This month’s writing has been predominantly work-related: putting together a book proposal, plus drafting, submitting and revising a selection of academic manuscripts (and learning how to use colons properly). Fiction-wise, I’m working on a new steampunk project which is heavier on the gadgetry than the A Quiet Rebellion stories, but without the paranormal powers. There’s still plenty to do, but the characters are starting to make their own decisions, and nicely getting in each other’s way. It’s always satisfying when that happens.
I’ve also posted a few more Goodreads reviews for a variety of books as follows:
No Good Men by my Thea McAlistair
Girl in the Water, a short story by Peter James Martin
The Messenger: A Military Scifi Epic by JN Chaney and Terry Maggert
The Blackbird and the Ghost by Hûw Steer, which is an SPFBO entry
Mr Wilmott Gets Old School by Katherine Hayton
The Ministry of Shadows: A Medieval Murder Mystery by Robert Casselberry
Shadow Stitcher: An Everland Mystery by Misha Handman
Alchemy and Artifacts: Tesseracts Twenty-Two, edited by Lorina Stephens and Susan MacGregor
And now for some more very short stories.
“He’s charming.” Ann unbraided her hair.
Meg unfastened tiny buttons on the contessa’s gown. “Background?”
“Rich wife. Tragic accident.”
The women’s eyes met in the mirror.
Meg smirked. “A fortune hunter after a title.”
“Yep. He’ll do.”
“Again?” Mortimer frowned. “If I leave you at liberty, you’ll reoffend.”
The cowering thief offered no defence.
“Besides”—with a grunt, he hefted the rabbit in his arms—”I can’t face another complaint from Mrs Jones about her ruined lettuces.”
The stench of grave rot fills my nostrils. I still jump at the voice by my ear.
“Guess who lies under this gravestone.”
We both look down at the disturbed earth.
“Nobody?” I offer. “Not now.”
Clever enough, I hope. Beneath my cloak I grip my stake.
On entering the mansion, the detective paled. “The murderer was in a real fury.”
“The body is—”
“Pulverised. I’m not blind. Such carnage.”
“See how high the blood splattered on the wall?”
“Sir! That’s an expressionist mural. The body’s upstairs.”
“You and your precious flowers! Stop ignoring me.”
“I’m sorry.” His gaze remains on the blooms. “It’s a delicate—”
“Dinner’s cold.” The door slams.
“You’re right, I should pay you more attention.” He lifts his secateurs. Hemlock? Oleander? Maybe lilies would be best.
“You spend too long in that cellar,” said Mama. “Go find a nice boy.”
“But they’re all so mean!”
“Nothing is easy, dear.”
The girl pouted but went out that night.
Next morning, Mama asked, “Did you—”
“No, but”—she raised her voice over the sobs—”I’m training one.”
Sun. Lucky find at dig – bone ring
Mon. Natives downed tools when I put it on. Made warding signs
Tue. Won’t come off! Must be the heat. Hand a bit blue
Wed. Headman spoke to his men, gave me torrent of apologies
Thu. Workers look scared but resolute. All holding axes
If you like these little stories, don’t forget to check out (or tell your friends, relatives and everyone else about) our #VSS365 Anthology, available for Kindle or in print!