Welcome to what is likely your first advent calendar fantasy novel! Each day is a chapter, and should be read as such, but who am I to stop you from catching up? (This way to Day One!) What follows is the story of one Marzipan Ridner, a young trans girl aching for the fulfillment of the holiday season. When a mysterious wooden Advent calendar shows up she opens the first door, and finds herself whisked away to a world-tree of contrasting deities and binding bureaucracy. She has less than a month to find someone willing to be her spiritual patron, but the denizens of the tree don’t seem very hospitable…
On the Second Day
It was the second time he had taken a tumble in as many days, and though this one was far more injurious it didn’t feel anywhere as damaging as the first. The first was positively fraught with jagged emotions, a terrible thing for Langcorn, who would describe his own personality as positively fraught with jagged emotions.
The second fall was incidental, his own fault if anyone’s, but the first… oh there was just no telling what Beau had meant by it. Everything had happened so quickly, and Langcorn couldn’t quite remember which of the two of them had first suggested it. That was what he chose to mull over rather than a way to get himself off the tree branch he was currently doubled over like a hanging rug. Continue reading
Welcome to what is likely your first advent calendar fantasy novel! Each day is a chapter, and should be read as such, but who am I to stop you from catching up? What follows is the story of one Marzipan Ridner, a young trans girl aching for the fulfillment of the holiday season. When a mysterious wooden Advent calendar shows up she opens the first door, and finds herself whisked away to a world-tree of contrasting deities and binding bureaucracy. She has less than a month to find someone willing to be her spiritual patron, but the denizens of the tree don’t seem very hospitable…
Twenty-four Days of Ringworm and Religion
On the First Day
The little box she held in the pocket of her torn jacket once contained a three dollar ring with a glass stone. To Marzipan Ridner that was jewelry, finery. It meant the box it came in was fancy, suitable as a coffin for her latest sacrifice to the pagan gods of the creek in her backyard. It was less of a backyard and more unusable land adjacent to the unlivable land her house was parked on, but its thin leafless trees and howling winds would serve the purposes of the ritual well enough. Continue reading
The beast Blerkafeld is one of the mightiest dragons, and even more conceited. After pilfering magics of time and space he has built his own little pocket world, pulling people from all over the Middle Ages to be his loyal worshipers. The only problem is, one of these groups is secretly a Renaissance fair…
Brawny Blue Blerkafeld
The beast of Kidnapt Valley
Four waterfalls marked the center of the cavern’s many tunnels and chambers. The place was most curious, as the passageways looked naturally formed, the walls porous and uneven, but its layout was certainly the work of intelligence. Each fall was like a curtain separating four identical tunnels from each other.
By unknown force, one fall’s flow ceased just as a cluster of four people reached it, letting them view the rising column of the central shaft. They dared not step over the wet line in the dirt; their invitation had warned them not to do so. Continue reading
(Back to Part One)
The finals dinner was the first time everyone was in the same place since orientation. Dean Mystpass, who had made exactly zero appearances since then, was there, thoroughly surrounded by staff and newly elected officials so that not a single student could reach him and say what they thought of his first crack at the school. Continue reading
(Back to Part One)
Trouble came to all of Cay Royal, not just its students. Word of the intruder and their power spread quickly. Any calls for Dean Mystpass to invent suspension or detention were neutralized when the safety precautions taken essentially counted as punishment. The whole college went on lockdown, students now escorted in groups from tent to tent and back to the dorms by either professors or security guards. Continue reading
(Back to Part One)
Dove looked through her notes while she waited for him. They weren’t physical notes of course. She’d been experimenting with compressing the lectures down to single paragraphs in her mind, trying to get the information as dense as possible to save memory space, which, much like using a computer, simplified her magical efforts. The one she’d created from the introductory Evil Eye Era lesson felt expertly compacted:
Magic is the psychic power of secrecy, threatened by transparency. In its early days even the people using it did not understand its nature. The first system was the evil eye, by which spells were cast with intense unblinking stares at their targets coupled with focused thought and emotion. It flourished for hundreds of years until its collapse in 1899, when a combination of exploding population, scientific advancement, and superstition regarding the evil eye specifically made it too common of knowledge. After it ceased working it took more than two decades, and a notable worldwide war, before a new method took root. Thus we have the snap system, powered by concise incantation words and kinetic catalyst sounds. Continue reading
Magic is real, as long as you’re in the know. It’s a lot subtler than people think, mostly invisible in fact. It can give you the second last sip from a canteen, let you push a pull door, or make your fortune cookies accurate if as vague as ever.
Dove used it on the stage, her audience only thinking they were looking at illusions. She was happy with that, but now her parents have dragged her to a strange island, the site of a failed music festival, and there’s talk of starting a new country, and a new school, both magical in nature…
Author’s Note: I wrote this novella to be my ‘Harry Potter’, but given my recent disappointment with that author it now works pretty well as a replacement for me. I hope you can get some enjoyment from it as well.
The Moneyed and the Mystic
The sand would’ve been much too hot for bare feet under normal circumstances, but the Théard family didn’t pack any normalcy for the trip. They always left that at home, a house that sat empty most of the time while its supposed occupants were off romancing the stages of the Caribbean and France. Continue reading
In the world of bird watching competition can be intense, sometimes even deadly, sometimes even magical. There are birds you can’t see unless you devote your life to seeing them, and a few are in this short story with an aesthetic best described as ‘birdwatchingpunk’.
The Field Guide to Fantasy Birding
(for enthusiasts only)
NAME: boreal chickadee (Poecile hudsonicus)
PHYSICAL DESCRIPTION: a four to six inch bird which may weigh as much as an ounce. Gray wings and a brown streak across the head are the most common features, but the easiest way to identify it is by its white face with gray patches at the sides. It also has short wings and a short dark bill.
DIET: feeds mostly on seeds and insects by probing in bark and across the forest floor. It favors wood beetle larvae most highly.
RANGE: Maine, Vermont, Alaska, Canada, and New York. Migration happens quickly, with hundreds of miles traveled in just a few days.
BEHAVIOR: not picky when it comes to choosing a mate, though they will often mate for life. Boreal chickadees rarely build their own nests, instead choosing to occupy the abandoned efforts of other birds like the woodpecker. Only one egg is laid, its size surprising given the diminutive creatures that produced it.
To nearly every person who looked at the amateurishly-produced paper it was just a page out of a field guide, a work in progress at best, something to keep an old lonely man busy. Even his family members would not have recognized it for what it was, because they, even the widower’s children, didn’t recognize him for what he was. Continue reading
Well, they aren’t quite blurbs, given that these stories are, you know, short, but now that we’ve got descriptions for our books and novellas available, it’s time to move onto these.
If you don’t know me, I’m Blaine Arcade, a speculative fiction writing hobbyist, and I write lots of out-there science fiction, fantasy, science fantasy, and a little horror. All of my stories are available here and free to read, so please check them out if you’re interested. Happy reading!
Mary Annette’s Big and Beautiful Dog and Pony Show
Somewhere in the enchanting space between dinner theater and the wild west, performer Madrigal Mora finally gets his shot to use that ol’ dirt-kicking magic, but the owner has seen fit to cast him as the villain… Continue reading
Hot off adding blurbs to all my books here on the blog, I figured I’d do the same thing for all of my novellas as well. I write lots of wild speculative fiction, and it’s all freely available here, so please check out anything that looks interesting to you.
The Justice Backers Series
Justice Backers, Justice Backers: Secret Shuffle, and Justice Backers: The Lichen Calls
It’s the mid 2010’s, justice systems grow ever more rigid as crime takes to the internet. With a little help from a crowdfunding website, a newly forged team of superheroes is looking to fill in the gaps, and provide their backers with some cool merch along the way!
Get all the updates straight from each hero as they take on vicious trolls, a trading card blackmail ring, and an ancient fungal entity with its own world wide web in this trilogy of novellas that also work together as a book. Continue reading