This collection, as previously mentioned in yesterday’s post, was a labor of love. This is the only way to read the short stories I wrote for the serial anthologies once published by Burning Willow Press called Crossroads in the Dark. Each of the books included in that series had a theme. This is where I was encouraged to try new things in my writing. From aliens to what lies underneath the bed all the stories from these books really stirred my thoughts in new directions.
A Farmhouse Haunting, The OWLS, Just Underneath, and A Man Named Sowder come from the Crossroads in the Dark series. They had invited me into another collection titled And the World Will Burn: A Dystopian Anthology. From that anthology you could find my short story A Gaze of Destruction, a tale of a vampire waking up to the world destroyed.
Alongside these works, The Painting of Martel, is included it came via the anthology Painted Mayhem. It was the first collection I had been invited to take part in and themed “killer clowns”. It wasn’t the theme that excited me, honestly, it was the charity it was and is still raising money for. Its goal was to raise money for those suffering post-traumatic stress disorder and the families living with them.
Human Ouija is in this book. It is my bestselling and award-winning short story. The idea for this book and the beginning of its writing began before my first novel, Maxwell Demon, even had even been started. I tabled it for a few months as Maxwell Demon came to the front. The short story and this novella worked together for me in that I got ideas during the planning process for Maxwell Demon that I felt worked better for the short story. Human Ouija also became known as a “branch book” from The Blasphemer Series as in Harvest, the story hinted to. I don’t want to ruin Harvest and the secret, but readers of both the short story and the second installment of The Blasphemer Series know where the reference is!
There are two previously unpublished stories included in this collection. Both have been mentioned to those close to me. My family and friends knew of the raw ideas for The Clockwork Children and Mishnah: The Immortal Man for years, but never got to read the works. I finally found the time to polish them and here we are.
The Clockwork Children is the tragic tale of a couple that lost a child and have aged until they cannot have anymore children. Depressed, the wife is a shell of her former self and her husband is grieving the loss, still, of his child and wife that he’s watching slowly slip away. He is able to turn things around, thanks to magical blessing.
Mishnah: The Immortal Man is a story that began with the question “what did cavemen believe in?” From there the story grew. You’re introduced to Mishnah, a tribal boy, whose sister was an oral storyteller in their tribe. They expel her for teaching lies to the children. The tribe believes the only stories that should be told are survival based. If you cannot see it, it isn’t real. Living with his expelled sister, he entertains her with stories of his own. This eventually leads him to darkness; a dark evil has been listening to his stories from the shadows. A glimpse of the future of Mishnah and his sister leads him to take a deal that grants him immortality. A must read for those interested in new takes on subject matters like father time, immortality, and what life was like before modern man..
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