Free Sci-Fi Romance Short Story Excerpt!

Hile, inklings! Today I’m providing you with what I hope will be a treat. As you might recall, I recently had a short story published in the latest installment of the e-mag A Consortium of Worlds, #3.

“The One Where Jack Loses” is not-so-happy romantic sci-fi with themes like the nature of Reality, the nature of Time, and the nature of Individual Choice.

The treat is that I’m publishing an excerpt from said story below, just for your reading pleasure. I hope you enjoy. : )

“The One Where Jack Loses”

A Grace and Jack Story

by Courtney Cantrell

Untitled

The woman I love is eating herself into nothingness from the inside out, and there’s nothing I can do.

How do I love her? Like one whose fingernails are ripped to shreds as he claws at the unforgiving cliff, trying to hold onto life over the maw of a gaping abyss.

I love this woman so much that the atoms of my teeth are fused together. Speech just isn’t going to happen at this point.

~

Déjà Vu

When I open the door, the first thing is the smell of her. Jasmine that blooms at night. The overwhelmation of Bulgari Blue. I think she’s overdosed on it.

“No matter what I do,” she says, “he still stays dead.”

The second thing is the half-empty bottle of Captain Morgan on the wooden trunk before her. The third is the woman herself, who contains the Captain’s other half. She toasts me with the tears pouring down her face.

“Jack, I can imagine a thousand scenarios,” says the woman draped in Bulgari Blue. “Did you see that movie, the really bad remake of The Time Machine? They changed the story so much, Wells himself wouldn’t recognize it. They have the guy be engaged. Can you believe that? Engaged, like his kind of scientist is ever gonna find time for a girl, even a neglected one. They have her die, and they have him go back again and again to try to save her. Back in time in his time machine. And he says that no matter how many times he goes back, he can’t save her. No matter what he does, she still dies every single time.”

I can’t get any closer to her than the arm of the couch. The force of this sorrow won’t let me. I can’t tell her I want to hold her hand. I can’t tell her I want to hold her body in my arms and let her sobs wring me limp. If I could finger one strand of her hair, that would be enough.

She tells me she doesn’t need a time machine. How could a machine ever take you back? The machine is physical, and time is everything but. Time is God, and how can a physical machine take you into God?

“I can imagine a thousand scenarios. I do something different every time. In some of them, I’m not even born. That’s how vast my imagination is. I’ve thought of a hundred thousand million different ways our lives could have played out, intertwined like snakes having sex, in some places they touch and in some they don’t. Even when they don’t and I’m not even born, he still dies. No machine could do what I’ve done to the inside of my heart, Jack. Every time I couldn’t save him, that’s a scar. For every life possibility, that’s a scar. Forget about some kind of metaphysical tree with pretty branches. That’s not how it works. Every life path is a scar, and I’ve got a hundred thousand million of them to prove it.”

I let myself rest my fingers on top of hers, as though they belong there. I wonder if atoms of our skin could ever fuse together like my teeth. I can’t tell her how badly I want to know what the inside of her mouth tastes like.

Grace says, “Bulgari Blue was his favorite.”

~

How Do I Love Thee? Let Me Count the Ways…

My eyes are tracing the sensual curves of her elegant profile. Her lower lip trembles, but she doesn’t even turn toward me. How can I but admire her courage?

“What if there’s more than one of me?” she whispers.

______

Click here to get the rest of the story. Happy reading!

Chicken. Headless. Editing. You’ll wanna see this.

People are starting to wonder about me, I know. Where’s Courtney? Why hasn’t she been around Twitter? Where are her cramazing blog posts? What’s she been up to?

Well, my dear inklings, I have been up to exactly one thing:

EDITING.

Specifically, I’ve been editing:

  • Joshua Unruh‘s first TEEN Agents novel,
  • Aaron Pogue‘s next fantasy novel, The Dragonswarm,
  • my own unfinished, low sci-fi NaNoWriMo novel Elevator People (working title)
  • and my own short story “Out of the Darkness” for next month’s short story collection A Consortium of Worlds, Vol. 1, Winter Issue.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I am one of those really weird people who loves loves loves editing. I am one of those weird people who thinks editing is fun. But really…right now…after having done nothing writerly except edit for a week before I caught the Plague *and* since I recovered from the Plague last week….

I.
Am.
Spent.

And I feel like this:

If you need me, I’ll be cleaning my house and complaining that I’m not working on my unfinished, low sci-fi NaNoWriMo novel Elevator People (working title). ; )

P.S. Just for the record, I love the works I’ve been editing. : )
_________________________

What about you, love? What’s got you running around like decapitated barnyard fowl?

Okay, Scifi & Fantasy Fans, This One’s for You


Ladies and gentlehobbits, I present to you:

A Consortium of Worlds, Vol. 1 (Fall Issue)

This is the first issue of the new Consortium Books quarterly, speculative fiction, short story e-magazine for Kindle and Nook. If you don’t know what spec fic is, just think sci-fi and fantasy with, in our case, a little dash of steampunk and mythology thrown in. It’s a yummy stew of otherwordly writerliness, and, as you might have guessed, I highly recommend a generous helping!

Buy A Consortium of Worlds, Vol. 1 (Fall Issue) for $2.99 on Kindle!

Buy it here for $2.99 on Nook!

My ingredient for this recipe comes in the form of a high fantasy short story, “Dead Reconning.” I’ve set it in what’s known anecdotally in Consortium circles as my “Triad universe.” You’ll find out more about the Triad universe in Fall 2012, when Consortium Books publishes my first epic fantasy novel, Legend’s Artisans: Schism (working title).

But. “Dead Reconning.” In this story, Wolf Dornsson and Lendry Bersallir, his lady fair, are trying to escape both Lendry’s disapproving father and the general, countrywide menace of undead elven soldiers. There’s adventure, romance, heroicness, argument, grotesqueness, grossness, and sword-fighting. It’s a light-hearted romp with a backdrop of darkness, and I kinda like it. I hope you will, too!

My fellow cooks in the Consortium of Worlds kitchen are:

Buy A Consortium of Worlds for Kindle or for Nook. Happy reading!

Cover art: Image by Yours Writerly Drawingly; trade dress by Amy Nickerson Design.

Away Message and EXTREME Cuteness


Hello, my loves!

As many of you already know from Twitter and/or Facebook, I was stricken with plague a few weeks back. The dire malady didn’t affect my blog, really, as I posted something right at the start of the death-warmed-over-ness and then posted another something right as Horrid Gunkdom finally capitulated. Since then, I’ve been playing catch-up, which is my favorite game, and I just lied to your face about how much I enjoy playing catch-up.

The upshot of it all is that the blog has suffered this week. I am sorry. I want this place to be more for you guys than it is for me, and this week, I’ve let you down. I apologize. Please forgive.

Please especially forgive because the Suffering of Blog must needs continue into next week. You see, starting tomorrow, I’ll be facepainting part-time at the Oklahoma State Fair. It’s only four hours per day for four days…but that’s 16 fewer hours I’ll have to work with over the next six days. Therefore, although I hope to grace Court Can Write with my presence over the next week, I can make no guarantees.

The other thing that’s currently a thing is actually two things:

(1) final edits for the first issue of “A Consortium of Worlds,” our short story e-magazine, are due next Wednesday, and

(2) Shadows after Midnight final manuscript, back cover copy, and cover art with trade dress are due next Thursday.

I am a bee of much busyness.

I will come up for air, my dear inklings. And when I do, you shall be the first to know! (Or at least second.)

Also, I shall try to finagle permission from my employer to post pictures here of my facepainting artwork. Because I know you dears love visuals. And because I love you, I shall end this post with a VEC* for you:

*Visual of Extreme Cuteness, please click to embiggen!

**Origin of this image unknown. Please help me attribute, if possible! Thank you. : )