WONDERSTORMS IS HERE!
Posted on December 11, 2013
Wonderstorms: A Fantasy Anthology has been sent out to Amazon for publishing. It should pop up tomorrow for sale. It's also going to be at the Apple store, Barnes and Noble, and Kobo soon. It will be free at most venues and $0.99 at Barnes and Noble and Amazon. Hopefully, Amazon will price match it to free in the next few weeks.
The project was a joy. My fellow collaborators turned in excellent stories and it was a treat getting to help each other on the finishing touches. I hope readers will be blown away by the creative talent and discover several new authors to follow. All of them are extremely talented!
Below is an excerpt from my story, "Job Opportunity at the End of the World."
Winston knew he was in over his head. All those years in the Lower Reaches, wasting away on public assistance, had blown holes in his confidence. He didn't deserve to be here. How his aunt had wrangled him an interview, he hadn't a clue.
He looked around the waiting room. The Man Upstairs was stenciled on the frosted glass of the door leading into the office proper. The room had eight chairs. Winston sat farthest from the office door. Two other candidates sat across from him on the chairs that framed the entrance on either side.
The man on the left wore a black cloak and looked thin and emaciated. He hung his head, his features hidden by a drawn hood. An impressive sword was lashed to his waist. Every once in a while the man muttered indecipherably, his voice like gravel.
The other man wore only a simple pair of green running shorts and a white tank top. He held a golden spear in his lap and kept preening over his wings. Winston had never seen a finer array of feathers before. His own wings were forgettable. Often when he put them to use, he shed profusely.
The man with the spear smiled and tried to engage Winston in conversation.
"Surprised to see someone like you here." The man's teeth were white against his tan skin. "Lower Reaches, am I right?"
Winston nodded. He knew his grey button-down shirt and worn jeans gave away his station. He didn't have the resources to afford more regal attire.
The athletic man put his hands behind his head and leaned back. "Probably interviewing you as a formality. Mixing in a variety so it doesn't look like he's playing favorites."
The hooded candidate coughed, his attempt at protest.
The man hoisted his thumb at his now wheezing neighbor. "No way he'll take him. Big Guy doesn't want to be accused of nepotism."
Winston produced a thin smile and ran a finger along the edge of his resumé.
The talkative candidate leaned toward his cloaked neighbor and spoke louder than before. "Your old man was a class act. Sorry he had to go. Shuffling off the mortal coil and all that. One of the greats." He thumped his chest. "But I think the Big Guy is going to go another way. I hear he's looking for a fresh face." He flipped his blond bangs flirtatiously. "And you can't get any fresher than me."
Winston looked down at his resumé.
The man stood and extended his hand. "Gregory Hallen."
Gregory nodded, quickly losing interest. He went back to fretting over his plumage..
The office door burst open and a monstrous man, more a side of beef than anything, muscled his way into the waiting room. He was hairy and moved with a predatory grace. He had a bazooka slung over his shoulder and a vest full of grenades. Two pistols at his hips conveyed he was a gunslinger. His face was all beard and eyebrows. He squinted back into the office at The Man Upstairs and scowled. "Oh you'll regret going a different way, mark my words. You turned down this." He waved his hand up and down his expansive torso.
Winston stiffened, dismayed at how the candidate was talking to The Big Guy.
"You haven't heard the last of Klaaaaaaaaaaaaarg!" The beast of a man trucked out the double doors and wedged his girth in the elevator at the end of the hall, grumbling the entire way.
Gregory cocked his chin high and drew his eyelids low. "Certainly true. I hear that name every time I set myself in front of the bathroom mirror and gargle with a little mouthwash. The man loves his a's." He wagged a finger at Winston. "Don't let anyone tell you hygiene doesn't matter in this line of work."
The Man Upstairs motioned for Gregory to enter. "Next."
He stood up, juggled his spear artfully, and strode in. The door closed on its own.
Winston heard faint snoring coming from the hooded figure. He almost entertained the notion of sneaking over and catching a glimpse of what the candidate looked like. As he began to rise, his chair squeaked, and he lost his nerve.
Instead, he refocused himself. He was here to interview for a position, a very prestigious appointment. His aunt hadn't gone into the particulars, but Winston sensed it was his chance to make it to the big leagues. He studied his resumé, reviewing his talking points.
His specialty was a little unorthodox. Where others went new school with modern high-powered armaments of mass destruction or old school with weapons designed to cleave, skewer, or impale, he'd gone a different route – natural disasters with a wicked twist.
He tapped at each of his bulleted skills, pleased with the brief summary of each. His aunt had said to lead with his wonderstorms, but Winston wasn't so sure. Would The Man Upstairs appreciate showy or subtle? If the latter, then maybe a toothnami was more in order.