Over the past few weeks I’ve pulled together two zombie stories I wrote for hilariously specific themed anthologies, talentlessly iterated a cover, added a bonus drabble from way back in the day, and boom: thar she blows in the Kindle store.

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Two Things was written for Zombonauts (because zombies in space!) and was the first proper-length short story I ever sold. Just recently, Wily Writers produced it for audio, so you can give it a listen.

Escape From Ape City was written for Zombie Kong (because GIANT ZOMBIE GORILLAS), in which my sister Megan Engelhardt also appeared*. My schtick was to never truncate “giant zombie gorillas”; it’s the whole phrase, every single time, because it busts me up and also because they paid me by the word. There’s also some Jazz-Age banter, sweeping action, and romance, but let’s face it, the giant zombie gorillas are the stars here.

So cover to cover, it’s pretty silly. For a while the tagline on my website was “writes dark fiction and light horror.” This is the light horror part. If you’re gonna end the world, you might as well enjoy it.

Zombies in space! Giant zombie gorillas! When life gets weird, all you can do is stick by your friends and hang on to your brains. Amanda C. Davis dishes out two short stories from the lighter side of the zombocalypse.

*The conversation went: “DID YOU SEE THE GIANT ZOMBIE GORILLA THING” “WE HAVE TO GET IN ON THIS” “YES WE DO” That both our stories came out as pulpy historical adventure is, however, coincidence.

(Here’s a free zombie piece that was called “simultaneously eerie and funny”: Untouchable.)

Two Things, a space-horror-comedy, has been reprinted and recorded by Wily Writers, free to read and/or listen to, here:  http://www.wilywriters.com/blog/two-things-by-amanda-c-davis/

This is the first full-length story of mine that saw print (ink-and-paper), so I’m thrilled to see it get a second wind. Let’s be honest: a) it’s Shawn of the Dead in space and b) that’s awesome.

If podcasts and audio books are your thing, you can check out Wily Writers’ archive of stories at the main site.

Other recordings of my stories (and one poem) are linked over at my Listen Free page.

Petals and Thorns by Jeffe Kennedy Wolves-and-Witches-Cover_300 The Worth of a Shell by M. C. A. Hogarth Near and Far by Cat Rambo lairofthetwelveprincesses300 The Eighth Succession by Don Sakers Eyes Like Sky and Coal and Moonlight by Cat Rambo Pasionate Overture: Master of the Opera by Jeffe Kennedy

This week only! A bunch of SFWA authors are knocking down the prices on their e-books. Here are eight books for three bucks or less, covering all kinds of sci-fi and fantasy, short and long form–something for everybody, as long as everybody likes SFF and awesome things.

Petals and ThornsJeffe Kennedy

In exchange for her father’s life, Amarantha agrees to marry the dreadful Beast and be his wife for seven days. Though the Beast cannot take Amarantha’s virginity unless she begs him to, he can and does take her in every other way. From the moment they are alone together, the Beast relentlessly strips Amarantha of all her resistance.

Wolves and WitchesAmanda C. Davis and Megan Engelhardt

Witches have stories too. So do mermaids, millers’ daughters, princes (charming or otherwise), even big bad wolves. They may be a bit darker–fewer enchanted ball gowns, more iron shoes. Happily-ever-after? Depends on who you ask. In Wolves and Witches, sisters Amanda C. Davis and Megan Engelhardt weave sixteen stories and poems out of familiar fairy tales, letting them show their teeth. Sample the contents here.

The Worth of a ShellM.C.A. Hogarth

Born to a harsh world, we Jokka have evolved three sexes to survive: neuter, male and female. Twice in our lives we may change from one to another. A change we accept with grace… or resignation. It was our way. …until one female defied all tradition: Dlane Ashoi-anadi, revolutionary, intentionally childless, runaway.

This is not her story.

This is mine.

Near + FarCat Rambo

Whether set in terrestrial oceans or on far-off space stations, Cat Rambo’s masterfully told stories explore themes of gender, despair, tragedy, and the triumph of both human and non-human alike. Cats talk, fur wraps itself around you, aliens overstay their welcome, and superheroes deal with everyday problems. Rambo has been published in Asimov’s, Weird Tales, and Tor.com among many others. She was an editor for Fantasy Magazine, has written numerous nonfiction articles and interviews, and has volunteered time with Broad Universe and Clarion West. She has been shortlisted for the Endeavour Award, the Million Writers Award, the Locus Awards, and most recently a World Fantasy Award.

The Lair of the Twelve PrincessesAmanda C. Davis

Bay has nothing to show for her years of military service but the clothes on her back, a bad leg, and a sardonic imp in a bottle who’s more harm than help. When she hears an open call for bodyguards for the twelve headstrong princesses, she thinks the job could reverse her fortunes. Unfortunately, her new charges are under a nightly curse, and everyone seems determined to keep the details a mystery–including its victims.

The Eighth SuccessionDon Sakers

In the tradition of the Theodore Sturgeon and James H. Schmitz, a new tale of galactic intrigue and adventure . . . Rikk Hoister is the first of new breed of cloned, paranormal geniuses, able to defeat the Imperial Navy with his mind alone, bound only by a rigid sense of ethics . . .  His cousin Yewanda is equally powerful, and also able to teleport herself anywhere. She’s innocent, inexperienced . . . and just six years old. When Yewanda sets out on her own to visit Rikk, the galaxy better watch out!

Eyes Like Sky and Coal and MoonlightCat Rambo

A collection of fantasy short stories by Cat Rambo. Includes “Her Eyes Like Sky and Coal and Moonlight,” “The Accordion,” “Magnificent Pigs,” “Narrative of a Beast’s Life,” “Sugar,” “The Dead Girl’s Wedding March,” “In Order to Conserve,” “The Towering Monarch of His Race,” “I’ll Gnaw Your Bones, the Manticore Said,” “Eagle-haunted Lake Sammamish,” “Heart In a Box,” “In the Lesser Southern Isles,” “Up the Chimney,” “The Silent Familiar,” “Events at Fort Plenitude,” “Dew Drop Coffee Lounge,” “A Key Decides Its Destiny,” “Rare Pears and Greengages,” “A Twine of Flame,” and “Grandmother’s Road Trip” (only available in the e-version). Also includes author’s notes and a chronology of Tabat.

Master of the Opera, Act 1: Passionate OvertureJeffe Kennedy

In the first tantalizing installment of Jeffe Kennedy’s ravishing serial novel Master of the Opera, an innocent young woman is initiated into a sensual world of music, mystery, passion–and one man’s private obsession. . .

Amanda C. Davis:

What if you had to pick out a shelf’s worth of your absolute favorite books? For me, it was a purposeful and methodical process. And also a ton of fun.

Originally posted on World Weaver Press:

Ever want to peek into an author’s work room — or better yet — her library? We’ve gotten our authors to share what’s on their shelves! Today, Amanda C. Davis, gives us the tour:

fullsideLate last year I did some furniture-rearranging and got an unexpected gift in the form of space beside my desk, enough to fit a bookshelf. I think I spent longer on collating that shelf than I did outfitting my entire kitchen. I wanted to assemble it as carefully as the stickers on a Trapper Keeper, or pins on a messenger bag, or travel decals on an old-timey suitcase. Make it something deliberate and rich and personal. All my other bookshelves (and very heavy boxes!) are indiscriminately crammed with whatever I happened to not be reading the day I packed to move. This one, I wanted to be special.

First: books by people I know. Folks I’ve…

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If you’re looking for prose or poetry for oral interpretation, whether for class, competition, or just reading aloud, you are in the right place. Here are two posts listing stories and poems, from serious to humorous, listed by category and reading time. I hope you find something you like!

Fairy-Tale Themed Prose and Poetry for Forensics Competition or Reading Aloud

wolves_and_witches_tinyAll the pieces in Wolves and Witches are NCFL and NFL acceptable. Retold fairy tales include: Little Red Riding Hood, Hansel and Gretel, Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, Diamonds and Toads, the Twelve Dancing Princesses, the Little Mermaid, Rumpelstiltskin, Rapunzel, the Pied Piper of Hamelin. We read all our stories aloud before submitting them–they’re meant to be fun to read and easy on the tongue.

WOLVES AND WITCHES: PROSE AND POETRY PIECES FOR FORENSICS OR DRAMATIC PERFORMANCE

POETRY

PROSE

  • Bones in the Branches – 3rd person – 2 minutes
  • Lure – 1st person – mermaid – 2 minutes
  • The Instructions - 2nd person (advice) – 4 minutes
  • The Long Con - 1st person – Rumpelstiltskin – 4 minutes
  • The Peril of Stories - 1st person – witch – 4 minutes
  • The Best Boy, the Brightest Boy – 1st person – pied piper – 4 minutes
  • The Gold In the Straw – 2nd person – miller’s daughter – 6 minutes
  • A Mouth to Speak the Coming Home – 3rd person – 6 minutes
  • Questing for Princesses – 3rd person – 8 minutes
  • A Letter Concerning Shoes – 1st person – 12 Dancing Princesses’ cobbler – 10 minutes
  • Find all of Wolves and Witches here

More Forensics Pieces: Prose and Poetry, Sci-Fi, Fantasy and Horror

Be aware of whether you’re choosing a piece for the National Forensics League (NFL) or the National Catholic Forensics League (NCFL). The NCFL allows pieces that have only been published electronicallythe NFL does not. Times are approximate, based on the 1-minute-per-standard-page rule.

Prose – NFL AND NCFL ACCEPTABLE

Prose – NCFL ONLY (published in electronic editions only)

  • On the Sabbath Day Be Ye Cleansed – 1st person, science fiction (off-planet colony), gender-unspecified narrator – 14 minutes - Read it at Redstone Science Fiction
  • Shimmer – 1st person, science fiction (YA), female narrator - 10 minutes - Read it at Daily Science Fiction
  • Mr. Terwilliger Confesses – 1st person, humorous science fiction (time travel), male narrator - 9 minutes - Read it at UFOPub.com
  • Things I Wish I’d Known Before Drinking the Faerie Wine – 1st person, fantasy (faeries), gender-unspecified narrator – 4 minutes - Buy it: Penumbra: Sept 2013
  • Dolly at the End of the World – 3rd person, horror/sci fi (the apocolypse), male and female characters – 4 minutes - Read it at Daily Science Fiction
  • Remembrance in Stone - 3rd person, fantasy (magic), female characters – 4 minutes - Read it at Daily Science Fiction
  • Things That Matter – 1st person, science fiction (Christmas, the apocalypse), gender-unspecified narrator – 4 minutes - Read it here
  • In Memoriam – 3rd person, horror (vampire hunters), male characters – 3 minutes - Read it at Daily Science Fiction

Poetry – NFL AND NCFL ACCEPTABLE

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(The information in this post previously appeared in the two linked posts. If you’re curious why I had to repeat them, I would be delighted to rant all about it to you on Twitter!)

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Craving something longer? The Lair of the Twelve Princesses is a 9000-word sword-and-sorcery novelette, retelling the tale of the twelve dancing princesses featuring a soldier, her genie, and a castle full of treachery, available now at Smashwords or Amazon.

Wolves and Witches has been out for almost an entire year. Hooray! Over the course of its pubversary month, we have two ways for you to get an autographed copy signed by both authors. We live four hours apart, so it is not easy to get both of us and copies of the book in the same place all at once. Result: we don’t have a lot of these! You can get a print copy any old time, but double-signed copies are kind of a rare opportunity!

wolves_and_witches_tinyFirst: We’re doing a Goodreads giveaway from February 1 to February 10. One paperback copy, to US addresses only (sorry!), as wolfy and witchy and fairy-talicious as we could make it. You need a Goodreads account to enter, which is free and totally worth joining anyway. Here’s Wolves and Witches on Goodreads.

Goodreads giveaway: https://www.goodreads.com/giveaway/enter_choose_address/80502-wolves-and-witches

wolves_and_witches_tinySecond: Starting February 10, one copy will be up for auction through Con Or Bust. The auction starts at the low, low price of two American dollars, with bidding to continue through February 23. Proceeds go to Con Or Bust, an excellent non-profit helping fans of color get to SFF cons since 2009. And while you’re there, check out the other stuff for auction, because it is going to be awesome. This one will ship anywhere.

Con or Bust auction: http://con-or-bust.org/2014/01/signed-copy-of-wolves-witches-a-fairy-tale-collection/

Witches have stories too. So do mermaids, millers’ daughters, princes (charming or otherwise), even big bad wolves. They may be a bit darker—fewer enchanted ball gowns, more iron shoes. Happily-ever-after? Depends on who you ask. In Wolves and Witches, sisters Amanda C. Davis and Megan Engelhardt weave sixteen stories and poems out of familiar fairy tales, letting them show their teeth.

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lairofthetwelveprincesses_tinyNewest Release: The Lair of the Twelve Princesses is a 9000-word sword-and-sorcery novelette, retelling the tale of the twelve dancing princesses featuring a soldier, her genie, and a castle full of treachery, available now at Smashwords or Amazon.

First appeared in 10Flash, July 2010.

Things That Matter
Amanda C. Davis

My brother Rory hunched in the mouth of our cave and cut a groove in his index finger, like a spiral, from nail to base. He crooked it like a crescent moon and looked it over for a while; then he grinned at me and licked off all the blood.

I said, “Why did you do that?”

“Because it’s snowing,” he replied. “It’s really important.”

He does this every year. We ran out of plastic bandages so long ago I can barely remember using them, but our box of books is still plenty full. I tore out page 130 of The Lovely Bones to wrap around his finger. He took it off before he went hunting, though. I burned the paper in the fire, blood and all.

When Rory came back after checking the traps, he had three birds in his hands and one on his head, turned inside-out, a red cone with dirty white feathers entwining with the black of his hair.

I made him take it off, but he made me leave it by the fire while we plucked the others and set their meat to boiling. He kept looking at it like he wanted to put it back on. I combed the blood and feathers out of his hair. He twitched under my fingers.

“Somebody is supposed to wear it,” he insisted, and since he’s seven years older and was around before the New Winter I didn’t argue.

We strung up his inside-out bird-hat to dry for sinew. Its meat wasn’t good by then anyway.

At sunset, he took the hat-bird’s boiled-off bones and stood them alongside each other like trees, and he wrapped them each in paper, and he lit them each on fire, one after another, until he had nine little white sticks smoking side by side.

The smoke wasn’t so bad, so I let them go until they burnt out. He watched them the whole time. When the one in the middle went out he said, “That’s not right,” and relit it. He smiled to see them all lit in a row. That was nice to see. He doesn’t smile much.

After dark fell and there was nothing left to do but sleep, he took me far, far up the mountain, and pointed out at the pinpricks of fire below. “That’s where the city was,” he said. He used to do it all the time–every night, almost–but now he only brings me here when it snows.

“You should have seen the lights,” said Rory.

He took one of his dull brown coins from his pocket, those things he carries around that have been useless almost my whole life, and rubbed it between his gloved fingers until it got back a little bit of shine. He handed it to me.

I said, “Thank you.”

He couldn’t tear his eyes away from the metal in my hand. I rubbed it a little more, wishing I’d seen it when it was as bright as Rory says it used to be. Then I gave it back.

He clenched it hard in his palm, and then he started to cry.

He gets like this sometimes.

I gave him a hug. He’s much taller than me, so he hunched over to put his face into my shoulder. “It’s so important,” he said, into my scarf. “It used to be so important…to do this stuff, and do it right, right now, when it snows….”

I said, “We don’t do it anymore, and we’re still alive. So it must not have mattered that much.”

“It mattered a lot,” he mumbled through the wool. “You don’t remember.”

I hate when he says that, because I suspect he’s right: that there were things before the New Winter that I don’t understand and will never see, and that they really were important, not just in my brother’s messed-up brain but for real. I don’t like to think about a world where his dull brown coins were worth something, where people had to light bird-bones in a row every year when it snowed. I liked this world, no matter how cold or empty.

Rory sniffed back his shudders. “Let me show you something.”

Down the hill he pulled me to an evergreen tree. He had chopped down all the brush around it so that it stood alone with its branches heavy with snow. He gave it a shake, and the snow fell away.

“See how beautiful?” he said.

It was, it really was, lit by his lantern and the moon.

“Now watch,” he said.

He opened his lantern and held it to the lowest dead branch.

Fire took hold along the lower boughs and tickled up the trunk. Orange flame danced with green prickles that curled and blackened. The light was blinding against the dark forest. The green tree flickered into brilliant yellow.

He stood back with me, smiling. “This is the most important part.”

“What?” I said, pulling back. “Burning down a tree, or freezing to death?”

His brow crumpled. “No.” He took my hand: his in an old plastic glove worn nearly to shreds, mine in clean rabbit fur I made myself. “The important part is watching it together.”

“Oh,” I said.

He smiled and squeezed my hand. “You should have seen it in the city.”

We held hands and thought about a long-dead world with rows of bird-bones in real glass windows, strange hats in the winter, and pine trees that shone like torches in the cities where people used to be. The pine tree blazed and my brother stood calm. Strange things to long for in the snow…but his hand warmed my hand, and his smile shone. Maybe Rory had fixed his brain on something worth remembering after all.

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More stories to read, here: http://amandacdavis.wordpress.com/read-free/

Craving something longer? The Lair of the Twelve Princesses is a 9000-word sword-and-sorcery novelette, available now at Smashwords or Amazon.

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