BCS coverHello, my darklings!

Sigh….

I’m just going to say it right now. I have been very lax. Between finishing my thesis novel for my MFA, other coursework and my day job, I’ve not had much time to work on the website here.

But that’s all changing…I graduated!

Yes, I have completed the MFA in Creative Writing and can finally take a few desperately needed breaths. I’m still going to be working on the novel that has been my thesis for these last two years but I at least am not as crunched for time. And, if all goes well, I’ll still be on for a release date of late November. I mean, the feedback I received from my graduate panel was good and very constructive but, based on their suggestions, I clearly still have work to do before it’s ready for a proper edit with a good editor.

Anyway, as far as the blog here goes, I’m going to try and catch up on posting links to all the reviews I’ve done for Tangent Online since my last post a few months back on June 4. My goal moving forward is to continue to work on the TO reviews, add new articles on the writing craft, and to get one independent review done each week. To that end, I’m putting together a content calendar for the remainder of the year. Coming up in the queue right now, I’ve got another anthology for TO (but I’m not counting that because I really only link those), two issues of Cirsova, and the new Wild Stars IV by Michael Tierney, all of which I’ll be doing independently. After that, I’ll be reviewing Maledictions, a Warhammer horror anthology released this past March. I should have the first Cirsova issue done and posted by the end of this week (so no later than September 7, 2019).

For now, though, here’s the information on Beneath Ceaseless Skies #279, released on June 6, 2019. As usual, this was done for Tangent Online, so I’m just giving a summary here—which, by the way, is also something I’m going to start doing, as well. Previously, I just slapped down the link with a really quick description. From now on, though, I’m going to give a mini-review here and then link the one I did for TO, so you can read the whole thing, if you’d like.

So, to start, this 279th issue of Beneath Ceaseless Skies features fantasy stories by Lisa M. Bradley and T.R. North.

“Revival” by Lisa M. Bradley

Bradley’s story “Revival” is about a young lady named Carmen. She suffers from a skin condition and goes to see a preacher said to have the power heal the sick that’s set up a temporary tent on her uncle’s land. While there, she nearly faints at the thought of the clergyman calling on her but is helped by a kind man named Swift. Swift, who’d been following the preacher for fear of something else catching up with him, decides to stay on with Carmen’s uncle after after the traveling miracle worker leaves town and romance quickly blossoms between the two. Unfortunately, Swift’s past catches up with him, forcing Carmen to deal with a seemingly unstoppable force.

There were several things I like about Bradley’s story. First, she’s got a lyrical writing style that I quite enjoy. As a fan of Edgar Allan Poe, her use of alliteration made the reading feel like it flowed off the page. She also did a great job of weaving fairy tale tropes and elements into the narrative. Finally, it was easy to see how her story had strong roots in traditional storytelling. It really was a great tale.

“Silver Springs” by T.R. North

T.R. North’s “Silver Springs” takes place in an alternate version of Victorian-era America, where a young lady is taken to Florida by her parents to find a cure for her rather unfortunate behaviors. You see, our young narrator is prone to stealing. The resort at Silver Springs promised to eradicate vice of all sorts via the power of mermaids that live in the clear waters. This is done by giving the mermaid a token representing the vice or behavior you’d like to go away. When the narrator gives the mermaid her token, the creature tries to pull her into the water, much to the horror of the staff and other guests. Although she’s saved and returned to shore, it soon becomes clear that the mermaid isn’t done with her yet.

Like Bradley’s tale, North’s story is appealing for so many reasons. First, the setting is fantastic. There’s a lot of mystery surrounding Florida. After all, it has long been said to be one possible location for the Fountain of Youth and there are myriad legends associated with the state. For the events in this particular story, it’s a perfect location. What really impressed me, though, was the take on mermaids and the coin offering. To me, this was a genuinely unique twist on mermaid folklore. As for the coin offering, the nod to wishing well lore was great.

If you want to read my full review as written for Tangent Online, click on the link below. It’ll open the review in a new tab directly on TO’s website.

Beneath Ceaseless Skies #279 Review, published on TangentOnline.com on June 10, 2019.

If you’ve read this particular issue yourself, what did you think? If you haven’t read it, what’s your favorite mermaid legend? Feel free to comment below!