Nana’s Girl- Flash Horror Freebie

HI FREN!

It is Black history month so here take a little Blackity Black Black ghost story. Written using my fave prompr book no seriously get it. Instigation: Creative Prompts on the Dark Side.

Now here we go. Unedited and hot n fresh.

Prompt-1.102  

Begin a story with the line, “It was when I died that….”  

 ~~
It was when I died that I understood what Nana had meant by, get free at all costs. When I was a baby, everyone said I was her spitting image. Same big black eyes, same crooked right eyebrow, same deep brown skin and as I got older the same stank ass attitude and habitual resting bitch face. There was a picture of the two of us, I think I was four and we both had the evilest expressions. It was my favorite photo. 

Mama said that we were one soul in two bodies like twins separated by time and blood. Nana used to like to take walks at night, the street dudes always spoke so nicely to her. She took me on occasion when I couldn’t sleep, we were both nighttime babies. The first time I was about ten and it was the kind of hot dank night nobody really sleeps very well, we wore almost matching housedresses, she held my hand and we shuffled along together in the deep of the night.  

“Nana, what time is it?” She checked her watch, “it us 2:57 AM. You know what they call 3 AM?” I couldn’t stop staring around, I never got to see our neighborhood at rest. Even the various houseless folks, pimps and hang rounds had gone to bed. I was fascinated by the quiet, I stopped and pointed at shiny eyes peering at us from under a porch. “Nana, what is that under there?” She looked and reached into her purse, she tossed crackers into the yard and a plump opossum waddled out to her bounty. “Look, she got babies.” 

Many nights we walked together that way. We fed the raccoons, opossums and ne’er-do-wells. I loved how even the hardest dudes were so soft and deferential to her. “Hey Mrs. Gennessee. Hello Nina.” I remember one of them, Nana and I called him Walter, everyone else called him Big Money. “Hi Walter. How are you?” He like most of the guys never quite met my eyes, he held his hat in his hands and fidgeted like a child. “I’m good Miss Nina. I um, here.” 

He thrust a paper bag into my hand and Nana handed him a little old babyfood jar. He took it, gave us a strange, terrified smile and sauntered away as quickly as his manhood would let him. “Nana, that ain’t drugs is it?” I gave her the paper bag and she chuckled. “No, you’ll see. Come on baby let’s go home.” The gangsters always found us, Nana showed me how to make them specific mojo bags and oils they anointed themselves in before they went to war. 

When I was 17 at 2:57 AM on February 19th, Nana visited me one last time. I felt her weight on my bed and I pulled her down to cuddle me. “I don’t want you to go. It is our time; Pisces season is just starting.” She held me and stroked my hair; I felt her whisper in my ear. “Freedom. No matter what Nina Simone Gennessee. You hear me?” I turned to put my face in her soft wrinkly neck, I put my hands in her hair like I did when I was a tot and I wanted 2:59 AM to last forever. 

After she was gone, my hair started to turn grey. Just a scattering of delicate silver coils just like hers. My ass got wider, I started to limp a little bit and favor carrying great ugly bags that tinkled with jars and mystical nonsense in them. On my 50th birthday, March 10th at 3 AM I stood in front of the house my Nana had been born in.  

Long before I was born my Grandfather disappeared. Some said he ran off with a loose woman from down the street, others that he was on the run from the law. But, as I stood there watching the play of shadows on the crumbling walls, I knew. I sprinkled salt and a few other things, I watched the spirit trapped inside the remains of the structure rant and rave. I saw Nana right there on the porch, shotgun in her lap and a cigarette hanging from the corner of her mouth. 

When I died, my daughters and granddaughters laid in bed with me. I told them stories, I told my eldest grandbaby, my baby where to find my most secret herbs, recipes and ephemera. And as 3 AM bore down on us, I saw my death and somewhere in the light, ultimate freedom. Before I went, I told my girls like Nana told me.

“Get free baby by any means necessary. Any. Means.”

No Pomegranates.

A Persephone/Hades retelling.

Inspired by my friends Ken and Roger. Also inspired by this old youtube vid.

~

“Please don’t do that.” My voice sounded strange to me, it felt serrated and too mixed and melted. I tried clearing my throat, I looked for something to drink and found a glass of lukewarm water on the bedside table. I gulped and listened to my insides slosh; I cleared my throat again. “Please. Please don’t.” I sounded better, the other voice whistled and hung in the air. Stop what?  

It took me a while to get up and I felt the cold breath across my naked belly, I ran my hand across the skin there and held it. I let the feeling of my soft belly sitting in the palm of my hand sooth me, when I rolled onto my side, I felt the cold again as long fingers curling around the curve of my ass. “I said please don’t, I have to get up.” 

Stay?  

The plaintive whisper in my ear carried the deep chill of winter in New England right before it freezes or snows. I remembered the sharpness of the air, the way it made my teeth ache and tasted like my lover on my tongue. Please? Percy. I had plans. I had things to do. I had no time for, I lost my train of thought when the cold moved up my body, an invisible hand trailed from hip to breast, to my hair.  

When their cold settled into my hair, I felt my body respond. I wanted to remain stoic, say no but, that cool sweetness on my scalp undid me every time. “It isn’t time yet. Come on.” The memory of winters past slide across my neck leaving chill bumps, the voice followed. But why? I only offer a respite. I miss you. Say my name my love. Just once? 

I rolled over and pulled the blankets off of me. I was starting to sweat, and I couldn’t stand it. Not in that moment. I stood and finally looked at the window, it was still dark out. “Feralis Deus.” I felt the air still, the ambient temperature in the room fell and I sat by the window to get ready. I spoke their sacred names as I unbraided my hair. 

“Profundus Jupiter, Amenthes, Agelastus. Should I bang on the ground now to propitiate my deus?” I fluffed my afro out and the coolness moved from the nape of my neck up my scalp, I thought I said no again but, my mouth followed my body. “Host of our Beloved dead.” It was still late summerish and the heat lingered, it wasn’t time yet. 

Temptation. Must I lure you? I saw the words in a little puff of cold mist that caressed my face as it went by. I wanted to say no. I knew what could happen, but I needed it. I wanted it. I wanted my deus. “Impress me.” The room warmed back up and the air was instantly heavy on my naked body. I felt the sweat bead under my breasts and belly, the sheen of it across my lower back. Outside.  

My little house was not quite secluded but very private. I liked my nudity, smoking time and privacy too much. I walked out back and sat in my favorite chair, wait. Please. “I will wait.” It was hot, too hot for my taste and I immediately resented the sweat and fleshy reek of me. I still hate the heat.  

Wait, beloved.  

The only thing I liked was the light. The golden light of the burgeoning sunset deified me. I stretched out and let the sun turn me from a regular ole Black girl into a Golden Goddess. I waited. When the light faltered, I looked up to see big dark clouds racing in and gathering. The first blast of frigid wind brought me to my feet, and I walked into the yard.  

The air temperature plummeted in what I could only think of as a nosedive, I giggled to myself, giddy with the sudden barometric pressure shift. Fluffy ominous storm clouds crashed above and after a long couple of moments the snow began to fall. It was the heavy, big snow I loved. Temptation beloved, come, come home. 

For years I had resisted the temptation, ignored the burning desire between my legs. I missed my lover. My Deus. We had each other for so many lifetimes, it was the first time I thought about giving in. I was near to going inside as the snowfall turned into a whiteout and my deus silenced the world in a frozen thrall. “More?” 

Wind howled in my ears and caressed my now frosty skin; icy fingers played my ridiculous gum drop nipples. Secretly, I eased open and ready and hot in the one place the wind could not go. “More.” In no iteration of myself have I ever been easy to please. I want extremes and my deus, my Amenthes delivered. 

When the whiteout blanketed my immediate world, I felt the hairs on my arms and legs rise. Something was going on in the air above me, but I couldn’t see it. The world stood still for a bare sweet moment and then it happened. Swirling snow settled to a constant flow of fluff and glitter and then the sky opened and lightening streaked across the sky and just behind it, thunder. 

My mouth ell open and I stared up at the sky as bolt after bolt of lightning flashed and the thunder boomed so hard, I could feel it start in the tiny bones of my ear and in the very depths of my wet cunt. Now? For all my caution and patience, I could not deny me Deus. I ran into the whiteout with my arms open. Ahead of me in the dark I could just see the outline of the arms that would welcome me into Winter.  

A Winter. Broken. – Freebie fiction

HI frens! I have news but we’ll get to it another day. Part of me doing whatever I want to with my words, here is a story inspired by beloved writer Christopher Ropes. I am not sure if this is fan fiction or no but this is inspired by his piece from Nox Pareidolia, which I reviewed back here. So enjoy this lil haunted thingymajiggy.

#

Their hold on me had long since loosened. When I went back everything was the same, suspended in time as the snow fell in silent glory. For years I’d heard the whispers in my dreams, seen and felt the gaze of her. My dreams and heart were haunted by the long shadow of her, Moher Hawthorne. I stood in the doorway of one of the rooms, the air was so thin I could see into the Veil and across it. Time moved behind me but not in front of me. For the first time, I understood that I had come home. He had left a hole in the world only I could find.

“Ser Campbell.” I knew her voice. Her shape. I could see just the bare outline of her moving through the still air. When she touched my cheeks with her rough warm hands, the way she smiled down at me I thought I was going to cry but I smiled. “Yes ma’am.” My voice tore at the air, it was never the same after what happened. “You look like him. Come.”

She led me through the house. The empty halls and abandoned rooms throbbed with pain, eons of pain leached into the very earth with blood and terror. It was no haunt, it was the truth I had known elsewhere. “Mother Hawthorne?” She allowed my arm to snake around her waist and she held me close, “yes child?” As we stopped in front of an empty window, I watched the appearance of footsteps in the snow heading away from us and I could hear the echo of her own mad laughter. “I’m afraid. What if, what if he doesn’t want me?”

I let her walk me into the whiteout and I felt her body move with silent laughter. “Hush Ser Campbell. There has been none other than the two of you to end the story.” Before I could respond she was gone, I heard from behind me the rising howl of laughter and felt her spirit rush by and into the whiteness. I heard her cries on the wind, what she’d said to him before she disappeared. I walked into the snow and felt the hood torn from my head and watched the world tilt and slide around me. On the ground I saw a word, and settled down.

The Veil between us had always been thin. I knew that. My life was ruined the day they came. In that when, I lost my Daddy. I had only been 6 years old and they took him, they hurt him, they ruined us. I lost the heart of my Mother that day and until I was 16 all I knew was desperate terror. Until I felt the pull. For a moment, I saw his face in my dreams and he whispered, hope. I carried his whisper inside my soul until I found the place where the Veil would lift and we could be together again.

Time was running out, the snow was slowing and I had to go. I retraced Mother Hawthorne’s steps and took as big a breath as I could. “Thank you! Thank you Mother!” I hollered and gamboled like a newborn fawn, I galloped through the empty hallway cackling and howling with laughter and fear. I was never graceful and the thunder of my steps outpaced the howl of the wind outside. I burst through the right window and I saw him rise from where he knelt writing in the snow. The wind whipped his hood back and I started screaming, “Daddy! Daddy! Daddy wait!”

Brother Campbell didn’t know how many times the scene had played out. His last moments with Mother Hawthorne, his own bitter tears. The sudden loss of so much of his own sorrow had left him adrift in time. He was something worse than a ghost and had almost given up. He’d figured himself to have been just a conduit for the others, for Mother Hawthorne. And then through the eternal bellow of the winter storm he heard it and as he turned to face the old g=house he saw. The snow and whatever the Veil was, gave him a split vision.

His living beauty daughter, whole and unharmed juxtaposed against the ungraceful creature galloping full speed at him. There have been precious few who have gone to their real earned eternal rewards. Brother Campbell had given up the comfort of his own suffering for Mother Hawthorne. He had left the last remnants of his own humanity, the last thing to tether him to the Earth he knew for the others. The snow paused almost and there she was. “Daddy! Daddy!”

The sob he’d held in his gut for he didn’t know how long broke. The young person who flung themselves into his arms was not the ravaged 6 year old he’d lost. “Daddy! Daddy!” They were the daughter he could have had, the potential he’d thought existed but never dreamed to hold in his arms. “They call me Ser Chris Campbell. Is that, is it okay?” He wept, his tears stung his frozen cheeks and he felt the smile crack his frostbitten skin and he looked down at them. “Yes. Of course. Of course, my baby. My darling. My love.”

The two hugged and wept, they laughed and understood. When he could speak he finally asked, “how?” Ser Chris smiled up at him, they pointed at the ground where the word he’d written over and again was disappearing under a fresh layer of snow. “You left hope here.” He pulled her hood up and took her hand. They had few real options in the world and he couldn’t stand the thought of returning to the world she’d been taken from. They stood together a ways down the path, they turned to watch the house.

The old house moaned under the weight of the snow and the release of generations of rage and pain. As they watched it began to rot and wither away until all that was left was the rubble of the foundation. “Daddy, we have to go now. They will rest.” They watched the shades of Mother Hawthorne and others run and laugh and fade until they too were gone and there was only the sound of the snow and the Campbell’s breathing.

Brother Campbell looked down into the face of hope and he understood how Mother Hawthorne had looked the last time he saw her. Ser looked up at him, their big eyes full of the brightness of moonlight on snow and they looked at him as a martyr beholds God and he understood. They bent together to write one last thing in the snow. As they set out arm in arm, Brother Campbell’s tears gave way to laughter. He laughed and ser laughed and they understood. They all, understood.

Yeah, Write #498

Yeah, Write # 498

Congratulations. By Shannon Barber

As he flicked through the mail, a small handwritten envelope caught his attention. When he stopped abruptly in front of me, I bumped into his back and put my arm around his waist. “Anything good bae?” Since he’d had top surgery, I’d taken to putting my face between his shoulder blades when I got to be the big spoon, I felt his voice before I heard what he was saying. “Uh nah. Come on.” 

In the hustle of our usual life together, I forgot about the moment. Summer started to fade, and I noticed he was fidgety and distracted, by October I was terrified. The night before Halloween I found him sitting on the stoop when I got home, he held a small handwritten envelope in his hand. I stood in front of him, holding in pre-emptive tears. I knew what was coming. He met someone else. He didn’t want me anymore. I was waiting for it. 

“Babe?”  

When he looked up there were tears in his eyes and in his beard. “I, um- eh” he didn’t usually stammer. I sat next to him and put my arm around his shoulder. “What is it? You can tell me. I won’t be mad or laugh or nothing.” He nodded and handed me the little envelope; his hands were shaking. I didn’t recognize the writing; it was large beautiful script. “Open?” He nodded and I felt him trembling, I pulled a card out of it and there was a cute little Black toddler in overalls on the front. On the inside the same script just said, “Congratulations! It’s a Boy!”  

I looked up at him, puzzled. “That is so sweet. Did someone miss you coming out? Or maybe was it for your top surgery?” He shook his head and started to sob. I pulled him close and he wept into my locs. I waited and we rocked together until he could take a breath. “That is from my Mom.” His Mom had passed quite suddenly right before he came out. I checked the date on the stamp, and it was July 9. “I didn’t tell you but when we went to Baba E, I prayed that your Mom would know and-” 

He held me so tight I couldn’t breath for a moment and we cried together. Eventually we made it inside and lit new candles and put new fruit and flowers on our altar, we knelt together and put the card on the altar and prayed. 
 

Praise to the goddess of mystery 
Spirit that cleans me inside out. 
Praise to the goddess of the river, 
Spirit that cleans me inside out. 
Praise to the goddess of seduction, 
Spirit that cleans me inside out. 
Mother of the mirror, 
Mother of dance, 
Mother of abundance, 
We sing your praise. Ashe-O 

Spooky Reprint- Murder Room

Originally publised in Sex and Murder Magazine.

TW: violence of course.

The room is destroyed, fragments of a life busted open like a piñata are scattered around. The lights are flickering, what lights there are left, just that single bulb in the kitchen, its weak yellow light no substitute for the big bright floor lamp that lays in a twisted heap in the corner. It would be more fitting if it was raining but, Mother Nature isn’t known for excellent timing.

The room is still and silent, waiting for your gaze.

The room serves as a rich tableau of spent violence. If you look more closely, splotches of still wet blood dot once white walls. There is hair stuck to the wall in a fleshy, bloody clump. You don’t want to think about how the pillows got strewn about the small room. You don’t want to think about what their spilled innards say about what’s gone on here.

Throbbing silence burns in your ears; you can almost feel it against your skin as if the ghost of the violence that took place here is rubbing itself against you. There is pressure, an insistent push to look further. Look beyond the disturbed living room and sad empty pillows, past the splashes of brown and red. You don’t want to. You know that there are forty-two other things you’d rather see and rather do but you’re drawn inextricably to it.

Down a short, demure hallway you can see more blood, sodden little pools of gelatinous crimson. The distance between you and the horror is too short, you want to beg but there’s no one to listen. Remnants of the horrors perpetrated here flash across your conscious like heat lightening you can’t weep; you can’t scream you can only move forward.

The small bathroom was once pink with black and white accents; a decrepit little jewel. The tarnished silver fixtures with their abstract fleur de lis patterns, they are sullied; smeared with gore and death. Your eyes are dragged to the mirror, it is the only thing whole in the room. It is an old thing, slightly warped and ugly but it gives you a moment of respite.

You are really in it now. The abattoir stink of butchered meat seeps into your entire being; it has you.

Your eyes follow the smell to the mess in the bathtub. You don’t know if it was man or a woman, black or white, now it is just the mess in the tub. You wish it hurt; you yearn for some signal that there is something beyond the vision. There is nothing but the suck of violence.

You know the violence, the hate intimately. You cannot separate teeth and torn viscera from each other. This is the apotheosis of memory as visceral experience. Fall to your knees. Despite the rarified terror that pulses under your skin, the arousal and triumph rolls up your spine. Your hands find the bestial arousal between your infidel thighs.

Your body moves, your eyes are riveted to both the present image of cold death in the pink tub and the overlay of blurred nightmare that flashes over it in your imagination. Victim/Victor, Monster/Innocent, you are everything and nothing with one foot in the hard cold world of this room of death and the other in the ether where the monsters roam freely.

Orgasm brings death. The French had it right all along.

La petite mort.

Release of soul and tears and blood and at the end a life you had nothing to do with—a death you enjoy vicariously.

In the end as you retreat from all of it, experience melds with memory that melds with reality that melds with the unreal—

It will never settle. And you will never again touch anything so beautiful and horrifying. The experience will live in you long after the death is gone and those small silent rooms are cleaned up and released from the event.

Review- Nox Pareidolia

Get ready. We’re talkin some amazing small press work from award winning Nightscape Press.

First look at this beautiful cover.

[image description: book cover titled Nox Pareidolia An anthology edited by Robert S Wilson. ]

First of all, Nightscape consistently produces beautiful books and the editing selections are superb. The art both for the cover and the art for the stories is just, so well chosen. Head here and just scroll through those images. Book design is to my mind such a fine art and they nail it.

I also want y’all (I backed) to check out their kickstarter here. LOOK at what they are producing.This is art worth preserving and supporting.

Now let’s talk about the work. The diversity of authors and styles in this anthology is really solid. I don’t say this because I know most of the writers. I heavily appreciate that the curation here. Nox opens with a bang. The story by Paul Jessups gave me a little whisper of noir with the weird creep factor. The opener and ender of an anthology really make a difference in experience and this was a great editorial choice.

This is an anthology I think if you’re like me and not super into classic weird fiction, this is a great book to get into it. The work is exciting, you’ve got some work that is on the wordier side, some that isn’t. I don’t want to give away a lot but I was very pleasantly surprised.

Some faves.

Immolation by Kristi DeMeester. Y’all she is one of my absolute favorite writers and she’s a cool person.

when we were tresassers by doungjai gam is a gem. I’m not familiar with her work but, after reading that story I will be reading more.

And this y’all is another reason I love anthologies. Discovering new writers to read is such a thrill to me.

……..OKAY honestly I should be real about this. There is not a story I did not like in this anthology. I’m looking at the TOC and frankly the whole damn thing is fine fine work. I mean the line up is pretty ding dang stellar just at a glance so I wasn’t disappointed at all.

One of my problems reviewing anthologies is I legit want to go on for pages about each story but ain’t nobody got time for that.

TL:DR this is a badass anthology put together by a badass small press. If you like weird fiction, books that are art you’ll like it.

My fave?

It was hard to pick a favorite story but the one that I keep thinking about is by a beloved friend of mine Christopher Ropes. Their piece Her Eyes are Winter is deeply melancholic and full of grief and little references to other works, I just love it. The mythos they built in this story is so rich and textural.

I adore Chris as a human and really admire them as a writer. If you want to start with my fave start there. After you read it, you’ll get why I love that piece i particular.

So I absolutely recommend this antho. I really want y’all to support the press and check out the other work they put out.

And yes, after a mental health bullshit situation I’m back so…get ready boo.

Yeah Write #473- Baby Needs

Baby Needs

by

Shannon Barber

The word afraid was nothing to me. I was afraid of plenty of things. Clowns, birds, riding in cars sometimes, the shadowy figures of people on the periphery of my vision. I was afraid most of the time. It sat with me and on me, it was a constant companion for a lonely only child. I liked afraid, afraid felt familiar.

I didn’t know fear, real fear until it reached out with smooth cool fingers and wrapped around my coccyx as I stood on the basement steps of our big house in Tacoma staring down into the dusty darkness. I understood something beyond being afraid or uncomfortable, I began to understand the tingle and the giddy temptation of fear.

Once I had the touch of it, the forbidden knowledge that it could make my spine go icy and electric, I needed it. I started a habit. I had a Jones.

Climb onto the roof of our house and stand there watching like Bat Man.

Climb a tree until even the neighbor boy squealed.

Swing until the world turned upside down and let go.

Leap.

Dad jumping out at me wearing the terrifying two headed mask. I flew up from the basement to the protection of my Mother’s thighs.

I still loved it.

The touch.

My habit never got better. The need is never fulfilled. When the fear comes to teach me to not go in there, don’t fight with that man, I just want more.

For a split moment in time as the fear reaches into me I am an infinite screen. I am five years old and shivering in the dark because my Mom put the clown in my room, I am ten and my teeth are bared in a rictus of terror and rage when I look down the open work stairs and imagine tumbling to my death, I am 21 in a strangers’ apartment, deciding if we’re going to fuck or fight. I am 43 and without a mask.

Afraid is a word that means little to me, I am the same child and walk with afraid as close as my own skin. And now, I know fear. I have fear. Fear loves and abides and waits to take me again and I will give in because, I don’t know anything else.

###

 

 

 

Free smut Tuesday. CW kinky gay smut

No booboo. I’m serious. This is what beloved friends would call, big dickin fight club. You’ve been warned.

BUT I will put it under a cut just in case. I wrote this yesterday. I haven’t written anything dirty in a minute. I was recommended some erotica to someone and this happened. Generally unedited. ENJOY them feels in your pants babe. Even if you’re not gay….just enjoy pantsfeels.

Hold Me Down

Continue reading “Free smut Tuesday. CW kinky gay smut”

Book Review- Coyote Songs by Gabino Iglesias

Okay my babes. Buckle in cause I’m about to go in on the homie Gabino Iglesias.

If you haven’t been with me for a while, Gabino is one of my favorite writers. I wrote a review on his book Zero Saints here. Open that in a new window and read it next.

SO lets GET INTO THIS. Coyote Songs* by Gabino Iglesias.

coyote-songs-gabino-iglesias-book-cover
[image description: a book cover with a weathered but beautiful Virgin Mary, the title is in yellow Coyote Songs below that the authors name, Gabino Iglesias.]
The short version is, holy fuck this is an amazing book. It is not for everyone. The TL:DR is coming at you.

It took me weeks to read this book. It isn’t the longest book nor does the frequent Spanish slow me down, it is so fucking rich and beautiful and bloody, it hurt me to read. Yes it is very violent, it is graphic, it is intimate and reaches into your heart and it is so beautifully written. It is fucking brutal and the kind of beating I crave as a reader.

Yeah I know some of y’all are gonna nope out because it isn’t fluffy and that is fine. For me, this type of hard hitting, gut punch writing is my escape.

This book is gorgeous. It is a bloody mouth I would kiss and be happy. I also want to note, if you are averse to needing to look up some Spanish it is also not for you. My Spanish isn’t awesome but, what I couldn’t figure out I looked up and it is worth it.

Gabino has such a masterful touch with the way he uses language. One of my personal favorite things in any type of literary art is when a writer can use use violence with grace. Gabino is excellent at this. There were a lot of times I just put it aside, to let the blood dry and I liked it.

This is gory but not mindless. The depth and care that obviously goes into the violence in Gabino’s work transcends the ew factor. I am not really a fan of silly gore in books. I’ve never been into gore for gore sake horror. I don’t really like the gross out because most of the time it is some shitty bullshit punchline and I don’t fuck with that. What I do like is the use of violence and gore etc in a manner that is both helpful to the story but also just beautifully done by itself.

For me, this is the same thing that allows me to visually enjoy certain filmmakers because I do love something terrible done with grace and beauty. This is also why, when I was a baby potato writer, my favorite writer was Nabokov. For me, the art of transcendence in the context of using your medium to lift the work out of the pile of shit is just magical.

Gabino’s work, especially in this book hits those buttons for me.

Gabino’s work in this book, is transcendental art.

I don’t want to give a lot of plot away because I hate that. I want to talk about a few of my favorite characters.

Alma the artist. I love all of these characters but she feels special to me. This is what got me:

She wanted to shine on the institutionalized racism that made this country a pain for anyone on the “wrong” side of Otherness.

Bruh. The entire passage is so real and so deep. Gabino has an ability to write women, diverse women so well. Yes, even women who have been violated or victims of violence there is that same grace he brings to the other violence in his work. These aren’t tropes. These aren’t vaginas meant to forward a dudes story. That is so important and I want other male writers to do this level of work.

In this book, the characters each have a pulse. They have heartbeats, they are weighty and meaty and some of them are awful.

The prose in general, goddamn. There are multiple times in the book where I thought to myself, you mother fucker that’s amazing. I just love a writer who makes me feel a little jealous. This is beautiful, writing full stop.

Lastly.

This book is a sterling example of why #ownvoices is important. Nobody wants to get dragged like Jeanine Cummins,  and really why read that when you can read this?

Listen. You can google #ownvoices and all the reasons why it is important. What I’m going to tell you is this. If you want publishing to be better, read better. Dassit. Read better and talk about what you’re reading.

Gabino Iglesias is a deeply important writer to me. The literary canon fucking needs him. I need him. Real talk, I revisit Zero Saints (THAT ENDING U BASTARD) often. Y’all. I’m a fan. I’m an admirer. I’m down for this human.

SO go check him out. He hustles hard and has a LOT of things to read so start at twitterkids. You won’t be sorry.

Nerdy Nerdy- Use of the Chorus and stuff.

HI babes. Let’s pretend it is all fine and talk. We’re doin Real fuckin Hot Nerd Shit bitch.

SO first thing also some awesome announcements.

An anthology I’m in titled Would But Time Await is coming out later this year from Haverhill House. This was my first try at Folk Horror and I am absolutely amazed to be in an anthology with so much talent. For real it is a hella good book.

It is extra good news because that submission was my first in the horror world in about five years. Also I worked so damn hard on that piece because I had a vision and the editors even when a few things didn’t make sense, they worked to understand and leave my story. I’m so happy.

Second good news. I wrote a SUPER difficult for me because I was experimenting thing. It is a chonky light sf, post apocalyptic, Black, Queer lil sploosh of horror fucking love story. A LOVE STORY. A bite and a link.

“What were you saying?” Khalid/a was smiling, flashing a gold tooth. “Are you serious about babies?” They nodded, still smiling. “We have a lot of savings and I may or may not have found us a place. You wanna see?” Viola’s face lit up from within, she made her cute squealy noises until Khalid/a sat up and reached for one of their tablets. Khalid/a opened the photo collection they’d been hiding in a subfolder of junk. Viola’s little intake of vibrational breath tickled against their arm.

We’ll nerd about that later on.

NOW let’s get down on the Chorus.

My first exposure to the Chorus was when I read Oedipus Rex when I was in the 7th grade. I’d just finished reading King Lear for the first time and I wanted a new challenge. Gosh I loved Greek lit at that age. I still love the idea of the Greek tragedy. I love to play with it in varying ways. WHOA if you’ve been with me for a while, don’t stare at me like that. I don’t hate the WHOLE literary canon gosh.

Okay so why am I using the device of the Chorus in an urban fantasy novel? It is weird but hear me out.

One of the things I love in a movie is knowing a lot as I’m in the position of knowing a lot of shit voyuer. Not quite an omniscient POV but more like, the level of knowing that means you cringe and yell at the TV, DON’T GO IN THERE. I really want the usefulness of say a VO but not that.

Now how about a look at the Chorus as they are in this iteration of the Daiyuverse?

Many of the witches of the world we’re sure are gasping in horror. How dare we malign the great mother. How dare we show such a lack of sufficient awe for the green and sorrowful wickedness of nature themselves. That is fine. We know. Many of us held our own Goddesses so close. We carried their effigies on our backs, we laid ourselves open from crotch to bowels for her.

We understand. We respect and love the holiest of things and we also love it enough to see it for what it is. Magic is nature and nature is, was and will end up being the most wonderful thing in our many worlds. We know. Many of us still find ourselves prostrate in prayer or washing the feet of prostitutes forever because our faith remains and holds to the immense power of our mother and our father. 

Mather? Fomther? We have no right word. It doesn’t matter.

We digress. As always.

What matters is that Tombstone made as much sense as Babylon and Lothal the Kingdom of Kush and at the feet of Shaka and cuddled to the breast of Nefertiti, in Xi’an, Lothal and many other places. Our point is the beginning of anything is a filthy terrible business and riddled with garbage from the end, that is okay. It is as things must be.

Now, within the text I’m left justifying their text because I want it to be very apparent how not of the same world the rest of the characters are. The Chorus is a character of themselves, they are a kind of meandering will tell you stuff but in their own good time sort of character.

In terms of methodology and fitting this into the structure here is how things are looking right now. I have notes about this to keep myself on task.

Chapters include individual character stuff, I’m not doing first person in this go round to help keep things on task for myself.

Within the chapters we get to see/deal with various characters. I was gonna do character headings for that but I hated it so no.

I’m using some epistolary type elements in the text as well. Journal entries, some prayers, prophecy and center justifying those.

The chorus has their own heading and as you see justification.

In my fantasies, an audioversion of this book would be a full cast production. Full cast but not rewritten as a teleplay. Read full cast. I don’t even know if that specifically is a thing but it is the thing I’d want.

Interestingly, I had used the Chorus in the original iteration of the Daiyuverse. I thought it was not appropriate for urban fantasy because…reasons?

Fuck that.

I was talking to another writer yesterday and my mantra in terms of writing is, do what the fuck you want. Try it.

I am going to -try- to do a promised to friends vid about this but really. I keep saying, if you wanna try something try it. It might suck. That’s okay if it sucks. It might be awesome. If you are self isolating, this is a perfect time to let yourself play.

Now, another lil bite from the ‘verse and a link.

A few drops in his glass, she watched it swirl into the amber liquid before turning to offer his drink. “Come on Possum, drink up big boy.” She fed him the drink, holding his head gently and letting the liquid pour between his lips. His eyelids fell to half-mast and she murmured, “yes, that’s it. Let Mama take care of you. That’s right, drink it all up Possum.” 

She’d had his cards and aura read long before she’d let him see the goodies. He was ripe to be controlled, easily influenced and in dire need of a fine, heftily bodied lovermother. Once the drink was down his gullet she let him lean his head on her breast and snake his arms around her hips, he pressed his cheek to her belly and hummed as content as any milk drunk babe at a breast. 

Ida Marie normally wouldn’t allow any man, such intimacies but, she liked her Possum. Really, Howard as a sweet man. So lost and unhappy with himself but at the same time so full of tender exuberant love. She stroked his head. “Ida Marie, my sweet. You are a balm for my soul. Oh, how I love you.” The tincture she’d dropped into his drink was getting him right where she needed him.

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