Wednesday, February 25, 2015

New Dreamscapes - Sci-fi Flash Fiction

The new Dreamscapes story is up over at the Patreon project.

A 200-word version of this story received an award over at Flash! Friday. Here's what the judges had to say about it:

While the first person to set foot in any given place is an explorer, the day will inevitably come when explorers will be replaced by tourists, surrounded not by the staggering beauty of a world unexplored by the human experience, but by the detritus of a more “civilized” age. And yet, if one cocks an eye at just the right angle, there’s still magic to be found among the wonders of the universe. A wonderful story that finds beauty among the strip malls.

Here's a preview:

Bring An Extra Suitcase
A Dreamscapes Story

by Alicia VanNoy Call

"Bring an extra suitcase," they say. 

They all say it, don't they? 

Bring an extra suitcase.

Because you'll want souvenirs. You'll want to remember this. When it's all over, you'll want to hold it – rough and solid – in your hands. You'll want to show it to people and say, "See? I was there. I stood there and I picked this up and I brought it back with me." 

You'll prove that you're real, if you bring an extra suitcase.

Want to read the rest? Head on over to the Dreamscapes project on Patreon.

If you like it, consider becoming a patron!

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Apocalyptic Nursery Rhyme #31

Apocalyptic Nursery Rhyme #31
Mimi Shall Ride

The Apocalyptic Nursery Rhymes are back.

Read about the project here.

 Comment and share if you're as stoked about this as I am.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Apocalyptic Nursery Rhymes and Dancing With The Doctor

Due to an unexpected upswing of repins on my Apocalyptic Nursery Rhymes on Pinterest, I've decided to add more to the series. So get ready folks, the twisted cuteness of the ANRs is returning.

Here are some clues as to what has inspired new rhymes:


In other news, I wrote the next Dreamscapes story last night and then I fell into a narcoleptic coma and when I woke up and read the story, it made me laugh (in a good way). So you have that to look forward to as well.

In the meantime, enjoy some dancing Doctors (and friends):

Thursday, February 19, 2015

New Dreamscapes Story on Patreon

The new story and artwork are up on the Dreamscapes Patreon project.

Here's a preview:

The Collector

By Alicia VanNoy Call

No one knows how it started.

It could have been that a log popped and one spark made it through the grate, across the hearth, and onto the Persian rug. Perhaps a window was left open, curtains drifting into the yellow flame of a candle on the roll top desk. It may be that a smoldering pipe fell into bedclothes.

A neighbor took his dog on a late walk; the summer night was clear with high scudding clouds. A fine moon lit his way. As he passed by the Abernathy mansion, he saw flames licking at a window, heard the crackle of burning wood. The neighbor rushed into the house, found Abernathy in the drawing room overcome by smoke, and dragged him to safety on the lawn.

Abernathy coughed awake moments later, just as the clanging fire truck arrived, and got to his feet. He wiped at his streaming eyes and stumbled toward the house. One quick firefighter restrained Abernathy as the others unraveled the hose.

Abernathy thrashed in the firefighter's grip.

“Are there any other occupants?” asked the firefighter. His grip was strong and he didn't let go.

“My animals!” Abernathy screamed, waving his arms. “Save my animals!”

Want to read the rest? Visit the Dreamscapes project on Patreon. 

If you like it, consider becoming a patron!

Saturday, February 14, 2015

New Valentine's Story - Dreamscapes Style

Just in time for Valentine's Day, a love story direct from me to you. The first Dreamscapes tale and artwork are up on the Patreon page!

It's called Warp and Weft and here's a preview:

Aster and I are laughing over the looms in the weaving room when Micah bursts in. His goggles are high on his forehead, mask loose around his neck. Dust scatters when he waves his arms. 

“He's here, Korie! Slate's here!” 

 Aster and I are both frozen for a moment staring at Micah. He runs to the window and kneels on the bench. His boots are white with ash. Aster takes a deep breath. 

She must be breathing for me. 

She puts her shuttle down with both hands and goes over next to Micah. 

“How far out?” I ask. 

“Still outside the wall,” says Micah. “Half a mile.” He sounds like he's been running. 

My heart feels like it's going to scramble out of my chest, so I turn back to my loom and pass the shuttle from left to right. Pulling the beater back and switching feet on the treadles and pushing the beater out again and passing the shuttle from right to left – the clack of the loom reminds my heart how to pump blood through my veins at a reasonable pace again. I do a few more passes. 

“Thanks for telling me,” I say to Micah without stopping. “Now go back to the tower.” 

“Aw,” says Micah. “There's nothing to see for miles but him. I wanna meet him at the gate.” He bounces. I can hear the bounce in his voice. He smells like sunlight and little boy sweat. 

I throw the shuttle through the shed and yank the beater back. “I'm the only one who should meet him at the gate.” I'm staring at the pale weave, my hands working, but I know Micah scowls. 

The loom clatters. 

“I never get to have any fun,” he says. He stomps out of the room. 

“And wear your goggles,” I call after him. 

“Duh,” he calls back. 

Want to read the rest? Visit the Dreamscapes project.

Happy Valentine's Day!

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

The Dreamscapes Patreon Project

Have you heard of Patreon? It allows you to support specific artists in ongoing creation. You can become a patron of the arts and personally help artists you love to keep making content you love.

I've started a Patreon project. It's called Dreamscapes and it will feature a weekly original speculative-fiction short story with accompanying art.

The first story will be posted on Valentine's Day. 

Now the cool thing about Patreon is that you can support at any financial level. Even less than a dollar. And to get first look at the content on Dreamscapes -- to read the new sci-fi/fantasy/surreal/horror/funny craziness I'll be producing every week, you'll need to pledge only 25¢ per story. 

If you pledge more, you'll be able to receive awesome rewards, like original artwork, downloadable content, and the opportunity to be featured in fiction.

Visit the Dreamscapes project, get a taste of what I'll be offering, and get ready to explore the new worlds I'll be creating every week.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Book Review - The Art of Asking and More

This has been a busy month. I spent most of my time painting, so I didn't have as much time to read. It doesn't help that I'm in the middle of several books. But here are a couple that I loved this month.

The Art of Asking by Amanda Palmer

On the exterior, it may seem that Amanda Palmer and I don't have all that much in common. But deep down, where it counts, we share quite a bit. (Including an adoration for Neil Gaiman. She's married to him, so I'll concede hers is the lion's share, while mine is more idol worship from a distance. Thanks to Amanda's gift for finding the beautiful, squishy center of a person and writing it in such an accessible way, after I finished the book, I told my husband, "I have a huge crush on Neil now." His response: "More than you did before?")

I have been a fan of Amanda's since The Dresden Dolls. Her song Girl Anachronism was on my recovery playlist and I listened to it often. As a performance artist and couch-surfing musician, Amanda perfected the skill of connecting with her fan-base on a human level, a skill that translated into a history-making, million-dollar Kickstarter. An expansion of her TED talkThe Art of Asking is part memoir/part self-help and exactly what I was looking for. It's about following your passion, valuing your contribution to the universe, and allowing others to help you build your optimal reality. Told in a series past and present vignettes and realizations, The Art of Asking sings with vulnerability, authenticity, and verve.

I'd like to thank Amanda Palmer in person for The Art of Asking, but for now, I'll just have to settle for recommending the book to people struggling with learning how to align themselves with their passion.

Highly recommended.

Warnings on: language, sexual situations.

The Graphic Canon of Children's Literature edited by Russ Kick

This gorgeous tome of children's stories illustrated in the graphic novel style is a must-have for any writer/illustrator. From the eerie retellings of Red Riding Hood and cut-paper illustrated fables to one-page cartoon synopses of Harry Potter and Oz novels, this book is a treasure trove of stories in every illustration style imaginable.

Highly recommended.

Warnings on: mature themes, nudity.

Also read this month: The Hobbit graphic novel, Through The Woods (again).