Entertainingly Evil
2
Jul

From the Editor’s Lair by Jennifer Brozek

I love you guys. I’ve gotten such good stuff in the slush pile. I hope you all are enjoying EGM.Shorts as much as I am.

Thoughts about the slush pile:
1. Please do not send me stories about “gypsies.” If you mean the Romani, or Travelers, please use that term.

2. I would love to see more reprints. I have almost none in my queue and half of what I buy is reprints. This means you have an excellent shot at making the sale. In particular, I’d like to see reprints from 2014 or before. I won’t accept reprints from 2015.

3. I still would love to see more science fiction and supernatural horror. (Though, remember no stories where women are brutalized, then they turn into a variety of monsters, then they kill their abuser. I don’t like them.)

4. I’m putting the minimum word count at 500. I really want to see stuff closer to 1000 words.

Here is what we have for July. I’m particularly pleased to personally know some of these authors and to have been able to accept their stories. This month also includes the longest title I’ve ever seen in a flash fiction piece.

“Nocturnus” by Jess Landry
“Maintenance” by Elaine Cunningham
“Draft Letter on Research Potential Suggested by Recent Findings in Gnome Genomics, by Simsoran the Frequently Cited, Reviewed by Artamixiana the Cantankerous” by Marissa Lingen
“Disconnect” by L.R. Bonehill
“The Dirty Nest” by Sarah Hendrix
“A Measure of Sorrow” by Charity Tahmaseb
“Boundless Restraint” by Jeremiah Murphy
“Elizabeth’s Pirate Army” by Caroline M. Yoachim

You can read all of our previous flash fiction at the EGM.Shorts Archive page.




30
Jun

Border by Jennifer R. Povey

You pick up all kinds of interesting stories when you guard the border. That’s the basic truth of it. You also learn that they aren’t really bad people.

I know. It’s a heresy to admit that the Lorians might be anything other than utterly evil people. You know… babies on sword blades. That’s the image people have of them.

Well, I’ll tell you what. I was on night patrol. That’s never fun, as you probably know. I was out with Marek Lin, who’s a good man, but not always the most perceptive. He always left me thinking I needed to watch for both of us.

So, he didn’t see somebody coming across the border. I did. I raised my crossbow, then I realized it was a woman.

The Lorians don’t let women fight. Not that we do, much… there are a few women in the guard, but not that many. Most people think… wrongly, in my opinion… that women are less aggressive.

None of them have pissed off a matron in her kitchen. I got chased out of a few when I was a kid, believe me. But few fathers will let their daughters go to war. Even this kind of war, the kind that is fought in skirmishes and intel.

Of course, rumor has it some of our top spies are female. Wouldn’t surprise me. The Lorians tend to think women are less intelligent.

However, when I saw the woman, I lowered my bow. She did not seem to be armed, and even in the darkness I could see the edge of her beauty. Then our eyes met.

She tried to run, but she was not dressed for it. She wore silks and slippers. She should not have been out there at night. She tripped over the hem of her gown and lay there in the mud.

I was at her side in seconds, offering her my hand. She looked startled, as if not expecting such gallantry from a border guard. Once she took it, of course, I pulled her to her feet, then kept a firm grip on her wrist.

“You’re on the wrong side of the border, lady.”

“Good.” She met my eyes evenly. “I request asylum.”

It happened every so often. In both directions. People defected. You’re thinking, I know, that this is leading to that story. You know, the one where the beautiful woman flees a loveless marriage into the arms of the soldier.

I wish. Her hair was, even in that darkness, brilliant, the yellow of spun gold. Her features were shadowed, yet elegant. All that came out was. “Why?”

I did not really have a right to ask.

“To save my people.”

Not an answer I had expected. The Lorian women I had seen, where and when trade was allowed across the border, walked three steps behind their men with their heads down. This woman met my eyes and gaze evenly.

I knew then that she was a princess. “Well. Come.”

Marek was staring. I gave him a look.

“Hush. She’s a woman of rank.” Whatever she planned, it could not be that bad… as long as we did not let her get past the guard post until a mage had read her aura.

The worst case scenario was that she would kill both of us. I doubted she would. “Save your people? From what?”

“Ourselves. The war we plan would damage Ilmoor. It would destroy Lorian.”

Yeah. It’s that story. Not the one where she comes for love, but the one where she defects in the belief that it is the truest loyalty. “I can’t help. I’m a common soldier.”

She laughed. “There is, I have found, no such thing.”

She was a Lorian woman, nothing. A chattel to be given in marriage. “How do you intend to stop the war.”

“I intend to stop the war for good with the only coin I have to offer.”

They gave me leave to travel to the capital with her. I wish they had not. I truly wish they had not. She was the only daughter of the king of Lorian, yet she could not be heir by their laws. Her husband would inherit.

Yeah. It’s not the story where she collapses in the arms of the common soldier. She was for the prince… and by the time Lorian realized what had happened, their royal families were united in matrimony.

That doesn’t mean its not the story in which the common soldier loves her.


Jennifer R. Povey is in her early forties, and lives in Northern Virginia with her husband. She writes a variety of speculative fiction, whilst following current affairs and occasionally indulging in horse riding and role playing games. She has sold fiction to a number of markets including Analog and is the author of the space opera Transpecial and the Silent Years novella series.




25
Jun

GOOD INTENTIONS by Gerri Leen

The night is dark, the wind blowing hard and wet. The guy clutching his gut and staggering down the street needs help. I’m a woman alone, in a new town, and pretty sure that this isn’t the safest neighborhood.

So, stop me if you’ve heard this one. Nice girl moves to the big city, tries to be a Good Samaritan for one of the natives. Gets chopped up for it, maybe shot, probably worse happening in between her trying to help and her dying.

We’ve all heard this one, right?

I help anyway. It’s what I do, who I am. Or it is now. I know: the road to hell and all, paved with good intentions, but there was a day my intentions weren’t so good, and let’s just say things have been weird for me ever since. So now I help.

I sort of have a quota.

Weird, like I said.

“Hey, mister.”

He turns around and throws up. I’m glad it’s night; the vomit smells less like vomit and more like whiskey and blood, and I’m not in the mood to see that particular spin art. I’m also glad I didn’t get too close. These are new shoes, a light gray python and I really love them.

“What the hell you want, lady?”

“I want to help you.” It’s not even a lie. I don’t give a rat’s ass about this guy, but I do want to help him. Whether I like it or not.

And in his case, it’s really, really not.

I grab his arm, muttering, “Dude, hygiene. Lost art, I know, but man.” I sort of hustle him down the street toward the emergency clinic, which I’m sure was not where he was going.

“What’re you doing?” He swings at me and grunts in pain, spitting more blood as he wheezes. I’m pretty sure he’s got something wrong on the inside because I’m not smelling blood draining from any external holes.

Yes, smell. Did I mention I’m not human? Oh, don’t worry, I’m not some damn vampire. Trust me. That life would be a walk in the park.

Yes, I’m actually jealous of bloodsuckers.

The man stops and grabs my hand. “Give me all your money or I’ll cut your face up.” He slurs it together, but the blade in his hand is a pretty good indication he’s serious.

See, I don’t get any points if they aren’t actually dangerous. Points, can you believe that?

I don’t reach for my purse fast enough apparently, and he slices down my arm. If he could see in the dark, he’d notice the blood coming out is sort of a purplish-green. It’d make a great nail polish color. But even he can tell the smell is off.

“What the—?”

“Okay, here we go.” The cut is stinging like hell, but I ignore it and push him down the street and through the door of the clinic. I take his knife away for good measure. I lose massive points if he hurts someone else on my watch.

“Think he has something nasty going on inside him. He’s vomiting blood,” I tell the attendant at reception. “Also, he’s violent and likes to play with sharp objects.”

“Good to know. Leon, get your butt out here.”

Leon is massive. He takes the drunk from me, then glances at my arm. “What’s that?”

I look down at my arm. The blood is shining iridescent, like fish scales winking jade and violet. “I was at a party.”

He nods. It’s amazing how many things that excuse can explain away.

“You took a risk bringing him here.” He’s got the drunk face-up against the wall as he leans against him, which can’t be that great for my project’s insides, but it’s definitely limiting the trouble he can make.

“Seemed the right thing to do.” I smile and head for the door.

“Hey,” Leon calls out. “What’s your name?”

“Luz.”

“Pretty name.”

“Thanks.” I walk out, take three steps, and immediately sense I’m not alone. “Gabe?”

“Hey, sis.” He leans out a darkened doorway. He’s wearing a black trench coat and fedora.

I look down at my winter white coat—ruined now thanks to the drunk and his knife—and gray pants, and laugh. We’re so anti-stereotype, my big bro and me.

“Whatcha doing, Luz?”

“Good works. What do you think I’m doing?”

“You’re never going to make it.”

His confidence in me is disappointingly low, as usual. Then again I don’t see him out mingling with the dregs of humanity. He leaves that for the lesser angels. So how would he know if I’m getting close or not?

Close being a relative term when you’re immortal.

Because for me, you see, the road out of hell is paved with good intentions. With a smile, I walk away from him.

“Lucifer?” he says, his voice soft.

I turn.

“We miss you.”

“I miss you, too. And home.”

“I hope you make it.” He smiles, then turns and walks down the street, a sad whistle accompanying the slip slap of his shoes.

I watch him till he’s out of sight. “I hope so, too, Gabriel.”


Gerri Leen lives in Northern Virginia and originally hails from Seattle. She has stories published or accepted in: Daily Science Fiction, Escape Pod, Grimdark, She Nailed a Stake Through His Head: Tales of Biblical Terror and others. She is editing an anthology, A Quiet Shelter There, for Hadley Rille Books, which will benefit homeless animals. See more at http://www.gerrileen.com.

This story was previously published in 10Flash webzine.




23
Jun

The Ghosts of Second Children by G.G. Silverman

The police have long stormed out of my clinic, and a mother has just finished giving birth in chains on a cot in this small gray cell of a room. She lies crying, unable to look at her stillborn fetus, its body darkened by the abortive agent given three days ago. I pick up the fetus and cradle its fragile form to my chest, soiling the pristine white of my doctor’s gown with newborn blood as I walk out into the dim hall, making my way toward the door with my precious cargo. The nurses at the desk give a quick knowing glance before resuming their paperwork; they have seen me do this before, and they do not stop me. They know I cannot bear children of my own; it is my great personal tragedy. Each abortion mandated by the Party hurts me deeply, yet I must comply for the sake of my own life, and end the lives of all Second Children. But what I do after each abortion is for me, and me alone.

I carry the fetus outside into the chilled November air. Tall, yellowed weeds dance in the wind behind the clinic, hiding the graves where the Second Children lie. I’m supposed to dispose of their bodies in other ways, but I cannot. No human deserves this cold-hearted cruelty.

A shovel leans against the crumbling brick wall of the clinic. I rest the fetus on the earth, pick up my shovel with red-stained hands, and begin to dig. The ghosts of the Second Children come forward, stepping through the weeds as I work. They have grown since I last saw them; their hunger makes them strong. Their black hair is longer now; it glints in the sun. Their eyes are deep brown, like the mud that swaddles them in the grave. They watch, pressing in closer, wishing I could feed them, but my breasts have no milk. I am not your mother, I tell them, yet in some ways I am: it is I who brought them into the spirit world, naked and bruised.

You have another brother, I say to appease them, pointing to the fetus. They nod with sad longing as I finish the grave and lay him inside, cradling his head gently as though he were alive, as though he were my own son. I kneel beside him, rocks prickling my knees as I say a quiet prayer. The ghosts crowd in and kneel too, holding hands in a ring around us. This touches me deeply, and I’m unable to control my emotions. A tear drips down past my chin and into the earth, anointing the fetus with a barren woman’s agony.

I cover the grave with soil and stand up as a nurse from the clinic appears at my back. She asks a question, but I do not respond. Instead, I begin to walk away, down the alley, into the street, and down the road, followed by the ghosts. The nurse calls after me, her voice shrill as she asks where I’m going, but I do not stop.

I reach the center of town, where people begin to whisper. They can see the blood on my gown and hands, though not the hungry ghost children that walk beside me, curious. Where are we going? the children ask.

You will see, I tell them. You will see.

They accept this and we walk until we are beyond the town, and reach the river at the edge of abandoned fields. The river is deep and wide, and rushes past with a fury. The children pull back, letting go of my hands. We are afraid of the river. We have been told it leads to the underworld, the City of Souls. If we go there, we can never come back.

Stay here, I tell them.

They shiver on the bank as the sun lowers in the sky, watching as I wade in from the edge. Icy water curls around my ankles, beginning its seduction. I tread further, the current tugging at my limbs, threatening to take me. I press onward until the water hits my thighs, and I can no longer fight the flow. I give in to the river, letting it drag me forward, my body tumbling below the surface, rolling in the cold and the murk. My lungs swell to bursting as I’m swept away. I am certain I am dying.

Soon, my consciousness peels away from my body, and I no longer need to breathe.

I can swim against the tide, and do so with ease until I’m close to where I first entered the river. As my head crests the surface, the ghost children howl, their faces streaked with mud and anguish. My feet grasp the river bottom and I walk toward the bank, water dripping from my hair and gown as I emerge. I, too, am a spirit, and no longer marred by blood.

I can be your mother now, I say, stepping onto the bank.

The children rush forward, greeting me with trembling bodies, wrapping their arms around my legs and waist. I stroke their hair, feeling its silk beneath my fingers, and we stand like this until they no longer quiver. The sun has dipped below the horizon, and a new moon has risen, a sliver of light in the dark. I motion for us to walk, and we grasp each other’s hands, taking our first steps as a family through the abandoned fields, back toward the town to collect the souls of more children.


G.G. Silverman lives just north of Seattle with her husband and dog. When she’s not writing, she spends her free time tramping through the woods of the Pacific Northwest, and training with her compound bow because #TheZombieApocalypse. To learn more about G.G., please visit her website at www.ggsilverman.com




18
Jun

In Flight Service By Edward Ahern

“So where are you headed?”

The round man had flopped into his seat, pressing Cassie against the bulkhead.

“West,” she replied, hoping one word wouldn’t provide enough momentum to start a conversation.

“Going to Little Rock myself, for a preacher’s convention. We’ll be working on how to better spread the Good Word.”

“That’s nice.” The jet engines shrilled as they taxied, making conversation impossible.  Once airborne the man again turned his fat-tautened neck toward Cassie.  “Are you a Christian? A real one, born again?”

Cassie wanted to turn away, but her social distance had shrunk to inches.. “Ah, really, my views are a private matter, not something I’d discuss with a stranger.”

“So you’re not. Otherwise, you’d be glad to tell me. I’m Hector Bravo, and I’m really happy to have this chance to talk with you. What’s your name?”

Cassie winced, then sorted through her options, casting off “None of your  business,” and “Helen,” settling for one word truth. “Cassie”

“That’s pretty, Cassie, is it short for something?”

“Cassandra.”

“Well Cassie, I was saved twelve years ago, and my salvation involves bringing the Word to those who live unknowingly in sin. Do you have any religious beliefs?”

Cassie looked around with desperation, but the flight was completely full, with no seat open to escape to. Her only option was to ring the call button and complain to the stewardess that the man next to her was being aggressively religious. With her luck the stewardess would also be born again.

“Look Mr. Bravo…”

“Reverend.”

“Reverend. I turned my back on Catholicism a long time ago…”

“Papism! But I can help you to accept Jesus as your personal savior.”

Cassie smirked despite herself. “That would create quite a conflict of interest, Reverend. I really don’t want to talk religion and was hoping to take a nap.”

“Nonsense. God brought us together so I could help you heal from those perverted Papist teachings and bring you to a better understanding, to your salvation. We’ll have a little service, just you and I. Let’s pray together.”

Cassie squirmed, her left arm pinned against the bulkhead, and her right arm enfolded by the linen wrapped balloon of Hector’s arm. “Really, Reverend, please. Just leave me alone. I’m not into salvation.”

“You need my help Cassie, you just don’t know it yet. Let’s start with a reading from scripture.”

Her pained expression altered just slightly. “Before we start, Reverend, would you mind getting my bag down from the overhead? It’s not heavy and I need to get something. It’s brown crocodile skin.”

Hector Bravo heaved himself up, leaning heavily on the seat back in front of him. He grabbed the small bag and dropped it into Cassie’s lap before wedging himself back into his seat.

“Thanks Hector. May I call you Hector? This will only take a few seconds.”

Cassie opened the clasp on the bag and took out and a small, gold canister.

She carefully unscrewed the lid and held it up to her lips. “Hector?’ she whispered. When he turned his head toward her she blew onto the open canister and into his face. A fine, purple powder covered Hector’s nose and mouth. He inhaled in shock, and Cassie quickly blew twice more, filming Hectors face with a faint, grape-colored tint. She waited for a slow ten count, then whispered again.

“Hector you will do exactly as I say.”

“Of course Cassie.”

“Not so loud, Hector, just whisper back to me. We don’t want other people listening in. Now lean your head forward, please.”

When Hector had rested his head on the seat back in front of him, Cassie took out a pair of cuticle scissors. “I’m going to take just a bit of your hair, Hector, but I wouldn’t want to ruin that beautiful styling of yours, so I’ll clip from behind your ear.”

Cassie snipped, then whispered, “sit back now Hector.”

She rang the call button, and when the stewardess came asked for a glass of water. When the water arrived she held it until the stewardess had left, then slowly poured the water out onto the carpet in front of her.

Cassie reached back into her valise and took out a vial of smoked glass with a gargoyle head on the stopper. She poured a half ounce of snot green liquid into the clear plastic cup, then dropped in Hector’s hair. The hairs writhed and curled as if being poisoned.

“Hector, give me your left hand please. Thank you. My, what a masculine pinky ring. That must be a ruby. I’m going to prick your finger now, Hector, and squeeze out a bit of blood.”

“That’ll be fine, Cassie.”

The blood dropped into the cup and dispersed in wriggling threads.

“Now, what should we do with you, Hector,” Cassie whispered. “What’s appropriate? You haven’t really committed a sin, just been intrusively obnoxious and rude. What to do, what to do.”

She laughed out loud, then leaned over the cup and whispered softly, “Hector, we’re going to have that little service you were so excited about. Drink this please.”

He winced and puckered as he drank, but didn’t complain. Cassie waited a full minute in silence.

“Okay, Hector, you realize now that you don’t really hate Papism. In fact, you’re feeling like it is your true calling. You will renounce your ministry and deed your money, house and cars to the Catholic church. You will join a Trappist monastery as a brother, taking vows of poverty and silence. You will forget that we have had this little service. But after two years your memory will return and you’ll realize that you’ve violated your faith. Is all this clear to you?”

“Yes, Cassie.”

“And you will do as I’ve ordered?”

“Of course, Cassie.”

“Wonderful. You’ll begin practicing silence immediately. You know, Hector, I think you were right. A deity did bring us together.


Ed Ahern resumed writing after forty odd years in foreign intelligence and international sales. He has his original wife, but after forty seven years they are both out of warranty. Ed has had sixty short stories published thus far, and a novella, The Witches’ Bane will be published in May 2015 by World Castle Press.

This story previously appeared in Robbed of Sleep II.




16
Jun

Roses are Forever By Rebecca Fung

“May I help you?” asked the saleslady.

“I’m looking for something for a girl … well, you know. She’s kinda special. Something different. Not your usual roses and chocolate bullshit. Though she does like roses,” said Milton.

“That’s something to work with,” said the saleslady. “All our items are very special. Just ask.”

“What about that rose in the window?”

It was a tall glass vase with a long-stemmed rose standing straight, deep red petals. “Isn’t it beautiful? A specially biologically-enhanced rose. Look at the velvety texture of those petals. She’s been engineered to be extra sturdy and need no maintenance. You don’t need to change its water because it doesn’t need watering. It takes in its surroundings and adapts to them.”

Jeannie would love it. She was always so busy; she didn’t have time to look after plants. It was perfect.

#

“Oh Milton, how thoughtful!” Jeannie cried. She kissed him, gently, lingering. As she pulled away her eyes promised him more to come that night. “I’ll just water it and set it on the mantelpiece. I want to really show it off.”

“No water needed,” said Milton. “That’s what the lady in the shop told me. It’s a special rose. It looks after itself. That’s why I bought it.”

“Because you know I’m crummy with flowers?” teased Jeannie.

“Because it’s like you. You’re a woman who knows how to look after herself, I like that.”

She smiled. “Very smooth. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a rose so perfect-looking.”

“Again, why it reminded me of you.”

“Oh, Milton! Well, I guess it’s our first anniversary, keep them coming!”

Jeannie turned around and blew two kisses to the rose as they left the house for dinner.

The rose was very good, much better than Milton had expected. He had thought a long-lasting rose might last a few weeks or months, even, at the most. After all, an ordinary rose barely lasted a couple of days, especially in the hands of Jeannie. But five months later and the rose was just as perfect-looking as it was the day he had bought it. Perhaps even more perfect.

“I think the petals have grown a little larger,” mused Jeannie, fondling them. “They still smell so sweet! What do you think?”

“I’m not sure,” said Milton. “But at least we’re getting our money’s worth. Do you dust this flower? In between all the petals?”

“Of course not,” said Jeannie. “That would take all day.”

Milton ran his finger over the mantelpiece. There was a thick layer of dust which had collected from weeks of neglect. But the rose had not a speck on it.

“The rose nods to me when I come home from work,” said Jeannie. Milton laughed at the idea. But two years later, when he moved in with her, he felt its little petals waving goodbye in the morning and greeting him in the evening. The rose became part of his routine. It signalled to him if he’d forgotten his keys and a sniff of its fragrance reminded him of meetings. It was the perfect symbol of household happiness and happily served them both.

“It’s remarkable,” said Jeannie. “After all these years, good as new. I’ve never had to do a thing with it.”

“I’m glad you like it,” said Milton. He couldn’t help noticing Jeannie’s hair looked brittle and dull and she was gaining a bit of weight around the midriff. He might get her a gym membership this year. The rose, though, still looked slim and gorgeous.

Maybe Jeannie saw that look in Milton’s eyes. Or maybe it had nothing to do with it at all.

Several years later Jeannie said she was sick and tired of Milton, the relationship, everything.

“I don’t want to work out anything. Don’t you get it, Milton?” she exploded. “Stop looking at me, stupid rose. Stop waving your petals! So bloody judgmental! I hate you. I don’t have any problems.”

“Everyone has—” began Milton.

“I don’t,” said Jeannie. “I know what I want. I want to get out of here.”

“You’re giving up to easily—” he tried again.

She shook her head. “You’re idealistic, Milton. We stayed together while it was good. But it’s not any more. You shouldn’t cling to something forever for the hell of it. I’m not going to ruin my life that way, anyway, that’s for sure.”

“It’s another guy, isn’t it?”

“How dare you!” But she didn’t deny it. Milton felt something dark curl and tighten in his stomach, watching Jeannie pack.

She took her other bits and pieces, but she left the rose behind.

#

The rose stood on the mantelpiece, reminding him of Jeannie. That was her posture. Mocking him. But he wanted to purge his entire memory of her. As long as memories of her were around, he would feel sick.

I’m still here, you can’t get rid of me, my dear.

Bloody rose! He took a swipe at it. The stem bent, but sprung back, straight and perfect as ever.

Did you think you could get rid of me?

Milton spluttered. The rose looked back at him, challenging him. Milton grabbed a pair of scissors and snipped the flower off. Thank God it’s gone, he thought. He poured himself a drink.

What was that?

Redness was forming at the top of what was left of the stem. The scarlet grew and he could see petals pushing their way through the top of the greenness.

“No! Go away!” As long as there was a rose, the sickness wouldn’t leave his stomach. But the rose was already full, each perfect soft, deep red petal daring him to try again.

He tore each petal off, tossing it into the air like confetti, then he grabbed the stem and pulled it out of the vase and tried to snap it in half. Damn! Out came the shears again, snip, snip, snip, into tiny little pieces, and ground each under his heels, cursing.

Little bits of green and red were worming across the floor, bits of stem joined other bits of stem, petals joined other petals and the dirty, crushed pieces shook themselves and were plump, clean and strong again.

Milton looked on helplessly.

You’ll never be rid of me, Milton. Something should last forever, shouldn’t it?


Rebecca Fung is a legal editor from Sydney, Australia. Her writing interests include fantasy, horror and children’s fiction. Her fiction has been published in Midnight Echo and Trysts of Fate magazines and she is a regular contributor to the “Demonic Visions” anthology series. She has also been published in various anthologies including “Witches, Stitches and Bitches” (Evil Girlfriend Media).




11
Jun

Sweet Nothings by Wendy Hammer

Love shines. I can see it the moment it kindles. It’s the most beautiful thing, that light. But it never touches me.

When the front door clicks shut I roll over to the empty side of the bed to capture the last of his warmth. I push my face into his pillow and inhale: Michael with Notes of Sandalwood and Cinnamon. I try to keep his scent deep inside my lungs, inside my memory. The moment I lose concentration he blends into other lost echoes. Oceans. Musk. Strawberry shampoo.

I want to get his taste out of my mouth. I leave the cold sheets and pad into the living room. There’s leftover wine in one of the glasses and I down it. I fire up a cigarette and watch curls of smoke drift in the sole patch of moonlight. The coal glows orange.

Michael’s light was autumn red with specks of gold. It shimmered like sunshine peeking out through a canopy of leaves. It hadn’t lasted long.

The shadow had grown more impatient over the years and gobbled the light up in one greedy gulp.

It used to let love mature a bit before it feasted.

#

Though it’s too dark to see the one picture I’ve kept of myself, I remember every detail. It’s in a heavy silver frame and sits on the shelf over the fake fireplace. You can see a small peach moon in the corner of the photo. My dad never could keep his thumbs out of pictures. I’m there—nestled under my mother’s heart, tucked inside the mound of her belly. Her plaid nightgown clashes with the windmill pattern of the couch. Her feet are pinned by a plump chocolate pup: Bravo.

We were best friends from the start. My first memory is of a snuffling cold wet nose and the relentless attack of his pink tongue. I remember rushing home to see him after my first full day of school. We’d never been apart for so long.

The second I cracked the door he was on me. A blue light like a clear sky at noon ignited around his body. I’d never seen anything like it. I laughed as it reached out to touch me.

I yelped when I spied the shadow on the ceiling. It oozed down the wall before pouncing on the blue aura.

Bravo’s light dimmed.

I tried to pull the darkness away. He shuddered, shook, and nipped at his attacker. Nothing worked. The shadow bloated like a blood-gorged leech as it absorbed every last bit of my dog’s light. Then it disappeared.

When I tried to hug him he stiffened and looked away. When Mom walked by, he got up and ran after her—like nothing had happened.

Bravo never came near me again.

I lost Mom when I was nine. Her light had always been a steady glow—dandelion yellow, just like the flowers she used to rub under my chin to see if I liked butter. I’d made her a cake all by myself. It was crooked and I’d misspelled birthday, but her light had flared up at the sight. I guess it was too much for the shadow to resist because it took it all.

Dad lasted until I graduated from high school.

I think they live in Florida now. Or maybe it’s Arizona.

#

I sit alone in the dark and think.

I’ve been able to survive on the love I feel for others, but once their light shines in return and is consumed, it hurts too much. I’m tired of subsistence. I’ve tried to fight, but everything ends in tepid indifference. I’d rather have hate.

I give up.

The room grows darker than before and I see the shadow has returned. It slides over and around me. For the first time I can feel its touch—it’s surprisingly soft, like a cool stream of air blown onto dampened skin. There’s a question in it. An invitation.

I’m left with one last answer. Yes.

The shadow slips in and I’m transformed.

#

I spare one last glance at my old body, slumped and still on the couch. I don’t regret leaving it. This is better. I feel strong and I can move fast. The world stretches out under my darkness and it’s gorgeous. There are so many lights: a cornucopia of colors. All around me I see pulses, strobes, streams, and motes.

Sparks dance into the evening air from a girl’s first kiss. It’s so lovely—I can’t resist.

I swoop down and fasten on. The light is delicious. It’s apple green and fills me like nothing else ever has. It’s sweet and just a bit tart, perhaps not quite ripe yet. I can taste its potential and I want more.

Soon I’ve taken it all. I know I shouldn’t have. I can tell it hasn’t really hurt her, though. There was just the barest hint of awareness at first—easy enough to smooth over.

The boy looks confused as the girl walks away as if nothing had happened between them. I know what he’s going through and I sympathize. I’m no monster.

He calls after her. When she doesn’t turn, he hangs his head. I know what he’s probably thinking, how he’s replaying every move and word to detect the first hint of failure.

I feel a pang of regret and float over to the boy. I ruffle his hair and pat his cheek.

He squints. I don’t think he can see me. Most likely he believes it’s just the wind. The boy sits down on the curb and puts his face in his hands. I reach for a platitude—something soothing.

I nuzzle up to his ear and whisper, “Don’t worry. It’s not you. It’s me.” It’s the wrong line, yet there’s truth in it.

I hold the boy, close as a lover. There’s light in him and I ache.

One more taste should be enough. I promise.


Wendy Hammer teaches English at a community college. Her stories can be found in the Suspended in Dusk anthology and elsewhere online. Her trilogy of dark urban fantasy novellas will be published by Apocalypse Ink Productions. She lives in Indiana with her husband. She’s also on twitter @Wendyhammer13.




9
Jun

Target Audience by H.L. Fullerton

Yesterday Madave Black celebrated her forty-ninth birthday. Today as she exited the subway, instead of being bombarded by Between Us Girls ads, she heard her first hype for AARP. She froze in the patch of directed sound, the hype recycling itself and whispering its insult in her head. On the third repetition, she stepped out of the hype’s path and into the noise of the city. She clenched her jaw. Client or not, she didn’t appreciate the intrusion.

Only reason she took public transportation was market research and now she’d been victimized by her own brainchild. Well, hers and Warren Waits. But War had bowed out of the HyperSonic Sound picture a long time ago—something about growing a social conscience and wanting to leave a positive mark on the world, men, go figure—which left her the sole proprietor of Black & Waits, the premier HySS advertising agency.

If the three keys to real estate were location, location, location, then the secret trio to successful advertising was demographics, demographics, demographics—and Madave Black had just been confronted with her declining desirability. Soon she wouldn’t even be able to hear hypes—aging, it sucked. She thought she’d grown immune once she bypassed 35—the consumer sweet spot was 18-35—but the stomach clenching dread she experienced at hearing the AARP hype made her realize vanity was brain-deep. She was also pissed because this flummox meant Black & Waits’ software had a glitch. AARP hypes shouldn’t target anyone under 50 and she had twelve more months before she tipped that scale, dammit.

Madave marched into her office and called a staff meeting to correct the problem. Then she phoned her ENT to see what he could do to youthanize her aural frequencies. He wouldn’t even take her call. Forty-nine and redundant. She slumped in her executive chair. She’d joked to colleagues about those pathetic suicidal souls who couldn’t handle losing the whispers. ‘Plastic to Plathic.’ Now she was one of those souls on the train to Plath Town. A sad sack Sylvia.

To perk herself up, she took an early lunch and went shopping at Between Us Girls, a trendy juniors’ store. A new pair of B.U.G. jeans should do the trick. She might be losing her hearing and getting targeted by the senior citizen brigade, but her Pilates regimen meant she could still wear clothing meant for girls three-fourths her age.

Madave scanned the store; saw the twittering girls, the beleaguered mothers, the approaching thirty-somethings clinging to their favorite brand, desperate for a hype-fix to prove they still had ‘it.’ A gaggle of teens clustered around the summer tops display. The brunette wearing the green tank dress wasn’t hearing the sales hype Madave had approved—Two for one means twice the fun—and her friends teased her. Madave smiled. The girl in green would spend double that of her friends to bump her market segment.

From the wall of jeans, Madave selected two pairs. She knitted her eyebrows when she didn’t hear the jean’s hype and discretely checked her hype-locator to make sure the HySS was active. It was. She pushed at the panic fluttering between her ears and hurried into the dressing room. She tried on the jeans—they fit—but she missed the reassuring hypes designed to spur purchases.

You look soooo hot in those…Between Us Girls, those jeans were made for you…OMG you rock that outfit.

One day shouldn’t make such a difference. Age was just a number. Unless you’re in advertising, Madave thought. She knew the seduction of hypes. Hadn’t she designed them to turn wants into must-haves?

Wait. She didn’t need hypes to inspire her. She was Madave Black. She created those voices. Personalized them. Made the whispers sound like one’s own thoughts—but better, nicer thoughts. War used to say: imagine having a cheerleader in your head 24/7. Madave always hated that analogy, but it’d closed deals. So what if she couldn’t hear a hype? Least she was old enough to remember life before HySS. This new generation would be lost without their whispers. Bolstered, Madave bee-lined for the check-out.

“I can’t sell you these jeans,” the Gen-Hyper working the register said, uptalking in that blonde singsong way. “You’re way too mature for them? Can I interest you in our Flatter cut?”

Madave’s first impulse was to have her fired. This girl had probably never made a single purchase without one of Black & Waits’ hypes whispering in her head and she stood between Madave and the perfect jeans? Madave needed these jeans. These jeans were proof that AARP hypes weren’t meant for her.

Had it been just last week she’d proclaimed, “Exclusionary is the new exclusive”? During the meeting, it’d seemed the perfect pitch. Being on the receiving end of her brilliance felt like another knife in her heart.

Then adrenaline surged through her veins and buoyed her. Forget termination. What stock did an eighteen year old have invested in a crummy sales job? Madave had a better idea. “I have my daughter’s B.U.G. card in my purse,” she lied. She rummaged for her hype-locator and corrupted the salesclerk’s plastic. Let her try to hear a hype without that, Madave thought. Who’s plathic now? “Tut. I must’ve left it home. I’ll get these later,” she told the girl and walked away, smiling. It was only a minor inconvenience, but it counted as revenge and, petty or not, it felt good.

But the smug sensation didn’t last. Back at the agency, she reminisced about Warren Waits and their heydays. “Mad,” he’d said when Modern Advertising invented the nickname Generation Hype. “We’ve created something far worse than any military application of HySS. Hypes aren’t the new Amazon; they’re the next crystal meth.”

Madave straightened. Maybe War was right: she had a weapon at her disposal. Maybe it was time to turn off the hype machine and see what happened. See how long it took for Generation Hype to detonate. See who went plathic first.

—-
H.L. Fullerton lives in New York and writes fiction—mostly speculative, occasionally about voices in one’s head—which is sometimes published in places like Buzzy, Penumbra, and Daily Science Fiction.

This story previously appeared in Penumbra eMag, Vol. 2, Issue 9.




4
Jun

From the Editor’s Lair by Jennifer Brozek

There have been some good things in the slush pile recently. Thank you, keep it up. Also, if I’ve talked to you at a convention, make sure you note that in the email submission.

Thoughts about the slush pile:
1. Please do not send me stories about “gypsies.” If you mean the Romani, or Travelers, please use that term.

2. Try to stay away from stereotypical caricatures. In particular, the Bwahahaha EVIL GUY. No villain is evil for evil’s sake.

3. I’m getting a lot of fantasy. I’d like to see more sci-fi. I’d also like to see more reprints from 2014 or before. I will not accept reprints from 2015.

Here’s what we have for June. Suffice it to say that I really like these stories.

“Target Audience” by H.L. Fullerton
“Sweet Nothings” by Wendy Hammer
“Roses are Forever” by Rebecca Fung
“In Flight Service” by Edward Ahern
“The Ghosts of Second Children” by G.G. Silverman
“Good Intentions” by Gerri Leen
“Border” by Jennifer R. Povey




14
Apr

EGM Shorts Begin

 


14348_10205360261945867_6771847705215246005_nWelcome to EGM Shorts, our new flash fiction feature. I’m Jennifer. I’m the Editor-in-Chief of this little endeavor. EGM Shorts is an ongoing, open market for genre fiction. Read the call for submissions if you are interested. I do want to note that all horror stories must have a speculative element to them.

The general plan is to have a new or reprint piece of flash twice a week. However, as schedules change, this may change. We’ll see. I already have an archive page set up. This is where you can go if you miss the blog posting.

For the month of April, we have a series of shorts that made me smile. And, really, that’s all I’m asking for.

“Mistakes Were Made” by Premee Mohammed
“In the Beginning” by Alisha A. Knaff
“Aunt Merkel” (Reprint) by Deborah Walker
“The Invaders” by Eric Guignard
“The Two Pickpockets” (Reprint) by M. Todd Gallowglas

See you next time around.

Jennifer

 

Jennifer Brozek is a Hugo Award-nominated editor and an award winning author. When she is not writing her heart out, she is gallivanting around the Pacific Northwest in its wonderfully mercurial weather. Jennifer is an active member of SFWA, HWA, and IAMTW. Read more about her at her blog or follow her on Twitter at @JenniferBrozek




31
Oct

2015 Publication Schedule

Evil Girlfriend Media is excited to announce our 2015 publication schedule. In the next couple of months, we will bring you interviews with authors, excerpts, and opportunities to obtain advanced copies of books.

JANUARY

Apocalypse Girl Dreaming by Jennifer Brozek

AGDcover

 

 

The Archivist by Tom D Wright

Archivist-cover-front

Rachel by Dobromir Harrison

10694483_607941292643793_1493626625215672003_o

 

Murder Girls by Christine Morgan

(Cover Coming Soon)

NOVEMBER

Naughty or Nice: A Christmas Anthology edited by Jennifer Brozek with Jon Del Arroz

(Cover Coming Soon)

 

There Are No Heroes In This Book by Timothy W. Long

(Cover Coming Soon)

 

shutterstock_219087016




20
Oct

Coming January 2015 Jennifer Brozek’s Apocalypse Girl Dreaming

AGDcover

 

Evil Girlfriend Media is pleased to release the cover of Apocalypse Girl Dreaming, a short story collection, by Jennifer Brozek. This collection features dark speculative fiction ranging from tie-in stories in the Valdemar and Elemental Masters worlds, weird west horror to satirical science fiction to urban fantasy with a horrific bent. Cover art by Fernando Cortes with graphic design by Matt Youngmark.

Apocalypse Girl Dreaming is out January 16, 2015 in e-book and paperback.




18
Apr

INTERVIEW: SEANAN MCGUIRE

 

An Interview with Seanan McGuire

By Jen West 

thelambs

 

 

Seanan McGuire’s “The Lambs” kicks off the Bless Your Mechanical Heart anthology from Evil Girlfriend Media with a near-future story of covert surveillance used as a tool for deterring school bullying. Beven is a “lamb”, a robot disguised as a human teenager who has been embedded within the local school system since first grade. Designed to be an easy target for intimidation and harassment, she interacts with her fellow students as if she were human, all the while monitoring and recording any abusive behavior for public playback at graduation. But when a former friend falls in with a group of bullies, her desire to protect her friend conflicts with her programming to be a snitch.

Seanan McGuire’s prolific works include two popular urban fantasy series: October Daye series and Incryptid series, both from DAW. Her short fiction has appeared in a variety of anthologies, magazines and websites. She also writes horror as Mira Grant, and her novel Blackout earned a 2013 Hugo nomination.

Seanan is no stranger to the Hugo ballot or breaking records. In 2012, she became the first woman to have her name listed 4 times on the same Hugo Ballot. Then in 2013, she became the first writer, male or female, to have her name listed 5 times on the same Hugo ballot. In 2013, she and her colleagues at SF Squeecast took home the Hugo for Best Fancast.

Writing is not Seanan’s only tool in her bag of tricks. She is also an avid cartoonist and a seasoned filker having released several albums of original music since 2009.

J: In “The Lambs,” you address a growing public concern around school bullying. How big a problem do you think school bullying is today?

S: I think it’s a huge problem. When I was in school, the bullies couldn’t follow you home without revealing themselves to your parents. Now, thanks to social media and cellphones, there’s no getting away. It’s terrifying. I’m not surprised that we’ve seen a rise in teen and preteen suicides; I’m surprised it hasn’t been more extreme.

J: Did you draw on any of your own personal experiences from high school to write this? What was high school like for you?

S: High school was fine. Middle school was where the monsters were.

J: There was a line in “The Lambs” that jumped out at me: “Pretty girls were more likely to inspire outright rage when they hovered at the bottom of the pack, while girls who were considered unattractive inspired pity and disgust, but would eventually be allowed to fade into the background.” Do you think that is a universal truth in high schools? And where do you think teenagers learn this kind of pack behavior?

S: I don’t think there’s any one “universal truth” to bullying. If there were, there would be one right way to end it, and we would live in a kinder world now. I do think that we learn very quickly that the world is supposed to be easier for pretty people, and that this can inspire negative responses when we see that this truth is being denied. Pack mentality is a terrifying thing.

J: The “lambs” are inserted into schools like spies, which evokes a feeling of “Big Brother” is watching them. Do you think a bullying surveillance system is the answer to today’s real life bullying problem?

S: I don’t think we have the ability to set up this sort of passively positive monitoring, no. It would be the baby NSA, and kids would wind up being used to report on their parents. That’s the nice thing about fiction: I only have to focus on what I want to.

J: Why did you choose to have the robots disclose the bullying at graduation rather than immediately after it happened?

S: Bullies have always balanced action with risk. “I can attack that kid, but maybe she’ll tell.” By making bullying a big reveal at graduation, from what is seen as an unassailable source, they know that they can’t hide their actions from either their parents or authority figures. That’s much scarier than one detention they can forget about in a week.

J: In 2012, you were the first woman to appear on the Hugo Ballot four times. In 2013, you were the first person, regardless of gender, to appear on the Hugo Ballot FIVE times. Can you describe what that feels like from both the perspective of a writer and also as a woman in a generally male-dominated genre?

S: It feels like an inbox full of death and rape threats. It feels like people accusing me of excessive self-promotion while ignoring my male peers who did three times as much self-promoting. It feels like crying myself to sleep every night over something that should have been a joy and a delight. So yeah, it’s great.

J: That sounds very disheartening when you’ve put so much effort into your work. It almost sounds like being bullied. What keeps you writing and publishing amidst all the negativity?

S: I feel like we throw the word “bully” around so much these days that it’s losing all meaning. I do think there’s a lot of resistance to women breaking into certain areas, and that the backlash we face is much greater than it ought to be. But I am a grown woman who can step away from her computer. I have felt attacked. I have felt singled out. I have not been bullied. As for why I keep going, why would I start letting people tell me how to live my life now? I never let them before.

J: Do you have any advice to give other women trying to break into writing science fiction and fantasy writing?

S: Be kind. We are all in this together, and it’s not a zero-sum game. Make friends, take advice, and stand up for other women; you’re going to want them to stand up for you. Don’t let anyone walk all over you, but don’t attack for the sake of attacking, either.

J: What projects do you have in the hopper that we can look forward to?

S: The next October Daye book will be out in September; Sparrow Hill Road is coming out this May; and Symbiont comes out in November, under the Mira Grant byline.

J: Thank you for spending some time with us.

 

seananmcguire

 

 

 

Seanan McGuire writes a lot of things, sometimes under the name “Mira Grant,” but mostly as herself. She does not sleep very much. In high school, she was once pushed into moving traffic by some kids who thought it was funny. This, among other things, inspired her story for this book. Seanan likes cats and Diet Dr Pepper and corn mazes, not in that order. Learn more about Seanan here: http://www.seananmcguire.com/.

 

photo (1)

 

 

 

Jen is a freelance writer in constant search for the next interesting character or story. Her interviews have appeared in such venues as Tor.com, Shimmer, Internet Review of Science Fiction, The Nebula Awards web site and Fairwood Press’s interview collection, Human Visions. She currently resides with her brilliant writer husband, Ken Scholes; the Wonder Twins, Lizzy and Rachel; two pudgy cats, and an intellectually ambiguous dog in St. Helens, OR.




16
Apr

GUEST POST: PETER CLINES

 

Mr. Roboto, Or: How Peter Clines Learned to Stop

Worrying and Keep Loving Robots

 

gammaI grew up with robots.  They surrounded me.  In movies and television shows, on cartoons, in books.  I had robot toys and models.  Androids, astromechs, Orbots, Shogun Warriors.  I was one of those kids who couldn’t wait to be an adult, because all the available literature (comics) told me by then I’d be able to have a robot best friend.  At the very least, a robot dog.  I also had rather extensive plans to build giant robots for the Army.  Which I would pilot, of course.

My childhood, it turns out, was a complete lie.

But I never did get past my fascination with robots.  It doesn’t matter if they’re  clockwork men, android cops, or just snap-together Gundam models.  Robots will always get my attention.

One of my favorite real-life historical robots was the Mechanical Turk.  I first discovered it sometime around third or fourth grade, and it reinforced the belief that a robot best friend had to be just around the corner.  It was a late 18th century automaton that could play chess at master levels, and it played games against Napoleon Bonaparte and Benjamin Franklin.  Decades letter it was revealed to be a fraud, but the idea of a chess-playing robot stuck with me.  Some people imagine dogs playing poker.  I imagine robots playing chess.

I also always liked “the parlor scene,” that bit in many turn of the century stories where the characters would gather around a fire, have drinks, and talk.  Perhaps some of them would play cards or checkers.  The Time Machine by H.G. Wells opens this way, with the characters discussing time travel with their host after dinner.

And at some point—I’m not even really sure when—the image in my mind became Victorian robots in smoking jackets and vests, some with bow ties while others wore ascots. Maybe one with a pipe and another with a glass of some robot-beneficial liquid.  And, naturally, they played chess.

So when Evil Girlfriend asked me about a robot anthology, well… it wasn’t hard to come up with something.

 

 

 

peterclinesPeter Clines is the author of the Ex-Heroes series and the acclaimed, genre-blending -14-. He grew up in the Stephen King fallout zone of Maine and made his first writing sale at age seventeen to a local newspaper. His first screenplay got him an open door to pitch stories at Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and Voyager. He is the writer of countless film articles, The Junkie Quatrain, the rarely-read The Eerie Adventures of the Lycanthrope Robinson Crusoe, and the poorly-named website Writer on Writing.

He currently lives and writes somewhere in southern California, where he has been known to relax by doing basic maintenance on robot vacuums. So take that, Mrs. Goodell—he did become a robot repairman. “The Apocrypha of Gamma-202” is his homage to classic ‘50s sci-fi with a steampunk twist. He currently lives and writes somewhere in southern California.




15
Apr

GUEST POST: Lillian Cohen-Moore

We Get By With A Little Help From Our Friends

(Katie’s Impromptu Title For This Guest Post)

 

imperial

Defining personhood, the concept of when we legally and biologically recognize the sentience and autonomy of another being, is one of those concepts I can’t set down. In The Imperial Companion, it’s one of the essential challenges of the story. Two humans from different worlds are helping an android, only one of which accepts androids as equal to humanity. I had a lot of other stuff on my mind while I was writing the story; faery tales, Western colonialism, recent advancements in emotions of artificial intelligences.

The android Imperial Companion Aleksei is seen by his designers as equal to any human adviser of the man he called his dearest friend. After a mysterious attack on the man he has faithfully served, the two are separated. He has to function on a world full of human/android tension to find him. Though his problems are about species, technology, and faith, I think Aleksei’s problems are as human as our own. We all struggle to be recognized as people; intelligent, and possessed of autonomy. Moving heaven and earth to help our loved ones is something we want to do to keep them safe, because the alternatives are unimaginable.

And, like Aleksei, we often need help from those around us to navigate an increasingly complex world.

You an pick up BLESS YOUR MECHANICAL HEART here: BUY A ROBOT TODAY!!!

 

 

 

 

lilliancohen_moore

Lillian Cohen-Moore is an award winning editor, and devotes her writing to fiction, journalism and roleplaying games. Influenced by the work of Jewish authors and horror movies, she draws on bubbe meises (grandmother’s tales) and horror classics for inspiration. The Imperial Companion came from a confluence of topics; current research related to the emotional range of artificial intelligence, colonialism in Western history, and dangerous faery tale journeys. 




13
Apr

GUEST POST: KEN SCHOLES

Mechanicals and Wizards and Gypsies,

Oh My,

Or Round-Up at the Robot Rodeo

 

ofmetalmen
Image copyright Allen Douglas.
Used with permission of the artist.

 

“Of Metal Men and Scarlet Thread and Dancing with the Sunrise” was one of those accidents of story that I fell into and had no idea how important it was.  In 2005, just after learning I’d won the Writers of the Future contest, I saw that a small press ‘zine was calling for stories for a special “mechanical oddity” issue.  Back in those days, I was dashing off stories left and right with little thought other than to land yet another tale in the boat and then find it a home out in the world.  I had been playing with a bit of lyric:  “Rudolfo rode to Glimmerglam in the Age of Laughing Madness” and it was laying around the factory floor when Leroy, my redneck muse, started twisting it up with whatever else he could find to fashion a mechanical oddity story.  The first line showed up fast and easy:  Rudolfo’s Gypsy Scouts found the metal man sobbing in an impact crater deep in the roiling smoke and glowing ruins of Windwir.

From there, the story took off and wrote itself over several lunch breaks spent nibbling tuna fish sandwiches at the Big Town Hero near my day-job office in downtown Portland, Oregon.  Robots.  An ancient wizard.  A dashing Gypsy king and his Wandering Army.  A fallen city.  When I finished “Of Metal Men…”, I learned that the magazine calling for those mechanical oddity stories had received their fill early and closed to submissions.  But that was okay, I told myself, because it really wasn’t that great of a tale.  It felt a little different and the world and characters seemed a little different from my norm.  But all in all, “Of Metal Men…” just slid off my to-do list and into my done pile with little fanfare and no expectations for it.  It found its way out the door in search of a market and was largely forgotten about until the next fall when Doug Cohen pulled it out of the Realms of Fantasy slush pile, passed it along to Shawna McCarthy, and turned it my first pro-level sale after Writers of the Future.  Still, until Allen Douglas hit me in the head with his art for the story, I had no clue of the story’s importance.

Writers are weird.  Ask any of us.  I’d gotten in the habit of occasionally Googling the titles of my short stories.  Sometimes it led to nice reviews I’d not seen while Googling my name.  Yes.  Weird.  Fortunately, you run out of time for that kind of stuff later.  Mostly.  But anyway.  On a lark, for no good reason at all, in the deep of winter with the story not coming out until spring at the soonest, I plugged in the title of my story while sitting in my cubicle at work.

 This is what came up.

If you know me at all, you can guess what I did.  Yep.  I cried.  Right there in my cubicle.

Art has always moved me, even before my stories started connecting up with artists.  It was especially surreal and powerful to see what an artist did with my words and I have several examples here in my house now.  What Allen Douglas did changed my life.  Because when I saw that image of Isaak, kneeling in the crater, weeping as the smoke poured off his back, I knew there was much, much more to that metal man’s tale.  My short story turned into…wait for it…four short stories!

I knew it in an instant.

Four interconnected stories about this survivor of Windwir and the impact of his programming upon Rudolfo’s world.  Of course, from there – a story too long to tell here – it evolved slowly into my series, The Psalms of Isaak.  The first two short stories comprised the beginning and end of the first volume, Lamentation.  And then the third and fourth stories (unwritten) became anchoring ideas in the second and fourth volumes.  The rest just kind of grew to fit the size of story bucket Leroy had in mind.  As I write this post, I’m now within a few months of finishing the final volume after a nine year journey with Isaak, Rudolfo and the Gang.  That first novel led to an agent and a five book contract with Tor within thirteen months of sitting down to write it.  And it led to the books coming out here and overseas to a lot of nice words and even a few awards.  From short story to writing career in thirty seconds, so to speak.

Part of the series’ success – and the story’s success, I think – is Isaak himself.  I’m often told by fans that he is their favorite character.  He’s also a character whose point-of-view we never experience.  We see him only through the eyes of the humans he’s met along the way.  I’ve been told how clever I was to honor Dr. Asimov with the name of my robot and maybe Leroy really was being clever.  I actually chose the name because it means ‘laughter’ (approximately) and I thought a weeping robot named laughter was a nice twist.  Leroy, obviously, is vastly more clever than me.

And Isaak weeps for what he’s done.  A mechanical who had no ambition for becoming human, he’s thrust into an innocent, awkward humanity from his first entrance onto the page and becomes a central figure over the course of five books.  At the time, I thought nothing of it.  Now, I can see clearly the homage I was paying to all of the metal men who’d influenced me.  Baum’s Tin Woodman grabbed me first, followed closely by Lester Del Rey’s Max in Runaway Robot,  C3PO (Star Wars), and Twiki (Buck Rogers)  showed up soon after.  There were more over the course of decades of science fiction but those are the first that leap to mind.  They were the ones I laid awake at night wishing I could build and then take to school with me.

So when Katie Cord decided she also wanted to pay homage to all the robots she’s loved and turned Jennifer Brozek loose to round up stories for Evil Girlfriend Media’s Bless Your Mechanical Heart,  I was thrilled to be invited to that rodeo.  I hope you’ll pick up your copy today and see what they’ve put together for you!

 

 

 

trailerboy_2

Ken “Trailer Boy” Scholes is the critically acclaimed author of four novels and over forty short stories. His series, The Psalm of Isaak, is being published both at home and abroad to award nominations and rave reviews. Publisher’s Weekly hails the series as a “towering storytelling tour de force.”

He is a winner of the ALA’s RUSA Reading List award for best fantasy novel, France’s Prix Imaginales for best foreign novel, and the Writers of the Future contest.

Ken is a native of the Pacific Northwest and makes his home in Saint Helens, Oregon, where he lives with his wife and twin daughters. You can learn more about Ken by visiting www.kenscholes.com.




10
Mar

BLESS YOUR MECHANICAL HEART COVER REVEAL

BYMH-3c

 

Artist Larry Dixon tells us about his design for BLESS YOUR MECHANICAL HEART:

I used the scale of the heart compared to the droid to represent a problem that was too big to fix.  The heart’s interior and the frayed circuitry are extremely delicate, and bright and beautiful, and a tangle.  The heart’s centerline is a visual play on the classic “broken heart” design of a jagged break, except of course, this bifurcation is part of that heart’s intended styling, a statement that hearts are in fact designed to appear broken, and be deeply accessible, as part of their function.

The droid’s lighting is red while the heart is blue, indicating incompatibility.  The droid’s 1950s-styled chromework has a patina like untended trim on a classic car, and is dented up, to represent that the droid’s been through a lot, but aside from that there’s no visible damage. Love’s like that.  I also went with the droid’s “skin” as black silicone rubber because, call me crazy, but I’d want my droids to be waterproofed.

The background has a zoom blur, a lot like a camera pull, to draw the eye more to the figure’s head.  There’s also a shadowy image of a ruined building behind it to give the impression that something’s gone badly, shown corner-on to bring to mind a cathedral by its symmetry.  It’s a strong vertical, to push the eye down (from where a title block will no doubt be) to an unseen, but felt, horizon line that grounds it. Lastly, though, the whole thing is engulfed from the sides by utter blackness, not to show dread or evil, but rather, a lack of information while the droid ponders the heart.

Find out more about Larry Dixon at  http://www.gryphonking.com/.

 

We are excited to release this anthology mid-April. If you are in the Seattle, WA area, plan to attend our book release party at NORWESCON 37.

 

Best Always,

Katie




10
Feb

EAT YOUR HEART OUT: AN AUTHOR EXTRAVAGANZA

eatyourheartout

Don’t make us eat your heart out, get over to the event page!

 

VALENTINE’S DAY.

Yeah, it is a day for many that represents love, candy, flowers, and if you’re lucky… some really other great stuff. But for some of us, it represents other things: zombies, vampires, psychological terror, and really great stories. So, whether you’re looking for an inexpensive gift for your significant other, or something to distract yourself from all those people celebrating a holiday you could care less about. Come on over to the Facebook event, EAT YOUR HEART OUT: AN AUTHOR EXTRAVAGANZA. It is a great place to talk with some of the hottest indie authors and publishers (including us).

 

booklineup

 

THE LINEUP

Rachel Aukes-100 Days in Deadland
A. Carina Barry-The Under-Circus and Other Tales
Owen Baillie-Aftermath (Invasion of the Dead, Book 1)
Jake Bible: Z-Burbia
Tonia Brown-Devouring Milo
Jason Christie-Zombie Killa
Joseph A. Coley-Six Feet From Hell: Crisis
Eli Constant-Dead Trees
Ricky Cooper-Designated Infected
Evil Girlfriend Media-Stamps, Vamps & Tramps
Craig DiLouie-The Retreat, Episode #1: Pandemic
Jackie Druga-Zombie Battle: Complete (5 books)
Dan Eagles-The Last Venture Capitalist
Kurt Fawver-Forever, In Pieces
Sarah Lyons Fleming-Until the End of the World
Rhiannon Frater-The Untold Tales Omnibus: Zombie Stories From the As The World Dies Universe (3 volumes)
Michael S Gardner-Downfall
Josh Hilden-The Shores of the Dead Book 1: The Rising
Michelle Kilmer-When the Dead & The Spread (2 books)
Eloise J. Knapp-Pulse
Sb Knight-Game of Straws, Game of Straws Origins, and Volume One of the Saga of Straws (trilogy)
Timothy Long-At the Behest of the Dead
Keith Milstead-Fish To Die For
Ripley Patton-Ghost Hold
Claire C. Riley-Odium: The Dead Saga
Damir Salkovic-The Black Ziggurat Double Feature
Randy Spears-Forget the Alamo: A Zombie Novella
Rachel Tsoumbakos-Emeline and the Mutants
Jack Wallen-I Zombie I
Darren Wearmouth-First Activation

 

ABOUT OUR SUBMISSION

 

SVTad

Click here for some vampire goodness!

On the day of lovers and lonely hearts, we will be releasing our third Three Little Words anthology. It is a sweet, sweet gift to ourselves. The tone of this antho, like the other two, not only reflects the theme but also the editor. Shannon Page and Monique Snyman both came to their anthologies with a different world view which included their location, personal belief system, and the type of story they enjoy. Shannon Robinson is no different. Shannon R. is born out of a literary world that enjoys telling, play on words, long paragraphs, and beautiful metaphors. We at EGM look at our anthos and think, “Wow”.  We have stories from all over the world in these books. In our third anthology, it is an honor and privilege to publish stories by best-selling authors, award winners, and a couple newcomers that are on the rise. We hope that you purchase this anthology, leave us a review, and give us a bloody good Valentine’s Day.

What a talented lineup!

What a talented lineup!

Don’t get your heart ripped out.

Best Always,

Katie

 




29
Jan

BLESS YOUR MECHANICAL HEART

In the summer of 2012, I attended the Cascade Writer’s Workshop in Vancouver, WA. It is a Milford Style Workshop geared mostly towards science fiction, fantasy, and horror writers. In my group, a tall guy who dressed in a black suit wrote the most amazing old-school science fiction story. I sort of gushed over it. In the end, I felt myself saying, Bless your mechanical heart, regarding the main character. The story had all of the things I love: deep character, ethical and moral dilemmas, and the feel of a time in science fiction from before I was born.

Forward to 2013, I’m at one of the biggest comic book conventions in the world with a fellow writer. I’d recently met him at another con (he’s sort of weird, likes zombies and superhero stuff, what a concept).  He loves Gundam robots and to see his face light up as we passed display after display was such a treat.

A week later, I met Jennifer Brozek, an editor I’d followed on Facebook for years. She seemed sharp, liked the same things as me, and then the idea hit me. Let’s make an anthology of robot stories together and use a phrase ingrained in the Wernicke’s area of every southern woman’s brain, “Bless your heart”.

According to the urban dictionary, the phrase “Bless your heart” can mean anything from calling someone an idiot without being harsh, to a polite way to tell someone to go to hell, or even for them to f— off.  For me, this held true as I grew up as a child. As the nerdy overweight girl who wore thick glasses and read way too many books, “Bless your heart” was said constantly to me. I use it now for all of the above and even to tell people how sorry I am about a situation they may be going through without making them feel uncomfortable.

Regardless, Bless Your Mechanical Heart is what happens when an excellent editor and a southern gal who loves classic science fiction get together.  Jennifer and I love this concept and are excited to have the opportunity to publish the authors involved. We have pulled together a wide range of voices from urban fantasy authors, game writers, and pop culture sensations.  We hope you enjoy what we’ve cooked up.

 

BLESS YOUR MECHANICAL HEART

 Edited and Introduction by

Jennifer Brozek

THE LAMBS
by Seanan McGuire

THE KING’S OWN
by Fiona Patton

THE STRANGE ARCHITECTURE OF THE HEART
by Lucy A. Snyder

THIRTY-TWO, TWENTY-THREE
by Jean Rabe

JUST ANOTHER DAY IN THE BUTTERFLY WAR
by M. Todd Gallowglas

EVER YOU
by Mae Empson

REST IN PEACE
by Sarah Hans

SEEDS OF DEVOTION
by Dylan Birtolo

THE IMPERIAL COMPANION
by Lillian Cohen-Moore

IN SO MANY WORDS
by Christopher Kellen

WE EAT THE HEARTS THAT COME FOR YOU
by Jason Sanford

DO ROBOTIC CATS PURR IN SPACE?
by Kerrie Hughes

AIDED
by Minerva Zimmerman

THE BODY AS A SHIP
by Mark Andrew Edwards

OF METAL MEN AND SCARLET THREAD AND DANCING WITH THE SUNRISE
by Ken Scholes

LOST CONNECTIONS
by Jody Lynn Nye

THE APOCRYPHA OF GAMMA-202
by Peter Clines

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COMING SOON! 

Keep watching for the full cover by Larry Dixon.




1
Jan

Year Two Begins

Happy Anniversary

Today is our one year anniversary of opening and we are so proud to have published three books. The talent we’ve brought in includes: Clarion graduates, Writers of the Future winners, Nebula nominees and winners, and rising stars in both traditional and indie publishing.  Our editors, Shannon Robinson, Shannon Page, and Monique Snyman worked diligently with our authors to provide work that we could all be proud of. This is one of our major goals in 2014, continue to provide readers with high quality entertaining books

 

So, to start the new year out right, here is a little bit of what we have coming up. Some of the information is vague for a reason, but we are excited to share.

 

February 14th, we’ll release our third THREE LITTLE WORDS anthology, STAMPS, VAMPS & TRAMPS at the event EAT YOUR HEART OUT: An Author Extravangza.

 

eatyourheartout2

Poster by Eloise Knapp

 

If you haven’t seen the Table of Contents for STAMPS, VAMPS & TRAMPS on our social media, we are very pleased with this collaboration of talent. We plan to release the cover within the next two weeks and a couple of advanced e-books for review. If you’re interested in reviewing, contact us at info@evilgirlfriendmedia.com.

 

STAMPS, VAMPS & TRAMPS

A Three Little Words Anthology

INTRODUCTION
by Shannon Robinson

FROM THE HEART
By Kella Campbell

SIDEPONYTAIL
By Lily Hoang 

SUMMER NIGHT IN DURHAM
By Cat Rambo

ONLY DARKNESS
By Paul Witcover

HIS BODY SCATTERED
By Adam Callaway

THE HUNGRY, LIVING DEAD
By Nancy Kilpatrick 

THE WHOLE OF HIS HISTORY
By Barbara Barnett

THE LIGHTNING TREE
By Carrie Laben

HIS FACE, ALL RED
By Gemma Files

A VIRGIN HAND DISARM’D
By Mary Turzillo 

FLIES IN THE INK
By Megan Beals

STABILIZATION
By Dan Parseliti

FOLLOW ME
By Christine Morgan 

MUNGO THE VAMPIRE
By Sandra Kasturi 

EASY MARK
By Rachel Caine

JOSEPHINE THE TATTOO QUEEN
By Joshua Gage

We hope that you’ll join the event on February 14th and purchase this anthology packed with ink, fangs, and wanderers.

In other news, Jennifer Brozek’s anthology, BLESS YOUR MECHANICAL HEART is on course to be released mid-April and we hope to have the table of contents by February. This anthology was not open to unsolicited submissions.

 

Katie has also made an executive decision to only produce one THREE LITTLE WORDS anthology each fall. As much as she loves anthologies and highlighting new talent, we want to focus on e-novellas and full length manuscripts for fans.

 

We will open again to submissions on January 7, 2014.  Please keep in mind, we have a 90-120 day turn around on submissions.

 

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22
Dec

A Christmas Gift from Evil Girlfriend Media and Ken Scholes

ken story

What Child is This I Ask the Midnight Clear

 By

Ken Scholes

 

It could have been snow, gently drifting down.  It could have been virgin white and cold as cold.  But it wasn’t.

It was ash and the night wind was hot upon me.

That’s what I remember now when I go out.

That first year when the world was on fire and we slipped over the broiling skin of it, we brave nine.  We ran the course all night but found nowhere to land.  For the first time ever I did not stop.  Not one place.  And all the while, as we slid through that broiling night, I kept humming that song.  The one about the star, the star.  Dancing in the night.

Tail big as a kite.

The end had come suddenly and they’d managed to do it to themselves.  I’d always known they would.

#

I’m airborne now and the past falls away.  The ash has long settled and it’s really snowing again.  We’re not as loaded down as we’ve been in the past but that will come in handy later.  Times have changed.  The list has changed, too.  And so has my work.  Naughty and nice are blurrier now so I’m less meticulous in checking.  I do the right thing, instead.

I don’t have to crack any whips or give any whistles.  We build speed to bend time around us.  We’ll do a year’s work this night and then we’ll sleep a while.  I check the ammunition in my assault rifle and loosen the strings on my sack.

Then we start landing here and there and I’m out doing the right thing.  Books for a library in Vancouver.  Needles and a whetstone for a circuit rider in Laramie.  We haul a starving family out of a dead mountain town in Oregon and assassinate a white supremacist who was building a skinhead army in Maine.  A handful of twelve-gauge shells for Leonard in Saskatoon.  A bottle of aspirin in Bo Phut, Thailand.  And so on.

We’re just turning north for home when we see the light.

A star, a star, dancing in the night.  Tail as big as a kite.

It builds and then blooms, a piercing white over the horizon to the east.  I shield my eyes and look homeward, then back into the light.  Is it a bomb?  Another crazy moving the world deeper into the hole it has fallen in?  Or a satellite falling from orbit?  Either way, it’s worth looking into.

I steer east and take us low.  As I draw closer, the light shrinks to a concentrated point of brilliance and I aim for it.  We pick up speed and rip open space-time for a split second.  Then, we bear down upon the town that sleeps beneath that unexplainable, spontaneous star.

There in the glory of that bright light, a child screams.

#

She is not on my list.  I’ve made no stops in this feral country in over a decade.  But I hear her screaming and it is as piercing as the star above.  I unsling my rifle and we drop right there to hover over what used to be a schoolyard.  I don’t know what I was expecting.  Someone being harmed.  Someone being carved up into pieces by primates gone horribly wrong.  I work the lever and feel the solid clunk of a chambered round.  Slipping my gloved finger around the trigger, I use my thumb to move the switch to three-round-burst and then I hit ground with a thud.  I race across the open concrete, stepping over the frozen clumps of gray weed and watching my breath billow into the cold night air.  The screaming stops.  I hear heavy breathing instead now.  Panting.

What are they doing to her?  I feel a rage coming on as the screams start again.  I push it down and use it to feed my focus.

Do you hear what I hear, the song asks.

I hear it, I answer.

They rape the world the same way they rape each other.

They kill the world the same way they kill each other.

No list to make or check here.  I am bent on violent righteousness when I kick down the makeshift plywood door propped up to keep the wind out.

Someone has turned the old lavatory into shelter but it has gone badly for them.  The boy lies cold and still and bloody.  The girl’s screams change from pain to terror when I storm into the cluttered room and I suddenly know that things were not what they seem.  I see her, in the corner, squatting in a nest of blankets.  Her brown hair is long and dirty.  Her brown eyes are wild and frantic.  The blankets are stained with blood and I understand why.  Pale and shaking, her eyes go wide as she sees me standing over the cold body of her dead mate, light spilling around me into the room.

Another contraction and she screams again.  I turn, run for the medical kit beneath the driver’s bench.  When I return, I go in slowly with my rifle slung and my hands up showing the kit.  “I can help you,” I tell the girl.

Her eyes roll and she tries backing away from me but falls back into the corner.  Her breath heaves out in ragged gasps.

“I’m a friend.”  I keep my voice low and assuring, just like in the old days.  Only this time, it’s not a frightened child approaching me from a long line in the mall, nervous at the presence the myth of me has become.  This frightened child huddles in a frozen elementary restroom  at the end of her tether, trying to shove life into a dead, cold place.  “I can help you,” I say again but this time I hear the doubt in my own voice.  There is too much blood.

I crouch and move closer, opening the kit and finding nothing at all that I can use.

Then behind me, in the schoolyard, a clatter arises.

The eight snort and stomp and when the howling starts outside, the light winks out.  The moon, hidden behind a layer of clouds, offers little visibility.

Pushing the first aid kit towards the girl, I draw my rifle again, thumb off the safety once more.  I never unchambered the round.  Too smart for that.

More stamping and snorting but no ringing.  I took the bells off their harnesses a long time ago.

“Dashing through the snow,” a voice whispers from the edge of the schoolyard.

“O come all ye faithful,” another says.

“We wish you a merry Christmas,” sings a third.

I look over my shoulder at the girl panting in the corner.  “Just stay put and keep quiet.”

Donder screams and bucks.  Dasher bleats and kicks.  I hear the whir of stones in slings, the distant clatters of shots gone wide.

Then, I’m outside and running at a low crouch.  I’m fast for a big man, even without laying my finger to the side of my nose.  I whistle and I hear the eight lifting off; I hear the labored breathing of the two who’ve been hurt.  I hear the disappointed grunts and hungry sighs.  I don’t wait; when one of them takes shape in the darkness, large and wide, I put a three-round burst into the center of its mass and listen to the rush of escaping air as that rush twists itself into a shriek of surprise.

Another shape forms beside it, this one bending to see to its friend.  I put another burst there.  I’ve done this before.  I do the right thing.

Then I stop.  I smell the burning powder on the midnight air.  I listen for my eight, moving in a slow, widening circle above me.

A third takes shape near the others.  I move closer, rifle raised.  It moves to the left and I tap the concrete with bullets near his foot.  “Hold,” I tell him.

I can see him now and he might’ve been human once but the traces of it have left his face and eyes.  He’s wearing a red hat like mine, only tattered and dirty.  He’s dropped his sling and one of his suspenders is loose and dangling.  Barefoot with wet trousers, he trembles before a vision he may have dim memory of, from a childhood spent before the world heaved its last sigh.

“Remove the hat,” I say, “and look to me.”

He pulls it off slowly.  Our eyes meet and I’m pleased at the fear I see there.  “Life is your gift this year,” I tell him through gritted teeth, “but it comes with a string.  Tell the others what you have seen and tell them to be afraid.  Every other night belongs to you but this one.  I ride on this night with justice and grace.”  I raise myself to full height.  I fire the rifle over his head.  “Now, run like a rabbit.”

He does and as he fades, the night becomes silent and holy for a heartbeat before a new cry, muffled and straining, greets its new home in a broken world.

I turn back and enter the lavatory and in that I am both too late and just in time.  The girl is fading fast and in her arms she holds a sticky, bloody bundle packed into dirty cloth pulled from her makeshift nest.  I see the cord that still connects them.  Her eyes are wide and her nostrils flare when I draw closer but she doesn’t flinch.

She points to me.  “Ho, ho, ho,” she says in a quiet voice before making the sign of the cross.  She passes the squirming bundle to me and says one final word:  “Charis.”

Slinging my rifle, I take the baby.  I do the best I can with the tools I have, cutting the cord, closing the mother’s glassy eyes.  I remove my jacket.  Then I clean the baby and wrap her carefully in it.

I want to stay and bury my dead but I know better.  I have not prayed in years but I manage one there beside the fallen mother and father, victims of a nativity gone wrong in a world that struggles between death and birth.

Then, I whistle for my eight.  We lift off into the night and I hold Charis close to me, giving the reindeer their heads to take us north and home.

As we fly, I ponder — I wonder as I wander — and I call up my list to see who on this night had wanted the gift of a child.  I weep at what I find.

“It’s no place for a child,” I tell the eight as we soar.

“I’m far too old for this work,” I say to them again.

“I am afraid,” I finally admit.

But a vision unfolds to me of a tiny girl in red with elves for her friends and family, raised up with the deer and the sleigh as humanity’s orphan, taught from their books and their art and the better parts of a species tremendously blessed and terribly flawed, trained to go out into that broken world and do the right thing.

And in that moment, the light returns but it is inside me and inside of the baby in my arms, and that light threatens to swallow me whole and I beg it to because within that light is hope and promise and I recognize that tonight was the night upon which the universe — or whomever ran it — gave back to me and did so with a holy charge.

Home arises to the north and we pound sky for it.  As we fly, the clouds lift and the starshine falls like a mantle of jewels over the crown of the world.

I feel the peace on earth within my chest.

Goodwill towards men lay sleeping in my arms.

“What child is this?” I ask the midnight clear.

“Yours,” it says, and weeping, we fly home.

 ###

Copyright Ken Scholes, 2007 – www.kenscholes.com

First print, Shimmer Magazine’s Christmas 2007, Volume 2, Bonus Issue #4

Second  (current) print, Fairwood Press, “Diving Mimes, Weeping Czars and Other Unusual Suspects




25
Nov

Feed the Zombies! An All You Can Read Event

Our good friend, Tim W. Long is hosting an event of epic zombie proportion, and we just couldn’t pass up the chance to share in such a great deal for zombie fans. On November 27th, we’ll be offering Roms, Bombs & Zoms for 99 cents along with books by some of the best names in the zombie genre.

 

Come over to Facebook to share in a day of laughter, zombie talk, and some great deals.

 

 

 

FEATURING:

 

First Activation – D. A. Wearmouth 


Autumn: The Human Condition – David Moody


Last Bastion of the Living – Rhiannon Frater


The Infection – Craig DiLouie


Domain of the Dead- Iain McKinnon


Downfall and Betrayal – Michael S Gardner


The Forgotten – Jackie Druga


Six Feet From Hell: Crisis – Joseph A. Coley


Game of Straws Origins – SB Knight


Beyond the Barriers – Tim W. Long 


Fish to Die For (666 Fish) – Keith Milstead


The Undead Situation – Eloise J. Knapp


Roms, Bombs & Zoms (A Three Little Words Anthology) – Katie Cord (Evil Girlfriend Media)


Epic Apocalypse – Apocalyptic Box Set ($1.99) James Cook, John O’Brien, Joe McKinney, Armand Rosamilia, Heath Stallcup, Shawn Chesser, and Mark Tufo

 

 

A little about EGM’s submission for the event:

 

Roms, Bombs & Zoms cover

When hearts rot, fu

ses ignite.Super geek gets the girl, a righteous preacher and his undead wife, fantastical zombies, the tantric art of zubbing, mindless hive workers, and traditional flesh eating walkers, this anthology has a bit of everything. Our twisted tales pull you into the darkest of darks, where hope is lost, and sustaining life is no simple feat.

Twenty-one authors congealed romance, bombs, and zombies into stories that are diverse, witty, and occasionally gut-wrenching. Travel through time to walk in alternate histories, visit magical realms, and face down pestilence that will literally rot your insides. This collection is sure to warm your cold, dead, heart.

Stories by Ken MacGregor, Patrick D’Orazio, Randy Henderson, and Kriscinda Lee Everitt, among others.

 

Even if you are not a zombie fan, you can get ahead on your holiday shopping by purchasing gift certificates for the zombie lover in your life. They make great stocking stuffers. 
 
Best Always,
 
Katie 

 

 




12
Nov

Eat Your Heart Out or Our Brains

We released Roms, Bombs & Zoms on November 1, 2013 to the Kindle and Createspace. The book has an absolutely amazing cover with Michelle Kilmer and Aaron Sheagley modeling the imminent destruction of two lovers. The stories included in this anthology are varied and entertaining.

Roms, Bombs & Zoms cover

 From the dedication page:

Dedicated to all those who are clueless in romance,

dropping bombs without intent,

and for those brave zombies of heartache,

who rise and love again. 

Editor Monique Snyman chose stories varied in their themes from the lover back from the grave to the zombie drug addict. We are extremely pleased to offer this collection to our fans.

 

Best Wishes,

Katie
Evil Girlfriend Media




13
Sep

Hard Realities, True Words

Hard Realities, True Words

   (guest post by Shannon Page)

 

When I eagerly accepted Katie’s invitation to edit Witches, Stitches & Bitches, I knew it was going to be an amazing book. And when the stories started pouring in, they were even more fantastic than I’d hoped.

It was an open-call anthology, and I didn’t have any preconceived notion of what kinds of stories I was looking for. The “witch, stitch, bitch” theme can be interpreted in so many ways. In making my choices, I did look for a balance in the overall book—several layers of variety. Though they are mostly stories for adults, there are a few with YA themes. The length varies from just over flash to novelette. And as far as tone goes, we have light, silly stories as well as some very dark and disturbing ones. But what they all had in common was this: they were great stories. They held my attention all the way through; I couldn’t wait to see what happened next. They let me stop being “editor” and slip into being “reader”. I hope you enjoy reading them as much as I did.

I want to talk here about one story in particular. One of the darker stories (though, I believe, an ultimately hopeful and redemptive one). Gabrielle Harbowy’s “Blood Magic” gripped me from the start, and made me sigh with delight when I put the pages down. It’s a gorgeous, deftly written tale with some very dark happenings. (See Gabrielle’s thoughts on the choices she made in writing the story, in the guest post to follow this one). I knew I wanted it for the anthology; I knew I wanted it as the lead story.

But, as I mentioned, the subject matter is hard. All of us at Evil Girlfriend Media grappled with this, several times during the editorial process. We want to be sensitive to our audience even as we strive to bring you the best in evil entertainment. After much consideration, we ultimately came to the conclusion that, difficult though certain aspects of this story may be, the language is not graphic, and the situation drives the narrative action. Toning it down would remove its power, and would be playing false with the characters and the world.

And we did want to publish the story. It was just too brilliant to leave out, or to bury behind lighter stories. True words are not easy; the world is not a safe place—neither Aya’s world nor ours.

Thank you so much, dear readers, for giving us a chance—to entertain you, to challenge you, to delight you. We hope to continue doing so for a long, long time.

Purchase on: Amazon, Barnes & Noble




2
Sep

Witches, Stitches, and Bitches Cover

We are proud to release our first Three Little Words cover.

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WBScovers300

 

From the Back Cover:

A STITCH IN TIME… IS JUST THE BEGINNING OF THE STORY.

Exquisite revenge and knitted doppelgängers; heartbreak and happy endings; unicorns, doomed dogs, and penitent frogs; steampunk fairies, conflicted stepmothers, and baseball—you’ll find it all here. Our literary alchemists weave a spell of fascination, drawing you deeper and deeper, tale by tale, until escape is impossible. But you’ll enjoy every minute of the plunge.

These sixteen deft and delightful stories involving witches, stitches, and bitches run the gamut from darkly disturbing to just plain fun. They will each take you out of the ordinary and into the world of magic, where older, weirder, or merely other rules apply. And just when you think things are all sewn up… some bitch may have a surprise for you.

Includes stories by Gabrielle Harbowy, Caren Gussoff, Kodiak Julian, and Christine Morgan, among others.

AVAILABLE SEPTEMBER 13, 2013




27
Jul

Table of Contents for Witches, Stitches, and Bitches Announced

When Shannon Page handed over the final compilation for Witches, Stitches, and Bitches, we couldn’t stop reading all of the intriguing stories. It is with great excitement that we deliver this dark, devilish anthology to our readers. From the very first story, you’ll be “woven” into the worlds our authors created with themes ranging from revenge to unicorns. The witching, stitching, and bitching commences on Friday, September 13th, 2013.

 

http://www.dreamstime.com/stock-photos-voodoo-mood-image24667983

 

 

WITCHES, STITCHES, AND BITCHES

A Three Little Words Anthology

INTRODUCTION
by Shannon Page

BLOOD MAGIC
By Gabrielle Harbowy

URGENT CARE
By Christine Morgan

THE KNITTED MAN
By Bo Balder

SPARE PARTS
By Stephanie Bissette-Roark

THE SECRET LIFE OF DREAMS
By Tom Howard

FROGSONG
By Kate Brandt

NO SUBSTITUTE
By Caren Gussoff

FORGETTING TOMORROW
By Bob Brown

THE BITCHY WITCH QUEEN and the UNDONE STITCHES
By Garth Upshaw

NOT EVEN IF I WANTED TO
By Kodiak Julian

YES, I’M A WITCH
By Julie McGalliard

THE FAR HORIZON
By J. H. Fleming

THE THREE GATEWAYS
By Eva Langston

FOR WANT OF A UNICORN
By Camille Griep

BLOOD OF THE MOTHER
By Alaina Ewing

DRESSES OF FUR AND FANGS
By Rebecca Fung

Like the Witches, Stitches, and Bitches Facebook page for more information about authors and giveaways.
https://www.facebook.com/egmwitches




8
Jul

Table of Contents released for Roms, Bombs, and Zoms

On November 1, 2013, Evil Girlfriend Media plans to release a romantic, explosive, and incredibly undead anthology that will have you laughing, crying, and possibly gagging through out.  Our editor, Monique Snyman, chose stories that entertained her while bringing all three of the elements of the title together in unique ways. We are so proud of this talented team of individuals. They are as diverse as their stories ranging from screenwriters, indie authors, musicians, and traditionally published authors. You’ll find stories about zombie STDs, a female soldier who left her lover behind, a righteous preacher and the dilemma of an undead wife, a boy and his dog, plus many more.

Zombie Collage

 

ROMS, BOMBS, AND ZOMS

A Three Little Words Anthology

FOREWORD
By Monique Snyman

SOUL TIES
By Katie Jones

UNTIL THE END
By Patrick D’Orazio

POST BOMB ZOMBIE ROMLAND
By Dana Wright

I’LL COME BACK
By Michelle Kilmer

NATHAN’S PROMISE
By Ken MacGregor

THE SECOND BATTLE OF GETTYSBURG
By Kriscinda Lee Everitt

MAMA
By Jay Wilburn

CHURCH OF THE RISEN DEAD
By Tom D Wright

THOUGH SHE BE LITTLE, SHE IS FIERCE
By Michele Roger

NEEDS OF A HALF-DEAD HEART
By Randy Henderson

WHEN THE LAST WAR ENDED
By Paul S. Huggins

YOUR CHEATIN’ HEART
By Katie Cord

THE TOWER
By Joshua Brown

WHAT I WAS THERE FOR
By Matt Youngmark and Dawn Marie Pares

FROM SAFETY TO WHERE
By Kris Freestone

AN UNDYING LOVE
By John Edward Betancourt

TILL DEATH WE DO NOT PART
By Killion Slade

I’VE GOT YOU UNDER MY SKIN
By Anthony J. Rapino and Monique Snyman

Watch for the Table of Contents for Witches, Stitches, and Bitches edited by Shannon Page coming soon!

 




1
Jul

Our First Novel

Evil Girlfriend Media would not be on its current path without our first novel, The Heart-Shaped Emblor.  I met the author, Alaina Ewing, in the summer of 2011 at the Cascade Writers Workshop. We were both assigned to the same critique group. Her story resonated through me, there was only one slight problem, I wanted to shake some sense into her main character, Aislinn Moore. However, this powerful emotion created a friendship.  After several years, and a couple of rewrites, Alaina planned to self-publish the book. Instead, I offered to let her use a LLC  I created to self-publish my own work. She agreed.

It occurred to me over a couple of weeks, that maybe I should treat this as a chance to make my own dreams come true. I’ve always wanted my own business and love making ideas happen. One night over coffee and snacks at another writer’s house, we joked about me making Evil Girlfriend Media a real entity. I’d recently received encouragement from a pretty successful zombie writer to push it to the next level. There at our friend’s kitchen table, a book deal was born. It wasn’t long after that, I pitched to my writers group a collection of anthology ideas that I’d initially wanted to write as short story collections. I don’t want to get off topic too much, this is a blog about Alaina Ewing and The Heart-Shaped Emblor. However, I wanted everyone to know the importance of this first full length novel presented by our company.

So without further ado, here is the cover for The Heart-Shaped Emblor:

cover

Should she choose the life of a normal college student or something else entirely?

Despite her best efforts, Aislinn Moore is not a typical teenager. She sees ethereal beings, has prophetic dreams, and knows far too many intimate details of her friends’ darkest secrets. She tries to avoid her supernatural abilities by focusing on her early entry college courses, sculpting, and relationship with the affluent older Cooper Greene.

When her abilities cause her to be alienated from friends and destroys her relationship with her boyfriend, it feels like she may have to face life with her abilities alone. Just when she thinks things couldn’t get worse, she sees a mysterious guy from her dreams working on her college campus.

Alexander Welch is everything she ever imagined him to be; sexy, protective, intelligent, and his dimple sends chills through her every time she thinks of him. There is only one problem… He is not human. He is a Ewlishash, a hope bringer, and despite the fact that she is falling hard for him, his touch feels like electrified razors slicing into her skin.

 As Aislinn grows closer to her dream guy, a world she never knew existed opens before her. There are battling forces at work, and Alexander is there for a reason, to protect and guide her. The closer Aislinn and Alexander become, the less his touch hurts and the more her powers increase. Leaving Aislinn wondering how they tie to one another. Before she can truly understand her gifts, she must unfurl the truth about him, the motivations of the Ewlishash, and decide who she really wants to be.

 

 

The cover was created by Mark Ferrari, a science fiction and fantasy artist as well as writer. He published his first book, The Book of Joby with Tor in 2007. Our cover model is medium Cassidy Rae, a teenager who really can see ethereal beings.  Then there is Alaina Ewing, a science fiction and fantasy author who puts elements of truth in all of her work. We will be adding the page for the book in the coming weeks. Tentative release date is September 22, 2013.

 

Best Always,

Katie Cord
President, Evil Girlfriend Media




28
May

Rats by Sandra M. Odell

The rats followed Henry home from the hospital. As his daughter massaged his hands, put a pillow under his knees, rubbed lotion into the horny calluses of his feet, they chittered in the corners of the room and watched with beady yellow eyes from behind the dresser mirror. Henry pissed himself, and his left side felt warm.

“Rats,” he said. It came out: “Wuts” “Behind the dresser.” “Bain ah drrh.”

Pink ratty noses twitched, tiny paws flexed like clutching, four-fingered hands. And the smell!

“Hmm?” Lena looked up from pulling on his compression stockings, right then left.

Wruts.” He jabbed at the air with his palsied left hand, now his good hand. The right curled numb and useless at his side. Damn the stroke for taking his dignity and his voice, for leaving him an invalid in a diaper.

“Oh.” Lena sat on the edge of the bed and took his left hand between hers. “No, Dad, there are no rats. Remember what Doctor Romada said, it’s your brain trying to make sense of things.”

What did the doctor know? Only what he saw in the chart, not with his eyes. The doctor hadn’t chased rats out of the henhouse with a willow switch, or away from a deadborn pig in the pen. Hadn’t seen rats chew on his baby sister’s ears in the cradle when she grew cold and pale after the ague. Henry hated rats, fat wormy tails, dirty whiskers, nails on chalkboard squeaks. Like blood clots, waiting for the right moment. “Writs.”
Lena sighed. “Please, Dad…”

Wrots!” He tried to sit up. 74 years of hard living and two packs a day betrayed him. His head barely came off the pillow.

Lena touched his hair, his left cheek. “You’re home now. Everything’s going to be all right. Tess and I are right down the hall, remember?”

Not home. It was his house, but not his home, not since he tossed that handful of dirt on Betsy Mae’s casket eight long and lonesome months ago. They’d managed fine together for 53 years, but now Betsy Mae was gone and the rats, oh, the rats. “Get me a poker, a knife. Where’s my gun?” “Geh m poo, aye. Mugah?

Lena leaned in too close. She always leaned in too close. “Would you like your Atavan? The doctor said you could have it just before bed.”

Henry blew a raspberry, and once again did his best to point.

Lena sighed and looked away, frustration and worry etching years into the corners of her mouth. “It’s tough, I know, but we’ll get through this.” She fussed wrinkles into the quilt, smoothed them out again. “I’ll get your shot to help you sleep. We’ve got a big day tomorrow. Tom is coming over for your home therapy visit, remember? Do you remember Tom from Forest Glen?”

Of course he remembered Tom, young and too enthusiastic in a queer sort of way but an okay fellow. Except for the earring. This didn’t have anything to do with Tom. He had to make her understand, before, before. . . “Writs.”

“Sure, Dad. Rats.”

Lena went to the door. As she reached behind her to pull it shut, she looked from the dresser to Henry and back again and furrowed her brow almost as if, as if she’d seen something. Yes? She had to see the rats. They were right there! He jerked his left arm up, too high, too far, but up. “See, Lena, see? Now do you believe me?” “Ee, naha, eez? Naowl bu me?

“I love you, Dad.”

The door closed. And the rats, oh, the rats.


Sandra lives with her husband and two sons in Washington state.  She is an avid reader, compulsive writer, and rabid chocoholic.  Her work has appeared in such venues as Jim Baen’s UNIVERSE, Daily Science Fiction, and Crossed Genres.  She is a Clarion West 2010 graduate.