Call of the Selkie

Posted in Uncategorized on April 2, 2010 by Chris Bowsman

What’s this? Another new Jennifer Hudock novella? Check out the excerpt, and go buy that motherfucker!


Sure, I had memories, golden days in the park when he couldn’t push me high enough on the swings, summer afternoons wading through the creek catching crayfish, and how his knowledge of the stars could easily turn a sleepless night into adventure. He sang me ancient lullabies in a language I never learned, and his bedtime stories came from the heart, not the pages of a book. I knew that I got my green eyes from him, the red sheen of my hair from his mother’s grandmother, and the freckles from his brother, Owen, whom I had never met. Yes, I had more than enough memories to carry me through, but it was his paintings that lingered on after he was gone.

Despite living in the middle of farm country Pennsylvania, all of my father’s paintings were of the sea in its many guises. Each painting was a tiny piece of him that he’d left behind, the only goodbye note before he mysteriously disappeared that afternoon while I was at school. Every night after he left I sneaked into his studio, stood in the half-dark of the setting sun and tried to decipher the messages he’d left me. Orange slices of sunset slanted through the blinds behind me as I watched the raging sea roil inside the canvas. Alive and overwhelmingly real, in the silence I could hear the distant call of gulls as the waves smashed like fists upon the shore.

Eventually my mother put a lock on the door and gave me a stern lecture about putting the past behind us. She did it just to punish me. She was jealous that the paintings spoke to me, but more afraid that I might discover some hint about where he’d gone. Maybe she worried that I would follow and forget her just like he did. She hid the key so well that entry was impossible. I didn’t cry, or fight her though I needed to. I wanted to scream and tear the smug look from her face, but instead I acted like I didn’t care. She took away from me the last physical connection I had to my father, and for that I could never forgive her.

It wasn’t long after she locked the door that I began to dream myself inside the paintings. Drifting from wave to wave, surrounded by a host of sleek, grey seals, whose joyful song soared high above the waves. Around and around the seals swam in an ancient spiral dance, and then my father appeared from the edge of the circle, young again, younger than I’d ever seen him even in photographs, but his eyes always gave him away. He smiled, and it was a real smile.

“It’s time to come home,” he said.

He held out his hand, and I grasped his fingers, but as he disappeared beneath the water, the waves pushed me upward every time I tried to follow. No matter how I tried, I couldn’t follow where he went, as though the sea itself kept spitting me out. One by one the seals all disappeared and darkness drew the sun away. Alone, buoyant, wave over wave of salt musk and hundreds of miles between me and dry land, I laid back and floated beneath the endless stars while moonlight rippled silver sheets over my ocean bed.


On Raven Wings

Posted in Uncategorized on March 28, 2010 by Chris Bowsman

I haven’t done anything interesting enough to talk about lately, so instead, I’m gonna plug my friend Jennifer Hudock‘s new novella, On Raven Wings.

Here’s an excerpt:

On Raven Wings

Screaming tires spit chunks of rock and painted a cloud of dust on the road behind them. The Charger hugged the turn dangerously, and Eric squinched as he leaned forward to grip the dashboard. Kenny licked his lower lip and grinning, looked back out at the road in front of them.

“Relax man,” Kenny said. “I could drive this road blindfolded.”

Tendrils of smoke drifted into the front seat on the currents of Andy’s laughter, and Eric’s fingertips dug deeper into the dashboard. Several times he opened his mouth to speak, but lack of courage stopped him until Andy’s giggling in the backseat finally pushed him to say, “If you wreck my car, I’ll kill you.”

Kenny flashed the charming rows of his perfect teeth across the car. A stretched black curl fell over Kenny’s forward, across his line of vision and he huffed it away with a confident breath, “You need to chill, man.”

Coughing, Andy slid down the backseat and pressed his knees into the back of Eric’s seat, escalating Eric’s temper.

“Seriously, man,” Eric glowered over the seat at Andy. “Cut it out.”

“Kenny’s right, you need to chill,” Carmen bumped herself forward and shouldered into Sara. Her bangle-braceleted arm held the joint to Kenny’s lips, and he inhaled. “Don’t be such a pussy, Eric.”

One of Carmen’s bracelets caught on Kenny’s jacket as she withdrew and the car reacted to the jerk with a leftward leap. Eric clenched his stomach muscles so tight he almost puked. At seventeen, Kenny was on his second driver’s license suspension and shouldn’t have been driving to begin with. He had been Eric’s best friend since the second grade though, and often all it took was a clever, trust-me smile to convince Eric that Kenny’s brand of trouble was fun. Someone almost always got hurt, or wound up in trouble.

Eric watched the speedometer jump ecstatically against one-thirty-five, and the roar of the motor vibrated his body inside and out. The simplest turn had become a nightmare that not even Eric could close his eyes to anymore and it was only a matter of time before they went spinning over an embankment to their death. .

“All right, you had your fun.” Teeth clenched, knuckles white on the dashboard, Eric roared, “Kenny, stop the car! I mean it, stop the fucking car.”

Most people signaled their own negligence with phrases like “trust me,” but Kenny said nothing. He implied the sentiment in the dangerous twitch of his lips. His gaze lingered sidelong as he approached a blind turn that would surely be the end of them.

“I’m going to be sick,” Eric’s heart dropped into his stomach.

“Dude, trust me.” Those words were like a death sentence

“Jesus, Kenny,” he drew in short, intoxicating breaths through his nose. “Jesus!” The second time was more like a prayer, a last ditch effort to save them from the certain doom that waited beyond that turn. Eric closed his eyes, repeating the small mantra, “Please God, don’t let us die. I’ll do anything. I’ll do anything. . . I’ll do anything. . .”

The car spun effortlessly around the curve. It hardly trembled at top speed, barely even lifted its tires off the asphalt. Kenny straightened it out with a whooping, “Woo!”

Relief flooded like cool water through Eric, battling the heat of adrenaline pumping his heart and warming his cheeks. His trust in Kenny was completely renewed, despite the nausea he felt. Completely confident, Kenny half-smiled and shook his head, “I told you to tr—”

Time froze. Somewhere in the suspension of reality Sara cried, “Kenny!”

Her warning shot through both passenger and driver like a bolt of electricity, but the shock wasn’t enough to register a quick reaction. Eric turned forward in his seat. The girl in the middle of the road looked right at him, and panic gripped Eric as the horrific truth that was about to take place entranced him. The girl’s eyes were calm, blue as winter, as death itself, and she smiled in welcome—as though she had waited all her life for that exact moment.

Kenny tried to react, but his arms stiffened as he gripped the wheel and stamped down on the brakes. His body elongated as the scream of rubber on asphalt carried them through an eerie silence, and then her body slammed into the windshield and rolled across the hood of the car like thunder. Carmen wailed from the backseat and the car spun out of control. Kenny scrambled, his fingers slipping across the steering wheel as if it had been slathered in butter.

And then Eric looked toward Kenny. Dumbfounded, he seemed to stop trying to regain control of the vehicle and the horror of the moment spanned across forever. They had killed someone and were all going to die, Eric realized, and then the terror halted as the driver’s side of the car impacted with the limestone cliff. Gravity drew Eric left and then immovable force threw him into the passenger side window. There was a painful light and realization, and then there was nothing.

Pretty cool, huh?

Now go dig through the couch cushions for $1.99 and go buy it at Smashwords or Amazon.

Bizarro overload

Posted in Uncategorized on March 21, 2010 by Chris Bowsman

I’ve been on a crazy reading spree the last couple days. Due to issues with my iBook (mainly involving it dying), I got a new laptop. The people at Acer really know how to make a monitor, and this thing is really nice for reading ebooks. I don’t know why, but it’s really easy on the eyes for long periods of reading.

Because of this, I’ve zipped through two and a half ebooks since yesterday afternoon. I read Andersen Prunty’s flash fiction collection THE OVERWHELMING URGE, Jordan Krall’s PIECEMEAL JUNE, and started Carlton Mellick III’s THE HAUNTED VAGINA, which I’ll likely finish over the next hour or so.

Speaking of Andersen Prunty, I went to his bookreading with Patrick Wensink last Friday. It was a lot of fun. I highly recommend all of Andersen’s books, plus Patrick Wensink’s SEX DUNGEON FOR SALE! It’s a short story collection, one of which is available free on his website. I guarantee, it’s at least twice as funny as the title.

100 Books Update

Posted in Uncategorized on February 11, 2010 by Chris Bowsman

In January, I decided to try to read 100 books in 2010. So, how am I doing so far?

Pretty shitty, to be honest. In the last month, we’ve closed on a house, I’m still looking for a job, and this is the heaviest course load I’ve ever had in school.

Am I quitting? Fuck, no. But, I am amending the rules a bit.

I’ve decided to count audio fiction toward the goal, since much of my time has been taken up with things like painting and driving back and forth between houses. It’s not like when I’m watching TV, and could choose to read instead.

So, for the updated list:

1) The Beard – Andersen Prunty

2) Jack and Mr. Grin – Andersen Prunty

3) Morning is Dead – Andersen Prunty

4) Things Fall Apart – Chinua Achebe

5) Fluid Mosaic – Michael Arnzen

6) Help! A Bear is Eating Me – Mykle Hansen

7) Veronika Decides to Die – Paulo Coelho

That’s seven books in a little over a month. Not awful, but I’m definitely going to need to step it up to reach my goal. I’m in the middle of reading:

– Old Man’s War – John Scalzi

– Under the Dome – Stephen King

– Darth Bane #3 – Drew Karpyshyn

– Hoad’s Grim – Jack Kincaid

Yeah, I know it’s silly to read multiple books, but I’ve always kind of enjoy ed it. They’re all quite different, so regardless of my mood, I’ll be into something.

100 books in 2010

Posted in Uncategorized on January 12, 2010 by Chris Bowsman

This isn’t a top 100 list, but rather a statement of my goal to read 100 books in 2010. Since I discovered podcast fiction in 2007, I’ve been slacking on my consumption of dead-tree fiction. Plus, I probably bought nearly 100 books last year (love the library sales!), so I need to get caught up.

I’m definitely not quitting the podcast fiction, but they aren’t going to count toward the goal. So far, we’re 12 days into 2010, and I’ve finished three, and nearing the ends of several more.

Why am I reading more than one book at a time? Several reasons: I’m taking several literature classes this quarter, so I’m always reading for that. Also, one of my oldest friends gifted me an old, beat up iPod Touch for Xmas, and it turns out that reading on the Touch is loads of fun. There are currently 67 books loaded onto it, several of which are “complete works of…”

So, now for the exciting part… The books I’ve read thus far:

1. THE BEARD by Andersen Prunty

2. JACK & MR. GRIM by Andersen Prunty

3. MORNING IS DEAD by Andersen Prunty

and I’m close to finishing:


– THINGS FALL APART by Chinua Achebe (reading this one for school)

If it’s not evident by my reading three of his books consecutively, I’m a big fan of Andersen Prunty’s writing. It’s bizarro, but very accessible. I’m going to take a short break and read some things from other authors, but only because he’s not Bentley Little or Dean Koontz, with a virtually limitless back catalog to tear through. Gotta make them last.

The next bizarro title I’m checking out is Garrett Cook’s ARCHELON RANCH.

Even though they don’t count toward the 100, I’m going to keep track of everything I listen to. These will be in varying degrees of completeness, based on which episodes are available.

1. DEAD MECH by Jake Bible

2. THE CRYPT by Scott Sigler

3. MURDER AT AVEDON HILL by P.G. Holyfield

4. GOBLIN MARKET by Jennifer Hudock

So, can I do it? I think so… if not, there’s always next year.

Matthew Wayne Selznick Interview

Posted in Uncategorized on November 22, 2009 by Chris Bowsman

Click here to read my interview with Matthew Wayne Selznick.

“I Am A Golden God”

Posted in Uncategorized on November 22, 2009 by Chris Bowsman

…wood beating skin
plastic striking steel…

Sweat and smoke and decibels aplenty,
Snorting a buzz through a rolled up twenty.

…strobing light thru fog
four string thunder…

Whiskey in a bottle, weed in a bowl,
Lucifer in leather, snatching up souls.

…the golden god’s primal scream
deafening applause…

Underage girls await in their beds,
While visions of dollar signs dance in their heads.