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!

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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!

 

 

Short Story Sale!

Sold my first story of 2017!

The contract is signed, and I’ve seen other folks announcing their success as well, so here goes:

You’ll find my story, “Scatter the Foals to the Wind” in Equus, edited by Rhonda Parrish!

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This is another Thunder Road ‘verse story, but I don’t want to say much more than that at the moment, other than my story is fantasy and involves horses. Let the speculation begin!

Write on!

An Embarrassingly Late When Words Collide 2016 Roundup

Sorry for the delay on this roundup, folks!

Another year, another trip to Cowtown!

This trip was a little different. Samantha Beiko and I decided to drive to the con instead of flying. A supposedly fun thing I don’t think I’ll ever do again. Because of my car, not the company.

Roughly two hours into a thirteen hour drive, as Sam was joking about not getting stranded in Brandon again, my battery light came on. Rather than risking the car dying on the road, we pulled into Brandon for repairs. What had initially sounded like a one or two-hour delay became closer to four after waiting for the part to arrive, but new alternator installed, we journeyed on. Despite therapeutic cowch outside of Canadian Tire this development was…so disheartening.

Not gonna lie, the temptation to just give up on the trip then and there was pretty high. But! We were both on programming, both up for Aurora Awards, and, both really excited to visit our friend Clare for her birthday.

So we soldiered on, but that thirteen hour drive ended up being closer to nineteen, door to door.

There is a lot of Saskatchewan to get through. It’s not that the province isn’t pretty, but when you start roughly halfway through Manitoba, and are going halfway into Alberta, crossing the entirety of Saskatchewan just feels like forever. It takes the time it takes, but the perception of that time…that I could’ve done without.

We managed to dodge most of the thunderstorms, and had good weather at least.

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This one only caught us for about thirty seconds, but we were completely blindied by the sun shining through the downpour. Sweet little Bifrost though waving us onward though.

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The skies were amazing. I do love those big damn prairie skies. I am glad I got to see these clouds from a bit of a distance rather than having to drive through them.

Okay on to the con itself:

Calgary has a way of causing me headaches. Whether it’s the altitude, or the pressure changes, or what…I dunno. I’m batting 3 for 8 when it comes to Cowtown visits that give me a headache so bad I vomit (take your whiskey jokes and walk, folks) so I’m always a little bit on edge wondering if it’ll happen again. It’s one of the reasons I program lightly at WWC. No vomiting this time. YAY! But the length of the drive and the stress of car repairs did end up giving me a pretty wicked tension headache (thanks, Jill Flanagan for sorting that out!).

I had no programming on Friday. Which is nice for me. I like to catch up with folks at When Words Collide, and I have a lot of folks to catch up with there! We rolled in early, and helped Clare get her table set up and then got our membership badges.

And then I enjoyed a Basil Hayden’s bourbon, which until recently, I wasn’t able to buy in Manitoba. It’s always a treat when the convention bar has it on the shelf.

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Saturday I participated in a Myth and Folklore panel moderated wonderfully by S.G. Wong (check out her latest, Death Takes the Hindmost when it releases, I got to read an advance copy. Very nice!) and thanks to fellow panelists Rhonda Parrish, and Nancy M. Bell for the lively discussion.

I found some copies of this on the freebie table:

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My friend Chris Smith (an inaugural and long-suffering member of my writing group) has a story in this one. The Crow Maiden. Very cool story. You should read it. I brought a few copies home for him.

Saturday also meant running around to grab things for the Post-Apocalyptic Four party I was co-hosting with friends and fellow Aurora nominees Randy McCharles, Eileen Bell, Ryan McFadden and Billie Milholland. By things I, of course, mean whiskey (and whisky).

The Prix Auroras were handed out. This is no longer news, but I still want to give a shout out to the worthy winners. Neither I nor ChiSeries Winnipeg were awarded in our categories, but there were a lot of great works being celebrated, so that’s okay. Looking at the stats, Too Far Gone came in second in the novel category, so that’s pretty cool too. Thank you to everyone who nominated and voted,and congratulations to all the winners!

  • Best English Novel: A Daughter of No Nation by A.M. Dellamonica, Tor Books
  • Best English YA Novel: An Inheritance of Ashes by Leah Bobet, Scholastic Canada/Clarion Books
  • Best English Short Fiction: “Waters of Versailles” by Kelly Robson, Tor.com
  • Best English Poem/Song: “Origami Crane / Light Defying Spaceship” by Naru Dames Sundar, Liminality, Issue 5 Autumn
  • Best English Graphic Novel: The Lady ParaNorma by Vincent Marcone, ChiZine Publications
  • Best English Related Work: Second Contacts edited by Michael Rimar & Hayden Trenholm, Bundoran Press
  • Best Visual Presentation: Orphan Black, Season 3, John Fawcett and Graeme Manson, Temple Street Productions
  • Best Artist: Erik Mohr, covers for ChiZine Publications
  • Best Fan Publication: Speculating Canada edited by Derek Newman-Stille
  • Best Fan Organizational: Randy McCharles, Chair, When Words Collide, Calgary
  • Best Fan Related Work: Derek Newman-Stille, Speculating, Canada on Trent Radio 92.7 FM

We went out for supper and cake after the awards to celebrate Clare’s birthday.

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BIRFDAE! BIRFDAE! BIRFDAE!

After consuming my weight in Indian food and gluten-free vegan chocolate cake, I had to rush back to the hotel for the room party. It’s been four years since I’ve thrown a con party. It’ll probably be at least that many more until the next one. Lots of folks came out for it, but while I enjoy the parties, it’s another matter throwing one. It also means you can’t leave when you want to if you get overwhelmed by the crowd.

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Look at this room.

There was nowhere to put anybody.

Which was awesome and terrifying.

Huge thanks to everyone who came out to drink our whiskey and beer, and hang out and talk writing, or just talk–loud and crowded as it was. You’re all great. I still can’t fucking believe we weren’t shut down within the hour.

Early on Sunday I was on Susan MacGregor’s panel on writing trilogies. Great batch of panelists and questions from Susan. Thanks to Susan, and fellow panelists Gerald Brandt, Samantha Beiko, Barb Galler-Smith and to everyone who came out.

Once again Sandra Wickham presented her “Writing About Fighting” presentation. And I got to be her fight dummy. Another packed room! Sandra does a great job with this so you really should check it out if you’re at a con where she’s presenting it (and not just to see me get kicked in the stomach).

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Photo by S.G. Wong.

(One of these days I’m going to beak off too much on Twitter and Sandra will just straight up murder me in front of her audience)

I skipped the dead dog to hang out with Sam and Clare, decompress, and watched Dragon Heart.

The drive home wasn’t as long as the drive to Calgary, but it was long enough.

Still, a rainbow that crossed the entire sky was a nice welcome home when we pulled over in Brandon to swap out the driver’s seat.

The drive home was especially long the last hour of thunderstormin’. Poor Sam had to drive. What a trooper!

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I tried multiple times to catch a lightning strike. Not easy with a cell phone camera.

I also really wanted an image of a lightning strike behind the Halfway Tree. For reasons.

And once we got fully into the shit, it was dark.

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But, we made it home okay, and you couldn’t ask for a better driving partner than Sam Beiko. 12/10 would road trip with Sam again.

See you again next year, When Words Collide!

Write on!