Flash Fiction Challenge: X Meets Y

For today’s post, what follows after the jump is entirely original fiction. Please refer to the Creative Commons licensing and do not share, repost, quote, or excerpt without obtaining permission and providing appropriate attribution. Thank you. 

This idea came from fiction powerhouse Chuck Wending over at TerribleMinds. Check out his Flash Fiction Challenge and toss your own hat in the ring. Leave me a link if you decide to participate!

(Bonus points if you can guess which two properties I had to work with for this. Bonus Bonus points if you know where I got the title.)

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Coming Soon…

(Courtesy AMC.com)

AMC has announced it will start running the entire Breaking Bad series beginning with the pilot, which airs Sunday, August 10, and concluding with “Felina,” airing Sunday, October 5. As you know, I’ve been dangling the carrot of my piece on “Felina” for some time now, really searching for just the right time to post it. I didn’t want it to get lost in this great big post-Breaking Bad world, but it seems like AMC has gone and gifted me with the most perfect of occasions. 

Also, I’d like to apologize for being a complete ghost lately. I’m getting there.

31 Things to Do Around Augusta (That Are Not the Masters) | WhereTraveler

I’m sure I’ve mentioned before that I have the good fortune to be a writer by trade and a writer as a hobby. I know plenty of writers who prefer non-writing day jobs, but I find having one keeps me in the right mindset for research and creation.

However, I don’t think I’ve shared anything I’ve written for my day job, so why not today? If you remember, I’m from a very rural community near the small horse town of Aiken, SC. You’d be forgiven for having no idea where that is. But for reference, we aren’t far from the city currently grabbing headlines for hosting a world-class sporting event … the Masters golf tourney takes place a short 30 minute ride from my house. Well, it’s 30 minutes in off-season traffic, anyway. I work in Augusta, shop there, dine out there pretty frequently, and while I love living in Aiken, Augusta is a pretty fun place. And yesterday I had the pleasure of writing a story for our website about the plethora of things to do here that don’t involve getting a ticket to the Masters. I’m pretty proud of this article in particular, and oh by the way, that last photo is mine. 😉

Enjoy!

http://www.wheretraveler.com/united-states/31-things-do-around-augusta-are-not-masters

Don't go in the box

The Carnival is Coming

Don't go in the box

Welcome to the Carnival. Art by AWisher_ALiar

I never jumped on board the American Horror Storytrain.

I know. Weird, right?

I do like that each season apparently has a different setting and characters, though, and it seems, at least to this uneducated and passive observer, like a well-written and impressive show. Even though last season’s Coven caught my interest like the ones before it never had, I still never picked up the remote and flipped it on.

So now here we are, with the setting of the upcoming season suddenly leaked. And, it’s apparently a carnival.

Steampunk MC

Art by Nam-Tar

Well.

This is probably enough to make me watch the next season. I will be the first person to admit I don’t really like carnivals. They’ve always felt creepy to me, and it probably didn’t help that the fairs I grew up visiting seemed to be plagued with violence and just generally sketchy goings-on. Plus, I’m terrified of clowns. No, seriously, I hate them and I don’t want to be anywhere near them. (Yes I’ve seen the movie It, yes I like it, and yes it disgusts me every time.) And I’ve never really been a big fan of people in giant costumes, and I just assume now that the animals are grossly mistreated. It’s a safe assumption to make; let’s be honest about that.

But the inherent creep factor of carnivals makes them the perfect setting for a horror story. The characters, especially the villains, can be so much more extravagant and sinister because why not? What better place for a spectacle of villainy than a place where guests expect things to be illusory?

I like horror. I prefer psychological horror to gross-out gore, though, and since I’ve never seen AHS, I’m really hoping it opts for the former. I’ll be sitting down to watch at least the premiere of season 4, especially if these rumors get further confirmation.

I’m also interested to see who AHS chooses to focus on for this. If they are going for a literal carnival setting rather than a loose interpretation, I wonder if the writers will focus on the patrons or the performers. There’s so much that can be done with either, or even a combination of both, but of course my hope is that they’ll focus more on the performers and staff. Like I said, it’s the perfect setting for some really down and dirty treachery, but focusing on the staff rather than the guests is just an unusual slant to take. I haven’t read many works set in locations like this, but from my limited scope I can say what I have seen focuses squarely on the patrons. Sure, the staff are slated as villains, but usually fairly one-dimensional ones bent on killing and/or eating the guests. Which is awesome, of course, but what about something completely different?

(Points for that reference, thank you)

The Midnight Carnival: One Night Only

The Midnight Carnival: One Night Only

Of course, I’ve got a personal bias here. Last Halloween saw the release of my authorial debut, and I’m still quite proud of myself. I’m published! A group of us got together and penned The Midnight Carnival: One Night Only. The gates here only open after dark and they close before dawn. Which is understandable when you consider most of the staff can’t be out in the light. The book follows the employees over the course of one night, and of course nothing goes as smoothly as it did at the fairs you went to as a kid. Within the book, I write a Seelie fae who entraps audiences and employees during her performances and a Principality angel who learns he can guide spirits across the void. Of course, not without consequence.  I’m really thrilled about this book. I’m proud to have been a part of it, and I’m proud of the other people who lent their skills to it, from the writers to the illustrator (the fabulous bbshrimp, whose work is basically amazing) to our awesome point person who gathered everything together and made sure we stayed mildly responsible and serious about the whole thing—the fantastic LC Hu, whom you should follow immediately.

If you’re at all a fan of paranormal horror or short fiction, you should really take a gander at this. Maybe it’ll fan the flames while you wait for season 4 of American Horror Story, wherever it’s going to be.

All downhill from here

The ripple effect. Art by AWisher_ALiar

Practicing the Art of Shameless Self-Promotion

I may have mentioned before that I’m a writer. And like any good writer, I occasionally have to fall victim to shameless self-promotion. I may have also mentioned that anxiety is a problem for me, so self-promotion isn’t a thing that comes easily to me. However! Nothing is easier to share than good news, and today brought a little of that with it. (Despite my inability to find that one red sweater this morning or my favorite fluffy winter socks, leaving for work when I should have been arriving at work, or having to wait in the freezing wind for a train to pass before I could cross the road to my car after work.)

I am a travel writer. (Slash editor.) It’s certainly an interesting job, though I can guess your first question and the answer is no, I don’t get to travel a lot. But that’s okay, too; having to write on topics like the coolest speakeasies in the country or some new cultural center without actually visiting these places does help flex my research and creative muscles.

Sometimes it’s frustrating, like any job. But sometimes, when I come in to work and see that the top two stories on our homepage have my byline on them, it’s worth it.

The Midnight Carnival: One Night Only

I got published last year!

Additionally, last October I had the interesting experience of being published in an anthology, a collaborative work among eight people spread across the U.S. The collection of shorts features two collabs featuring me and one solo work, all original for the project. It’s called The Midnight Carnival, and I really hope you’ll check it out. I’m pretty proud of it, and I let all the fame go to my head and now frequently compare myself to Suzanne Collins and Percival Everett.

Ok, that last part was a joke and no, it wasn’t very funny, but hey. People gotta have dreams.

Chuck Wendig’s Flash Fic Challenge: Roll For Title!

So. Chuck Wendig has issued a flash fiction challenge and I have answered the call. In (what I hope to be) spectacular fashion. Ahem. Full story after the jump …

The Amethyst Murders

The rain-soaked street is bathed in orange and red lights, blue and whites here and there. A cold lake wind carries a flurry of voices, all of them high pitched and frantic. Reporters crawl the block like ants.

“One person is dead after a shocking attack in Midtown early this morning—”

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