“Thy Will Be Done” — new short coming soon in Dark Moon Digest!

This October, a short story based on the Salem Witch Trials (composed by yours truly) will be in Dark Moon Digest, an online magazine (also available in print).

I’m very excited — I have it on very good authority that they accept new work based on high standards, and so I feel quite privileged.

I started “Thy Will Be Done” as a re-imagining of events during the witch trials, from a fantasy / supernatural bent. I originally submitted it as an alternate history, but I’ve never written in that genre before and it didn’t really suit that call for submissions. Fortunately, they still liked it enough to offer space in the publication!

Here’s an excerpt to get you excited, fellow Halloweenies!

The early summer night seemed unseasonably cold to John Hathorne, as he leaned out the back door to check that the path was clear. He grimaced at the chill in the air and clutched his wife’s woolen shawl more closely about him. His dismay when he’d found that the chamber pot was missing was doubled now, as his breath puffed out in white clouds and the bare flesh on his legs rose in goose pimples.
But the demands of his earthly flesh could and would not be denied.
The moon was high and full, lighting the garden path sufficiently that he barely needed the lantern. Still, he carried it high as a standard of godly light against the Devil and his kin. No wind shook the new leaves above and the crickets were silent. He was keenly aware of the loudness of his breath and the drumming of his heart in his ears. No matter that the trials had ended, he knew that many more witches still remained free, still presented a danger to God-fearing men in their heathen alliance to the Devil. Hathorne pressed his lips together as he surveyed his property once more for signs of Satan before setting the lantern carefully on the ground.
His hand trembled slightly as he reached for the handle of the privy door. Shameful. Hathorne shook his head at himself, wiped his sweaty palm on his nightshirt, and reached back for the lantern once more. Then, whispering a psalm for courage and protection, he took a firm grip on the door and flung it open, thrusting the lantern before him into the darkened space.
No demon leaped from the inside to attack him; no spectral figure crouched on the sanded wooden seat, ready to pinch and claw his flesh. There was only a little empty room, emitting the usual offensive odours. Hathorne found that he’d been holding his breath and released it with a whoosh as he set the lantern back down, entered the small wooden closet, and shut the door.
He immediately regretted the loss of light. His internal organs seized up in utter and irrational terror. A bead of perspiration slid down his forehead, and his heart hammered against his chest. One toe snuck forward to open the door a little and admit a shaft of warm yellow light. Pale moonlight poured in as well.
There. Now, he could see the friendly glow from the kitchen fireplace through the glass window, and the candle he’d left on the table to light his way through the house.
After a few moments, his pulse slowed and the first trickles of urine promised the coming relief of his aching bladder.
A sudden gust of wind pushed the door the rest of the way open, startling him so he cried out; at almost the same moment, the lantern fell and rolled away in a half-circle, extinguishing the candle within. A great black shape on four legs stepped before him and growled. Hathorne’s scalp tingled as his hair stood on end and his bladder emptied in an unexpected gush.
The thing looked at him with eyes that glowed red, living coals of fury over a pointed snout and bared, glistening teeth.

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Close-up of my wee fairy

Close-up of my wee fairy

I love vampires, witches, ghosts, and zombies, but I’m also a huge fan of fairies, elves, hobbits, dragons, imps, dwarves…the magical/magickal world entrances me. I’m grateful to have found this picture in my records — it was so difficult to give it away, and now I can make another!

It’s all supernatural to me!

It's all supernatural to me!

A wee fairy dancing in the moonlight… I made this by free styling one summer, when my daughter was invited to a birthday party but I had little money to buy a gift for the five-year-old.

Also, have you joined Goodreads yet?

I’m in the process of setting up my Author Page and Author Blog on Goodreads — a great way to discuss what you’re reading, get recommendations, dish on the good, the bad, and the so-bad-it’s-good of literature, and it’s just a lot of fun.

Here’s my URL, peeps: http://www.goodreads.com/Tori_L_Ridgewood

Pop by, clicky-click the fan button and I will love you forever and ever and ever! Promise!

A Quick Bite of Flesh is now available!

Zombie fans, you have to read this collection of fantastic zombie stories, and not just because I have two stories in it (“Brain Games” and “Bio-Zombie”). It’s truly terrific, delightfully diverse and deliciously gory.

Right now, it’s a Kindle read, but in October, you can get a paperback copy to keep on your shelf. I feel a giveaway coming on…

http://www.amazon.com/Quick-Bite-Flesh-Anthology-ebook/dp/B009EIK4UK/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1348366784&sr=8-1&keywords=a+quick+bite+of+flesh

Enjoy, before the Zombpocolypse descends…

***

Here’s a quick excerpt from “Brain Games” to whet your appetite:

The small, brown-paper package, wrapped in string, is no bigger than my hand. The Florida postmark makes my heart beat faster.
I bolt up the stairs to my room.
Here, at last, is the perfect solution to my problem. Damien will be no match for a little voodoo magic!
“Rose may have you now,” I mutter, using nail clippers to cut the strings, “but that’s about to change.”
I glance lovingly at his picture, framed and hung in place of honour above my pillow.
I open the crackling paper to find a black box and a business card.
“Mama Jetti’s Traditional Haitian Magics” I read aloud. It lists her contact info, and then there’s a bunch of small print, probably a disclaimer or something similarly boring written in complicated legalese.
I set the business card on my bedside table, and return my attention to the box.
“Time for the big reveal.” I take a deep breath, and carefully remove the lid.
Inside, nestled in a bundle of shredded newspaper, is a single black vial. I can’t see the contents, but when I pick it up and shake it, I can hear powder shifting. Spotting a folded piece of paper tucked into the lid, I pull it out and read the instructions.

***
How about another helping? Here’s an excerpt from “Bio-Zombie”:

Leanne approached the corpse on the table with some trepidation.
She couldn’t get used to it. Somewhere after seventy-five she had lost count.
The last one hadn’t been completely neutralized, either. She paused, one gloved hand about to unzip the body bag, and steeled herself. The other hand reached for the large red panic button.
“You won’t get the jump on me, this time,” she warned the thing. Her voice echoed against the firm plastic concave mask covering her face. “Begin recording, Nigel.”
She knew that her assistant was already scribing her every move. Suppressing an internal sigh, mourning the loss of computer technology, she revealed the remains of the zombie to the stark fluorescent light of the autopsy room.
“August 4, 2119. Subject is a male, approximately six foot four. Immediate cause of death appears to be extreme brain trauma.” Leanne probed the exposed tissue delicately, removing a sample and inserting the piece of grey, claggy flesh in a specimen tube. “The bio-suit tag indicates that this was Sergeant Ron Turner. Serial number T96987822. Nigel, where was Sergeant Turner deployed?”
“The Algonquin Ridge.” Nigel’s voice was muffled, like her own must be. Sealed against the bacteria or virus or whatever malevolent infectious thing was turning the men against each other.
“Damn,” she whispered. “That’s the last line of defence.”