Category Archives: Words in Print

A Post Not About Cats – No Shit!

Standard

I write a lot about relationships. Not Harlequin, daytime TV type stuff, but the other stuff. The subcutaneous if you will, or rather, I write about the sinew after the smile has been scraped off of it. Enjoy.

Hiatus Concretion

We roll up top-down-crumpled-clothes-empty to the motor court. It’s a relief. By cygk - Enjoy the sunny Midway Country Motel, CC BY 2.0We’d been screaming highway days long forgotten, and we both stunk of sweaty vinyl, cigarettes, and licorice. There’s so much desert on my teeth that my lips are permanently stuck smiling to them. You wipe yours on your shirtsleeve; smile back at me; tell me I have bugs in mine. I get out of the car, bones creaking in the shifting earth beneath my feet.

Shifting Memories.

Shifting Sand.

A parking lot of sand stretches beyond us, a lone tree clinging to it in the shadow of a snowy mountain range that overshoots the distance so far into the future it seems we might even get there someday. There’s a plaid lounge chair next to the tree, a shipping pallet, and a dog tied up, miserable barking in front of the office door, a rot wood screen door, whitewashed, hanging from one rusty hinge. “Like home,” you say, then you forty-four the dog in the face. The motel owner doesn’t mind. Says he didn’t have the heart for it, and the damn dog was an asshole.

The sickness is coming.

I can already see it in you, your hand shaking when you pay the man with a hundred dollar bill. You don’t want to let it go, and he isn’t sure. Two gnarled hands clasped through sunset over chipped Formica.

I ask him if he has a shovel.

I’ve never been good at running from things. I let a woman seduce me once at a discotheque. There was something about the way she moved across the dance floor, all quicksilver in crimson, nipples pressed tight against silky fabric. We had a few drinks. She flirted with the bartender, not me, so I told her I liked the way her skin looked against the lights and colored glass. Sparkling. Like she was covered in rhinestones. She wasn’t a she though. She was something like me, but more dangerous. She held out her arm. There was barely any flesh on it. Tattooed Bone. Black Market Ivory. The way she looked at me, kissed me in the alley. My Luciana.

It’s getting harder to breathe alms in this vortex.

It’s getting harder to breathe near you.

“It’ll only be a few days,” you say, but I know that’s a lie. The carpet smells of stale whiskey, and the shower drips chlorinated rust onto the floor. The TV is only black and white, but the bed vibrates — for a quarter. We do that a couple of times, pretend we aren’t who we are and giggle until we fall asleep to the coyotes snarling over and tearing at the dog carcass I forgot to bury.

I want to love you.

But I can’t.

Hiatus Concretion was previously published at Metazen, June 2014, and is included in the short fiction collection Kitsch.

Advertisements

Free Read – And Death Dreamt Us All

Standard

Free right now at most web retailers, except Amazon. If you would like a free Kindle copy, please visit Smashwords (link is in the sidebar.)

Happy Haunting Folks, and reviews are always much appreciated.

Available in Print and eBook formats for Kindle, Sony, Nook, and iPad
Twisted Knickers Publications (January 10, 2012)
RTA, Mature Content, Reader Discretion Advised
Paperback 138 pages
ISBN-13: 978–0982214541
Copyright © 2010.

Book Description: Rowan lives at the edge of reality.  After witnessing a terrible childhood tragedy, her life has evolved into a shifting state of death and decay.  Barely a night without restlessness, barely a breath without torment, she exists in the periphery, her mind merely a footfall away from the abyss.  Within that abyss stirs a creature so vicious, so evil, and it lies in wait, staring back at her, waiting for her to fall. Read Chapter 1.

Is That the Kind with Lead in It?

Standard

So there was this bench, wood, birdshit, nothing special about it. Just a bench on which we were sat. Waiting. Fall leaves in a swirling vortex at our feet. Dust and naked trees. Cooing winged rats all around us. Just a bench on a street. Just a girl. Just a guy. I’m the guy, and I had this thought. I’m really no good at thoughts and usually I get what I deserve when I have them. I’m kinda like the bench. She wasn’t. She was looking into this little compact mirror, which had been extricated from her handbag with great difficulty only moments before. She was looking into it all squint-eyed as she smeared and smeared and smeared her lips with color. That’s when the thought came to me, so I asked, “Why do you, well, why do women put that stuff on their lips?” She stopped her smearing long enough to look at me and smile. Then she went back to the task at hand. Smear, smear, smear, pucker, pucker, pucker, smear, smear, smear. “I don’t get it, you know. You have pretty lips. Most women have pretty lips, not that I stalk women’s lips or anything. I’m not saying that. I’m just asking.” This time I got a smile that was a lot like the bench. She snapped the mirror shut, chucked it and the lipstick into her handbag, and then turned to face me with lips that looked like those huge wax lips you get to eat at Halloween time. I didn’t say that though for very obvious reasons, and so there was this little bit of silence until she blew me a kiss with a “You really want to know?” attached to it. I did, and “I do,” was my reply because the bench and the birdshit and the pecking rats were all getting on my nerves and I was cold and benches don’t get cold, so that was odd, and she just looked at me like I was odd and said, very calmly, “Fellatio. Men like to see the little rings around their peckers when we’re done.” And that’s why I’m the bench and she is not. I wanted to kiss her, had to kiss her. I told her as much, so she asked for a tissue, but then the bus came and she said she couldn’t wait for me or the tissue, even if I had one.

© 2014 Cheryl Anne Gardner, Published as part of the Lit Bulb Festival

The Lit Bulb Festival is an online International fiction festival featuring new flash fiction, flash non-fiction, and poetry from across the globe. It features text, spoken word performance and other collaborative efforts across multiple sites for two weeks starting May 29th, 2015. Lit Bulb is supported by the SA Writers Centre, Inc. and Pure Slush. For more information and a programme schedule visit lit bulb here.

Kitsch, Our latest Flash Fiction Chapbook is Available Now!

Standard

Cover_Kitsch

Yup. We’ve been busy twisting the old knickers over here. Cheryl Anne Gardner’s latest Flash Fiction Collection Kitsch is now available in Print and eBook at all Major online Retailers.

Available in eBook formats for: KindleNook, iPad, and also available at Kobo Books
Twisted Knickers Publications (May 1, 2015)
Paperback 104 pages
RTA Mature Content — Reader discretion advised
ISBN-13: 978-0991002726
Copyright © 2013.

Book Description: From fishnet stockings to lapel flowers. From transistor radios to lipstick to bleached-out skulls at the city dump, Kitsch explores the little things. The filthy, grotesque, inconsequential little things that make life interesting. The things we don’t see. The things we don’t want to see. The things we like to collect and keep in a jar by the bed.

Kitsch – Our Latest Flash Fiction Chap is Available for eBook pre-order Now.

Standard

Cover_Kitsch

Yup. We’ve been busy twisting the old knickers over here. Cheryl Anne Gardner’s latest Flash Fiction Collection Kitsch is now available for eBook pre-order. The print edition of the chapbook will start hitting online venues in May 2015.

Pre-order available in eBook formats for: KindleNook, iPad, and also available at Kobo Books
Twisted Knickers Publications (May 1, 2015)
Paperback 104 pages
RTA Mature Content — Reader discretion advised
ISBN-13: 978-0991002726
Copyright © 2013.

Book Description: From fishnet stockings to lapel flowers. From transistor radios to lipstick to bleached-out skulls at the city dump, Kitsch explores the little things. The filthy, grotesque, inconsequential little things that make life interesting. The things we don’t see. The things we don’t want to see. The things we like to collect and keep in a jar by the bed.

Cheryl Anne Gardner at The Legendary — Gekkonidae

Standard

gekkoHe didn’t like cream of wheat or wearing sandals on the beach because of broken glass or other stuff that could puncture his skin. He didn’t really like the beach at all. He liked to pretend to make tea in his room for his sister’s dolls. She liked it too; though he was convinced his sister wasn’t really human and didn’t belong in the family he didn’t like very much anyway.

He was only ten years old, but he had big ideas and big opinions, so come spend some time with the little gekko in Cheryl Anne Gardner’s latest flash fiction selection titled Gekkonidae now featured at The Legendary.

And on a side note: We’ll be taking a break from flash fiction for a while so we can work on our next novella. Yeah, you heard that right. Sid and Cheryl Anne are working on another novella. A friggin’ comedy of all things. So stay tuned.

Cheryl Anne Gardner at Foliate Oak – The Followers

Standard

839610Heard the bells in the distance as rain fell hard on the clothesline, revealing strange cast off patterns in the tatty fabric you’d left to whip in the wind. Withered bone to dark skies held, an afternoon wilted upon your skin.

It might not be your lot, but come watch as they dig them under in Cheryl Anne Gardner’s latest flash fiction selection titled The Followers now featured in the March Issue of Foliate Oak.

It’s Valentine’s Day – Got Love Story? We do.

Standard

Cover_AntiquityAs the passing of the world slips down through fractures in the muck-covered gravel of time, everything is absorbed into everything else. Every bit of matter, whether it be rock, stone, or bone becomes a part of antiquity. Mist, magic, or trembling lips, everything transcends in an elemental eclipse.

Everything.

Every atom, every slight or obtuse particle of dust, and every swirling cloud of detritus will eventually possess the memory of everything else, etched into its core.

Yes, Cheryl Anne Gardner can write soft. Seriously, there is no murder and mayhem in this story. Sid was shocked as well, but it’s true.

The Splendor of Antiquity: A woman in love with science. A woman in love with a man. A woman in love with the dead and fighting for faith in the living.

You can read Chapter One for free here.

And this is our favorite review of the work originally from The LL Book Review

It is ironic, is it not, how everything seems so poetic in death, yet we rarely see the poetry in life?

I couldn’t think of a more truer statement than this, spoken by a God-like king on the first page of Cheryl Anne Gardner’s book, The Splendor of Antiquity. True, we’d expect our Gods to say such profound things and the narrator of this book does not disappoint with such expectations. After all, he has been dead for centuries and our lead female, an archaeologists named Joliette Deneauve, is about to dig him up.

Gardner has magnificently given the book a theme about faith. The reader will know that right from the start. But this is also a book about passion, and there are two kinds here. First the passion, both physical and emotional, felt between two people. This is evident between Joliette and her fellow archaeologist named Olivier Botton. Then there’s the feeling of passion that one has when they find themselves so truly captivated by something that also steals their heart away. For many, this second passion is the love and faith one feels for God, or should I say a God. And so Joliette finds herself torn between the two. She struggles against her connection with Olivier and is overcome with passion for the dead king she discovers deep in the Siberian mountains.

Tittering on the brink of fantasy, Gardner presented herself with quite a challenge when writing this book. Olivier and Joliette are both human so conversation between the two would obviously come quite naturally. However, remember this book is narrated by the dead king. Though he speaks to the reader, he cannot verbally speak to Joliette. But the one sided conversations Joliette has with his skull will send shivers up your spine. In Chapter 5, Joliette uses technology to sculpt a model of what the king might have looked like, a beautiful metaphor for God breathing life into each of us, but held at bay by the fact Joliette uses technology, science, to recreate the features of the king:

In the simplest and most poetic of terms, she believed, devoutly in her heart, that a thing, once created, should never die. “Doesn’t matter what that thing is: flesh, stone, or bone,” she said. “Even the idea that sparked the courage to create in the first place has merit beyond the moment and should never fade from the world. Neither the memory nor the emotion behind it should ever be cast away and forgotten as if it had never existed, as if it had meant nothing.” Everything means something in a metaphysical sense, even the trivial things. At least they did to Joliette. Restoring to me my face, my name, and my honor was the least trivial of all.

I loved the fact that this book was also not too philosophical despite the boundaries of both religion and science that are explored. Yes, Joliette is consumed with her work as a scientist and shows great passion for her work, but her obsession with the king and with finding out who he is also consumes her. Just as churchgoers long to be closer to God but denounce the scientific explanations behind who we are or how we got here, there’s always that boundary between stories. Joliette never sways in either direction. We are a culture of secrets and history. Gardner reminds us that societies long before us bury their secrets, their sadness, and their past, only to have later societies dig them up all over again:

Over the course of a lifetime, one might never be able to calculate how many tears could be shed on account of death.

When Olivier reveals that their research has not brought them any closer to the real identity of the king, Joliette vows to return to the dig site in an attempt to learn more, growing even more obsessed with the unnamed king. The king tells us he’s already been haunting her dreams, but Joliette returning to his grave is the chance he needs to finally reveal himself to her. Joliette’s fate is oddly revealed to the reader early on in Chapter 2.

It’s not about having to choose between what we believe and what we know is real. Joliette simply accepts her fate and succumbs to it, but not before her and the king share a secret that Joliette chooses to keep to herself. Despite research, despite science, despite the opportunity to be known for something great, sometimes it is just about faith and that which we hold so dear inside ourselves.

Cheryl Anne Gardner at Change Seven Magazine

Standard

changeseven issue 1Relationships are hard to find and even harder to keep. So come visit Change Seven Magazine where Cheryl Anne Gardner mines the dark side of seeking love and love seeking in two new flash fiction selections titled Ditch Diggers Tend Picket Fences and Bin Liners are Cheaper at the Hardware Store now featured in Issue 1.

Cheryl Anne Gardner at Close 2 The Bone — Dying in The Time

Standard

Call him Mister, call him Lord of the Flies, call him whatever, he’s got a bit of the long road in him too — scorched earth, crossroads, sulphur under his fingernails — so he knows what you’ve done . . .

And Demons don’t like when people try to take what belongs to them. So come sit a spell, have a glass of mash in Cheryl Anne Gardner’s latest Devil went down bit of flash fiction titled Dying in The Time now featured at Close 2 The Bone.