you have the floor.
Real-Life Ancient Magic Books
Guest post by Vanessa Finaughty
Perhaps most modern humans don’t believe in magic, but ancient humans certainly did, as is evidenced by some of the magic books that have survived the passing of time. Who knows how many more intriguing books of the same sort once existed or, better still, are yet to be discovered?
To celebrate the Wizard of Ends virtual book tour, I thought it would be fun to share a little about some of the ancient magic books discovered thus far – in the real world.
The Book of Thoth
This is probably the best-known ancient magic book, around which there is much controversy. One could write a book about the Book of Thoth – and many have – which is why this will get its own blog post on 25 October. The Book of Thoth is a collection of Ancient Egyptian texts believed to be written by Thoth, the god of knowledge and writing. Another Book of Thoth is said to exist, an ancient spell book. In it are two spells, it’s said, one that enables the reader to perceive the gods, and one that enables the reader to comprehend animals. Many believe this second Book of Thoth to be a myth, but I have to wonder…
The Voynich Manuscript
This has been carbon dated to the early 15th century, and has often been called ‘the most mysterious manuscript’. Written in an unknown language, it’s filled with illustrations of tiny naked people, astronomical charts and strange plants. Based on the illustrations, it’s believed to have six sections, namely herbs, recipes, human biology, medicine, cosmology and astronomy. Many have claimed it a hoax – a rather elaborate one, don’t you think? It has passed through the hands of alchemists and priests. It could be a book of magic… ;-)
The Sword of Moses
This is the apocryphal Hebrew book of magic. Its text is believed to pre-date the 11th century, and only a fragment of it still exists. The book is said to include descriptions of angels and ‘heavenly realms’, invocations, prayers and rituals required in order to use the ‘sword’ – a long list of magical names that appear in the book, each for a specific purpose.
The Book of Soyga
This is a 16th century manuscript that once belonged to one of Europe’s most famous magicians, John Dee. Some of it is coded, but some is written in Latin, so we know the book holds information on spells, demonology and angels.
Have you invented an ancient book for one of your stories? Have you included a real ancient book in any of them? I’d love to hear about it in the comments!
About the Author
Vanessa Finaughty is an author of many genres who now focuses on fantasy and science fiction. She’s published 15 books, of which 6 are fantasy. Vanessa grew up in Cape Town, South Africa, and still lives there with her husband of fifteen years, her baby daughter and plenty of furry, four-legged ‘children’.
Vanessa has always been passionate about books, and knew from a young age that she wanted to write them one day. She loves animals, coffee and the smell of wet grass, and hates liars, sweltering weather and long queues. Her interests include reading, photography, the supernatural, mythology, aliens and outer space, ancient history, life’s mysteries and martial arts, of which she has five years’ experience.
Wizard of Ends, Book 1: 9 October 2014
Wizard of Ends, Book 2: Dark Creature: 23 October 2014
Wizard of Ends GIVEAWAY & DISCOUNT DATES
All coupons below offer a 100% discount. (Please check dates before use)
Legends of Origin, Books 1 – 3 by Vanessa Finaughty
Book 1 is permanently free.
Smashwords coupon code for Book 2: BP37Q
Smashwords coupon code for Book 3: YC54A
Valid: 24 October
11 – 13 October
Dragon Kin & other fantasy stories by Vanessa Finaughty
Smashwords coupon code: ZU52B
Valid: 11 – 13 October
Sorcery & Subterfuge by Vanessa Finaughty
Smashwords coupon code: HA38K
Valid: 16 October
18 – 20 October
The Angel’s Voice, Books 1 & 2 by Michelle Louring
Smashwords coupon code for Book 1: FH27E
Smashwords coupon code for Book 2: EN84L
Valid: 18 – 20 October
Royal Wizard by Alianne Donnelly
Smashwords coupon code: XV26R
Valid: 21 October
The Accidental Wizard by Simon Ludgate
Smashwords coupon code: FM47Z
Valid: 27 October
Thank you for being my guest today, Vanessa and for your fascinating post! I just love old books, don’t you, folks? Thank you all for coming by and enjoy the books! And Vanessa, good luck with Wizard of Ends!
I have another guest for you today, fantasy author H.L. Burke has stopped by and she’s brought dragons! Don’t worry, they don’t really look hungry. ;) They’re just kinda guarding us. So do come sit by the fire, have some coffee, or ale, whatever you like best, while H.L. Burke tells us a little story about the latest in her fantasy series, The Dragon and the Scholar … H.L. And do check out her giveaway below. Without further ado, H.L, The floor is all yours.
ABOUT H. L. Burke
Born in a small town in north central Oregon, H. L. Burke spent most of her childhood around trees and farm animals and always accompanied by a book. Growing up with epic heroes from Middle Earth and Narnia keeping her company, she also became an incurable romantic.
An addictive personality, she jumped from one fandom to another, being at times completely obsessed with various books, movies, or television series (Lord of the Rings, Star Wars, and Star Trek all took their turns), but she has grown to be what she considers a well-rounded connoisseur of geek culture.
Married to her high school crush who is now a US Marine, she has moved multiple times in her adult life but believes home is wherever her husband, two daughters, and pets are.
On her first assignment out of the Academy, young healer and scholar, Shannon Macaulay is summoned to the struggling kingdom of Regone to see to the wounds of a young but crippled king. When the unwanted attentions of an aggressive knight and the sudden appearance of a hated dragon turn her world upside down, she decides to take matters into her own hands even if doing so proves dangerous. Finding herself strangely drawn to the company of the dragon, Gnaw, Shannon must force herself out of her safe world of books and botany to come to the aid of her unexpected ally in a strange kingdom, cursed by a fateful encounter with a dragon and the loss of a beloved prince. Can she learn to put aside her fears, and perhaps sacrifice her deepest desires, to help a friend and restore a family?
Dragon’s Curse is available on Amazon.com.
H. L. Burke on Amazon:http://www.amazon.com/H.-L.-Burke/e/B00EYQ1HLW/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_pop_1
H. L. Burke on Facebook:https://www.facebook.com/hlburkewriter
H. L. Burke on Twitter:https://twitter.com/typativemamacat
H. L. Burke on Goodreads:https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7230868.H_L_Burke
H. L. Burke’s Author Website:http://www.hlburkeauthor.com/
More about H.L. Burke
“There is the great lesson of ‘Beauty and the Beast,’ that a thing must be loved before it is lovable.” ~G. K. Chesterton
A long time lover of fairy tales and folk tales, I’ve always had an affinity for a “fairy tale” romance, but I’ve also been amused at popular perception of what a fairy tale romance is. Even the Oxford dictionary defines “fairy tale” as “Denoting something regarded as resembling a fairy story in being magical, idealized, or extremely happy: a fairy-tale romance.”
This wouldn’t be my definition. When someone describes a love story as “fairy tale,” I want to know whose toes got cut off, who had to spend a year hopping about the swamp as a frog, and if there were any dragons involved. Usually such inquiries lead to disappointing stories about idyllic dates and rose petal paths and the like. I always wonder, have these people actually read fairy tales?
Fairy tale love can fall into the shallow, cliche of love at first sight and princesses sleeping while they wait for first kisses, but if you dive deeper into the collections (basically past anything that has been adapted by Disney) you’ll find so much more.
Love endures much in these stories. People are sent upon impossible tasks. In The Blue Bird the heroine must walk until she has worn out three pairs of metal shoes. Other leading ladies ride upon the wind, discover the Water of Discernment, and wash shirts . . . well, washing shirts may not be thrilling stuff, but it is practical. Also, sometimes heads are cut off.
As a child reading these stories, I never imagined being rescued by a prince charming. Yes, a portion of them feature this, but my favorites involved a lady–princess or peasant–going on quests to find her stolen love. Perhaps she lost him due to her mistakes. Like Psyche she could not resist lighting that forbidden candle. Other times the fault lies with a jealous stepmother or rival who set a trap to turn her love against her (and in her lover for not seeing through it).
So to me a fairy tale romance is one where the lovers face insurmountable odds and defeat them through sheer determination.
Fairy tales also do not always involve the unions of “beautiful people,” at least not right away. In fairy tales love conquers physical repulsiveness and focuses on true positives. Princes and princesses deprived of their beauty win their loves because they are kind or brave or clever.
Having the love interest cursed to another form brings the appealing prospect of being loved for a sense of self beyond physicality. The king may merely be a voice in the darkness. A bride may be a clever frog. A girl may turn to a frail old woman with the waning moon. Love truly can make any being beautiful.
And this is why I love fairy tales romances. Because they are anything but “fairy tale.”
The dragon, Gnaw, has survived a battle with Sir Roderick. Worried about him, Shannon comes to his cave to see to his wounds.
“Gnaw lay in the dark, trying not to concentrate on the throbbing puncture in his wing. It was a flesh wound and a clean one at that, but it still hurt like the devil and the prospect of infection worried him.
When he heard the approach of another person his heart skipped a beat. He had not the energy for a second battle today and fleeing, in the dark, with a wounded wing, would be difficult. He breathed deeply. The approaching human smelled of crushed herbs, tea leaves, and books. He sighed in relief.
“Gnaw! Gnaw!” Shannon called out. He managed enough of a flame to light the pile of branches and illuminate the cavern again. She rushed to his side. “Are you all right?” she stammered.
“Aye, no thanks to that rabid lap dog you set on me,” he snorted. “My advice, put that one down.”
“I didn’t set him on you,” she sniffed.
“Well, he seemed convinced you wanted him to do it,” he said. “Of course, he was obviously insane. He kept coming after me when most men would’ve been lying on the ground in tears or running for the hills.”
“And you still let him live,” she smiled at him.
“I did? That was careless of me. I’ll be more thorough next time.” He lay his head back down.
“Thank you; he’s too much of an idiot to see that you had mercy on him, but for myself, I thank you. If you had killed him he would have died because of me, and I don’t know if I could sleep at night with that on my conscience.”
“You wouldn’t be responsible for his idiocy.”
“Are you hurt?” she pressed.
“No, well, not much.”
“May I see?”
He unfurled his wing towards her. She winced.
“I’ve never bandaged a wound like this. I mean, the wound isn’t unusual but . . .”
“It’s on a dragon?” he pointed out.
“Well, in a wing, I was thinking. During my training, I treated an injured bird, but the structure was a little different and a lot smaller. I think I can figure out something, however. Hold still, please.”
He winced a little bit but didn’t make a fuss as she cleaned and bandaged his wound.
“All done,” she said. “I’m so sorry you were hurt.”
“I’ve had worse.” He carefully folded his wing back against his body and lay still. He glanced out of the cave. “It is well after dark. You trip over your own feet enough in the day time. It’s a miracle you made it up here without breaking your neck.”
“Well, I was worried about you, and I couldn’t exactly ask Roderick if you were all right. Still, I hope you are fine with me staying the night. I don’t want to make the descent until sunrise.”
“Of course. I can fly you down at dawn,” he said.
“Are you certain that is a good idea?” She caressed his wounded wing.
“I’m hardly crippled,” he scowled. “It will be fine.”
She nodded and rubbed him behind the ears. His ego bristled. He wasn’t a lap dog or a barn cat. What did she think she was doing? Oh, that felt good.
He shut his eyes with a contented moan as she continued to rub the back of his head and neck.
“I am not sure if you are a witch or an angel,” he murmured.
“Semantics,” she teased.
He let himself doze off, only marginally aware of what was going on around him. After a while he realized she had stopped her massage and opened his eyes to find her asleep, her head, arm, and shoulder draped over his neck. He curled his head back again to form a cradle for her body and listened to her breathe.
Such a pretty little thing. Would it be wrong to keep her?
Sounds intriguing, doesn’t it folks? Thank you for stopping by, H.L.! Good luck with Dragon’s Curse. Folks, if you’d like to get a copy, again, Dragon’s Curse is available on Amazon.com.
Some information about author Jolene Dawe’s new story subscription. She’s a fine writer who’s work has been compared to Catherynne M. Valente among others. If you love fantasy stories, do check it out.
Originally posted on The Saturated Page:
There has been enough interest in this that I’m going to do it! (Really, one person being interested in this would be enough. You guys. You. Guys.) Suddenly, imminent dental work is less scary. You. Rock.
What is the Story Subscription?
It’s basically that. I’m offering a pay what you wish, with a minimum of $5, and in exchange, you receive a previously unpublished short story or story installment of no less than 4,000 words. I am not looking for more than $5 for each installation but because a number of people have suggested they’d be willing to pay more than that, I’m leaving that option open.
edited to add Because people are both opting to pay for multiple installments up front and also opting to pay more than $5 for one installment, please specify when buying multiple installments at once, otherwise I’m going to assume the latter. Thank you!
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