A little bit on how ASH AND BONE came to be…

This is a little intro piece I wrote that was published by DarkFuse as bonus material at ASH AND BONE’s original launch.  Thought I’d share it here, since Crossroad Press just re-released that creepy little novella.  Enjoy!

FIRESTARTERS

Often I will encounter some odd little thing that triggers a story idea, especially for my shorter work.  Almost anything might strike me.  For example, a little coin-operated clock I saw in a museum inspired my short story Caught in Time (published as bonus material with my novel THE JANUS LEGACY).

It can be a turn of phrase.  Once on a road trip, we stopped for gas in Iowa.  We happened to pump $6.66 worth.  When we went inside to pay, the clerk took one look at the amount and declared to my boyfriend, “That’s a bad number, Mister.”  That sentence was too good to ignore.  I used it in a short story entitled Hunting with the Boys, in which the protagonist stops for gas on his way to a rather ill-fated hunting trip involving some deer bent on revenge.

More recently, a wonderfully photographed scene from an old movie struck me so strongly, I remember sitting there and thinking I just had to use it in a short story or novella.  ASH AND BONE opens with this dark, foggy noirish waterfront scene.  I started drafting the novella with that scene, but still had to decide (and I went back and forth on this!) who would be in that scene, what that person would be doing there, how that scene would tie into the remainder of the story, and so on.

Mere words on a sign can spawn a story, too.  When we lived in Minnesota, there was a small office building not far from home.  On one side were the words “Control House.”  Well, if those words don’t burst with potential, I don’t know what does.  I thought about it for a while, and eventually came up with my short story, Control House.

Ash and Bone, Skinshift Re-released!

My two novellas previously published by DarkFuse, ASH AND BONE and SKINSHIFT, have been re-released by Crossroad Press with great new cover art!  They can be found at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Smashwords, and more…

Thanks for reading!

Product Details  Product Details

Ash and Bone at Amazon

Skinshift at Amazon

My Author Page at Crossroad Press

Flash Fiction: Stilettos, Take Me Home*

Stella squinted through the smoky haze.  Damn if her drink wasn’t empty again.  She leaned forward and signaled Kevin the bartender to hit her up again.

He cast her an appraising look as he dried a beer mug.  “Don’t you think you’ve had enough tonight?”

“No.  Not hardly.”

“Well, I do.  Go on home, Stella.”

This wasn’t the first time Kevin had cut her off.  Knowing there was no use arguing with him, Stella slapped down a few bills and nearly knocked over the bar stool as she stood to leave.  She glanced around to make sure no one noticed, then straightened her dress and slung her purse onto her shoulder.

Stilettos clattering, she tottered out of the bar and took a moment to steady herself against the building.  Stood up again.  She checked her watch.  One in the morning.  Bastard was supposed to meet up with her hours ago.  Fortunately, she only had to negotiate a few blocks in her treacherous heels and she’d be home.

Late at night, this old neighborhood cleared right out.  She suspected that’s why her dates stood her up so often.  The buildings were tired and run down, so the area just didn’t look like a party mecca.  Even her old girlfriends had deserted her.  They didn’t feel safe coming here, they said.

Well, fuck them.  Rent was cheap, and she could walk to whatever she needed—the corner grocery, the salon.  The bar.  She never had any problems.

She sighed and started walking home.  It wasn’t all that far, but she wondered if she shouldn’t bring flat shoes with her next time.  The cracks in the sidewalk were pure hell on her favorite stilettos.

Stella hardly noticed the flutter of soft wings as, one by one, they gathered, clinging to the eaves and awnings along her way.  She left the spill of blue neon from the bar and ventured into the night, punctuated by the occasional street lamp.  As she turned right at the corner, she saw a couple of the lights on that side had been smashed into oblivion.

The increased darkness made it harder to see the cracks in the sidewalk.  Stella slowed her pace to avoid catching her heel in one.  She had trouble focusing, and admitted to herself that she might have had a drink too many.

Partway down the block, her heel caught and she stumbled, falling against the side of a building.  Pain flashed in her hand as she scraped the skin on the rough brick surface.  She leaned against the building and pressed her injured palm to halt the bleeding.

A shadow emerged from the alley only a few feet ahead of her.  Still rubbing her hand, she noticed it, but made no effort to flee.

“Need some help?”  The harsh voice was not that of a Good Samaritan.  The shadow moved onto the sidewalk and stepped toward her.  As he drew nearer, she could see he looked solid and strong beneath his T-shirt and jeans.  She could also see the menacing sneer on his face.

Shaking her hand to erase the last traces of pain, she stepped away from the building, pulled her purse strap back up onto her shoulder, and continued walking home, right toward the man in the shadows.  As she was about to pass by him, he grabbed her arm and spun her toward him.

Stella laughed.

As the man began to drag her into the alley, they came.  They came on soft wings, like leathery butterflies of the night.  Nearly soundless, they leapt from the ledges where they’d hung and fluttered down.

He released Stella and screamed as a cloud of bats engulfed him.  They swarmed; they closed in, avoiding his flailing arms with ease.  Soon they all dug their claws and teeth into his clothes, his flesh.

Stella smiled as they lifted him up, up into the night.

When he was gone from sight, she straightened her dress, hitched her purse strap back over her shoulder, and continued on home.

She loved her neighborhood and wouldn’t dream of living anywhere else.

 

*Originally published by DarkFuse, July 2013.

Status of my backlist–gone now, returning soon. Stay tuned!

Due to recent changes in direction at my prior publisher (DarkFuse), rights to my existing titles have reverted to me and those titles are no longer on the market (at Amazon) as of today.

However…

I am thrilled to announce that Crossroad Press will be republishing my existing titles and handling my new work!  Stay tuned for more details as they become available.  Meanwhile, if you need a von Biela fix, my novella, MOON OVER RUIN, is still available on Amazon in ebook and dead tree forms (wasn’t published through DarkFuse).

Thank you and have a great weekend, all.

Pleasant dreams…or not!

Part 1 of my podcast with SWRT is up now!

Alida Winternheimer and Company at SWRT (Story Works Round Table) graciously invited me to discuss my work, dark fiction, and the craft of writing with them.  And lo and behold, you get to hear my voice and see my smiling mug in this podcast!  (I really do exist.)  Part 1: