Cinders and Wasatch Witches

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Just a quick announcement that I’ve got another story up at Every Day Fiction. This one is called “Cinders” and it’s a twisted take on the Cinderella story. Since it’s flash fiction, I don’t think I can say much more about it without spoiling it. One commenter called it “Clever! very enjoyable read.” Another commenter stated, “I must salute the total genre subversion.” Read it yourself and give it a good rating if you like it!

Also, the Kickstarter for an upcoming anthology I’m in has just launched. It’s titled Wasatch Witches: A Collection of Utah Horror. The inspiration for my story “Unfruitful Works” was basically “mimes are creepy” and I went from there. The story is about a woman with telekinetic powers and let’s just say she decides not to use her powers for good. There are many other stories from other writers as well, including some in which the witch is the hero. You’ll be wondering which witch is which! (Sorry, I can’t resist a good pun.)

Be sure to check out the rewards for backing the project. If you’re an Early Bird backer, you can get a couple of my eBooks, Pioneer Day and Sin Lieth at the Door, along with books from other authors included in the anthology. You can also get copies of earlier anthologies of Utah Horror, a rune reading, a tarot reading, and more!

Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl by Harriet Ann Jacobs

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This was originally published anonymously, so the author goes by the name of Linda. Her father was a carpenter. His master hired him out and allowed him to keep some of the money he earned. He saved up and wanted to buy his children’s freedom, but he wasn’t allowed to. Her maternal grandmother was freed at her master’s death, but she got captured and sold to another, so even if a slave master freed his slaves at death, that was no guarantee they’d stay free. Her grandmother, who made money selling crackers, also wanted to purchase the freedom of her children, but her mistress borrowed the money from her and never paid her back.

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Uncle Tom’s Cabin

Uncle Tom’s Cabin was the best-selling novel of the 19th century. Written in 1852, it energized the anti-slavery movement and contributed to the start of the Civil War. It was translated into all major languages and made a worldwide impact. Today, it’s better known for its stereotypical depictions of black people. (There’s also an off-hand anti-Semitic remark and Haitians are called effeminate.) So while it was undoubtedly progressive for its day, it doesn’t entirely hold up now.

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Come Join Us by the Fire Season 2

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Come Join Us by the Fire has released Season 2 just in time for Halloween. It’s available for free on the Google Play Books app. There’s a bit less stories than the first season, but with 27 horror stories, there’s still hours of spooky entertainment. Since the first season contained a lot of flash fiction, and season 2 only has a couple five minutes pieces, they’re probably about the same length.

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The Three-Body Problem by Cixin Liu

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When you first crack open The Three-Body Problem, there’s a list of characters at the front of the book, implying that it will be a difficult read and you’re going to need to refer back to the list in order to keep track of everybody. However, once I dived in, I discovered that the list of characters wasn’t necessary. We mainly shift between two point-of-view characters, so it isn’t difficult to keep track of who’s who. Also, some of the characters listed barely appear in the book at all, so I don’t know why the list is there at all. Continue reading

Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass

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“I have often been awakened at the dawn of day by the most heart-rending shrieks of an own aunt of mine, whom he used to tie up to a joist, and whip upon her naked back till she was literally covered with blood. No words, no tears, no prayers, from his gory victim, seemed to move his iron heart from its bloody purpose. The louder she screamed, the harder he whipped; and where the blood ran fastest, there he whipped longest. He would whip her to make her scream, and whip her to make her hush; and not until overcome by fatigue, would he cease to swing the blood-clotted cowskin.” Continue reading

Up from Slavery by Booker T. Washington

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“With few exceptions, the Negro youth must work harder and must perform his tasks even better than a white youth in order to secure recognition.”

Booker T. Washington was born a slave. He never learned his father’s name, but heard reports that his father was a white man who lived on one of the near-by plantations. He grew up in a cabin that was so drafty, there were at least half a dozen places that could serve as cat-holes. The floor of the cabin was bare earth except for one hole used to store sweet potatoes covered with boards. It was very cold in the winter and heat from the open fireplace made it too hot in the summer. For a bed, the children slept on a bundle of filthy rags. Continue reading

The Water Dancer by Ta-Nehisi Coates

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“Sloth was literal death for us, while for them, it was the whole ambition of their lives.”

Hiram is born into slavery in Virginia. Although he’s far more educated and capable than his bumbling white half-brother Maynard, Hiram is tasked with being his brother’s servant. When the book begins, both of them are about to be drowned in a river before we go into a flashback. Continue reading

Bird Box by Josh Malerman

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One guy in Russia suddenly goes crazy. He first attacks his friend, then he kills himself. A few more people engage in similar behavior. By the time there’s about 300 unexplained suicides worldwide, society shuts down. This didn’t ring true to me. As I write this, over half a million people have died from Covid-19, yet there’s still a sizable chunk of the population who refuse to wear masks. Why would everybody panic after just 300 deaths worldwide? We humans generally don’t take things seriously until it’s too late. Continue reading