May I Want by Tiah Marie Beautement

May I Want, a brand new original short story of mine, is now LIVE and FOR SALE on Amazon, thanks to my lovely publishers, Stubborn Raven.

Synopsis:

To some the seas hold many mysteries, but not to Laila. Her seaborne gifts have given her much, but when she is visited by an old acquaintance from her previous life she will find out that all gifts, hers included, come at a price.

Quotes:

MayIWantMedium.png
Cover of May I Want by Tiah Beautement

~The ghostly light of the waning moon shimmered on the skin of the sea, creating an endless road. To Laila, it beckoned with promise. Seduction. “May I want?” she whispered, borrowing her daughter’s phrase.~

~The need to keep secrets was as much a part of the village as the stones it was built on.~

~A weaver’s magic cannot be forced.~

~Please know that I, too, have lost.~

~Her mother had whispered in her ear two of the vows sea-weavers must make: first, do not harm; second, never accept coin for the art.~

~No gift is truly for free.~

USA Amazon link

UK Amazon link

The Black God's Drums by P. Djèlí Clark

Cover of The Black God's Drums shows an airship in the back ground, in a golden sky. In the foreground is the profile of a 12 year old African-American with a thick braid / plait.

~The night in New Orleans always got something going on, ma maman use to say-like this city don’t know how to sleep.~

~She said I was Oya’s child-the goddess of storms, life, death, and rebirth, who came over with her great-grandmaman from Lafrik, and who runs strong in our blood. Ma maman said that’s why I take to high places so, looking to ride Oya’s wind.~

~In New Orleans, you can’t survive on just dreams.~

Folk say that’s why we live every day chasing the good times. Because you never know when the bad might come.~

~Hard not to admire a woman who’s not afraid to let out a good snort.~

https://pdjeliclark.com/

New Skool Academy by Tiah Marie Beautement

FunDza has published my YA short story New Skool Academy.

What a great way to kick off my 2020 work year.

Cover of New Skool Academy shows a silhouette of a person holding their arms above their head while sitting in a wheelchair. The wicked background is in purple and blue hues.

Synopsis: Bree is in a special dance group of people with various disabilities and chronic illnesses. The hip hop music and moves are exciting and fun, and make her feel powerful. The group is preparing for a show … but, as it draws nearer, nerves set in. How will the audience of able people respond to their unusual ‘new skool’ moves?

Chapter 1:

“Come on girls,” says Ms Jaiyana, “We should get moving. Our show is only three weeks away.”

I carefully steer my chair into place, as another dancer, Zintle, follows me. “Bree,” she says, “aren’t you worried about this?”

I shrug, as best as my tight body will allow. “If Ms Jaiyana says we are ready, then why not?” I say. The words come out indistinct, because it’s difficult for me to clearly say my words.

“Yeah,” she says, “I guess so. But I can’t decide what will be worse: if nobody shows up or if everybody shows up.”

“I’ve been trying not to think about it, to be honest. Been focusing on learning the dances, and going with my ma to buy items for our outfits. It’s easier that way.”

“Oh, I hear you,” Zintle says. “And if I hear one more person say, ‘You’re such an inspiration,’ I might have to kick them in the face.”

“Girls,” says Ms Jaiyana, “I’m not going to ask again.”

This time Zintle takes position, along with the rest of us.

Ms Jaiyana starts the music and we all slowly begin to warm up.

“Okay girls,” our teacher says, reaching up high, “give me your best, and don’t forget, listen to the beat.”

I tell my body: move. Because I know what a beat is, and I know how I am supposed to move to it. But, not only is my body too stiff from the cerebral palsy, it sometimes starts jerking and spasming without my permission. CP is a motor disability, and the particular symptoms differ from person to person. For me, it’s like there is somebody in heaven with a gaming console set to my body, pulling me this way and that, without asking me. So! Annoying!

“Doing good, Bree,” Ms Jaiyana says, making me smile.

Ms Jaiyana designed this dance class because everyone in this group needs to move and exercise as best we can, within our own limits, including herself. But people like us, with chronic conditions and disabilities, don’t make the mainstream schools’ sports teams. And a lot of physical activities outside of school are expensive. Our bodies already cost a lot of money to maintain, so who has extra to do fancy things?

“Needing you with me, girls,” Ms Jaiyana says, “as some of you are going to practise your lock and pops.”

I do not ‘lock and pop’. But since this is only warm up, I give it a go, even though I won’t be doing it on stage.

Ms Jaiyana focuses on those who will, and corrects them as needed. But she doesn’t ignore the rest of us, even me.

“Bree, you did that one well.”

Ms Jaiyana is such a liar. But it makes me feel good, anyway. She is one of the few adults who talks to me like I’m 16, instead of three. Too many adult Ables think my twisted body and my indistinct voice mean I’m stupid. (Yes, around 45% of people with CP do have cognitive impairments, I know. But even if I did have an intellectual disability, treating a teen or an adult like they’re a toddler is just rude!)

For the record, I get top marks. I have a 90% average. My body is not a sign of my intelligence.

To enjoy the rest of this free read, click here for Chapter 2

The Border Keeper by Kerstin Hall

Cover of The Boarder Keeper depicts a shadowy forest in dark hues of green, with shadowy figures lurking in the background. Beautiful, but eerie.

~In the old days, when people still talked about her, she was known as the end-of-the-line woman.

~Her domain was silent.~

~Bodies decompose slowly around here.~

~Beautiful, glorious. Doomed. The border keeper, grown to the size of a giant, bore down upon her with burning knives, and the city was aflame, people torn apart and bleeding, children howling at the sky, rivers of gore, and only the warrior queen to stand before the onslaught.~

~The truth lies somewhere between the story of the conqueror and the story of the conquered.~

@Kerstin__Hall

This Is How You Lose the Time War by Amal El-Mohtar and Max Gladstone

The cover shows a red bird that is upright, and a blue bird upside down, with their feet touching. The birds are slightly fragmented, their pieces slightly higher than lower than the next.

~Even we who fight wars through time forget the value of a word in the right moment, a rattle in the right car engine, a nail in the right horseshoe. . . It’s so easy to crush a planet that you may overlook the value of a whisper to a snowbank.~

~Eating’s gross, isn’t it? In the abstract, I mean…it’s hard to see the appeal of using bones that poke from spit-coated gums to mash things that grew in dirt into a paste that will fit down the wet tube connecting your mouth to the sack of acid under your heart.~

~Have you ever had a hunger that whetted itself on what you fed it, sharpened so keen and bright that it might split you open, break a new thing out?
Sometimes I think that’s what I have instead of friends.~

~Harvest is not a word for swiftness; the future harvests us, stomps us into wine, pours us back into the root system in loving libation, and we grow stronger and more potent together.~

~Her pen had a heart inside, and the nib was a would in a vein. She stained the page with herself.~

~Poetry ossifies, in time, the way trees do.~

~All good stories travel from the outside in.~

Twitter: @tithenai & @maxgladstone

Girl, Woman, Other by Bernardine Evaristo

Cover of Girl, Woman, Other is patterned fabric squares and old black and white photos of black women, al done in green, yellow and a bit of red.

~as she’s in her fifties, she’s not
old yet, although try telling that to a nineteen-year-old; in
any case, ageing is nothing to be ashamed of
especially when the entire human race is in it together
although sometimes it seems that she alone among her
friends wants to celebrate getting older
because it’s such a privilege to not die prematurely~

~she tried boys a couple of times
they enjoyed it
she endured it~

~Yazz was never told off for speaking her mind, although
she was told off for swearing because she needed to
develop her vocabulary
(Yazz, say you find Marissa unpleasant or unlikeable
rather than describing her as a shit-faced smelly bottom)~

~one thing she’s learnt is that falling hopelessly,
helplessly in love is actually a higly selective process~

~Winsome likes the fact that Rachel is curious enough to
know who her grandmother was before she was
mother, when she was a person in her own right, as she
described it
except she never has been, first she was a daughter,
then a wife and mother, and now also a grandmother and
great-grandmother.~

~it had been hard for her to sleep on so much history.~

https://bevaristo.com/

Okay, Okay, Okay by Finuala Dowling

Cover of Okay, Okay, Okay is rings of aqua blue. In the center, there is an ECG read out.

~You expected to find that you were a main player in your mother’s life, just as your mother was the main player in yours. But here was Mom thinking about Olive Schreiner, or having her feelings hurt, or going swimming with Roland. And, on every page she was anxious, like a woman being chased.~

~Life was tiring. Babies knew it: that’s why newborns brought their clenched fists up to their eyes and squirmed with resistance.~

~She’d never thought of herself as a diarist, but there seemed to be so many things other people didn’t want to hear, and yet one wanted to say them.~

~In the medical mind, a woman’s heart is never broken…women’s symptoms are often pooh-poohed when they are presented.~

~’That’s okay…I’m glad you put him in his place. He’s such a narcissist. Or failed narcissist, should I say?’
‘What do you do once you’ve failed at being a narcissist?’
‘Become a sycophant?’

~A university, Viwe decided, was a place you went to in order to discover what you did not understand.~

~Jesus stared blankly. You can do anything in life as long as you don’t have to do it on demand. Every son he’d learned fro this show and in his ten-year singing career had evidently flown out of his mind.~

~That’s the thing about life – you gotta keep the ashes and the waybill.~

Wikipedia page

Blood Magic Box Set by J.T. Lawrence & M.J. Kraus

Blood Magic Box set features a white woman in black trench coat and red hair with flames coming out of her hands.

~My name is Jacqueline Denna Knight, and I turn my pain into magic.~

~Now tell me why you like like you’ve just been dragged through the week backwards.

~I love long stories…Especially if they involve barbecued nipples.~

~So I was dealing with a magical mixture of an ancient Chinese torture method, and Freddy Kruger. After a funeral and the morgue, that pretty much made my Wednesday evening.~

~Let me tell you, if you don’t have a big-hearted tech-genius surrogate-mother dwarf in your life, you’re missing out.~

~Like the Rapture…But they came back.~

https://jt-lawrence.com/

Upturned Earth by Karen Jennings

tan cover with a mountain in the back, with old fashion mining equipment in blue sketched in the foreground.

~Six days he had suffered this sickness, or perhaps five. He did not know. He longed for land and the steady earth beneath his feet. Dirt or rock or sand. It didn’t matter which.~

~Don’t be a fool. Out there there is no Queen, only a King, and that King is the Company. You’ll do as you’re told, boy. Out here all bodies bow to the kind.~

~She had come to the mine one afternoon to ask the man for money, whispering to him as she drew him aside that their children were starving while he spent all his earnings in the pub. He had denied her request without words, answering instead with a fist to her jaw.~

~My father does not easily tire of watching his guests enjoying themselves. Even if their enjoyment has long since ceased.~

~With one hand he takes out money. The other is raised to the sky in praise of his god.~

~No man can survive a mining town without being corrupted and weakened by it. All feelings for his fellow man is lost. He is scarcely human any longer.~

Karen Jennings’ Facebook author page

The Dragonfly Sea by Yvonne Adhiambo Owuor

Cover of The Dragonfly Sea is layered blues and greens scattered with the bright colours symbolising dragonflies.

~Between religion and my black skin there shall be a sky’s distance until the day I hear the Call to Atonement.~

~To savour its essence. To do that, you must taste at least three languages on your tongue.~

~In the world, English has the biggest ears.~

~When the tide has risen, it also falls.~

~The ocean is an old country.~

~Stories are malleable within a person’s feelings: they can be squeezed to acquire the shape of truth.~

~Ayaana discovered that “nowhere” was also an inhabited space.~

~Destinations are ephemeral. Nothing lasts, only the voices of the heart and gut count.~

~They sing because life is a dragonfly: flutter, shine, fly, die.~

~He turned his story into water and soil.~

@AdhiamboKE

Learning How To Drown by Cat Hellisen

Cover of Learning How To Drown shows a row boat in a lake, with houses lit up in the dark on the hills in the background.

~I write stories about people who live on the edge.~

~Seeing into the future is not a straight line…You are given the choice of a hundred paths through a treacherous swamp. Some will lead you safely onwards, others drown you, and sometimes it’s hard to tell which is which.~

~The problem with broken heart is that they are sharp and jagged and filled with long fine shards. Broken hearts are cruel. Broken hearts can see only their own misery.~

~In water we are made, in water we will trust.~

~”Oh, dying always ends,” she says. “it’s Death that takes forever.”~

~I met The Jesus in a bar, while I was busy turning wine into water.~

http://www.cathellisen.com/