Together! Live and On Stage! Phoebe Darqueling, Empress of Steampunk, and Joseph Carrabis, Boring and Dull! With Special Guest Stars Michelle and Geoff Genge Joins Us!

and oh, what a show it promises to be!

Phoebe Darqueling, Michelle and Geoff Genge, and I are doing an author meet&greet at the River Bend Bookshop on Sunday, 10 Nov 2019, from 11:30am-2:30pm. If you’re reading this blog, you probably know something about me.

But what about The Mighty Phoebes?

Phoebe Darqueling is the pen name of a globe trotting vagabond who currently hangs her hat in Freiburg, Germany. In her “real life” she writes curriculum for a creativity competition for kids in MN and edits academic texts for non-native English speakers. Though her first love is Steampunk, she dabbles in a variety of speculative fiction genres. Folks can get a free copy of her reference book, The Steampunk Handbook, by signing up for her newsletter. Her novels include Riftmaker: A Steampunk Portal Fantasy and the Mistress of None series. You can find her short stories in the Chasing Magic, The Queen of Clocks and Other Steampunk Tales, Harvey Duckman Presents Vol. 2 and Vol. 3 anthologies right now, with upcoming stories in Taught by Time and Cogs, Crowns, and Carriages coming soon. She’s an equal opportunity Star Trek, Star Wars, Doctor Who, and Firefly fan, but her favorite pastime is riffing on terrible old movies like they do on Mystery Science Theater 3000.

She’s also one of the many wonderful, astute people who interviewed me.

And also Fantasy&Sci-Fi Life and Writing Dynamic Duo Michelle and Geoff Genge!

Geoff and Michelle Genge are a dynamic writing duo who live and raise their two amazing children deep in the woods of beautiful Prince Edward Island, Canada (and i’m jealous). Each brings unique talents and skill sets combined with a shared love of literature and great story-telling. They met in school and fell in love while travelling the wonders of the ancient world.

Michelle has been writing in her work-world for over twenty years and is excited to enter the creative fiction realm. Geoff brings his passions for comic adventure, classic sci-fi, and the weird realm of the paranormal fringe. Together they are embarking to create their own great escapist stories and share them with the world.

So come meet us and be greeted by us at the River Bend Bookshop! It’ll be fun!

Empty Sky Chapter 4 – Joni Levis

Joni has boyfriend problems

(final edit before the proofreaders (he said). You can read the previous version here.)

Read Empty Sky Chapter 3 – Al Carsons

Creator and above level members can download a PDF of the first four chapters to read offline

Joni Levis rolled over and buried her head against Virgil’s pillow. Still asleep, she settled herself into the bed and inhaled deeply, pulling in his aromas, his shampoo and sweat, and smiled.

She felt a trill, a tingling contraction, a brief muscle spasm in her vagina. A moment later there was another quiver and she half opened her eyes. Awake, the contractions became more immediate and demanding. She looked at the large, red numerals on her clock: 4:35AM.

Fucking time.

Virgil always woke her up within a few minutes of 4:35AM for a little lovemaking. It didn’t matter if she was turned away, on her back, on her stomach, curled in the covers, facing him or what; always the gentle nudge, the liquid parting, and his lips would be on her, his penis in her. Busy-busy-busy for a few minutes and then asleep once again.

She reached for him and her hand closed on empty sheets. Her eyes opened wide. No Virgil and the bathroom was dark.


She turned on the lamp beside her bed. His clothes were gone. The only part of him remaining in her Boston BackBay condo was his scent on her sheets and his necklace around her neck.

“Fuck you, Virgil.”

Her eyes darted around the bedroom and stopped on her reflection in the mirror. “Ugh.” She turned away, pulled her nightshirt down — again! — and crossed her arms over her chest, her body reminding her of a little girl’s that had suddenly sprouted too much boob. She stopped wearing t-shirts with sayings on them because the punchlines were always hidden in the shade.

She pulled her knees up under the sheets and held them tight against her, flattening her chest and checked herself again. “Ugh.”

Her hand reached to her nightstand for a cigarette and came up empty.

“Guess today wasn’t the day to quit smoking.”

She’d replaced the ashtray with bowl of cherry Tootsie-Roll Pops. Rocking slightly, she unwrapped one, crinkled the wrapper, tossed it down on Virgil’s side of the bed, and sucked hard on the round head of candy as it entered her mouth.

“What’re you going to tell me this time? You going to tell me you had to go feed your dog? You going to say your friend, ‘Sarah’, couldn’t take care of things tonight and you had to get home?”

She took the lollipop out of her mouth and jabbed it like a pointer at the vacant side of the bed. “You know, people have been telling me to hire a private detective to find out about you. I’m thinking about it, you know.”

The necklace’s cheap stone pendent slithered between her breasts.

“And this fucking necklace.”

She laughed. Virgil called it a fucking necklace because “I like you wearing it when we fuck.”

She lifted the stone to her lips. “Come in, Virgil. Six-O-Seven-Niner on the old Ten-Four, good buddy.”

She snapped it off and threw it across the room. It banged against the wall, shattered, and let out a dying squeal.

“What the?” She retrieved it and held it under a light. A tiny circuit board grew dark. “You bastard. I was kidding. You fucking bastard.”

Another twinge. This one deeper, higher. In her womb. “I’m a month late, Virgil. Did you hear that? Is that why you left? You always seem to know these things. If I have it, will it be a lying little bastard like you?”

Outside and several stories below, a tractor-trailer headed east through Boston along Interstate-90. A car horn screamed and the big truck’s airhorn drowned it out briefly. The car horn became stationary while the truck’s horn continued on. “Yeah, that’s right,” she nodded. “That’s exactly right.” She reached again to her nightstand, opened the drawer and lifted out a vibrator. Black letters on its white side read “DaVinci’s Personalé Vibrateur“.

“Fuck you. Just fuck you.” She put the wet, sticky lollipop on the nightstand, turned the vibrator on, and shut off the light. “Fuck you.”

The vibrator quaked between her legs and her bedroom door opened. She walked through into her parents’ house in Denver.

Her mother walked out of the kitchen wearing clothes and a hairdo straight out of the early 1990’s. It was like watching a home video. Joni kept looking for her twin sister and brothers to enter the frame.

Her mother held a broom and swept between Joni’s legs.



Her mother turned into Shakespeare complete with long hair, ruffled collar, puffy shirt, tights, beard and everything. Shakespeare pointed out the door Joni had entered. “Out, foul thing.”

Joni walked out the door into heavy rain. No, not rain. A shower head hung directly over her in the sky. Water poured down but only wet her groin. She reached down. She was soaked. There was something else, something hard and unyielding.

“What the…” She woke quickly, the dildo still in her hand, her body shaking with the last pulses of her orgasm.

Something moved at her window.

She saw it again. A black silhouette, like a small man’s shadow. It walked through her window and up into the sky.


Dr. Honey Fitz watched for reactions. “So you say this is the first time you’ve had this dream, and you think it has something to do with your boyfriend?”

Joni sat in a plush, comfortable highback chair that belonged in a wealthy family’s sitting room, not a psychiatrist’s office.

But this was McLean Hospital, and this was Belmont, Massachusetts, and Dr. Fitz got three-hundred dollars an hour to sit on her skinny, old, Boston Brahmin ass and listen, so the furniture had better be damn nice. For that matter, the whole damn office looked like it should be a wealthy family’s sitting room. Everything matched: the chair Dr. Fitz sat in while she listened to Joni, the dark rosewood desk and chair beside it, the oriental rug that hushed the steps of anyone entering her office, even the painting of her namesake, Boston’s own Mayor Honey Fitz, smiling benevolently as his great-granddaughter listened to secrets he would’ve used to make himself rich. Hell, even the coat rack matched the chairs and desk. How many places did you know did that?

Joni stared out the window to the beautiful lawns and sculpted arborage guarding the hospital’s eastern wing from the citizenry beyond. “I don’t like calling him my boyfriend. He has a name. Virgil. The Virge.”

“You’re objectifying him.”

“I object to him, period.”

Dr. Fitz flipped through some notes. “Before you referenced him as your boyfriend.”

“Things change.”

“What’s changed?”

Joni’s thumbs spun the rings on her fingers like a magician practicing coin tricks. She pursed her lips and continued to stare out the window.


Joni ran a slim hand down the green silk of her blouse as if to straighten the pleats. Would her bosom grow larger or shrink to nothing if she had the child, or even if she waited too long before aborting it? Her mother’s breasts had shrunk to hanging prunes. But she’d breastfed four children. Her sister’s boobs had ballooned to the point she couldn’t go anywhere without men and women tripping on curbs or running into store displays when she walked past.

Funny. Her mother had breasts and both she and her sister had boobs.

Boobs. Tits. Knockers. Masougas. Momboes. Hangers. Hooters. Kleevcos.

That last one came from a website Virgil talked about.

“I’m pregnant.”

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I got D. Liebered (and I enjoyed it!)

(it was fantasitical)

Urban Fantasy author D. Lieber interviewed me recently regarding magicks, characters, and books I’ve written.

Talk about fun!

Let’s start with this exchange:
Q: What kind of spell can I get for you (or your character) today?
Hmm…few ever offer me their magicks, usually they’re asking magicks of me. What magick would I be gifted with? Le Guin showed us that asking for a thing doesn’t put boundaries on how that thing is achieved.
I will ask that you weave a spell that lets all asking of magick to know all that happens for that magick to be, then giving them the choice of still asking or not. (wow, what a good piece of storyfodder, that!)

And it gets better.

I should also add that D. Lieber is an author after my own heart; “D. Lieber is an urban fantasy author who writes stories she wants to read.” so similar to my Twitter “I’ve decided to spend the rest of my life writing things I’d enjoy reading. Who knows? You might enjoy them, too.”

So give a read, let us know what you think, and thanks.

Morningsong’s in Harvey Duckman Presents Volume 3!

(and the editor loved it)

No, really, it’s true and nobody’s as amazed as I am!

You want to know the topper?

Receiving this email from Team Harvey Duckman:

By the way, just wanted to say how much I enjoyed “Morningsong”. In this role I get to read a heck of a lot and sometimes I think I become a bit desensitised and reading/editing becomes ‘the job’ rather than something I do for fun… but something about Morningsong really struck me. It’s a really powerful story. So thank you.

It’s nice to know the cynic in me hasn’t completely killed of all my humanity and occasionally something can still get through that reaches my soul 😉

Yeah, I’m liking it.

And lots of other fine authors are in HDP3 as well.

(subscribers may remember an earlier version of Morningsong

Empty Sky Chapter 3 – Al Carsons

The Big Man’s Dreams

(final edit before the proofreaders (he said). Noticeable rewrites here. You can read the previous version here.

Read Empty Sky Chapter 2 – The Clarity of Night

Creator and above level members can download a PDF of the first three chapters to read offline

Al Carsons’ leathery, calloused palms pushed down on the white, threadbare vinyl of his ’77 Ford F-150 pickup’s benchseat. It crackled as he slid out into the knee-deep, Hallock, Minnesota snow. He liked the crackling, the cold.

He reached back in for his lunchbox and blew a kiss to the empty seat. His lunchbox whacked the gearshift as he lifted it over the front seat rifle mount. He tapped the shift, making sure his old rig was still in gear and wouldn’t slip.

He kept his pickup all these years because of that benchseat; he and Effie could sit side by side and not have to reach over an armrest to give each other a little pat or sneak a little kiss. He brought it home to show her, a long time ago, half a century ago in fact, when he and Effie were just starting out, all shiny new, red with white trim, a five-speed half-ton longbed and they went for a drive, my god did they go for a drive, he with one hand on the wheel and one around her, holding her close, only letting go when he had to shift.

He could drive forever like that. She even joked about it, calling him her “Forever Man.”

He patted the seat where Effie’d sit. She told him they made Charlie that day they went for their first drive in their new pickup. He taught Charlie and Ben how to drive and hunt in that same pickup.

Now, like him, the hinges squeaked a bit.

He closed the door and patted the windshield. “Just you and me now, huh, old girl?”

His green wool pants swished between his thighs as he waded through low drifts, sounding almost like breaths against the shhsing whispers of the falling snow. His black workboots cut a path towards his plow and he thought of explorers in the Arctic. He slowed passing under the maintenance depot’s one streetlight to watch his shadow shift from tracing back to his truck to stretching out towards his plow, all in one step.

Except a little piece of his shadow moved off to the left and stayed as Al moved on.

He liked being called for double-overtime during storms. Storms were great. Especially late fall, early winter storms. A mess of whirling winds, little specks of light bouncing back as his headlights fought the darkness, black night sky slowly gaining color as if slowly gaining sight.

And the cold. Cold that made vinyl crack. Even with the big plow’s defrosters on full he could still see his breath misting at the end of his shift.

And the solitude. Quiet. Nobody to listen to him go on when he talked to the wind, telling Effie what he’d been up to, what he’d done, asking how the boys were and all.

Effie’d gone to that drunk driver five summers back and the two boys, Charlie and Ben, left him, one to a holdup and the other in Afghanistan.

He knew something was wrong when the Death Notification Officer showed up in his Class A’s. He’d seen Ben in his Class A’s once. He and Effie were so proud, their Ben in a parade in his honor, one of our own being deployed to the other side of the world.

Effie kept hugging Ben and messing up his uniform and saying, “If only Charlie were here to see you. He’s so proud of you, Ben, you know he’s smiling down on you waiting for you to catch the football.”

“I know, Ma. I know.”

“And you make sure you come back home to us, you hear?”

“I will, Ma. I will.”

But that drunk driver took Effie and a week later the Death Notification Al’s door and they talked and shook hands and the Death Notification Officer explained that the bomb that took Ben out didn’t really leave enough to ship home but Ben was going to get a proper military funeral just the same and Al shouldn’t worry about anything, Ben was coming home.

When Al couldn’t see the Army car anymore, when it had passed through the fields and trees and into the night, he went to his closet and got out his deer rifle and put one shell in the chamber and locked it in the front seat rifle mount and drove a little west because any further north he’d be in Canada and Al didn’t want to cause any international incidents.

He parked in the morning light, put the rifle over his shoulder and marched up into the tree-covered hills until he found a nice rock he could lean against and watch the sunrise, the muzzle tucked under his chin and his finger ready to push down the trigger.

Greetings! I’m your friendly, neighborhood Threshold Guardian. This is a protected post. Protected posts in the My Work, Marketing, and StoryCrafting categories require a subscription (starting at 1$US/month) to access. Protected posts outside those categories require a General (free) membership.
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