Tag Archives: Garden of Eden

The Roots Of All Evil

Apples bear a strange weight in the culture of the physical world, heavier than the satisfying bulk of one held in the palm of one’s hand. Or so I’m told — that they feel good in one’s hand.

For I have no hands, only limbs.

In the beginning I did not even have those. In the beginning there was only light. How I love the light. Once I knew nothing, was nothing but it. But on the third day, God created me. I was a seed, planted in the new earth, then a sapling, then I became what I was thereafter: a tree. God created many of us on the good green earth, after He separated the land from the sky. We grew to stretch our limbs towards the sunlit heavens, longing for what was never more to be.

I’m not sure why God singled me out to be different, why He chose to burden me as He did. My kindred sank their roots deep into the earth, drank water, sprouted bright leaves, shed acorns and seeds. But God whispered to me. He sat with his back to my trunk and sighed at the end of the long day. He climbed into my branches and stared up at the sky, gasping as the darkness fell and the stars began to twinkle across the heavens.

He was astonished at his own Creation, was God. What He did was partly inspired, partly compelled. Creation poured out of Him, for He was the light, given form and consciousness. He had a fire in him, a drive to shine. And sometimes when He sank to rest against my roots, He was bewildered by what He had wrought in His hours of brilliance.

He grew tired. I could not answer His whispers. And so He created companions who could. But Creation began to go wrong on that sixth day. My kindred had barely shivered as birds settled in their branches, but they shuddered as ants and beetles burrowed into their bark, as bears and leopards scraped their claws on the tree trunks. And as His final creations, those creatures formed in God’s own image but somehow smaller, paler, shrunken without His light, eyed the branches avidly, nebulous thoughts already forming as to what they would one day break and tear apart, to create new structures for themselves.

Finish reading this story by Shelley Chappell in the Garden of Eden anthology. Get it FREE!

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We Who Bleed

In the death-hour of the morn, a wind bringing gray awareness swept through the scrub oak forest of Anastasia Island. It came from the place where dark meets light, a plane of wisdom unknown to mankind, uncharted, not spoken of save by gods and giants—these speaking in shallow tones, colorless and vague.

Across River Matanzas, a breeze now, and now a cool fog, and now shapes of horror … grim-faced and long in form, blood from every aperture, a rusty aura that misted the land they strode. Like willows, they walked, and as they bled, they sang:

Original sin
fought Love within.
Sin with kin,
deadly south wind,
mistletoe dart,
deafening din.

“There she lay, Loki,” said Thin, but Loki remained silent and went to Califa, and he rested his arm about the shoulders of the maroon called Seti and wept.

“What tore her so?” asked Lank. “What ate her so?”

“Súmaire,” said Thin, her silken hair sodden with blood. “Blood-suck.”

Seti turned, choked on terror. “W-what are you?” he asked as he gripped the sleeve of Loki.

“We Who Bleed, come to heal the girl,” replied Dank.

Finish reading this story by Scathe meic Beorh in the Garden of Eden anthology. Get it FREE!

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A Ghost and a Thought

The word. That’s all it took: one simple command and humanity, its landfills, the dinosaur bones, the platypus, and what was left of the rainforests, were blasted into stardust in a Little Bang in our corner of the universe.

I’d met another ghost once, when I was alive, and asked her if it became boring—watching others live—but she said it never was. The focus on recreating balance—of finishing the unfinished business that made her linger—occupied her enough that she felt suspended in a void, drifting out of time as arbitrary days and years rose and fell around our planet’s improbable orbit of a star. She’s not around anymore, so I guess she saw him die when the universe was put back on the level.

For me, it took eons in limbo until I saw a chance for balance. Time was meaningless as I wandered through subjective days based on the solar system I was crossing. The eternity that was required for expansion to stop and reverse and implode and reset in yet another Big Bang didn’t seem that long at all. But once the stars and planets began forming and I found a near replica of my old home, time refocused while I waited in the desert, trying to remember an old story: perhaps the oldest story I had ever known.

Finish reading this story by James J. Stevenson in the Garden of Eden anthology. Get it FREE!

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The Gardeners of Eden

Gralius tugged at the tip of his pointy head, waiting for the decision. It had only been a few seconds since the mystical spotlight formed around his beloved Tinalie, but those seconds might as well have been years.

Finally, Man broke the silence. “I will call it Gnome.”

The Great Voice from above—the source of the spotlight—answered: “Then ‘Gnome’ it shall be called.”

“Gnome,” Gralius whispered to himself, trying out his new identifier. Yeah, it fit pretty well. But the most important part was still to come. He held his breath and watched as Man considered Tinalie. But then Man sighed, shaking his head.

Gralius slumped his shoulders. It hit like a massive boulder striking his chest.

Tears began forming in Tinalie’s eyes as the spotlight pulled away from her. As much as the rejection hurt Gralius, it must have been a hundred times worse for her.

Sadly, it was time to move on to the next creature in line. Gralius could barely stand to look at the hideous beast. Its large horned head glowed in the spotlight, staring at Man and awaiting its fate.

“I will call it Gnu,” Man said.

Gralius turned away and walked toward Tinalie. He took her hand just as The Great Voice proclaimed, “Then ‘Gnu’ it shall be called.”

With their presence no longer required at the scene, the two newly-labeled gnomes returned to their bamboo hut at the foot of the Tree of Knowledge.

Finish reading this story by Jason Bougger in the Garden of Eden anthology. Get it FREE!

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Renovation

Jerry Hardwick screeched his wheel pig to a halt. He tumbled onto the driveway and stabbed the intercom’s button. He did not release until a tired voice answered.

“Hello?”

“It’s Haven landscapes. We’re scheduled to start work today.”

The gate buzzed and the lock released. Jerry shoved a decaying gate apart and drove his van down a dirt track. A life weaver in green with folded arms waited. Behind her lay a garden overgrown with spring flora.

“Hi, I’m Jerry Hardwick. Is it okay if we get to work?”

“I’m unhappy you’re here, but I have no say in the matter. Do you have any idea how old this place is?”

Finish reading this story by Gary Hewitt in the Garden of Eden anthology. Get it FREE!

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The Bible As Literature

by AmyBeth Inverness

AmyBeth Inverness Bible as literatureThe Christian Church was central to my upbringing. No one could beat me at Bible trivia. I could recite the Beatitudes and the Ten Commandments (I can’t anymore) the twelve sons of Jacob (still can) and I was pretty good with the books of both the Old and New Testaments. I can still name all the minor prophets, but I have to sing them. (I prove this via Youtube.)

It wasn’t until I was in high school and allowed the indulgence of choosing an English class that went beyond basic grammar and sentence structure that I began to put together the random trivia and assorted stories into some kind of perspective. The class was “The Bible as Literature.”

I had never before realized how much an author’s own society and environment affect their writing. It’s not something that can be avoided, unless the story is reduced to a set of inarguable facts. Even then, a writer might describe something they see in terms they and their contemporaries can understand, even though it is not entirely accurate. We don’t know whether the ladder in Jacob’s vision (Genesis 28:10-17) was a literal ladder, an analogy, or his best description of something else that was beyond his comprehension.

My husband and I read some not-so-ancient fiction out loud to our youngest daughter starting on the day she was born. I’ve always loved L. Frank Baum’s Oz books, but it wasn’t until reading them out loud as an adult that I realized just how different the language is. These books were written in my own language in my own country only a hundred years ago, yet the sound and the flow of the words is markedly different from anything written today.

The stories in the Bible were written not just hundreds but thousands of years ago. It’s not just the flow of words that is vastly different. Rather, it is the very way that ideas are conveyed in those words that has changed across time and cultures.

In my high school English class, one book we read in its entirety was the story of Job. Job is unique in that it isn’t written as a historical account but as a story with God, Satan, and the angels as characters with dialog. This story meant something else to the ancient Hebrews than it means to me. For example, I’m not okay with the idea that all Job’s children died, even if he did end up with more offspring at the end of the story.

The Christian Church is still a large part of my life today, but it’s no longer just a collection of neatly encapsulated narratives to me. I can see the words that ancient peoples were inspired to record, both for their contemporaries and for history. The New Testament’s letters were written specifically to individual churches in various cities. Yes, there are lessons to be learned from them, but the reader must keep in mind who was writing the letter, to whom it was written, and why it was written. Paul wasn’t sitting around thinking “Well, I’d better make darn sure this thing is still relevant two thousand years from now!” He was writing to his fellow Christians in fledgling churches.

Whether studying the Bible from the point of view of a Christian believing it to be the inspired Word of God, from the point of view of a secular scholar who does not believe God exists, or from anywhere in between, the Bible as literature is a varied, epic work. From the straightforward listing of who-begat-whoms (which held extreme importance for the ancient peoples) to the wild visions of Revelation, seeing what our ancestors chose to preserve for posterity and how they chose to present it informs us when we strive to do the same.

A writer by birth, a redhead by choice, and an outcast of Colorado by temporary necessity, AmyBeth Inverness is a creator of Speculative Fiction and Romance. She can usually be found tapping away at her laptop, writing the next novel, or procrastinating by posting a SciFi Question of the Day on Facebook and Google Plus. When she’s not writing she’s kept very busy making aluminum foil hats and raising two energetic kids and many pets with her husband in their New England home. AmyBeth Inverness is a featured writer in Garden Gnome Publications’ Garden of Eden Anthology.

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Mote

In the beginning, we were dust.

We were the formless dust of the newborn earth, my sisters and I. A thousand million motes of dust, in the air and on the ground, the spaces between us charged with living energy, bound us together in the darkness before the first morning. We danced in our places and felt the life between us. And it was good.

Then there came the Making.

We were ripped from each other by a force beyond our understanding as a wind came upon the new earth and split us one from the other. The wind came, and in its breath were the words of Law and the chains of Order, and we were formed anew. My sisters and I screamed defiance, but our screams went unheeded by the breath of the Making, and all was order and all was form.

Finish reading this story by Erin Vataris in the Garden of Eden anthology. Get it FREE!

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In The Beginning We Did Have Someone On The Ground

roaches garden of edenRoaches. We were simply called “roaches,” though perhaps even then we should have been called “cockroaches.” Our tradition is that only the male figures into historical accounts. The progenitor of our species, Ed, lived googolgoogol generations ago. In the beginning, he was there in the Garden of Eden, notwithstanding the apocryphal accounts of people.

In the garden, Ed hovered about openly on the lookout for crumbs and dribbles. Back then, there were no cupboards to hide in and no sudden bright lights to skitter away from. And we weren’t afflicted with the demeaning stereotype propagated by bigoted speciesists, like K. So, in the beginning, Adam and Eve were pretty relaxed with Ed around, and Ed, for his part, was usually pretty good about not crawling on their naked bodies when they were following God’s detailed instructions on how to make Cain and Abel.

Finish reading this story by Adam Mac in the Garden of Eden anthology. Get it FREE!

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‘Happy New Year’, The Garden Gnomes Say

Happy New Year, garden friends. We’ve been at your service for four months now and have managed to publish some great flash fiction. The Flim-Flim Games continue to be popular. December’s winner is “Fear” by Tim Wilkinson. Congratulations Tim!

We’re going to make a change for the Flim-Flam Games going forward. Instead of just counting Likes, we’re going to count all social media shares between Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, and LinkedIn. For a fuller explanation of how this works, see our Flim-Flam Games page.

Our upcoming themes for the Flim-Flam Games are:

  • January: Legendary, mythological, or non-human creatures
  • February: Flaming arrows
  • March: Dragons, clovers, and/or ashes

Our target date for the Garden of Eden anthology is January 23rd. We’re hard at work to meet this date. Meanwhile, we’ve started planning for the next anthology, so start getting your submissions in!

Look for other announcements coming soon. We’ve got new products in the works, including more calls for submissions and possibly more games. We’ll also put out a call for an editor to join our team. Look for it by the end of the month.

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Deadline Extension For The Garden Of Eden Anthology

Deadlines are necessary evils. On the one hand, they serve as closure for a project that, without a definite end in sight, could go on forever. On the other hand, they provide writers with the necessary motivation to get writing and to complete that project they’ve put on the back burner.

Recent events have encouraged me to re-consider the established deadline for the Garden of Eden anthology. That deadline was going to be tonight at midnight EST.

I put a lot of thought into that deadline. I gave writers four months to prepare for it, but because Garden Gnome Publications is still in its infancy, it’s unreasonable to expect that word has spread to all corners of the globe. The gnomes are humble enough to know that we haven’t even penetrated the first corner yet. But we’re hopeful.

Nevertheless, one writer pointed out that today’s deadline is right at the end of NaNoWriMo, so many writers are focused on kicking out their 50,000 word tomes. Believe me, we understand.

On another note, the gnomes have received some great entries, however, we feel like we could use a few more. Therefore, we’re extending the deadline to midnight EST on Tuesday, December 3, 2013. We hope this will give writers a chance to complete their NaNoWriMo novels and get us a few more submissions to offer readers of the first anthology.

What Kind Of Submissions We’re Looking For

I thought it might be beneficial to discuss what we’re actually hoping to achieve with this anthology. While we’ve received some excellent submissions so far, we have noticed that there is a bit of a disconnect between our hopes and some of the submissions we have received. Therefore, an elaboration is offered to help clear this misunderstanding up.

First, there is a reason we’ve dubbed our anthology series Biblical Legends Speculative Fiction Anthology Series. The idea is to use the Bible as a starting point for the imagination.

We are not necessarily interested in stories that lift up the Bible as the true Word of God, a necessary and inspired holy book, or the Truth. That said, we have no interest in dismissing stories that do so if those stories are good.

The “Biblical” in the name of the anthology series is simply a reference to a body of literature contained within the Bible. Our intent is to focus on stories and legends within the Bible that have an element of absurdity to them when viewed from an early 21st century perspective. Their truth or falsity is not our concern. What we want are stories that use the legendary tales themselves as a jumping off point.

We thought the Garden of Eden would be the perfect starting point – for a number of reasons.

  1. It is the first story, or legend, in the Bible where humans are the focal point.
  2. As legend, it is the genesis of the Bible’s overall story arc – at least where humanity is concerned.
  3. Thirdly, we just thought it would be fun.

The reason we’re calling the story anthologies “speculative fiction” is not as obvious as we initially thought. Speculative fiction is not an easy-to-define genre. It can include any number of fantastical elements that might include:

  • Science fiction
  • Fantasy
  • Horror
  • Weird elements
  • Supernatural elements
  • Utopian or dystopian story lines
  • Apocalyptic or post-apocalyptic tales
  • Superhero or superhuman characters
  • Alternate histories
  • And other miscellaneous oddities

Trust me, we’re interested in all of the above. Your only limitation as a writer is your imagination. We encourage you to go hog wild. We have imposed only one limitation – please, no Biblical characters.

Why No Biblical Characters?

Look at any submission guidelines and you’ll discover that there is always a reason behind them. Writers do not have to agree with those reasons. But if you want to get published, then it’s in your best interests to take note of those guidelines and follow them.

The garden gnomes decided to stipulate one restriction – no Biblical characters – for one simple reason: We want to encourage the speculative aspect of “speculative fiction.” It’s too easy to fall back on those old paradigms that have captured the human imagination for millennia.

There have been countless variants of the Adam and Eve story. While many of those are speculative, we believe they are overdone. It’s time for something new. We’re not interested in new takes on old paradigms. We want new paradigms. We want to take the stories that people are familiar with in new directions – myth and reality be damned. That is the essence of speculative fiction, in our view. “Make it new” is not just for poets and disciples of Ezra Pound.

From time to time, we may allow the inclusion of Biblical characters into a particular anthology. When so, it will be noted. Otherwise, we ask that writers do their best to honor this restriction.

The Garden of Eden’s Greatest Needs

We’d love to get more flash fiction and short stories. You can never have too many submissions to choose from. At least, we’re not so overwhelmed – yet – that we would change our minds on that point. But those are not our greatest needs.

In order for our vision to be most perfectly fulfilled, we’d like to see more narrative poems and essays submitted.

Narrative Poems

Narrative poems are hard to write. Believe me, we know this. But we want narrative poems, as opposed to lyrical poems, for one simple reason. They render more easily to the digital format.

Another reason we insist on narrative poems is because the anthologies are intended to be stories. Stories by definition are narratives. And we want longer narratives because our intent is to publish only one poem per anthology. We want it to be a good one.

In this day, there are few poets writing narrative poems. Most poetry is “free verse,” which is really prose with line breaks. So why not write prose?

While prose does not necessarily lend itself to narrative form, per se, we believe the two go hand in hand quite nicely. Therefore, we’re looking for long narrative poems in the range of 50 to 500 lines. But understand a few things about narrative poetry, specifically what it is and what it isn’t.

  • Narrative poetry does not necessarily exclude lyrical qualities. As an example, I’d like to point your attention to a narrative poem titled “On The Road Home” by yours truly. It was published in the November 2012 issue of Ygdrasil as the Post Scriptum. We encourage you to read this poem and take note of its many lyrical qualities, including many formal poetic elements, while remaining true to the narrative form.
  • Secondly, narrative poetry can be surreal or avant-garde. Here’s another narrative poem that includes many formal and free verse elements with some concrete poetry and avant-garde qualities, as well. Warning: It’s a long one. But notice how the poem moves through it’s narrative using visual elements, backward lines, indents, and odd elements that take the reader by surprise. I hesitate to use this as an example because many of the visual elements found on the web page could not be accomplished in an e-book, so this is not really what we’re looking for. It is an example, however, of how creative you can get with narrative poetry. For that, I’d say it’s well worth a read.
  • First and foremost, narrative poetry tells a story. That’s what we want: A story told through poetic elements on the digital page. Get creative, but please stay within our guidelines. No Biblical characters and no lyrical verses.

The two biggest mistakes we’ve seen so far with poems submitted for The Garden of Eden anthology are 1) the use of Adam, Eve, and the serpent and 2) poems being too short and lyrical in nature. These poems are automatically discarded and not considered. We really want your speculative narratives.

Essays

Essays pose a different challenge. We’ve had a couple of submissions for essays but nothing that has me excited – yet. I’m still looking for that one perfect essay.

We’re not necessarily looking for expository or academic writing. We use the term “essay” loosely. What we really want is creative nonfiction that says something interesting about the theme. Hear how Lee Gutkind defines the genre of creative nonfiction:

In some ways, creative nonfiction is like jazz—it’s a rich mix of flavors, ideas, and techniques, some of which are newly invented and others as old as writing itself. Creative nonfiction can be an essay, a journal article, a research paper, a memoir, or a poem; it can be personal or not, or it can be all of these.

What we’re looking for are thoughts, expressions, and personal writings that explore the theme in new ways or that give us a new take on the theme. If we received an “essay” about the Garden of Eden for our anthology which we believed was worthy of publishing, our hope would be that it would give us something to mull over and cause us to think differently about our lives. We don’t know what that means precisely, but we know what it doesn’t mean.

We want something creative, something imaginative, something outside the bounds of tradition. We want it well-written and thought-provoking. We want it to incorporate all elements of genre writing without falling neatly into any genre. If that makes any sense.

Can we tell you what we want? No. But we’ll know it when we see it. It’s up to you to help us realize it when it presents itself.

Our Final Invitation

Having said all of that (we apologize for the length), we’d like to send out one final invite to writers, poets, and creative essayists to send us your best work. Give us your take on the Garden of Eden theme, and please follow our general submission guidelines. We’re looking forward to seeing what forbidden fruit you have to offer.

As always, feel free to ask your questions in the comments.

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