Scatter The Foals To The Wind Excerpt

It’s launch time for Equus. Enjoy a teaser taste of my story!

Scatter the Foals to the Wind

My mom always said, “Michelle, never trust a short man. They’ve always got something to prove.”

Most of her advice hadn’t stuck, but that tidbit had; one reason most of the guys I’d dated had been the size of vikings. The latest was a bruiser of a redhead named Ted. More tattoos than a biker. Mouth like a sailor. Smoked like a chimney. Mom would’ve hated him, 6’4” or not.

We’d had a few dates. I’m sure he’d made the same plans for tonight I had.

He’d come over to my condo and made me dinner. We were having a toke on my balcony, the air was brisk, but warm for a Winnipeg November. He had one arm around me and the other pointed up at the stars, toward the constellation of Orion.

“So there was this giant, name of Veggbyggir,” he said. “And he had this horse, big strong bastard went by Svaðilfari. Could tow a fucking mountain.”

The story of the myth behind the stars had a practiced feel, as if this was something he said to all the girls. It was also wrong. The “horse” constellation he’d pointed to had been Taurus.

“Veggbyggir and Svaðilfari were tasked with building a wall around Asgard—that’s the home of the Norse gods—in only three seasons or they won Freyja—the most beautiful goddess in Odin’s court—and the sun and moon besides. And they’d almost done it. So Loki had to stop them.”

Practiced or not, wrong or not, it was working. I wanted to hear where his story went. “Wait? Isn’t Loki a bad guy?”

“You know Loki?” Ted’s eyes caught the starlight and he laughed.

“Not personally,” I said. “Who won?”

“Not the giant,” Ted said. “And not Loki.”

I took a deep toke, held the smoke in my lungs for a three count, and passed the joint back to Ted as I exhaled. “How’d Loki manage to stop them?”

“He turned into a mare and lured the stallion away.”

“Classic honey pot,” I said.

Ted laughed. “Right?”

“So why’d you say Loki lost? Sounds like he had the last laugh.”

Ted shrugged. “He came back pregnant with an eight-legged horse son.”

“Bummer,” I said. “Which constellation is Loki? Where’s he hiding?”

He stopped pointing at the stars to pull me close, and I figured he was going to kiss me, so I closed my eyes, leaned in, and over the balcony I went. As I tumbled ass over tits, his grin flashed; a crescent that glowed bright as the moon.

***

Equus is available in print or e-format from the vendors below:
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Equus Guest Blog Wrap Up

Thanks for following along with the Equus blog tour!
Here are links to all the other blog posts if you happened to miss one.
I’m so stoked to hold this book in my hand! Equus launches July 17, 2017 and is available in print or e-format from the vendors below:

Guest Post by Diana Hurlburt

I am thrilled to have fellow Equus contributor, Diana Hurlburt, as a guest here on the blog. Can’t wait to read her story, Eel and Bloom!

Equus launches July 17, 2017 and is available in print or e-format from the vendors below:

My mother taught me to love two things: Florida and horses.

Florida gets a bad rap generally (the zombies! the acid baths!), but any place you grow up is the norm, whether it’s got four traditional seasons or its year is composed of an unending stretch of humidity, mosquitoes, and offensively bright flowering plants. A cold snap capable of freezing your bird bath is big news, hurricanes less so. There’s one thing to be said for living where the rest of the country vacations, and it’s that when the rest of the country comes calling, you get to retreat to those other vacation spots. A little further inland, a little more cloistered, maybe not so well known as Cocoa Beach, Amelia Island, and Key West. A great road-tripper, my mother, in the days before Google Maps, and a serious Sunshine State enthusiast, lover of birds, armadillos, native plants, roadside weird, and of course Florida’s signature, first-magnitude freshwater springs.

My growing-up years were spent in water—probably 60/40 in favor of springs rather than the Atlantic. We drove all over the Ocala National Forest and environs in pursuit of the deep blue bowl of Silver Glen and the canoe run at Wekiwa, the diving platform at Juniper and the inner tubes of Rock Springs. My lips turned purple in the 72 Fahrenheit water long before I wanted to get out. And in between dips and nature hikes, I read. Every Marguerite Henry the library had and classics like National Velvet and Black Beauty; out-of-print fantasy like Horsemaster and proto-YA contemporaries like Pretty Penny Farm, Saddle Club, and the Thoroughbreds series; even the Smithsonian Handbook of Horses and DK’s Encyclopedia of the Horse: if it featured horses, I wanted it in my eyeballs yesterday. We say ‘horse girl’ with a certain amount of wry humor, but there are billion-dollar industries built around the specific, unending obsession that equines stoke in many people. To her credit, my mother didn’t think this obsession was funny, because she loves horses too. It’s easy to remember my childhood as one long summer, trail rides and tubing down Ichetucknee and a big road-trip to the Kentucky Horse Park.

Through that lens, it’s unsurprising that I wrote the story included in Equus, “Eel and Bloom.” Florida’s landscapes lend themselves well to flights of fancy, whether that takes the shape of borderline magical-realism like Their Eyes Were Watching God, apocalyptic science-fantasy such as the Southern Reach series, or surrealist satire like Made for Love. Though not the first “Weird Florida” story I’ve written, “Eel and Bloom” is the first to feature a native horse: the limerunner, a part-amphibious racer born in cypress stands, cold springs, and wetlands. The limestone base of the state is the source of its spring water, and the most lime-rich areas are also a wealth of fossils—some of them prehistoric equines. Having grown up on a fiction diet of equal parts fairy tales and horse stories, the construction (or uncovering) of a fantastic Florida seemed destined to include horses. If I have one overarching goal for my writing, it’s to create fantasy so specifically based in fact that it makes a reader think twice, to wonder whether they’ve stumbled here before, to consider if this story is already part of the human mythos. If limeys feel true to the land and water from which they arise, it’s because Florida itself is a mystical place, and has been since before Ponce de Leon searched for the Fountain of Youth among our springs.

The next time you visit Disney World or fly into Tampa for a cruise, I invite you to step a little further, into Tosohatchee or up to the Ocklawaha reserve, and look for long-legged shadows among the cypresses.

Diana Hurlburt is a writer and librarian in Florida. Horses, heavy metal, and fantasy paperbacks are a few of her favorite things. Selections of her short fiction can be found at cahoodaloodaling, Body Parts, and The Hanging Garden, and in the anthology Beyond the Pillars. Connect with her on her blog!

Equus Guest Blog Tour

I’m participating in the blog tour for the release of Rhonda Parrish’s latest anthology, Equus. I hope you’ll follow along!
Here’s where you’ll find us:
July 7thSarena Ulibarri will host K.T. Ivanrest
July 8thStephanie A. Cain will host Chadwick Ginther
July 9thK.T. Ivanrest will host Michael Leonberger
July 10thDiana Hurlburt will host Stephanie A. Cain
July 11th — Chadwick Ginther will host Diana Hurlburt
July 12thAngela Rega will host K.T. Ivanrest
July 13thRhonda Parrish will host Cat McDonald

Write on!

July Goals & Half Year Check In


Time for a goals check in. It’s…uh…been a while. I skipped posting about how April went, or setting goals for May or June. But we’re at the halfway point of the year, so I thought I’d take a look back at 2017 so far.

First, how did April go?

  • Send in pitches for two short stories, write at least one of them if accepted
  • Keep working on my next novel

Awful, creatively speaking.

I did send in one of my two short story pitches, but the novel just wasn’t working. Not sure if I outlined it too heavily, and hadn’t left myself sufficient discovery points to want to keep writing, the protagonist wasn’t right, or it was a wrong book, wrong time situation. I still like the kernel of the idea, and will likely come back to it later.

And May:

  • Finish and submit April’s short story.
  • Finish my second short story pitch.
  • Submit my MAC grant application

Not much better. I really need to start following Chuck Wendig’s advice. Motivation has been thin on the ground, and a couple projects fell through that I was excited about. That’s the creative life. I did get my grant application in, so knock wood for me.

July Goals:

  • Finish a reread of an old fallow novel to identify my first round of revisions.
  • Finish a draft of a new short story for an upcoming anthology.
  • Finish another chapter for An Excuse for Whiskey.

There all caught up.

Now…what did I hope to accomplish for 2017?

  • Write, revise, and submit a book within the 2017 calendar year.
  • Keep my short fiction out on submission.
  • Complete first draft of An Excuse for Whiskey.
  • Systematic finishing of the short stories I’ve started writing but not finished. I would like to get at least six new stories out the door this year.
  • Plan out a sequel to Graveyard Mind.

Stretch Goals for 2017:

  • Edit one of my fallow novel first drafts.
  • Participate in NaNoWriMo.
  • Write a few comic scripts.

Fair to say that first goal isn’t likely to happen now. Fastest I’ve got a novel into submission shape so far is 11 months.

I’ve been keeping my short fiction on submission, but until I finish some new stories, and the last few I finished sold, many of my unsold stories are out of applicable markets. I’ve finished one of the six old stories I’d hoped to get out the door this year (and it sold, yay!) so there’s lots more work to do to meet that goal, but I’m getting closer on a few of those stories (I’ve also mostly drafted a new one, but it’ll need significant revisions before it’s out the door).

Sandra and I have only added two chapters to An Excuse for Whiskey, but we are getting closer. I’m not sure we’ll have the draft done before When Words Collide, but I’m sure having a chance to hang out in person will spur us on to finish the book. On the plus side, I am pretty sure what the sequel to Graveyard Mind will be. I’ve mostly assembled my playlist, and am close to having my outline soundtrack

Since the book I’d wanted to draft this year wasn’t working, I’ve promoted one of the stretch goals, and have been revising an old fallow draft instead. Ideally, I’d like to have it done before Can-Con in Ottawa. If I meet that deadline, I’ll be free to play in NaNaWriMo again this year.

Write on.