Tag Archive for short story

Wishing for More Now Available in Helios Quarterly!

I am thrilled that my romantic urban fantasy tale, “Wishing for More,” appears in Helios Quarterly Magazine 4.4, which came out in December 2019 (why yes, I am behind on promo).

helios quarterly, rebecca gomez farrell, wishing for more

In “Wishing for More,” a dastardly magical plant outwits stubborn Jewls, forcing her to accept rescue from her childhood friend Cesar. Both newly graduated from Jinn School, Jewls and Cesar set out for a night of adventure, foraging for more mystical plants Jewls can sell to pay the bills and avoid disappointing the Jinn Cadre. Will she use up all her wishing power before she realizes what she wishes for most?

The first lines:

Just a little bit more.

Jewls placed her hand on the guardrail meant to stop people from doing exactly what she was about to: hang over the edge of a desolate ocean cliff. An alep’s hound plant grew about five feet down the cliff’s rockface, its cornucopia of dagger-shaped leaves folded tightly in a nautilus spiral. Jewls had parked her car by the highway and made her way down an abandoned lighthouse’s access road, on a night blowing icy mist, to harvest it.

She shuffled on her stomach over the rim, reaching with her free hand, but the alep’s hound darted left and right, avoiding her straining fingers. A wave crashed against the jagged boulders, sending up a high plume of seawater that drenched her. Brrr. She tried not to ponder those depths, focused on the plant, leaning farther—

Helios Quarterly 4.4 is available directly from the publisher’s webstore in .mobi or .epub formats. You can also purchase from Amazon for $2.99 for the Kindle here. It contains four other short stories in addition to “Wishing for More.” Get your copy now!

And here’s a photo inspiration to set the story’s mood:

c-shell photo, santa cruz, west cliff, night, cliffs

Photo copyright C-Shell Photo

“Treasure” Reprinted in Best Indie Speculative Fiction 2019!

Great news! “Treasure” has been reprinted in the Best Indie Speculative Fiction 2019 anthology from Bards & Sages! As Bards & Sages describes it, “This collection is our annual celebration of the small press and independent publishing community.”

Best Indie Speculative Fiction 2019 features twelve short stories of fantasy, science fiction, and horror that have been published over the past two years, and it came out in November 2019. Currently, it’s available from Amazon here.

“Treasure,” a fantasy fable, was originally published in the Dark Luminous Wings anthology from Pole to Pole Publishing. Here are the first few lines:

Wind thundered past the slats of the storage cabin. Hidden within a barrel of fish guts, the stowaway braced herself for lurching. But when the ship pitched sharply sternside, Enkid knew it was no ordinary squall. A storm this bad would force the captain out of his quarters despite his usual drunken stupor, creating an opportunity to filch the beveled, green-glass vial he wore around his neck. It held hemlock tincture, a rare poison that would come in handy for someone in Enkid’s line of work.

And here is a photo I took during a Paperhand Puppet Intervention show, which may, or may not have, influenced a certain element of this tale. Enjoy!

city of frogs paperhand puppet intervention

My Next Reading & Story: “What Scattered in the Wind”

Update! This reading and publication has been postponed until 8/11. All other details remain the same. Join me in August instead!

My next short story publication is coming up soon! And I will soon be taking part in a reading to celebrate the launch for the anthology/chapbook it will appear in: Little Letters on the Skin. I do hope you’ll join me.

little letters on the skin

What? The Cleave: Bay Area Women Writers and the Liminal Center Release of the Little Letters on the Skin

When? Friday, June 9, 2017   Friday, August 11, 2017

Where? The Octopus Literary Salon, 2101 Webster St, Oakland.

Time? 7 pm.

Eight other writers and myself, who have been involved with Oakland’s amazing creative space for feminists and womanists, the Liminal Center, will be taking part in the reading and small group Q & A afterward. The anthology will be available for purchase, with all profits going to help support the work of the Liminal Center, which I’ve written about before here and here. I will also bring along a few copies to sell of Typehouse Literary Magazine #9, which featured my humorous sci-fi story, “Mixed Signals, or, Learning How to Speak,” last September.

“What Scattered in the Wind” is not humorous sci-fi, that’s for sure. Rather, it’s horror flash fiction done in a poetic prose style, and it’s the first story I wrote upon moving to the Bay Area. I love the mood of it, and the angst within it, that of a woman struggling with her biggest regret in life and sentenced to forever re-remember it. The first lines?

Hollow rasps of laughter pestered her to wakefulness. Any noise would have done the same, though she clamped her eyelids together in protest. For years, Ruth had heard nothing but the teakettle’s hiss or the slow scrape of her cane against the camper’s floor panels. The creaking sound of her voice rarely interrupted the silence. Unlike the other wayfarers, Ruth had never developed the habit of talking to herself. She didn’t care to hear what she’d have to say.

“Hee-hee, hee-he-heee!

What I am most excited about for this event, however, is the exceptional list of fellow writers reading with me, at least half of whom I’ve read with before and they are STELLAR:

Christine No is a writer, filmmaker and pitbull enthusiast based in Oakland, CA. She is a Pushcart Prize Nominee and the 2016 First Place Poetry Winner of the Litquake Writing Contest. Say hello at  www.christineno.com

Gina Goldblatt is the founder of Liminal, a writing center for women, in Oakland California. She is a writer, an educator and an aerialist.

Hannah Rubin is a writer and artist based in Oakland, CA.

Heather Schubert is a published author, visual artist, teacher, Priestess and mother of four.

Jasmine Wade is obsessed with the tumultuous, hilarious, heartbreaking, and never-ending process of growing up. Find a list of her short stories at www.jasminehwade.com.

Jeneé Darden is an award-winning journalist, public speaker, mental health advocate and proud Oakland native. Visit her podcast and blog CocoaFly.com where she covers issues related to women, race, wellness and sex.

Norma Smith was born in Detroit, grew up in Fresno, California, and has lived and worked in Oakland since the late 1960s. In  support of her writing, she has worked as a ward clerk in hospitals, as a radio producer, as a translator and interpreter, as an educator, and as an editor and writing coach.

Rebecca Gomez Farrell writes all the speculative fiction genres she can conjure up. Find a list of her published shorter works at RebeccaGomezFarrell.com, and find her debut fantasy novel, Wings Unseen, in August 2017 from Meerkat Press.

Ruth Crossman was born and raised in Berkeley and currently lives in Oakland. She is a poet and a songwriter who teaches ESL to support her writing habit.

Additionally, the anthology is edited by Dr. Raina J. León, who’s an associate professor at Saint Mary’s College and the founder of the Cleave reading series along with numerous other accolades. That’s a stellar line-up that I’m glad to be a part of! I do hope you’ll come out and join us, celebrating what women are doing in the literary arts in Oakland. Here’s the Facebook event page, if you’d like to RSVP. I always like to know what friendly faces I’ll see in the crowd!

“Mixed Signals, or, Learning How to Speak” Now Available!

“Mixed Signals,” or, “Learning How to Speak” Published!

“Mixed Signals, or Learning How to Speak,” a short story I wrote last summer, is now available in PDF or print as part of Typehouse Literary Magazine’s Issue 9. You can head to their webpage to download the PDF for FREE – ABSOLUTELY FREE – and it’s chockful of what’s sure to be an amazing mix of literary and genre fiction, poetry, and photography. Just click on the cover image below.

Typehouse Issue 9 Mixed Signals Rebecca Gomez Farrell

There should be a link to the PDF on that page, or you can download it directly right here. The print version of the magazine is not free, but at only $8 for 150 pages of brand-new fiction and poetry, it’s a pretty good deal. Order it directly from CreateSpace here or from Amazon here. I’ll be picking up a couple copies myself!

Mini-Synopsis

“Mixed Signals” is a humorous sci-fi tale about someone down on their luck, romantically and economically. He soon discovers he has a whole lot more he should be concerned about when a crosswalk signal sends him on a convoluted scavenger hunt through the city. Yes, a crosswalk signal.

Miami University Crosswalk Signal

 

I borrowed that photo from Miami University — surprisingly, even though I’m writing stories about them, I do not have a photo of a crosswalk signal on hand! The short story hinges on a speech from which I took inspiration from that television masterpiece, Mork and Mindy. I, indeed, was revising that particular scene around the time of Robin Williams’ death, and that encouraged me to go all in, embracing the potentially cheesy, but ideally moving, moment. Here’s the first paragraph:

Ka-kink. Ka-kink. Ka-kink.

Some guy’s hand flew to the crosswalk button as though a magnetic force drew him, a few feet from
where I sat at a sidewalk café table. Dressed like a hippie and smelling like it too, he spit out
the words, “Callin’ in, Cap’n. Callin’ in.” The syncopated rapidity interfered with the vibe of
melancholic freedom I’d been cultivating. That morning, Alvarado Construction had pink-slipped me.
Three weeks earlier, my girlfriend, Jolanda, had broken up with me, screamed me out of her place
with complaints I didn’t understand her love language, and no, she didn’t mean Spanish.

But I was over it. Completely.

Go read! And please share with me your thoughts on the story. Or better yet, review Typehouse Literary Magazine Issue #9 on Goodreads or Amazon!

And the Next One is…

“Mixed Signals,” while I hope it entertains all you lovely readers, is not all I have coming up the pipeline for you. Stay tuned for more announcements throughout September! In the meantime, have another picture of an important piece of the “Mixed Signals” narrative.

Image from the World Scout Shop

Image from the World Scout Shop

“Thlush-a-lum” to be published in PULP Literature!

I’ve been sitting on this news all summer! But that’s my own fault, because I insist on signing a contract before I announce any of my fiction publications. Which means the contract is signed, and I have a new short story coming out at the end of the year!

“Thlush-a-lum” will be published in the Winter 2015 issue of PULP Literature, a newish speculative fiction magazine that came to be through a successful Kickstarter campaign in 2013.

pulp literature

Issue #5 will be released electronically and in paperback form, and you bet I’ll update you once buy links become available. In addition to four yearly issues of the magazine, PULP Literature runs a number of contests that often feature publication as a prize. Their editors’ blog is also a fount of useful information for writers. Peruse away!

What’s “Thlush-a-lum” about, you wonder? It’s pure horror that would qualify as flash fiction in most markets. The story came about when I challenged myself to write something more focused on the sense of sound than the other four I more commonly use in my writing. Many of those sounds are inspired by what I could hear from my own Southern bedroom window…and a few sounds that I swear I’ve been able to hear no matter where I’ve lived.

The first few lines? Certainly.

Markella’s earliest memories are of the sounds outside her window. At hours when no men moved, rustling branches and shuffling grass woke her. A beating pulse like slower, fleshier helicopter blades banished sleep: thlush-a-lum thlush-a-lum. In summers, the heat in her attic bedroom hot enough to incubate, Markella pushed the window open and dozed to the endless static drone of cicadas. In winters, choking radiator warmth wrapped tight around her, she cracked the window and the low, deep hoots of an owl drifted in with the freezing breeze.

The sounds crept in no matter the season.

And you know I like to include a photo to set the mood when I can…

thlush a lum photo

Fiction Bragging — “Blow ‘Em Down” released at Beneath Ceaseless Skies!

I am thrilled to announce that you can now read my steampunk retelling of the Battle of Jericho, “Blow ‘Em Down,” in Beneath Ceaseless Skies Special 5th Anniversary Double Issue #151!

The full text of the story is now available on BCS‘s website for free, along with the rest of the fantastic stories in the issue. On that page, you will find download links for all e-reader types that you can also use to acquire the issue for free.

Of course, I would encourage you to purchase the issue for your e-readers because I think it’s worthwhile to support good art, and I hope you will think “Blow ‘Em Down” qualifies as good art. If you agree, you can make that wallet-busting $0.99 purchase at Amazon or at Weightless Books.

And now for your teaser,

From our brass band’s vantage point at the Gilgal plains, the glass dome was impenetrable. An immense central copper tube supported it, using a full city block for its foundation and generating energy for the whole town by absorbing the sun rays trapped within the glass. One skygate operated through the top of the dome, opening only to let merchant airships and their escorts in and out. The ships floated by so high, we could barely make out what was seared into their taut material: giant brands bearing profiles of the cityscape. The same image, embossed in a black pattern, circumnavigated the dome’s bottom edge. A single word in bold typeset appeared above each repetition:  Jericho.

They never sent so much as a volley our way. Who could blame them? We looked a sorry mess after forty years spent crossing the desert, but we were many. Forty days our parents had been told, but as it turned out, solar-powered chariots don’t work so well in the desert. The salt from the Red Sea air had rusted most of their steel frames within days of the crossing, leaving us with only a handful, and those were barely powerful enough to raise one person off the sand at a time. Then there was the pillar of smoke blocking out half the sky. Little sun meant less energy for our solar cells to regenerate. When the pillar lit up like a fireball that forgot to fly at night, we tried to mine the heat, but we never could get the calibrations right.

Again, you can read the rest of “Blow ‘Em Down” right here.

Fiction Bragging Reminder: Last Week to get “Bother” for Free!

In February, I let you all know about the opportunity to get your hands on one of my short stories for free for a limited time. And now that time is almost at an end! “Bother,” along with many other fantastic stories collected by M. David Blake for the 2013 Campbellian Pre-Reading Anthology, will only be available until 4/30. So what are you waiting for? Click your browsers on over to Stupefying Stories and get your copy! And be sure to give Durham author Mur Lafferty your congratulations on being nominated for the Campbell Award for the second straight year. Some of her work is also available in the anthology. You can find her at the Murverse.

Campbellian Anthology 2013 cover

Here’s what I posted to explain the anthology in February:

Published by Stupefying Stories, the 2013 Campbellian Pre-Reading Anthology is now available for free — that’s right, free! — for anyone interested in perusing the works of authors eligible for Campbell award nominations this year. What’s that? As M. David Blake, editor of Stupefying Stories explained,

Named for John W. Campbell, Jr., whose 34 years at the helm of Astounding Science Fiction (later renamed Analog) defined the “Golden Age” of the genre and launched the careers of dozens of famous writers, the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer is presented annually at WorldCon to an outstanding author whose first professional work of science fiction or fantasy was published within the previous two years.

What does this have to do with me? Well, with my sale of “Bother” to Bull Spec nearing on two years ago now, I became eligible for the Campbell Award. I have absolutely no expectations of being nominated, especially because I haven’t had other speculative fiction published since then — I’ve been working on my first fantasy novel instead of sending out my short stories. But “Bother” has been reprinted in the anthology, and now’s your chance to read it for free along with other worthy works by a large list of fantastic speculative fiction authors. All for free until the Hugo nominees, including for the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer, are announced at the end of April.

To take advantage of this amazing access to these stories, just click here and chose the e-format you prefer at the end of the publication announcement post. And if you do read “Bother,” please let me know what you thought! Us writers do thrive on feedback.

Fiction Bragging: The 2013 Campbellian Pre-Reading Anthology

Campbellian Anthology 2013 cover

Published by Stupefying Stories, the 2013 Campbellian Pre-Reading Anthology is now available for free — that’s right, free! — for anyone interested in perusing the works of authors eligible for Campbell award nominations this year. What’s that? As M. David Blake, editor of Stupefying Stories explained,

Named for John W. Campbell, Jr., whose 34 years at the helm of Astounding Science Fiction (later renamed Analog) defined the “Golden Age” of the genre and launched the careers of dozens of famous writers, the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer is presented annually at WorldCon to an outstanding author whose first professional work of science fiction or fantasy was published within the previous two years.

What does this have to do with me? Well, with my sale of “Bother” to Bull Spec nearing on two years ago now, I became eligible for the Campbell Award. I have absolutely no expectations of being nominated, especially because I haven’t had other speculative fiction published since then — I’ve been working on my first fantasy novel instead of sending out my short stories. But “Bother” has been reprinted in the anthology, and now’s your chance to read it for free along with other worthy works by a large list of fantastic speculative fiction authors. All for free until the Hugo nominees, including for the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer, are announced at the end of April.

To take advantage of this amazing access to these stories, just click here and chose the e-format you prefer at the end of the publication announcement post. And if you do read “Bother,” please let me know what you thought! Us writers do thrive on feedback.

Fiction Bragging – Feature Friday at Astraea Press

After the publication of Maya’s Vacation, I took part in the first Feature Friday story for Astraea Press. Feature Friday is a collaboration among a bunch of Astraea Press authors to write an ongoing story with three words as a starting point. Each Friday, a different author tackled the next leg of the story, taking it in whatever direction they wanted to. As you might imagine, my contribution managed to veer the story into the paranormal, just a little bit. The words that prompted us were llama, dating, and waterfall.

Our story mascot.

You can start the story from the beginning here, or you can just jump in for my contribution. Here’s your teaser of the story’s beginning, written by Cheryl Grey:

The house looked like half of a bleached orange, placed juicy side down in the shadow of a long, sloping hill. Detective Elleanor Sharpe slammed the door of her rental car, leaned against its hot metal, and kept staring. A geodesic dome, the guy at the gas station had called it as he’d given her directions, his chest thrust out as if proud he’d mastered the term. She’d caught him reading a Scooby Doo comic book, so he hadn’t mastered much else.

Grasslands and cacti faded into the distance in all directions, sliced through by the state road and caliche driveway, punctuated by lazy pump jacks, and weathered, leaning shacks. To the west, looming mesas shimmered in the heat haze. Behind the dome, a flock of sheep hid in the fold of a ravine, the hillside shading them from the afternoon sun. The sky was too dry and washed-out for even the wispiest of clouds.

Here is a snippet from my contribution, the fourth part in a five-part story:

Ellea felt like a vise had cinched her throat. The Natural Assembly was here . . . in Pecos?

Back in Dallas, she’d worked a case on the secretive church and its leader, Reverend Peter Staff. He—it was always a man who led these cults—was in his midfifties with brown hair so gelled a tornado couldn’t move a strand of it. She’d taken an instant disliking to him from the moment she offered her hand in greeting and he held it like a dead fish. The station had called her in to question him after an embezzling charge was leveled against the Natural Assembly by a disgruntled former parishioner. There were also complaints about beheaded chickens, but sacrificing animals was not against the law. Apparently, the church had moved to a smaller pond, perhaps to draw less attention, but they’d also moved on to bigger animals.

You can read the rest of mine here. And because convenience is important to us Americans, here is the entire story together in one post.

Fiction Bragging — She Could Be Me

Time for the next entry in my self-promotion series! She Could Be Me is a short story published by Flashes in the Dark back in May of 2010. And it’s available online for free! It’s a horror story with a Twilight Zone feel to it. Interested? Here are the first few lines:

“I’m delayed,” Tom said over the phone. Celia could barely hear him with the thunder on her end of the line and the airport loudspeaker playing an endless stream of announcements in Spanish, a language she didn’t understand, on his. The announcer’s voice sounded ethereal and discordant at the same time, like a slightly off-tune harp being plucked.

“I’ll be home tomorrow,” he continued. “Don’t get bent out of shape, okay?”

What was a strange thing to say. She never complained when Tom was delayed.

You can read the rest at Flashes in the Dark here. Perhaps these photos will help you with the atmosphere for enjoying She Could Be Me.

The walk toward Chez Mer:

 Celia’s drink at Chez Mer: