To All Appearances (Will Scarlet’s Kiss & Tell)

“From the stage that brought you Will & Allyn’s Interactive Theatre,” Allyn-a-Dale proclaims before the curtain, “here’s Ever On Word’s original talk show, Will Scarlet’s Kiss & Tell.”

Danielle whipped up a logo for me, because she is awesome first class.

The curtain rises, the studio audience applauds, and Will Scarlet himself walks smiling and waving onto the bright, cozy set.

“Hullo, everyone! Let’s jump right into it, shall we?” Leading by example, he hops into his armchair. “Allyn, who is our guest character today?”

As the guest enters from the other side of the stage, Allyn says, “Author Rachel Pattinson describes her creation thus:

Just your standard genetically enhanced seventeen-year-old, Anais Finch is a girl who dreams of going above and beyond the limited expectations of her society. But when a mysterious entity known only as ‘the Hacker’ attacks the Imperial City, her hopes are dashed and her best friend is placed in mortal peril. Anais must try and figure out who she can trust, and fast. Time is running out before the Hacker strikes again and this time, Anais might not be able to save everyone she loves.

“Welcome, Anais!” Will greets the girl seated in the chair across from his own. “So glad you could join me. First things first – you look absolutely fabulous. Beyond your wowsome looks, though, have your genetic enhancements provided you with any other cool advantages?”

Anais flashes Will a perfect smile and flicks back her candy floss pink hair. “Thanks for the compliments, Will. Unfortunately, scientists in my city have a pretty one track mind. They’re all into how something looks on the outside, not the inside. So while I don’t have any superpowers or mind reading abilities,” she says, “I can, however, change my looks on a whim. I can change my hair colour, eye colour, get a tattoo, remove a tattoo, add freckles, change my cheekbones, my whole facial structure – even my body mass if I had the money – all at the touch of a button. Ever wondered why people in my city all look pretty much the same, despite their hair and eyes? It’s because everyone wants to look the same.” Anais shakes her head, her pink curls bouncing around her shoulders. “People are weird.”

“Seriously? They can look like anything, and they all basically pick the same thing? I don’t get it! Unless they all want to look like me,” Will reflects. “That, I’d totally get. So, hey – what’s day-to-day life like, in the Imperial City?”

“It’s pretty mundane, to be honest. I get up and have my food delivered via the Food Dispensation Unit, which sounds great but it actually monitors all your vitals and tracks what meals you’ve had, so I can’t binge on chocolate or anything else sweet that you 21st Century people like to eat.”

“Well, that sucks. How do they do that?”

“It’s linked to our ID picochips. Everyone’s every move is monitored by this.” Anais sweeps her long hair back to reveal the tiny picochip that’s been transplanted behind her right ear. “The theory is, there’s not a lot you can get anyway with without someone finding out.” She flashes Will a dangerous smile. “But I’m aiming to test that theory.”

“YEAH, test it!” Will approves. “Start with the chocolate. Stick it to The Man. And then after breakfast—!”

“After breakfast, we have to go to our designated jobs. I’ve just graduated high school and I was placed in the picochip factory.” Anais’ eyes darken. “I wanted to be an architect, and they put me in the picochip factory. Can you believe it?”

“La-a-ame,” Will sympathizes.

She sighs and rolls her eyes. “After a hard day slogging away for barely any money, I’ll take the magnetic train or an auto-cab back home. I might go and see my best friend or something, but that’s about it. You’re not allowed to stay out too late, as the city has a 10pm curfew. If I’m completely honest…”

Anais stops, looking guilty. She bites her lip as though unsure of what to say. Finally she swallows hard and continues. “If I’m completely honest, it’s been…interesting… having this Hacker guy come onto the scene. It’s not a good thing,” she adds quickly. “I don’t endorse what he’s done at all, it’s just that…well, life can be pretty monotonous when everything’s pre-planned for you, so in a way…I think it’s a good thing that things are being shaken up a little bit. People need to wake up and think for themselves, instead of expecting technology to do everything for them. The Hacker has already proved how unreliable our way of life can be – what’s to stop him from going even further? And how can we stop him if he already knows everything about us?”

“Yeah,” Will says thoughtfully. “Yeah, I think I get what you mean. But hey, going back to best friends, since they are one of my favorite things – tell me about yours? (Who I certainly hope survives this Hacker mess I’m hearing about, ‘cause yikes.)”

“Oh gosh, where do I begin?! Dalla is just…amazing. We grew up together, so she’s really more like a sister to me than a best friend – which is strange considering the Imperial City has a strict one-child policy.”

“Meaning I guess they want to be the only Big Brother in town…” Will mutters, chafing at the Imperial City’s long list of restrictions.

“But if I was allowed to have a sister,” Anais continues, “I’d want someone exactly like Dalla. She’s so much fun and so full of life – you know those people that just draw you too them because they’re so loud and cheerful and friendly?”

A fond off-camera chuckle from Allyn. “The Will Scarlets of the world? Yes, we know the sort.”

Anais grins. “That’s Dalla. I genuinely don’t know what I’d do without her. But I have a horrible feeling…” Her voice fades away as she gazes at a point over Will’s shoulder, not really focusing. After a moment, she blinks, but the light has gone out of her eyes. “But I have a horrible feeling,” she says quietly. “That I’m going to find out.”

Will blanches. “Hell. Your author wouldn’t—? Dah, but she’s an author. She totally might. Ah!” He brightens. “But maybe we’ve got the chance for a little persuasion of the blackmail variety. Tell me, Anais, what is your author Rachel’s biggest, deepest, darkest, most mortifying and/or hilarious secret?” He shoots her his best smile. “Unless you’d rather kiss me?”

“Well, Will.” Anais crosses her legs and sits forward, a small smile on her perfect pink lips. Her green eyes glow slightly under the studio lights. “As handsome as you are, normally I wouldn’t hesitate to say yes…”

She reaches forward and lightly caresses his cheek, erasing all thoughts of best friends and blackmail from his mind. She’s inches away from Will’s face, and his breath stirs her pink hair. “However, I do have to admit I have a boyfriend—”

“Aw, doggone it!” Will explodes, thwarted.

“And although we’re going through some…issues…at the moment, I don’t think it would be very fair on him. Maybe another day. Ask me again after Rachel’s written the second book.”

“Noted,” Will says vehemently. “Allyn, note it down!”

Anais sits back in her chair, her eyes alight with mischief. “What was the other option? Oh right, Rachel’s darkest secret. Well, I’m sorry to disappoint you all, but my author is unfortunately rather boring. All the exciting stuff happens in her head, but she always plays by the rules in real life. You know that she’s so paranoid about being late for anything, she turns up to work 15 minutes early every day ‘just in case’? She’s mental. However, there is one thing that I know she is completely embarrassed about…she’ll probably kill me off for telling you this, but…” Anais glances furtively around before leaning forward to whisper in Will’s ear, her breath tickling his neck. “She’s got really hairy big toes.”

“No!” says Will, and turns to the camera. “Welp, you heard it here, folks: Rachel Pattinson’s a monkey.”

“Will!” Allyn rebukes.

“I’ll take it back with apologies when I’m assured nobody’s best friends are in danger,” Will says petulantly. “Now Allyn, how ‘bout a quick word from our sponsor?”

“Of all the rude, immature…” Allyn grumbles, then carries on. “Today’s Kiss & Tell segment was brought to you by Rachel Pattinson’s ‘Synthetica’.

Synthetica

Seventeen-year-old Anais Finch lives in a world where everyone is born beautiful, where every dream is a possibility – and where their every move and every piece of personal information is recorded by an ID picochip inserted behind their right ear. When technology giant, Civitas, finally announces the launch of their highly anticipated Scholarly Learning Programs, which allow people to download and learn any subject instantly, Anais can hardly wait.

But not everyone is pleased with society’s progress and not everyone wants to fit in. When Anais witnesses a brutal murder on an innocent citizen and is implicated in the crime, she becomes determined to uncover the truth, especially when others like it begin to occur all over the city. But it may already be too late for Anais to stop the man who calls himself ‘the Hacker’ before he commits his most appalling crime yet.

Synthetica” is available from Amazon UK and Amazon US now!

“Thank you, Allyn,” says Will. “Thanks to you as well, Anais. And thank you, my beautiful audience. Remember, authors – if your characters would like to appear on the show, simply follow the guidelines provided here, and we’ll get them on the schedule. ‘Til next time, lovelies: Scarlet out!”

A Read Worthy of Visibility

Few things evoke simultaneous joy and anxiety like learning you’ve won your choice of any title from an author’s catalog. Yaaaaay, new book! Aaaaargh, how in the world do you pick?? After literal hours of dithering (the only easy part was ruling out that one book I’d already bought/reviewed here; beyond that, dither fest), I made my choice. How’d that work out for me? Well, as you ask…

The Book: “Transparent (Transparent #1)” by Natalie Whipple.

Genre: YA Sci-Fi

Blurb: Plenty of teenagers feel invisible. Fiona McClean actually is.

An invisible girl is a priceless weapon. Fiona’s own father has been forcing her to do his dirty work for years—everything from spying on people to stealing cars to breaking into bank vaults.

After sixteen years, Fiona’s had enough. She and her mother flee to a small town, and for the first time in her life, Fiona feels like a normal life is within reach. But Fiona’s father isn’t giving up that easily.

Of course, he should know better than anyone: never underestimate an invisible girl.

My copy came personalized. #BooYah
My copy came personalized. #BooYah

My Thoughts: *pats self on back* Good pick, Me. I enjoyed this one!

While a tricked-out premise like an invisible teen with a crime boss father in a super-powered world would make it easy enough to go the action movie route – something cool and explosive, with maybe less going on in the area of character development – I was pleasantly surprised by the story’s emotional depth. Fiona’s feelings came across as real in a way that made a lot of sense, given the look we get into her completely messed-up life. The tangible signs of trauma were there in even the little things, like spooking when a bird flew overhead (she had good reason, guys), garnering her a healthy number of “sympathetic character” points – always good to have in a narrating protagonist.

Shout-out, also, to the supporting cast – and a supportive bunch they were, too. You never know what you’re going to get when gorgeous high-schoolers show up in the pages, but no one in this novel rested on anything as one-dimensional as a pretty face. I loved the group dynamic they had going on, made up of equal parts caring and crazy, and admit to feeling a tad jealous that I don’t get to hang out with them.

Meanwhile, I got to worry right along with Fiona about the ever-looming threat of her creeper father, and quite possibly the brother who got his share of dear old Dad’s creeper genes. Considering how easily I get distracted while reading, this book did a great job of making me want to keep the pages turning. And interspersed with the tension were some moments so sweet, I had to smile aloud. (Yes. Smile aloud. That was my face’s story, and I’m sticking to it.)

HSYRT? (Hey, Should You Read This?): I’m glad I gave “Transparent” a try. I hope you guys are inspired to do the same!

Such are my thoughts on the book. Have any of your own? Share below!

A Review Miraculously Free of Bell Puns

Be proud of me. I thought of two such puns without hardly trying. But seriously, folks…

The Book: “The Toll of Another Bell”, edited by McKenna Gardner.

Genre: Fantasy short story anthology.

Blurb: A collection of out-of-this-world short stories that ring true in mortal hearts.

The Toll of Another Bell

“Breath” by Jodi L. Milner: The Guardian of Souls realizes her life is incomplete and sacrifices everything to find what’s missing.

“Awareness” by Timothy Vincent: To achieve the status of Magi, Jyn must pass his father’s ultimate test.

“Phoenix” by Elise Stephens: Orion loses his wife on their wedding day and uses dark magic to seek her in the afterlife.

“Life Under Research Conditions” by Thaxson Patterson II: Can a bioweapon possess a soul and make choices to save humanity?

“The Year of No Foals” by Scott E. Tarbet: A miraculous colt and a mysterious old man bring healing to a family ripped apart by tragedy.

“Naoki No Yokai” by F.M. Longo: Yokai have overrun a local village, and it’s up to Saga Naoki to discover the reason why.

“Jilted River” by Ginger Mann: An Appalachian fairy tale attracts visitors to a state park, but then they start to disappear.

“Tower Gods” by J.R. Potter: A thirteen-year-old boy with an oxygen mask befits the role of hero in Watcher Benson’s eyes.

“Reality As We Know It” by Danielle E. Shipley: Where otherworldly magic fails, is Row’s friendship enough to mend Singer’s grieving heart?

“60 Seconds to Midnight” by TC Phillips: Fleeing an ancient evil, a young woman from amongst the stars finds unlikely refuge on Earth.

My Thoughts: As one would hope of a fantasy-themed collection, “Toll” displays a vast diversity of imagination. But more than only stories to tickle your flights of fancy, these are, on the whole, stories to make you feel. Stories where the pain of what’s lost is but one turn away from the finding of something more.

Some highlights for me as a reader included Jodi L. Milner’s elemental myth “Breath”; the humor winking from F.M. Longo’s tale of spies and samurai, “Naoki no Yokai”; and “Phoenix”, Elise Stephens’ modern retelling of the Orpheus/Eurydice tragedy, the prose holding my heart like a melancholy song. There’s more powerful music to be discovered when a family goes up against a siren in Ginger Mann’s “Jilted River”, and a meticulous balance of fatal magic awaits in Timothy Vincent’s “Awareness”. Readers whose tastes lean in a more Sci-Fi direction may find particular enjoyment in Thaxson Patterson II’s out-of-this-world creations in “Life Under Research Conditions”, or young Kip’s larger-than-life summer adventure in J.R. Potter’s “Tower Gods”.

If I had to choose a favorite story from the collection (excluding the title attached to my own name, of course), I think that honor would go to “The Year of No Foals” by Scott E. Tarbet, a homey, futuristic yarn that reads like it could have happened yesterday or a generation ago. The blend of ordinary and extraordinary is magic and left me smiling. And I strongly advise that all comers stick around for the book’s world-hopping, mind-bending, heart-pounding adventure of a finale, “60 Seconds to Midnight” … though maybe not right before bedtime, lest TC Phillips’ horrific Daimons hunt you down in your dreams.

HSYRT? (Hey, Should You Read This?): Xchyler Publishing delivers another worthy anthology in “The Toll of Another Bell”. Yeah, you should read it! Preorder the Kindle e-book now, and it will deliver to you just as soon as it launches. January 31st, y’all! – same day as the online Release Party. Be there and play for free stuff! Anyone who had a chance to make it out for the Xchyler release party for “Legends and Lore: An Anthology of Mythic Proportions”* knows it’ll be a good time. (:

*Speaking of “Legends and Lore”: Read it? Loved it (or didn’t)? Don’t let Amazon’s customers miss out on your thoughts – share them in a review! All its authors will thank you. ^_^

In Which I Talk Paradox #2 More/Less in Time for Paradox #3

Guess who won another book from one of her fave authors? The same gal who’s finally getting around to reviewing that book for you, that’s who.

The Book: “Honor’s Knight (Paradox #2)” by Rachel Bach.

Genre: Science Fiction.

Honor's Knight

Blurb (as snagged from the back o’ the book): Devi Morris has a lot of problems. And not the fun easy-to-shoot kind either.

After a mysterious attack left her short several memories and one partner, she’s determined to keep her head down, do her job, and get on with her life. But even though Devi’s no actually looking for it – trouble keeps finding her.

She sees things no one else can, the black stain on her hands is growing, and she’s entangled with the cook she thought she hated. Now the mysteries she’s been avoiding are starting to find her, and as the stakes get higher, missing memories might be the least of Devi’s problems.

My Thoughts: No rest for the mercenaries! “Honor’s Knight” is an unrelenting ride that keeps the book’s heroine and readers alike questioning who’s on whose side, which side is which, and whether there’s anyone or anything Devi can trust besides her tricked-out powered armor (which is kind of one of my favorite characters, and it’s just a suit of machinery!).

It’s no longer just Devi’s career ambitions at stake, or even her own survival and increasingly overtaxed sanity. Whole galaxies are under a massive threat kept quiet by the powers that be, and the best shot at a weapon capable of saving the worlds may rest in Devi’s hands. …if only she knew how to wield it like she does her arsenal of guns.

The mystery deepens every step of the way, as does the danger, all of it running us full-tilt toward the climax – which, as of April 22, has been released in Book Three!

Rachel Bach certainly knows how to keep me in suspense, and how to keep me guessing. This is in no way a story that relies on the obvious. Even the romance, which you just know is going to work out in the end (…or which you hope is going to work out… We can only pray that Devi isn’t pushed to deliver a death shot to Rupert right between the eyes, because 1, she just might do it and 2, one might not be entirely able to blame her), swerves wildly from any kind of simple path. You wanna talk about “it’s complicated”? These two have it complicated!

And seriously: Who are the good guys?? ‘Cause just when you think you know who’s got the best interests of the universe at heart, you’ve got to wonder about both their motives and their methods. It’s all way more than Devi signed up for, but you can bet I’ll be signing up for the Paradox trilogy’s conclusion, “Heaven’s Queen”.

HSYRT? (Hey, Should You Read This?): If you’ve read Book One, I probably don’t even have to tell you. If you haven’t read Book One, then dude. “Fortune’s Pawn”. Get on that.

In Which I Gush Over the Continuation of a Beautiful Fanship

Ah, Rachel Aaron, I love how we keep meeting like this. First I win my cherished copy of your Legend of Eli Monpress” omnibus (*pauses a moment to sigh swoonily over Eli*), and then lately I’ve won the first novel released under your other authorial alias! You are my giveaway hero (for realzies. My own personal giveaways have been inspired by yours), and a writer whose stories have yet to do wrong by me. I feel most fortunate to be your fan. I salute you. And I review you[r book].

œFortune's Pawn

The Book: “Fortune’s Pawn (Paradox #1)” by Rachel Bach.

Genre: Science Fiction.

Blurb: Devi Morris isn’t your average mercenary. She has plans. Big ones. And a ton of ambition. It’s a combination that’s going to get her killed one day – but not just yet.
That is, until she just gets a job on a tiny trade ship with a nasty reputation for surprises. The Glorious Fool isn’t misnamed: it likes to get into trouble, so much so that one year of security work under its captain is equal to five years everywhere else. With odds like that, Devi knows she’s found the perfect way to get the jump on the next part of her Plan. But the Fool doesn’t give up its secrets without a fight, and one year on this ship might be more than even Devi can handle.

My Thoughts: Aaron, Bach, it doesn’t matter what surname this author goes by, I just really enjoy her writing. I can’t usually get into sci-fi, but this book felt accessible to my tech-shy brain in a way much of the genre has not, and kept me engaged from start to finish. Bedtime, phooey – I wanted the next the chapter! …and kinda wanted to run off and write my own space adventure. (Time will tell what comes of that.)

The action excited (so many aliens to shoot in the crazy-cool armor suit!), the mystery intrigued (just what game are Captain Caldswell and his conspirators playing, anyway?), and the romance tantalized (Rupert is one of those inside/outside hotties I’ve got a soft spot for. Good pick, Devi; this reader approves). I’m so sad the book is over already, and so glad the sequel is scheduled to come out in February. 😀

HSYRT? (Hey, Should You Read This?): If I liked it this much, I can’t think of any good reason why you shouldn’t. Give it a go. And while you’re in a book-shopping mood, I recommend you pick up a copy of, say, “One More Day”, as well. One good read deserves another, aye? ^-^

“Anthology” or “So Many Stories, So Little Time to Wait!”

Less than One More Month until the December 2nd release of the “One More Day” “collection of selected literary pieces”!!!

I swear, the closer the day draws, the less real it feels. My first published work with J. Taylor Publishing. Ho, ly, wow. My brain has died. I don’t even know what to do with myself. Good thing I’ve had my review of the anthology sitting around for a little while now, or who knows what kind of gibberish you’d get. As it is…

The Book: “One More Day” by seven J. Taylor Publishing authors, including headliner L.S. Murphy and yours truly. (:

Genre: YA anthology.

Blurb: What if today never ends?
What if everything about life—everything anyone hoped to be, to do, to experience—never happens?
Whether sitting in a chair, driving down the road, in surgery, jumping off a cliff or flying … that’s where you’d be … forever.
Unless …
In One More Day, Erika Beebe, Marissa Halvorson, Kimberly Kay, J. Keller Ford, Danielle E. Shipley and Anna Simpson join L.S. Murphy to give us their twists, surprising us with answers to two big questions, all from the perspective of characters under the age of eighteen.
How do we restart time?
How do we make everything go back to normal?
The answers, in whatever the world—human, alien, medieval, fantasy or fairytale—could, maybe, happen today.
Right now.
What would you do if this happened … to you?

OneMoreDay_Cover-blog

My Thoughts: One underlying premise, seven widely divergent end results. The anthology hits the ground running with Anna Simspon’s chronology-hopping “Time Piece” and Marissa Halvorson’s reality-bending “Dark Rose”. It made for a real page-turner of an opening, though I admit the preference for action over explanation displayed in both tales had me sometimes feeling as confused as the stories’ protagonists. The pace of J. Keller Ford’s “Dragon Flight” suited me better, and I enjoyed the narrative voice.

Reading “The Thirteenth Month”, I could appreciate why L.S. Murphy got top billing in this anthology. Her piece was just good. Pulse-pounding, breath-catching, scary-dark, “oh, snap, how is this going to end?!” good. I kinda feel like rereading it right now, actually, but I’m in the middle of a review, here, so I’ll have to postpone the pleasure. In briefest summary: Epic story, well executed, go read it.

Lightening the tone was Kimberly Kay’s “Sleepless Beauty” – which, from the moment I knew it as a fairytale spin, I anticipated would be right up my alley. Kay did not disappoint; on the contrary, her humorous touch with the charming plot had me smiling pretty much start to finish. And while I could not always quite understand what was happening when during Erika Beebe’s “Stage Fright”, much of the emotion at the heart of the story I could understand all too well, forging a moment of emotional connection between me and the tale’s main character which not nearly every author out there can manage.

As for the concluding piece, “A Morrow More”… well, I wrote that one, so perhaps my thoughts upon it wouldn’t be entirely objective. (That being said, I thought it was a lovely, lyrical work of art, and I look forward to this author’s future publications.)

HSYRT? (Hey, Should You Read This?): Um, yeah. I’m in it! And even if (for whatever peculiar reason) you don’t happen to be a diehard Danielle E. Shipley fan, I’m still of the opinion that there’s a little something in this collection for readers of all stripes. So don’t wait One More Day than you have to (I’m sure you saw what I did there) to get your hands on a copy of these stories.

Get hyped, guys. IT IS COMING.

“Revelation” or “A Momentous Glimpse of Our Future”

Be calm, anyone with the apocalypse on the brain: By “revelation”, I am not referring to a book about the end of the world.

…Well, no. I guess, in a sense, I kind of am.

Never mind. Don’t be calm. Be super excited, because this is the day for the official “act of revealing to view or making known” the cover of J. Taylor Publishing’s One More Day anthology!

OneMoreDay_Cover-blog

Breathtaking, yes?! Of course, my breath got taken the moment I knew my name was going on the cover (see, see? Danielle E. Shipley? That’s me! ^o^), so I claim very little objectivity on the matter. Ignore my hyperventilating, drooling carrying-on and read the blurb:

* * * * *

What if today never ends?

What if everything about life—everything anyone hoped to be, to do, to experience—never happens?

Whether sitting in a chair, driving down the road, in surgery, jumping off a cliff or flying … that’s where you’d be … forever.

Unless

In One More Day, Erika Beebe, Marissa Halvorson, Kimberly Kay, J. Keller Ford, Danielle E. Shipley and Anna Simpson join L.S. Murphy to give us their twists, surprising us with answers to two big questions, all from the perspective of characters under the age of eighteen.

How do we restart time?

How do we make everything go back to normal?

The answers, in whatever the world—human, alien, medieval, fantasy or fairytale—could, maybe, happen today.

Right now.

What would you do if this happened … to you?

* * * * *

So, yup – that’s what’s coming at the end of the year, if not the end of the world. One More Day (including “A Morrow More” by Danielle E. Shipley!), December 2, 2013!

P.S. – Happy birthday, Donna! (Not that my baby sister can be bothered to read my blog, or anything. But since my mom and dad got their own posts on their birthdays, I figured I’d err on the side of safety and at least give today’s birthday girl a shout-out. She’s 17, people. I feel so old.)

P.P.S – Speaking of shiny new stuff to reveal, I’ve got a full-on authorial website now, in addition to my blog! www.deshipley.com, y’all. A click on my face on the sidebar will link you straight there. (:

“Serial” or “Hogglepot”

For once, my “Title” or “Alternate/Subtitle” words have nothing whatever to do with each other. …Unless you count the fact that both involve stories I’ve written, in which case, yay! Relatedness!

This is the Hogglepot Pig. He (um...she?) liked my story.

Working our way back to front, let’s start with “Hogglepot”. What in the world does that word mean? Your guess as to a definition is as good as mine, but I can tell you this: It is the name of an online sci-fi/fantasy magazine which publishes a new short story every couple of weeks. And y’know which story they’re featuring today through the 12th of May? “Shadow Lights” by Danielle E. Shipley – a mythology-inspired tale of great power bringing with it great responsibility and a choice that no little boy should ever have to face. I strongly encourage you to check it out. (:

We interrupt this blog post for a quick bit of other publication news: The folks at “A Cuppa and an Armchair” have a new collection of short stories for children on the way. Like its grownup counterpart, “Cookies and Milk” is a charity project with all proceeds to go to Equipe. It’s to be released in three volumes, with the current launch dates as follows:

Volume 1 – online launch May 18
Volume 2 – online launch May 25 (this is the one that will have my illustrations in it!)
Volume 3 – online launch June 1 (and this one has a short story of mine!)

I’ll keep you posted as the dates draw nearer.

We now to return to “Serial” or “Hogglepot”.

As for the word “serial”, my dictionary’s perfectly familiar with that one: “A literary or dramatic work published or produced in installments.” I’ve been following the ongoing adventures of Witt Kepler, Private Eye, over at D.J. Lutz’s Almost Out of Ink blog, as well as the mysterious links of “The Chain” in Ben Chiles’ Story Multiverse realm. And I figured, hey, I’m as cool as them, right? Sorta, kinda, almost? I can totally share one of my stories over multiple posts, too!

So, coming soon to Ever On Word: A goofy, spoofy fairytale I wrote some years ago (and, I assure you, buffed up a wee bit in prep for an actual audience), inspired by an improv game my sister and I once played (or would she not want any affiliation with this?…). Keep your eyes open for the next post, and more or less every second post thereafter, for my 8-part prose-a-palooza, “Blood, Sweat, and Tears”!