Tag Archives: anthology

Arrr! Talk Like a Pirate Day (with prizes!)

In celebration o’ Talk Like a Pirate Day, I’ve a special announcement I’ve been burstin’ to tell ya.

Ok, so I’m not great at talking like a pirate, but I do have some exciting pirate-related news to share. I recently had not one, but TWO stories published in the anthology ‘Teapot Tales: Pirates, Mermaids and Monsters of the Sea‘.

teapot Tales ebook cover

The first story, ‘Island of No Return’, is about a cursed pirate captain who makes a deal with a sea goddess. It was partly inspired by the lyrics of Katy Perry’s ‘Dark Horse’. Here’s a snippet:

“Be warned: do not make your decision to proceed lightly. All magic comes with a price. Are you prepared to pay the price?”

Lucas held out his arms and tore off his sleeves to reveal the blackened skin where the curse had already taken effect. “I am willing to pay any price to rid myself of this curse. I will not be taken by the darkness.”…

She moved towards him as though floating across the surface of the water until she stood so close their faces were mere centimetres from each other. Her lips pressed against his. At first, a warmth stirred inside him—she was the most beautiful woman he’d ever encountered, after all. But soon the warmth drained from his body and he felt his blood turn ice cold in his veins.

The second story, ‘The Seashell’, is about a tide pool explorer who’s magically whisked into an underwater world. This one is based on my memories of the adventures I imagined as a child playing on the beach.

Jagged pillars of rocks lined the shore. Waves crashed against them in a rhythmic percussion, accompanied by the screech of seagulls. Ashleigh skipped and balanced over the slippery rocks, avoiding the tide pools and skittering crabs.  Out of the corner of her eye something sparkled in the sunlight. Like a colourful beacon it glinted from a cragged rock jutting out of the ocean.

The anthology features sea-inspired short stories suitable for a variety of ages. And, as the title suggests, the stories are short enough to be enjoyed over a cup of tea. Check out the book trailer!

A CHANCE TO WIN SOME PIRATE BOOTY!

The authors of ‘Teapot Tales: Pirates, Mermaids and Monsters of the Sea‘ got together (in conjunction with Melusine Muse Press) and decided in celebration of our newly released pirate-themed anthology and Talk Like a Pirate Day we would do a giveaway! Head on over to the Melusine Muse Press blog to go into the draw to win one of several prizes, including a copy of ‘Teapot Tales: Pirates, Mermaids and Monsters of the Sea’. There’s lots of ways to get bonus entries into the draw, including liking my FB page. The winners will be drawn and announced on the 25th September.

 

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Aphrodite (short story)

I’m posting this short story for J.A.Mes Press’s Rebirth anthology. The idea is to post a short story around the theme of ‘rebirth’, whether that means traditional forms of rebirth or more supernatural ideas, such as vampires or werewolves. All proceeds from the anthology will be going to a charity to benefit stroke patients.

Aphrodite

Title: Aphrodite

Author: Jo Hart

Word count: 565

Book: Yes

Cyprus buzzed with early morning trading. Usually Danaos would have been right in the midst of it, bartering with the goods ships from Rome, but this morning he strode towards the temple. If this didn’t work he feared his wife would be dead by morning. What would he do then, with three young ones at foot and no mother to tend to them?

A handmaiden of Aphrodite led him to the stone dais that housed the six foot statue of the beautiful goddess. Danaos knelt before it with clasped hands.

“Oh beautiful Aphrodite, help us in our hour of need.”

To his surprise a woman, more beautiful than any woman he’d ever laid eyes upon, stepped out from behind the statue. Her pale skin glowed under the flickering flames of the lanterns. Golden ringlets tumbled over her shoulders and reached nearly to her knees.  Her pink lips resembled a cupid’s bow and the rest of her face was smooth and unblemished. The curves of her body dipped and swelled in perfect proportion. With a jolt, Danaos realised this woman was the exact likeness of the statue before him.

A soft smile appeared on her lips, “Yes, I am she.”

Danaos bowed low. “My lady, Aphrodite. It is an honour to be graced with your presence. Please, I beg of you to save my wife.”

“Do you love her? Love is my specialty and I can only help if your love is true.”

“I love her with all my heart. And my children love her as dearly as any child loves a mother.”

She walked full circle around Danaos, studying his form.

“You are a beautiful man,” she noted. “I appreciate beauty. Such a strong masculine form and thick golden locks.” She ran a hand through his hair and over his broad shoulders. “Tell me, do you love your wife so much that you would you do anything to save her life?”

“Yes! Anything.”

“Would you trade your human life for one of immortality and become the companion of Aphrodite?”

Danaos hesitated. This would mean leaving his wife and his children. But the children needed their mother. His wife’s family would ensure his wife and children were cared for when he was gone, of this he was sure.

“I accept your terms. I will become your companion.”

Aphrodite smiled. She came around behind Danaos and laid gentle kisses in the crook of his neck. “This might hurt a little. Don’t panic. It will be over soon.”

Two fangs penetrated his neck. The piercing pain subsided as soon as the fangs withdrew. A dribble of red blood ran down Aphrodite’s white chin. Danaos felt the world around him turn black.

When he woke he felt different. Stronger. Healthier. Hungry.

“You’re not a god,” he mumbled, still a little drowsy.

“I am vampyr,” she said. “Pretending to be gods is less frightening to humans and comes with added benefits. We appreciate the sacrifices.” A sadistic grin twisted her beautiful features. “And now you are vampyr, too.”

“What about my wife? We had a deal.”

“She is alive and well. Vampyr saliva has healing properties. I never break my word.”

Danaos sat up. His previously tanned skin now appeared paler. He wondered what other changes had occurred during his transformation. “What exactly does being a vampyr entail?”

Aphrodite licked her lips and laughed. “You have eternity to find out.”

 

You can now find an updated version of ‘Aphrodite’ in the collection Beautiful and Deadly, along with many more supernatural-themed stories, including  vampire stories such as ‘Love Bites’ and ‘Eighteen for Life’.

Anthology Cover Reveal

Today I got a nice surprise email: the cover for an upcoming anthology featuring one of my stories!

The cover art is absolutely stunning.

torquedtalesfemme

The anthology features fractured fairytales with a GLBT twist and is due for release on the 23rd April.

Eighty-Nine on Kindle FREE!

If you’re anything like me, you love getting free stuff. I was really excited when the editor of Eighty Nine (in which my story ‘Eighteen for Life’ is published) announced we’d be having some promotional days over the coming months. Eighty Nine has just recently been released on Kindle and starting 6pm tonight (AEST) it will be available to download FREE for 48 hours! How exciting is that? For those like me who are terrible with working out timezones:

US- Pacific Time 12:00am Wed 30th May – 11:59pm Thurs 31st May

UK 9:00am Wed 30th May – 8:59am Fri 1st June

Aust 6:00pm Wed 30th May – 5:59pm Fri 1st June

Here are the Amazon links:

Amazon US

Amazon UK

If you don’t have a kindle, not to worry, you can download Kindle for PC for free from Amazon.

If you haven’t heard me talk about Eighty Nine before, here is a bit of a blurb and explanation on how the anthology came about:

BLURB

1989: a cusp between decades.

The year the Berlin Wall came down and Voyager went up. Ted Bundy and Emperor Hirohito died. The birth of the first Bush administration and computer virus.

In San Francisco and Newcastle the ground shook, in Chernobyl it melted.

Tiananmen Square rocked the world and Tank Man imprinted on the international consciousness. Communism and Thatcherism began their decline, Islamic fundamentalism its rise.

It was the year Batman burst onto the big screen, we went back to the future (again), Indiana Jones made it a trifecta at the box office and Michael Damian told us to rock on.

Based on a play list of 26 songs released in 1989, Eighty Nine re-imagines the social, political, cultural and personal experiences at the end of the decade which gave the world mullets, crimped hair, neon-coloured clothing, acid-wash denim, keytars, the walkman, Live Aid, the first compact disc and MTV.

Some Back Ground

The third literary mix tape EIGHTY NINE, based on a playlist of 26 songs from the year 1989, went on sale in October 2011. Editor Jodi Cleghorn randomly assigned a song per author and asked them to create a story around the song that reimagined the events of 1989 through a speculative fiction lens.

Blake Byrnes, a final year fine arts student, turned an accidental promo photograph into the ‘eighties grunge’ cover, based on the character “Amiga” from Dale Challener Roe’s story Shrödinger’s Cat. Byrnes’ artwork provided the visual template for the character of “Amiga” in Devin Watson’s live action book trailer.

The Book Trailer

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bom-dnS8r9Y

There are some great stories inside by some fantastic authors. Enjoy!

P.S. Here is a review of Eighty Nine from dark fantasy and horror writer/reviewer, Alan Baxter.

 

Queensland Floods – One Year On

Today marks the one year anniversary of the floods that devastated Queensland in Australia. One year on and the state of Queensland is still trying to rebuild–some people still aren’t back in their homes. I just wanted to post to remind everyone that it is still possible to purchase copies of the charity anthology 100 Stories for Queensland. All proceeds go to help victims of the Queensland floods. Below are some links to places where the anthology can be purchased (either in paperback or ebook form). Not only will you be helping out, but you’ll get to read some fabulous stories by some talented authors. There’s something in there to suit everyone.

100 Stories for Queensland site

Amazon UK (free delivery to Australia and NZ on orders £25 and over)

Amazon US

Book Depository (free delivery worldwide)

100 Stories for Queensland

It feels as though Mother Nature really has it in for Australia this summer. Currently, bushfires are raging in Perth. Only days ago, category 5 cyclone Yasi hit Northern Queensland. In December 2010 and January 2011 major floods affected seventy-five per cent of the state of Queensland, including Brisbane (its capital city) causing major damage and loss of life. My brother lives in Queensland and thankfully lives in an area not affected by either the floods or the cyclone, but many other people have been affected.

Watching the devastation unfold on television and reading the heart-wrenching stories around the web left me in shock. But, as with the devastating bushfires two years ago, it has been uplifting seeing not only Australians, but those around the world reaching out to help those affected.

The writing community has pulled together in several ways to help raise funds. In January several writers organised a charity auction. Writers from around the country donated books and offers to critique manuscripts to raise money for the Premier’s Disaster Relief Appeal. Then, following in the tradition of 100 stories for Haiti and 50 stories for Pakistan, a call was put out for short stories to be included in an anthology to be titled 100 stories for Queensland. I knew without a doubt I wanted to submit –  to be a part of something that could help raise much needed funds for flood-affected Queensland.

The submission guidelines called for uplifting stories, and my first thought was to submit a comedic rhyming story I wrote last year and had been sitting idly in a folder on my computer. I soon found out, however, that the anthology wasn’t accepting rhyming stories, so it was back to the drawing board. As the days drew closer to the closing date, I started to panic I wouldn’t find inspiration for a story to submit. Finally, an idea developed. A story about a simple wish – about hope.

I wrote and rewrote and edited and proof-read. I passed it on to beta readers, including my friend Rachel who happens to be a history buff and was able to set me straight on a few points I’d overlooked. I submitted right on the deadline.

Last week, I found out my story had made the long list. Today, I found out it made the final list and will be included in the anthology.

My story is called ‘A Penny for a Wish’, but my simple wish is this: When the anthology is released on the 8th of March, please think about purchasing a copy as 100% of the sales profits will be going towards flood relief in Queensland. Two years ago in the Victorian bushfires, one of my best friends lost everything – her house, her property and all of her possessions. I’ve seen first hand how much these funds can help towards rebuilding someone’s life when they’ve lost everything. And even if you don’t want to read some fantastic stories by some amazing authors, consider donating in some other way.

P.S. I just found out about another great writer initiative raising money for flood relief. Writers on Rafts involves a multitude of fantastic Australian authors offering a multitude of prizes. All money raised goes towards the Premier’s Flood Relief Appeal and you can enter as many times as you like. Winners are drawn Friday 25th February 2011. (I believe the competition is open to Australian residents only on this one.)