2012 Hugo Award Finalist for Best Semiprozine
— November 28, 2013
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Lily stretched her aching legs to the opposite end of the tub. The sheen of water accentuated her scars—thin, precise lines tracing the insides of both arms and legs. She worked her limbs daily to prevent their stiffening and contorting, but even with diligent chi practice the pain was never completely absent, only sleeping. Lily thought it far more likely that scar tissue would catch her up before her reputation ever did.
I don't know if Da heard him, but the next time he was working my defense, he jabbed me right over my taped nose. While I tried to wipe the water from my eyes, he followed up with a couple of hooks that knocked me sideways into the ropes. I wanted to embrace him, but the bell hadn't gone yet, so I bounced up and under his guard and pummeled him in the ribs until it did.
— November 14, 2013
We all looked up at the high, piping voice; none of us had heard the ladder rattle. Mieni hopped over the edge of the roof, adjusting the lines of her suit. Many koboldim wore children's clothes, but Mieni had made a point of wearing a ladies' suit tailored to her diminutive frame. "Kobold, not goblin. I do insist on the distinction."
The sack swung in his hand as he walked away. “I would take her with me to the guts of the earth. I sought death in the battlefield, and saw it in all but my fate. I was spared a warrior’s clean end. Now, the campaigns are ashes and lies. If you cannot help me find peace for Baysha, I will find someone to end me.”
Podcast: Download (Duration: 33:09 — 22.8MB)
The three cousins walked through a tunnel low enough that their head leaves brushed and bent on the ceiling.
— October 31, 2013
Grim monstrous ghostly special issue for Halloween!
Deep in the bowels of the queen's palace, the kitchen was aflurry with demons preparing for tonight's feast, and Pheth hated every minute of it. He averted his eyes as Buldumech chopped off the heads of bleating imps, drained their blood, and sliced their green flesh into edible portions. He cringed as Mardero dropped squirming slugs into a boiling broth of leek and radish. And he nearly lost his gorge when Alath removed a tray of steaming cow eye sweets from the oven.
Staring up at the stars, I hear the footsteps with plenty time to spare. Two sets, trying to sneak around behind, in the dark beyond the glow of my dying fire. Graham Masters shimmers into view and opens his mouth to warn me, but I just nod and slip my pistol from its holster. So many times, desperate people will try their luck on a hapless traveller. It ain’t the first time for me. Won’t be the last.
Podcast: Download (Duration: 40:14 — 27.6MB)
Jenkins tipped his hat to her prediction, sending up a brief sketch of a prayer himself—perhaps useful, perhaps not, depending on who might be listening—that the next few days wouldn't disprove it.
— October 17, 2013
These few words—or just the sound of 'em, Jenkins didn't wonder—were enough to turn outlaw Bart Haugh, a man with more sins on his soul than Judas, sheet-white. He turned towards their speaker, slow as river weed current-caught, perhaps unaware he was even doing so; blanched yet further when he saw who stood there, making all the tiny, charm-crinkled lines on his face stand out like scars.
There had better be treasure in there, or he would be very disappointed. Perhaps it was just that he liked to drink stronger wine than was traditional, but he had never been willing to spend the rest of his life in the village, in the shade of the fat tree that had birthed all his cousins, harvesting berries and fruit and fermenting them, and then forgoing all drink and swelling to harden into a sessile giant, content never to move his limbs except with the breeze...
Podcast: Download (Duration: 11:58 — 8.2MB)
Tomai took his wife’s fragile hand in his own. He felt like if he held it even as if it were a child’s, the bones would snap like pine dowels.
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The monk nodded. “You’re not seeking music; you’re seeking an answer. I wondered if you understood that. Very well then, I will help you find Akiko. Yet whatever happens, afterwards you will leave this place. You don’t belong here. Do I have your word?” Hiroshi hesitated, but he saw no good alternative.
"An excellent tale inspired by Japanese Buddhist mythology, of reincarnation, karma, and promises. The author’s seemingly effortless mastery of this material is what makes it work so well. Recommended." —Lois Tilton, Locus online
Tomai took his wife’s fragile hand in his own. He felt like if he held it even as if it were a child’s, the bones would snap like pine dowels. She began to shake, and Tomai put an arm around her shoulders.
"The final image is quite striking, a sketch of love made with admirable economy of line. There is, in this world, little to love, but the denizens only love all the more what they have." —Lois Tilton, Locus online
"That's a very noble thing, Miss Parrish. I commend you." The strange woman smiled. It was a small, half-secret smile that hinted at private approval and a vast but encouraging amusement. Lavinia flushed, and went on before she grew tongue-tied.
"A love story that readers may find heartbreaking. I particularly like the image of the coffin as marriage bed." —Lois Tilton, Locus online
Back in my tent, it was time to give that horn a good once-over and lube up the valves. Paps had a store of rotor oil when they left, but like I said, forty years. I'd been using rendered fat from the sacrifices. Got one of the holy Levites to bring me a cup of it every few weeks.
Though these actions were not illegal, they were deemed deviant, and so Lecteur-Marèchale Davisson, Chanteur-Marèchale Redwyn, and I set off in pursuit. Darune disappeared beyond the Shore into the Desert. However, he left deep footprints in which we observed rich printed text. The marshals and I immediately made plaster casts rubbed with charcoal and copied in triplicate, all of which have been delivered to you with this letter.
"A poignant account of a repressed people in search of liberation." —Lois Tilton, Locus online
Podcast: Download (Duration: 13:59 — 9.6MB)
As Constant Sterry slipped exhausted from his saddle, the last he saw was that same figure approaching, outstretched hands sheathed in thin black gloves with lacework as fine as any to be found.
— September 19, 2013
"For six months, the devil of disease has probed my belly and filled it with hot coals," said Constant Sterry, as he swam half in fever. "But for six years, the devil of deceit has turned public sympathy toward those witches--until even the ministers and governors, who had been the first to urge the proceedings on, have all but condemned we who they asked to sit in judgment."
"I like the parallel between the five condemned witches and the five devils who afflict Skerry, and the way the author retains a certain amount of ambiguity to fog the situation... Recommended." —Lois Tilton, Locus online
"No," Ela said. "Wait. Stop!" She’d not been idle in deception. She fumbled in the ragged pockets of her robe. Thread. Golden thread. To sew up a shirt. The pretty one he was never around to wear. How long have I hated you? she thought as he struck her. Is it because you aren’t here or because you are?
Podcast: Download (Duration: 30:21 — 20.8MB)
"Then leave this place forever!" Maugreth cried. "Forget this goblin in his caves. Leave the monsters to their own."
— September 05, 2013
I thought for a moment that Plinio was merely adding emphasis to his avowal of pristine territory, but then I, too, noticed that the lakeshore opposite the birds was shifting. The flock organized itself quickly and took flight. I frowned. "Lygia, our instruments. With last night's commotion and the lake's peculiar behavior, I fear we have gone off course somehow."
"A light, ironic touch in this tale of exploration in strange lands." —Lois Tilton, Locus online
Maugreth was roused by the concubine in the darkness before dawn. He threw off the chitinous coverlet of mushroom velvet and sat up. He was still half-asleep. The sound of a distant horn rolled through the forest, echoed by another note from nearer at hand. "Eh? What is it? What?" he grunted, groping for his sword.
Podcast: Download (Duration: 36:52 — 25.3MB)
The target was thrashing hard enough that the smooth handles of the garrote were biting into Otranto's palms.
— August 22, 2013
The garrote was made of fine silk laced with steel wire, designed to choke bloodlessly. Its ends were looped to small grips of cherry wood. Otranto had crafted it himself over a period of three weeks, designing for speed and efficacy. Still, the target was thrashing hard enough that the smooth handles were biting his palms. He drew harder.
"A surprisingly interesting look at the workings of assassins’ guilds and their masters." —Lois Tilton, Locus online
We pass the last of those who have preceded us, those who crossed into the warped, rippling landscape without the benefit of protective magic. Father stops to examine a grotesquely deformed skeleton. The bleached bones are twisted and swollen; the skull cave-like. Of necessity, I halt too, but I already know this poor warped cadaver is neither Mother nor my sister.
"Surprisingly, this ends up being a story of love." —Lois Tilton, Locus online
Podcast: Download (Duration: 35:06 — 24.1MB)
Ethan looked at the sepia photograph again. A man? No, it was anything but.
— August 08, 2013
Seven subjects, Ethan thought. One of them a child. All of them physically torn into two distinct beings: a functional husk, and an abomination. He had read the doctor's journal. The subjects had come from different families, different boroughs, different backgrounds. None of them had known any of the others. All of them Raah?
Rosco guessed he’d have to handle the situation, what with the sheriff being away down the Mile and all. He stepped out into the main road that ran down the middle of Gutshank, population one-hundred-fifty-three, and rested a hand on the pearly handle of his revolver. Tried to look mean, like his Pappy would’ve done.
"Good old-fashioned dark fantasy setting in the Mile, where a lot of the evil is human, but not all of it. As for the character, though a simple fellow, Rosco makes some pretty wise judgments in a tough situation." —Lois Tilton, Locus online
Podcast: Download (Duration: 21:04 — 14.5MB)
The trick’s to stay away so long no one remembers the hurt from how you left.