Well, I've missed so many Fiction Fridays that I might as well bundle up a whole slew of selections for you all in one post. My apologies - but please do enjoy the writings I've found today, in a variety of different genres!

First off is a bit of a throwback - a dark psychological story called "The Yellow Wallpaper" by Charlotte Perkins Gilman, first published in 1892. We read it in school for our gothic literature unit, and unlike most of the other gothic short stories given to us, this one manages to be disturbing without supernatural elements. (Though Edgar Allan Poe's "The Masque of the Red Death" was brilliant.) The narrator's slow descent into insanity is chilling (made more so by the fact that she thinks she is completely stable) and a valuable lesson in narration/character development in a short story. There certainly isn't much plot, but the progression of the narrator's phases renders it almost unnecessary. Here's an excerpt from a description of the wallpaper itself:
It is dull enough to confuse the eye in following, pronounced enough to constantly irritate and provoke study, and when you follow the lame uncertain curves for a little distance they suddenly commit suicide -- plunge off at outrageous angles, destroy themselves in unheard of contradictions.
"The Yellow Wallpaper" is available to read here.

Over at WhiskeyPaper, a new favorite literary magazine of mine, I enjoyed this set of three stories by Katie Cortese, consisting of "Camping Christopher Creek", "A Geologic Survey of Love", and "Mead or, Mulberry Wine?". Cortese has a keenly observant writing style that is believable at the same time, which I admired. She makes the most mundane places and people whisper with a crystalline beauty. My favorite sentence of all from these three is probably this one from "A Geologic Survey of Love":
He is a music major satisfying his science credit and cannot fathom what I love about the turgid origins of volcanoes and salt-glittering caves, the calamitous shifting of tectonic plates moving secretly, eternally, beneath our feet.
Lackington's is a speculative prose magazine that I recently have been browsing through. One story, "Mon pays c'est l'hiver" by Amal El-Mohtar, really stuck out to me.

The gorgeous accompanying illustration for the piece, done by Paula Arwen Friedlander.
The writing style is graceful and bone-deep, perfect for cold nights and warm afternoons. When I first read the piece I could practically taste the yearning in every sentence. I was speechless. It's a genuine, breathtaking treasure of a piece, as you can see from the excerpt below:
Home is the sharp sheet of a frozen sun against the eyes, the taste of cold air crackling into the throat, the solid stud of ice beneath boots, a musical weight in measured steps scraping the ground beneath them; home is the white whirl of a granulated sky spiralling against lips and cheeks, falling in small kisses against a wrist unguarded.

I really hope these three pieces light up your Friday and inspire you to scour the world for more great stories! Happy reading!

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I have some more publication news to announce! My short story "You Will Know" is set to appear in the next issue of the sci-fi zine Stories from Space Camp. The issue's theme is "Bodies", and it's a UK-based print publication.

The story was a rather old one, and it centers around Remy Wilson, a survivor of a bomb that has destroyed her town. There's a slightly creepy twist ending thing at the end involving the body enhancements of a cyborg which you may want to watch out for if you purchase the zine.

I love getting stories published and hope that those of you who get to read this one enjoy it!

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I'm so, so thrilled to announce that I've received my first blog award, the Liebster Award, from MorningTime4 over at The Ups and Downs of My Not-So-Average Life - thank you so much, Morning!

(Actually, I've taken a very long time to do this - hence the "much-belated" in the post title.)

The rules:
  • Each nominee must link back to the person that nominated them!
  • Answer the ten questions given to you by the nominator!
  • Nominate 10 other bloggers who have less than 200 followers!
  • Create 10 questions for your nominees to answer!
  • Let the nominees know you have nominated them by going to their website and notifying them!
Now, on to the questions - have fun getting to know a little more about me ~

1. Thing you are currently fangirling/obsessing about?

A: ALL THE THINGS. Actually, I have equal obsessions with certain books and certain TV shows. I'm an avid watcher of Sherlock and Downton Abbey (and most recently, Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries). I love Jane Austen. I read The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater a little while ago and I'm still reeling from how beautiful that was.

2. Your quirkiest habit?

A: Talking to myself. All the time. I have a really hard time getting to sleep even on the best of nights, so I've developed a habit of talking to myself when I'm awake to soothe my nerves. Also, when I was around seven, I used to have these horribly vivid nightmares - which resulted in negotiations with the nightmares. (Strange as it is, that's not an exaggeration. I used to have bad dreams about a villain in a book I was reading but eventually made friends with him by just talking. Note to self: it seems I have more social skills when talking to imaginary evil people than I do in real life.)

3. Your dream travel destination?

A: Right now it's actually London. Literary landmarks, Big Ben, classy accents... what's not to love?

4. Guilty pleasure?

A: Hmm... well-done romance in books? That just makes me feel all fuzzy - it also makes my feels hurt. (Or perhaps surfing Tumblr at night when I can't sleep would be more accurate. That's usually what happens when talking to myself gets boring - I follow lots of poetry blogs and fandom blogs and I have way more fun on that website than I probably should.)

5. Who was the last person you waved hello?

A: I think that would be my younger brother.

6. Favorite YouTuber?

A: I don't actually watch YouTube videos much, so I really can't say :(

7. Your favorite fruit?

A: I love raspberries so much it's kind of unhealthy. Also apples. And strawberries. (I like a lot of fruits.)

8. Have you ever watched the movie version of a book before you actually read it?

A: I watched the movie version of Emma with Gwyneth Paltrow in it and I haven't actually finished the book yet. *I got all the spoilers!* But in general, I try to read the book first, especially now that YA movie adaptations are becoming a huge trend.

9. Your favorite store?

A: The bookshop near my house, hands down. Every time I go, I might intend to spend ten minutes there - but of course, I end up staying for at least an hour. Always.

10. Harry Potter or Percy Jackson (if you have read the books? If you haven't, then just say which one you would rather read based on the series titles...)?

A: I'm actually going to have to say Percy Jackson on this one. (Unpopular opinion, I know.) I read the Harry Potter series when I was around seven or eight, so I've 'grown out of it' since then, and even though I'm not a huge fan of the Heroes of Olympus series that comes after Percy Jackson, I liked the original books. It's interesting that I'm asked to compare these two series because I've always felt a parallel between Harry-Ron-Hermione and Percy-Grover-Annabeth, but when it comes down to it, the latter trio is much more endearing to me. That said, neither of these series are my favorite thing in the world, really - I'd much rather read the Infernal Devices or the Fire and Thorns trilogy or the Grisha trilogy (...and so it goes).

Questions for the Nominees:
  1. Who are some of your favorite people you've met on the Internet?
  2. Favorite book character?
  3. What's the best thing you've ever created?
  4. Cold weather or warm weather?
  5. Favorite fairy tale/myth?
  6. What do you do when you can't sleep?
  7. If you could have any superpower, what would it be?
  8. What five words best describe you?
  9. What was your last dream like?
  10. What's the best advice you've gotten?
And here are my nominees! (Some of these blogs don't display a follower count, but I'm trusting that you guys have less than 200 :3)

Samantha @ Her Inklings
Kimberly @ I Wear Milk Crowns
E. R. @ Mabel's City
 Reagan @ Old School Ink
Jessie @ Chirographic
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