Plugs

Regional Myths Surrounding the Giant Bellflower.

- The Sunken City: The people of Sesin Town, on Crescent Bay, speak wistfully of the music of lost Mirnaville. Here bellflowers adorned the city crest, and children played in the public gardens in their melodious shade. History verifies that on Saint Sembert’s day, a flood from the sea rose and engulfed the city; folklore alone claims that, in calm weather, the wind carries its chiming from under the waves, bearing it up to the sunlit gardens of Sesin Town, where no bellflowers grow.

- The Cruel Father: A tale local to the Abernath Forest tells of a man who, having allowed his children to starve, was condemned to serve consecutive seven-year terms as a robin, an ocean-going monster (variously described as a dragon, horse, or sea-goat: the Abernath Forest is landlocked), and the clapper-tongue of a bellflower. This, it is said, explains why the father’s voice may be heard mingling with those of his children in the Abernath’s lugubrious vespertine chorus. (While this account is usually considered folkloric, some historians of jurisprudence claim to be able to fit it into the Abernath’s ancestral systems of justice.)

- The Gardener’s Beautiful Daughter: On the Yayang Plateau, the heads of Cithera, a highly respected Botanical Clan, cherish an account of their ancestor the Cleya of Cithera, who was tasked by the Yayang Censorate with producing a bellflower purer of tone than any yet bred. To protect her mother from the consequences of failure, the Cleya’s oldest daughter, after consulting with the Sepeng Oracle, mixed her own blood with the soil. Though debate surrounds the mechanism of the spell, the Yayang bellflower is an undeniably clear-voiced plant, whose ochre markings are (moreover, on occasion) reported to spell surprising words.

- The Three Sisters: In the Culleham Moors their house may still be seen. These women — variously described, according to the storyteller, as having been lovely or plain, reclusive or magnetic, and brilliant or cracked — were unable to get anyone to publish their books. Thus they practiced a form of wild moors magic that is said to have transformed them into either ravens, bellflowers, or men. According to the latter version, the sisters took new names, married, and lived acclaimed and productive lives. According to either of the first two variants, they still dwell on the Culleham Moors, abiding near their former home and confiding their stories to the wind.

“A dwarf, Charming!” Cinderella said. “Seriously, a dwarf. Why? Is this some kind of bizarre plea for attention?”

“Cindy, I thought you of all people would understand. We’re in love. What other justification do we need?”

“If you remember, we were in love once,” Cinderella said. “And look how that turned out.” She had planned not to drink anything, to keep the meeting as short and businesslike as possible, but now she poured herself some sangria out of the carafe after all and drank a long swallow from it, not looking at Charming the whole time.

“Well,” said Charming, and with the warmth he put into that one word it was as though he had said Well, and even though it didn’t last forever, our love was amazing while it lasted, and I wouldn’t have missed it for the world. To give the devil his due, he could be very charming.

“I admit,” Charming said, “I wouldn’t have looked for a dwarfess if I hadn’t literally stumbled on Gloina. But she’s so constant, and she practically glows with happiness the whole time we’re together … and the sex! My God, the things that little woman can do! Have you ever been with a dwarf?”

“I think you’re confusing me with that whore Snow White.”

“Not that again. Why do people keep repeating that rumor?”

“Oh come on, you’re a man. You should get it.”

Charming pushed his glass aside and leaned toward Cinderella across the glass surface of the table. “We don’t have to argue. We’re not married any more! What about you? I heard you’re seeing someone. Tell me about him.”

“What, Hansel?” He’s a woodcutter, she could have told him. He lives in the forest in a small cottage with his sister, Gretl, and her husband and three happy but really filthy children.

Charming was looking at her, waiting.

“He’s in forest products,” she said finally.

“Nobility?”

“Nearly,” she said. And then she didn’t say: And he smells like ginger and cloves, and sometimes when I’m with him I forget who I am. Last week I cleaned his house from top to bottom, and the forest creatures actually turned out to help me.

“All right,” said Charming, as though she had asked him for something.

And as they turned to the papers they had to go over, Cinderella found herself wondering if she could cast off the princess she’d become like the old skin of an insect, and if so, what might climb out into the sunlight.

Kat Beyer
Kat BeyerWhen Kat Beyer lost the use of her hands in 1999, she decided that shouldn’t stop her. She writes with speech software, and her hands have healed enough to paint. She has published with Circlet Press, Strange Horizons, and others. Check out her website, complete with gallery, links to writings, favorite single malt scotch, and “Wasabi for the mind, ” at www.katspaw.com.

 

Ken Brady
Ken BradyKen is multiple kinds of geek: writing, film making, virtual worlds, video games, music, cars, motorcycles, and computers. His publications include Analog, Writers of the Future, Strange Horizons, Talebones, Darker Matter, Fortean Bureau, Ideomancer, Weird Tales, Midnight Street, Modern Magic, The William and Mary Review, Rosebud, Science Fiction World, Exquisite Corpuscle, and others. He’s also sold some stage plays, a screenplay, and produced an award-winning feature film. There are rumors he may be making more films soon.

He lives in Tokyo with his wife, Yuki – a manga artist — and runs a company that creates virtual world and social media strategies. Sometimes, people force him to speak at conferences.

His website is irregularly updated. Someone should really do something about this, don’t you think? Alternately, you can find him on Facebook, Twitter, Quillpill, LinkedIn, Naymz, and occasionally MySpace and Friendster.

Daniel Braum
Daniel BraumDaniel Braum likes his fiction to take him to places on the edge of civilization, or anywhere near or far where the darkness needs a little light or vice versa. His stories often blur the lines between genres, most of the time unintentionally. His short stories can be found in print in places such as Cemetery Dance, Electric Velocipede, and Full Unit Hook Up and online at sites such as the Fortean Bureau, Abyss and Apex, and Dark Recesses. He is very happy to be in such good company with the diverse and talented authors here at the Cabal. He is currently shopping for a publisher for his first novel, a supernatural thriller set in Central America. Visit him at www.danielbraum.com and www.livejournal.com/danielbraum.

Rudi Dornemann
Rudi DornemannWhat we know of the Rudi Dornemann has come has been passed down through the generations of storytellers, from father to son and from mother to daughter since the days before the Dark Times. The tale-tellers speak of how the Rudi’s fiction appeared in various magazines, some of which were fashioned from the skins of ancient creatures called trees, others of which were made of a more ethereal substance — some chronicles speak of webs, others of vast systems of tubes. The names of these magazines have come down to us like the words of some incantation — Behind the Wainscot, Strange Horizons, Realms of Fantasy, The Fortean Bureau, Flytrap, Ideomancer/, Rabid Transit: Menagerie, and others. Some of the legends tell of the Rudi’s home in a place called “Maine”– an Atlantis-like locale said to be located somewhere off the coast of Vermont. A few of the tales relate that he had a thing called a website and others speak of his blog.

Jason Fischer
Jason FischerJason Fischer is based in Adelaide, South Australia. He is a graduate of the 2007 Clarion South workshop, and a recent finalist in the Writers of the Future contest. He has a story in Jack Dann’s new anthology Dreaming Again, and forthcoming stories appearing in Aurealis Magazine and Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine. Jason likes anything to do with zombies or post-apocalyptic settings, and when he’s not writing he wishes he was. He can be found lurking in internetland at jasoni.livejournal.com

 

Sara Genge
Sara GengeSara Genge lives in Madrid, Spain. She writes speculative fiction aided and abetted by a coven of friends and female relatives. She’s walked the Camino de Santiago and spent a year as a foreign exchange student in Paris. Sara even saw a gnome once, but it was after a week of sleep deprivation and sixteen hours of studying, so she’s not sure if it wore a pointed red hat or not. Her blog is regularly updated.

 

Jon Hansen
jon Hansen

Jon Hansen has been publishing speculative fiction and poetry since 1996. His chief amusement when not writing is watching his cats eye the birdfeeder.

David C. Kopaska-Merkel
David C. Kopska-MerkelDavid C. Kopaska-Merkel was born in Charlottesville Virginia in 1872. He attended Redhill school until the fourth grade, but dropped out after only 18 years without completing high school. He took to electronics like a duck to water, once the field was invented, and quickly developed a machine that allowed him to become his own great-great-grandfather. He later tried his hand at fiction but, realistically, it was too unbelievable. So he became a ghostwriter for scientific reports. In his spare time he specializes in yak pedicures and appraisals of stuffed marmots. He lives in a quarter million dollar condo a half a block from the railroad tracks, with a flock of seagulls and a couple of minor inconveniences.

Recent books by David Kopaska-Merkel
Nursery Rhyme Noir (fiction) 978-09821068-3-9
Night Ship to Never (poetry, with Kendall Evans) 978-0-9821352-3-5

Jen Larsen
Jen Larsen

Jen Larsen is a writer living for less on the outskirts of Salt Lake City. Her current obsessions include selkies, supernovas, tattoos, lipstick, wendigos, whiskey, tiny stories, enormous novels, unsolved murders, mysterious backpacking disappearances, and you. Her fiction has appeared in Strange Horizons, Word Riot, Nimrod International Journal, among others. She quit smoking years ago, but she’ll never give up.

Jason Erik Lundberg
Jason Erik LundbergJason Erik Lundberg is an American expatriate living in Singapore, and the author of The Time Traveler’s Son (2008), Four Seasons in One Day (2003, with Janet Chui), and over forty articles and short stories; he is also the co-editor of Scattered, Covered, Smothered (2004) and A Field Guide to Surreal Botany (2008). His solo work has most recently appeared (or will soon) in Polyphony 7, Subterranean Magazine, Sybil’s Garage, Farrago’s Wainscot, Hot Metal Bridge, and other groovy venues. His short fiction has been honorably mentioned in The Year’s Best Fantasy & Horror, nominated for the SLF Fountain Award, and shortlisted for the Brenda L. Smart Award for Short Fiction. With Janet Chui, Lundberg runs Two Cranes Press, an independent publishing atelier. A graduate of the Clarion Writers’ Workshop and the Creative Writing Master’s program at North Carolina State University, he now teaches English and creative writing at Hwa Chong Institution. His website and blog can be found at jasonlundberg.net.

Susannah Mandel
SusannahSusannah Mandel enjoys poetry, bicycling, comic books, movies, languages, and landscapes — in fact with the proper priming she can enjoy just about anything. She is especially hot on science fiction, and looking at things. Susannah has degrees in English literature and media studies (and it may not be over yet), and has worked in research, editing, translation, teaching and linguistics. After time in northern California, Boston, and the north of France, she now lives in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. She publishes a regular column at Strange Horizons about the fantastic in classic literature.

 

Alex Dally MacFarlane
AlexAlex Dally MacFarlane’s short stories have appeared in Clarkesworld, Lady Churchill’s Rosebud Wristlet, Electric Velocipede, Shimmer, Sybil’s Garage, Farrago’s Wainscot and various other ‘zines; another is forthcoming in Fantasy Magazine. One of her poems received an honourable mention in The Year’s Best Fantasy and Horror, Vol 21. In 2009 she left her job in the UK to go travelling, and is currently in Australia admiring the grass trees and trying to find money for visiting East Asia. To find out more about her writing and wandering, visit Tales and Foreign Markets, her website.

 

Luc Reid
Luc ReidLuc Reid is a past winner of the Writers of the Future Contest and the founder of the online neo-pro writers group Codex. His first book, Talk the Talk: The Slang of 65 American Subcultures was published in 2006. He created and writes for a site with practical articles about how self-motivation works called The Willpower Engine and recently completed a free-to-copy eBook on writing motivation called The Writing Engine: A Practical Guide to Writing Motivation. Luc lives in Williston, Vermont. His Web site is www.lucreid.com.

Angela Slatter
AngelaAngela Slatter is a Brisbane-based writer, schlepping her way through life. Her short fiction has appeared in places such as Lady Churchill’s Rosebud Wristlet, Shimmer, The Lifted Brow, Strange Tales II, 2012, Crimson Highway, Dreaming Again and a few small disreputable bars in London. She likes fairytales and thinks the creepier they are, the better. She is working on a couple of novels, but the one taking her time at the moment is set in Jerusalem during the last years of the Crusader Kingdom – it’s always 1187 in her head.

Jeremiah Tolbert
Jeremiah TolbertJeremiah Tolbert is a web designer, photographer, and writer living in Fort Collins, Colorado. His stories have appeared in Interzone, Ideomancer, Polyphony 4, and All-Star Zeppelin Adventure Stories. He is responsible for the design and maintenance of the Daily Cabal site, so if anything goes wrong, you know who to blame. He blogs on photography, science news, and more at his website.

Edd Vick
Edd VickEdd Vick, the son of a pirate father and a baking mogul mother, is a 2002 graduate of the Clarion SF Writing Workshop. He has had several stories published in Asimov’s SF Magazine. Other magazines to publish his work include Electric Velocipede, Tales of the Tai-Pan Universe, and Jim Baen’s Universe. Anthologies with stories by Edd include Fundamentally Challenged, Distant Planes, and Northwest Passages. He lives in Seattle with SF novelist Amy Thomson and their adopted daughter Katie. Visit him at eddvick.livejournal.com.

Trent Walters
Trent WaltersTrent makes his living taking drugs for the DEA. Unlike most Americans, he walks to work every day with a spring in his step. His work appeared in The Golden Age SF anthology, Electric Velocipede, Lady Churchill’s Rosebud Wristlet, and BSFA’s Vector. Online work can be found at 3am Magazine, The Angler, EOTU, Lamination Colony, Pindledyboz, Vacancy (audio). Forthcoming are works in Full Unit Hookup, Grendelsong, Legends of the Mountain State, Triangulation, and Visual Journeys. Also forthcoming from Morpo Press, a poetry chapbook called Learning the Ropes. He is the poetry editor of Abyss and Apex.

Jonathan Wood
Jonathan Wood is an Englishman in New York. He writes odd little things that show up in odd little places, like Weird Tales, Fantasy Magazine, Farrago’s Wainscot, and Behind the Wainscot. It’s also forthcoming in Chizine, Beneath Ceaseless Skies, and several anthologies, including Crawlspace: The Best of Farrago’s Wainscot, and Hatter Bones.

Talking seagull seeks mate. Not sure if I’m M or F, because sexing birds is tricky. I like long walks on the beach screaming at a companion, beautiful sunsets over garbage dumps, playing french fry tug-of-war, and freaking out the tourists by shouting warnings to them when they’re not looking (then pretending I can’t talk). No sandpipers, please.
* * *
SWF, 218 years old (but looks 190!), seeks SM, 210-300. I drank a secret elixir in 1814–maybe you did too? Seeking love, companionship, and someone who can really challenge me in the history and entertainment categories in Trivial Pursuit. Remember the Victorian era? Well, we’re not in it any more: get ready for red-hot duocentenarian love!
* * *
SJM, 23, 6’7″, seeks SF 4’10″ or shorter, because it would look so funny, and people love to see things like that.
* * *
I SPY: February 11th, at 10:15 in the morning, on the bus route to Queens. You were the dark shadow of a cloud that fell over the street, plunging everything into a gloom for just the space of a breath. I was the iridescence of gasoline in a mud puddle, waiting to get splashed. I glimmered in you for a moment. Did you feel it too?

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