“Comes In Threes” Ebook Release April 27

How are you all feeling? Honestly? Truthfully, I have been better. I’m struggling to go from pandemic survival brain to pre-pandemic planning all the events for my work and museums’ brain. There’s been no time to go from one to the other. I don’t know why I ever thought there would be, but my mind is reeling in place nonetheless. Good news, my family compound is now fully vaccinated. That’s a great relief. Still, I feel sort of numb. I read a great article in the New York Times earlier this very day that described the emotion I’m feeling, “languishing.” It helped me to put a name to it. The article also had some ideas for how to overcome it, but it’s a process. You can read the article here – https://www.nytimes.com/2021/04/19/well/mind/covid-mental-health-languishing.html.

In other news, I do have an exciting announcement. This time next week my latest Ebook collection of short stories is available through Mountain Gap Books. You can preorder Comes In Threes from Amazon now!

Cover art by Jeanne G’Fellers for Mountain Gap Books.

“Two boys. One girl. Three different eras. Three different short stories. One outstanding author. Whether these tales provoke heart-warming feelings or heart-palpitating dread will be up for you to decide.” (I did not write the teaser, but I appreciate the sentiment.)

Lots of things come in threes; courses in a meal, trilogies, primary colors, celebrity deaths.

Fair warning, these are not the happiest of stories, but they are good stories, in my opinion. Some of them, in fact all of them, have their unsettling moments. They also have their moments of triumph. I don’t tend to write happy short stories. I write suspenseful short stories and thought provoking short stories, but the ending is never tied up in a pretty bow. I’m especially excited because this Ebook contains a short story I wrote years ago while going to college at Mars Hill. I wrote it for a class. I’ve loved that story from the moment I wrote it, and I’m so happy it is finally being published.

Here’s a sneak peek from “The Boy on the Red Bicycle.”

The young boy peeked out from behind the wall.  He was only visible for a moment, but it was the third time the man had spotted him.  The sporadic appearances of the boy were the only thing keeping the man’s interest in the here and now.  The company at his table was warm and inviting, but only in the sense that it was required to be so.  The witty banter and conversation topics were old, and the food was by no means spectacular.  It was like every other afternoon he’d spent at the café.  The waiters changed.  The company changed, but never the scene.

            “What do you think, James?” the person across from him asked.

            “That we have every right to do so,” the man replied.  This was a good, solid answer, and it could be used for any question these days.  His company seemed pleased by this, and they responded with the appropriate nod.

            The boy appeared for the fourth time.  James watched him as the conversation stalled with routine progression.  The boy was bolder this time, and he edged himself around the corner.  With quick, stubby fingers, he reached out and tried to snatch some food from the nearest tray.  The boy was not quick enough.  One of the waiters spotted him and called out.  Another waiter hurried over and engulfed the boy’s tiny wrist in his hand.  He shook the boy’s hand until the crust of bread fell from it.  “Oh, let him have it,” James thought.  The waiter smacked the boy for good measure before pushing him out.

            “Go on!  Shew!  Get out of here!” the waiter called.  Satisfied he’d righted the wrong, he returned to his position on the sidelines.

            James watched the small, colorless figure retreat without a fuss.  “Excuse me, but I’m afraid I must adjourn for the afternoon.”  He stood and bowed to the ladies.  There was always someone to bow to.

What happens next? Who is this boy? What is his story? Purchase a copy of the Ebook and find out.

I transformed this short story into a problematic play. One day I’ll fix the play, but this is step one in getting the story out there.

Happy reading!

If you’re “languishing” like me, I hope you can find your way out of it. I’m trying. I’m trying.

Shout Outs Part One!

So, I’ve been trying to write this post for months. I was working on it in February when my computer crashed, and I haven’t made it back to my blog since. Whoops. 2021 has been eventful so far. (Because, why not?) We had two cats that required surgery at the first of the year. Duncan had a tumor removed. Katy had bladder stones that had to be evacuated. Here’s a shot from our kitty convalescence ward.

I’m happy to report that all the cats are doing well right now. We would not have gotten through the surgeries and all the expenes without assistance from our friends and families. In the spirit of lifting others up, I wanted to shine a light on some of my talented friends in the meat of this blog. When good karma comes to you, you should help spread it around. This is by no means a comprehensive list of the talented people I know.

First up, this author and artist is more than a friend, she’s my older sister. Jeanne G’Fellers is probably the first friend I ever had. I am in awe of her skill as an author. I love curling up with one of her books. She’s also the driving force behind Mountain Gap Books. This past year, she returned to her artistic roots and has been making amazing mixed media pieces. I look forward to her homemade cards and books at every birthday and holiday. You can now purchase her oiginal art, along with her books, on her new website! Check it out!

https://www.jgfellerscreative.com/

One of her pieces will be featured on a banner in Founder’s Park in Johnson City for a year! I can’t wait to go and see it and take her picture under it. It’s nice to have exciting moments to look forward to. My sister is also an advocate for the LGBTQ Plus comunity and the disabled creatives community. She is a super star, and I hope one day to be a tenth of the force in the universe she is.

Halloween creation from my sister.
I’m always getting fun stuff like this.

The next creative pair I’m featuring I met in playwriting school at Hollins University. Their friendship helped me get through that program. Since then, we’ve driven to New Jersey for their wedding and will hopefully go on a cruise someday together. Ricky and Dana Young-Howze tackled 2020 with a ferocity that moves mountains. As theatre critics, they turned their talents to reviewing digital shows and shining a spotlight on theatres that tried and succeeded in keeping theatre going, in spite of the pandemic. You can read The Young-Howze Theater Journal here. In addition to being advocates for theatre, they are also advocates for social justice and equity.

In February, they hosted a digital theatre awards show on their YouTube channel. I didn’t see a lot of the shows they reviewed, but I watched the awards show, and it was one of the most uplifiting things I’ve ever seen in my life. It meant so much to the creative artists who have struggled so hard this past year to keep the creative flame alive and pay their bills. You can watch the awards show and Ricky and Dana’s other videos on their YouTube channel. As Dana and Ricky are first to point out, “2020 is the year theatre didn’t die.”

My creative friends on my TV!

My last feature for this blog is Cassandra Snow. They’re an author, theatre owner, and Tarot professional. I met Cassandra in college at a Halloween dance. They were a rabbit. I was Anne Boleyn. We’ve been friends ever since. I have their frst book Queering the Tarot, and I look forward to getting a copy of their second book Queering Your Craft. I really know very little about Tarot reading, but I know they’re a mover and shaker in their field, and I could not be prouder of them. Check out their publications on their website . They also has a Patreon! Cassandra advocates for the LGTBQ Plus community, dsiabled creatives, and modern witchcraft.

I really know the most amazing people, and they inspire me every day. I’ll do another of these blogs to highlight another set. It can easily be a series!

As far as my own writing goes, I am finally getting back into working on my dragon book Flying Upon One Wing. Pandemic fatique is real, and I’ve been hit hard by it recently. My goal is to have that book edited, for like the umpteenth time, by the first of May. I’ll try to post more blogs about that process as it continues. Soon, I’ll have a fun announcement about another release! We had a Mountain Gap Books meeting outside last month, because pandemic, and it was revitalizing to plan out the year. Good things are coming, including vaccines! The entire compound is almost fully vacinated, and that is definitely something to celebrate.

Stay safe! Stay creative!

Mountain Gap meeting essentials.

If you’d like to see me act out historic moments from Jonesborough’s past with my cats and other household objects, check out the “At Home Amateur Museum Theatre” series on the Chester Inn Museum’s YouTube channel.

Mood

I’ll Take Those Odds Part Five and Shelved is Released

So, my goal of writing a story over multiple blogs in order to get myself to blog more frequently, didn’t quite work as originally planned. Oh, well. Hopefully you all enjoyed the story, though. The final part is below. You can read the other four parts in previous blogs. Maybe I’ll do better in 2021? I’m not going to make a New Year’s resolution for it. I’m notoriously bad at those.

In more exciting news, Shelved: Appalachian Resilience Amid Covid-19 was released on December 14. This anthology was specially written and curated during the ongoing pandemic and published by Mountain Gap Books. It features work from some of my favorite Appalachian authors, including Jules Corriere, Jeremy Greco, and Jean Bruce. I have three Haikus and a short story in the anthology. Get your copy today! If you get a copy, make sure to leave a review.

Order here trough Amazon – https://www.amazon.com/Shelved-Appalachian-Resilience-Amid-COVID-19/dp/1732972028/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=shelved+anthology&qid=1609449265&sr=8-1

Shelved is available now!

In terms of my other writing, I finished my Lucifer (TV)/Scooby Doo inspired fanfiction. If you’re interested in reading such things, you can find it HERE.

Now I need to get back to and finish my Stranger Things ghost story sequel I sort of abandoned earlier this year. Apologies to people who were invested in that story. I’m getting back to it.

This year was A LOT obviously, for many people. Most of my writing was fanfiction because it made me happy and was a nice distraction from the dumpster fire all around me. Overall, though, I was very lucky this year. I know 2020 was harder on other people. My main goal in 2021, besides getting my Covid-19 vaccine, is to get back to my own, original writing. No hard, set dates yet, but hopefully I’ll have a new book out sometime in the coming year. When I have dates, I’ll let you all know.

In the meantime, enjoy the end of “I’ll Take Those Odds.”

Stay safe. Stay festive. Happy New Year!

Charlotte only saw Death two more times after that. The final time was years later when she died, but the second time she saw Death was in the summer of 1952. Albert was 34 years old. He was happily married with a child of his own. Little Katherine was the apple of Charlotte's eyes, and she was more than happy to spend her days with her grandchild as Albert worked and Katherine's mother completed her studies.

Polio had been going around the town, and several children had fallen ill. The disease had already crippled one child in the neighborhood and killed another. Katherine hadn't been feeling well, and Charlotte felt that old fear creeping up inside her as she watched her granddaughter try to sleep off her fever. It was a hot day in June, and what little breeze there was lightly blew the curtains through the open windows.

Charlotte looked out the window and that's when she saw Death casually strolling down the street. Their suit was a bright, summery green. Her breath caught in her throat. Without a second thought, and no plan whatsoever, Charlotte threw open the door and ran out into the street. Death's eyes flashed when they saw her, and Charlotte wanted to melt into the ground and disappear. What was she doing out here?

"Why, if it isn't Charlotte Reeves." Death smiled and Charlotte swallowed hard. "To what do I owe the pleasure?"

"Are you here for the Price's little boy?" she asked, her voice less than steady.

"I don't believe that's any of your concern." Death cocked their head. "I gambled with you once, Charlotte, I won't be doing it again. How's Albert?"

"He's well."

"And you seem well," Death observed. "So, someone else must not be."

Charlotte declined to answer. "The Prices love their boy very much."

"Yes, don't they all?" Death continued to stare at her. "Maybe they'll be resourceful and offer me a deal, or a trade? But then again, very few people are as clever or as foolish as you."

The eerie silence grew between them. "Go home, Charlotte Reeves," Death instructed.

On numb feet, Charlotte turned and went into the house. When she looked back out at the street, Death was gone. The following morning, Katherine's fever broke. It had only been a virus. The same morning, the little Price boy was admitted to the hospital and placed in an iron lung. He did not return home.

Charlotte never looked for Death again, until they intentionally came for her.

"And that's the story of why you're still here on this Earth," Death told Albert. "Your mother bought you a hundred years."

Albert's eyes misted over. "My mother loved me so much."

"Yes she did," Death concurred. "She still does."

Albert tried to swallow, but his tongue was too thick. "Did, uh, my mother really best you?"

Death leaned in. "There are two versions to any story, Albert. In one, your mother beats me fair and square. In the other, I made an intentional mistake. Which one do you prefer?"

Albert gave a weak smile. "The first one."

Death nodded their head. "Me, too. Are you ready to go now?"

"Yes. I'd really like to see my Mom again."

Death smiled. "See her you shall." They held out their hand and Albert reached up and took it without a second thought.

End of Story


Thanks for reading! May your New Year be a brighter and better one.

Jonesborough, TN, from the top of East Main Street on a sunny day in June. This was one of my top pictures of the year, according to Instagram.

Spooky Saturday – Haunts and Happenings

Well, it’s only been three months since my last blog post. Oops. I always say I’ll try and do better, and I really want to, but I also know life is REALLY busy, so I’ll do what I can do. I am excited to announce that I have two, short stories coming out in the new, spooky anthology Haints and Hollers: New Ghost Tales from Appalachia published by Mountain Gap Books. The anthology will be released on September 23rd, but you can preorder now on Amazon! There will be a launch party next Saturday, September 21st at The Corner Cup in Jonesborough.

 

Pieces and Parts Haints and Hollers

 

I’m so excited to be a part of this anthology full of authors from Appalachia. Some of them I know, some I do not. Their stories are so refreshing and spellbinding, and it’s an honor to be in such wonderful company. The anthology has all kinds of ghostly, spooky, and scary stories. I both love and hate being spooked. This is my favorite time of the year!

Here’s a sneak peek at one of my stories, “Pieces and Parts.”

 

           “Who are you?” Tucker asked, and even his voice sounded distorted to his own ears.

“A friend,” the man replied in a warmer tone.  “And, a purveyor of magic.”  He reached out with one hand and produced a large coin from beyond Tucker’s ear.

Tucker suddenly felt more at ease.  This was recognizable.  “That’s not magic.  It was hidden up your sleeve.”

“Perhaps it was,” the man replied.  He let the coin go quickly, but it did not fall to the ground.  No, it floated in the air.  Tucker gasped.  He felt the air around the coin, but there were no wires.  The coin began to rotate before him, and Tucker could not take his eyes off the spinning silver.

“What do you fear, Tucker?” the man asked.  “Death?”

Tucker shook his head.  “We’re all gonna die.”

“Then what do you fear?”

“Not living,” Tucker spoke in a small voice.

 

Pick up your copy of Haints and Hollers today! Also, for your reading pleasure, I’ve finished a new fanfiction set in the Stranger Things verse entitled Stranger Things: A Ghost Story. It totally has spoilers for season three, so be forewarned. It’s also perfect for this fallish, spooky time of year. (Here’s hoping we finally get some fall weather here in Tennessee and get rid of these 90 degree days.)

Below are some fun pics of authorly things I’ve been up to since my last blog.

 

 

Me posed in my steampunk, time travel attire for Voices of the Chester, an original play I wrote that was performed in June.

Me and my wonderful sister Jeanne repping Mountain Gap Books and selling our titles at the local Mr. K’s con in July. Also, Darth Vader highly recommends The Summer Between.

(Featured Image – Photo by Tertia van Rensburg on Unsplash)

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