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Pushcart Prize Nominations

2016_Cover_BigEvery year I struggle to pick which six works to nominate for the Pushcart Prize. This year my job was made marginally easier after I spoke to Bill Henderson and learned I could nominate six works from both Niteblade and Poise and Pen. Yay! Still, it was a difficult decision-making process even so but I am excited to nominate the following works for the 2016 Pushcart Prize.

On behalf of Niteblade Magazine I nominated:

And from Poise and Pen’s anthology, B is for Broken, published in May 2015 I nominated:

  • C is for Change by C.S. MacCath
  • F is for Founder by Megan Arkenberg
  • G is for Glass by Gary B. Phillips
  • O is for Oneiroi by Michael M. Jones
  • S is for Soliloquy by Damien Angelica Walters
  • V is for Vendémiaire by L.S. Johnson

Congratulations to our (and all) nominees, and good luck!

Niteblade #32 cover -- design by Jonathan C. Parrish, Art by Marge Simon

What Happened Among The Stars

Niteblade #32 cover -- design by Jonathan C. Parrish, Art by Marge SimonWe released latest issue of Niteblade, What Happened Among the Stars, today. This, our 32nd and penultimate issue, contains a farcical science fiction, magical horses, everyday immortals, creeping trees, fairies, close encounters with death and so much more.

Strange and unusual high-quality speculative fiction and poems that will make your heart skip a beat.

Table of Contents:
Small Necessary Things by Angela Enos
Shamaness by Wendy Howe
Jacks by Nicholas L. Sweeney
What Happened Among the Stars by Beth Cato
Monkeyshines by J.B. Rockwell
Carousel Ifrit by Sandi Leibowitz
The Third Sister by Gabriel F. Cuellar
coming home by Senia Hardwick
The Night Wind’s Ballad by Alexandra Erin
The Hanging Tree by Brian Ennis

Available now:

Direct from Niteblade
Smashwords
Kobo
Amazon

The issue will also be available online once we reach a combined total of $50 in sales and donations. Until that happens you can check out teasers of all the stories and poems.

Niteblade is open to submissions for our final issue (coming out in September) until the end of July. Protip: We’re not kidding when we say not to indent the paragraphs in your submission 😉

All rights reserved by Rhonda Parrish

2015 Goals

All rights reserved by Rhonda Parrish

I don’t really make New Year’s Resolutions, because I’m crap at keeping them, but I do enjoy setting goals for the coming year each January. I find them super helpful staying focused and find the accountability which comes from sharing them publicly really helps as well. This year I’m a wee bit late on getting this blog post done, so it may be slightly less chatty than in years past, but without further ado, here are some of my work-related goals for the coming year (and health counts because you can’t work if you’re not at least a certain degree of healthy).

Health

  • Weigh less at the end of the year than I do at the start
  • Run 5k
  • No working on weekends and minimal working on evenings.

Editing / Publishing

  • Publish the final three issues of Niteblade and then close down that aspect of the magazine
  • Complete Corvidae and market it to the best of my ability
  • Complete Scarecrow and market it to the best of my ability
  • Publish B is for Broken and market it to the best of my ability
  • When Shadows is published market it to the best of my ability
  • Have the manuscript for C is for… polished and ready for publication
  • Have the manuscript for D is for… polished and ready for publication
  • Come up with a way to set actual concrete goals for promotion.
  • Make progress on sekkrit collab with CJD
  • Open to submissions for Sirens

Writing

  • Write and submit at least one new short story a month*
    • The ‘submit’ part of this is important. I can’t just write a first draft and leave it to moulder indefinitely. The story needs to be ready for submission and, in fact, submitted, within the month to count.
  • Begin querying agents about Hollow
  • Self-publish at least one collection of reprints
  • Complete work on collaborative project with Marge
  • Successfully participate in April Poem-A-Day
    • This means actually writing a poem a day or at least having thirty poems written by the end of the month
  • Participate in NaNoWriMo*
  • Either complete the first draft of a new novel, or revise one of the novel first drafts I’ve already written (this can be completed in conjunction with NaNoWriMo or separate from it)

Reading

  • Read at least 50 books
    • Slush doesn’t count, nor do books by friends I read to critique.
    • Have at least 20% be non-fiction

Misc

  • Create a website at poiseandpen.com
  • Attend When Words Collide and Pure Spec
  • Blog at least once a week
  • When someone visits this blog and leaves a comment — reciprocate.

Kobo

As of New Year’s Eve of 2014 I’d sold a total of one book via Kobo**. One. For a whopping $0.45 in royalties. One of my goals in 2015 is to improve that. I don’t have a super firm goal in mind but it shouldn’t be too difficult to top one sale and less than fifty cents in royalties, right?

I’ll probably tweak this list as the year goes on, but for now I think it’s a very good jumping-off point 🙂

*under this name or as a pen name project. Either counts.
**this doesn’t count books I didn’t self-publish like Fae, Metastasis etc.

Vanity - Photograph by Rhonda Parrish

Award Eligibility Schtuff

Vanity - Photograph by Rhonda Parrish

It’s that time of year. Where we share the work we did in the previous year which is eligible for awards. This is, for me, an awkward process that always feels a little vain, but I recognise that it is my job and it’s important, so I do it anyway 🙂

Besides, who knows, right?

I published a fair number of things last year, and I am happy to provide copies of it all to anyone who is eligible to nominate or vote for any of the major awards (including, because I am Canadian, the Prix Aurora Awards). If you’re interested in that email me at rhonda@jofigure.com 🙂

Being human, however, I do have a few favourites I would especially like to bring to your attention, and pieces with an asterisk are my favourite, favourite. I’m allowed to have those because I said :-p


Short Story


Seedpaper
(3,400 words)*

Published by Mythic Delirium in April 2014 and then again in the Mythic Delirium anthology which earned a starred review from Publishers Weekly this story was described as being fairy tale-esque, which made me happy.

…when you got down to the marrow of it, she was a storyteller. She created her own paper, beautiful stuff that was strung through with coloured fibers and peppered with seeds and blossoms. She wrote on it, her hand as elaborate as the paper and reminiscent of medieval scribes. She would often sew the pages together, creating books that she lined up, spines out, along her mantle. Sometimes though, she’d bury them by moonlight in her garden—

The Other Side of the Door (2,700 words)
Published by Kzine in January 2014. This is a ghost story I wrote while on vacation in Nova Scotia and it has been described as being haunting and heartbreaking. Two awesome things for a ghost story to be, right?

The boat was carried in on the back of the fog.
Growing up on the bay, Aric had seen boats slip through fog plenty of times, he’d even been on a few of them. They were nothing new or unusual for him, and yet—there was something about the shape in the mist, about this particular vessel. He leaned closer and pressed his forehead against the glass…

 


 

Poetry


Matches
(13 lines)*

Published by Ruminate Magazine in August 2014. This poem isn’t speculative, which is problematic for me since most of the poetry awards I know are speculative, but it is my favourite poem, maybe ever.

She liked their straight lines, / bright red tips. / The sulfur taste / on her tongue…

Hereditary Delusions (32 lines)
Published by Every Day Poets in February 2014. The speculative angle is subtle, but it’s there if you look for it 😉

I thought he’d come / from light years away, / that the dust was residue / from the Big Dipper…

 


 

Editing (Anthologies / Related Work)


Fae
(17 short stories about fairies)
Published by World Weaver Press in July 2014

“The Fae prove treacherous allies and noble foes in this wide-ranging anthology from Rhonda Parrish that stretches boundaries of folk tale and legend. These fairy stories are fully enmeshed in the struggles of today, with dangerous beings from under the hills taking stances against the exploitation of children and the oppression of women, yet offering bargains in exchange for their aid that those in desperate need had best think twice about accepting. There’s no Disney-esque flutter and glitter to be found here — but there are chills and thrills aplenty.” — Mike Allen, author of Unseaming and editor of Clockwork Phoenix

A is for Apocalypse (26 short stories about the apocalypse)
Published by Poise and Pen Publishing (me) in August 2014

“In A is for Apocalypse, the world ends in both fire and ice–and by asteroid, flood, virus, symphony, immortality, the hands of our vampire overlords, and crowdfunding. A stellar group of authors explores over two dozen of the bangs and whispers that might someday take us all out. Often bleak, sometimes hopeful, always thoughtful, if A is for Apocalypse is as prescient as it is entertaining, we’re in for quite a ride.” – Amanda C. Davis, author of The Lair of the Twelve Princesses

 


 

Editing (Fan Publication)


Niteblade Magazine

We published four issues last year (in March, June, September and December) all filled with fantasy and horror short stories, poems and art.

The haunted, wonderful stories and poems published by Niteblade are often unsettling and strange but always utterly fantastic. I look forward to every new issue and I am honored that my work has been a part of it.” – Brittany Warman

(I won’t pick a favourite favourite from my edited works)


 

This year I can nominate and vote only for the Prix Aurora Awards, World Fantasy and Dwarf Star awards (I think). I will be keeping my eyes out for blog posts like this one, listing peoples eligible work, but if you’re afraid I might miss something you’d like me to consider, please don’t hesitate to leave a comment or drop me a line.

2014 Goals. How’d I Do?

So this is it. The time of year where I look back at the goals I set for 2014 and find out how well I did at reaching them. What’s usually most interesting about this time for me is seeing how my priorities have shifted over the course of the year, the number of things which were really important to me at the beginning of 2014 which I was happy to back burner (which is totally a verb) but the end.

Also, I have a rule. I may explain failures, but not excuse them. Who wants to read a whole blog post of self-justifications and excuses? Not me LoL

So. 2014 goals. How’d I do?

bold = success

tl;dr — Overall, it was a pretty freaking awesome year 🙂

~*~

Health

  • No drinking pop. Period.
  • Lose 20 lbs
  • Lower blood pressure (bonus points if I get to reduce my medication)
  • Run 5k

Didn’t do so awesomely here. Or well at all, really. I’m still drinking a lot of pop (diet pop, for better or for worse) and my weight has remained steady. Much, much too high, Diet Dr Pepperbut steady. I *was* making (very slow) progress on that 5k run thing before plantar fasciitis reared its ugly head but once it did I was less than enthusiastic about actively stretching to relieve it or exercising in a way which didn’t aggravate it so… pretty sure that counts as an excuse, not an explanation. The only thing I did manage here was to lower my blood pressure. Alas, I did not get to reduce my medication in the process so no bonus points for me. *pout*

~*~

School

  • This degree is taking a ridonkulously long time. I need to finish another course toward completing it this year. Bonus points if I manage two, but it’s important not to lose sight of the fact that this is honestly more of a hobby than anything and it must not negatively effect my work.

I didn’t find the time to finish even one course toward this degree. In fact as of last month I became inactive in my program, which is kinda crappy but I felt like my writing and editing took off to such an extent that it would be a bad choice for me to prioritize school over them at this point in time. So what I’m saying is, I’m okay with having failed to meet this goal. I think it was the right decision.

~*~

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Editing / Publishing

  • Complete Fae and promote the hell out of it.
  • Pursue other anthology ideas
    • I am really, really, really enjoying editing anthologies right now and I’d like to have at least one more under contract with a publisher by the end of 2014.
  • Increase promotion efforts for Metastasis
    • I need to come up with a way to set actual concrete goals for promotion. Not only for Fae and Metastasis, but everything I edit and/or publish. Oh hey!
  • Figure out a way to set concrete goals for promotion. Set concrete goals for promotion.
  • Hold a successful fundraiser for Niteblade
  • Produce a NaNoLJers anthology if interest exists
  • Publish and promote A is for Apocalypse
  • Solicit writers for B is for (haha not telling yet!) and begin that process
  • Continue to edit and publish Niteblade, keeping it something I can be very proud of.
  • Complete the edits on Grammy’s book

Wow. What a year it’s been under Editing / Publishing. Going to tackle all these one at a time…

This is the audience for the launch of Fae at WWC

Audience at Fae Launch at WWC

First, I did finish FAE and I promoted it to the best of my ability. That included getting over my anxiety about holding a physical launch party, and making sure I always had copies of the book on hand at every convention I went to (and I went to three) to sell. Some of these efforts were successful (the party at When Words Collide, for example) and some, like the postcards with discount codes I printed up for World Fantasy were abject failures. Live and learn, right?

I was also successful in pursuing other anthology ideas. My goal had been to have at least one more under contract with a publisher by the end of the year, but I smashed that to bits. I have two anthologies with signed contracts which I’m even now finalizing the tables of contents for and which will be published this year. They are SCARECROW and CORVIDAE. I also have a verbal agreement to begin reading submissions for a fourth anthology for World Weaver Press (tentatively entitled SIRENS: Sea and Sky) this year and publishing it next year.

I did not find any awesome ways to increase promotion efforts for METASTASIS, but even so it earned out all its production costs and began sending small (but emotionally meaningful) donations to support cancer research.

C.S. MacCath reading from her A is for Apocalypse story at WFC 2014

C.S. MacCath reading her A is for Apocalypse story at WFC 2014

I also didn’t come up with a way to set concrete goals for promotion, but I did get far better at tracking the results of promotions, so I’m going to call that a step in the right direction.

We held another successful fundraiser for Niteblade in 2014, raising $510 and (even better for my ego) collecting a whole lot of really nice things Niteblade authors had to say about it.

I didn’t produce a NaNoLJers anthology last year, but that is because there wasn’t much in the way of interest.

A IS FOR APOCALYPSE is awesome. I did, in fact, publish it and promoted it as well as I could. I think in some ways it suffered for being launched so close to FAE but despite that sales exceeded my expectations and it has been very well-received including having stories from it on people’s top five lists, end of the year reading recommendations and getting a handful of nice reviews here, there and everywhere.

Not only did I solicit writers for B IS FOR BROKEN I’m nearly finished editing those stories and I’ve settled on the themes for the next two alphabet anthologies and let the authors know about them so they can decide to sign up, or not, in a leisurely fashion.

Niteblade had a fantastic year with me at the helm and though I’m partly saddened that 2015 will be its last year, mostly it feels like the right thing to do. End on a high note and go out in style 🙂

I completed the edits on Grammy’s book. Added the whole new section she wanted appended to the back, got it formatted, published and shipped to her in time for her to give out copies at Christmas. So, basically, I rocked it 🙂

~*~

Writing

2014 is the year of the novel. It is because I say it is, damn it!

  • Complete the novel currently known as ‘Hollow’
    • By ‘complete’ I mean have that sucker ready to start querying agents about
  • Complete the first draft of at least two other novels
    • One of these may be one of my pen name projects
  • Self-publish the zombie poetry book and complete my other plans for it
  • Write 350 words a day, five days a week. So 1,750 words a week.
    • Yes. A week. It’s not huge, but I’ve got a lot of other stuff on this list, damn it! :-p
  • Bundle up and self-publish more of my reprints
  • Complete sekkrit collaborative project
  • Participate in NovPAD and/or April PAD
  • Anything with the word ‘NaNo’ in the title is optional
    • …except NaNoLJers. Set up prompts for odd-numbered MondaysMythic_Delirium_paperback_cover-1024x760

Well, despite my intentions 2014 turned into the year of the anthology, not the novel. Hollow is done. Mostly. I had to do a whole extra draft I hadn’t counted on, but now it only needs a final spit polish and it will be ready to start querying. It’s finding the time to do that polish that is turning into a tricky thing.

I also sold my Aphanasian novel, SHADOWS, to World Weaver Press. That required a lot of re-writing and I anticipate at least one, possibly two more passes before it’s ready for release. It’s scheduled to be released some time this year though, so we’ll have to wait and see when that comes to pass 🙂

I did self-publish my zombie poetry book, and a collection of funny zombie reprints. I didn’t find time to ‘complete my other plans’ for the zombie poetry book, but who knows, perhaps a miracle will happen and I’ll find a way to do that this year LOL Could happen…

Still not finished my sekkrit collaborative project with Marge Simon, but working on it. Still working on it. Kind of like the tortoise in that story…

I participated in NovPAD and April PAD. I was not super successful at either but… I got a few poems out of them. I also participated in NaNoWriMo, however in recognition of how busy I was I re-named it MicroWriMo and aimed for 10k words. I wrote just under 8k. Meh.

Also, I had prompts set up and scheduled for odd-number Mondays for NaNoLJers and then I did something very stupid and deleted them all. So, that was a big fail right there.

~*~

Reading

  • Read at least 50 books.
    • Have 25% be non-fiction

Ocean At The End Of The LaneAccording to Goodreads I read 63 books (I really ought to keep track of how many stories I read in slush LOL) 11 of which were non-fiction. So, I surpassed the main goal but fell short on the mini one. Of those books my favourites, in no particular order, were:

~*~

Misc

  • Create a publishing website (company name, etc. but only to publish my own projects.)
  • Participate in A Month of Letters
  • Do the Blogging from A to Z Challenge
  • Blog at least once a week
  • Shoot at least one roll of analog film per month
  • Finish the ship cross stitch I started *mumble* years ago
  • Complete the top of the quilt I’m doing in memory of my mother and post it on JoFigure
  • Attend at least two writing conventions

Photo stolen from Billie Milholland --> https://www.facebook.com/billie.milhollandSo… the good news about all the things I missed on this list is that they are all still on my radar, and aside from A Month of Letters I can do them anytime. I’m surprised I missed A Month of Letters this year, so surprised I had to go and check my blog archives to make sure I really had. Weird. I do write snail mail sporadically over the course of the year anyway but historically I’ve really gotten a lot out of A Month of Letters so I’ll have to work pretty hard at re-adding that next year.

Also, I went to three conventions. When Words Collide is my new all-time favourite convention ever. Plus I also attended my second World Fantasy and went to Pure Spec here in Edmonton. The highlight of Pure Spec, for me, was the Character Death Matches (I participated and got my butt kicked. Fun!)

~*~

And there you have it. My year in review or, more specifically, a look at the goals I set last year with an eye to seeing how successful I was.

On paper I wasn’t super successful, but as I mentioned at the start of this (very long) entry, it’s always interesting to see how my priorities shift and change over the year. While my health-based priorities remain the same and I really need to devote more time, energy and effort to them I’m perfectly good with the progress I made on my other goals. Writing a lot of novels got pushed back a bit in favour of editing a lot of anthologies, for example. I’m good with that, and very proud of the results.

I know a great number of my friends struggled through 2014 in ways that meant getting dressed each morning was a victory, but overall, 2014 was a very good year for me. How did it treat you? Did you accomplish most of the things you set out to do? Are you happy with what you managed?

I don’t know about you, but I can’t wait to see what 2015 has to offer. I’ll be making a new set of goals for myself and sharing them here in the near future. If you do the same please let me know, I like seeing the goals other people set for themselves, sometimes they help inspire mine 🙂

December 2014 issue of Niteblade. Art by Marge Simon, cover design by Jonathan Parrish.

Merry Giftmas!

December 2014 issue of Niteblade. Art by Marge Simon, cover design by Jonathan Parrish.

Merry Giftmas!

I wanted to offer all my blog readers a gift of some sort today but I couldn’t decide what, then it came to me, the perfect solution. Niteblade!

Niteblade is only partway to our sales/donation goal. Once we reached that goal we would release the web-based version of the latest issue free for everyone to read… but if I were to release it early, well, that would be a gift for all my readers, all Niteblade’s readers and all the contributors to Niteblade whose work will be readily available to be read. Win/win/win!

So Merry Giftmas. On behalf of myself and everyone at Niteblade, I’m pleased to announce the latest issue is available to read online now. Enjoy! (Or, since it’s Christmas, maybe bookmark it to enjoy later!

Niteblade and Fae

Seasonal Special Banner - Fae Far Orbit

Normally I don’t post two blog posts on the same day, and I usually wouldn’t make a single post that included details about FAE being on sale and also the latest issue of Niteblade. But today isn’t just another day, so I’m doing exactly that.

First of all, if you didn’t see it, my other post for today is about Giftmas cards. Basically I’d like to send you one, so if you’d like to receive one you ought to sign up using this form right here.

Now, about Fae and Niteblade…

Fae is on sale, and it’s a good one. From now until the end of the year you can get a paperback copy of both Fae and  of Far Orbit for only $19.95. That’s two great anthologies from World Weaver Press for less than twenty bucks. If you’ve already bought one or the other of them, well, what can I say? Books make fantastic gifts, right? LOL Unfortunately these books can only be shipped within the United States, but I happen to know a lot of my friends and readers live there — it’s a pretty big place 😉

Annnnd, last but most assuredly not least — the latest issue of Niteblade came out today.

Cover_Dec2014_noissnIssue #30 (holy freaking hell, 30 issues!) is called Vampyrics and features a fang-tastically festive cover by Marge Simon. Our table of contents looks like this:

Abominable Snowman by Ada Hoffmann
Cold by Thomas Wood
Nameday by Anne Carly Abad
A Million Miles Away by Christian Riley
Vampyrics by John Philip Johnson
Bindings by Jamie Killen
The Art by Sandi Leibowitz
Three Little Words by Sealey Andrews
Ghost Engine Updates an Ad for Angry Spirits by Anne Carly Abad
Date of Death by Stone Showers

We’ve got monsters (traditional and otherwise), subtle horror, kinky fae-like critters, living nightmares and modernized hauntings. This is truly one of our strongest issues yet and with more ways to enjoy it than ever before.

You can check it out at the Niteblade Website. From there you’ll be able to read previews of every single piece we’re offering you, as we try to tempt you into purchasing a downloadable copy (.pdf, .ePub or .mobi) or sending us a donation. As soon as we reach $50 in sales and donations combined we will release the full issue on the website for everyone to read for free (but our downloadable copies are still the best way to experience Niteblade. No lie.)

Or

You can also check out this issue over at Smashwords. There, they will give you the first 20% of the issue for free, to make sure you like what you see before you take the $2.99 plunge and buy a copy –> Vampyrics at Smashwords. From Smashwords you can pick up copies of this issue in every freaking format conceivable. And yes. Your purchases still count toward eventually releasing the web version for free.

But wait! There’s more!

This issue of Niteblade is also available from Amazon and Kobo.

*Catches breath*

So. There’s that.

🙂

 

This Year’s Pushcart Nominations

2015CoverHomeEvery year I talk about how difficult it is to choose which works to nominate for the Pushcart Prize and that’s because each year it gets harder. This year I was saved from truly heartbreaking decisions by two things:

  1. Eileen Wiedbrauk is nominating from Fae which meant I only had to pick from within Niteblade & A is for Apocalypse
  2. Alexandra Seidel, the poetry editor at Niteblade helped me make the poetry-based decisions.

In the end I nominated three works from A is for Apocalypse and three works from Niteblade.

From Niteblade Magazine we nominated:

  • The Bitter Gourd’s Fate by Anne Carly Abad (June 2014)
  • Godfather by Megan Arkenberg (March 2014)
  • Bird Girl by Beth Cato (March 2014)

From A is for Apocalypse I nominated:

  • F is for Finale by Suzanne van Rooyen
  • N is for Nanomachine by C.S. MacCath
  • U is for Umbrella by Damien Angelica Walters

Congratulations, ladies. And good luck!

What would you nominate?

PushCart

It’s that time of year again. Time to nominate for the Pushcart Prize. This year I’m nominating, not only from Niteblade, but also A is for Apocalypse. I have a fairly good idea what pieces I’ll be nominating, but nothing is set in stone just yet.

What do you think? Given the chance to choose, which stories or poems from Niteblade and/or A is for Apocalypse would you nominate?

 

Note: The editor-in-chief of World Weaver Press, Eileen Wiedbrauk is nominating from Fae as well as the other anthologies she published this year. She asked me for feedback as to what I’d nominate, but I’ll find out which stories (if any) she chooses at the same time as everyone else 🙂

#CreepyFreebies 2014

Creepy Freebies - Banner

Each year Milo James Fowler hosts an event he calls Creepy Freebies where he invites horror writers to join together and give readers a little taste of what we do for free. Last year I joined in, and this year I’m going to as well 🙂

In honor of the season, and Creepy Freebies, please download a free copy of the latest issue of Niteblade, Porcelain Doll:

Cover_Sept2014_noissn

Click here (or on the cover image above) to go to the Smashwords page for Issue #29 of Niteblade and use coupon code GJ48A to download it for free.

This coupon will only work until November 1st, so don’t hesitate.


 

Aphanasian Stories by Rhonda ParrishBut wait! There’s more!

You can also enter to win a copy of my collection of straight-up fantasy stories (set in, as you might guess from the title, Aphanasia), Aphanasian Stories:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

If we get lots of entries I’ll give away more than one copy, so please help me spread the word.

Aphanasian Stories isn’t creepy… not really, but it IS a fantastic collection that deserves a bigger audience than it’s had to date and I am offering a copy as a freebie so… there’s that 😉

ETA: Several days after I scheduled this I spontaneously decided to put Aphanasian Stories on sale at Smashwords (75% off using coupon code VG96R – Click here) Soooooo I’ll also give the winner(s) of the Rafflecopter draw a copy of White Noise.