Dave set their suitcases on the dresser and stretched, still stiff from the flight. He surveyed the cozy bedroom, taking a moment to appreciate the view of the mountains out the window.
“This is nice,” he said to Val.
“I need to have it redecorated,” she called back from the bathroom, where she was touching up her make-up before their dinner reservation. “Everything’s horribly out of date—which I guess I should’ve expected. I haven’t used this place in years.”
Dave was just happy to visit one of her properties on a vacation and not as a safehouse to hide in while someone was trying to kill them. He pulled off his watch, wanting to wear a nicer one for dinner, and opened the top draw of the nightstand to put it in.
He stopped, watch still in hand, and stared down for several moments. Continue reading Summer Getaway: A White Knight & Black Valentine Series Short Story
Ever wonder how the wise old mentor character puts up with the whiny, annoying hero he’s training? Then have I got the tale for you.
My short story, A Magical Education, follows a group of aging mentors drinking mead and venting about the next generation of heroes they’re trying to educate. It’s a humorous fantasy short, and you can find it in Issue 81 of Swords and Sorcery Magazine here or by clicking the image below.
Check out the magazine’s archives while you’re there. It’s full of entertaining and adventurous sword and sorcery fiction. Enjoy!
It’s been a while since I’ve posted any short fiction on my blog, so here’s a little something from The White Knight & Black Valentine Series. Enjoy!
How to Stop Trains (A Guide for Superheroes)
An excerpt from White Knight’s lecture at the Academy on April 15, 2002.
Remember the acronym TAD: Time and Distance. You may be strong enough to stop a runaway train in a split second, but if you bring a train moving a hundred miles per hour to a sudden stop, the passengers are going to keep moving forward at a hundred miles per hour. They’d have a better chance of survival if you threw them headfirst into a brick wall. Continue reading Short Story: How to Stop Trains (A Guide for Superheroes)
Need something to read this weekend? Want that something to have dirigibles, clockwork, and lady inventors? Would you prefer if it was FREE? Then you’re in the right place. Here are four awesome steampunk short stories you can read right now.
by Cat Rambo
This is one of the greatest examples of an unsympathetic narrator that I’ve ever come across. Really, though, the story isn’t about him but his fiancé. I would gladly read an entire series starring her, but this story is complete and lovely. Try it if you like a little magic in your steampunk, or if you enjoy stories about brilliant ladies dumping dudes who aren’t good enough for them. Continue reading More Spectacular Steampunk Short Stories
I love a good anthology. Getting a dozen stories in one collection, discovering new authors, diving into new worlds—what’s not to like? Fans of superhero fiction are particularly lucky, because there are a lot of good superhero anthologies out there. In honor of the release of Heroes and Villains, the new boxed set that contains Hero Status along with nine other novels, I want to spotlight four of my favorite anthologies and four on my to-read list.
Back in print after a decade, expanded with new original material, this is the first volume of George R. R. Martin’s Wild cards shared-world series. Continue reading 8 Great Superhero Anthologies
If you have a Spotify account, check out this superhero-themed playlist made by Damien Benoit-Ledoux for his novel Guardians. Listen to it while reading—or if you ever find yourself actually saving the world and need a soundtrack. 😉
I’ve been seeing a lot of great buzz for Lee Blauersouth’s debut YA novel, Secondhand Origin Stories. You can read a review of it at Spines in a Line, which includes links to excerpts and other reviews on the book’s blog tour.
Nicholas Ahlhelm has the details on The Good Fight 4: Homefront, the latest anthology of superhero short stories from the authors of The Pen & Cape Society. I read the first volume of The Good Fight (which is FREE on Amazon) and enjoyed it, so I’m looking forward to seeing what these authors do next.
Superhero romance fans may find this review of Dusk by Jessica Florence of interest. Charli at Rad Babes Read says its her favorite in Florence’s Hero Society series yet.
ETA: I just saw this cover reveal of the awesome-sounding Superheroes Suck by Jamie Zakian. You can enter a giveaway at the bottom for a free copy of the book and a Starbucks gift card.
Any news I missed? What superhero fiction are you currently reading? Let me know in the comments!
Interested in traveling back in time and across dimensions? Good, because I’ve got a collection of steampunk short fiction to transport you to other worlds. The steam and clockwork-powered robots in these stories range from evil to enchanting, from sentient beings to human-piloted machines of mass destruction. The one thing they all have in common is being highly entertaining.
The Mark V Eleganté by Nelson Stanley
The Mark V Eleganté is a fantastic audio short over at Gallery of Curiosities. It’s set around an insanely dangerous race of massive steampunk contraptions where the only rule is that anything goes, and stuff gets smashed up worse than when the Hulk comes to town. The main character has a memorable voice, and the narrator fits him so perfectly that I can’t imagine anyone else reading it. The story manages to be both super fun and really tragic at the same time, and you should definitely give it a listen.
If you like podcasts and steampunk in general, Gallery of Curiosities is a delightful little corner of the internet, and you won’t regret checking out the other stories they’ve published. Continue reading Spectacular Steampunk Short Stories
You know the feeling of finishing a good book? You loved it but end up depressed that it’s over, longing to spend more time with the characters.
If I did my job right, that’s the feeling you got at the end of The Ghost Machine. And do I have good news for you.
The Braden Banshee, a short story set after the end of The Ghost Machine, is available for free in the latest issues of Mirror Dance Fantasy Magazine. You can read the whole thing online here.
The basic premise is that Ella, working as a spirit medium after everything that happened in The Ghost Machine, is hired not to do a seance but to banish a banshee to prevent the death its wail foretells. There are plot twists, steampunk machinery, and ghosts, of course. I hope those of you who liked The Ghost Machine will enjoy another gothic adventure with Ella Rosenfeld. Continue reading Free Short Story: The Braden Banshee
You mustn’t talk about the stairs.
There they stand, surrounded by nothing but forest, pristine as the day they were built. No sign remains of any other structure around them, no ruins of long forgotten buildings. They look… wrong. They feel wrong. Bad things happen if you get too close. Horrible things.
You must never, ever ever talk about them.
Thirty-four of today’s best up and coming writers provide wonderfully unique interpretations inspired by the urban legends of the Internet age. Tales range from science fiction to fantasy, horror to mystery, and one writer even penned a romance!
But you must never tell anyone about the stairs!
Last year, I came across a call for short story submissions about stairs in the woods, the urban legend of creepy stairs standing alone in the middle of a forest. Inspiration struck, and I wrote a story about Ella and Viktor from The Ghost Machine. Set after the events of the novel, it features a mysterious staircase that’s the center of ghostly happenings, and–well, you’ll just have to read it to find out. 😉 Continue reading Announcing the Secret Stairs Anthology
It’s that time again: time for another edition of the best superhero short fiction from around the web. Here are four free short stories to kick off your week with (and if you like these, catch up on my first and second lists).
La Gorda and the City of Silver
Written by Sabrina Vourvoulias and narrated by Sandra Espinoza, La Gorda and the City of Silver is a brilliant story about luchador vigilantes in Guatemala. Though it ventures into some dark territory, it’s heart-warming and uplifting overall, and there’s a lot of humor in the main character’s voice. You can read it at Podcastle, but I recommend listening to the audio version in the podcast on the same page, because the narrator is absolutely perfect. This is one of those stories that stayed with me after finishing it, so I whole-heartedly recommend giving it a try.
Last Stand for Lucifer’s Legion
Last Stand for Lucifer’s Legion by D.K. Latta is about superheroes in WWII and feels like it was ripped straight from an old pulp magazine. I liked the mix of American and Canadian superheroes on the team, and overall, it’s just a good action/adventure story. Fans of golden age comics should definitely check it out at Crimson Streets.
Lazarus and the Amazing Kid Phoenix
This story by Jennifer Giesbrecht features people getting superpowers after near-death experiences (or after dying and coming back, depending on your interpretation). It’s well-written and poignant, and the POV is so excellent that you can hear the main character talking even if you don’t listen to the audio version. It’s not a feel-good story, though, and it left me with a melancholy feeling at the end. But it does this really cool thing interspacing comic scripts between the main story and addresses a lot of deep questions and themes. You can find it in Issue 86 of Apex Magazine.
When the Devil Drives
Written by Melinda Snodgrass (and edited by George R. R. Martin of Game of Thrones fame), When the Devil Drives is set in the Wild Cards universe, which means it automatically has amazing world-building and a wealth of cool concepts to play with. A mystery where the protagonist has to clear his own name when he’s suspected of murder, it stars a morally gray main character who stays likable through his dry humor and relationship with his family. The whole thing can be read at Tor.com.
Want more? Check out my superhero webserial Fight Crime! (A Love Story).