Posts Tagged With: fantasy

What Went Wrong?: 15 Sci-Fi and Fantasy Tales

Today I’m super excited to share with you not only the details of this awesome anthology, but some excerpts!  I hope you end up as excited about WHAT WENT WRONG? as I am. 

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A Caring Company
By Matthew Harrison

The two HR ladies slowly backed away. Danny, still ‘reading’, kept one eye on them all the time. What did Sandra have in that handbag? “Platform infrastructure obsolescence…” Eventually, the HR ladies disappeared. Danny put down his ‘report,’ and went to the corner to check that they had gone.

On his return, he found Vicky collapsed in her seat, breathing in great gasps. Danny stood awkwardly, wondering what to do. Then Angelina, from a neighboring department, came over and comforted Vicky.

When she had recovered somewhat, Vicky looked up at Danny gratefully. “Thank you so much!” she whispered. “You faced them down.” Angelina glanced at him admiringly, and then returned to her cubicle.

“We should stick together, they won’t dare take us on then,” Danny whispered to Vicky urgently. “Here, take this.” And he handed her his own sheath knife which he had smuggled in. He would have to get another, but they surely wouldn’t come for him that day.

Vicky took the weapon in her small hand. “I’m not sure, I—”

“Just take it,” Danny insisted. “You just have to show it; that will already put them off.”

Vicky nodded, and put the weapon in her handbag. Danny made her promise to call him at once if she saw anything threatening, and then made to go. Glancing back, he saw how frail she looked. He was going to have to find stronger allies to have any chance of surviving in Prospect.

This conviction strengthened as he rounded the corner and found the large HR gentleman standing over his own cubicle.

2008
By Holly Riordan

“I want to test it first, to see if it’s safe,” my aunt said, unfolding the place mats and flipping through them. “Which one wouldn’t you want?”

“We never really did much for Easter. Try using that one.”

“Sounds good to me.” She plucked it from the pile and a smiling bunny face stared up at us. Its fur and little pink nose filled the entire mat, except for a black box in the lower left-hand corner, which held a signature line.

I nudged the knife with my knuckles, hoping she’d pick it up and slice without wasting precious minutes trying to prepare herself for the pain.

That’s exactly what she did. She swept the knife across her skin, like she’d done it hundreds of times before. Like she was as used to seeing blood as the man in the booth.   

“I guess this is my temporary goodbye,” she said as she dipped a pinky into the blood and wrote out the year she wanted. She chose 2008, the same year I was planning on picking. The year before it had happened.

As soon as she finished drawing out the last number, her hands fell to her side. Her eyes rolled up. Her back arched. Then her body froze. I would’ve called an ambulance if I’d had a more innocent childhood, but I’d seen death before. This wasn’t it.

This was magic.

Balancing Act
By N.O.A. Rawle

“Gentlemen! Just starting out on the rocky road to marriage? Want the kinks in your future smoothed out before you start?” the spindly gentleman tugged on his fine moustache for dramatic effect, “Ladies! Want to know that you and your partner will share equal footing in the house? Or know that your spouse will pull his weight?” he allowed himself a smile, but not long enough to arouse suspicion, “We all know that balance is the key to a good relationship but there’s no guarantee that you’ll get it… Or is there?”

“My secret is right here!” He gesticulated to the large oblong box draped in purple silk. “It’s simple! Here, Ladies and Gentlemen, is the key to your Happy Ever After! Here, is what no matchmaker or priest can guarantee! But do you dare to try it?”

The crowd was now so silent that his patent leather boots could be heard as he clicked back across the wooden platform.

“I speak now only to the brave among you. Those of a sound heart! Let me introduce you to the Equilibrator! Modern science, my friends, mixed with a just the right sprinkling of magic of course, has the answer! But are you sure you want what I have to offer?”

The audience nodded, some already murmuring consent.

“The Equilibrator will iron out all your differences before you even know what they might be! Lifelong attraction assured! No arguments! No Discussions! No risk! And I mean no risk, because if you are not satisfied that balance has been brought to your relationship after the first week, I personally, will refund every last penny of your hard earned cash! Yes, that’s right, you heard me correctly! If you can show me that your circumstances are not balanced, I will give you your money back.”

Descends Olympus
T.R. North

Kruse threw open the glass doors with a theatrical flourish. “Look upon my works, ye mighty!”

That part wasn’t an act. I was willing to entertain the possibility of a Guild scientist who didn’t have a few screws loose, but I’d certainly never met one. The walls were lined with wicked-looking weapons, portable orbs and platforms of dubious purpose, and stacks of canisters with brightly-colored biohazard symbols all over them. Kruse handed me what looked like a bottle of perfume from a particularly well-organized section of the counter. I took it gingerly and waited for him to explain before I did anything with it. There was still a stain on the ceiling from some apprentice shaking a bottle of what had turned out to be a new explosive.

“I’m not going to get Victoria-Charlied, am I?” I asked.

“No, may she rest in pieces. I’ve been more careful with labels since then,” Kruse said quickly. “Perfectly harmless, that one. It’s a lovely little cocktail for my new conflict-avoidance line.”

I turned the bottle over in my hands and watched the oily, pink-tinged liquid shift around the dip tube. It was perfectly emulsified, glittered in the overhead fluorescents, and looked more like a body spray marketed at tween girls than a diabolical superweapon.

“I’m calling it Love Potion Number Ten,” he continued. “One spritz and the opposite sex will be putty in your hands! Security guards will hold open doors for you as you make off with everything in the store. Policemen will help you load stolen merchandise into the back of your truck. Armored car drivers will hand over the keys and security codes with a smile.”

Lab Rat
By Jonathan Shipley

Clare reached for her phone, pausing as she felt the sudden increase of increase of air pressure around her.  “No, don’t,” she called, but already she saw the blue glow of the implant in Feodor’s temple.  And McHenry was gone.  Disappeared into thin air.

“Your heart,” she reminded Feodor as the blue faded.  “You know it strains your heart every time you do that.”  But he seemed all right for the moment — no shortness of breath or discoloration of the lips.  She picked up the phone and dialed.  “Where did you send him anyway?”

Feodor started to shrug, then winced at the pain in his arm.  “About a half-mile down the beach,” he rasped.  “He can be thankful that’s the limit of my range.”

Clare nodded absently and finished the call.  A half-mile hike would be nothing to McHenry once he got over the shock of the jump.  As angry as Feodor was, it could have been a lot worse.  A half-mile out to sea, for instance.  Or straight up.

They had a word for it–translocation–because teleportation sounded too sci-fi.  Feodor’s newly developing talent for relocating objects, his heart flutters–both directly connected to his ground-breaking research into trans-dimensional portals.  He should never have used himself as a test subject for the control implant of the machine in the attic.  Now it was to the point where this new translocation talent might be the death of him.

Literally.

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Categories: Look, May 2016 | Tags: , , , , , | 1 Comment

Three Fantasy Comics For Fantasy Readers

Comic Theme (8).pngIn case you didn’t know, I am now a comic book store clerk!  SQUEE!  Best job eva!  Erm.  Sorry.  Got carried away.

When someone new to comics asks for a recommendation, one of the things we ask is “What do you read?”  If you answer fantasy, we’ll ask what kind and based on your answer, we’ll come up with some recommendations.  With that in mind, let’s pretend these are a fantasy reader’s answers.

“Classic Fantasy”
My Recommendation: KING CONAN WOLVES BEYOND THE BORDER

Blurb: King Conan grows weary of the crown. When an old soldier visits him with talk of a cursed relic and rumors of Pictish tribes preparing a full-scale invasion on Aquilonia’s borders, Conan eagerly embarks on what could be his final adventure! A fan-favorite team expands on Robert E. Howard’s unfinished “Wolves beyond the Border” tale!

stk690742Why: Dark Horse (that’s a publisher) has been making a Conan comic for years.  This covers their later years Conan.  I recommend it because it is indeed inspired by the literary work and because it is a 4 issue series.  No long term commitment.

“Gaming Fantasy”
My Recommendation: RAT QUEENS

Blurb: Who are the Rat Queens? A pack of booze-guzzling, death-dealing battle maidens-for-hire, and they’re in the business of killing all god’s creatures for profit. It’s also a darkly comedic sass-and-sorcery series starring Hannah the Rockabilly Elven Mage, Violet the Hipster Dwarven Fighter, Dee the Atheist Human Cleric and Betty the Hippy Smidgen Thief. This modern spin on an old school genre is a violent monster-killing epic that is like Buffy meets Tank Girl in a Lord of the Rings world on crack!

stk634308Why: The gaming I feel this is close to is Dungeons and Dragons.  Though, video game players that like A BARD’S TALE (PS2) will enjoy this too.  It’s a bit adult, has lots of fun, and the story is pretty epic.  The only downside to this title is that it comes out irregularly.  Production has met many a problem, but the story is so good that people stay loyal to it.

“Urban Fantasy”
My Recommendation: MAE

Blurb: When she was just a girl, Abbie discovered a portal to a fantasy world and for the last couple of years has been having great adventures there: defeating horrible monsters, power-mad scientists, and evil nobles. She was a celebrated action hero! But when she turned twenty-one it all came apart and she decided to return home. Her sister, Mae, has had no idea what happened to Abbie all this time. Her tales are too hard to believe; that is, until the monsters and other terrible creatures start to cross over to our world . . .

stl004482Why: For starters, it isn’t even out yet.  You’ll be one of the first on board when it comes out in May!  However, I’ve been lucky enough to become one of the Valkyries and I got to sneak peek the first issue!  It has a New Adult feel and some really interesting/inventive fantasy creatures.  Give it a try!

Close Runner Up: BLACK MAGICK

Blurb: The hammer falls this Halloween!  From New York Times bestselling and Eisner Award-winning writer GREG RUCKA (LAZARUS, Stumptown, Gotham Central) and superstar artist NICOLA SCOTT (Birds of Prey, Secret Six, Earth 2)! Detective Rowan Black works robbery/homicide for the Portsmouth PD, but her greatest mystery is the  truth about herself…both who she has been, and who she will become. Yet there are others in Rowan’s world with very long memories, and the power that one person holds, another will always covet. PLUS, each issue also features an all-new work of original fiction by GREG RUCKA! A new gothic-noir ongoing series about legacy,  destiny, redemption…and the price of magic.

Did I convince you to try a comic?
What comic would you recommend?

Categories: 2016 7a, Reading, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Check Out Natalie O’Neil’s GUARDIAN HOUSE

I’ve recently become part of the Solstice Publishing family.  The Solstice staff and authors are so nice, supportive, and welcoming.  Natalie is one of those I just mentioned.  Her book coming out next month, so I wanted to help her spread the word.  Check it out!  

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Comes out August 14, 2015!

Guardian House, the 1st in the Curious Adventures series, follows a curious young woman forced to uncover her past in order to pave the way for adventures in her future. This urban fantasy mashup follows Alice as she learns she’s involved in much more drama than whether or not her crush likes her back. With the support of her bestie, Dorothy, and her clique of misfit orphans-with-excess-baggage, she ventures beyond her comfort zone to unlock the mysteries surrounding Guardian House, the legend of the Red Queen, and her connection to the world she doesn’t remember. Peppered with magic and mystery,Guardian House is full of snark & sass, and will leave readers curious for more!

Natalie O’Neil is proud to announce the publication of her first novel, Guardian House, an urban fantasy mash-up of her favorite childhood mischief-makers. Enticed by the bizarre, Natalie’s unconventional predilections have been know to lead her down more than one path not frequently taken, and she’s always up for the adventure.

Natalie is fascinated by the Victorian Era, Steampunk, and alternate realities, allowing her to often romanticize about a time and place that never actually existed, except for in her mind. This magical, whimsical, and sometimes frightening imaginary world inspires both her writing and her real life.

A graduate of Rutgers University, Natalie taught high school English & Creative Writing for many years before becoming an innovator in educational technology. As a Technology Coordinator, Google Certified Teacher and Trainer, Raspberry Pi Certified Teacher, and Adjunct Professor, Natalie is passionate about sharing the benefits of technology and the arts with educators around the world.

When she isn’t traveling, Natalie can be found at home in New Jersey with her husband, often spoiling her American Eskimo pup, refinishing shabby chic home furnishings, or finding creative ways to entertain and educate.

Book cover art ad copyBook signing and release party September 19, 2015.
Visit Natalie’s website for details.

Categories: Look | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment