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Kim McDougall

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Gambling for Kittens

Flash Fiction: 25 Prayers

March 24, 2016

I love flash fiction. These days, I'm focussed on writing a novel and don't have much time for it. But a few years back, I enjoyed being part of several writing groups for flash fiction, and I had several pieces published. 

I also love a good writing prompt. You can check out my blog post at Castelane for an article on how I used a job jar of writing prompts to inspire healthy writing habits. Here is one of my favorite prompts and the 207 word story that came from it. "25 Prayers was first published in Everyday Fiction

Won't you try your hand at flash?

 

25 Prayers

B Kim McDougall

Early one morning, as dawn broke the blackness in two, I was three sheets to the wind and the sky was four shades of pink. Five minutes later, my sixth sense warned me of the angels who flew in from seventh heaven. Eight of them, not enough to fit on the head of a pin, were bound for the nine circles of hell. 

“The ten commandments have been ignored,” said Zacheus, eleventh Malakim to God. “Twelve nights and thirteen days of darkness will be your punishment.”

He struck me fourteen times with his clawed hand and disappeared. Fifteen feathers floated to the ground in his wake. I took a sixteen-beat breath and counted my prayers--seventeen in all—before remembering where it all began.

I was eighteen the first time I knew with certainty that our dimension was nineteenth in an infinite number of realities. My ignorance killed twenty people that day, twenty-one if you counted the death of my own innocence. Twenty-two years later, I still could not shake the angels. 

My case of Coors had twenty-three empty cans. I popped the top on the twenty-fourth, thinking that I would need more beer to get through the next twenty-five days.

Reviewers Love Hibernaculum!

February 27, 2016

The first reviews of Hibernaculum are in. They like it! They really like it! Here's a snippet from the first of five reviews on Readers' Favorite:

 

Hibernaculum is a thought-provoking, lyrical and gorgeously written work that is highly recommended.

Kim McDougall's short story collection, Hibernaculum, transports the reader into a succession of alternative worlds, each more fantastic and vivid than the last. I enjoyed the darkly humorous title story with its imaginative post-apocalyptic wildlife and naive tourists, and found it a welcome change from the all-too-common dystopian melange of flesh-eating zombies. McDougall presents an intriguing juxtaposition of the wild places as seen through a Coyote's eyes and those of his clients. Luminari is a poignant and lovely homage to classic vampire tales, and Devon's trip to the old country evoked memories of my first reading of Bram Stoker's Dracula. In Barbegazi, I felt the author saved her best for last. There's beauty and majesty in the Fabian highlands and their harsh and snowy winters, and Etien's coming of age is particularly stirring and profound. 

 

Reviewed by Jack Magnus for Readers' Favorite

https://readersfavorite.com/book-review/hibernaculum

 

Fans of classic fantasy themes such as dystopia and paranormal romance, will love the original spin Kim McDougall puts on these tropes by injecting them with fresh new lore, atmosphere and quirky characters. Get your copy at Amazon now!

Snippet Fun: Hibernaculum

February 3, 2016

Enjoy this snippet from my newest release, a sci-fi thriller with bite--Hibernaculum.

 

Cross sized up his clients with one glance. The guy, lanky as an uprooted beanstalk, stepped carefully over cracked cement. The girl strode in the lead, each step harsh and vainglorious.

Not one of those. Nothing worse than an arrogant female in the Wild. 

She would pretend the bugs and snakes didn’t bother her, but eventually Cross would have to make a daring rescue when stubbornness put her over the edge. He’d been through it before. 

Life inside the Dome was idyllic, but always a few young, bored rich needed to test themselves in the Wild. It was illegal, of course, so Cross could charge exorbitant fees. But his price was worth it. He was the only Coyote who guaranteed a face to face confrontation with a Hibernaculum.

“We’re here,” said the woman. 

“Yes,” said Cross, “and now all the custodians know it too.”

“Keep your voice down, Mindy,” said the man.

“Sorry,” Mindy said, just as loud.

Cross turned away without a word. Best to get clear of the Dome before making introductions. He walked into a wall of debris stacked like a barricade. 

“Wait!” shrilled Mindy. “Where did you go?” Cross didn’t wait. They would find the hidden crack in the barricade or they could go home. It was a test. He promised to lead them into the Wild, but he could only do so much. After a moment, he heard them stumbling over the litter. Someone kicked a bit of metal and it clanged like a drunken bell. The couple bickered and made enough noise to alert custodians and grimalkin. 

It would serve them right. Stupid oafs. 

But then, of course, he wouldn’t make his payment. 

He stopped in the shadow of an old eighteen-wheeler. Its tires were gone and the van slowly rusted into the ground. A faded red “W” could still be seen on the metal side.

“Wow!” said Mindy, as they caught up. “Is that a car?”

“A truck,” said the man. “It’s a little known fact that once, these beasts roamed the countryside. They were fearsome killers. Six thousand deaths a year were blamed on trucks. And they were the cause of much pollution besides. My name’s Alex and this is my wife, Mindy.” He held out a hand, palm up in greeting. Cross stared at him until he withdrew it. Time for the spiel. 

“Look behind you,” he said. The couple turned. The Dome loomed like a bubble rising from the wasteland. The enviro-shield shimmered green and gold in the sunlight, obscuring busy lives inside. A beautiful sight, until you realized it was the last breath of a dying man. 

“That’s the last view you’ll have of home. If you want to change your minds, now’s the time. Once we leave here, I’m not turning back. Got it?” Alex and Mindy nodded. “Good. From now on, you do as I say. You step where I step. You touch only what I touch.”

“Are we going to see some Wild creatures?” asked Alex.

“Only if we’re unlucky.” Cross opened the rusted van door and took out three packs. 

“But this is a safari. We’re supposed to see creatures. I brought my Touch to record it.”

“I promised you a Hibernaculum,” said Cross. “The rest is all bonus.”

 

Hibernaculum is a short story now available at Amazon. The eBook includes 2 bonus tales: Luminari and Barbegazi. Snippets of these to come.

Interview with Xavier Saint-Amant

January 29, 2016

Sometimes the best way to get to know a recalcitrant character is to sit down and interview him. That's what I did with Xavier Saint-Amant, the Robin Hood of vampires. In Luminari, Saint-Amant is an alchemist, a glorified drug dealer for the undead, who strikes a hard bargain, when a hapless mortal comes seeking his wares. Saint-Amant feeds unlucky vampires who can't feed themselves. So he needs blood. Lots of blood.

To celebrate the release of Hibernaculum, my new anthology of short tales (that includes Luminari), I'm posting this snippet of my imaginary interview with Saint-Amant.

 

Interview with Xavier Saint-Amant. Location, Venon-sur-Lis, France. After dark.

 

KM: Thank you for agreeing to see me, Mr. Saint Amant. May I call you Xavier?

XSA: If you must.

(A wolf howls in the distance and the hundreds of candles lighting the room flicker)

XSA: Are you comfortable?

KM: Yes. Yes. Thank you.

XSA: I could offer you wine, but my assistant has locked himself in the cellar again.

KM: Does that happen a lot?

XSA: Yes. Good help is hard to come by in my line of work.

KM: And what work is that exactly?

XSA: Alchemy.

KM: Alchemy? I didn’t think there was much of a market for that anymore.

XSA: I’m not in it for the money.

KM: Yes I’ve heard of your humanitarian efforts…

(XSA laughs)

XSA: You’ve never interviewed a vampire before, have you, Miss McDougall?

(KM shakes head.)

XSA: Humanitarian isn’t quite the word for my work. I help vampires in need. Those who can’t or won’t hunt for themselves. I’m like a soup kitchen, but I don’t serve soup.

KM: I see. I’ve heard you developed a drug that enables vampires to go out in the sunlight. The Luminari. Is this true?

(With uncanny speed XSA crosses the small space between them. He leans over and whispers in her ear.)

XSA: It doesn’t work on mortals, but I could fix that for you.

(KM squirms away and stands.)

KM: Yes, well. Maybe another time. Perhaps now would be a good time for a tour of your…ah…soup kitchen. My readers would find that fascinating.

(A scream breaks the quiet.)

XSA: Yes, let me show you around.

Why Gambling for Kittens?

Fans of Buffy the Vampire slayer will no doubt recognize the reference from the episode where Buffy gets drunk with Spike and crashes his demon poker game--a game where the ante is a kitten per demon. 

Yes, I'm a huge Buffy fan and I love cats (not to eat) and critters of all sorts. 

In this blog you'll find dark and quirky tales, fun with cats, and lots of BtVS references.

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