When Words Collide 2017 Recap

What. A. Weekend.

I’m not going to even attempt to give a blow-by-blow accounting of When Words Collide because I couldn’t possibly. Not only would this post be impossibly long but my over-stressed memory is so bad these days that I would absolutely forget something or somebody and that would make me sad.

In fact, even while I was at the con if people asked how my weekend was going I would usually say “Ask me on Tuesday”. This weekend was fantastic, but simultaneously a bit overwhelming (which, really, is kind of my theme for 2017).

Well, it’s Tuesday so let me just say, my weekend was fantastic 🙂

First of all there was this:

"Believe" by Barbara Tomporowski

This year has been hard. I severely over-scheduled myself and the stress of that, coupled with dealing with some non-work things and a slight depression has taken quite a toll on me. I’m not going to go into details about that (that’s a topic for a different blog post) but, yeah, it’s been difficult. So when Barbara gave me a copy of this photograph which she’s entitled “Believe” along with some incredibly encouraging and supportive words I cried. It means more to me than I can put in words to have someone say, “I see what you’re doing. Great job. Keep it up. And also, are you okay?”

I’ll be framing this photo and hanging it over my desk.

Thank you Barbara.

<3

And a special thank you also to Ellen who provided similar but different validation to my work and additional incentive to keep on keepin’ on. With your incredible energy, enthusiasm and propensity for thinking out of the box I can’t wait to see what you create in the years to come.

Ever since I launched Fae at my very first WWC it’s been a sort of tradition for me to launch each new installment of the Magical Menageries there. Equus was no different.

I mean, it was different, but we launched it there just the same 😉

This is what our panel looked like. Well, to be honest Megan looked a wee bit different in person than she does in that photograph. I can’t imagine why…*

We have, from left to right, Hal J. Friesen, Susan MacGregor, C.S. MacCath, M.L.D Curelas , Sandra Wickham, V.F. LeSann (Leslie Van Zwol and Megan Fennell, Pat Flewwelling, Chadwick Ginther and Cat McDonald.

In addition to Equus contributors there are two D is for Dinosaur authors included in that rowdy bunch.

The reading was awesome and included flying cellphones, yeehaws, accents galore, laughs and tears. I am so lucky that I get to work with such amazing people.

And then this happened:

I’ve never won a short story contest before, I was pretty stunned and kind of floated through the rest of the day in a weird state of shock.

In Places Between is a short story contest organized by the Imaginative Fiction Writers Association that is dedicated to the memory of Robyn Herrington. In fact, the dedication on the associated anthology which contains all the stories that were finalists in the contest says:

Dedicated to the memory of

Robyn Meta Herrington (1961 – 2004)

Who believed so passionately in paying it forward,

She still is.

I never met Robyn but after winning the contest dedicated to her memory I spent some time with Barb Galler-Smith learning about her. She sounds amazing and I can only hope people speak so highly of me once I’m gone as they do of her. Thank you, Barb, for sharing some of your memories with me.

Before the con was done I had one more panel. This one was with Mark Leslie where we talked about collaborative publishing and how Haunted Hospitals came to be. The panel turned into an interesting discussion between Mark, myself and the audience and was a lovely way to end the programming.

The next day was time to come home, and on the drive back to Edmonton with S.G. Wong she helped me unknot a really annoying characterization problem for a novel that’s been collecting dust on my desk for years. Now, I’m really excited to re-write the thing over the three day novel weekend (I’m not officially registered), which is a much better state of mind than the ‘What am I going to write? What am I going to write?’ one I had been in before that. So yay!

Overall it was an awesome weekend, made so by many, many people (most of which aren’t listed here by name because if I did this blog post would be far too long). If you organised, volunteered or attended When Words Collide thank you for helping make it an amazing weekend.

See you next year!

 

 

*Just guessing here but it might be because she’s a brat…

Freedom

To celebrate and raise awareness of Equus‘ release, some of the anthology contributors participated in a group interview. I sent them all several interview questions and they sent their responses. Instead of sharing one person’s interview each day, however, I’m going to share one question and everyone’s responses 🙂

I’d be lying if I said I hadn’t considered going with a Braveheart-type graphic for this one, but I resisted* 😉

Today’s question is…

Once the anthology was done and I was re-reading it for copyedits it occurred to me that though the stories were tied together by the equine theme, of course, they also had one other theme in common–freedom. Is that something you were consciously thinking about as you wrote your story?

“Hennessy and Peregrine’s battle for their freedom was always part of the plot, but certainly not the foundation of the concept! We both think it’s really cool that they all have a freedom theme though!”

V.F. LeSann

author of, "Riders in the Sky"

“I’m a total pantser, so I don’t tend to think about theme until after I have a draft of a story I want to tell, but once I had that draft, freedom was something I considered in my rewrites. Michelle’s theme song while I was writing was Van Halen’s “Unchained.””

Chadwick Ginther

author of, "Scatter the Foals to the Wind"

“Although it wasn’t what I was consciously thinking about when I wrote it, I find a lot of my stories are about freedom. The search for freedom to be is an intrinsic part of what it means to be alive. Well, it is for me.”

Angela Rega

author of, "The Horse Witch"

“Huh! I wasn’t consciously thinking about freedom, no. Which is sort of sad since one of my characters is a slave…”

K.T. Ivanrest

author of, "Lightless"

“I’m not surprised. I think a lot of people see horses as symbols of freedom.

As for me, freedom’s all I think about.”

Cat McDonald

author of, "The Last Ride of Hettie Richter"

“Yep! I actually have a passage where Demy’s thinking of the freedom she felt when she was on Foxy’s back, and how her motorcycle gives her some of that freedom back. Demy’s definitely still in pursuit of freedom in a lot of ways–freedom from her past, freedom from her sorrows, freedom from magic. Of course, we see how that works out for her. :D”

Stephanie A. Cain

author of, "To Ride a Steel Horse"

“Sort of. It was in the DNA at the time. I wrote this story in October 2016, literally the same week a certain American presidential candidate was caught on tape confessing to molesting women. The horror and nausea of that time period (that still hasn’t ended) is in Eli. I was also watching 70s films about fast cars and escaping from prison, too (specifically “Jackson County Jail”) and reading Bruce Springsteen’s biography, and being impressed by this overwhelming feeling — that the only thing that matters, politically or otherwise, is freedom. And I think every election cycle feels like that is on the line, no matter where you fall politically. All of that is in Eli.”

Michael Leonberger

author of, "Eli the Hideous Horse Boy"

“In an odd way, yes. The last book in my Tattooed Witch trilogy was published in December, 2016. In tone, the trilogy tends to be passionate and dark, exploring themes of love and death, in particular. I wanted to free myself from that – to write something much lighter – Ladies Day was the result. As writers, we all write what we are. I have a dark, passionate side, but I also adore the ridiculous. I had fun coming up with what I thought were silly ideas and scenes. I had been doing a lot of research on the Edwardian period for my upcoming novel. The Edwardians were all about having a good time, if we take King Edward VII, who was quite the playboy, as an example. Throw horses and the Edwardians together, and you have the Ascot. Mix in outrageous hats, snobbery, the marriage market, and cheating duchesses for fun. Add a dollop of magic. Why not?”

Susan MacGregor

author of, "Ladies Day"

*by ‘resisted’ I mean I spent a bunch of time trying to figure out how to add Braveheart face paint to the horse in the graphic at the top of the page before surrendering and just getting on with things 😉

If you haven’t done so already, be sure and pick up your copy of Equus today, maybe if it sells enough I’ll make enough money to buy some graphic design lessons 😉

…just kidding, that’s totally not what I’d spend the money on, but buy the book anyway LOL

Equine Experience

To celebrate and raise awareness of Equus’ release, some of the anthology contributors participated in a group interview. I sent them all several interview questions and they sent their responses. Instead of sharing one person’s interview each day, however, I’m going to share one question and everyone’s responses 🙂

Today’s question is…

Do you have any real-life experience with equines? Tell us about that.

“I’ve only ever ridden a horse once, up in some trails around Masanutten. And I was honestly struck by how often they defecate (and how often my horse would put his face in whatever the horse in front of us left behind). I bring that up all the time whenever I talk about horses in real life, both because I am immature, but also because that trip has some kind of magical significance for me: I read Annie Proulx’s “Close Range” on that trip, while listening to the Rob Zombie album “Educated Horses”. I think Rob Zombie is so cool, and that book was so gut-punchingly sad, and the horses were both so startlingly beautiful, while simultaneously hilariously indifferent to whatever emotions I might have been feeling — they basically called me on my crap. And somewhere in those swirling ingredients, I get a very specific nostalgic feeling unique to that trip. And I guess I associate it with horses. That is both the silliest and most honest answer I’ve got.”

Michael Leonberger

author of, "Eli the Hideous Horse Boy"

“Leslie – In my youth I rode a lot of horses and got bucked off a lot… I always rode the horses that other people didn’t want to ride, and there was a reason they didn’t want to ride them. I don’t get along well with equines. But I did perfect my landing!

Megan – Absolutely none. Considering my Albertan status, I think that’s kind of an accomplishment.”

V.F. LeSann

author of, "Riders in the Sky"

“Actually, I’m very very allergic to horses. I went to the Musical Ride once and was absolutely heartbroken when my eyes swelled shut. We always used to think it was the hay making me sneeze on hay rides, but nope.”

Cat McDonald

author of, "The Last Ride of Hettie Richter"

“My parents wouldn’t let me have a horse, but I took riding lessons (and went to horse camp) in junior high and early high school—got my first scar (and tetanus shot) when I was stabbed with a pitchfork while cleaning a stall. Since then I’ve only been trailing riding on and off, mostly on friends’ and relatives’ horses.”

K.T. Ivanrest

author of, "Lightless"

“My grandparents had some horses, but I’ve only ridden on a horse a couple times in my life. I did get it in my head that one pony would’ve looked better blue (my favourite colour at the time) but was thankfully stopped before I got the paint (or ended up bitten or stomped).”

Chadwick Ginther

author of, "Scatter the Foals to the Wind"

“Does asking my dad for a pony for every birthday and Christmas over the past forty years count? 😀

I came by my horse-craziness honestly. My mom had a pony named Foxy who was the basis for Demy’s beloved horse Foxy. As a kid, I traded cleaning tack and mucking stalls for riding lessons at our local stable. In high school I worked with someone who had horses, and I went riding with her a couple of times. After I graduated from college, I dated a guy whose parents had horses; I spent a lot of time with his parents and their horses, which I suppose he probably resented. I learned how to lunge a horse and clean hooves, did a lot more stall mucking and grooming, put up hay for the winter, and helped them build an addition to their stable. “My” horse was Glory, a beautiful gray half-Arabian mare. To be honest, I don’t miss the guy, but I still miss Glory.”

Stephanie A. Cain

author of, "To Ride a Steel Horse"

And, if you’ve been following this interview all week you know what I’m going to say next, but I’m going to say it anyway, because it’s my job LOL

If you haven’t done so already, be sure and pick up your copy of Equus today!

Equine Favourites

To celebrate and raise awareness of Equus’ release, some of the anthology contributors participated in a group interview. I sent them all several interview questions and they sent their responses. Instead of sharing one person’s interview each day, however, I’m going to share one question and everyone’s responses 🙂

Today’s question is…

Aside from Equus, what are your favourite equine-related books or short stories?

“When I was a kid, I devoured anything about horses. My early favorites were the books by Maguerite Henry, of course. I also liked the Black Stallion books, but my favorite of Walter Farley’s books was Man O’War. Tamora Pierce, while she doesn’t write specifically about horses, always has great horses in her books–Moonlight in the Alanna books and Peachblossom in the Protector of the Small series. In high school I loved the Mercedes Lackey Arrows of the Queen trilogy.

A few years ago I fell desperately in love with The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater, which I still think contains the scariest scene I’ve ever read. I have the audiobook, which is lovely, and also have the paperback–which last year I had signed when I finally got to meet Maggie!

Other horse books I loved so much I still own: Swampfire by Patricia Cecil Hass, The Blue Sword by Robin McKinley, The Last Unicorn by Peter S. Beagle, and The Horse and His Boy by C.S. Lewis (despite the problematic elements).”

Stephanie A. Cain

author of, "To Ride a Steel Horse"

“One of my favourite books of all time is one I acquired in my early twenties called The Unicornis Manuscripts: On the History and Truth of the Unicorn. I absolutely love the blur between reality and myth in this book.”

Angela Rega

author of, "The Horse Witch"

“Sleepy Hollow. The Headless Horseman’s Horse. I’m really thinking the movie here, because THERE’S a horse: black steed, snorting hellfire,literally galloping out of a tree. And the guy who rides him is a headless Christopher Walken? Perfect.” Michael Leonberger

author of, "Eli the Hideous Horse Boy"

“I read Black Beauty until it fell apart when I was a little girl!” Cat McDonald

author of, "The Last Ride of Hettie Richter"

“In junior high I read pretty much every Saddle Club book in existence and made it my life goal to eat ice cream like Stevie Lake; apart from those and Black Beauty, I haven’t actually read too many equine stories. But I did recently read Maggie Stiefvater’s The Scorpio Races—not at all the sort of horses I was expecting! *Backs away slowly*”

K.T. Ivanrest

author of, "Lightless"

Megan: Bahahaha! Oh no, you don’t have any!

Leslie: [Censored!!] I haven’t even read The Last Unicorn yet because you haven’t given it to me!

Megan: I lent it to my mom first! (Side note: Welcome to the gritty world of co-authoring. It’s basically just this, all the time.) For my part – absolutely, yes, The Last Unicorn is a must-read. The Unicorn Chronicles by Bruce Coville was a childhood favourite. Oh, oh, oh! And The Transfigured Hart, by Jane Yolen! Another elementary school fave!

V.F. LeSann

author of, "Riders in the Sky"

“Oh, the reading list of a horse girl! It’s a long one. Classics such as King of the Wind, my personal favorite Marguerite Henry, are obvious choices, but I’m also a fan of horse-heavy fantasy such as Wild Magic by Tamora Pierce, The Foretelling by Alice Hoffman, Bruce Coville’s Unicorn Chronicles, and Horsemaster by Marilyn Singer, with Audrey Coulthurst’s Of Fire and Stars being a recent new favorite. In nonfiction, there’s no better introduction to the Sport of Kings than Joe Palmer (look for his collection This Was Racing), and The Greatest Horse Stories Ever Told, edited by Steven Price, is a great round-up of tales about racehorses, warhorses, cowhorses, and more.” Diana Hurlburt

author of, "Eel and Bloom"

What are your favourite equine books? Leave a comment to share them, and, if you haven’t done so already, be sure and pick up your copy of Equus today. It might be a new addition to your list! 🙂

Equine Attraction

To celebrate and raise awareness of Equus‘ release, some of the anthology contributors participated in a group interview. I sent them all several interview questions and they sent their responses. Instead of sharing one person’s interview each day, however, I’m going to share one question and everyone’s responses 🙂

Today’s question is…

What drew you to write about the type of equine that features most prominently in your story? If you were suddenly turned into an equine is that the type you’d choose to be?

“Flying horses came about because one of the inspirations for my story was the myth of Phaethon driving the chariot of the sun. The starfire rose out of the setting and needs of the plot, and ended up being my way of connecting the horses more closely to the people than just “we need them for transportation and status symbols.” If I were turned into an equine, I could definitely go for glowing space Pegasus!”

K.T. Ivanrest

author of, "Lightless"

“I guess I wanted to write about a demon because of the combination of emotional and physical power they represent. Although I’d like to say “sure, becoming a demon would be neato!”, I think maybe I and most other people already kind of are.”

Cat McDonald

author of, "The Last Ride of Hettie Richter"

“I’m a huge fan of Irish mythology, probably because my genealogy is mostly Irish-German, but also because there are some awesome critters in Irish mythology. I particularly love the combination of flesh-eating and horse, because I’m a bloodthirsty little monster. I’m drawn to predators in the natural world–wolves, orca, birds of prey, snakes–and I love how the mythology of the each uisca turns an herbivore into a predator. In addition, one of my favorite books is The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater, which is basically the same mythology I’m using, even if she calls them capaill uisce.

So yes, all things considered, I think I’d like being an each uisce–especially since they have shapeshifting abilities, so whenever I started missing opposable thumbs, I could take human form. :D”

Stephanie A. Cain

author of, "To Ride a Steel Horse"

“I’ve mostly avoided featuring horses in my work so far–until I saw the open call for Equus which really got the creative juices percolating. As cool as it would be to capable of running on air or water, I think I’d want to avoid any kind of personal connection to Loki. I’m not sure I need my life to be that interesting.”

Chadwick Ginther

author of, "Scatter the Foals to the Wind"

“Growing up in Florida gave me a great love of water, fresh and salt alike. Nixies, kelpies, and capaill uisce popped up in fantasy stories and books of mythology I read as a kid, and caught my horse girl’s imagination. The stories I loved best as a young reader naturally feed my work as an adult creator, and I decided to play around with the idea of water horses local to my own landscapes: thus the limerunner, a water horse found in the marshes and limestone-rich springs of central Florida, was born. Though I enjoyed sketching out their relative trainability, vicious teeth, and cloven hooves, if I could be any equine I’d have to go with a beautiful Lipizzan (who can also be found in Florida!).”

Diana Hurlburt

author of, "Eel and Bloom"

“I have always been obsessed with the Elephant Man, and I think that obsession sort of led me to write about a deformed young man who believed himself to be the son of a pegasus — that that might help explain some of his deformities. Imagination makes the mundane or tragic possibly magical. I love stories about people who imagine themselves into places better than where they are, whose souls burst out of their bodies. The story of Eli asks if that backstory is real or not, but more importantly: does it matter?”

Michael Leonberger

author of, "Eli the Hideous Horse Boy"

“The Australian Brumby is a very special horse. They live in the wild without human interference but their population growth has become an issue and there has been much debate and conflict in their management and population control. On one hand they are a symbol of the wild and form part of the Australian identity; many of them were used as war horses in World Wars 1 and 2 on the other hand they are seen as feral creatures that damage the environment and require culling. It is a very sensitive issue and I found this dichotomy in their representation what I wanted to write about.

If I was suddenly turned into an equine in the real world, I think I might be a stockhorse with a heavy load in need of a shoe change, if I was turned into an equine in my dream world I would be a Pegasus that roamed the night skies and gathered stardust in my mane.”

Angela Rega

author of, "The Horse Witch"

Leslie: I wanted to do something against the grain for Equus, something less frilly and majestic, more fire and rock music. We debated Horsemen of the Apocalypse for a while, but then I remember the Nightmares from D&D and remembered that they were my favourite! Then we found a song – Ghostriders in the Sky – and we had our fire and our rock music.

Megan: That sounds very glamorous and triumphant. She’s leaving out the part where she was flopped over a pint moaning about having no equine inspiration.

V.F. LeSann

author of, "Riders in the Sky"

Honestly, if I were transformed into some kind of equine I think I’d want to go for one of the shapeshifting varieties on account of the fact I’m pretty fond of having opposable thumbs. Aside from that, though, I’ve gotta say sparkly space Pegasus kinda sounds sweet…

If you haven’t done so already, be sure and pick up your copy of Equus today so that you, too, can discover the awesomeness of the equines these authors are talking about!

Younicorn?

To celebrate and raise awareness of Equus‘ release, some of the anthology contributors participated in a group interview. I sent them all several interview questions and they sent their responses. Instead of sharing one person’s interview each day, however, I’m going to share one question and everyone’s responses 🙂

When I was a kid I used to play a game with my best friend, Linda, where we were both unicorns galloping around the school yard. Every day she described her unicorn self differently but I was always one of two things — a black unicorn with a gleaming silver horn, or a white unicorn with a shiny gold horn. I often imagined roses spiraling around those horns, and sometimes the colours of the blooms would change… but not often.

If you were to imagine yourself as a unicorn, what would you look like?

“My elementary school friend Amber and I used to play that we were unicorns galloping around the school yard, too! I wonder if this a product of growing up in the Lisa Frank era of unicorns.

When we played, I was usually a black unicorn with a white mane and tale and a white horn. I can’t remember what Amber’s unicorn usually looked like, or if she switched every day.”

Stephanie A. Cain

author of, "To Ride a Steel Horse"

” I want to have a candy-red horn! Like a twizzler, but maybe chipped a bit at the end. I love the original “Alien vs Predator” comic from Dark Horse, where the main Predator is called the “Broken Tusked Warrior” because one of his tusks is chipped off? So I want to be the “Broken Horned Unicorn”. But again, I want that thing red as blood – and not real blood, but Dario Argento “Suspiria” paint-blood red. And I want wings! Natch.

(And also maybe an eye patch, like David Bowie, because it would forever beg the question: “Where did you get that eye patch from? You clearly didn’t make it yourself, because you are a unicorn…who gave it to you?” And I would never answer it).”

Michael Leonberger

author of, "Eli the Hideous Horse Boy"

“I definitely played that game as well, with my friends “The Neigh-Neigh Club” (yes, really :P). My unicorn was always the very traditional gleaming white, but she had a purple horn that could make music.”

K.T. Ivanrest

author of, "Lightless"

“I used to play that game a lot! Back then it was an alicorn, because I also wanted wings, but these days I think I’d be something in a kirin style. Something just a little scaly and alien. Either that or just a big old thick-legged draught horse with a horn, like my favorite Magic card (Ronom Unicorn).”

Cat McDonald

author of, "The Last Ride of Hettie Richter"

Leslie: Unicorns aren’t my thing! I didn’t have a sibling close to my age. I would play Power Rangers sometimes…. Ninja Turtles…

Megan: Lucky for you, I used to play unicorns most days at recess in elementary school! I’d read the poem ‘The Lion & the Unicorn’ in a picturebook and thought of unicorns as ferocious, potentially militant critters. So on the playground, it was girls versus boys in a battle of unicorns versus lions. Looks didn’t matter as much as ferocity. So I’d be a battle unicorn; a fully-armoured lion-killer!

V.F. LeSann

author of, "Riders in the Sky"

What about you? How would you look if you were a unicorn? Leave a comment to share your answer–I’m sincerely curious 🙂

And, if you haven’t done so already, be sure and pick up your copy of Equus today!

Cover by Jonathan C. Parrish

Equus Release

I’m a mix of emotion right now. Equus is out. My beautiful, magical, melancholy anthology about horses and horse-like creatures is out. Which is awesome because I finally get to share it with the world. So I’m excited.

But I’m finally sharing it with the world, so I’m also nervous. What if people don’t like it as much as I do? What if it doesn’t sell? Doesn’t get reviews?

I’m familiar with that anxiety though, because I go through it with every book release. What is a wholly new experience for me is this — Equus is the final installment in this anthology series. So now the series has been released. It is done. And I’m not quite sure how I feel about that. I think it’s going to take some time to sort through.

In the meanwhile though, I’m proud and excited to share Equus with the world! Enjoy 🙂

 

Cover by Jonathan C. Parrish

There’s always something magical about horses, isn’t there? Whether winged or at home in the water, mechanical or mythological, the equines that gallop through these pages span the fantasy spectrum. In one story a woman knits her way up to the stars and in another Loki’s descendant grapples with bizarre transformations while fighting for their life. A woman races on a unique horse to save herself from servitude, while a man rides a chariot through the stars to reclaim his self-worth. From steampunk-inspired stories and tales that brush up against horror to straight-up fantasy, one theme connects them all: freedom.

Featuring nineteen fantastic stories of equines both real and imagined by J.G. Formato, Diana Hurlburt, Tamsin Showbrook, M.L.D Curelas, Laura VanArendonk Baugh, V.F. LeSann, Dan Koboldt, J.J. Roth, Susan MacGregor, Pat Flewwelling, Angela Rega, Michael Leonberger, Sandra Wickham, Stephanie A. Cain, Cat McDonald, Andrew Bourelle, Chadwick Ginther, K.T. Ivanrest, and Jane Yolen.

Get Your Copy Online:

World Weaver Press
Amazon
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iBookstore

“All the stories in this collection are good.  Each author has a completely different take on where the animals live and how they behave.  It makes the stories surprising and unique.  If you like fantasy, magic, or horses, you’ll love this book.”

Journey of a Bookseller

Equus should be read by anyone who loves everything equestrian.”

Long and Short Reviews

“This was a wonderfully eclectic anthology, with practically any stripe of fantasy a grown-up weird horse girl could want on offer between the covers.”

T.R. North

“Generously infused with magic and mystery, these stories leaped off the pages and lingered in my imagination long after I finished the book.”

Tabitha Lord

Equus is a delight, with a unique take on an old subject. There’s a nice range of mood and subject, but the overall theme is well-explored and central.”

Jaym Gates, ed of War Stories

Equus is a delightful collection of stories…If you love horses and fantasy, this is definitely a collection for you.”

Nicki J Marcus

Excerpt from “Stars, Wings, and Knitting Things” by J.G. Formato:
I didn’t tell him the news until I’d placed the last raisin in my oatmeal. The wise and wrinkled happy face I’d created was quite encouraging. “Marcus,” I said, waiting for acknowledgement and eye contact. His eyes were still mostly contacting the Wall Street Journal, so I cleared my throat and dinged my spoon on his mug. Announcement style.

He emerged from the paper and frowned at the ripples in his coffee. “Why’d you do that? I was reading.”

“Were you?” I asked, genuinely curious. I always thought his morning paper was like an adult security blanket. But instead of making him feel safe and loved, it made him feel all grown-up and professional. Ready to join the Rat Race. Reading it for fun was a totally different story and not nearly as endearing.

“Of course I was, Annie. Now, what were you going to say?”

“I think the house is haunted.”

“You think the house is haunted?

“Mm-hm.”

“Why?”

“Because I saw a ghost.” Why else would I think the house was haunted?

“Where?”

“In the backyard. It was kind of swooshing all around by the swing set.”

“So, really, you think the backyard is haunted.” He looked very pleased with himself, like he scored a point or something. All those years of law school must have really paid off.

“Okay, fair enough. If you want to pick nits, I think the backyard is haunted.”

“What did it look like? Your ghost?”

“It was white, of course. And shimmery. Oh, and it had wings.”

“Like an angel?”

“No, not like an angel. Angels don’t haunt people’s backyards.”

“Of course.” He smacked his forehead—but in a smartassy way, not an oh, duh kind of way.

 

Order Your Copy Now:

World Weaver Press
Amazon
Barnes and Noble
Kobo
iBookstore

Equus Contributor Blog Tour Wrap-Up

We just wrapped up the Equus contributor blog tour. If you missed out on this, never fear, I have links to all the posts for you 🙂

July 7th — Lightless Alternate Opening (by K.T. Ivanrest, hosted by Sarena Ulibarri)

July 8th — The Secret History of “Scatter the Foals to the Wind” (by Chadwick Ginther, hosted by Stephanie A. Cain)

July 9th — Frankenhorse (by Michael Leonberger, hosted by K.T. Ivanrest)

July 10th – Setting in “To Ride a Steel Horse” (by Stephanie A. Cain, hosted by Diana Hurlburt)

July 11th – Florida and Horses (by Diana Hurlburt, hosted by Chadwick Ginther)

July 12th – Four (and a half) Fun Facts About “Lightless” (by K.T. Ivanrest, hosted by Angie Rega)

July 13 – Helping Rhonda STARRING CAT (by Cat McDonald, hosted by me)

Take a little time to check out whichever posts you missed, and don’t forget to pre-order your copy of Equus so you’ll be able to read it on Tuesday!

Pre-order Equus now:

World Weaver Press
Amazon
Barnes and Noble
Kobo
iBookstore

HELPING

As part of the Equus Blog Tour I asked all the participants to send their guest posts to me and then I passed them back out to the hosts. Once Cat’s guest post landed in my inbox, however, I knew I wasn’t going to let anyone else host it. This one was mine. Because it made me laugh so hard I cried. For realz.

Allow me to present:

Hello! I am Equus’s most helpful least useful author, Cat McDonald, here to give you an exciting preview of the anthology! I have been conducting an investigation behind the scenes in order to bring you the most accurate journalism, including artistic renditions of some of the anthology’s many exciting horse-friends!

It all started with this:

Rhonda thought I was proposing some kind of huge horse-fight or maybe asking her to intervene in my long-standing rivalry with Chadwick Ginther. But the truth was I was conducting investigative journalism! I had hoped Rhonda would let slip what kinds of horse-friends are in the anthology.

This one was easy because I know which story I wrote. Mine is the story of the sixteen-year-old Kentucky girl and her best friend the huge demon horse. Note: It is a horse and not a moose. I mean, yeah, I did give it antlers, but I thought the effect would be more impressive.

Pat, after a brief exchange in which she implied that I was the demons living in her head, let me know that her story was about a kelpie! I know all about kelpies. The teeth are for dramatic effect. I wonder if they actually do have fangs.

When I told Chadwick he needed an intervention with regards to Norse myth, he replied with a gif of Loki shaking his head and saying “no”.

This picture should also serve as a reminder that babies are precious no matter how many legs they have. I know that horses do not typically use pacifiers, but I couldn’t resist. It matches the diaper.

I think I confused the authors more than they confused me for once. I did figure out that their story is, like mine, a story about fire, but I think they included more dramatic entrances. I resisted the temptation to draw a horse version of the Kool-aid man, mostly because that is way beyond my skills.

You can also definitely tell this one is a horse.

Stephanie McCain actually kind of lost me a little bit. I think maybe in her description I decided the horse had wheels, and after Pat’s drawing I got real into horses with huge horrible teeth. This might be my second-least accurate drawing. (I drew a horse dressed as Carmen Sandiego because Susan MacGregor won’t tell me what her story is about)

I hope you’re all as excited to read these stories as I am! I think drawing pictures has just made me wonder more about what kinds of adventures they have.

Until then, this is Cat signing off, and this has been “Helping Rhonda STARRING CAT”!

 


 

…and honestly, if that doesn’t make you want to pre-order Equus I just dunno what will LOL

Cover by Jonathan C. Parrish

Pre-order Equus now:

World Weaver Press
Amazon
Barnes and Noble
Kobo
iBookstore

Equus Contributor Blog Tour

Equus is going to be out soon. Very soon.

Leading up to its release I wanted to spend a little time introducing you to some of the contributors. A half dozen of them took some time to write guest blogs that will give you a peek inside their writing processes, inspirations or skillz with a crayon.

Here’s the schedule. If all goes well:

I am totally excited about this tour and I hope you’ll swing by each of those blogs on their scheduled day to check them out 🙂

Cover by Jonathan C. Parrish

Pre-order Equus now:

World Weaver Press
Amazon
Barnes and Noble
Kobo
iBookstore

 

Equus Battle Royal Finals

Fourteen Equus contributors have agreed to pit the equine in their story against all the other horse-like creatures in the anthology and fight it out until only one is left standing. That victor shall win bragging rights… and maybe I’ll make a little ‘I won!’ graphic of some sort 😛

How it Works:

Each Tuesday the competitors will be announced and voting will open. Every vote a story receives counts as one point.

Wednesday, Thursday and Friday the competitors will each roll a twenty-sided die. The resulting number of points will be added to their own score. I will update the scores via a comment on the blog post and social media.

Voting closes on Sunday at midnight MST.

Monday the winner (the story with the highest score) will be announced and move on to the next round.

VS.

Story Title: “Rue the Day”

Author: Laura VanArendonk Baugh

Equine Combatant’s Name: Nova & Reaver (they’re a team)

Species: Unicorn

Strength: 18

Dexterity: 17

Constitution: 16

Intellect: 11

Charisma: 18

(per Pathfinder stats w/ D&D mod)

Special Attacks: Goring Horn (+8), Striking Hooves (+4)

These specially-trained war unicorns are skilled in the “airs above the ground,” or in RPG terms Acrobatics, and thus can Rogue their way across a battlefield to stomp you dead while simultaneously stabbing your buddy. And there’s not a thing you can do about it.

Special Defences: Magic Circle Against Evil, Too Damn Pretty To Die.

Evil Alignment creatures have difficulty closing distance against a unicorn. They also are a natural example of Reynolds’ Law, being Too Damn Pretty To Die.

Story Title: Riders in the Sky

Author: V. F. LeSann

Equine Combatant’s Name): Peregrine

Species: Damned soul

Strength: 18

Dexterity: 15

Constitution: 16

Intellect: 13

Charisma: 12

Special Attacks: Iron hooves that get red-hot for kick attack. Stubborn horse-logic. Flame mane and tail for striking. Occasionally bursts into flame and moves at ghost-speed. He will bite. Plus when fighting demons.

Special Defences: Soul-bound and telepathically linked with a fully-armed and generally cranky Rider. Shared health pool with the Rider. Can look in someone’s eyes and judge the weight of their souls. He is not considered a living creature (damned/undead)

How to Vote:

Comment on this blog post with the title of the story you are voting for.

For example, if this week’s competitors were:

Star Wars vs. Star Trek

and you wanted to vote for Star Trekyou would leave a comment that said, “I vote for Star Trek.”

You may vote once each round, and each vote enters your name into a draw to win an awesome book (details here) so you could win alongside your favourite equine!

It’s just that easy.

 

Cast your votes now, and may the best equine win!