Saturday, September 29, 2018

Status Update

To every writer with an acceptance from us and waiting for a contract: this was supposed to be The Week of Getting All Outstanding Contracts in Order, but ended up being The Week of What the @#$(&* Did Adobe Change This Time? (With Adobe Customer Support exhibiting its usual cryptid-like behavior, as always.)

As of about a half-hour ago our e-contract system seems to be working again, though, so we should be all caught up on contracts within 48 hours, assuming nothing new breaks.

Thanks for your patience.

Monday, September 24, 2018

Book Release: THE MATT & MICHELLE Trilogy

Now available for your binge-reading pleasure! Henry Vogel’s bestselling Matt & Michelle trilogy!

Book 1: The Fugitive Heir - Buy it now!

Book 2: The Fugitive Pair - Buy it now!

Book 3: The Fugitive Snare - Buy it now!

Action! Adventure! Romance! In Spaaaaaace!

Saturday, September 15, 2018

SHOWCASE: “Ann’s Golem,” by Clive Tern

The idea of a golem was Reynold’s. He knew a few families in Golders Green who used them. It made things like shopping so much easier, especially since the Russians started dropping their little exploding machines. The way the tiny automatons walked about, seeking a target, was terrifying.

Knitting the golem was Ann’s idea.

“But they’re made from clay,” Reynold protested. “There’s a chap in Finsbury Park who makes two a week, good ones. He made the Blumstein’s golem, and the Goldberg’s. Whoever heard of a knitted golem? It’s preposterous.”

“Maybe. But our golem won’t look like a miner wandering about after his shift. Now, I’ll need supplies. Did you pay the Mortun & Fayson’s account? They were terribly sniffy when I sent last week’s order.”

“I did. Give me your list. I’ll drop it in when I go to the office. They can deliver it this afternoon.” He paused. “What suit do you think I should wear for the office today? I had the blue serge put out, but I’m not sure.”

Ann thought for a moment. “That’s the one you wore when we had the portraits done last year. You look good in those photos.”

“Hmm. Well, at your suggestion.”

Saturday, September 8, 2018

SHOWCASE: “Korba’s Revenge,” by Preston Dennett

Though he was far from the arena, Korba could already hear the sounds of the festival: the piercing shouts of the hawkers, the hiss and clunk of the machines, the chatter of the crowd as everyone speculated about who would win the battle of the beasts. The leather straps dug into his shoulders while behind him his wagon squeaked, heavy with the weight of his creation, his pride and joy. On this day he could win. He had a chance.

As he expected, those around him laughed and pointed. “Look at Korba,” they said. “He enters again.” “You shall lose, old man!” “Stay in your shop, Korba.” “Korba, the fool!” They spit at him and threw pebbles.

He ignored their taunts and pulled his wagon along the dusty trail. The smell of grease, smoke and metal fought with the odors of manure from the animals, perfume from the ladies and cooking meats from the many stalls. Children ran along his wagon, trying to peek under the tarp that hid his creation.

He paid them no mind and continued to lead his wagon past the many huts and workshops of the city. The crowd thickened as he approached the arena, which brought more stares and laughter. Others, recognizing him, shook their heads sadly. So many people! A few of the old ones, Korba noted, nodded with respect. Korba had entered these games for many years. And each year, he lost. He was simply no match against those with greater riches and larger shops to create their fearsome beasts. But if he hadn’t won, he was, at least, remembered. This day, he thought, they shall do more than remember.

Saturday, September 1, 2018

SHOWCASE: “Amenities,” by Susan Taitel

Piper never could say how she found her apartment. She’d been on her way to see a room a little over her budget and further from campus than she was hoping for. Nevertheless, she couldn’t bear another year in the dorm, with its industrial lighting and slimy communal showers. The ad promised quiet housemates and a semi-private bath. The room turned out to be considerably smaller than advertised. Not to mention windowless, and, judging by the odor and stained floor, recently occupied by a chain-smoker and several incontinent dogs.

She stayed long enough to satisfy her manners, then headed back to the train. She didn’t quite remember the way and consulted her phone. When she glanced up, she discovered that if the GPS was to be believed, the concrete barrier in her path was an illusion. It felt solid enough.

She powered her phone off and on, but despite still having a signal, the app could no longer locate her. She took a left down a tree-lined side street, hoping to find a way around. She’d only gone a few steps before being overwhelmed by a roiling in her gut. Her head throbbed and her teeth clenched. It was as if every lamppost and trash can was urging her to turn around. She was halfway back to the intersection when she noticed a handwritten sign in the window of a nearby brownstone. “To Let,” it read. Piper confirmed via Google it meant ‘for rent’ and rang the bell.

An elderly woman with thinning hair and bright eyes came to the door. Mrs. Clove introduced herself and ushered Piper into an overstuffed chair, shrouded in plastic and embellished with claw marks.

“I was just sitting down to tea. Have a bite, dear.” Mrs. Clove brought Piper a steaming mug and a plate of small sandwiches with the crust cut off. The sandwiches were stale, but the tea, floral and sweet with a hint of pepper, sent a surge of warmth up her spine. Mrs. Clove beamed when Piper asked for a second cup.

She showed Piper around the upstairs unit, apologizing that it was old-fashioned. The bathroom sported a claw-foot tub with separate taps for hot and cold. Accordion-shaped radiators provided the heat, and an ironing board folded out from the wall. Piper had always wanted a foldout ironing board. There were high ceilings, picture windows, and a closet in each room. By the time they reached the built-in buffet cabinet, Piper was in love.

“And the rent?” She braced for heartbreak.