Marlena by Julie Buntin

34726829– Tell me what you can’t forget and I’ll tell you who you are. –

– Why do they say ghosts are cold? Mine are warm, a breath dampening your cheek, a voice when you thought you were alone. –

– Marlena called me naive, but what I really think she meant is privileged, a word people use like an insult in New York, but that I’ve always taken to mean safe. Privilege is something to be aware of, to fight to see beyond, but ultimately to be grateful for. It’s like a bulletproof vest; it makes you harder to kill. –

– For so many women, the process of becoming requires two. It’s not hard to make out the marks the other one left. –

– I didn’t steal from the houses Mom cleaned, from the very, very rich, is because I was afraid of getting caught. Marlena didn’t steal because she didn’t see the point. You can’t steal a whole new life. –

– Who can recognize the ending as it’s happening? What we live, it seems to me, is pretty much always a surprise. –

– An ending that happens again and again no matter how much I don’t want it to. Maybe that’s all loss is. What happens, whether you like it or not. What won’t let you go.
Marlean – look. I didn’t forget.
I wrote it down. –

http://www.juliebuntin.com/

A Dangerous Crossing by Rachel Rhys

32966408– You can’t get away with anything on a ship, you know. Someone always finds out. –

– Lily is confused. It’s as if the wind has blown the pages of a book and she has jumped ahead of where she thought she was. –

– On a boat like this, everyone is running away from something. –

– The really marvellous thing about them – shipboard romances, I mean – is that they don’t count. You can do what you want on a boat, behave as badly as you like, and when you get to wherever you’re going it’s as if it never happened. When the ship sails away your sins go with it. –

– All lines are blurred, all truth becomes, by the act of retelling it, a fiction. –

https://www.penguin.co.uk/authors/rachel-rhys/1080167/

The White Road by Sarah Lotz

28375191.jpg– I met the man who would save my life twice – and ultimately destroy it – on a potholed road in the arse-end of the Welsh countryside. –

– I couldn’t shake the sense that I was dragging myself through the smuggy intestine of a huge animal. –

– Everest. Frozen turds and fractured egos was how I pictured it. –

– Who is the third who walks beside you? –

 

– Maybe the dead don’t haunt us. We haunt them. –

http://sarahlotz.com/home/

SPIRE by Fiona Snyckers

34697553.jpg– Let’s be honest here – I’m the black guy in the red shirt beaming down with the landing party. A salt demon will get me. Or a face-sucking parasite. –

– The ecologists might see Antarctica as a delicate flower, but in Caroline’s eyes she was a tough bitch who would outlast them all. –

–Of the whole contagion of humanity that blanketed the earth, women were the most infected. They were the fecund ones, the ones that carried the seeds of the next generation in their wombs. Their diseased ovaries spat out eggs every month, like large-cell bacteria that lived to multiply. –

– Men did stupid and criminal things around her. It didn’t make her feel flattered or wanted. It made her feel unsafe. –

– Goran Elkabir was clearly a bat who hung upside down in his cave for a few hours each night, probably with a cell phone clutched in his claws. –

To read a preview, click HERE

I Will Find You by Tiah Marie Beautement

The good folks at FunDza have published my YA short story, I Will Find You. The story is a reimagining of The Snow Queen, by Hans Christian Andersen.

I hope you enjoy.

Once upon the not-so-distant future …

“We have to go dancing,” Vuyisa said. She tugged on Ntando’s arm. “Come on, girl, the night is fiiiiine. Put on those red shoes and we’re going out.”

Ntando shrugged off Vuyisa’s grasp and looked away. She loved Vuyisa, more than any person she’d ever known. But tonight was not happening. “Sorry,” she said. “I’m beat; tired. You know how it is. That time of the month, and–”

“I’m gonna stop you right there, girl, because I know when you’re lying to me. I’ve told you before and I’ll tell you again – I can see those lies written right across your face. So spit it out. What’s the real problem?”

Ntando swallowed hard. She knew Vuyisa would understand. She, too, depended on bursaries and loans to attend University of Cape Town. But it didn’t make saying the words any easier. “I’m temporarily embarrassed of funds.”

Vuyisa smacked her lips. “So what? You know I wouldn’t leave you behind over money. Come on, it will be my treat. We’ve survived our first term, this is something to celebrate!”

The music thrummed into the marrow of both young women’s bones, but it was Vuyisa who moved as if she was the music. Joy radiated out of her, as her body glided and swayed with the beat. It was contagious. People around them fed off her energy. In her presence, everyone’s spirits lifted as their cares and woes slipped out through the soles of their dancing feet.

But only Ntando received the full voltage of Vuyisa’s attention.

The girls had become close since day one at varsity when Ntando, struggling with a bag of clothes and a box of books, had tripped, scattering her stuff. Vuyisa was the first to rush over and help. She had smiled at Ntando and said, “It’s all going to be OK.” And so far, it mostly had been.

“How you feeling?” Vuyisa shouted into Ntando’s ear.

“Good, but hot,” Ntando replied. “Let’s take a break.”

The crisp air caressed Ntando’s cheek as the pair walked into the night. Vuyisa took Ntando by the hand and led her away from the mingling crowds.

“Is this good?” Vuyisa asked.

“Better,” Ntando said, looking up into the starless sky. “But it’s freezing out here. Or was it just that hot inside?”

Vuyisa shook her head. “It was hot, but this is cold.” A slow smile slid across her face. “But I can warm you up a little, if you like?”

Ntando held her breath as Vuyisa’s lips touched her own. Warmth spread through Ntando’s veins, as she savoured Vuyisa’s kiss.

“How are you doing, now?” Vuyisa breathed.

Ntando nodded.

“Good,” Vuyisa beamed. “Because I’ve wanted to do that since the day I met you.”

Ntando opened her mouth to reply, but nothing came out. A snowflake had landed on her nose.

“It’s snowing!” Vuyisa squealed. She flung her arms out wide and began to spin and laugh. “It’s only April and it is snowing!”

Ntando tilted up her head and opened her mouth. Snowflakes landed like icy wishes on her tongue.

“This is unbelievable,” Vuyisa laughed.

Then her laughter cut off abruptly. “Ow! Damn it. Something is in my eye.”

Ntando rushed over. “Let me have a look.”

Vuyisa blinked a few times. “No, I’m fine now. But damn, that hurt.”

“Want to go back inside and dance, or walk back?”

Vuyisa smiled. “Let’s walk. We need to savour this weather fluke. It will probably be gone by morning.”

Read the rest of I Will Find You by clicking HERE

Stay with Me by Ayobami Adebayo

31349579– I see you. –

– Before I got married, I believed love could do anything. I learned soon enough that it couldn’t bear the weight of four years without children. –

– It was so much easier to be a father after three bottles of beer. –

– I told Olamide several stories, expecting that one day she too would tell the world my story. –

– Akin could keep himself neatly folded in while he drew out other people…Akin could talk for hours without saying anything and with that skill he had managed to make me feel like part of the inner circle. –

http://ayobamiadebayo.blogspot.co.za/

Bellwether by Connie Willis

24985– [The book’s] premise was…Everything happens for a reason…All of it – the train wreck, Lilith’s suicide, Halvard’s drug addition, the stock market crash – it was all so we could be together…–

– [The trend] died out when the first generation of Dr. Spock-raised children became teenagers, grew their hair down to their shoulders, and began blowing up administration buildings. –

– Barbie’s one of those fads whose popularity makes you lose faith in the human race. –

– Why do only the awful things become fads? I thought. Eye-rolling and Barbie and bread pudding. Why never chocolate cheesecake or thinking for yourself? –

http://azsf.net/cwblog/

Sex with Shakespeare by Jillian Keenan

25817303–A penguin tried to feed me by vomiting on my foot. I watched the nutritious brown gel roll off the toe of my green boot and onto the snow beneath, and knew that my childhood wasn’t typical. –

– A handgun, I’ve decided, is like a typo: you don’t notice it until you do. But then it’s the only thing you see. –

– “Privacy” is one of the most potent and insidious weapons a sexual majority can use against people with nonnormative sexual identities. “Privacy” sounds good. It sounds responsible and mature. But “privacy” is tied up with isolation and shame. It drives people underground. It puts people in danger. . . Without sexual privacy, discretion suffers. Without sexual transparency, people suffer. –

– We don’t really read literature. We only read ourselves, and each new book is another chapter. –

– David, my boy with the baseball cap, was spanking me to the rhythm of iambic pentameter. –

http://www.jilliannyc.com/

Libriomancer by Jim C. Hines

12844699.jpg– Some people would say it’s a bad idea to bring a fire-spider into a public library. Those people would probably be right. –

– Magic had always messed with my dreams. –

– “Oh, shit.” I spoke four languages, but sometimes good old-fashioned swearing worked best. –

– The biggest liar in the world is They Say. –

– I thought immortality would teach people patience. Instead, you end up with vampires rushing about at superhuman speeds, even more stressed out than before they died. –

http://www.jimchines.com/blog/

The Golden Son by Shilpi Somaya Gowda

33586211.jpg– Not in chess and not in life. You can’t undo a mistake after it’s made. Choose wisely before you move. –

– You can never fix [a crack] completely. Clay has a memory. Once it’s scarred, the heat helps it remember. –

– He was a dweller of two lands, accepted by none. –

– Marilyn looked out the window. “Everybody wants me to fight. They say I’m a fighter.” She turned back to Anil. “But you’ve got to decide what’s worth fighting for, right?”

– “But here’s the difference [between my doctor friend in Australia and doctors in America], Charlie continued. “Jeremy goes surfing every morning before work, he has dinner with his wife most nights, and they travel all the time because he’s on call only every other weekend. He works to live, y’know? Here, everyone lives to work.” –

http://www.shilpigowda.com/

Review for the Sunday Times: http://bit.ly/2pOQcd0