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Tuesday, 5 June 2012

Sweet Dreams snippets - Day 3

Carry on reading for Day 3 of our sneak peek snippets from the Sweet Dreams anthology.





Snippet # 1 : Jason Mckinney

Jason is a really sweet, funny guy, who managed to write one of the most hair-raising (pun intended) werewolf stories I've ever read, Dog Soldiers. There's nothing good or fluffy about those lycans, I promise you that. Then he switched on the humour in Memoirs of the Walking Dead, in between some serious gore and few truly in-your-face gross-out scenes. He's also the author of the Sheriff Teddy series, which is a delight for younger readers and the young-at-heart.He turns on the humour and the charm again The Easter Werewolf.


The Easter Werewolf

Jason McKinney


The werewolf crept through the Black Forest, intent on killing the boar rooting for tubers beside the pine tree. He considered himself lucky to have one come so close to his home. Usually they stayed away out of fear.
The animal’s scent was different from any he’d hunted before in the Black Forest, but he was sure it was a wild boar. It would make a good Easter meal for him and his son.
The werewolf’s name was Johannes Schrader and he’d been such for three years. It had been his wife that had turned him, and if not for their silver mantle clock, she would have killed him.
Johannes moved closer to the animal. Even with the distance closed he couldn’t make it out clearly. Maybe it was the gloom or the surrounding vegetation that interfered with his sight. Having his vision and senses clouded during a hunt had never happened before. Maybe age was creeping up on him.
The animal stopped its movement and looked up. It turned in time to see him springing forward.
The prey didn’t put up much of a fight, which struck Johannes as strange. Usually boars were ferocious beasts when cornered, but this one yelped loudly and squealed before dying.
Slowly the blurring disappeared from around the creature. He yelped himself, and slowly sat next to it. He changed into his human form as he sat stunned, looking at the body.
The animal had been a rabbit. It was a shade of white Johannes had never seen and was adorned in a dark maroon vest. A pair of spectacles lay next to the rabbit’s head and a rolled piece of paper protruded from its vest.
“Oh dear Lord. What have I done?” He slowly pulled the paper from the rabbits vest. A pocket watch fell out of the vest as he pulled the paper from the pocket. Its gold chain dangled brilliantly in the dark.
He unrolled the scroll and read the list of names written on it in elegant writing. Fifth from the top of the list was his son’s name, Hartwin, and beside his name was the word “NEW FOLLOWER”. The names above and below were all known to him in one way or another. Only the four before Hartwin’s were checked off.
Johannes had killed the Easter Bunny.




 Snippet # 2 : B. Throwsnaill

The author of Hemlock and the Wizard Tower series, and an absolute sweetheart on both twitter and Goodreads, B. submitted what might be the best sci-fi story I've read in years. I loved his fantasy world; now I'm just hooked on everything he puts out.


The Gene Priest
B Throwsnaill


   He was just about to return to his desk when the sudden appearance of a green dot at the edges of his vision startled him.  It was an incoming video call, and his computer identified a colleague named Father Masterson as the caller. Father Herman accepted the communication, and soon the porcine features of the younger priest were visible.
    "Father Herman.  I need to ask you a favor.  There's a couple coming in now for a consultation about their embryo.  It's going to be an E97.  I'm way behind on my gene therapy pass for the latest wave.  I need you to take this consultation for me," said Masterson.
    Father Herman hated consultations and Father Masterson knew it.  But the latter always seemed to find reasons to pass off his consultations—and Father Herman was usually his first target as a replacement.
    "I'm also behind on my reviews.  I afraid I can't do it this time.  Can you get someone else?"
    "I've tried.  You're the only one who's available."
    "But I've just told you that I'm not available."
    "I simply can't do this one, Father Herman.  If you don't agree to do it I'll be forced to give a letter to the reception desk and have the bad news delivered like that.  Is that what you want to happen?"
    Father Herman knew that these consultations were often traumatic events for future parents—especially in cases with negative genetic outcomes like this one.  And he knew that Masterson was just cold enough to make that couple receive hard news via an impersonal letter received in a public area.
    It would be shameful!
    "You always do this to me Masterson!  I'll do it for the couple’s sake—but I'm just as busy as you are," said Father Herman angrily.
    "Bless you, Father Herman.  You're much better at these things than I am anyway," said Masterson, cutting the video feed abruptly.
    Not even a thank you!
    Father Herman turned back toward the window, and he began to feel anxious about the impending consultation.  He was normally self-conscious in social situations.  And he knew that this feeling would be magnified by the stress of the consultation.  He felt himself beginning to perspire.
    He soon received a message that the couple had arrived on time.  He instructed reception to keep them waiting in the lobby for ten minutes and then send them up.  He hoped that the couple would pass the time by perusing the information kiosk on the history of Father Matthias IV, founder of the Gene Priests, and Father Herman’s personal hero.  He liked his appointments to be properly grounded in Gene Priest history before they reached him.
    In order to pass a few moments, he played an audio clip of the great man's speech, which had been delivered just prior to the passage of the laws that had sanctioned the supremacy of the Gene Priests.
    "Mankind needs a framework for the extension of life through bio-engineering.  This legislation provides that framework.  Our very survival as a species hangs in the balance.  Every man and woman on this great Earth must have the courage to stand up today and demand that this amendment be passed.  And when you stand and raise your voices, you will do so as free-thinking, self-aware, sentient beings that are alive in the truth of the moment, and keenly aware of the pivotal context of that moment."
    Father Herman felt a feeling of calm take the edge off of his anxiety, although a small audio glitch in the recording threatened to disrupt his newfound clarity.
    I'll have to edit that out of the source recording and update the kiosk in the lobby.
    Soon he saw the couple that he was waiting for approaching through the window of an aerial corridor that bridged his building with an adjacent one.  They both wore well-tailored gray suits adorned with fashionably ornate red piping.  These were the kind of clothes that people wore to business meetings, weddings and other formal occasions.  He could tell from this distance that the woman’s eyes were red and puffy.  The man looked composed.
    He met them at the door, and showed them to two luxurious leather chairs that rested in front of his desk.
    As he walked around to his desk chair, he heard the woman sniffle softly.
    I hate this.



  He was just about to return to his desk when the sudden appearance of a green dot at the edges of his vision startled him.  It was an incoming video call, and his computer identified a colleague named Father Masterson as the caller. Father Herman accepted the communication, and soon the porcine features of the younger priest were visible.

    "Father Herman.  I need to ask you a favor.  There's a couple coming in now for a consultation about their embryo.  It's going to be an E97.  I'm way behind on my gene therapy pass for the latest wave.  I need you to take this consultation for me," said Masterson.
    Father Herman hated consultations and Father Masterson knew it.  But the latter always seemed to find reasons to pass off his consultations—and Father Herman was usually his first target as a replacement.
    "I'm also behind on my reviews.  I afraid I can't do it this time.  Can you get someone else?"
    "I've tried.  You're the only one who's available."
    "But I've just told you that I'm not available."
    "I simply can't do this one, Father Herman.  If you don't agree to do it I'll be forced to give a letter to the reception desk and have the bad news delivered like that.  Is that what you want to happen?"
    Father Herman knew that these consultations were often traumatic events for future parents—especially in cases with negative genetic outcomes like this one.  And he knew that Masterson was just cold enough to make that couple receive hard news via an impersonal letter received in a public area.
    It would be shameful!
    "You always do this to me Masterson!  I'll do it for the couple’s sake—but I'm just as busy as you are," said Father Herman angrily.
    "Bless you, Father Herman.  You're much better at these things than I am anyway," said Masterson, cutting the video feed abruptly.
    Not even a thank you!
    Father Herman turned back toward the window, and he began to feel anxious about the impending consultation.  He was normally self-conscious in social situations.  And he knew that this feeling would be magnified by the stress of the consultation.  He felt himself beginning to perspire.
    He soon received a message that the couple had arrived on time.  He instructed reception to keep them waiting in the lobby for ten minutes and then send them up.  He hoped that the couple would pass the time by perusing the information kiosk on the history of Father Matthias IV, founder of the Gene Priests, and Father Herman’s personal hero.  He liked his appointments to be properly grounded in Gene Priest history before they reached him.
    In order to pass a few moments, he played an audio clip of the great man's speech, which had been delivered just prior to the passage of the laws that had sanctioned the supremacy of the Gene Priests.
    "Mankind needs a framework for the extension of life through bio-engineering.  This legislation provides that framework.  Our very survival as a species hangs in the balance.  Every man and woman on this great Earth must have the courage to stand up today and demand that this amendment be passed.  And when you stand and raise your voices, you will do so as free-thinking, self-aware, sentient beings that are alive in the truth of the moment, and keenly aware of the pivotal context of that moment."
    Father Herman felt a feeling of calm take the edge off of his anxiety, although a small audio glitch in the recording threatened to disrupt his newfound clarity.
    I'll have to edit that out of the source recording and update the kiosk in the lobby.
    Soon he saw the couple that he was waiting for approaching through the window of an aerial corridor that bridged his building with an adjacent one.  They both wore well-tailored gray suits adorned with fashionably ornate red piping.  These were the kind of clothes that people wore to business meetings, weddings and other formal occasions.  He could tell from this distance that the woman’s eyes were red and puffy.  The man looked composed.
    He met them at the door, and showed them to two luxurious leather chairs that rested in front of his desk.
    As he walked around to his desk chair, he heard the woman sniffle softly.
    I hate this.


Father Herman stood at his office window and watched the graceful ascent of an orbital lift craft through the early evening sky. Its powerful jets of fiery exhaust propelled it high into the heavens, until it was only visible as a point of light—a receding ember blending into a panoply of stars that were just emerging into view in the absence of the retreating daylight.
    He was just about to return to his desk when the sudden appearance of a green dot at the edges of his vision startled him.  It was an incoming video call, and his computer identified a colleague named Father Masterson as the caller. Father Herman accepted the communication, and soon the porcine features of the younger priest were visible.
    "Father Herman.  I need to ask you a favor.  There's a couple coming in now for a consultation about their embryo.  It's going to be an E97.  I'm way behind on my gene therapy pass for the latest wave.  I need you to take this consultation for me," said Masterson.
    Father Herman hated consultations and Father Masterson knew it.  But the latter always seemed to find reasons to pass off his consultations—and Father Herman was usually his first target as a replacement.
    "I'm also behind on my reviews.  I afraid I can't do it this time.  Can you get someone else?"
    "I've tried.  You're the only one who's available."
    "But I've just told you that I'm not available."
    "I simply can't do this one, Father Herman.  If you don't agree to do it I'll be forced to give a letter to the reception desk and have the bad news delivered like that.  Is that what you want to happen?"
    Father Herman knew that these consultations were often traumatic events for future parents—especially in cases with negative genetic outcomes like this one.  And he knew that Masterson was just cold enough to make that couple receive hard news via an impersonal letter received in a public area.
    It would be shameful!
    "You always do this to me Masterson!  I'll do it for the couple’s sake—but I'm just as busy as you are," said Father Herman angrily.
    "Bless you, Father Herman.  You're much better at these things than I am anyway," said Masterson, cutting the video feed abruptly.
    Not even a thank you!
    Father Herman turned back toward the window, and he began to feel anxious about the impending consultation.  He was normally self-conscious in social situations.  And he knew that this feeling would be magnified by the stress of the consultation.  He felt himself beginning to perspire.
    He soon received a message that the couple had arrived on time.  He instructed reception to keep them waiting in the lobby for ten minutes and then send them up.  He hoped that the couple would pass the time by perusing the information kiosk on the history of Father Matthias IV, founder of the Gene Priests, and Father Herman’s personal hero.  He liked his appointments to be properly grounded in Gene Priest history before they reached him.
    In order to pass a few moments, he played an audio clip of the great man's speech, which had been delivered just prior to the passage of the laws that had sanctioned the supremacy of the Gene Priests.
    "Mankind needs a framework for the extension of life through bio-engineering.  This legislation provides that framework.  Our very survival as a species hangs in the balance.  Every man and woman on this great Earth must have the courage to stand up today and demand that this amendment be passed.  And when you stand and raise your voices, you will do so as free-thinking, self-aware, sentient beings that are alive in the truth of the moment, and keenly aware of the pivotal context of that moment."
    Father Herman felt a feeling of calm take the edge off of his anxiety, although a small audio glitch in the recording threatened to disrupt his newfound clarity.
    I'll have to edit that out of the source recording and update the kiosk in the lobby.
    Soon he saw the couple that he was waiting for approaching through the window of an aerial corridor that bridged his building with an adjacent one.  They both wore well-tailored gray suits adorned with fashionably ornate red piping.  These were the kind of clothes that people wore to business meetings, weddings and other formal occasions.  He could tell from this distance that the woman’s eyes were red and puffy.  The man looked composed.
    He met them at the door, and showed them to two luxurious leather chairs that rested in front of his desk.
    As he walked around to his desk chair, he heard the woman sniffle softly.
    I hate this.



I hope you've enjoyed the sneak peeks. We should go live with the e-book in the next couple of days, watch this space for details!