Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Celebrating the Births . . . Jane Fletcher and Brett J. Talley

Jane Fletcher (Born 28 August 1956)
    Fletcher has several published fantasy / fantasy-romance novels to her credit and is a Golden Crown Literary Society award-winning writer.  She has several short stories available for online reading, many, or most, of which are fantasy.

At Author's Page
• "Never Leave Me"
     "The voice was as real as a slap across the face, and so loud it woke me from deep sleep. I jolted up and sat, staring into the darkness, certain that it had been Nikki's voice. My skin was slick with sweat, cold and clammy. A pounding heartbeat thudded at the back of my skull, signalling the unmistakeable start of a headache."

• "Queen of Magpies"
      "The town of Lansberg was every bit as squalid as I remembered. The stench of open sewers assailed me even before I'd got within a mile of the city walls. As I walked along the road I could see the impoverished huddle of buildings squeezed around the rocky outcrop. Perched on the highest point was the splendour of the King's palace, like a jewel atop a dung-heap."

• "In the Proverbial"
      “So the mage came back to the castle… no… it wasn’t the mage, it was the prince… no it wasn’t. What I said first… it was the mage… he went into the inn and said…

• "The Grave Robber"
     "What he did buy was the services of a dozen men who looked as if they were capable of ripping your arms off and having trouble remembering why they shouldn't. All the more worrying, since they looked to be the sort of fighters who don't like using bows and arrows because they can't even remember which part to hold onto and which part to let go of. "

• "The Moment"
     "The usual people were on display in the Crown and Key, occupying their usual spots. The combinations that conspicuously were or weren't talking to each other did not appear to have altered since the week before. Dave was in charge of the drama behind the bar at his high-camp best. The same old songs on the jukebox were competing with the hubbub of the same old voices."

• "The Leap"
    "The sums wouldn't add up, no matter which way they were stacked. Long, painful hours of juggling numbers were merely a futile paper-chase. The two people scouring the ledgers finally sat back and stared at each other, frustrated and angry. White-haired Perrin, the clerk, was the one to state the obvious conclusion. 'Some people are going to starve this winter.' The lines on his face looked deeper than usual, etched by more than mere age."

• "A Thief's Revenge"
     "Sea air does awful things to masonry. This is a mixed blessing from the point of view of climbing. There is no shortage of handholds, but the stone has a nasty tendency to crack when you put your weight on it. The problem was compounded by the poor quality limestone used when building the upper sections of the temple. It had been a very short-sighted economy. Before long, bits would be dropping off, bits like me. And I was now high enough that I'd have plenty of time to curse the penny-pinching builder on the way down."

• "The Golden Dove"
     "As a base for a criminal empire, Harrenwick had one very serious drawback that occurred to me within five minutes of my arrival. It certainly was not the spot I'd have chosen. I summed up my reservations to Ned as soon as we met. 'The town's a piss-poor dump and there's nothing in the place remotely worth stealing. Why set up shop here?'"

• "Widowmaker"
     "Alison was disheartened to see Geoff Baker's posh new car precede her battered old one into the staff parking lot. She had been unaware that the supervisor was on duty that night. However, after a mere ten days working at the museum, the intricacies of the duty rota were still largely a mystery to her."

Brett J. Talley (born 28 August 1981)
      A young, up-and-coming writer, Tarley has two novels to his credit, his 2011 debut That Which Should Not Be (Lovecraftian horror - nominated for a Bram Stoker Award) and The Void (Science Fiction / Horror).

At Author's Page:
• "Last Year's Eggnog" Horror.
     "He wasn’t looking for it when he found it: the old tavern with the green gabled roof, slung low over an impressive red door of what he thought was oak. He didn’t remember seeing the place before, but as he looked around the snow-covered streets and sputtering lamps, he wasn’t exactly sure where he was"

• "The Chamber" Horror.
     "Yes, it was a good dream.  But then the dream changed.  There was a booming sound, like the sound of a bell tolling, one boom after another, starting in the distance, but growing louder with each strike, until finally, there were no more."

• "Latimer’s Candle" Horror.
    "Paul Ryder cut his aft thrusters, allowing his inertia to carry him the final few clicks to the waiting carrier.  He watched as it rotated slowly in space, the centrifugal force creating the illusion of artificial gravity for those within."

• "The Wind Passes Like A Fire" Horror.
     "When the wind comes to Los Angeles, it blows dry . . . and hot.  It creeps up quietly.  Sneaking up behind you, like a thief or an old friend.  Sometimes it tickles your senses, caresses your neck."

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