A Short Story

Apologies for today. Migraine. Tech issues. Posting a short story as compensation.

BLOOD MOON RISING © 2014 Karen J Carlisle.

Somewhere in the moonlight, soft footsteps circled, scraping lightly on stone.

A loud crack echoed through the walled courtyard.  A low growling followed. It ricocheted among the stone pillars and statues that erupted from the flagstones, making it impossible to trace the sound’s origin.

A warm summer breeze jostled the branches of Martine’s chosen refuge, masking the faint noises around her. Slowly the sky darkened. There were too many shadows.

Summer solstice had slipped by yesterday, without any excitement. She knew it had been too easy.

She looked up to the sky, and studied the moon. Her eyes narrowed, nothing but slits exaggerating the furrow that grew on her forehead.  As the sanguine shadow crept across the moon’s surface, blood coursing through its veins.

A blood moon. Change is coming.

Such portents could not be ignored. Again.

Martine took a measured breath. She reached back and pulled a small crossbow from a hidden pocket beneath her bustle. She hesitated, her gaze darted across the courtyard. Shadows danced over the dim garden. She bit her lip and pulled the string tight and eased the silver tipped bolt in place.

The growl was behind her now. Close. The hair on her neck jumped to attention.  She turned, snarling in anger. A large hound leapt toward her, hovering for a moment as the bolt drove into its chest. With a whimper, it fell at her feet.

Shadows flitted in the corner of her eye.

Martine shoved a second bolt into the crossbow. Too late.  It was knocked to the ground by a flurry of darkness. She dodged backwards, landing hard against the stone wall.

Her hunter had found his quarry.  A sliver of tooth jutted onto his lip. He was young, not yet able to control the changes.

Martine wrenched a small branch from the hawthorne beside her. She smiled, baring a perfect set of extended canines. “You should avoid strangers during a blood moon,” she whispered.

He glanced at the blood moon above them. A thin sliver of light threatened to chase away the shadow.  He licked his lips and swallowed.

 THE END

Photo Friday: Talking Steampunk

Last weekend I had the pleasure of doing another talk for the local Aus Sci Fi and Fantasy club. Last time I showcased steampunk fashion; this time I spoke about the origins and culture of steampunk. After wrangling the dreaded technology we were off!

       Attendees donned their steampunk finery with Veronica winning best costume (an eBook copy of With a Twist of the Nib).

    Anthony brought along his awesome gadgets, made from opshop and garage finds.

   

Thanks to the Aus Sci Fi committee for asking me back to talk steampunk (and for the lamingtons and tea.)

You can find a video of my talk on my youTube channel.

Photos ©2017 Karen Carlisle, Anthony Fagan, Christopher Lennon

Difficult Decisions

I like to have my event schedule sorted out early in the year. This allows for me to schedule my writing around conventions and festivals so I can set a book launch date with plenty of time to allow to finish, edit, format and printing.

This is what this year looked like:

  • March/Apr- Oz Comic Con Adelaide
  • August 5-6 - steampunk panel and write your own Discworld story workshop at Nullus Anxietas
  • August 19-20 - Salisbury Writing Festival
  • August 27th - ACG Ball
  • September (mid) - Steampunk Festival
  • September (late) - Steampunk Pirate Ball
  • November - Supanova

Though I had lost a couple of months due to ill health, I was still on target for a September launch date, when I hope to launch it at the Steampunk Festival (who were kind enough to host the book launches of both Doctor Jack and Eye of the Beholder) .

I recently got my email for the Steampunk Festival and tendered my application and  started preparing for Salisbury Writing Festival registration...

But, wait...

I grabbed for printouts for Steampunk Festival and flipped through them. Dang! The Steampunk festival has changed dates.  The original Steampunk Festival was held in May, then twice in September, which is why I tentatively scheduled it in for the same time this year.  Big mistake!  It is now scheduled for 19-20 August - the same weekend as the Salisbury Writers Festival.

Decision time!

I enjoy Salisbury Writers' Festival. I've got a lot out of it in the past six years. I meet fellow writers, hear from publishers and agents in panels, on the  state of writing and publishing in Australia. Members of my writing group enter the short story competition. This year I may have convinced some of my fellow writing group to attend the actual festival.

But will I?

The Steampunk Festival is one of my favourite event - costume-wise, meeting readers and fellow steampunks. It is a photographic smorgasbord. This is my tribe.  They understand me.

Sales-wise it is my biggest event of the year. I have launched both my books at the Steampunk Festival and hope to again this year. This means I have lost a month of writing time and now have to finish my book earlier to get it out in time for August.

<insert expletives here>

But I've made my decision. It wasn't hard in the end; I go where my readers are. I'll just have to pull up my socks and write faster. I've got a closer deadline now. No time for napping.

Photos ©2016 Karen Carlisle. All rights reserved.