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!

Equus Cover Reveal!

Here’s the cover for Equus, edited by Rhonda Parrish and featuring a Thunder Road story by yours truly!

I’m stoked to be sharing this anthology with some excellent writers, and some writers I’ve yet to discover.

There’s always something magical about horses, isn’t there? Whether winged or at home in the water, mechanical or mythological, the equines that gallop through these pages span the fantasy spectrum. In one story a woman knits her way up to the stars and in another Loki’s descendant grapples with bizarre transformations while fighting for their life. A woman races on a unique horse to save herself from servitude, while a man rides a chariot through the stars to reclaim his self-worth. From steampunk-inspired stories and tales that brush up against horror to straight-up fantasy, one theme connects them all: freedom.

Featuring nineteen fantastic stories of equines both real and imagined by J.G. Formato, Diana Hurlburt, Tamsin Showbrook, M.L.D Curelas, Laura VanArendonk Baugh, VF LeSann, Dan Koboldt, J.J. Roth, Susan MacGregor, Pat Flewwelling, Angela Rega, Michael Leonberger, Sandra Wickham, Stephanie A. Cain, Cat McDonald, Andrew Bourelle, Chadwick Ginther, K.T. Ivanrest, and Jane Yolen.

My story made the back cover copy! You’ll never guess which one is mine.

Write on.

Equus Table of Contents!

The table of contents for Equus is finally live and it’s great to see everyone’s names. I’d sussed out a few other authors because I have a few friends on the list but it’s nice to see everyone all lined up. I’m very curious to read everyone else’s stories (and holy shit, I’m in a book with Jane Yolen)!

Stars, Wings, and Knitting Things by J.G. Formato

Eel and Bloom by Diana Hurlburt

A Complete Mare by Tamsin Showbrook

Neither Snow, nor Rain, nor Heat-Ray by M.L.D Curelas

Rue the Day by Laura VanArendonk Baugh

Riders in the Sky by VF LeSann

Above the Silver Sky by Daniel Koboldt

A Mother Unicorn’s Advice to Her Daughter by J.J. Roth

Ladies Day by Susan MacGregor

The Boys from Witless Bay by Pat Flewwelling

The Horse Witch by Angela Rega

Eli the Hideous Horse Boy by Michael Leonberger

Different by Sandra Wickham

To Ride a Steel Horse by Stephanie Cain

The Last Ride of Hettie Richter by Cat McDonald

We Us You by Andrew Bourelle

Scatter the Foals to the Wind by Chadwick Ginther

Lightless by K.T. Ivanrest

A Glory of Unicorns by Jane Yolen

Of course, I’m over the moon to be sharing a ToC with my good pal, and writing partner, Sandra Wickham; a first for us. Another first: sharing a ToC with my self-declared nemesis, Cat McDonald. Cat’s wanted to have a readoff to determine which of us will rule the universe for years now, so it looks like she might be getting her wish when Equus launches in July.

Get your Goodreads shelves ready!