Alexis A. Hunter

Fractured Friday: Alexis A. Hunter

Cover design by Jonathan C. Parrish, original artwork by Tory HokeFor the next several weeks I’ve decided to call Fridays ‘Fractured Friday’ and use them to share news, contributor interviews and excerpts from B is for Broken.

B is for Broken is the second title in the Alphabet Anthologies series. It follows A is for Apocalypse and will in turn be followed by C is for Chimera.

B is for Broken contains 26 stories (one for each letter of the alphabet) centered on the theme of brokenness. The diversity of genres and subject matter will blow you away. We’ve got science fiction, fantasy, horror and weird fiction about broken hearts, broken space ships, broken lives, broken bones–you name it. If you like speculative fiction and short stories, this collection is one you’re going to want to check out 🙂

 


 

I met Alexis when she submitted a story to Niteblade. I accepted that story (Dragons of Fire) and that might have been the end of it, except that not long after Alexis volunteered to fill an empty slush reader position at Niteblade so I got to work with her further. And I’m exceptionally glad I did (and not just because she and Samantha Kymmell-Harvey were the pair of slush readers who worked the best together and practically did my job for me… though that helps).

I’m proud to include Alexis’ stories in both A is for Apocalypse and B is for Broken 🙂

Interview With Alexis A. Hunter

What letter were you assigned? N

Please share a short excerpt from your story:

Elise felt naked without the patterns on her skin. She couldn’t stand the idea of sleeping in her own bed tonight. The dark sigils brought a squirmy warmth to her stomach—a sort of unease, coupled with a thrill.

Mama said the negatives were evil—the magic of violence. Elise found herself staring at them. Their lines and edges were sharp, geometric, sometimes jagged. She didn’t know each sigil’s exact meaning, but she felt their intent: violence, harm, anger. They shimmered close, begging her to use them, oddly sharper and clearer than any sigil she’d seen in her magick before.

Instinctively, she trailed her fingers over her heart, reaching for the pattern of sleep. A thick sleep, a sleep that the dark shapes couldn’t disturb. But that comfort was gone.

What is the thing you’ve most regretted breaking? If we’re gonna get all deep and painful here, I’ll go ahead and say my faith. I broke it, I let it break—either way, it shattered and I’m still trying to pull the shards out of me. How’s that for morbid? 😉

Have you ever broken something and not been saddened by it? Can you tell us about that? There wasn’t actually “breaking” involved, but one day in a fit of teenage angst I burned a lot of photos and mementos related to a boy I thought I loved. Looking back the whole thing seems silly, but at the time it consumed my world. Burning the physical effects like that helped somehow.

If you could break one law and get away with it consequence-free, what would it be? That’s a tough one for me. I’m all about following the rules (laws). I…honestly can’t think of a law I would break!

Do you have any rules for yourself, a code of some sort, which you’d never break? I’m still sort of reassembling my moral code now that I’ve left behind most of my faith. Ask me again in a year (and I probably still won’t have an answer, haha)!

Did you struggle with the letter you were assigned, or did the ideas come freely? I struggled a little, but not too much thankfully. I first had ‘N is for Neighbor’—an element which still plays a pretty big role in my story—but ended up changing it to the more important N of the story.

Additionally, at first I took the theme of broken to be about ‘breaking a spell’. I may have only felt it in the actual drafting stage, but at some part the theme of ‘Broken’ came to mean more to me, more to Elise as something broke in her in the end of the story. Similarly to my broken faith, there are some things you can’t put back together and usually those are the things that you break inside yourself.

What, aside from the anthology’s theme and your letter inspired your story? The entire magic system in this story was probably my favorite part to brainstorm—it came about after seeing some gorgeous chalk art on Pinterest. There’s something lovely to me about the idea of tactile magic—drawn and redrawn daily. From there came the ideas for the bandoleer (such a tiny detail, but it thrills me for some reason) and the focusing of magic by painting it on skin.


Alexis A. Hunter

Alexis A. Hunter revels in the endless possibilities of speculative fiction. Over fifty of her short stories have appeared recently in Shimmer, Cricket Magazine, Flash Fiction Online, and more. To learn more, visit www.alexisahunter.com.

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B is for Broken is available now at:
Smashwords
Kobo
Amazon
Barnes and Noble

And add it to your shelves at Goodreads

P.S. A is for Apocalypse is still on sale for less than a buck until Monday!

A is for Apocalypse edited by Rhonda Parrish, cover design by Jonathan Parrish

A is for Apocalypse for $0.99!

A is for Apocalypse edited by Rhonda Parrish, cover design by Jonathan Parrish

I thought an end of summer/end of the world sale would be fun so from right now until August 31st you can pick up a copy of A is for Apocalypse for less than a dollar. Depending on where you shop you can get it for as low as $0.75 because the exchange rate is freaking crazy right now.

Don’t miss this opportunity, get your copy of A is for Apocalypse now!

Amazon
Kobo
Smashwords

Ahem. Sorry for shouting, but I’m offering you 300 pages of awesome apocalyptic stories for less than a dollar and the sale ends in a week. You don’t want to miss out.

Cover design by Jonathan C. Parrish, original artwork by Tory Hoke

Fractured Friday: Samantha Kymmell-Harvey

B is for Broken. Cover design by Jonathan C. Parrish, original artwork by Tory Hoke

For the next several weeks I’ve decided to call Fridays ‘Fractured Friday’ and use them to share news, contributor interviews and excerpts from B is for Broken.

B is for Broken is the second title in the Alphabet Anthologies series. It follows A is for Apocalypse and will in turn be followed by C is for Chimera. Each story in the series is associated with a letter of the alphabet and is titled in the letter is for word format. What’s more, just to keep things nice and complicated, the story’s title isn’t shared at the beginning but at the end so that you can guess at what it might be while you read.

On that note, even though the story titles could be considered spoilers because of how the book is formatted, for the sake of simplicity if the author has chosen to post their title publicly somewhere else (their blog, Facebook, wherever) I am going to include it in my posts. If they haven’t revealed that information, though, I’ll list the story titles as Letter is for…

I met Samantha when she volunteered to be a slush reader for Niteblade. She had an uncanny knack for knowing which stories I’d want to read and consider and which I would end up passing on. That, combined with her insights into what worked (or didn’t) in a story made her contributions invaluable and told me I really needed to read her fiction. Once I had, inviting her to participate in the Alphabet Anthologies was a no-brainer 🙂

Interview With Samantha Kymmell-Harvey

What letter were you assigned? E

What is the thing you’ve most regretted breaking? My Dutch great-grandmother’s spinning wheel. I was a kid, I knocked it over and it busted. Because it’s so old, it would take some sort of antiques specialist to repair it. Now that I knit, I appreciate that spinning wheel so much more – and feel the regret all that much more too.

Have you ever broken something and not been saddened by it? Can you tell us about that? Well, a friend and I broke into her own house because she couldn’t find her keys and we were sopping wet from going to the swimming pool and needed to change into dry clothes. The extent of our “breaking in” was just lifting an unlocked window pane on the 1st floor, so nothing super crazy! This is probably a very boring answer.

If you could break one law and get away with it consequence-free, what would it be? Probably the law about importing/shipping wine. This might be a law particular to the State where I live, I’m not really sure. When I lived in France, I had the most amazing wines, some from tiny little vineyards. You can’t buy them anywhere in the States, so I miss them. It’d be great if I could just order them online.

Do you have any rules for yourself, a code of some sort, which you’d never break? I try to lead my life in a moral manner.

Never ever? No.

Really? Isn’t there something which could make you break it? Maybe if I had been brainwashed or placed under alien control (??)

Did you struggle with the letter you were assigned, or did the ideas come freely? Because “broken” can be interpreted in so many different ways, I had a ton of ideas so it was hard to narrow it down. Even as I went through the editing phases, I found that I had 2 stories within a story, so I had to focus even more on what exactly I meant by “broken.”

What was your favourite idea you didn’t use? I’m using a version of it for the next anthology – no spoilers!

What, aside from the anthology’s theme and your letter inspired your story? This story had two sources of inspiration: my great dislike of law school and my three times (at random!) being pulled up onstage as a magician’s assistant, which was totally embarrassing.

 


 

Samantha Kymmell-Harvey‘s stories can be found in Spark: A Creative Anthology, Every Day Fiction, and Waylines just to name a few. She is a 2012 graduate of the Odyssey Writing Workshop. You can follow her adventures on her blog: http://samanthakymmell-harvey.blogspot.com/

B is for Broken is available now at:
Smashwords
Kobo
Amazon
Barnes and Noble

And add it to your shelves at Goodreads

SIRENS submissions banner 2

Call For Submissions: SIRENS

SIRENS submissions banner 2

[Call for Submissions] Sirens

Publisher: World Weaver Press

Greek mythology describes the Sirens as being charismatic monsters; part bird, part woman, with enchanting voices whose songs either lure men to, or foretell, their deaths. In Roman mythology they play a similar role but shift their domain to the sea and take the form of mermaid-like creatures. Mythological Sirens such as these come with a capital ess; there are only a small number of them, they have names, Godly parents and occupations. Those Sirens are welcome within the pages of this anthology, but so are their lower case sisters.

In Sirens, we will honor and share stories of historical Sirens, but we’ve equal room for modern re-imaginings and will be giving matching space to both avian and aquatic varieties.

Whether from the sea or sky, sirens are beautiful, dangerous and musical, and we’re open to works that exemplify as well as those which defy those expectations. Sirens will be a book full of tales that evoke a vast spectrum of emotions toward these maidens, empathy, disdain, sorrow, awe and anger. I want stories of wretched and cursed sirens who fight against the roles imposed upon them and tales of those who revel in them. I’m hoping for pieces re-telling or playing upon the traditional myths and others which create their own mythologies, and all the little niches in between.

Rights and compensation: Payment: $10 and a paperback copy of the anthology from World Weaver Press. We are looking for previously unpublished works in English. Seeking first world rights in English and exclusive right to publish in print and electronic format for six months after publication date, after which publisher retains nonexclusive right to continue to publish for the life of the anthology.

Open submission period: August 15th – November 15th

Length: Under 7,500 words

Submission method: Email story as a .doc or .rtf attachment to fae [at] worldweaverpress [dot] com. Subject line: Sirens Submission: TITLE

Simultaneous submissions = okay. Multiple submissions = no.

SIRENS submissions banner

Sirens is OPEN to submissions now.

And I just have to say, I know it’s ridiculously early in the process to be thinking this but after seeing these banners Eileen Wiedbrauk made for me to announce that submissions are open, I can’t freaking wait to see the cover for this one.

Just sayin’… 😉

Entry from Debbie H

#ScarecrowSelfies Winner

I’m pleased to announce that the random number generator on Random.org has spoken and the winner of the #ScarecrowSelfies draw and a box of ten copies of SCARECROW is…

Drum roll please…

Actually, let’s pause a moment to look at some of these amazing photographic entries:

Awesome, right?

Anywho… the winner is…

Debbie H!

Debbie, please email me your snail mail address and we’ll get this box of books shipped out to you once I get back in town from WWC. I can’t wait to see how you spread the love.

Thank you to everyone who participated. I really enjoyed seeing your scarecrow selfie photographs and reading your cool ideas for how you were going to give the extra copies away. I will definitely do this again some day.

Cover design by Jonathan C. Parrish, original artwork by Tory Hoke

Fractured Friday — Cover Reveals

Today I’m actually away at my favourite convention When Words Collide launching Scarecrow and Corvidae. However, due to some awesomely good luck it just so happens that today B is for Broken is being featured on Cover Reveals. You’ve seen the cover already (I hope) but pop on over anyway because they’ll have uh… honestly, I don’t remember what I sent them as content to run with the cover (I booked the spot a long time ago and this blog post is pre-scheduled and was written at a time when I had pre-convention brain, which is kinda like pregnancy brain [which I do not have]). So. Yeah.

Anyway, take a peek, it’s here –> B is for Broken on Cover Reveals

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My WWC Schedule

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When Words Collide is this weekend and in addition to launching Scarecrow and Corvidae there, I’m participating in some programming as well. This is where you can find me:

Friday

1pm (Rundle) – Live Action Slush, Early Bird Edition
6pm (Fireside) – Corvidae & Scarecrow launch

Saturday

3pm (Willow Park) – Live Action Slush, Romance
4:00 – 5:30pm (Dealer Room) – Shared Author Table
8pm – Mass Autograph Session

Sunday

11am (Heritage) – Blue Pencil Cafe*
1pm (Willow Park) – Live Action Slush, High Fantasy
4pm (Rundle) Publishers Panel: Short Fiction

I’ll also definitely be at the Absinthe and Scotch tasting with SASS and Tyche Books for reasons which ought to be self-explanatory 😉

I’m super stoked about the launch, of course, but also about the fact I’m doing three Live Action Slush sections. That was my favourite panel last year so I’m excited to do it again. Times three 🙂

I will have several titles available in the Merchant’s Corner:

At the Shared Authors Table

A is for Apocalypse
B is for Broken

At the Tyche Books Table (Thank you!)

Fae
Corvidae
Scarecrow

*My blue pencil cafe session is full but it’s my understanding there’s a waiting list at registration in case someone cancels.

Angela Slatter

Corvidae Contributor Interview — Angela Slatter

CORVIDAE blog tour banner

Over the coming weeks I’d like to share interviews that I (and Magnus) conducted with the contributors to Corvidae and Scarecrow. This week we’ll talk with Angela Slatter. Angela never actually submitted to Corvidae, but when I read her story in another anthology I just knew it would be the perfect way to end mine, so I emailed her and asked if I could reprint it. Happily (for everyone) she said yes 🙂

Interview with Angela Slatter

 

Please share a short excerpt from your story/stories:

The feathers were tiny and Emer hoped they would stay so.

Indeed, she prayed they would fall out altogether. They were not downy little pins. Small, but determined, their black shafts hardened as soon as they poked through her skin, calcifying under her touch as she stroked them in dreadful fascination.

All day she’d felt something happening beneath the gloves hastily donned after her morning’s escapade. The sight of those ladylike coverings had brought approving nods from both her mother and governess, as if they were a sign she was finally listening to their exhortations. A princess does not run. A princess does not shout or curse. A princess keeps the sun in her voice, but off her fair skin. A princess sits quietly, back straight. A princess smiles at a gentleman’s tasteful jest, but never laughs too loudly. A princess never furrows her brow with thought. A princess does not chew her nails.

Emer had been determined that nothing untoward was occurring; that the healing salve she’d sneaked from her mother’s workroom would put everything to rights.

But that night, when Emer closed her bedchamber door and finally peeled away the doeskin gloves, she found that the wound in her palm was sprouting dark fronds around its ragged edge. They looked like the collar of her mother’s favorite cloak—except those feathers with their vibrant eyes were from the palace peacocks. A great ball of fear threatened to stopper her throat.

What is it about corvids that inspired you to write about them? I think it’s the sheer wealth of lore behind them: they’re thieves; they’re clever and sly; they cross many mythologies; they’re quite lovely-looking (what’s not to love about black feathers?); they can be sinister and clownish at the same time.

If you were a covid, what would you build your nest out of? The pages of books, so I’d be comfy and have something to read.

What’s your favourite ‘shiny’ thing? The various rings I’ve inherited from aunts over the years because (a) shiny-shiny, and (b) they have a family and emotional connection for me. I’ve got an emerald and diamond one of which I’m especially fond.

As you may know, one of Edmonton’s local Twitter personalities is Magnus E. Magpie who haunts Twitter as @YEGMagpie. I invited him to read an advance copy of Corvidae and Scarecrow and offer a short cawmentary on each story from a magpie’s point of view, which he did. When he was finished I asked if there was anything he’d like to ask the contributors. The italicized portions are mine because Magnus didn’t ask straight-forward questions on account of he’s a magpie 🙂

 

Mr. Yegpie: It would be cool to know where all these stories came from, I mean geographically – like I think I could tell who was from Edmonton and who was from Vancouver! (Where do you live, and did that affect your story/poem at all?) From Australia.

Mr. Yegpie: I also would sure love to know where they got their ideas from! I caught several familiar references from existing books and mythology and fairy tales; I like seeing people riff off stuff. (What inspired your story/poem?) I work a lot with European fairy tales and myths as my base, and “Flight” is a mix of “The Raven” and “White Bride, Black Bride”. I’d tried to write this story years ago when I was doing my MA and failed. I gave it another go when I was asked for a story for Once Upon A Time: New Fairy Tales by Paula Guran. This time I won.

Mr. Yegpie: I think I would like to know what people’s favourite corvid is though; and if it isn’t a magpie, WHYEVER NOT?!? (If they come back with some guff about crows using tools, PLEASE LET ME KNOW AND I WILL SEND THEM A COPY OF MY ROGERS BILL. Pffft, crows.) (What is your favourite corvid?) The raven. It’s got the best name. It guards the Tower of London. It’s cool.

 

Angela Slatter

Dr Angela Slatter (Photo by David Pollitt, June 2010)

Queensland Writers Fellow Angela Slatter is the author of the Aurealis Award-winning The Girl with No Hands and Other Tales, World Fantasy finalist Sourdough and Other Stories, British Fantasy Award-winning “The Coffin-Maker’s Daughter,” Aurealis finalist Midnight and Moonshine (with Lisa Hannett), as well as The Bitterwood Bible and Other Recountings, Black-Winged Angels, and The Female Factory (also with Lisa L. Hannett). She has an MA and a PhD in Creative Writing, and is a graduate of Clarion South 2009 and the Tin House Summer Writers Workshop 2006. She blogs at angelaslatter.com about shiny things that catch her eye.

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Cover for CORVIDAE. Design by Eileen Wiedbrauk

Available Direct from the Publisher:
World Weaver Press

Or Find it Online:
Amazon
Goodreads
Kobo

WomenInPracticalArmor

Women in Practical Armor

WomenInPracticalArmor

I have a story in this anthology!!!

Dudes.

I’m so excited I can barely speak in sentences, forget about paragraphs. So. To elaborate:

It’s an Aphanasian story featuring Bayne.

It’s my first pro-rate story.

I’m sharing a table of contents with amazing people.

It’s got that a-freaking-mazing cover.

And it’s edited by Ed Greenwood and Gabrielle Harbowy.

!!!

I’ve had the pleasure of working with Gabrielle before, and she’s awesome and I adore her. And Ed Freaking Greenwood?

Guys. C’mon. That’s just freaking nuts.

Playing D&D in the Forgotten Realms setting has consumed years of my life and Ed Freaking Greenwood read and liked my story.

I could just die.

In the meantime, while I flail and squee you should pop over to the Kickstarter, take a look at the perks and see if there’s anything there that tickles your fancy because I’m 1000% sure this anthology is gonna kick ass.

*flails*

Scarecrow edited by Rhonda Parrish

Scarecrow!

Scarecrow edited by Rhonda Parrish
Stuffed full of surprises!

“Rhonda Parrish has assembled a stellar collection that runs the gamut of Urban Fantasy to Weird Fiction. Easily the most consistently satisfying anthology I’ve read in years.”
— K.L. Young, Executive Editor, Strange Aeons Magazine

Hay-men, mommets, tattie bogles, kakashi, tao-tao—whether formed of straw or other materials, the tradition of scarecrows is pervasive in farming cultures around the world. The scarecrow serves as decoy, proxy, and effigy—human but not human. We create them in our image and ask them to protect our crops and by extension our very survival, but we refrain from giving them the things a creation might crave—souls, brains, free-will, love. In Scarecrow, fifteen authors of speculative fiction explore what such creatures might do to gain the things they need or, more dangerously, think they want.

Within these pages, ancient enemies join together to destroy a mad mommet, a scarecrow who is a crow protects solar fields and stores long-lost family secrets, a woman falls in love with a scarecrow, and another becomes one. Encounter scarecrows made of straw, imagination, memory, and robotics while being spirited to Oz, mythological Japan, other planets, and a neighbor’s back garden. After experiencing this book, you’ll never look at a hay-man the same.

Featuring all new work by Jane Yolen, Andrew Bud Adams, Laura Blackwood, Amanda Block, Scott Burtness, Amanda C. Davis, Megan Fennell, Kim Goldberg, Katherine Marzinsky, Craig Pay, Sara Puls, Holly Schofield, Virginia Carraway Stark, Laura VanArendonk Baugh, and Kristina Wojtaszek.

“With fifteen talented writers and a subject that is both evocative and memorable, Rhonda Parrish’s new anthology, Scarecrow, is no straw man. Like any good scarecrow, this anthology is truly outstanding in its field. Don’t be scared to pick this up and give it a read.”
— Steve Vernon, author of Tatterdemon

Available Now!

Amazon: (CA) (UK) (US)

Kobo: (CA) (US)

Direct From the Publisher: World Weaver Press

CORVIDAE blog tour banner

Corvidae Contributor Interview — Kat Otis

CORVIDAE blog tour banner

Over the coming weeks I’d like to share interviews that I (and Magnus) conducted with the contributors to Corvidae and Scarecrow. This week we’ll talk with Kat Otis 🙂

Interview with Kat Otis

Please share a short excerpt from your story/stories:

Humans were never meant to fly.

That thought consumed Morgaine as she stared out the Mosquito’s windscreen at the thickly-falling snow. If humans knew what was good for them, they would be content to fight over earth and leave air to the corvidae, water to the leviathans, and frost to the giants. Unfortunately, humans had never been very good at sharing – among themselves or with the other great species of the world.

Was there one corvid characteristic you wanted to highlight more than others? Do you think you were successful? The characteristic I wanted to highlight the most was corvid intelligence. When I was trying to decide what kind of corvid to write about, I started by browsing bird websites and quickly fell into a research pit of corvid videos where they showed amazing levels of intelligence and tool use. Obviously the only proper response was to elevate the corvidae as a group to be as sentient as humans and… um… leviathans and frost giants. I sure hope I was successful, as the story makes very little sense without it!

If you were a covid, what would you build your nest out of? If I had to live in a nest, it would be a giant bean bag. Actually, sophmore year of college my roommate and I put a bean bag in a corner of our tiny dorm room, for an oft-visiting friend of ours, and called it her nest. So… I guess I sort of already have built a nest out of a bean bag 😉

What’s your favourite ‘shiny’ thing? Shiny new ideas, of course! For example, I was just working on my latest shiny new idea, a steampunk piece with exploding airships, and- OH NEW SHINY NEW IDEA GOTTA GO LATERS!

 

As you may know, one of Edmonton’s local Twitter personalities is Magnus E. Magpie who haunts Twitter as @YEGMagpie. I invited him to read an advance copy of Corvidae and Scarecrow and offer a short cawmentary on each story from a magpie’s point of view, which he did. When he was finished I asked if there was anything he’d like to ask the contributors. The italicized portions are mine because Magnus didn’t ask straight-forward questions on account of he’s a magpie 🙂

 

Mr. Yegpie: It would be cool to know where all these stories came from, I mean geographically – like I think I could tell who was from Edmonton and who was from Vancouver! (Where do you live, and did that affect your story/poem at all?) Oh, ye spoiled ones of fixed addresses! In just the last seven years, I’ve lived in twelve places, four time zones, and two countries. I’ve lived at latitudes ranging from 34.2 to 51.7 N, longitudes ranging from 0.1 to 118.1 W, and altitudes ranging from 115 to 2,080 feet. Or, as they say on Facebook, “it’s complicated.” My location has probably only affected my story in the most general ways – I have yet to live somewhere that it doesn’t snow.

Mr. Yegpie: I also would sure love to know where they got their ideas from! I caught several familiar references from existing books and mythology and fairy tales; I like seeing people riff off stuff. (What inspired your story/poem?) Well, I started with World War Two spy pigeons, because, hello, SPY PIGEONS! Who of course immediately morphed into corvidae for the purposes of this anthology. Then I added a pinch of recent personal tragedy, a dash of additional historical research, and a pound of advice on how to crash airplanes from the family pilots. Voila!

Mr. Yegpie: I think I would like to know what people’s favourite corvid is though; and if it isn’t a magpie, WHYEVER NOT?!? (If they come back with some guff about crows using tools, PLEASE LET ME KNOW AND I WILL SEND THEM A COPY OF MY ROGERS BILL. Pffft, crows.) (What is your favourite corvid?) Definitely the ravens of the Tower of London. What other birds have the power to topple an entire empire just by deciding to up stakes (up coops?) and move? But after that, I’ll give you magpies, who are pretty awesome.

 

Kat Otis lives a peripatetic life with a pair of cats who enjoy riding in the car as long as there’s no country music involved.  Her fiction has appeared in Orson Scott Card’s Intergalactic Medicine Show, Daily Science Fiction and Penumbra eMag.  She can be found online at www.katotis.com or on Twitter as @kat_otis.

~ Twitter ~

Cover for CORVIDAE. Design by Eileen Wiedbrauk

Available Direct from the Publisher:
World Weaver Press

Or Find it Online:
Amazon
Goodreads
Kobo