It’s here! Head over to Strange Horizons to check out my latest story with incredible, creepy artwork from Sebastian Gomez.
Addie & Ben have been with me for almost a decade now, and this is the first story I’ve ever published with them as characters. I’m thrilled to be in a venue that I love and respect so much, and with a story that is so much about family.
Here’s an excerpt to get you started:
I didn’t tell my brother that we’d been eating our father’s cremains until a few days had passed. I know Ben well enough to know that he needs to be eased into things. In middle school when I wanted to grow talking plants I didn’t start with the Venus flytrap, did I? No. I brought one dandelion into our room to whisper motivational phrases into Ben’s ear while he slept, then I worked my way up from there. By the end of the month our bathroom was one very loud, very opinionated greenhouse, and while Ben wasn’t sure at first, he grew to like the plants. Because Ben is Ben even when he’s frustrated or sleep-deprived, and Ben is good. I was counting on that the whole time.
Lauren Smith of Violin in a Void writes: “The sense of poverty and stagnation is palpable and unnerving without being overwhelming. And that, I think, is also why this story is so good – it’s brutal but delicately so, incredibly thoughtful and nuanced. I hope to see more of Blooms’ work.”
Maria Haskins included “Fallow” in her May Short Fiction Roundup, saying, “This is a breathtakingly good story with so many layers of love, longing, loneliness, desperation.”
Charles Payseur at Quick Sip Reviews says that “Fallow” is “…a haunting and difficult read because so much of it is uncomfortable, but it’s also powerful and raw in a way that feels real and important.”
Lauren Colie of Metaphysical Circus Press writes: “Ashley Blooms goes for the gut, weaving together a young mother with a string of fellows who might be “the one,” a very lonely and confused 10-year-old boy and a hungry fallow field to raise a pained cry for help. Will William break the cycle of bad love? How far will he go to be seen?”
Issue 37 of Shimmer is now live! If you’d like to read my short story “Fallow” you can purchase a digital copy of this issue or subscribe for a whole year of shimmery goodness! It will also be available to read for free on Shimmer’s website on May 2nd.
“Fallow” is this month’s cover story, which means the incredible cover art from Sandro Castelli is based on my story. Lindsay Thomas interviewed me, so you can check out the issue for more on the writing of this story, the influence of geographic isolation on my magical worlds, and how my work has been impacted by slushing for Tor.com.
Here’s an excerpt to get you started:
They find the bottle in the barn. There are a lot of things there, whole piles of things: tractor-part things, tire things, cutting things and bolting things, all tired things, slowly fading toward the same color of rusty brown. The inside of the barn smells of stale hay and beer. Misty picks the bottle that is the least broken and William holds it between two fingers and lets the water drain from its open mouth onto the packed-earth floor.
Victoria Silverwolf reviewed issue 104 of On Spec at Tangent Online. She had this to say about “Second Born:”
A young married couple desperate to have a baby uses folk magic to bring a drowned child back to life, intending to raise it as their own. Eventually the woman must decide what to do before her mother-in-law discovers the undead child, and before the couple gives it a normal sibling. The author creates a powerful backwoods fantasy.
Issue 104 of On Spec is finally here, which means “Second Born” is in the world! I drafted the story in 2013 as part of an undergraduate workshop and I’ve been sending it out ever since. It was accepted by On Spec in August 2016.
If you’d like to check out the story and my interview with the lovely Roberta Laurie, then go here to find out how you can subscribe to On Spec, buy individual issues, or, if you’re in Canada, find brick-and-mortar stores where you can purchase the journal!