an anniversary and a prize pack

Today is Recognize Fascism’s one year bookiversary and our publisher, World Weaver Press, is offering this sweet prize pack to, well, you:

That’s one copy of Recognize Fascism, another of Resist Fascism, a handful of stickers and a fancy wooden bookmark, all of which feature Geneva Bower’s dazzling artwork and use of colour.

If you want to enter, follow this link to rafflecopter and I wish you good luck! —> https://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/b30e992817/

This contest will be open until Monday, October 25th, 2021.

Please hug the robot

My latest publication, Free Hugs, is now available to read or listen to at Metaphorosis magazine. I wrote this story in early days of this never-ending pandemic and it began as a response to several of my elder family members lamenting not being able to hug their grandkids. It was such a small, human lament, that I wound up writing a draft about an engineering grandson who designed a special robot to go give his Gram a hug on her birthday. He padded the bot’s chest and neck so that if she closed her eyes, it would feel like a real hug. Then, the idea kind of took on a life of its own, caught up in capitalism, the hugbots got sensors to measure happiness hormones, and suddenly they were EVERYWHERE.

And, you know, that story just never quite grabbed me. It seemed like something everyone would be writing during lockdown, so I put it away and went back to my pandemic depression. It wasn’t until I started wondering what would happen to all of those robots after the pandemic was over that I found the story I wanted to write. Free Hugs is that story. I hope you like it, I hope you’re well, and I hope you stay that way.

Photo by Kindel Media on Pexels.com

I, Voiceless

Today is June 1st, a day I’ve dreaded and anticipated in equal amounts, because today marks the release of Luna Station Quarterly #046 and inside this issue is my story, The Voiceless of Shalott.

This is the first story I’ve ever written about myself. Obviously, it’s highly stylized and a retelling of Tennyson’s The Lady of the Shalott, but at it’s core, there’s me, waving hello. Or probably hiding her face, if I’m honest, because this is a little terrifying. There’s certain things that, if you tell people about yourself, can overwhelm everything they know about you. Things that change how they see you. I stopped telling people that I was raised in a cult pretty quick when I started seeing that change. People on the outside call this ‘reserved’ and people on this inside call this ‘survival.’ I needed this to stop being the defining element of my life so I could learn how to live my life.

Then the apocalypse of 2020 happened. The upheaval of the pandemic churned up a great deal of cult mentalities and signals. If you’ve been inside and get out, your survival instincts hone in on these elements and set off mental alarms to turn and walk in the opposite direction RIGHT NOW. Except this time… I stayed. Heck, it’s the end of the world, I decided I might as well as engage and try and use my experiences to see if they can help someone. So I picked up my pen, started writing, and after twenty years of keeping this stuff inside, the anger and frustration that poured onto the page startled me. Spun inside my creativity, my fears and anger turned into something else all it’s own. I know that some people are going to be angry with me for writing this story, and there were others who wanted me to force this story into a more acceptable narrative framework, but that’s the thing, I was voiceless then and I’m not voiceless anymore. This is my story.

I hope you like it.

I also hope there’s no pitchforks in my future. I have this vivid memory from grade 5 or so, going into someone else’s classroom and spying a verse of poetry on the blackboard. We weren’t learning poetry in my class, so I stood there as long as I could, memorizing this one line: “I spread my dreams under your feet, tread softy…” (Yeats).

You can read the issue 046 online at lunastationquarterly.com, get the full e-issue for your device, or even a paperback from Amazon.

Light, Darkness, and all the Realms

Today’s the big day, Worlds of Light and Darkness: the Best of DreamForge and Space & Time Volume 1 is released! Click here to check it out. This is the first time I’ve had a story included in a ‘best of’ collection and I’m so pleased. The Feline, the Witch, and the Universe seems to have struck a chord with its readers and I’m glad to see my workaholic witch, her trusty bike, and her missing kitty have made people smile.

In other projects, a wonderful writing group that I’m in, Genre Writers of Atlantic Canada, has put together a bundle of our previously published stories to send out into the world. I submitted my award-winning Gothic fantasy story, Dragon Crossing, into the bundle. I’ve written a few other blog posts about Dragon Crossing here and here if you’d like to know more. We’ve titled this collection Realms of Fantasy and there are fourteen stories all told in the collection.

Here are Realms of Fantasy‘s links if you’re interested:

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/ca/en/ebook/realms-of-fantasy-4

Amazon . com: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0937P9V4Z

Amazon . ca: https://www.amazon.ca/dp/B0937P9V4Z

Barnes & Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/…/realms-of…/1139339279

In a fun coincidence, these two particular stories, Feline and Dragon Crossing were originally published close together, just as their reprints are now. Coincidence or… magical linkage? Does my workaholic witch need to meet my Gothic dragon in the Underworld, uh… **jots down idea**

I hope all of you are doing well. Things seem to be winding down, pandemic-wise, but I know we’re all still dealing with the emotional scars. I lost my Gram a few months back and I’m still coming to terms with that, especially with what dying this year means and doesn’t mean. It’s been a hard year for all of us and I hope you, like me, are starting to let a little light in.

Writing is still hard, but I’m working harder. I have a deeply personal story coming out in Luna Station Quarterly this coming June and it marks the first story where I’ve written about my personal experiences of escaping a cult. I’m more than a little nervous of it’s reception for multiple reasons. It’s fierce and angry and… a retelling of the Lady of Shalott? It’s titled the Voiceless of Shalott and I will most certainly be sharing links here when it comes out.

After that, I’ve got another story coming out, my second story to appear in Metaphorosis, this one called Free Hugs. It also has a character who escaped a cult because I opened some sort of floodgate with Voiceless and now it’s all rushing out.

Do you have any good news or stories to share? I’d love to hear about them and I’d love to read your stories, so drop me some links in the comments.

moths & mythology

I’m pleased to announced that my short story, The Moths of Luness, will be appearing in the Mythology from the Rock anthology coming out from Engen Books on April 30th, 2020.

In The Moths of Luness, a witch bespells a moth to tell her the story of its species; an original myth that stretches across the galaxy in the arms of a goddess named Luness. As some of you may know, I spend my summers in awe of the lovely moths that surround my forest home. Daydreaming a mythology for these fairy-like creatures was a wonderful escape from the reality of the pandemic, and I hope reading the story gives you as much of an escape as you might need, too.

Pre-orders for Mythology from the Rock are open today, with ebooks available for $2.99 and paperbacks at $24.99 (CDN). You can find it in Canada at: https://www.amazon.ca/dp/B0911RWFZ6 and in the United States at: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0911RWFZ6

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In other news, I recently received an acceptance for a deeply personal retelling of Tennyson’s the Lady of Shalott, titled The Voiceless of Shalott, from Luna Station Quarterly. Voiceless will be coming out in their June issue and to say I’m on tenterhooks would be an understatement. I’ll reveal more about what this story means to me as we get closer to the publication date (I need to stock up on courage for this one, hoo boy).

hellions and robot rhinos

My flash story, Hellion Babysitting Services, is now available to read in Speculative North Issue #4. You can snag a free e-copy of this one until Friday, February 26, 2021 so run don’t walk to this handy link right here.

Hellion Babysitting Services was born of my parental desperation for any possible babysitting service during the first lockdown. I mean, have you tried demon possession? Warning: tongue firmly in cheek.

And if that doesn’t pique your interest, look at this amazing cover. It has a ROBOT RHINO.

Release day!

Today’s the day! Book #5 of the multi-author Slipstreamers series, The Plague of the Dreamless, written by me, Jennifer Shelby, is officially released into the wild. If your book kingdom could use a little Indiana Jones meets Doctor Who adventure, a splash of otherworldly cephalopods, and a brand new world to explore, hold onto your imaginations because have I got a book for you!

My novella can be read as a stand-alone adventure though I do recommend the entire Slipstreamers series. With a new novella coming out every three weeks, you won’t have to wait long before Cassidy’s next adventure. Engen Books has curated an epic crew of authors to create a fun and engaging multiverse that is content-safe for all ages, though I do classify Plague of the Dreamless as YA dystopian SF.

Click here to check out my novella Plague of the Dreamless, and click here to check out the whole Slipstreamers series!

5 Things You Should Know About the Plague of the Dreamless

My first-ever SF novella, Plague of the Dreamless, is officially on pre-order! Yes, I’m terrified (a whole book! That people might read! Aaaaah) But BESIDES that Plague of the Dreamless is also book #5 in Engen Books’ multi-author Slipstreamers series. Engen is producing a new Slipstreamers episode every three weeks featuring the adventures of anthropologist Cassidy Cane, an adventuress hired by a professor to explore the far side of a series of portals he’s discovered. She gets adventure, he gets funky alien tech. It was described to me as “Indiana Jones meets Doctor Who” and right away I knew I wanted to be involved in the project (hashtag: Whovian).

Okay, I’m nervous enough that I’m about to start rambling, so without further ado, here are five things you should know about my book Plague of the Dreamless:

  1. the sky in the alien story world is inhabited by giant cephalopods who exude a gaseous fog in their sleep that powers all of the industry in the endless human cities.

2. the cityscape is filled with rickety skyscrapers, each floor added haphazardly on top of the last, mismatched in size and function, and prone to collapse.

3. on their sixteenth birthday, all citizens must submit to having their imaginations removed to make them better, more compliant workers

Photo by Kat Jayne on Pexels.com

4. in the absence of imagination, the humans’ brains cease to dream, leading to physical breakdown that becomes fatal over time. The locals refer to individuals suffering from this affliction as ‘Dreamless’

5. The only way to cure the Dreamless is to buy them a dream from the Dreamkeeper… *if* they can afford one (whispers: no one can afford one)

Cassidy Cane arrives on this world in search of alien tech but soon stays to help the citizens of this SF dystopia. Unfortunately, she might have accidentally introduced the common cold to this new world and… MAKES STORY HAPPEN. Dun dun dunnnnnnnnnnnnn. *flails*

The ebook is scheduled to release on November 27th and you can pre-order it at the links below. Paperbacks should soon follow but I don’t have those dates just yet.

Click here for Amazon U.S.

Click here for Amazon Canada

Click here for Amazon UK

Thank you for reading and a big thank you to anyone who pre-orders. Stay safe!

(all photos, with the exception of the cover, are from pexel)

Meriden’s Moonlet at Hybrid Fiction

I’m pleased to announce that my flash fiction story, Meriden’s Moonlet, has been published in Hybrid Fiction‘s August issue. Check out this beautiful cover:

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The issue in its beautiful, hybrid totality is available for purchase on Hybrid Fiction’s website here, and Meriden’s Moonlet is available at Hybrid Fiction‘s website as August’s free content. Click here to go there now. Huzzah!

shelby

Meriden’s story has been near and dear to my heart for a long while. His is the first story in which I tried to express a character’s change from seeing themself as a hero to realizing they’re actually just a bully, and doing something about that. The moonlets, the fireflies, they ignite some magic in my soul. I think this is my favourite story that I’ve written to date and I hope you like it.

Recognize Fascism (updated)

Will you be a part of the rebellion?

I am pleased to announce that my story A Disease of Time and Temporal Distortion will be the first story in the upcoming Recognize Fascism anthology. Edited by the wonderful Crystal Huff and published with World Weaver Press, each of the 22 stories in this collection are written on the theme of “the moments when people see the fascism in front of them for what it is, accept it as real, and make the choice to fight it.” The anthology will be funded via kickstarter, and you can view that campaign here.

My story follows an elderly protagonist suffering from a degenerative time disease caused by a lifetime of illegal time travelling. She is horrified to discover a fascist leader is coming to power in the timeline she set aside to keep her estranged family safe from her enemies, but she struggles to keep herself from blinking out of time. Is she up for one last fight?

Artist Geneva Bowers has illustrated a vivid, gorgeous cover for the collection, check it out:

1Recognize front_updated_smaller

You can check out more of Bowers’ vibrant artwork at her website here.

We’ve had a wonderful response to our kickstarter campaign so far (we hit our initial goal in 12 hours!!) and it feels so good to see that what we’re doing is resonating with people. When I first saw the call for submissions for this collection I knew I wanted to have a story inside. I’ve always seen writing as a form of resistance and I desperately wanted to be a part of this project, so I wrote the best story I could and sent it off. My acceptance came over a year ago and I was so chuffed. Last summer editor Crystal Huff and I headed into some serious editing work and they polished my little story into something I’m proud of. We planned an autumn fundraiser and – it all fell apart.

The publisher folded for personal reasons and our dream appeared finished. Freed from my contract, Crystal gave me permission to shop my story around with their edits in place, but my heart wasn’t quite in it, you know? The magic was in the collection, and the sparks it could send out into the world and the unseen differences it could make, because stories matter. But, as it turns out, Crystal Huff hadn’t stopped believing in Recognize Fascism.

Early last winter, they contacted me to let me know they’d found a new publisher for Recognize Fascism who would honour our original contracts if we still wanted in: World Weaver Press. I may have jumped out of my chair and danced a silly dance when I got  the news.

I’ll admit, I was worried that a kickstarter might struggle in our COVID-ravaged world economy, but I clearly underestimated people’s need for stories and heroes that fight fascism. Me too, world, me too. Our kickstarter is running until August 28th, 2020, if you’d like to be a part of this movement. Ebook and paperback copies of Recognize Fascism are included in the tiers, meaning you can support us just by snagging yourself a copy.

At some point in the campaign, there should be a clip of me reading a selection from my story A Disease of Time and Temporal Distortion. Eek! Watch this site and I’ll post about it when it’s up. UPDATE: it’s out today! How’s that for timing? If you want to watch me read my clip, click here and the link will take you through to the kickstarter update where it’s posted.