Canis Major

You’re tired of being alone and afraid and once, just once, you want to hold someone and not be afraid of their fear.

Canis Major originally appeared in the April 1996 Tomorrow Magazine appears in my Tales Told ‘Round Celestial Campfires anthology. You can also read the separate ebook singlet at Canis Major: A Tale Told ‘Round Celestial Campfires.

The story is a simple one. Imagine you’re a WereMan, human when the moon is full, a beast when not, and your father died before explaining your gift to you. Your fully human mother did the best she could but couldn’t really understand your needs.
Now you’re tired of being alone and afraid and once, just once, you want to hold someone and not be afraid of their fear.

The song lyrics in Canis Major are used courtesy of John Pousette-Dart and Debbie Rose, from The Pousette-Dart Band’s “Next to You.”

Creator and above level members can download the Tales PDF version here


Canis Major

Iggie dropped from the tree onto the fawn, his weight breaking its two hind legs. It tried to run anyway but its forelegs only clawed up the moist, dark forest floor, clouding Iggie’s thoughts as the rich earth aroma wafted into him. Iggie didn’t want the animal to suffer and bit into its throat, tearing out esophagus, jugular and various muscles. Still the fawn tried to escape. Iggie grew nauseous by the mix of his needs and the fawn’s attempts to break free. This wasn’t what he wanted. His father had told and taught him to make his kills quick and clean, to spare creatures any pain. Iggie curled one forepaw into a fist and punched through the fawn’s ribs, crushing the heart. The fawn stopped moving and Iggie, gazing up at the dark, star filled sky, let the blood trickle down his muzzle, dribble into his nostrils, and cover his fur from flews to belly as he dined.

***

TALL, HANDSOME, good build, good humor, able to stand on a rocking ship with my hands at my sides. Brown hair, brown eyes, black beard, white skin. Have been mistaken for a brown bear when I bathe in mountain streams, well educated (past 6th grade), still have all my teeth but not all my marbles. Looking for a well-rounded, buxom woman. Buxom men need not respond. Applicants should know by this that brains are more important than brawn. Dinners, dancing, demitasse, and dramamine. Send resume and salary history.

The ad sat on Iggie’s desk for two months. The first month he’d written it by hand and crossed out several portions. The second month he’d typed it into his computer, made several more edits, and returned to the forest.

He stared at the screen for some twenty minutes this time, ran the spelling checker over it four times, read the ad backwards to check for additional misspellings, and printed it out.

He lifted the paper in his hand, his eyes examining the grain of the page as his fingers felt the texture. A mirror on the wall next to his desk echoed his movements. All the walls in his house had mirrors: mirrors framed in gold, mirrors framed in window panes, hand-held mirrors, mirrors simple and ornate; every room had at least one. He gazed into this one, opened his eyes wide and stared into them. Large, brown eyes stared back. Eyes a little too large, a little too far apart, with pupils a little too large. He rocked back and his focus changed to his nose, too thin on top with nostrils too wide on the bottom. He smiled, his face growing light and his lips parting to show strong, even, white teeth. He abruptly opened his mouth until it became a mucus laden cavern in the mirror, leaned closer, and inspected his teeth, one by one, finally running his tongue over them like a barber testing a razor’s edge, and closing his mouth. Next he studied his narrow, dark-skinned, clean-shaven face, the thick brown-black hairs framing his high forehead and peering out from his open collared shirt.

He checked the calendar beside the mirror. A red line cut through most of the month save the current week plus a day on either side.

“Today is Friday,” he told his empty house. “I could submit the ad online but online readers want things too quickly.” Iggie wanted a woman who still read print. “Print readers still take their time.”

He flipped months on the calendar. “It’ll be a month before this even sees print. Another month or two before any responses arrive. March, April, May. Maybe a first date in June? It would nice to have someone during the cold months.” He shuddered with the thought. Someone to hold him? Someone to warm him?

New life burst through old snow outside his window. He glanced down the his hallways and sighed.

He folded the ad into thirds, included a check to cover its cost, sealed the envelope and walked the several miles down the mountain into town.


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My apologies

Long ago and far away I received a letter (shows how long ago this was) from AJ Budrys congratulating me on getting my short story, Cymodoce, nominated for the Nebula (1995).

Flattered, honored, and I mention it when it seems appropriate.

 
Someone wrote me they couldn’t find any record of my nomination.

First, Wow! It’s important enough to you you looked it up? I’m flattered and honored all over again.

But it did make me curious. I emailed SFWA

Is there a list of Nebula first round nominees available? I remember receiving a letter (an indication of how long ago this was) from AJ Budrys re a story of mine, Cymodoce (Tomorrow Magazine, 1995), congratulating me on being a first round nominee.
Does SFWA/Nebula keep first-round nominee records? And if so, do they go that far back?

and just now (3 Jun 20, 12:38pmET) received

Yes, we do keep records. Your story did receive a recommendation listed in the Nebula Awards Report, but this was not considered being a “first round nominee.” It required ten recommendation to make the preliminary ballot.

Hence I apologize for the confusion.

And you know what?

AJ LIKED MY STUFF ENOUGH TO RECOMMENDED IT!

Yeah. I’m good with that.

I’ll take it until something better comes along.

(and i will be updating my marketing materials as time allows (wondering if i can get away with calling it a typo…))

Sabine Rossbach’s Happy Hour – 14 May 2020 Interview (wherein she waxes wonderfully about “Empty Sky”)

Sabine Rossbach is the wonderfully talented Luxembourg based actress and voiceover artist who’s blessing me with readings from my books. You can see the first one, a reading from my short story Cymodoce, here and on YouTube

 
You can hear the full interview on the ARA Happy Hour podcast which included several notables: Sandra Schmit, who started coronaliterature.org,

 
a journal entry by writer Jess Bauldry, a book promo and discussion with actress and voice talent Sabine Rossbach and a chat with author Jenna Liberatore, who shares a chapter in her new book.

And now, here’s Sabine!

 

I’m Arm Casted by Armand Rosamilia

Want to hear me rolling with the punches? Give a listen to Arm Cast Podcast: Episode 341 – Carrabis.

 
I’m fascinated, listening to it. We talked a bit about the business Susan and I had, my past writing, re-evaluating past writing, practicing my writing, learning to describe something in five words instead of fifty, taking courses, reading books, perfecting my craft, and applying my research talents to writing good books.

No, really, we did.

And then we talk about the publishing world that existed when I wrote trade-technicals (late 1980’s-early 1990’s) and how it is now. Specifically, what’s changed and what’s not.

Give a listen and let us know what you think.

(and thanks)

Allegory eZine Published “The Boy Who Loved Horses”

I’m honored, I’m flattered, I’m thrilled, and I hope everyone enjoys reading it.

The Boy Who Loved Horses is based on time spent working in the Kentucky Appalachians. Truly beautiful country with truly wonderful people who understood the meaning of “community.”

I am fortunate to be accepted by them.

I was born in a town like this. Mine’s on the eastern ridge and closer to Raleigh. My town had the same dirt roads, the same one-room wooden church, the same old store where you asked for things instead of getting them yourself, the same people but with different faces, the same old men carrying coon rifles, girls getting married when they’re thirteen and younger, having kids before they’re through being kids themselves, the same sense of what’s ours and what’s not. I left my town and got educated. Made it into the extension service. Decided to come back and help others in towns like mine. My education didn’t take all the hill out of me, though. Knew enough to carry a gun in case I got too close to a still. But it did take some of the hill away. I forgot about towns like this.

 
Take a read and let me know what you think.

The Boy Who Loved Horses is also in my Tales Told ‘Round Celestial Campfires anthology.