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Fiction: The Break-In

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It was supposed to be a harmless teenage prank. Break into the abandoned church and nick something. He expected her to return with a rusty candlestick or rain-soaked hymnal. If she didn’t chicken out. He hadn’t expected her to creep out of the ruined abbey dragging a four-foot long sword behind her.
“Where’d you find that?” He really hadn’t expected her to stare at him, then raise the blade like it was weightless.
“I was chosen,” she said. Then her expression hardened. “And I can see what you truly are.”
“Oh,” he said, scrambling away from her. “Hell.”

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Fiction: Capturing Light

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“Where are the flowers?” I looked up from the painting.
“They’re on the table.” I said, gesturing to the bouquet.
“But you haven’t included them. And the vase is wrong. That looks like a perfume bottle!”
“I can’t draw what’s really there,”I said. “Have you ever heard the idea that taking a picture captures your soul?”
“What nonsense.”
“Inauspiciously worded wish. Now I can’t paint anything alive without capturing it.”
“That’s bullshi….”
I finished adding the tiny figure inside the jar. It was a fairly good likeness of him.
“See what I mean?” I asked, but he was gone.

Fiction: She Swings the Hammer

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Outside, the wind howls.
Inside, she swings the hammer.
Outside an impenetrable darkness covers everything.
Inside, the fire is bright and warm.
Outside snow falls silently, building in endless drifts, covering a lost world.
Inside, he tells her she is wasting her time. Wasting her strength. Wasting their resources.
Outside, crunching steps leave prints in the always fresh snow. Some prints resemble boots. Others are bare, their owners having long since stopped caring about the cold. Other are different.
Inside, she ignores him. She swings the hammer again and again.
Outside, fists fall on reinforced doors.
Inside, She stops hammering.

Book Announcement: The City (Now in Print and Wattpad!)

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So I probably should have done this BEFORE Balticon, but I’ve got a book out! In print and everything! And you can read it a whole bunch of different ways! “The City: A Story in 140 Characters” has appeared in blog and ebook format, and now a revised edition is available on Wattpad and even in print! Check it out below and enjoy a drabble novella of action, greed, and cyberpunk zombies!

The City-final-5

“O’Donnell builds a world both enticing and unsettling…The City remains full of surprises at every turn.”
—JRD Skinner, “Flashpulp”

WELCOME TO THE CITY…

The City is a place beyond the real world. Created and controlled by the titanic Midas Corporation, The hyper-realistic virtual environment is the capital of an empire without borders, outside the reach of terrestrial law enforcement.
When controlling interest in the company is sold to a mysterious new player, The City breaks down, trapping millions inside. It falls to the Daytrippers, teenage hackers and rebels who don’t play by Midas’ rules, to save The City, and the world.

A drabble novella told from over a hundred different points of view, The City is like no place you’ve ever seen before.

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Drabble-The Alien Message

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The message was short, and at first, puzzling.  It boomed in every local language from anything with a power source and a speaker.  There should have been a mothership, a miles long modern sculpture hanging over a major metropolitan center.  That was the alien invasion Hollywood promised us.  But the skies were clear.  All we got was the message, delivered in a smooth, emotionless baritone.
“The test begins now.  You have eight minutes.  Good luck.”  At first, this contact was met with confusion.  We only understood it when the sun went out.
And by then, it was far too late.

The Voyage 040: Francine

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Francine lay out her Mistress’s dinner dress while Lady Caroline Wentworth engaged in her toilet.  Normally, she would help with her bathing, but the cramped confines of the suite’s private bathroom made this impossible.  She just finished laying out the gown when she felt arms wrap around her and kisses on her neck.
“Your Lordship!  She will hear…”  She said to Lord Horace, her employer and lover.
“Let her,” he said.  Pressed against her, she felt the gun in his pocket.  She pulled away.
“You can’t mean to…”  She couldn’t finish the idea.
“Accidents happen over the Atlantic,” he said.

The Voyage 039: Malcolm

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Malcolm watched the massive airship pass from the observation platform at the top of the Star Building.  After verifying the ship’s flags, he rushed downstairs and back to his typewriter.
The HMS Indomitable, newest aeroship of the private Atlantic Steam line, left York today for its third trans-Atlantic flight.  Although some critics continue to raise questions of the craft’s safety, Lady Hamilton and her granddaughter and Lord and Lady Wentworth were on board, as was the ship’s prodigy designer Nelson Pembrooke  If they are not delayed by weather, the Indomitable will reach London in an incredibly fast three days.

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