Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween!

In honor of Halloween and Samhain, I thought I'd share a wee bit of Halloween-themed flash fiction with you.

What Becomes of Fear
By Damien Walters Grintalis

When the first group of trick or treaters approached the house, Jacob gave Ted a dark look. “Don’t screw this up,” he said before he retreated into the house.

Ted pulled a face at Jacob’s back but took his place, hidden behind the bushes. He waited until the kids stepped up on the porch, the weight of their anticipation heavy in the air. Maybe the gig wouldn’t be so bad. A girl dressed as a witch, her hands painted in streaks of grey and green, knocked on the door. Ted counted to three then leaped out, shrieking boo as he rattled a chain in one hand. The kids howled in unison, their voices swallowing up both the metallic clink and the sound of Ted’s voice, and ran away from the house, fear leaking from their pores.

The door swung open. The orange light over the porch gave Jacob’s features a grim, almost homicidal glow. His breath pushed out clouds of vapor reeking of cigarettes and beer. “That was awesome. Quick, get behind the bushes again. We’ve got more coming.”

The next group didn’t howl, they screamed. Ted felt a pang of regret. They were young, all dolled up as superheroes, fairies, and ballerinas, and the smallest one reminded him of his granddaughter.

But Jacob was footing the bill, after all.

After the last trick or treater had come and gone, smiling on the way in, yelling on the way out, with candy spilling out of his plastic pumpkin like organs from a zombie meal, Jacob flipped off his porch light and stepped outside, a cigarette tucked in the corner of his mouth.

“Why don’t you just turn your porch light off if you don’t want to give out candy?” Ted asked.

“Cause it’s more fun this way. Here,” he said, handing over a twenty--Ted’s tip; the bill had already been paid in advance. “You did a pretty good job.” And with that, he went back inside, locking the door behind him.

With his hands clasped behind his back, Ted waited by the curb. Soon enough, a white car with tinted windows pulled up.

“How did it go?” Melanie, his supervisor, asked after he slid into the back seat.

“Fine, he seemed happy enough.”

“Good. Hopefully he’ll use us again next year. I already have your next job lined up. There’s a guy in Towson who wants his ex-wife out of the house.”

Ted nodded and watched the houses pass by. He wasn’t fond of scaring kids on Halloween or frightening women out of their houses, but the job paid well, and he wanted his granddaughter to go to college.

Of course in his day, if you wanted to find a ghost, you had to go looking for one, not just call a rental outfit and hand over your credit card number. But times changed.

Sometimes for the better; sometimes for the worse.


I also thought I'd share this video. 'Tis very, very cool. And no, this isn't my house. Unfortunately.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Like Origami in Water

If you are a subscriber to Daily Science Fiction, you received my short story, Like Origami in Water, in your inbox this morning. I was incredibly nervous about this story, but thus far, responses have been overwhelmingly positive. One reader called it "gut-wrenchingly beautiful" and another compared my writing favorably to Harlan Ellison. Needless to say, that sort of feedback leaves me stunned.

Note: If you're not a DSF subscriber, it will be up on their website next week and I'll provide a link when available.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

What I'm Reading - Short Fiction

With so many magazines, it's almost impossible to read everything, but I thought I'd post links to a few notable short stories I've read recently. Enjoy!

The Last Doll War by Wendy Wagner - Three-Lobed Burning Eye

Lessons from a Clockwork Queen by Megan Arkenberg - Fantasy Magazine

Perfection by Jay Garmon - Redstone Science Fiction

Her Husband's Hands by Adam-Troy Castro - Lightspeed Magazine

A Life in Fictions by Kat Howard - Apex Magazine

And a fantastic poem that was brought to my attention today by Rose Lemberg via Twitter. While not a new poem, it was new to me. Star Reservation by Tara Barnett - Stone Telling

If you've read something awesome lately, feel free to post a link in the comments section!

Friday, October 21, 2011

Short Story Sale

I am thrilled to announce that I've sold my short story, In Her Arms of Dresden Pale, to Daily Science Fiction. The publication date has yet to be determined, but I will keep you posted.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Why I Write

Today is the National Day on Writing, so I thought I'd spend a few minutes on the subject and attempt to answer the question without sounding like a rambling fool.

*Because I love breathing life into words and turning syllables and sentences into pictures that come alive.

*Because a blank Word document is not a thing of absence but of possibility.

*Because there are a million what-ifs in the world and some of them belong to me.

*Because creating a paper world that becomes real is wonderful, fun, and exciting, even if, at times, it is also frustrating and difficult.

*Because the characters that live in the word machine in my head want their stories told and I'm afraid if I don't, they'll chase me into the darkest parts of my cerebellum and take over my entire existence and they'll make me wear neon-green spandex and give up coffee... Ahem. Sorry about that.

So there you have a few of my reasons. If you'd like to participate via Twitter, use the hashtag #whyIwrite or feel free to drop a comment here, too.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Electric Velocipede

To help celebrate our transition from print to online, we are having a sale on some of the in-stock back issues of Electric Velocipede. You can see what issues are available here.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Short Story News

My story, Dead Things, Pretty Things, is out now in the Fall/Winter 2011 issue of The Stray Branch. In spite of the title, this is not a horror tale, but a dark literary piece.

Another story, Like Origami in Water, is slated for an October 25th email distribution release from Daily Science Fiction. I am very excited about this story because it's one of my personal favorites. I hope it's well received by readers.

The story will be published on the DSF website a week after the email release, but you can subscribe to the email distribution for free. A short story in your inbox every day. For free. Read new stories from authors you know and discover new authors. Go on. What are you waiting for? Did I mention it's free?