A item of trivia which will not assist you in breaking into my Twitter account: Tiger Tiger is my wife’s favourite ice cream flavour. I bring this up because it’s summer; it has no bearing whatever on the story I’m releasing today.
What does have some bearing upon it is the seventy-fifth anniversary of D-Day. I found myself writing a story set in the European theatre of operations given the amount of attention the war was getting. Tiger on My Back is (mostly) outside my usual line of thing, but I did what I wanted with it and I hope you enjoy it. It’s technically horror, but it’s low-key, non-cosmic, personal stuff… and to be honest, given the setting, it’s extremely restrained.
I say mostly because there’s a small hint at the end of something that might not be all in the narrator’s mind. I had toyed with the idea of inflating that hint, but… well, they say “kill your darlings” but occasionally one gets to live without even frivolous cosmetic surgery.
A flash fiction to mark… well, the start of local spring. Between drought and persistently chilly weather, the trees here have only just begun to unfurl their leaves.
There is nothing, really, particularly thematic to connect nature’s unclenching with Cow’rin, Tim’rous, apart from it being at its base a love story, and we’re told one’s fancy turns toward love at this time of year.
I should also mention that it involves (possible) insanity and (possible) imposture of humanity. All packed into a teeny little flash fiction.
Good heavens, I let the whole of February slip past without posting a story. It was a rather distracting month on The Regular Job, and when I was thinking about writing, I was either doing it or submitting it to other people. It’s also a short month, despite having lasted a subjective seventeen weeks.
Let me not let another month slide past, though. Like the previous story, this one is about travel– I understand there’s something called March Break for some people, and because I write horror I’m here to spoil it for them with a look at the Screening Process.
It’s definitely winter. It is, unusually, less winter at the moment here than it is on pretty much the entire east coast of North America, but even here it’s winter enough to make one think of warmer times and places.
This coincides with a little story I ran out in response to a prompt which appeared last week on the Facebook Group which CBC Books keeps to support their Canada Writes program. Let me show it to you:
Now, Canada Writes is aimed primarily at literary fiction, which is not what I do. There are those who argue that any fiction is necessarily speculative, otherwise it’s stuff that happened and thus not fiction, but I bow to the common separation of literary from genre. However, this doesn’t mean I won’t occasionally drop my kind of stuff on the table there, when I don’t think it will cause too much upset.
I was pleased enough with the effect that blatting something directly onto Facebook produced that I’ve decided to polish it a very little and present it here as On a Beach.
Dutch is not the equal of German when it comes to menacingly long compound words, but sometimes it offers up a good’un.
Today is the festival of St. Nicholas, familiarly Sinterklaas to the Dutch, when good kids get a present and bad kids get threatened with abduction to Spain, because we’re still upset about the Thirty Years War and colonialism. We won’t, to avoid roaring arguments about racism versus cultural heritage, think too hard about St. Nick’s sidekick who does the abducting. Let’s just imagine a regional variant of Krampus and leave it at that.
ANYWAY, by way of observing Sinterklaasje and honouring my own paternal heritage, and to also nod to the British seasonal tradition of a ghost story, I’m posting Wassail today. Keep warm, as the sun prepares for its bounce off the southern limit of its yearly wobble, and if you have a sufficiency of bounty please share it with your fellows.
I am once again inspired in my own direction by the… seasonal?… decor of the White House. This year’s is a little closer to conventionally festive than last year’s, but it’s still a little odd. If it weren’t, it wouldn’t be something I’d feel the need to handle.
Back at the beginning of a summer, I heard of a contest being run by Owl Canyon Press, for their 2018 Short Story Hackathon. It was open as far as genre went, and had a fairly interesting set up. The story could only be fifty paragraphs long, but the contestants could only write forty-eight. The first and last were provided, and were not to be amended in any way. To keep people from turning it into a very tall, slender flash fiction, there was also a requirement that paragraph be of a minimum number of words. I imagine that an urge to keep from padding that word count with “umm, well, you see, errr” led to the final restriction, which demanded that there be no directly quoted speech. One could write He began the opening oration from Shakespeare’s Henry V but He took a deep breath and said, “Oh, for a muse of fire…” would be a disqualification.
The prize was publication, and an invitation to attend a shindig… even in a small town with a somewhat mysterious name. Well, heck, I like shindigs and getting published, and there was no entry fee, so I joined something like nine hundred other writers in offering a story.
I did not win!
Given the size of the field, and the relative infrequency of any given writer impressing any given editor, this is not unexpected. I do not mourn, nor tend a bruised ego. Indeed, I built a silver lining into this whole affair. Even as I was writing the story, I resolved that if it failed to capture the prize, I would not put it into the submission carousel, but I would directly pass it along to the readers of this enterprise.
So, here we are. Prolonging the Inevitable is a bit of a frolic in the region of weird that butts up against both fantasy and horror. It is, ironically enough, a bit of contemplation on what the real nature of life’s defeats might be. Remember the old saying– every time a door closes, the things outside start wriggling down the chimney.
But the world does not like too much joy in it. Thus, some grudge-bearing (I assume) terrestrial tetrapod did the hacking equivalent of putting a shotgun to the back of the head of AE‘s online facility. The site went down so soon after I sent back the edits that I thought I might have been to blame for it, and they weren’t able to even explain to the world what happened for weeks. That explanation was the beginning of a very long road to getting back online.
The return has been accomplished– a soft launch, at the moment, which I assume means “Sound the trumpets! Release the doves!” major official re-launch is in the near future… but I can’t wait for that because I’ve been waiting almost two years to say aloud that I have had a story published by AE!
As I did with my last external publication, I’m going to put a link in the sidebar for… a while… to make sure it’s accessible. I will also, as with the Pseudopodannouncement last spring, express how amazed I am to find myself one of such a company of writers. There’s some very good writing there, and I urge anyone who goes there from here to linger, to wander through the stacks, and examine some of the other work, because your time will be rewarded with enrichment.
For my part, I’m going to have a long lie-down. All this jumping up and down, squealing with unalloyed glee, is rather tiring.