Release: Renewal – Queer Sci-Fi’s annual flash fiction anthology

For the last two years, I’ve written a 300-word long story for Queer Sci-Fi’s annual flash fiction anthology, and I did so this year too. Every year it’s a different topic, the first year I participated it was Discovery, the second it was Flight, and this year it’s Renewal. Today it’s release day! Renewal is an anthology including 110 speculative stories from different authors.

If you’re in to flash fiction, check it out!


QSF Renewal-Print

QSF has a new book out, the latest in our series of flash fiction anthologies:

Re.new.al (noun)

1) Resuming an activity after an interruption, or
2) Extending a contract, subscription or license, or
3) Replacing or repairing something that is worn out, run-down, or broken, or
4) Rebirth after death.

Four definitions to spark inspiration, a limitless number of stories to be conceived. Only 110 made the cut.

Thrilling to hopeful, Renewal features 300-word speculative fiction ficlets about sexual and gender minorities to entice readers.

Welcome to Renewal.

Mischief Corner Books (info only) | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | Goodreads


Renewal Banner

Excerpt

Because these stories are only 300 words each, we’re not supplying long excerpts, but here are the first lines of several of the stories. Enjoy!

“Griselda pulled the weeds from between the rows of Valerianella locusta plants in the garden, careful not to disturb the buds that would grow into the babies that were her only real income-producing crop.” —The Witches’ Garden, by Rie Sheridan Rose

“I didn’t know how truly the world was in trouble until I went journeying to look for Anisette’s bluebonnets.” —Bluebonnets, by Emily Horner

“The ship’s drive malfunctioned at the worst possible time.” —The Return, by Andrea Speed

“Before we continue, there’s a rather macabre fact about me I should share.” —Rejuvenation, by Christine Wright

“When I died they buried me at the bottom of the garden and returned to the fields.” —Below the Hill, by Matthew Bright

“The world is ending and I can’t look away from your eyes.” —Sunrise, by Brigitte Winter

““Losing one’s superpowers to your arch nemesis sucks donkey nuts, I tell ya. And trust me when I say I suck a lot of them.” —Rainbow Powers, by Dustin Karpovich

“The day I was born again was damp, rainy—a good day for rebirth, all things considered.” —The Birthing Pod, by Michelle Browne

“Intwir’s twelve eyes roved over the container, taking in the cracked outer lock and the elasticated fabric stretched tightly over its exterior.” —In a Bind, by S R Jones

“‘You’ve reached Androgyne HelpLine. Press one to start service. Press two to interrupt or cancel service. Press three—’” —Auto-Renew, by Ginger Streusel

“The doctor tells me that my wife is dying, but I already know.” —I Will Be Your Shelter, by Carey Ford Compton

“‘San Francisco was the first to go dark, followed by Los Angeles.’” —When Light Left, by Lex Chase

“My fingers lingered on the synthetic skin, trailing soft patterns across my work.” —Miss You, by Stephanie Shaffer


Included Authors

‘Nathan Burgoine
A.M. Leibowitz
A.M. Soto
Abby Bartle
Aidee Ladnier
Alexis Woods
Andi Deacon
Andrea Felber Seligman
Andrea Speed
Andrea Stanet
Anne McPherson
Bey Deckard
Brigitte Winter
Carey Ford Compton
Carol Holland March
Carrie Pack
Catherine Lundoff
CB Lee
Christine Wright
Colton Aalto
Daniel Mitton
Dustin Blottenberger
Dustin Karpovich
E R Zhang
E.J. Russell
E.W. Murks
Ell Schulman
Ellery Jude
Eloreen Moon
Elsa M León
Emily Horner
Eric Alan Westfall
F.T. Lukens
Fenrir Cerebellion
Foster Bridget Cassidy
Ginger Streusel
Hannah Henry
Irene Preston
J. Alan Veerkamp
J. P. Egry
J. Summerset
J.S. Fields
Jaap Boekestein
Jackie Keswick
Jana Denardo
Jeff Baker
Jenn Burke
Joe Baumann
John Moralee
Jon Keys
Jude Dunn
K.C. Faelan
Kelly Haworth
Kiterie Aine
Kristen Lee
L M Somerton
L. Brian Carroll
L.M. Brown
L.V. Lloyd
Laurie Treacy
Leigh M. Lorien
Lex Chase
Lia Harding
Lin Kelly
Lloyd A. Meeker
Lyda Morehouse
M.D. Grimm
Martha J. Allard
Mary E. Lowd
Matt Doyle
Matthew Bright
Mia Koutras
Michelle Browne
Milo Owen
Mindy Leana Shuman
Naomi Tajedler
Natsuya Uesugi
Nephy Hart
Nicole Dennis
Ofelia Gränd
Patricia Scott
Paul Stevens
PW Covington
R R Angell
R.L. Merrill
Rebecca Cohen
Redfern Jon Barrett
Reni Kieffer
Richard Amos
RL Mosswood
Robyn Walker
Rory Ni Coileain
Rose Blackthorn
Ross Common
S R Jones
Sacchi Green
Sarah Einstein
Shilo Quetchenbach
Siri Paulson
Soren Summers
Stephanie Shaffer
Steve Fuson
Tam Ames
Terry Poole
Tray Ellis
Vivien Dean
Wendy Rathbone
Xenia Melzer
Zen DiPietro
Zev de Valera

Release Day Flight

img_5302

front-coverThe 2016 Queer Sci Fi Flash Fiction anthology, Flight, is here, and my story A Cup of Coffee and a Slice of Death is in it…in the horror section.

It’s a really cool concept:

A 300-word story should be easy, right? Many of our entrants say it’s the hardest thing they’ve ever written.

Queer Sci Fi’s Annual Flash Fiction Contest challenges authors to write a complete LGBTQ speculative fiction micro-story on a specific theme. “Flight” leaves much for the authors to interpret—winged creatures, flight and space vehicles, or fleeing from dire circumstances.

Some astonishing stories were submitted—from horrific, bloodcurdling pieces to sweet, contemplative ones—and all LGBTQ speculative fiction. The stories in this anthology include AI’s and angels, winged lions and wayward aliens. Smart, snappy slice of life pieces written for entertainment or for social commentary. Join us for brief and often surprising trips into 110 speculative fiction authors’ minds.

The book us available in eBook form (4.99), and will soon be available in paperback with b/w illustrations inside (12.99) and in a special collector’s edition with color illustrations (24.99).


Buy Links

Amazon eBook | Kobo | All Romance | Goodreads


Excerpt:

Smoke, by Zev de Valera

He rubbed his temples and squinted at the soft light of his surroundings through the fans of his thick eyelashes. The last drink had been a mistake.

Was that a shaker he’d felt, or the onset of a hangover?

He clutched a silken pillow and waited.

Suddenly, he felt his home tremble; a few pieces of glass

and ceramic ware teetered and then fell to their demise.

Shit. This is the real thing.

With an effort, he hauled himself from his bed.

How many years had it been since the last one?

Sixty? Seventy?

The shaking ceased, and he looked around his small dwelling.
A model unit when he’d purchased it. Now filled with the result of years of collecting: a gramophone, a first generation television set, a water clock. And much more. All of it all had sentimental value—as did the photos of the various men that sat atop or alongside the items in his collection. Some of these men had loved him. All of them had once owned him. Now he owned their memories. That was the bargain.

Another shake. Followed by several unnerving tilts. He willed his cherished possessions to remain in place and willed himself into sobriety and a more becoming appearance as he prepared himself for work.

What to wear?

He selected a red brocade tunic and pants. A classic look always worked best for the initial consultation.

A resounding thud.

He peered up into the small shaftway at the center of the ceiling.

A pop.

Then a small circle of light at the end of the shaft.

He sighed, folded his arms, and transformed into a cloud of red smoke.

Up and away to meet his new master.

 

Judge’s Choice — J. Scott Coatsworth 


Author Bio:

In the first year of the Queer Sci Fi Flash Fiction contest, we received about 15 entries for the theme “Endings”. In the second year, it was 115 for “Discovery”.

This year, we had more than 170 entries from people around the world, and from all parts of the LGBTIQA rainbow. “Flight” represents 110 of those people and their stories.

 

The authors:

Colton Aalto
Kiterie Aine
Odin Alexander
John Allenson
Tam Ames
R.R. Angell
Bran Lindy Ayres

Jeff Baker
Jessica Bansbach
J.P. Barnaby
Capri S. Bard
Jonah Bergen
Michael J. Bode
L.M. Brown
Marie Brown
Michelle Browne
‘Nathan Burgoine
Iona Burnfield
A.M. Burns

Katelyn Cameron
Hank T. Cannon
Foster Bridget Cassidy
Skylar M. Cates
H.J. Chacon
M.A. Church
Rebecca Cohen
S.A. Collins
J. Comer
Ross Common
Elliot Cooper
Gretchen Crane

Jase Daniels
Claire Davis and Al Stewart
Avery Dawes
Zev de Valera
Bey Deckard
Jana Denardo
Nicole Dennis
Kellie Doherty
Jude Dunn

Tray Ellis
Rhi Etzweiler
Thursday Euclid

K.C. Faelan
Christina Mary Francis
L.E. Franks
J.R. Frontera
Liz Fury

Elizabella Gold
Ofelia Gränd
S.E. Greer
M.D. Grimm

Jenna Hale
Kaje Harper
Qaida Harte
Saxon Hawke
Kelly Haworth
Cheryl Headford
Valentina Heart

Jaylee James
Jambrea Jo Jones
Michael M. Jones
Ryvr Jones
Ellery Jude

Jon Keys
K-lee Klein

Jennifer Lavoie
A.M. Leibowitz
Mario K. Lipinski
L.V. Lloyd
Clare London
Meraki P. Lyhne

Lloyd A. Meeker
Eloreen Moon
John Moralee
Christopher Hawthorne Moss
E.W. Murks

Rory Ni Coiliean
Jackie Nacht
Thea Nishimori
Bealevon Nolan
Alicia Nordwell

Mathew Ortiz

Nina Packebush

Donald Qualls
Kirby Quinlan

Mann Ramblings
Loren Rhoads

Jojo Saunders
Brent D. Seth
L.M. Somerton
Rin Sparrow
Andrea Speed
Paul Stevens
Ginger Streusel
Jerome Stueart

Julia Talbot
Jo Tannah

Natsuya Uesugi

Allen Walton
A.T. Weaver
Missy Welsh
Eric Alan Westfall
Brandon Witt
Alexis Woods
Christine Wright
P.T. Wyant

Victoria Zagar

 

The Good Doctor

hallway hospital
CC0 Public Domain

I resisted the urge to tug at the tubes going into my body while I listened to the doctor talk. “Dead for thirty-seven minutes.” “Had to use a defibrillator.” His voice droned on and all I wanted to do was to eat him—sink my teeth into his flesh and tear out a big chunk of meat, chewing it while warm blood trickled down my chin. The smell of him made my mouth water.

“By this time tomorrow, you’ll be able to go home.” He patted my knee.

A smile stretched my lips—tomorrow. I’d have me some doctor then.

A Morning Snore

Man with a bookI woke to the sound of rustling paper. With a soft murmur, I turned, hoping he would think I was still asleep. The sun caressed his bare skin, enhancing the slopes and valleys. I could watch him read forever if he’d only let me. A day in bed, what more could a guy wish for? He would never allow it, though. With a frown, he turned another page. I quickly closed my eyes, if he saw me he would insist on us getting up.

“I know you’re looking at me.”

My fake snore wasn’t as believable as I had hoped.


 

photo credit: chamber of secrets via photopin (license)

The key to survival

Man swimming

“If we sneak out through the bushes, there’s a possibility they won’t see us until we’ve reached the car.”

I looked behind me. “Are you crazy? Those are thorn bushes.”

“Well, we can’t go out there.” He pointed at the rock where our clothes were drying after our swim. They would kill us. If they were merciful it would be quick, if they were bored… How long would I survive torture?

“We crawl through there. You get into the car. Start it—”

“I don’t have the key.”

If looks could kill I wouldn’t have to worry about the flesh-eaters.


 

photo credit: Man Swimming in the Anacostia via photopin (license)

Christmas Flash Fiction

A year ago today I posted a Christmas Flash Fiction as a part of a Flash Fiction Holiday Blog Hop. We were 40 authors participating and I thought I’d recycle my post. Unfortunately, the links in the blue frog only take you to the other authors’ websites, but if you’re willing to do some digging around I’m sure you’ll find their flashes/short stories for free there to get you in a wintery holiday mood.

If you don’t want to read my story directly on the blog you can download the Porcelain Santa here.

Below follows the original post.


TPScover

The Flash Fiction Holiday Blog Hop is here! The stories should all fit under the GLBTQ umbrella, and they should include three things:

A winter holiday theme

A “bad boy” character

A gift of some kind

To read the other authors’ stories, click on the blue frog above and you’ll be taken to their links.

 

The Porcelain Santa

Sprawled on the window seat, I watched the snow falling outside. I love this time of year, love the preparations, the anticipation, and the serenity that comes with Christmas. The cup in my hand warmed my skin, and my flat smelled of candles and holiday biscuits. Even the normally depressing courtyard outside my window could’ve starred as a motif on a Christmas card with the glistening snow that clung to every surface. I closed my eyes with a content sigh…and heard the all too familiar noise of a snowmobile. Flying up into a sitting position, I made the tea in my cup spill over the rim and onto my fingers. The snowmobile was skidding over the yard—messing up the untouched snow. That fucking idiot! Why did he always have to destroy everything?

I glared at Zach through the window, he knew I was there, of course, and he turned to give me a cheeky smile before heading for the front door. Bastard! I blew out the candles and stomped out to the kitchen where I poured the remaining tea down the sink. Since the day he’d moved in he’d ruined things for me. Always loud, always there, always so fucking handsome. I wanted to strangle him.

¤¤¤

snowman
CC0 Public Domain

I might have stayed a little longer than usual in bed the following morning, and I might have taken a little longer to eat my breakfast, but no matter how much I delayed it, I had to go to work—my last workday before the holiday.

Zach always went before I did, about eight minutes before. But today he was late. I sighed, making the glass in the peephole fog. Finally, I saw his door open on the other side of the hallway. I closed my eyes and counted to a hundred before I opened my door, sauntered down the eight steps, and went outside with a quick look around. Zach was nowhere to be seen, I could’ve sagged in relief.

“Hey, Benji! Wait up!” Where the hell had he been hiding? I gave him an icy stare. His confident grin made me want to smack him. Or kiss him. Either or. Those warm dark eyes glowed, and I just loved the way his black hair became a curly mess when it got a little too long. The knitted cap he wore today hid most of his curls, and it infuriated me that I felt disappointed for being unable to see them.

“You shouldn’t be walking in this weather. Come on let me drive you to work.”

“I’m not getting on that snowmobile,” I exclaimed appalled.

His lips twitched as he fought a laugh. “I do have a car, you know.”

I hadn’t known that, he was on that damned Ski-Doo all the time. “Then why do you ride that thing?”

“Because you’re pretty when you’re angry.” I gaped at him. The nerve! I was not pretty, and I did not get angry. I was hardly ever angry! “See, like that,” he said, and I swear his eyes twinkled. “Come on, I drive past your work anyway.”

“How would you know where I work?”

Zach raised a brow. “You work at Simon’s, everyone knows that.”

Everyone did not know that, hardly anyone knew that. Of course people knew that I worked there, it’s a café and people aren’t blind, but…

We reached the garage, and it turned out Zach did have a car. “Here, let me take your bag.” He took it and held the passenger door open. I squinted at him before climbing in. He took an awfully long time walking around the car, and once he started driving he was looking more at me than on the traffic. “So, Benji, where will you be spending Christmas?”

“At home,” I grumbled.

“Not going anywhere?”

“No.”

“Not having anyone over?”

“No.” I didn’t look at him. Since he kept looking at me, I felt the need to keep my eyes on the road.

“Why don’t you talk to me?

“Have nothing to say.”

Zach nodded. “We’ll change that.”

I snorted, relieved that we’d reached Simon’s. Jumping out of the car I noticed Zach doing the same. I frowned as he handed me my backpack. I can’t believe I forgot it.

“See you later,” Zach said with a kind of smile I hadn’t seen before. What was he up to? His eyes were soft, but that grin made me cautious. I nodded and went to work.

¤¤¤

The smile that had played on my lips the entire way home from work died when I unlocked the front door. My hand-painted porcelain Santa Claus was crushed, there were tiny pieces all over the hallway floor.

Someone had been in my flat! My stomach clenched as I peered into the living room. No one there.

That’s when I noticed a box of chocolate on the hall table where the Santa had been. A note was sticking out of it. I took it and read, “I have a gift for you. Love Zach.”

I stared at it, stared at the broken Santa, and swung around. That fucking bastard! I stomped over to his flat and banged on the door. He opened it, a look of uncertainty flitted across his face before his usual confident grin took over.

“What the fuck did you do?”

“I…er…I was gonna leave you a box of chocolate.”

“So you picked my lock?”

“Well, yeah. You really should get a tumbler lock.”

“What the fuck, Zach!”

“Yeah…but, I wanted to give you something tonight, so when I had the chance by the car this morning, I slipped your calendar out of your bag—only to make sure you’d be free. I picked your lock to leave the note, I never meant to break the china thing!”

“Why would you do such a thing?” My jaw ached from how hard I was grinding my teeth.

“To make you come over here,” he answered as if obvious.

“Why would I come over here?”

“To have dinner with me.” He stepped aside to show a beautifully set table with candles and white lilies. “But now I realize that we need to go down to the novelty shop to get you a new porcelain thing.”

“Was my calendar the gift you were referring to in the note,” I groused, annoyed with myself for not being angrier with him.

His nose crinkled. “Of course not! That was just to check if you were free.”

“So…dinner is the gift?”

“Yeah…well, I was thinking…kinda like…er…I’m the gift.”

I felt my eyes go wide. “You’re the gift?”

“Yeah, look I have a ribbon and everything.” He started to unbutton his jeans.

“Zach!” He looked up and winked. “That’s so fucking lame,” I breathed and felt my face warm.

He smiled and shrugged. “Yeah, but I’m serious. I’m yours if you’ll have me.”

“What the hell are you playing at?”

“Oh, come on, baby. You’re not that blind, are you? I like you. I want you.”

“But, you’re always making me angry.”

“Noo, I always make you notice me.” He leaned in, his breath ghosted over my skin. He lingered there, his lips almost touching mine. I heard myself whimper. He kissed me then, holding me close while exploring my mouth. I moaned, and his lips stretched into a smile. “Come on, let’s go buy you a new figurine.”

I nodded, a little dazed. He blew out the candles, grabbed his jacket, put his hand down the front of his jeans, and pulled out a red ribbon that he tossed into his flat before closing the door behind us.

 

The End

Ranidaphobia

Today’s Daily Prompt at The Daily Post:

1984

You’re locked in a room with your greatest fear. Describe what’s in the room.

 

Frog
Public domain

Crazy butterflies fluttered about in Adam’s stomach as the door clicked shut behind him. What was Chris up to?

“Okay, remove the blindfold.”

Adam frowned. Why was Christ on the other side of the door? He squinted at the light, then the room. His shriek bounced off the walls.

He threw himself backwards. “Let me out!”

The room tilted. He couldn’t breathe. He clawed at the door, tears trickling down his cheeks while Chris laughed on the other side.

A soft squish sounded as a frog leapt behind him. He was trapped—couldn’t breathe. It came closer, the erratic monster.