Rainbow Snippets

I’m struggling to get everything ready for classes on Monday but I think I’m trying to catch something because I’m completely exhausted. I can’t believe the spring semester is already starting. Here’s hoping it’s better than my last.

I’m continuing with These Haunted Hills. Last week Josh has driven Brendan out to the site of the haunted murder hotel (I’m thinking a smaller scale version of H.H. Holmes’s murder castle.).

“Nothing about this is safe. Though, the building is in remarkable shape for being abandoned. It has a slate roof and they’re usually good for a century. If a roof is intact, a building can stay in decent shape. I do suggest if you feel any sponginess to any of the floorboards, tread lightly if at all.”

Brendan grunted. “Hadn’t even though about that part.”

“Structural integrity is almost always more dangerous than ghosts.”

Brendan tore his gaze away from the tree branches swatting the vehicle to stare at Joshua who beamed brighter than the sun. “Have you ever honestly been attacked by a ghost?”

If you’d like to play along, Rainbow Snippets is a Facebook community where we post up 6 sentences of one of our LGBT stories every Saturday. It’s been fun and you can find it here. Be sure to check out all the offers! It’s been a great supportive group!

2017 is winding down.

happy-new-year-sms

It was a complete dumpster fire of a year. The second half of 2016 and all of 2017 has been one long depressive episode and my health has crashed badly. Arthritis requiring injections, diabetes worsening, & heart issues requiring echo cardiograms (still don’t know what’s going on there).

But there have been good things too, the facebook communities, Rainbow Snippets and Queer Sci-Fi have been interesting, supportive and really a highlight of my year. Another brilliant spot was getting a toe in the door with Nine Star Press. Elisabetta and Raevyn were very welcoming.

The downside of this year was I hardly wrote. I sold only two short stories, an old one, Conned to MLR press (also new to me) and The Glow of Lumniferous Aether on Tinsel to Nine Star. I’m pretty proud of them, especially the latter which is averaging 4 stars.

But I need to write more. I have started my paranormal romance in the Hocking Hills These Haunted Hills and I really like how it’s going. It was my nano and thanks to Lex Chase challenging me to word sprints, I won. I doubted I would have otherwise so thanks, Lex!

So my plans such as I make them for 2018 are as follows:

1. Finish These Haunted Hills
2. Keep trying to place Blood Red Roulette if it gets rejected from where it is now
3. Work on expanding Sacred Kin from short story to novella for Nine Star’s Lost open call (this will probably be the priority as it has a deadline)
4. Fix the ending of Cassadaga Nights as it’s almost ready which is good.
5. Dust off my bear shifter story and see if I can remedy it.
6. Work on Kaleo and Aneirin’s story
7. Check out any short story open calls just to keep the name out there.

Wish me luck. Happy and creative new year to you all. To all my friends, fellow authors and readers, thank you for joining me in this journey. You make it worth it.

The Belsnickle of Deutschtown

The Belsnickle of Deutschtown
By Jana Denardo
Author’s Note: This was written for the 12 days of fic mas 2017. It’s set in the Soldiers of the Sun series and you can find the longer works in this series here
XXX

“Check down that way.” Caleb pointed toward a block of houses. He scowled as the wind picked up. The calls the Soldiers of the Sun had received from the people living in the City of Allegheny’s German community known as Deutschtown. They had gotten reports of a man dressed in furs chasing and hurting children. It was nearly Christmas, and they were running around freezing their backsides off because no one wanted let kids get hurt. Caleb knew this had to be bringing back bad memories for Temple in particular who had been traumatized a couple Christmases ago when they faced down Pere Fouettard, the Whipping Father. Li was with them then. This was the first Christmas with Temple’s new partner, Jo. She looked particularly unhappy to be out late night with frigid wind blowing up her skirt, even if she did wear pants under it.

“Did you see something?” she asked, drumming her fingers on the butt of her pistol.

“Maybe. The snow is making it pretty impossible to see anything,” Caleb replied. He hated feeling like he was leading the team blind.

“Do you really think it’s the Belsnickel?” Temple scowled, barely visible in the pale street light.

“From what we’ve been told and researched, it seems likely,” Caleb said, flexing his fingers. Even inside his gloves, they were cold and stiff, poorly suited to drawing his sword if need be.

Agni shuffled down the street, hunched up under his uniform jacket. “May I ask something, and I don’t mean to be critical of Christianity?”

“You put up with our questions about Hinduism,” Temple replied.

“Why are there so many evil spirits associated with Christmasn and why are all of them revolving around hurting children?” Agni skidded on the icy bricks. “You have Pere Fouettard whipping and killing children. This Belsnickle is just as bad, and then the Krampus looks like any demon in our reference library. I don’t understand why Christians want to set such monstrous creatures on their children.”

“Not all Christians,” Caleb replied. “We Welsh had the Mari Lwyd who engages in witty banter and then we party.”

“The Italian prefer to party as well, if you call the Esta dei Sette Pesci, the feast of seven fishes a party. Dinner lasts for hours all the way up to when we need to go to Midnight mass,” Jo said, peering between two houses. “We do have La Befana, the Christmas witch but she’s more like Santa Claus, not some crazed whipping demon who punishes kids for Santa.”

“All right, we French have Pere Fouettard as you know. The wicked Christmas spirits seem to be more in France and Germany and through the cold northern countries. I don’t know why,” Temple said. “You know how I am on research. Honestly, I think it all started as a way to get children to behave but you know how demons can be. If enough people invoke them, they’ll take the shape that is expected, the one called upon. And that leaves us freezing off our family jewels – forgive that, Jo – chasing down a Belsnickle days before Christmas.”

“Forgive what? If I had jewels, they’d be gone by now.” Jo grinned.

“I think I’m beyond annoyed as a large segment of Christian society at this point,” Agni huffed, rubbing his arms.

“There!” Temple leveled his Tommy gun at the unkempt looking man clothed in furs under a street lamp at the end of the block. “First one who gets him, gets the first cup of coffee when we get home.”

Caleb didn’t need to direct them to battle, and if Temple could be motivated by coffee – and he always could – Caleb had no complaints. Within in seconds, there was one less demon in the world, and they were in the car heading back to Oakland, another Christmas saved.

Rainbow Snippet

Wow, end of the year already. It seems somehow impossible and at the same time incredibly crappy. The political nightmare aside, this has been a terrible year personally. I am, however, very grateful for this community. Your support means a lot and here’s to a new, creative and supportive new year for us all!

I’m sticking with These Haunted Hills this week. They’ve spent the drive to the haunted murder hotel being geeky and now we’re back to work.

“We’re going to have to go off road for this,” Joshua said, as he turned his truck onto a rutted path leading back into the woods.

“Is this safe?” Brendan suddenly rethought every step that brought him to this point. He was going to drive into the wilderness with a man he’d only met the day before. What if he was about to be the next ghost haunting this woods? Freaking author imagination! Like I have any reason to worry. He shook his head, aware how instantly his suicidal thoughts turned to survival in the face of imagined danger.

And here’s the song from last week’s snippet.

If you’d like to play along, Rainbow Snippets is a Facebook community where we post up 6 sentences of one of our LGBT stories every Saturday. It’s been fun and you can find it here. Be sure to check out all the offers! It’s been a great supportive group!

The Mari Lwyd – 12 days of ficmas flash fic

The Mari Lwyd
By Jana Denardo

Author’s note. This is set in my Kept Tears universe. You can find Kept Tears Here
XXX

Aaron nestled into the couch listening to Bryn and Bron bantering back and forth. Rhys’s twins had arrived in town for Christmas. He didn’t think they had any hint of Christian faith being fae, but they liked the lights and the gifts and all the parties. He didn’t mind when they came to town, the centuries old Tylwyth Teg twins were amusing. He enjoyed spending time with them.

That said, he’d rather spend the night with Rhys alone. Ah well, there would be other nights. Rhys spent most of his life isolated from his own kind, his family, as one of the guardians of humanity. Aaron could hardly begrudge him a family visit. Besides, the twins had centuries worth of stories about their father. He couldn’t get enough of those.

Someone knocked on Rhys’s door. As Rhys was busy getting drinks, Aaron levered himself up to go answer it. One day, when it came to dealing with the fey, maybe he’d learn to curve his helpful nature, but that day wasn’t today so here he stood, staring at a horse’s skull grinning toothily at him.

Aaron slammed the door shut, leaning on it, the servos in his prosthetic hand whining as he splayed his hand against the wood. “Rhys!”

“What?” he called merrily from his station at the makeshift bar he had set up in the corner of his living room.

“There’s a goddamn horse’s skull on a skeletal body wearing a cape with a bunch of strange people behind it.” He couldn’t keep the slightly hysterical note out of his tone.

“Brilliant,” Bryn cried, popping up off the couch.

“The Mari Lewd. It’s been ages since one of them has shown up,” Bron added.

Aaron pressed his forehead against the door. He should have realized they’d know what the hell was going on. There were days he wondered if he had suffered more brain trauma than he thought when he lost his arm and nearly his leg after his transport was hit during the war. It would explain his complete love for Rhys despite the fact he was fae and had so much accompanying weirdness swirling around him.

“What is the Mari Lwyd?” Aaron said, stumbling a bit over the strange name.

“The Grey Mare, it’s a Christmas tradition in parts of Wales, and you know that’s where my kind once held sway,” Rhys replied, striding toward the door with his sons.

He flung the door open. This time Aaron could see the horse skull held a bell in its jaw. Behind it were several humans but somehow, he doubted the colorfully clothed men and women were remotely human. He knew the fae hide their otherness on this plane.

The horse’s skull nodded, ringing its bell while the others sang. “Wel dyma ni’n dwad. Gyfeillion diniwad. I ofyn am gennod i ganu. Os na chawn ni gennad. Rhowch wybod ar ganiad. Pa fodd mae’r ‘madawiad, nos heno.”

Aaron had no idea what they were talking about. Was it Welsh? Some faery language? They had the same linguist roots for all he knew.

Rhys sang back, “Does genni ddim cinio. Nac arian iw gwario. I wneud i chwi roeso, nos heno.”

“It’s pwnco,” Bryn told Aaron.

“It’s a battle of insults and rhymes,” Bron added.

“Ooookay,” Aaron drew out the word, still confused but what he knew of Welsh holiday traditions could hide in the dot on an I. If La Befana, the Italian Christmas witch showed up tonight too, he was out of here.

The strangers with the Mari Lwyd shot back something more in that foreign language, and the twins answered them. After several exchanges, they changed to English, so Aaron could follow.

“You can’t come in. This is a game you cannot win,” Rhys said, and the Mari Lwyd clattered its jawbone.

Maybe I should just go get a jump on the drinking, Aaron thought, vaguely irritated out by the whole thing. He wondered how long this battle could go on but they all seemed to be enjoying it. He wanted to consider himself open to all cultures, so Aaron tried to jump into the verbal fray. Corrine would have fared better than he.

Finally, Rhys threw his arms open wide and took a step back. “You have triumphed, enter.”

The people trooped in, more than Aaron had thought had been in the hall. He thought he might recognize a few of them. He helped Rhys pour drinks while the twins fetched appetizers. Aaron turned to get a bottle of vodka and when he turned back he yelped, nearly dropping the bottle. A pallid head sat on the table and a headless body leaned against it.

“Rhys!”

“Donahue, put your damn head on,” Rhys snapped at the fae. “You remember, Donahue, right Aaron?”

Aaron nodded. Donahue the Dullahan and his damn detachable head was how he’d found out about Rhys was fae. It wasn’t any less creepy now.

“And I was putting the head on.” Donahue’s head said, his slack jaw rapping on the table. The Dullahan scooped it up, setting it on his shoulders where it pinked up more lifelike. “Can’t drink without it.”

Aaron sighed and poured him a vodka martini as the twins raced by, their glamour spells dropped, their pointed ears showing. As he handed over the drink he noticed most of the fae had abandoned the spells that made them look human.

Aaron turned to Rhys. “Am I the only human here?”

Rhys let his magic fall away. Long gold curls, delicately pointed ears and luminous eyes, Rhys was even more gorgeous without it. “Yes.” He slipped his arms around Aaron, “but you’re my human.” He kissed Aaron.

It was corny, but Aaron’s heart melted.

“Always.” He leaned against Rhys. “This is the weirdest Christmas ever.”

“Oh, it’s only going to get weirder from here,” Rhys promised, caressing Aaron’s backside.

“I think I need rum, lots of rum.”

Rhys laughed, pulling up two liters of coke, knowing Aaron would want that too. “Not too much. I have plans for you later, and I need you in fighting form.”

Aaron wrapped a strand of Rhys’s long hair around one hand, “Tell me more.”

“Later. If Donahue overhears he might want to join in…or just the head.” Rhys smirked.

Aaron dropped the strand of hair. “And now that you ruined sex forever.”

“Oh, we’ll see about that.” Rhys kissed him again. “Challenge accepted.”

“Weirdest Christmas ever,” Aaron repeated, returning the kiss. “Potential the hottest.”

“As I said, challenge accepted.”

Aaron never wanted a party to be over more but until then, he was going to make the most of the crowd of fae.’ Merry Christmas to him.

Author’s Note – the pwnco was taken from http://www.omniglot.com