Aphanasian Stories on Sale

Aphanasian Stories by Rhonda Parrish

Three of Rhonda Parrish’s beloved Aphanasian stories brought together in one collection for the first time!

A Love Story: Z’thandra, a swamp elf living with the Reptar, discovers a human near the village. When she falls in love with him, she faces the most difficult choice of her life, a decision that will affect the Reptar for generations.

Lost and Found: Xavier, the escaped subject of a madman’s experiments, and Colby, a young lady on a mission to save her brother, must combine their efforts to elude capture and recover the magical artifact that will save Colby’s brother before it’s too late.

Sister Margaret: A vampire hunter and a half-incubus swordsman are hired by a priestess to kill the undead pimp that is extorting, torturing and murdering vulnerable girls.

Okay, I admit it. The title is less than inspiring, but the stories are good 🙂

Aphanasian Stories are on sale for this weekend only–because Black Friday. You can pick up your copy now for less than a dollar… and the timing is great because I’ll be releasing a new Aphanasian story next year, so this will introduce you to the world and the characters just in time to pick that one up and dive in 🙂

Available Now

Amazon (US) (CA) (UK)

Kobo

B&N

iTunes

Playster

But wait! There’s more 🙂

Because of course there is, it’s Black Friday.

Aphanasian Stories is on sale as a part of a larger sale.

Click here to check out dozens of titles in all sorts of genres that have been marked down to $1 for this long weekend 🙂

Good news, everyone!

“Good news everyone! I think I’ve invented a plague that will destroy all life on Azeroth!”

~Professor Putricide

Sorry, sorry… I just couldn’t help myself, I have had that line stuck on repeat in my head ever since I woke up. Because I knew I wanted to start this blog post with the first three words. Hopefully, you will be more excited about my news than about that very old news from Ice Crown Citadel.

Good news, everyone! For the next few days only, the electronic version of Fire: Demons, Dragons and Djinns will be on sale for $0.99!

The ability for people to control (to some extent at least) fire has long been held as one of the major events that contributed to human evolution, but when fire eludes or escapes our control it is also one of the most destructive forces on earth. Associated with passion, power, transformation and purification, fire is a ferocious element with an unquenchable appetite.

Discover the power of Fire and the creatures that thrive on it in these twenty-one stories, including: the true inspiration behind Jim Morrison’s songs; a special weapon used in World War II; the secret in the depths of a mortuary furnace; a fantastical card game; and a necromancer out on what may be his last job.

Featuring: Blake Jessop; Kevin Cockle; Lizbeth Ashton; Dusty Thorne; V.F. LeSann; K.T. Ivanrest; Hal J. Friesen; Laura VanArendonk Baugh; Krista D. Ball; Mara Malins; Claude Lalumière; Susan MacGregor; JB Riley; Damascus Mincemeyer; Heather M. O’Connor; Gabrielle Harbowy; R. W. Hodgson; Chadwick Ginther; Wendy Nikel; Annie Neugebauer; and J.G. Formato.

Available Now:

Direct from the Publisher

Electronic: Amazon Kobo | B&N

Paperback: B&N | Amazon

“Rhonda Parrish’s fascination with all aspects of fire and fantasy has resulted in a gift to readers: Fire: Demons, Dragons, and Djinns is an incredibly eclectic and carefully curated collection of short stories. The theme is exactly as the title says – a stunningly original array of tales involving fire. There isn’t a clinker in the stack… The authors who have enriched this anthology are among the most imaginative storytellers I have ever read. ”

~Melanie S. Amazon Review

If you haven’t already, please consider checking it out. For less than a buck I guarantee you can’t go wrong!

Help Me Choose My NovPAD Theme

ETA: Voting has closed and that’s the winner right there ^ Chancer’s Inn. Thank you to everyone who helped me pick the theme for this year’s poetry challenge. Now I better get my butt in gear and write the poems 🙂

The original post is below for archivey/context purposes 😉

 

***

 

Whaaat? Two blog posts in one day?!

Yeup.

I have a bit of a problem… it’s an affection for pre-made book covers. I love them. The problem is, I buy the cover and then I have to find the time and inspiration to write the stories to go with them, and sometimes that’s a pretty big challenge.

Several weeks ago I held a flash editing sale on social media. The idea was that if enough people bought in for me to pay for the pre-made covers I had my eye on I would buy them and write the stories to go with them. Well, lots of people supported my sale, more than enough to pay for the covers, but when I went to buy them they’d already been sold! *sad face*

Since I couldn’t get those covers I said I would pick a selection of other pre-mades and let Twitter and Facebook decide which one of them I would buy and write something for.

But then there was this sale and I spontaneously bought premade covers for a trilogy. And added those to the other trilogy I haven’t written yet but have covers for. I was forced to admit that I had a bit of a problem. A wee bit of a backlog. I still wanted to let Twitter and Facebook vote on a cover for me to write for but it was pretty obvious that I could not commit to a full-length novel for that.

And then today my November Poem-A-Day partner in crime, Beth Cato, sent me a message and said, “Are you doing NovPAD this year?” and I was like, “Yes. But I wonder what my theme is going to be.”

And then EUREKA! It struck me.

I could let you vote on a pre-made cover and use that cover to determine my NovPAD 2018 theme. And then, eventually, use that cover to publish the resulting poems. Perfect.

Except that NovPad begins tomorrow, so there’s a huge time crunch on this. >_<

Here are the covers:

Two things to remember while looking at these:

  • That is dummy text. It’s just there to show off the typography and will be replaced with my name, title, etc. when the time comes. In other words, those titles are not staying 😉
  • My interpretation of the theme based on the cover may not match the text at all. (ie: Just because it says ‘Horror novella’ doesn’t mean my poems will be horror-themed). It also may not match your interpretation or expectations.  

🙂

To vote, drop me a line however you prefer (Tweet, Facebook comment, Blog post comment, email, whatever) and tell me the dummy title for the cover you want me to use (ie: ‘The Road of Lost Souls’ or ‘Frozen’ or whatever).

I will total up all the votes that are in when it’s time for me to start working on my poem for tomorrow (probably around noon Mountain time), purchase the winning cover, announce it here and on social media and then get to work.

Thank you for taking the time to help me decide on my NovPAD theme. I look forward to discovering what it will be!

The Other Side of the Door

A collection of ghost stories that will touch you, thrill you and send chills down your spine.

An abused boy receives a ghostly visitor, a lost girl discovers a house which could save or damn her. An impossible voice sings an impossible song. A Christmas miracle allows for a once in a lifetime visit, and a man faces the darkness in himself and his world in these tales which will haunt you long after you’ve finished reading them.

Available Now!

Amazon (US) (CA) (UK)

Kobo

Apple

B&N

 

Okay, see, what happened was I was left unsupervised…

😉

Honestly, I’ve intended to pull together a bunch of my ghost stories into a collection and release them together for a while now–I had the cover made for it last year so it’s been at least that long–but I never seemed to find the time to do it. Then, on the 20th my husband had to work.

We’re usually pretty strict about not working on weekends around here, or we try to be anyway, in order to keep my workaholism in check and ensure we have family time together. But on the 20th he had to work. Which meant I had a day I could work if I wanted to, guilt free, and there was nothing in my planner. Nothing that needed to be done. And with Halloween approaching, that made it the perfect chance for me to finally make this collection.

It also meant there was a super small window between when I created the book and when I released it, so there was none of the usual pre-release trumpeting and promotion. I offered copies to my ARC team* and then it was today and here I am, surprising you with my ghost stories.

Surprise!

This collection includes some of my personal favourites (“Coming Storm” and “The Other Side of the Door” in particular) and if you like ghost stories I really hope you’ll check it out.

 

*If you’d like to join my ARC team please just drop me a line

Giftmas 2018 Sign-up

Over the past few years it has become a holiday tradition that I organize a blog tour to benefit the Edmonton Food Bank. The way it works is that we have a holiday-themed blog tour and on each of the stops we invite people to support the food bank through our link and help feed hungry families. Some years we give away prizes, some years we just rely on the goodwill of others. Every year once the fundraiser is over everyone involved gets to feel that special kind of glow that comes from having done something unselfish and good for someone else.

It means a lot to me.

This year we’re going to be doing a sort of Advent blog tour. I will be asking each participant to share some fiction on their blog for their stop in the tour. That fiction might be a poem, or flash, or a short story. We will have one stop, one story, each day leading up to a very special stop on Christmas Day. The number of stops we have will be determined by the number of participants who sign up.

Would you like to participate? Do you have a story to share? It doesn’t need to be holiday or even winter themed, but I would appreciate it if it wasn’t completely dark and depressing. Something appropriate for all ages with a little hope, a little optimism, a little light would be wonderful.

To sign up to participate, or if you have any questions at all, hit me up at rhonda.l.parrish@gmail.com

Sign-ups will be open until November 15th or until I get 25 participants, whichever comes first.

Black Pearl Dreaming is Out :)

In one of those fun little parallels that make up my life I’m in the middle of editing the third book in the Portland Hafu series by K. Bird Lincoln and it is awesome. It’s relevant and magical and beautiful and I love it. But this is not about the third book, it’s about the second, because BLACK PEARL DREAMING is out today!

/flail

I got to edit this book, so obviously I’m biased, but I think it’s awesome. Up there? Those are my contributor copies that arrived a little while ago. Aren’t they pretty? You know you want one already and I haven’t even told you about the book yet 😉

When K. Bird Lincoln first submitted this book to World Weaver Press I knew I had to have it. An urban fantasy featuring mythology beyond vampires and werewolves? Yes please! I have nothing against vampires or werewolves, I love them, actually. But I wanted something different. Koi Pierce, a baku who picks up dream fragments when she touches people offered that. Something different. Pair that with kitsuni, a corvid trickster and a dragon? Yeah. I had to have this book.

I wasn’t the only editor with my eye on it either. I won’t go into details but there may have been some back alley dealings required in order for me to secure Dream Eater (and thus the whole series) for myself but it was 1,000% worth it.

Dream Eater delivered and Black Pearl Dreaming builds on that. Each book stands alone (though BPD is complex and it might be tricksy to pick up all the threads without the grounding that DE gives you) but together they combine to make a powerful one-two punch I think most fans of urban fantasy will enjoy.

Best part? Dream Eater is on sale now for you $0.99 so you can check it out for less than the price of a coffee and then, if you like what you’re reading, you don’t need to wait to get book two because it’s out now!

But Rhonda, you say. Could you stop sounding like an infomercial for a damn second and tell us what they are about?

Sure. ‘Course I can.

Koi Pierce dreams other peoples’ dreams. Her whole life she’s avoided other people. Any skin-to-skin contact—a hug from her sister, the hand of a barista at Stumptown coffee—transfers flashes of that person’s most intense dreams. It’s enough to make anyone a hermit.

But Koi’s getting her act together. No matter what, this time she’s going to finish her degree at Portland Community College and get a real life. Of course it’s not going to be that easy. Her father, increasingly disturbed from Alzheimer’s disease, a dream fragment of a dead girl from the casual brush of a creepy PCC professor’s hand, and a mysterious stranger who speaks the same rare Northern Japanese dialect as Koi’s father will force Koi to learn to trust in the help of others, as well as face the truth about herself.

Koi Pierce, a half-baku, visits Japan looking for answers and finds an impossible choice.

With the help of powerful new friends, Koi defeated her dragon enemy in Portland. Now, no longer able to deny her dream-eating powers or the real reason for her father’s mental decline, she flies to Tokyo with her new Kitsune love, Ken, and the trickster Kwaskwi, seeking answers. But secrets from Ken’s past and Kind politics threaten to unravel their newfound trust and someone in Tokyo is desperate to kidnap a Baku. Koi must untangle a long history of pain and deceit in order to save her father, an imprisoned dragon, and herself.

I think you’ll enjoy them and you won’t be alone. Check this out:

“In Black Pearl Dreaming, Koi is a delightfully watchable heroine in way over her head. She struggles to figure out whom to trust, where she can get good coffee, and what exactly she should do about this enormous sleeping dragon, in this fast paced paranormal intrigue set in a vividly detailed contemporary Japan.”

— Tina Connolly, author of Ironskin and Seriously Wicked series.

Oooh or this one:

“I absolutely got sucked in by the way several mythologies were mixed with modern-day and WWII history to form a cool, surprising, and action packed plot. ”

— Pat Esden, author of The Dark Heart and Northern Circle Coven series.

 

I hope you’ll give the series a shot. And if you do, lemme know what you think 🙂

Bright Spot — Alison McBain

When Brian Hades and I were discussing themes for Nevertheless (Tesseracts Twenty-one) one of the possibilities he suggested was optimistic speculative fiction. I pounced on that idea for two reasons. First, because I’d just recently become aware of solarpunk (largely through Sarena Ulibarri) and was excited to work on an anthology that might include some and second because I’d become convinced that we were living in the darkest timeline.

That was in 2016. I had no idea how much darker it could become.

Still, despite a very difficult couple of years, I manage to find reasons for optimism. Lights in the darkness. And I’m not alone in that.

In the coming weeks I will be hosting a series of blog posts I’m calling “Bright Spots in the Darkest Timeline”. Each will be written by a Nevertheless (Tesseracts Twenty-one) contributor and I think they will serve the dual purpose of giving me an excuse to talk about the anthology, and shining a bit of light into people’s lives.

This post from Alison McBain talks about something that’s all too easily forgotten and taking steps in the right direction…

NEVERTHELESS BLOG POST

by Alison McBain

I think the most important lesson I’ve learned in my writing journey is there is no down without an up, too. Writers talk a lot about harsh critiques, bad reviews, and rejections, rejections, rejections—but there’s also the opposite. Those days where you not only get one acceptance, but you get FIVE. Or when you get your story into your dream journal or magazine or anthology. When someone emails you and says, “Hey, I like your writing.” Or the best yet, when you get another writer saying, “You’ve inspired MY writing journey.”

Now, how cool is that? I had that happen to me this year, and when the person said it to my face, I wanted to turn around and look behind me to see who the person must be talking to, because it couldn’t be me. MY words were an inspiration to someone else who wanted to write? That just blew me away.

This year was a great one for me for a number of reasons—I had a lot of “firsts.” While I’ve had a number of short stories and poems published over the past five years, 2018 was when my debut YA novel, The Rose Queen, hit shelves in July. It’s a gender-inverted retelling of Beauty and the Beast and the first of a trilogy, and people seem to be enjoying it so far. In fact, I’ve had several readers ask when the next in the series will come out (answer: 2019).

Also this year, I became lead editor for the first time and helped put together a very awesome time travel anthology containing stories by a number of award-winning authors from around the world. It’s called When to Now and will be available for sale on October 1st. I was also “promoted” at Bewildering Stories, so I’m a coordinating editor and a member of the Review Board, and get to help choose the quarterly and annual awards to celebrate the best writing the magazine publishes each year.

I feel that now is the best time to be a woman, a POC, and a speculative fiction writer. Every day I hear /read about another anthology or another award that is going to an author in one of these aforementioned categories, to say nothing about the growing popularity of speculative fiction writers from many other marginalized communities and groups. For example, in the Fairfield Scribes’ soon-to-be-released anthology that I’m editing, When to Now, ten out of the eighteen stories are penned by women. And for the second year in a row, the Hugo Awards were dominated by women writers. I can’t say how inspiring this is to me.

I’m not blind to a number of ongoing trends around the world, however—and sometimes it’s hard to stay optimistic when I’m writing science fiction stories, since it seems like perhaps there won’t be a world as we would like to imagine it in 1000—or even 500—years. And perhaps, despite focusing on an optimistic outlook, things could change for the worse sooner than that.

I’ve written dystopian. I know how that line of reasoning goes.

On the other hand, I’d like to think that for every step backward, we’re taking two steps forward. Not just me, personally, but in all the realms of technology, society, and culture. We’re a global community of writers, now more than ever, and it’s a great time to celebrate how far we’ve come. And to look forward to where we have yet to go, and how we can get there together.


Alison McBain was born in Alberta, grew up in California and received her B.A. in African history and classical literature at U.C. Santa Cruz. After her nomadic twenties, she settled in Fairfield, Connecticut, where she is raising three girls and her husband.

She is an award-winning author with more than 70 short stories and poems published, and her YA fantasy novel, The Rose Queen, was released at the end of July. She is also an editor for an awesome time travel anthology coming out October 1st called When to Now. It has contributions from more than ten local authors, in addition to stories penned from around the world, including writers from India, New Zealand, Britain, and Canada.

When not writing, she practices origami meditation and draws all over the walls of her house with the enthusiastic help of her kids. Once in a while, she puts on her editor hat for the magazine Bewildering Stories, or interviews authors and artists at her website www.alisonmcbain.com.


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Bright Spot — Kate Heartfield

When Brian Hades and I were discussing themes for Nevertheless (Tesseracts Twenty-one) one of the possibilities he suggested was optimistic speculative fiction. I pounced on that idea for two reasons. First, because I’d just recently become aware of solarpunk (largely through Sarena Ulibarri) and was excited to work on an anthology that might include some and second because I’d become convinced that we were living in the darkest timeline.

That was in 2016. I had no idea how much darker it could become.

Still, despite a very difficult couple of years, I manage to find reasons for optimism. Lights in the darkness. And I’m not alone in that.

In the coming weeks I will be hosting a series of blog posts I’m calling “Bright Spots in the Darkest Timeline”. Each will be written by a Nevertheless (Tesseracts Twenty-one) contributor and I think they will serve the dual purpose of giving me an excuse to talk about the anthology, and shining a bit of light into people’s lives.

This post, by Kate Heartfield, is one I can relate two on several levels. I kind of want to talk about them, but that could diminish the impact of what she has to say, so we’re just going to dive right in 🙂

Optimism blog post

By Kate Heartfield

 

Soon after Anne arrives at Green Gables, Marilla Cuthbert chides her for not eating.

*

“I can’t. I’m in the depths of despair. Can you eat when you are in the depths of despair?”

“I’ve never been in the depths of despair, so I can’t say,” responded Marilla.

“Weren’t you? Well, did you ever try to imagine you were in the depths of despair?”

“No, I didn’t.”

*

The first few times I read L.M. Montgomery’s novel, I was very young, and I saw Marilla’s curt responses merely as a failure of empathy, a sign that she has a lot to learn about raising a child. And indeed, all of that is true. But now that I’m closer to Marilla’s age than Anne’s, I understand Marilla’s perspective more.

We talk about “youthful optimism”, as though it’s a quality that fades with time. But I don’t think that’s quite right. Youthful optimism is ephemeral, and it turns into despair all too easily. The optimism of old women is steady. It hardens under pressure, like carbon turning into diamond. The optimism of old women is quiet but stern. It doesn’t demand to be catered to, but it doesn’t back down, either.

The optimism of my grandmothers was Marilla’s brand of optimism. Both of them had been through hardships I could barely imagine when I was young, even the ones I knew about. They were, above all, practical. They woke up every morning and did the work that needed to be done, because someone had to do it.

There’s a strength that comes from carrying on not because you hope everything will be OK, but because you know that nothing will be OK unless someone does the hard and unending work to make it OK. A strength from knowing that you have it in you to do your share of that work. From refusing to give in to cynicism despite knowing all too well that humanity falters, that life is sad and unfair, that easy answers are lies. From knowing that you and joy have both survived, and some things can get better, when people make them get better.

Old women are too tired to give a damn about the things that don’t matter, and too fierce to stop giving a damn about the people who do.

Those are the women who people most of my stories, these days.

 


Kate Heartfield is a former journalist in Ottawa, Canada. Her novel Armed in Her Fashion was published in spring 2018 by ChiZine Publications, and she has a time-travel novella, Alice Payne Arrives, coming in November 2018 from Tor.com Publishing.

Her interactive novel, The Road to Canterbury, is now available from Choice of Games. She’s on Twitter as @kateheartfield and her website is heartfieldfiction.com.


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Bright Spot — Michael Milne

When Brian Hades and I were discussing themes for Nevertheless (Tesseracts Twenty-one) one of the possibilities he suggested was optimistic speculative fiction. I pounced on that idea for two reasons. First, because I’d just recently become aware of solarpunk (largely through Sarena Ulibarri) and was excited to work on an anthology that might include some and second because I’d become convinced that we were living in the darkest timeline.

That was in 2016. I had no idea how much darker it could become.

Still, despite a very difficult couple of years, I manage to find reasons for optimism. Lights in the darkness. And I’m not alone in that.

In the coming weeks I will be hosting a series of blog posts I’m calling “Bright Spots in the Darkest Timeline”. Each will be written by a Nevertheless (Tesseracts Twenty-one) contributor and I think they will serve the dual purpose of giving me an excuse to talk about the anthology, and shining a bit of light into people’s lives.

Today’s contribution comes from Michael Milne who is talking about humanity and optimism.

 

Smiling Happy Killer Robot Land: Optimism Through Imaginary Futures, Even The Bad Ones

by Michael Milne

 

It feels easy to write dystopian fiction. Looking around at how the world as it is today, it’s not hard to extrapolate to an imagined future where things look bleak. Take current climate trends and blow them out a few decades or centuries and you’ve got a dieselpunk wasteland. Think about rising tides of fascism and you’ve got yourself a YA fantasy government percolating in your brain. Consider how much of your data has been stored, copied, aggregated, and used against you and suddenly you can imagine a digital you gestating in a Silicon Valley tech lab.

But when I really think about speculative fiction, even those most dire and sad and gruelling adventures through whatever we’ve done to ourselves and the planet, there’s always the kernels of optimism. Even when a story is unrelentingly dark or pessimistic, there’s still usually somebody, somewhere in there, trying to do good.

Even beyond the big, rebellious adventures against the autocratic robot governments, there’s the tiny human stories. Under heavy oppression or acid rains or terrible laserwar, there’s characters being people. They might be the protagonist, or they might be someone in the background, but I always notice these people in the future. People having kids, and hoping those children will have a better life than the parents led. People falling in love, despite whatever in the world is trying to keep them apart. People working at their jobs, but dreaming of something more.

Even outside of optimistic stories like those in Nevertheless, it’s these human qualities in otherwise dark stories that can give me a sense of hope. They remind me that even over human history, where we’ve done pretty terrible things to each other, there were always still people striving to make things better. Bravery, compassion, empathy, and love have lived through some of the darkest eras of humanity, and no matter how dire we write our futures, those qualities seem to live out.

The seeds of humanity in these situations are still being planted and growing, even if the soil is irradiated by nuclear space monsters, or if we don’t even have soil anymore. If those characters can imagine a better future for themselves, if they can be faced with all the weight and horrors that their writers through at them and still hope, then I think I can too.

 


Michael Milne is an author and teacher originally from Canada. He writes and annoys barristas worldwide, but mainly in coffee shops in Korea, China, and Switzerland. His website is www.michaelmilne.ca and you can find him on Twitter @ironcardigan.

 


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Bright Spot — Lisa Timpf

When Brian Hades and I were discussing themes for Nevertheless (Tesseracts Twenty-one) one of the possibilities he suggested was optimistic speculative fiction. I pounced on that idea for two reasons. First, because I’d just recently become aware of solarpunk (largely through Sarena Ulibarri) and was excited to work on an anthology that might include some and second because I’d become convinced that we were living in the darkest timeline.

That was in 2016. I had no idea how much darker it could become.

Still, despite a very difficult couple of years, I manage to find reasons for optimism. Lights in the darkness. And I’m not alone in that.

In the coming weeks I will be hosting a series of blog posts I’m calling “Bright Spots in the Darkest Timeline”. Each will be written by a Nevertheless (Tesseracts Twenty-one) contributor and I think they will serve the dual purpose of giving me an excuse to talk about the anthology, and shining a bit of light into people’s lives.

Today we continue with this contribution from Lisa Timpf about, well, keepin’ on.

 

One Step at a Time

By Lisa Timpf

Step with non-operative leg, swing cane in rhythm with operated leg. Step, swing, step, swing. In the weeks since my total knee replacement operation, the mechanics of walking with a cane had become automatic. Maybe I didn’t move as fast as I had in my twenties, but I managed to get to my destination, one step at a time.

The temperature was warm on this May afternoon. Spring had been long in coming this year, but it appeared to have arrived at last. After weeks of being cooped up indoors, reluctant to risk wiping out on ice or slipping on snow, it felt liberating to be outdoors. To celebrate the return of more clement weather, we’d decided to work on the vegetable garden.

But being less than ten weeks recovered from knee surgery, I was in to no condition to operate the tiller or bend over to plant seeds. Those tasks would fall to my partner, instead. Never one to enjoy watching others work, I leaned against a tree and looked around for something I could do.

And that’s when I noticed the asparagus patch, a legacy left by the property’s former owners. Asparagus doesn’t like weeds, I reminded myself as I studied the three small, roughly circular beds. There were no signs, as yet, of asparagus spears poking through the earth, but it wouldn’t be long. Meanwhile, clumps of grass, wild violets, and other interlopers were insinuating themselves into the open patches of soil.

With the aid of my cane, I lurched up the eight-inch step into the garden shed. I grabbed my gardening stool and a hand-held cultivator with my free hand, then made my way to the asparagus patch. It took me a couple of tries to figure out the best way to lower myself onto the stool. My ultimate method of choice would likely have made my physiotherapist cringe, but I managed to get settled into place nonetheless, my still-healing left leg stretched out as I carefully tugged weeds out of the soil to make room for the coming crop.

The nature of the work left my mind free to wander, and I found myself thinking back on the past few weeks. Sometimes, battling against stiffness in my knee as I performed the exercises designed to improve flexion and extension, I’d wondered whether recovery would ever come. And yet, that day, warmed by the ever-strengthening sun, the simple act of digging my fingers into the soil helped restore my faith. Surrounded by new growth and fortified by the spring air, I finally felt certain that the frustrating stiffness and lack of mobility would become a thing of the past, and I would once again be able to perform some of the tasks I’d had to leave to other family members this year.

Maybe I wasn’t the picture of speed as I painstakingly moved from a completed section of the bed to the next area needing attention, but I was making progress, albeit one step at a time.

And sometimes, that’s enough.


Lisa Timpf is a retired Human Resources and communications professional who lives in Simcoe, Ontario. Her writing has appeared in a number of venues, including New Myths, Third
Flatiron, Star*Line, Liquid Imagination, and The Martian Wave. When not writing, Lisa enjoys bird-watching, golf, organic gardening, and spending outdoor time with her border collie,
Emma


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Bright Spots — Dorianne Emmerton

When Brian Hades and I were discussing themes for Nevertheless (Tesseracts Twenty-one) one of the possibilities he suggested was optimistic speculative fiction. I pounced on that idea for two reasons. First, because I’d just recently become aware of solarpunk (largely through Sarena Ulibarri) and was excited to work on an anthology that might include some and second because I’d become convinced that we were living in the darkest timeline.

That was in 2016. I had no idea how much darker it could become.

Still, despite a very difficult couple of years, I manage to find reasons for optimism. Lights in the darkness. And I’m not alone in that.

In the coming weeks I will be hosting a series of blog posts I’m calling “Bright Spots in the Darkest Timeline”. Each will be written by a Nevertheless (Tesseracts Twenty-one) contributor and I think they will serve the dual purpose of giving me an excuse to talk about the anthology, and shining a bit of light into people’s lives.

Today we continue with this contribution from Dorianne Emmerton about how today’s youth keep her optimistic.

 

Optimism

By Dorianne Emmerton

Optimism does not come easily to me. It’s possible I did this to myself, reading dystopian science fiction from my parents’ book shelves when I was young and impressionable. I’ve been worried about environmental devastation since I read The Sheep Look Up at some sort of tender age, and that concern has certainly not lessened over the years, as climate change becomes an increasingly clear and immediate danger. And there is no dearth of other things to worry about, on either side of the personal-political coin.

As an anxious kid, and an insecure teen, I felt powerless in the face of everything awful on earth. I wasn’t smart enough, rich enough, or politically influential enough to save the world. As a hard-partying twentysomething I had my period of youthful idealism, showing up at protests to shout slogans in a voice hoarse from cigarettes and lack of sleep. I remember the moment that stopped.  On a bitterly cold day in February of 2003, I froze my ass off protesting the American invasion of Iraq. Thirty-six million people around the world protested. But it happened anyway. I knew it was going to happen anyway. It didn’t matter, nothing we did mattered.

But the kids these days aren’t just marching. The kids these days give me hope. The kids these days aren’t standing around in the cold; they’re lawyering up.

I’m talking about the youth all over the world who are suing their governments for policies that contribute to climate change. Some of these litigants are literal children.

There’s a seven year old in Pakistan.

A nine year old in India.

A group called Nature and Youth in Norway.

And a group of 25 children and young people won their court case in Colombia!.

On October 29th, 2018, the “Trial of the Century” is starting in the United States.  Twenty-one Americans ranging in age from eleven to twenty-two have filed that their government’s actions that cause climate change have violated the youngest generation’s constitutional rights to life, liberty, and property, as well as failed to protect essential public trust resources.

If it can happen south of the border, it can happen up here in Canada. The American kids are represented by lawyers from the legal non-profit organization Our Children’s Trust, who are partnering with other attorneys and youth around the world to file more lawsuits – and they have a page with our name on it.

I’m currently raising a kid of my own, and he’s already doing ground-level advocacy work in his kindergarten – though it’s a necessity, not a choice. He has to explain to his classmates that it’s possible to have two women as parents, because that’s what he has. He has to explain that some people use they/them pronouns, because those are people in his life.

And if he ever wants to sue the government over fossil fuels, he has my full support.


Dorianne Emmerton grew up in the woods on the North Channel of Lake Huron and currently lives in the metropolis of Toronto. She loves both of those environments, but wishes the drive between them didn’t take so long. She has recent publications in the Ink Stains Anthology; Friend. Follow. Text #storiesFromLivingOnline; and Issue #1 of Beer And Butter Tarts, as well as a personal essay in A Family By Any Other Name: Exploring Queer Relationships. She is currently working on a space opera novella in collaboration with Ottawa band
Saturnfly, and a novel about occult magic in Northern Ontario. She has a wonderful chosen family, an adorable son, and a black cat.


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I write, I edit and I take a lot of naps.

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