• “The Last” — Advent Ghosts 2014

    Photo by P. Koskela, Finland

    Photo by P. Koskela, Finland

    Earth was silent, dark, dense beneath the enormous frame.

    Heartbeats grew further apart, the slight tremor of ice shards like glass in long lashes and shaggy coat. A dozen bitter winters, this the first when it is too much to stand.

    Thump.

    An eyelid raises, cracking its frozen seam to see a bright line in greenish-yellow against the sky’s ink.

    No sound or scent of footed life, only the patient gathering scrapes of talon and wing.

    The eye is open, the chest is now silent. He draws a breath.

    The circle tightens. The sky’s line glows.

    One soul rises, absolved.

    ###


    This is an exactly 100-word flash fiction piece for a tradition of writing ghost stories on Christmas Eve. We acknowledge a sinful and hopeless world, and welcome the dawn in full awareness that Christmas day brings us light.

    Advent Ghosts 100 Word Storytelling is put on by Loren Eaton at I Saw Lightning Fall. See other entries there.

  • River Town Holiday #buzznuggets!

    Following are some of my favorite moments from the 6 stories that make up the book in which I have some short fiction, River Town. It’s getting some nice word of mouth and social media energy. Any part readers of Esse Diem would like to play in that energy is more than welcome!

    Oh. and there’s this. River Town makes a nice holiday gift . . . You can buy it here. And if money is tight, you can follow the authors on Twitter. That’s like gold to us some days, too!

    Hayden Lowe may or may not have killed a man out west. No one seems to know why he’s back in River Town, though his friend, Lillian Conley, is keeping a private journal full of clues. Will Captain JD Dawson lose his beloved sternwheeler, the Miss Jayne Marie, in a winner-takes-all bet? Julia Hubbard has a secret project, Andrew Wilson is plotting on the dusty streets of River Town, and what about that strange Dame Roxalana? There is more to Roxie than anyone is willing to say. The men in the coal mines around River Town seem to be developing a mysterious condition that no one can explain, yet everyone is whispering about it. Before all is said and done, each of these characters will intersect in unexpected ways. The resolutions are as suspenseful as they are satisfying. River Town is a collection of short stories set in 1890s West Virginia. The combined work of six different authors, the tales range from adventure to romance, from intrigue to fantasy. Each story stands alone, yet together they take readers to a time along the Kanawha River just after the Civil War when families were still struggling to recover and before the railroad came through the mountains. The river was the center of everything.

    Every storyteller has his own style, her own approach, and a unique way of operating a character. To see the same characters driven by different people was like seeing the same person from other perspectives. The characters’ personalities were fuller and better developed. I got to know them better than I could have if they were all written by one author. I was hooked.

    – editor/Author Eric Douglas

    Rufus had a lot to say, but he’d only say it if he trusted you. That was the way of River Town in general.

    – Author Eric Douglas

    From “Hayden’s Return” by Katharine Armstrong Herndon (@kaherndon)

    Hide in the woods?
    For a minute he wondered if the Captain could get him off the boat without being seen. But then he remembered Jack had seen him, and the old woman, and probably someone else he hadn’t even recognized.
    It was too late for hiding.

     

    From “They Hold Down the Dead” by Elizabeth Damewood Gaucher (@ElizGaucher)

    The two adventurers walked in silence for a few minutes. Then Hayden said, “You’re brave. I thought you were. I really came up here to find out if you want to see something I found, but it’s not for cowards. Do you want to see it?”
    Lillian realized that, no, she really did not want to see something like that, but it was too late now.
    “I’m not a coward, she said. “What is it?”

     

    From “Racing Miss Jayne Marie” by Eric Douglas (@BooksbyEric)

    Glancing up from his log book, JD saw Winthrop, the owner of the Miss Jayne Marie, standing on the dock with his personal secretary, Phiillips . . . “Phillips” was all JD ever heard Winthrop call the man. JD had never heard Phillips speak.

     

    From “Being True in River Town” by Jane Siers Wright (@JaneSiersWright)

    Dawson nodded. He was in Julia’s debt and it was clear to him she was about to call in the favor.
    “I have another such student who needs to reach Parkersburg in order to catch the B&O train to Harper’s Ferry.”
    “Why Parkersburg and the B&O? She could go south to Beckley over land to catch a train from there.”
    “A southern route would not be the most convenient for this passenger, Captain.”

     

    From “Hearing the Past” by Shawna Christos (@ywrite) of James River Writers, “Hearing the Past”

    His hands shook as he hunted for the latch. Andrew tried to remember if it had made any sound when he entered ahead of his captor.
    He couldn’t remember but it didn’t matter. He had realized there would be no turning back. None for the man his father had hired, and none for Andrew on his present course.

     

    From “Wail” by Geoffrey Cameron Fuller (@GeoCamFuller)

    At his oak desk in Mr. Winthrop’s house — for the last time, in all likelihood — Francis Treet Phllips swings the ledger closed and runs his palm across the aged leather. A full accounting. The pieces are all arrayed in their places, each and every one. To Mr. Winthrop, the game begins tonight, after the race, but Phillips knows it is already finished.)

     

    Enjoy these snippets? Read more here: http://essediemblog.com/2013/08/14/river-town-buzznuggets/