Jodi MacArthur at Beat to a Pulp

Jodi MacArthur has a new story published – Free Mercury – at the very cool Beat to a Pulp site. The story is a wonderful exercise in voice: layered, entwined and scary. Recommended read.

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Sun is high in the sky. Hot. Red hot. Flies buzz around it like a pile of bullshit. I stare, watching the flies buzz around and around.

Sirens break out behind me. I look at the road through the cracked windshield. I see I’ve swerved all the way off the road, all the way on to the grass.

Two stories in The New Flesh: Year Two ebook

Two of my stories – Fledgling and Zombie Love For Morons – have been selected for The New Flesh’s second ebook. Download for free from here. The ebook is a selection of the 50 top stories from the year. It’s a fun and eclectic mix of stories (my own two are from the opposite poles of my writing) – including some from known authors like Jodi MacArthur, Angel Zapata, Laura Eno, Erin Cole and … well, too long a list. Download it now and enjoy.

Morning News – Microflash in Dog Days of Summer

My story “Morning News” was one of several Special Jury Award winners in Michael J Solender’s Not From Here Are You Dog Days of Summer competition. The competition called for stories exactly 101 words long that included the word ‘summer’. The story is available, along with other stories from the competition, in the downloadable E-chapbook Dog Days of Summer 2010, and will also be published online on the Not From Here, Are You blog in the near future (I’ll post a link then).

The chapbook is definitely worth downloading – some wonderful stories there from the likes of Sam Adamson (the winner – Michael interviews Sam here), Karen Schindler, Laurita Miller, Tomara Armstrong, Angel Zapata, Jodi MacArthur, Erin Cole, Lee Hughes, Eric J. Krause, Laura Eno, Chris Allinotte, and Jim Bronyaur , among others.

Year One – table of contents

Fifty-one stories here – and definitely with Angel Zapata this time!

The New Flesh – Year One

Contents
The Lump by William Pauley III
The Woman Without the Red Dress by Michael A. Kechula
The Girl Who Followed Bees by Christie Isler
The Wooden Door by Michael A. Kechula
Grub by Angel Zapata
Heartless by Donna Jean Lyons
Kids in a Candy Store by Spencer Wendleton
Fun and Games by Brian Barnett
Penelope’s Good Day by Suzie Bradshaw
Aloisius Cottonbottom’s Surefire Image Reconstructive Services by Steve Lowe
Submissions by Sean Monaghan
Illusion by Michael A. Kechula
Figure Ate by Stephanie Barnett
The Man Who Held Hands by Brian Barnett
Rigged by Jodi MacArthur
Midnight Stroll by Joshua Day
Evolution by Angel Zapata
Demons and Acid Don’t Mix by Laura Eno
Distractions by Suzie Bradshaw
The Penguins Revolt! By Brian Barnett
The Car Park by Dan Powell
Foul-Mouthed Teenage Zombies by Suzie Bradshaw
Superstition by Robert C. Eccles
Oh My God by Chad Case
Two’s Company by Graeme Reynolds
Melissa in a Jug by A.J. Brown
Forbidden Desire in a Cave by Annemarie Bogart
Hunting J.K. by Kevin Shamel
What Comes Next by Andrew Kaspereen
Cheeto Monkey by Chris Bowsman
The Pull Out Method by Dustin Reade
Bloodline by Sheldon Lee Compton
Mangeni’s Lullaby by Eugene Gramelis
The Neuron Thieves by Sean Monaghan
Adventures of My Little Carnivorous Pony
by Jodi MacArthur
Accused by Chris Reed
Anything More Than Two by Lee Hughes
Guide Number 3 by Sean Monaghan
Fears of a Clown by Graeme Reynolds
Searching for Storms by Tania Luna
Teeth by Chris Bowsman
Feeding Time by Richard Godwin
Jared’s Gift by Mark Anthony Crittenden
The Grump by John Harrower
Septic Infusion by Bryan Lindenberger
In Case of Armageddon by Magen Toole
Mr. Fantastic by Garrett Ashley
Cleveland Cassidy’s Dick by Nathaniel Tower
Stop Me If You’ve Heard This One by Jimmy Callaway
Blink by William Pauley III

A wonderful range of stuff here – just look at those names. And it’s free – what a great thing for your Kindo or Kable or whatever those ebook reader things are 😉

Plus – keep reading The New Flesh for more stories – a new piece of weird flash almost every day.

Flash! – the table of contents

After my previous post where I messed up who is in the book (sorry Angel), here is a full table of contents, as I have verified from the printed book:

Introduction by Martin Zeigler
Tea Time With Warthog by Jodi MacArthur
Always Read the Instructions! by A.E. Churchyard
Angel’s Trumpet by Patricia La Barbera
Answers by Mark Taylor
Are We There Yet? by George Wilhite
The ATM by Bob Eccles
A Bad Hand by Aurelio Rico Lopez III
The Ballad of the Kid by Paul Brazill
Blow the Snow-Bird by Maggie Veness
The Bullet by Chris Bartholomew
Blue by Carrie Clevenger
Choices by C. Douglas Birkhead
Choices by Mark Taylor
Cold by John C. Mannone
Cupid, Playing by Kenneth C. Goldman
The Dark Side by Jim Bronyaur
Date of the Old Goat by Deborah Walker
Demon by A.J. French
A Dream of Peonies by Chris Allinotte
Dolce Pauline by R.W. Watkins & Robin Tilley
Even Zombies Have to Shop by Ellie Garratt
A fairy Tale by Ryan Lawrence
Family Ties by Matt Nord
First, Second, and Third by Lee Hughes
Fly Away Butterfly by Kia Storm
For Your Loss by Cynthia D. Witherspoon
From the Belly of the Beast by Francesca Angelique Carrillo
The Garden Tea Party by John C. Mannone
The Greater Hand by James P. Wagner
The Growth by Erik T. Johnson
Haunted houses aren’t free by Ryan Lawrence
Haven’t You Heard That I’m The New Cancer? by William Wolford
Mud in Your Eye by Chip O’Brien
How Does Beauty Come About? by William Wolford
Hunter by Laura Eno
The Immortal’s Lecture by Daybert Linares
Injured Us by Luanna Azzarito
Innocent Until Proven by Marion Sipe
Itch by Jack Roth
Just Imagine by Iain Pattison
The Last Clown by Lee Hughes
Leper by A.J. French
Living With Dying by Kevin Brown
The Long Walk by Billy Burgess
M by Paul Brazill
Man With Shark Teeth Walks Into Jake’s Diner by Sean Monaghan
Meeting Frieda by Martin Zeigler
Midnight Lemonade by Abigail Beal
Monotony by Kathryn Slavik
A New Life by A.E. Churchyard
New Year’s Resolution by Brad Nelson
No Deposit, No Return by Bob Eccles
No. 102 by R.W. Watkins
The Oak Tree by Col Bury
OnScar by Brad Nelson
Par One by Gregory Miller
The Partner by C. Douglas Birkhead
A Peaceful Solution by Jason Barney
Pride and Joy by Emma Kathryn
Proving Ground by Mark Anthony Crittenden
A Quick Break by Gregory Miller
Recruitment’s End by Jason Barney
Right is Right by Luanna Azzarito
Seven by Jamie K. Schmidt
Shades of Black by Kevin Brown
Shiny Places by Maggie Veness
The Snitch by Ryan Lawrence
A Soldier’s Last Stand by Jordan Fuselier-Gardner
Something Different by Chris Allinotte
Rust by Fred Venturini
The Stick Pony by Chris Bartholomew
A Strange Means of Suicide by Robert Essig
Sweet Heart by Christina Murphy
To Whom It May Concern by Ryan Lawrence
Two Heads Aren’t Better Than One by Laura Eno
Under the Bed by Kevin Wallis
The Unicorn by Steven Barrie
The Waking Death by Luke Campen
Willpower by Lily Mulholland
You Never Know by Daniel Fabiani
3 O’Clock in the Midnight World by Charles Muir
Unavailable by Karen Schindler
University Park by Jessy Marie Roberts
Once Bitten by Mark Taylor
Salvation by Iain Pattison

Wow, that’s a lot of stories. Props to all the writers, and Martin for his intro, and Chris for editing (and Christopher for initiating the project to begin with).

Choose Your Own Adventure- The Mendigans (Furnace Burnout, by Sean Monaghan)

Barry J Northern began this exploding inter-blog Choose Your Own Adventure story – if you haven’t been reading so far: start HERE. [If you want to get to here from the beginning, pick option #1 Stand up and scream the earth has been invaded (Jodi MacArthur’s Pickledeath) and then after reading that pick Jodi’s option #1 Sneak into the secretary’s office … (Tim Keeton’s The Janitor’s Closet).]

Furnace Burnout is then option one from Tim’s section. 1) the Janitor, Mr. Berman, grabbed them both and said, “You kids are in terrible danger. Come with me if you want to live.”

_________________________________________________

Furnace Burnout

Berman pounded along the corridor with Latoya and Michael darting after him. The Mendigans jostled, slithering, but not fast enough. Berman stopped at the utility room door and kicked it open. He leapt down the steps to the greasy concrete floor.

Latoya and Michael hesitated, looking into the dark, dank room. The moist sound of tentacles drew closer

“Get in, get in,” Berman yelled. “Criminy, are you lunatics? Get in here.” His eyes glowed from the corridor fluorescents.

Latoya huffed. “Our day is just filled with choices.”

They went down the steps and Berman slammed the door shut. He turned on the dim main light, then latched the door and put a padlock through a clasp. Michael wondered why the utility room needed an inside lock.

“Come on, come on,” Berman said. “Don’t stand there gawping. Help me with this stuff. We don’t have long.”

He took a flashlight from a shelf and shone it around the room. There were chains and tools and jerry cans, but the school furnace dominated the space.

“I wasn’t expecting this so soon,” Berman said. “I’m not quite ready.”

The furnace was a rusted steel cylinder, ten feet high and fifteen feet long. The heavy riveted end cap had two grated stoking doors. Pipes led upwards, bending at the dark ceiling then diverging, carrying heat around the building. A seat was welded high on the side of the furnace and Berman climbed up.

“What are you doing?” Latoya said.

Something wet slapped the locked door.

“Come on,” Berman said. “You need to plug in the cables.” Sitting now, he wound a handle. Cogs and gears bolted to the side of the furnace clanked and clicked. Something inside the furnace began to whir.

There was another sound from the corridor. Then something hit the door hard enough to make it shake. Dust drifted down from the ceiling.

“Connect it,” Berman yelled. “Now.”

“What are you talking about?” Michael said.

Berman stopped winding and sighed. “Help me turn this on. Plug it in at the back wall.”

The Mendigans pounded the door. A steady moist rhythm. They chanted something too.

“Anytime you like,” Berman said. He went back to his crank.

“What do we do?” Michael said

“The way I see it, we’ve got a choice,” Latoya said. “Either we help him, insane as he seems. Or we make a break for it.”

“I,” Michael said, “am getting sorely sick of making choices today, why can’t we-”

“Will you freaking kids plug it in!”

“Choice made,” Latoya said.

The door shuddered again.

Michael and Latoya down. The furnace was different at this end. Even in the dim light they saw that the steel was polished. Two thick cables with industrial-sized black electrical plugs lay on the floor. A glowing copper and glass machine hummed in an alcove beyond.

The door shuddered and cracked. The main light popped and went out. Berman dropped his flashlight. The light rolled, vanishing under the furnace. The only light came from the coils around the glass machine.

“Hurry,” Berman yelled.

“We can’t see.”

Another smack and they heard the door burst open.

“Just feel your way,” Berman said. “Get the plugs”

Berman wound the handle furiously and the whirring sound from inside kept increasing. But over that sound, from the dark doorway, Michael could hear the slippery squelching of the Mendigans.

Michael found a plug. He fumbled with it.

“This will go badly,” Berman yelled, “Unless you activate the machine.”

Michael dragged a plug out and jammed it into the jackpoint he’d seen on the coiled machine. As the plug connected the machine chuffed.

Michael could sense the Mendigans closing. In the dim light he could see their waving tentacles. Their tarry, fishy smell wafted over him.

“Get away, get away,” Berman yelled. They heard squishy sounds as Berman kicked the aliens.

Latoya got the other plug in. The machine shuddered.

“It’s done Mr Berman.”

“Great that’s – will you get away – excellent. Stand back.”

Berman banged the handles. The furnace clanged and chugged. It began angling upwards. Pipes broke away, spewing steam. Slots opened in the furnace’s exterior and blue and gold light shone through. The Mendigans raised their tentacles, cowering.

“Aha,” Berman laughed. “Finally I can put my death ray to the test.”

The back of the furnace slid open. A serrated and scalloped cone terminating in a shining blue ball wound out. Lightning arced from the ball. The whole machine began to turn. The Mendigans screamed. Michael could see a clear path to the door.
___________________________________________________

What should Michael and Latoya do?

1) stick with Berman and see what happens with his death ray.

2) assume Berman is as dangerous as the Mendigans and make for the door.

Let Barry or me know if you want to write a continuation from one of these options.

Missed the boat on Howl

The soon to be published Lame Goat Press anthology Howl looks to be a stunner. I had an idea for a story, but had so much else on that I put it aside – life is a series of choices about what not to do. Part of the reason for wanting to submit to the anthology was the fabulous cover, but it’s growing and growing. There’s now a fantastic book trailer for the volume, which is also on YouTube, one of the stories has been podcasted on archive.org, and the contributing writer’s list includes lots of my faves (Jodi, Angel, Mark Anthony Crittenden, to mention a few). I’m green. Still, it’s cool to be associated with Lame Goat Press and great to see it going from strength to strength.

(whoops – my bad, and see the comments, Laura’s not in this anthology, but she is in a couple of others – Diamonds in the Rough, and Flash! out soon. Sorry Laura).

Flashes in the Dark – Worst of Love contest results in

Jodi MacArthur’s extraordinary story “Spindled Souls” has won the Worst of Love contest for flash fiction at Flashes in the Dark. Jodi’s story is complex, dark and very multi-layered – absolutely a clear winner. Laura Eno’s wonderful “Ironies” came in second and my own “Fiancees Among Us” made third. Well deserved honorable mentions to Graeme Reynolds and Erin Cole.

Thanks to Lori and Bob for running such a challenging contest. Writers – check out Flashes in the Dark for their next contest: Lycanthropy. That contest closes on March 21st.