Out Now: “The Crow’s Gift and Other Tales”

I’m happy to announce that The Crow’s Gift and Other Tales is now available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble!

the crow's gift and other tales by sonora taylor
Cover Art by Doug Puller

The Crow’s Gift and Other Tales features four stories of connections and their consequences. It includes “The Crow’s Gift,” “I Love Your Work,” “I Never Knew Your Name,” and “All the Pieces Coming Together” (note — you can still read “All the Pieces Coming Together” for free on the blog).

The collection came together with a lot of help. It features gorgeous artwork from Doug Puller, who drew the cover, title page illustration, and page breaks. The stories were also edited by Evelyn Duffy, who did an excellent job to help complete the stories with her edits, notes, and work. I thank them both for their amazing work.

I’m very excited to share this collection with you. You can purchase the collection on Amazon (Kindle) and Barnes & Noble (Nook). I hope you enjoy it, and I also hope you’ll leave a review once you’ve finished it. Thank you all for reading!

The In-Between

Last week, I shared one of my short stories for free, All the Pieces Coming Together. Next week, The Crow’s Gift and Other Tales will be released, which contains All the Pieces and three additional stories.

As I sit in the in-between, one week before and after a story release, I find myself both nervous and excited. I’ve written for many years, but I’ve never published anything before — none of my fiction, anyway. I did submit some poems to my high school’s literary journal, and I’m glad for both your sake and mine that there’s no online archive of the issue.

I also converted one of my short stories into a treatment for television for my Electronic Media Writing class at NC State. It was called The Wedding of Bianca West, and the story cross-cut between an innocuous wedding ceremony and an attack the week before on Bianca and her fiance. It’s revealed at the end that her fiance had been turned into a vampire, and their “ceremony” was him converting her into one too. Wildly original, I know; but we all start somewhere. My professor called it “creepy, but effective.”

None of the stories in The Crow’s Gift and Other Tales feature vampires, and I kept all of them in the present day (oh yeah, Bianca West was set in 19th century England, which I knew almost nothing about except for what I read in fiction. Research? Pish-posh, I had a vampire bride to create). However, it’s my hope that when you read the collection, that you find the stories both creepy and effective; and more so, that you enjoy reading them as much as I enjoyed writing them. I look forward to hearing what you think.

In the meantime, here’s one final reminder that you can read one of the stories, All the Pieces Coming Together, both now and for free. It’s available in EPUB (zip) and PDF (please bear in mind when you open it that pieces — heh — are NSFW). Thank you for reading!

Free Story: “All the Pieces Coming Together”

The Crow’s Gift and Other Tales will be released on September 5th, 2017. It has four stories, and ahead of the collection’s release, I’m offering one of them, All the Pieces Coming Together, for free! It’s available in EPUB (as a zipped file) and PDF. (Please note that parts of this story are NSFW)

Art by Doug Puller
Cover art by Doug Puller

A man with grisly aspirations finds the perfect place to make his murderous dreams come true. The trouble is, he picked a place so perfect to hide the bodies, that there isn’t anybody to hide. He decides to venture from his isolated cabin to a bar, where he can find the final piece of his murderous puzzle: a victim. All the pieces he’s constructed will be complete with just one person. But even he cannot anticipate what the puzzle will show when that piece is found.

Download for FREE: EPUB (zip) | PDF

All the Pieces Coming Together features excellent artwork from Doug Puller. He illustrated both the cover and the page breaks you’ll see throughout the story. He also formatted the story for publication. I owe him many thanks for bringing this all together. So, thank you!

I am especially excited to share this story because, if you recall, it was the first short story I completed when I got back into writing last year. It started with a single line, and when I sat down to write it, I only imagined expanding on that line. Now it’s become a story, made more complete with Doug’s artwork and excellent editing work from Evelyn Duffy, my editor. I’ve loved watching this story grow, and now I look forward to sharing it with all of you.

I welcome your feedback and reviews in the comments. I hope you like it, and I hope you’ll be back in September, when the full collection is released. Thank you for reading!

Progress Report: Short Stories on the Way!

It’s been a hot and busy week. The humidity makes me want to sit inside with the AC, listen to music, and type all day. Good thing a writing hobby is conducive to all those things!

The Crow’s Gift and Other Tales is getting all the closer to publication. Right now it’s getting formatted, and there are pieces being added that make the collection feel so much more real than it did in Microsoft Word, like a table of contents and a title page. Check out the illustration that will go on the title page:

The Crow's Gift and Other Tales. Art by Doug Puller
Art by Doug Puller

Like the cover for The Crow’s Gift and Other Tales, the artwork was done by artist and friend Doug Puller. You’ll also see his work on the covers for Please Give and All the Pieces Coming Together in the coming weeks.

On that note, I’m excited to announce that All the Pieces Coming Together will be released as a standalone short story. I anticipate having it ready by the beginning of August. You’ll be the first to know when it’s available. I look forward to sharing it, and hope you all enjoy it!

Have a good weekend, everyone. Stay cool — and if writing, stay productive!

Cover: The Crow’s Gift and Other Tales

I’ve been putting together The Crow’s Gift and Other Tales. All four stories have been edited, and I’ve sent them and other pieces — acknowledgments, etc. — to be formatted and prepped for publishing on Kindle. I plan to publish the collection on September 5, 2017, just ahead of the Fall/Halloween season.

One of the pieces that’s done, though, is the cover. Check it out:

the crow's gift and other tales by sonora taylor
Art by Doug Puller

The cover was illustrated by Doug Puller, who is an excellent graphic designer and artist. I love the cover, particularly the look of the crow, and the colors of dusk behind the trees. He completed this work as I was finishing up my revisions, and seeing the cover made the collection feel real to me in a way that writing and reading the text alone did not.

I’ve also created a page on Facebook for the collection. Feel free to like, follow, and share the page if you wish. While I will continue to post updates here, the Facebook page will strictly focus on the collection, including when it’s published, and when a story from the collection will be available for download ahead of publication.

Thank you for reading. I look forward to sharing the full collection soon!

Monarch

It’s a rainy, gloomy Friday morning. We need the rain, and truth be told, it’s nice to listen to in my pajamas. Still, I can’t help but crave a little brightness. I wrote this short piece yesterday, a quick story about a girl and a butterfly taking a walk together. Imagining the butterfly’s wings is a nice bright spot on a cloudy morning. I hope you enjoy it. Have a good weekend, everyone.

**

Monarch

The sun shone over the Pacific on a cold morning. Meghan pulled her sweater close as she exited her cabin, walking towards the main lodge for breakfast. How could a morning look so warm and feel so frigid?

It was a mystery that occupied Meghan’s mind to the point where she almost missed a flash of orange on the ground — one that was dangerously close to disappearing under her shoe.

“Oh my gosh, I’m sorry!” she exclaimed, even though she knew the butterfly couldn’t understand her. The butterfly’s wings trembled as it tottered on its legs, twitching for sunlight.

Meghan looked up at the trees. What she’d thought was a blanket of dead leaves was actually a cluster of monarchs, all sleeping on the tree they’d chosen as a pit stop for their annual migration. All were still, waiting for the afternoon sun.

One hadn’t waited long enough. Meghan crouched towards the ground, moving her hand towards the butterfly. It leapt into the air, then fell with a thud on the grass. It was still too cold to fly. Meghan tried again, but more gently. She laid her fingertip in its path.

The butterfly stayed still, then wove one leg across Meghan’s finger. Another, and another still, until all were threaded over her skin. Meghan slowly, carefully lifted her hand. The butterfly stayed put.

They walked together, meandering up the hill in the shade. Meghan waited for the butterfly to take flight. It didn’t. It soared via Meghan’s hand, its orange wings a bright contrast to the cold of the ocean and the dark of the mountain.

Soon, they approached the garden, where flowers were waking in time with the sun creeping over the dirt. While Meghan enjoyed her companion’s company, she knew a flower was a better home for a butterfly than her hand. “Here you go,” she said, stooping towards a marigold.

The butterfly paused. Meghan moved her hand closer to the petals.

One leg upon the petal. Then another.

The butterfly stood on the marigold. Slowly, its wings unfolded. The sun landed on its citrus wings, and the dots upon its night-sky border sparkled like stars.

Meghan smiled. “You’re welcome.”

5.4.17

Spotted

She sat in the center, pristine and painted. The others watched her from their shared mound, lying on green grass. The sun shone through wicker branches, casting its light upon them all. The light shone brightest upon her, her cloak of red into orange into yellow burning like a flame cut loose from a fire and skittering across the woods.

That flame caught the eye of someone who was hungry. They moved towards the woods, the grass, and snatched her up, the flame dying as their fingers cracked through her cloak. It shattered into pieces, embers which fell into a pit below the woods. She watched as the cloak disintegrated, and wished to be back on the mound with the others. The others merely watched. That was all they could do as their painted, pristine friend extinguished like a flame under water.

“Thanks for the egg, Mom,” the little girl said, grinning as she grabbed her basket from the table.

“You’re welcome,” her mother said, throwing the remainder of the egg shells in the trash. “Happy Easter.”

4.14.17