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Stories, Podcasts, Interviews, and Articles, 2020:

 

New Story

For June 30, 2020,

in  Science Fiction

The Last Rosy-Fingered Dawn
by Paul Celmer

Bowman stared out, shielding his eyes against the dust swirling over the ramparts of New Ilium’s corroding blast wall. He’d never seen anything but devastation in all his years of trudging supplies to the top of the mega-city’s colossal wall. But now…

 

 

An Encore Story

For May 28, 2020,

we have in Science Fiction

“DOWN IN THE DEEPFLUX”,  by Jake West

Chaos was this planet’s steady state.  The over-stressed surface could never keep up with the intense and rapid fluctuations of its Cepheid variable star, burning furiously enough to raise sweat on Paxton’s forehead through his mutable-suit.

Paxton and his hi-profile client were at the equator, the region of highest energy-input and greatest instability, to capture a Caterwaul.

But when he reviewed logged data on his helmet display – of a man opening his suit to the caustic atmosphere, gale-force winds, and oven-like heat, and laughing while he did so, with a woman’s bare hand on his shoulder,  Paxton remembered the whispered talk of things called Deepwalkers. 

This story first appeared in the January 2005 issue of Rogue Worlds online magazine, edited by Doyle Wilmoth Jr.

an Encore Story

April 17, 2020,

in  Fantasy

“The King’s Computer”

by Liam  Hogan

If you tip water into my mouth, I will drink. If you place a morsel of food in my mouth, I will chew and swallow. These are involuntary actions. Necessary, but of no importance. They do not distract me from my purpose, which is to think.

I was trained from an early age to memorise, calculate, compute. My brain has been honed into a perfect machine, dedicated to solving the King’s problems

I do not need light to think. I do not need soft beds, or fresh air, or music. I operate in a room deep beneath the castle. The single entrance is kept locked.

When I have no problems to solve I do little other than sleep. 

I woke from such a sleep as the cellar door creaked open.

 

First read live at Liars’ League, 2009, subsequently published in Arachne Press’s “Liberty Tales”, 2016.

 

New Story

For March 31, 2020,

in  Stories for Young People of All Ages

“Tea and Sanctuaries”
by Hannah Montine

Crown Prince Ferdinand was shaking. Doom was upon him.  His parents’ royal carriage was creaking to a dusty and ominous stop before his door. They had laid waste to every princess wishing to wed him.  They had their idea of perfection, and nothing else would do.  Soon their disapproving forms would loom over him, frowning down upon his recently-wedded bliss. What fault might they imagine in his beloved Regina?

 

New Science Article in

Science News and Information

“Coronavirus Considerations” by Douglas Dluzen, PhD.

March 11, 2019,

What We Know and What We Can Do

This article provides a short history of the virus, links to trustworthy sites for more information, symptoms to watch for and to distinguish it from the flu, and some of the latest developments, including the difficulties and limitations that have been placed upon our health professionals.

There is solid, science-based information.

New Story

For Leap day February 29, of leap year 2020,

in  Science Fiction

“Cows in Space”
by J. Drake

Back then ‘a course, nobody knew about ‘em. Out in space they look kinda hazy, so we figure there might always have been a few about, just blendin’ in with interstellar clouds. Once they started their great migration though, leapin’ over the Great Nebula Wall, there were great big incandescent herds of ‘em, streamin’ out across our local territories ‘til we couldn’t help but notice.  ‘Specially once they found planets they liked.  Then they kinda condensed to a more physically palpable form you might say, and nonchalantly set to grazin’. 

Well what could that lead to but peace and quiet?

 

 

New Story

 

 

January 31, 2020, in Fantasy

“Cloud Tower Rising”
by Ian Pohl

lead and end illustrations by Artur Rosa

 

Pulling his seeing-glass from his pack and surveying the valley, Devlin was astonished. He’d expected a wasteland. Instead there were rich farmlands. Veiled by wood smoke, he saw not rubble but shops and homes.

He looked further, to the cumulus clouds.  A sparkle caught his eye. He glimpsed white walls and slender towers of ivory and pearl rising with the blossoming cloud.

A cloud castle — a wizard’s stronghold.  It had survived, and it looked unscathed.

He loathed wizards, bleeding the land for generations, lighting innocents into screaming human candles, banishing rebels to the Demonic Planes. Their war amongst themselves left nothing save broken works in a haze of smoke and chaos.

But wizardly things fascinated him. He’d roamed far hunting for them. Most he sold. A few he kept — his far-seeing glass, his short sword that soaked up sunlight and struck blows like lightning.

Cloud castles held troves of such treasures, now free for the taking.

Stories, Podcasts, Interviews, and Articles, 2019:

 

New Story

December 23, 2019, in Eldritch

“A Possession of Magpies”
by E. E. King

 

Catherine Linton has lived above the cemetery on Drakes Bay Lane for as long as she can remember.

She passes the warming days on the porch, on a rocker as stiff and creaky as her bones, watching the magpies swoop down and gather the souls of the newly dead.

She wonders if a magpie took her betrothed, Tommy, when he died so long ago on a battlefield in France.

            Her eyes drift closed and she dreams of him, young and elegant in a black and white tuxedo…

 

New Story

November 30, 2019, in Science Fiction

“Red Planit”
by Joel E. Roosa

“Tired of having to struggle through the day? If your life’s off track, you don’t have to steer it back by yourself. Let Red plan it for you! Red’s at your beck and call 24-7”

Red is the friendly guy who helps everyone plan their lives.  He’s also the last man standing from a planet of people who could predict anything.  Almost anything.

∼ Podcast #12 in The Storytelling Room

November 8, 2019
An After Hallowe’en Treat
Podcast for November  8,  2019: “Out of Brambles” by Leena Naidoo

On a stormy Hallowe’en night in an lonely old cottage in Scotland be careful what you say while stirring the pot.

First published as a written story on March 5, 2016, in Cosmic Roots and Eldritch Shores:
in Myths, Legends, and Fairy Tales,   “Out of Brambles”
by Leena Naidoo

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New Story

Happy Hallowe’en!

October 31, 2019, in Eldritch

“Still Life”
by Adam Stemple

Today, I was Rodin’s Thinker. Fist on chin, feet bare. My skin was darkened to bronze.

The shadows stretched all the way across the street.  One of them broke away. A long thin silhouette. It took a position behind my right shoulder,

“I have been watching you.”

The voice was old, graveled.

“I offer you stone.

The silence of centuries.

The passage of time as a furrow the wind carves in your cheek,”

Podcast #11 in The Storytelling Room

October 23, 2019
Podcast for October 23,  2019: “The Stork and the Crone” by Barbara A. Barnett

for Young People of All Ages

What was this woman doing disturbing Deifilia’s nest on the belfry?  Offering frogs and asking for a baby for her daughter!?  Hah!  From the looks of the old crone she probably  wanted the infant for some unsavory purpose. Perhaps to boil into a stew.

No deliveries for her.  Deifilia was sure of that.

 

First published on July 8, 2017, in Cosmic Roots and Eldritch Shores:
in Young People of All Ages  “The Stork and the Crone”
by Barbara A. Barnett

 

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New Story

Sept. 15, 2019 2019, in Young People from Four to 400

“Ladder to the Moon”
by Naoko Awa

Keiko’s great-grandmother gave her a real rabbit for her birthday.  She told Keiko “It’s easy to care for her. But there’s one thing you must remember… Rabbits love the moon! And the moon loves rabbits. So make sure your rabbit doesn’t escape on a full moon night.”

And when the Autumn Moon Festival came, the moon loomed large in the eastern sky and seemed to say, “Your rabbit will be mine.”

 

We are pleased that the first publication of this story by the much loved children’s author Naoko Awa is here in Cosmic Roots and Eldritch Shores, with the kind permission of her estate.  We’ve published it to coincide with this year’s Moon Viewing time in Japan.

New Story

August 31, 2019, in Science Fiction

“Entanglement”
by Christopher Blake

When the colony has been overrun, when you’re the last member of the Defense Force left, when your barricades will soon be breached, how do you cross the light years and say goodbye to the one you love before carrying out the last acts duty requires?

New Interview

August 23 2019,  Interview with Leenna Naidoo,
about her new book, Quest for the Wholly Pale

Emrys Lailoken is the young wizard cursed to quest for the Wholly Pale, without knowing what it is, what it does, what it looks like, or even what planet it might be on.  Coming to his aid is a beer-swilling former thief who communicates through portal pocket, a young witch, and an unreadable parchment. 

Against him stands the Order of Chaos, his curse, various unicorn hunters, thieves, and other nefarious beings and monsters.

Leenna Naidoo talks about her book, her writing, and Fiction Vortex StoryVerses.  Come join the fun!

 

Podcast #10 in The Storytelling Room

August 5, 2019

Podcast for August 5  2019: “The Witching Hour” by Ekpeki Oghenechovwe Donald

I stood balanced at the top of the oldest palm tree, the one that grew at the south end of the village. I was in my element — pitch black night. This was my dawn. The murmurs of glowing spirits mixed with the chitter of living insects. The hoot of an owl reminded me there was work to be done, battles to be fought — silent, undeclared, but raging all the same. And old Mama Ishaka was on the other side of them. With a sigh, I leapt from the tree, fell free, and caught one of the power lines that led to a human spirit. The link was strong. The call of this spirit sang the music of its soul to me. It called me back home.


This story has been shortlisted for the Nommo Award from the African Speculative Fiction Society

 

First published on April 23, 2018, in Cosmic Roots and Eldritch Shores:
in Myths, Legends, & Fairy Tales,  “The Witching Hour”
by Ekpeki Oghenechovwe Donald

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New Story

July 31, 2019, in Science Fiction

“The Crystal Zyst:
A Eula Banks, State Certified Engineer, Story”
by Marc A. Criley

Eula had been dispersing time zeitles for 35 years.  Even the really bad ones,with a time slowdown of seventy billion to one, light doing less than a quarter-inch per second, didn’t much faze her.  But this time it was a zyst, those near-impenetrable shells with time passing fifty times slower on one side of its wall than the other.  Partway across half of her would be starving for the blood her heart hadn’t got around to pumping over yet from the other side. A person don’t last long in that state.

New Interview

July 5 2019,  Interview with David Gray,
about his new book, Moonflowers

An uneasy truce lies upon the Earth in the aftermath of angels and demons pouring through a portal and wreaking havoc.

Making his way through the chaos, Petal is the wise-cracking Moonflower whose talents include seeing a few scant seconds into the future, recovering from injuries with blazing speed, and making just about everyone angry.

The action is pretty much non-stop, and packed into a few breathless days’ time.

Podcast #9 in The Storytelling Room

July 3, 2019

Podcast for July 3,  2019: “Weatherbuns” by Diana Hauer

Rudolph, is that you?” bellowed the old man. The wind was starting to pick up again, blowing his baker’s apron behind him. Sandra could see the code of her Autumn Day shredding under the power of the storm. The bubble of calm was shrinking fast.

“I hoped I’d be the one to bring you down, lunatic. Now here you are, in my bakery.” Weatherman Fawkes laughed and strode forward, unconcerned as the clouds closed in on him. “And it’s not even my birthday!”

 

First published on April 26, 2017, in Cosmic Roots and Eldritch Shores:
in Science Fiction “Weatherbuns”
by Diana Hauer

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New Story

 June 30, 2019, in Myths, Legends, & Fairy Tales

“Four and Twenty Blackbirds”,  by Alexei Collier

 

         Beneath her cloak, Marta clutched a bag of pale river stones as she followed Johan through the forest in the dying summer light. Every twelve paces, she dropped one stone. As it fell, she whispered its number.

            She had dropped twelve since they’d left the path. She was afraid to count the next stone. Mother had told her to beware that number, twelve and one. It held a terrible power.

            So Marta dropped two stones, murmuring, “Twelve and two.”

            Stones had long memories, Mother had taught her. They would guide Johan and her back home.

Once it was safe again.

Podcast #8 in The Storytelling Room

June 7, 2019

Podcast on June 7,  2019: “The River’s Daughter and the Gunslinger God” by Matthew Claxton

The river’s daughter had hair as long and green as eelgrass, and skin the livid white of a fish belly. Her teeth were sharp, and through her thin lips, she sometimes whispered spells and curses, for her mother had been a sorceress. Since her mother’s departure, swathed in furs in the middle of a winter storm, the river’s daughter had not seen a single outsider to the valley. She spoke to the winds and her siblings the creeks, and she amused herself by practicing charms to change her shape. This dwarf, this outsider who moved with such purpose, fascinated her. She watched him from silent concealment in the forest.

 

First published on March 15, 2017, in Cosmic Roots and Eldritch Shores:
in FantasyThe River’s Daughter and the Gunslinger God
by Mathew Claxton

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New Story

 May 31, 2019, in Science Fiction

“Wild Ships”,  by Phoebe Wagner

 The companies that sell broken ships claim the wildness has been scrubbed out of us. It can’t be, though. Deep space still scores our circuits, burns our shells, glitters our glass. When it’s just me and my breaker Killswitch waiting by a nebula, or gravity looping around a planet because again she’s gone too far for my fuel tank, I feel the tug of the desolation. The beeping she stuck in my head — donotdonotdonot — keens into the celestial song we used to hum among the confluxes.

 

Podcast #7 in The Storytelling Room

May 14, 2019

Podcast on May 14,  2019: “In a Field of Bone-Bonnets” by Aimee Picchi

The old witch climbed into bed, drew her quilt to her chin, and spoke. The hut settled on its haunches, listening. “I know in my bones my end is near. You have served me well, with more care than I would ever have imagined. But you are a magicked thing.  You need a witch’s power to remain alive. I’ve used the last of mine to grant you three days to find a new witch.”

Then softly she mumbled some last advice…

 

First published on October 31, 2017, in Cosmic Roots and Eldritch Shores:
Myths, Legends, & Fairy Tales,In a Field of Bone-Bonnets
by Aimee Picchi

 

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New Story

For April 30, 2019,
we have in FantasyThe Memory Bank and Trust”,  by Patrick Hurley

The girl in Vanan Quick’s Memory Bank & Trust wore the dark robes of the desert nomads. Perhaps fifteen, she was thin, with vacant eyes, and hair shorn close to the skull. Not the usual class of client Vanan Quick served in his shop on Varrowmind’s elite Street of Sorceries. And not, he was sure, an applicant for the valued position of apprentice.

But he was ever the professional. “What can I do for you, young miss?”

“You are the memorist?”

Vanan blinked. Not at the question, for he was indeed a master memorist. It was the sepulchral voice that gave him pause.

He reached for the jade amulet at his neck. “I am. And what, pray tell, are you?”

Podcast #6 in The Storytelling Room

April 26, 2019

Podcast on April 26,  2019: “The Glanconer, by LJ McLeod

It was too wild, all jagged rocks and sun-bleached driftwood. But it suited me, this beach and this night, a night one could believe in monsters….
Just as the last of the sun disappeared I saw him. He emerged from the grey waves dripping wet and perfect. His hair was black as sin and his pale skin shone like the moon. His body was slender and his face all strange angles, but he was heartbreakingly beautiful. My Irish grandma had told me the old stories and I could see the danger — but his fathomless black eyes fastened on me, ensnared me.

 

First published on August 28, 2017, in Cosmic Roots and Eldritch Shores:
Eldritch,  “The Glanconer
by LJ McLeod

 

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Podcast #5 in The Storytelling Room

April 5, 2019

Podcast on April 5,  2019: “The Fo’dekai Artifact”, by J. D. Moyer

The Fo’dekai could write in blood, and now he had their stories in him. Thousands of them, crowding his dreams, bleeding into his waking consciousness, his mind groaning from their weight. The first dreams were visions of a strange world, flying over blood-red deserts, black oceans, purple forests. Darren sensed a planet being constructed, layer-by-layer, in his mind. He wanted to talk about the dreams, but no reason to be alarmed the doctor said. No reason? He had literally dived into a dark ocean and plummeted into a black chasm. He could see, monochromatically but with precise resolution.  He could feel his short undulating tentacles, and his skin rapidly oscillating through a kaleidoscope of patterns.

First published on March 9, 2017, in Cosmic Roots and Eldritch Shores:
Science Fiction: “The Fo’dekai Artifact”,
by J. D. Moyer

 

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Podcast #4 in The Storytelling Room

March 22, 2019
Podcast on March 22,  2019: “painting Clouds”, by A. Merc Rustad

We cloudweavers specialize in different shapes — we collaborate and mold the textures of air and rain, cold and heat. The sun and moon are pallets to tint our canvasses.

But now the sun is dying. People no longer look at our art, our gifts, and as they stop looking, our clouds thin and fade. We grow weaker, less aware. Without our mediums, our art, what are we?

 

First published on February 21, 2017, in Cosmic Roots and Eldritch Shores:
Science Fiction:Painting Clouds“,
by A. Merc Rustad

 

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New Story

For March 17, 2019,
we have in FantasyKing of Flame“,  by Janie Brunson

They blamed that summer’s wildfires on climate change and dropped cigarette butts. They were wrong. 

That wasn’t why the forests and deserts were burning.  I had seen why.  I had seen the King of Flame.

Podcast #5 in The Storytelling Room

April 5, 2019

Podcast on April 5,  2019: “The Fo’dekai Artifact”, by J. D. Moyer

The Fo’dekai could write in blood, and now he had their stories in him. Thousands of them, crowding his dreams, bleeding into his waking consciousness, his mind groaning from their weight. The first dreams were visions of a strange world, flying over blood-red deserts, black oceans, purple forests. Darren sensed a planet being constructed, layer-by-layer, in his mind. He wanted to talk about the dreams, but no reason to be alarmed the doctor said. No reason? He had literally dived into a dark ocean and plummeted into a black chasm. He could see, monochromatically but with precise resolution.  He could feel his short undulating tentacles, and his skin rapidly oscillating through a kaleidoscope of patterns.

First published on March 9, 2017, in Cosmic Roots and Eldritch Shores:
Science Fiction: “The Fo’dekai Artifact”,
by J. D. Moyer

 

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Podcast #3 ∼ in The Storytelling Room

March 8, 2019

Podcast on March 8, 2019: Ghosts of Bunker Seven”, by Derrick Boden

Her skin was mottled blue, like storm clouds on a night sky. On days when the stares got to her, she’d throw on her old military coat and a pair of sunglasses.  If it were up to her, she’d be wearing a pair of concrete shoes at the bottom of the surf. The bacteria coursing through her veins had other ideas.

And now, after all the cover-ups and slashed pensions, the brass was back. Calling for her to clean up their mess again.

 

First published on February 18 2017, in Cosmic Roots and Eldritch Shores:
Science Fiction:Ghosts of Bunker Seven“,
by Derrick Boden

 

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∼ Podcast #2 ∼ Watch and listen in The Storytelling Room
February 25, 2019

Thief or Felon Bold by Alter S Reiss | Audiobook Podcast February 25, 2019

She laughed. “We are within the hill and beyond the stream that stains like blood,” she said. “I will tell you now one true thing: when you bargain with those who live within the hollow hill, you give us things which it amuses us to take, and we give back things which it amuses us to give.

First published on January 31, 2017, in Cosmic Roots and Eldritch Shores: Myths, Legends, and Fairy Tales: “Thief or Felon Bold“, by Alter S. Reiss

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New Story

 

For February 18, 2019,
we have in EldritchRed Crows“,  by Innocent Chizaram Ilo

   On cold, starless nights, when the full moon is shaded with red clouds and blue ice crystals, all the crones in Selemku sit around the Great Baobab and weave stories of a time long before women knew smoke, men knew fire, and children knew dust.

It’s on a night like this that Odera scratched her fingers on the door of a cottage in the woods, a baby sleeping softly in the crook of her arm, a bird croaking in the rusty cage clutched in her fist.

∼  Podcast #1 ∼ in The Storytelling Room
February 11, 2019

Podcast on February11, 2019: “Fruits of Victory”, by Jonathan Shipley

In the darkness overhead, Ilianthe saw a point of light flash into being.
Flash and hold steady.
Another way station in the void.
Another star, created of angel light and dragon fire.
Their victory allowed them to create stars, to reshape the Cosmos  Hundreds more would be scattered through the darkness of the heavens, and the Holdings would no longer hang cold in the lightless emptiness.  Yet victory had not brought peace.

 

First published on January 30, 2017, in Cosmic Roots and Eldritch Shores:
Myths, Legends, and Fairy Tales: “Fruits of Victory“,
by Jonathan Shipley

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New Story

 

For January 27, the 75th anniversary of the lifting of the siege of Leningrad,
we have in Fantasy The Ice Angel of Leningrad”, by Eugene Morgulis

This story is dedicated to and inspired by the author’s grandmother, who lived through the Siege of Leningrad.

Beginning in 1941, the city of Leningrad suffered through a brutal 900-day siege at the hands of the German army. Nearly half its three million citizens were killed by bombs, freezing temperatures, or most often, starvation. Those who managed to survive did so in a number of ways, some unsavory, others unspeakable. But none as remarkable as Sveta Gorskaya’s way.

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