Archive for November, 2011

A different kind of Christmas Story

Posted in News with tags , , , , , , , , , , on November 27, 2011 by Christian

Four weeks from today is Christmas Day, and if you’re looking for a bedtime story for the kids who might not quite believe in Santa Claus anymore, pick up a copy of Christmas Angels, featuring my story, “Hoofbeats on the Rooftop.”

Here is a teaser of my contribution to the anthology:

I believe, Virginia.  I most certainly do, but not in the way most grown-ups do.  You know how they twist things around so that anything can be true, depending on your point-of-view?  Not this guy.

I wanted to watch Gremlins on TV, but my folks said it was too scary for Josh.  We could both have another cup of cocoa, and then it was off to bed before Santa skipped our house.  That really got Josh.  He gulped down his cocoa and told me that the peppermint whipped cream tasted like Santa’s beard.  It made me want to barf.

“There is no Santa Claus!” I said coolly.

Mom’s face went white.  “Peter!  What if he hears you?”  She looked at Josh, who was still staring at me.

“Aw, mom,” I said.  “Simon’s brother told us that’s just made up.”

“Go to your room!” she said icily.  “I’ll send your father in there in a minute to say goodnight.  I don’t suppose you’ll want him to read you ‘The Night Before Christmas,’ will you?”

The corners of Josh’s trembling mouth went down, making my brother look vaguely trapezoidal.  His eyelids filled up and a fat, salty tear rolled down his face.  He started vocalizing like a deaf person.  “G-g-g-guh-rummm-puh-s-s-s!”

Mom muffled Josh’s sobs in her Rudolph sweater, and he seemed to cry even louder to make up for it.  “I hope you’re proud.  And on Christmas Eve, of all times!  Something tells me you won’t be getting the visit you expected tonight.”

So I laid there in bed, listening to Josh cry.  A small, nearly silent part of me wanted to take it all back and let Josh have his Christmas the way a little boy should, but I was enjoying the power I was feeling a little too much to care.  Right then, everyone else got in line behind me.

I don’t know how much later it was, but it was dead quiet in the house.  When I heard it, Josh was asleep, and mom and dad were long gone into their bedroom after an argument about what was going to happen to me.  Brass bells over the house.  I thought it was my imagination, but then I heard hoofbeats.  Honest-to-goodness hoofbeats, and there was no mistaking it.  I skipped down the stairs three at a time, all alone.  He would be coming down the chimney, filling up the stockings, and propping up the low-hanging branches of the Christmas tree with Star Wars toys after all.  Simon’s brother was wrong … but not in the way I expected.

The lights from the Christmas tree bathed everything in a dim red light, and even then, I remember thinking how weird it was, that all those different colors on the tree added up to red in the room. There weren’t any presents covering the tree skirt like I had expected, but there was a rustle behind the branches, like someone trying to scoot between them and the wall, so I held my breath tight, like a fist, and waited for that right jolly old elf to show himself—and his giant bag of goodies, just waiting to be played with. I could feel the smirk on my face. It was huge.

“Peter,” said a voice, as dry as winter branches on a window pane. “Peter, come here for your Christmas present.”

That voice didn’t sound anything like Santa Claus, and I stayed where I was…

 Read the rest of the story in Christmas Angels, available here.
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Hellnotes review for WHAT FEARS BECOME

Posted in News on November 26, 2011 by Christian

Hellnotes, a website (maybe I should write “the website”) ahem, “dedicated to bringing you the best information on the Internet covering horror movies, horror fiction, horror comics, horror writers, and more,” has published a favorable review of What Fears Become, courtesy of Sheila M. Merritt:

Jeani Rector is quite a gal. The smart and savvy editor of the online magazine The Horror Zine has compiled another fine collection with What Fears Become: An Anthology From the Horror Zine. As in Twice the Terror, which received a very positive critique from this reviewer, the editor has selected short stories, poetry, and artwork that are exemplary. The contributors range from well-known, seasoned writers to those who are…

Read the rest of the review here.

Midwestern Gothic to publish “Walking Away”

Posted in News on November 15, 2011 by Christian

I’ve been notified that Midwestern Gothic has accepted my short story, “Walking Away.” It’s the first story that I’ve written that doesn’t have some supernatural or speculative bent to it. If you’ve ever felt misplaced in life and unhappy, like you were metaphorically drowning after making the wrong choices, you’ll identify with this story.

The magazine itself is an interesting one, a 21st-century permutation of the genre established by Horace Walpole in the 18th century. While gothic fiction can be populated with supernatural creatures, revenants and monsters, it can also simply spotlight the grotesque in the ordinary. Think back to high school when you read To Kill a Mockingbird.

When I have a publication date, I will post that information, along with any relevant links.

“The Mettle of the South” to be published by Hall Bros. Entertainment

Posted in News on November 7, 2011 by Christian

Nothing beats waking up on a Monday morning and finding out you had a story accepted (except maybe a snow day). This is especially true after  a crushing rejection over the weekend. This is what a fellow writer told me about my setback:  “Sorry about the rejection. That is part of the writing deal, though. But perhaps there is a rose around your corner yet.” Yep, and here it is.

Hall Brothers Entertainment has accepted my alternate history short story, “The Mettle of the South” to be published in their upcoming anthology, Untold Tales of the Past. The book will be published in 2012 on their site in e-reader and PDF formats, as well as the traditional ink-and-paper for you traditionalists out there (like me). I haven’t gotten a look at the table of contents, but I know they’re including a wide variety of fiction, open to a number of genres. Mine, of course, is of the speculative variety–a steampunk scheme by the fathers of a Southern town to take a compromise from the North and use it against them just before the outbreak of the Civil War. Emphasis on steampunk.

Midnight Screaming releases “Ice Reduces Swelling”

Posted in News on November 3, 2011 by Christian

Faithful readers, back in September, I announced that Midnight Screaming had agreed to publish “Ice Reduces Swelling,” my dystopian take on the unemployment problem. Well, it’s been published in Volume 3, Issue 4 along with the following stories:

  • “Maters” by Alexander S. Brown
  • “What Jim’s Short Note Could Not Say” by Walter Flaschka
  • “Going My Way” by Kiddman Lloyd Teller
  • “Grandpa’s Clothes” by Sandra Rose Hughes
  • “Father” by Kelsey D Garmendia
  • “Hunted” by H C Playa

And Ellen Gamber designed the wickedly cool cover of the issue: