23 February 2011

Friend of the Devil is a Friend of Mine

A repeat post from my Stone Baby Games website.

This past year I've watched my daughter Bea take to creative writing for pleasure. I had the joy of reading and editing an amazing piece of horror that she wrote for class a few months ago. She likes her darkness, I tell you, (although she finds vampires overdone and boring). She has since written more in the setting and characters. I see myself in her when she carefully guards her journals when I pop in to her room to see what she's up to. I am proud beyond words, especially when she lets me read her stuff.

In our parallel writing universes, I've been branching out beyond game design, back to the familiar territory of my teens and early twenties, when I wrote short stories all the time. My first published piece will appear in an anthology from Stone Skin Press called The New Hero. I am thrilled my piece is with others by amazing authors such as Kenneth Hite, Jesse Bullington, Monte Cook, and Kyla Ward. My story is called "Ezekiel Saw the Wheel", set in a post-Eschatological Apocalyptic Charleston, South Carolina. It's set after the metaphysical universe has fallen into chaos, demons, angels, ghosts, and all manner of monsters walk among the living. Those who are touched or gifted with the ability to communicate with these new earthly residents, are in high demand. Ivy Green is a Reader of the dead, and works as a low level bureaucrat for the Harbor Patrol. She's a lover of games of chance, as well, though she's barred from the gambling halls. Here's a little taste of Ivy talking about someone she knew.

Now the Devil, if nothing else good about him exists, is a vision of beauty. His skin is as black as espresso (his favorite drink), with malachite green eyes, soft hands with long manicured pianist’s fingers, a wide pearly toothed smile. He's almost too pretty and boyish. He sports a carefully trimmed and pointed goatee with flecks of steel gray. He keeps his cloven hooves well trimmed and filed. Excessively proud of his obviously devilish features, his horns shine and a black silk bow adorns his tail. Pride is one of his favorite sins, Vanity comes in a close second. I came to appreciate the care he took not to gouge my eyes when we kissed. The tail I never got used to, but I assumed there would have been something else unsettling, like poor table manners or a former lover’s name tattooed on his forearm that I could never abide if he were a man. When we were together, he kept his hair short and slicked back with a peculiar smelling pomade he claimed was just olive oil, vetiver, and sandalwood, but I also pick up undertones of lemongrass and rotten bananas.

This story was incredibly fun to write. It took me away from other projects, true, but the process made me a stronger, more confident writer. I wonder where I could take Miss Ivy and her world.

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