Today on Drabble Wednesday we’re off to lands bizarre and places strange via the ever handy magic portal. I've dug deep into my vault, and produced three more stories for your enjoyment.
Adventures in Comic-Con World
This is not why I went to Comic-Con!
I thought it would be fun, I’d check out the panel discussions, get some autographs, maybe dress in costume as a superhero. Then I run across this odd booth. Next thing I know weird guys in glasses are doing a sparkly wham bang on me, I’m a foot tall and whisked through some dimensional portal gizmo.
Now I’m stuck in this stupid comic book world as some low-rent version of Antman, with a miniature sidekick named Scarlett L'Amour, and Dr. Catastrophe as an arch enemy bent on world domination.
Stupid, fraking portals!
I’m staring down a snarling dingo, holding a pudding in one hand and a doubloon in the other, wishing I had a shotgun loaded with buckshot instead.
The day started innocently, with a walk by a stream, and then, bam, I’m tumbling through the underground like Indiana Jones. I landed hard in some room housing a chest of coins, a fridge full of pudding and “Property of the Pilfering Pudding Plotters” scrawled on the wall.
Maybe I should have heeded, kept my hands off the goods, but how could I know there was a guard dog? I am so screwed.
Through the Gotham Looking Glass?
Holy Willie Nelson, Batman!
This isn't a dream—as much as I’d like it to be—and I’m in major trouble.
I’m standing on a road made of Corn Flakes in a strange version of Gotham City—I swear the Joker just ran past me. Strains of “On the Road Again” float to my ears, strummed by the country music banjo band cavorting on the Cheerios sidewalk.
Oh, why did I indulge my curiosity and investigate that wizard’s bubbling pink portal? What was I thinking? I should have known better than fool around with wizards, especially one named Lewis Carroll.
I have a book spotlight today, for the dark fantasy romance Breath
by Jean Lowe Carlson, the first book in the Three Days of Oblenite
series. Plus there's an excerpt, so enjoy...
Breath by Jean Lowe CarlsonThree Days of Oblenite - Book 1
Gryffine Toulunnet is cursed. She lives for one day a year, the heady festival of Rollows, where the dead dance their bones back to life. Born to a pious mother and miserable because of her curse, Gryffine sneaks out upon Rollows-eve to dance and drink with the Beast and his demons, and set herself free. Until she encounters dashing Gypsun barman Jessup Rohalle in his masque of the Immaculate Lust, and Gryffine’s strange curse marks them both in a single night of passion. Six years later, Jessup and Gryffine meet again, tempting fate with Gyrffine's curse, a kiss that steals the very breath of life from any lover. But Gryffine is linked to another besides Jessup, a tortured soul with a dark gift of his own, bitterly cursed just like she. And as the lamplit streets of Julis darken into winter, the curse comes to claim its own.
You can find Breath on:
ABOUT THE SERIES - Three Days of Oblenite (3 novels)
The City of Julis in the Onvittaine is rife with superstition, piety, and the devious nature of the mystic. Three lives collide, swept up in the torturous undercurrents of three desperate curses, from which there is no escape. Desire, lust, power, obsession, addiction, fervor, desperation, and death flow in the darkness of Julis and in the seedy Gypsun Quarter at the edge of the Saints Commons. And not even the blessings of Saint Sommes herself can save those who become lost in the mystery, depravity, darkness, and permission of the Quarter. They can only save themselves.
The three books take place in a fictional, dark version of Paris in the late-Victorian era, and feature three characters cursed with the gifts of a miracle-working saint who died five hundred years prior. The first novel, Breath
, is about a young woman cursed to celibacy because her breath when she kisses draws the vitality of any living thing, all except one night a year. The second novel, Tears
, is about a young man cursed to feel bliss when he suffers physical pain from the lash, and the religious conflict he feels about his curse as he finds himself in a new M-M relationship with the man who brings him release. The third novel, Blood
, is about a brilliant surgeon cursed with blood that heals. His life falls apart as he descends into the desperate underworld of Julis, gradually becoming addicted to using his blood to work miracles among the whores and the diseased.
Excerpt From Breath:
Jessup chewed his lip a moment. “Some of the old stories are true, Gryffine. And I think yours is one of them. Though I admit… it’s a very strange version of what I traditionally hear.”
Gryffine frowned. “What have you heard?”
“The tale of the Boy and the Bones. It’s the traditional story of Rollows. A young boy touches some bones and is cursed with the Kiss of Death, with which he kills his own mother. It’s where the Rollows toast comes from.”
“I’ve heard the story.”
Jessup looked at her oddly. “You have?”
Gryffine nodded. “The evening we first met. I was with my mother at the Gypsun market that afternoon, and I heard an old raglady telling it to a group of youths at one of the bonfires.”
“So you know how it goes.”
She nodded again. “But I’m a woman. And my curse didn’t start from touching some old bones.”
He shrugged. “Other than that… don’t you think the story describes your situation perfectly?”
Gryffine lifted an eyebrow.
“Come on.” Jessup pinched out the incense and stood. “Let’s have dinner in the Gypsun Quarter. I’ll take you to Aeshe and then we can find Rennet and talk to him about your manse.”
Gryffine took his proffered hand and stood, then made for the outer door of the sepulcher. “This way. I’ll show you the backyard before we go.”
They pushed through the heavy stone door and into the sunlight, flooding down on what was turning out to be a perfect spring afternoon. The air was moist and refreshing after the dry musk of the sepulcher, and Gryffine’s mood lifted to the radiant sun and the bright-tempered man at her side. They shoved the stone door shut and traipsed the gravel walk through the verge to the back porch. She was already tripping up the steps with a much lighter heart when a small pull came at her hand from Jessup.
“Hold on a tic. What’s that?”
“What?” Gryffine glanced over, then followed his gaze to a small fenced-off area with a wrought-iron railing that contained a fixture of the manse she had come to accept as one of its many oddities. Inside the railing, upon an extra side-swath of the stone back porch, sat an ancient wrought-iron coffin, its vellum gone and the bones inside long turned to dust under the protection of the gables and eaves. But as Gryffine glanced at it, she, too, noticed something about the coffin that made the hair of her neck stand on end.
Within the confines of the wrought-iron, right where a corpse’s chest would once have been, grew a single, perfect yellow day-flower, nodding its sunburst head to the light spring breeze.
Jessup grinned at her. “Should I sneak through the bars of the railing and go touch it?”
But a rush of alarm went through Gryffine just then, and she hastily gripped Jessup’s arm, drawing him back. “No! Leave it alone.”
“It’s just a day-flower. They probably grow there every spring.”
Gryffine shook her head. “There have never been any flowers there. Mother tried every spring to grow some. She hated the coffin but was too superstitious to move it. She sprinkled lenou-seeds in the bone-dust, flush-horn seeds, pennybright. Everything she could think of. Nothing ever grew.”
“Huh. Must have sprinkled day-flower seeds at some point and one finally took.” But even Gryffine could tell that Jessup’s teasing tone had gone to one of wary caution. “I’ll speak to Rennet about getting that whole thing off the porch and putting it in the sepulcher where it belongs.”
Gryffine swallowed and nodded. “That would be best, I think.” She tore her eyes away from the nodding yellow flower and tugged him up the porch, trying to put it from her mind.
Jean Lowe Carlson is a Naturopathic Doctor and writer of both fiction and non-fiction, and holds a B.A. in Biology and B.Mus. in Opera from Oberlin College and a medical doctorate from Bastyr University. A keen observer of nature and human behavior, Jean writes genre-bending epic, romantic erotic, and dystopian fantasy fiction, and maintains a blog on Esoteric Buddhism (Tantric Practice). As a medical doctor and practitioner of Tantra, yoga, pranayama, Reiki, Craniosacral Therapy, and Emotional Freedom Technique, Jean pulls from her deep knowledge of psychology and energy interactions to paint vivid scenes and emotionally complex interactions between her characters.
Mixing a keen and often gritty blend of erotic and romantic content into her epic, dystopian, and dark fantasy, Jean creates sensual, raw worlds that remind one of Jacqueline Carey, Clive Barker's Imajica, Anne Rice, and Robin Hobb. Jean's characters are human and complex, their interactions set amidst the broader scope of nations in turmoil or societies with riveting secrets. Not afraid of exploring all kinds of relationships, including LGBTQ and BDSM, excitement and passion combine in Jean’s novels to create rich, lush worlds where death and life are always precariously balanced. Jean Lowe Carlson lives with her delicious husband Matt in Redmond, Washington, and desperately wants a cat.
For more on the author and her books check out these sites: