Tag Archives: Published

New Story: “The Rookery of Sainte-Mère-Église,” Corvidae Anthology.

Church with Parachute Memorial of John Steele.
Church with Parachute Memorial of John Steele.

At approximately 0140 hours on June 6th, 1944, paratroopers from the 505th Parachute infantry Regiment, 82nd Airborne Division dropped into the French town of Sainte-Mère-Église as part of the D-Day Invasion. The regiment and their German adversaries suffered heavy casualties but eventually took control of the town.  Many can recall the iconic image of paratrooper John Steele whose parachute caught on the spire of the town church, and could only observe the fighting going on below. He hung there limply for two hours, pretending to be dead, before the Germans took him prisoner. The town continues to honor the role that the 82nd Airborne Division played in liberating the town, and many symbols and memorials remain that pay homage to the paratroopers.

Those that know me may remember my service with the 2/504 Parachute infantry Regiment, 82nd Airborne, which launched my military career.  The proud lineage of the “Eighty-deuce” was instilled in me at the onset, and the history of the unit is kept alive in many ways, including the names of the many training drop zones at Fort Bragg, NC, which bear the title of their WWII counterparts.  So, in my airborne career, I have parachuted into “Sainte-Mère-Église” on more than a few occasions (the drop zone, not the actual French town).

Present day:  enter Rhonda Parrish and submissions for her new anthology, Corvidae for World Weaver Press. The theme of the antho was speculative fiction in which birds of the corvidae family featured prominently. So inspired I was by the theme, and by Rhonda’s talent as a writer and an editor, that I felt compelled to write and contribute a story.  Thankfully, after a rewrite, it was accepted and will be featured among this excellent group of writers: Corvidae table of contents.

“The Rookery of Sainte-Mère-Église” was inspired by WWII ruins that can still be found all over Europe where the battles occurred, and by the many war dead whose remains have yet to be recovered.  My goal was to contrast a tale of young love against the grim history of the region, using rooks to connect the present with the past.  Below is the short, unedited beginning:

“The Rookery of Sainte-Mère-Église” Excerpt

November morning. A Saturday. Thin branches of elm and poplar sagged beneath the weight of frozen rain. The sun pale behind the dampness, bleached out, sick.

Birgit wiped the wet hair from her eyes, trudged in her grandfather’s great rubber boots to the woodshed. Her footsteps crunched on the icy dew and her tiny feet almost slipped out. A clamor of angry cries greeted her as she came near. She opened the shed door, careful not to pull it from its one good hinge. The screech of the rusty iron was lost in the chaos of sound and feathers as dozens of black birds burst forth and took to the air. She ducked and covered her head, could feel the warm air beneath their wingbeats, could smell their little bodies mixed with the pine of the woodpile.

Rooks, her grandfather had told her. Sheltering from the cold.

Official Cover Release of X-Files: Trust No One

New Official cover for X-Files: Trust No One
New Official cover for X-Files: Trust No One

I was very pleased to see the new cover for the X-Files: Trust No One anthology coming out this Spring.  I was even more pleased to see that I had made it on the cover.  I cannot wait for this bad larry to hit the market.

You can read more about this anthology and my story in it (with relevant links to the publisher and editor) in my earlier post here.

New Story: “1988 Behind the 9:30 Club,” and an Important Anthology.

Cover art sample from Sean Frasier.
Cover art sample from Sean Frasier.

In November, Despumation Press announced that they’d be putting together a metal-themed anthology, the sales of which would benefit two very nice people who are going through some not so very nice health issues.  Despumation editor, Kriscinda Lee Everitt had this to say about the effort:

As some of you may or may not know, Metal Maniacs co-founder and former editor, Katherine Ludwig, has been battling non-Hodgkin lymphoma, and dark fiction writer, screenwriter, and metal/hardcore enthusiast, Dustin LaValley, has been struggling with some very serious Crohn’s/IBD issues. These things cost money, and I don’t know about you, but I can’t recall the last time I had the cash to just throw at some monster threatening your life, trying to bribe it to go away.

Kriscinda wrote that Shawn Macomber (Decibel, Fangoria, Rue Morgue, Shroud, etc.) had approached her with the idea of a benefit anthology and she liked the idea.  I’ve known Shawn for more than a few years as Shroud has published his writing before, and Shawn has been great about keeping in touch and promoting Shroud’s publications. Shawn came to me in October and asked if I’d like to write something for the anthology.  Of course I jumped in.

Over the following month I penned “1988 Behind the 9:30 Club,” which was based on a real life experience I had the venerable rock club in Washington D.C. back in the 80s when I was there for a Fleshtones show. In my story, my characters arrive at the club to find that Fugazi is playing instead of the Fleshtones.

So now the full table of contents is out and I’m pleased and honored to be joining so many tremendous writers in an effort to bring a little financial relief to two people who are bravely battling some serious health problems.  The Healing Monsters anthology is due out in March, so keep your eyes peeled and be sure to grab a copy once it’s released.

Here’s a short (unedited) excerpt of “1988 Behind the 9:30 Club:”

I escaped from the sullen cloud that had begun to form around Sully. It was a good crowd — alive, eclectic — and Fugazi cultivated a sound that was difficult to categorize. There were elements of hardcore, but also a rhythm that pulled itself from funk and ska roots. It was Mackaye’s distinct vocal style that did it for me. It was a departure from his rapid-fire lyrical assaults in Minor Threat, but it was still uniquely Mackaye.

And then there were the girls — shaved heads, pierced noses, tattoos, thick black eyeliner. I could only watch, as the music was too loud to try to approach and talk. In the meantime two beers turned into four, then six, then two shots of Wild Turkey, or maybe three. The band was nine songs in before they played “Waiting Room,” and though I’d been psyched to hear it, I needed air, and I needed it bad. I walked out the first door I saw and found myself in an alley behind the club. The air was muggy and stale and I could smell the dumpster and the rotten run-off of whatever greasy spoons spilled out onto the bricks.

New Story: “King of the Watery Deep” to Appear in Officially Licensed X-Files Anthology

X-Files Trust No OneI was honored when New York Times Bestselling author Jonathan Maberry invited me to pitch (and then accepted) a story for volume one of a three volume series of X-Files anthologies — officially licensed from X-Files creator Chris Carter.  Jonathan is editing the series for IDW Publishing, where he has published his enormously popular Rot & Ruin and VWars books. Volume one is titled X-Files: Trust No One, and will be released April, 2015.  It’s currently available for pre-order now from Amazon.

In “King of the Watery Deep,” Agents Mulder and Scully are asked to assist in investigating the disappearance of a US State Department political officer after her boat is found adrift in the Red Sea. The incident is officially attributed to pirate activity, but a found video suggests that something sinister may have risen from the depths. After arriving in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, Mulder and Scully are forced to navigate the strict cultural landscape of Sharia law, while racing the clock in hopes of finding the officer alive.  In the end they face an ancient evil resurrected from the cradle of civilization.

X-Files:  Trust No One will also feature stories from Keith DeCandido, Kevin J. Anderson, Tim Lebbon, William W.D. Gagliani and David Benton, Paul Crilley, Heather Graham Pozzessere, Stefan Petrucha, Brian Keene, Aaron Rosenberg, Ray Garton, Gini Koch, Peter Clines, Max Allan Collins, Gayle Lynds and John Sheldon.