Tag Archives: Sulfurings

Deluged: It’s Been a Rough Year for the Garden Gnomes

BLAS deluge e-bookHello, people of the gardens. It’s our pleasure to announce that the long-awaited third book in the Biblical Legends Anthology Series, Deluge: Stories of Survival & Tragedy in the Great Flood, has finally been released. It is now available in the following versions and at these fine book stores in cyberspace:

Soon to be published in print, so be on your toes!

Why It Took So Damn Long to Let the Flood Waters Go

There is always a price to pay for any delay, and there certainly is no exception with the case of Deluge: Stories of Survival & Tragedy in the Great Flood. But it has had its rewards, as well. For starters, we had many more submissions from writers who were not published in previous BLAS anthologies, which made the selection process somewhat tedious. In the end, we had to make some very hard decisions. But they had nothing to do with the production timeline.

This was a difficult year for editing for two reasons:

  1. Life got in the way
  2. and we honestly had trouble finding suitable submissions

That last point may sound harsher than we intend, but we’ll explain ourselves in just a bit. First, we want to cover the first point before moving on.

All writers know that sometimes life can toss us a horseshoe and blacken the eye. Two things happened this year that became somewhat of a distraction. The first of those actually happened two years ago, but my wife and I are still involved in a legal matter in family court. My mother-in-law decided (and this was two years ago) to seek custody of her great-grandchildren (my grandchildren), but she couldn’t do so under Pennsylvania law without my wife’s help. Without going into detail, suffice it to say that my wife and I met the legal standing requirements and my mother-in-law did not. We came out with joint physical custody.

Due to the children being in school, we arranged for my wife and I to have the children every other weekend and on certain holidays. My mother-in-law would have them the rest of the time. But, and this is where the needle pricks the skin, my mother-in-law somehow believes that there is justification for limiting our time with our grandchildren even more than we already have and has spent much of the last two years trying to do just that. So we’ve spent a good deal of time in court or arguing over petty differences. It’s been a huge distraction and her designs have gotten her nowhere.

On top of that, earlier this year (early summer, I’d say), 10 years of staring at a computer screen all day for nearly every day of the period finally took its toll and I developed eye strain. That caused me to spend a little less time focused on my laptop screen. Sorry, but Garden Gnome Publications readers and authors had to suffer for it.

That happened right about the time I was knee deep in the second round of the submissions process. Regular readers will know that our BLAS anthologies typically have two or three rounds of submissions before we finally go to press. Because I was reading less and I decided to get initial acceptances under a 6-month contract or risk losing them to another publisher (when I signed those contracts, I had not developed eye strain or the contractual period would have been longer), I had to go back to original authors and get new contracts. Some of them pulled their manuscripts. I can’t say that I blamed them.

Then, of course, we had the usual submissions challenges–writers not reading guidelines or submitting work that was well-written but didn’t conform to the flavor of weird spec-fic that we were looking for (for some reason, many authors wanted to write about Noah despite clear guidelines to avoid it).

We’d like to point out that these types of submission challenges occur for only one reason: Writers aren’t familiar with our products. There can be no explanation. And that’s why we encourage writers to buy a copy (or steal one if you have to) of previous anthologies to see what we’ve accepted in the past. Surely, you can spring 99 cents for Garden of Eden and $2.99 for Sulfurings: Tales From Sodom & Gomorrah? Both of these anthologies are available at all the same previously mentioned book stores. For those interested, here are the links:

Garden of Eden

Garden of Eden anthology

Sulfurings: Tales From Sodom & Gomorrah

BLAS anthology sulfurings

We hope you’ll check out all three anthologies and leave us a review wherever you decide to purchase them.

A Note on the Future of BLAS

Garden Gnome Publications still has plans for future anthologies, so don’t give up on us. We’re still trying to work out the best and most efficient submissions process, but this is a part-time endeavor for us, so we’re asking for your patience. Nevertheless, you can expect the following announcements in the near future:

  1. New publishing schedule for Land of Nod and Resurrection anthologies, including a new call for submissions
  2. Over the months, we’ve collected quite a few flash fiction submissions, Mythicals, and submissions for Local Legends. Apologies to writers waiting for acceptances. We are going to start reading through these and publishing on the Flim-Flam Bush again.
  3. We also have plans to publish each of the BLAS anthologies in print. Deluge will be the first available in that format. We are in the process of making this happen now. Garden of Eden and Sulfurings will follow in the near future.

We also plan to revamp the website soon. We’re not real sure what happened to our theme, but something got out of whack and we had no recourse but to revert to a temporary solution. Look for that to change at some point.

On behalf of Fenrir and all the other garden gnomes, I’d like to say thanks for reading, and enjoy the Biblical Legends Anthology Series.

Allen Taylor
Editor & Publisher

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Happy Holiday: E-book Specials For The Uninitiated

Garden of Eden AnthologyFrom time to time, the garden gnomes like to be nice to people. This holiday season we’ve chosen to be nice to you. See how cool we are?

In honor of our grand patriarch Fenrir, God bless his soul, we’ve asked the e-book stores to discount the prices on all our e-books (well, most of them anyway). He he!

From now until Christmas, you can get the following titles at the following prices:

  • Garden of Eden Anthology – FREE!
  • Sulfurings: Tales From Sodom & Gomorrah – 99 cents
  • A Twitterific Year – 99 cents
  • Rumsfeld’s Sandbox – $2.99 (Kindle store only)

All of our other titles are marked at 99 cents or free. These books are available in the following e-book stores:

There are no affiliate links in this post. We’d be happy if you just bought our books or spread the word. Tell your friends about these great deals!

UPDATE: As of this writing, Amazon still has not reduced the price of Garden of Eden to Free. I’d appreciate you going to the sales page for that book and clicking the “tell us about a lower price” link. Let them know the book is offered for free at each of the other book distributors mentioned. Meanwhile, if you own a Kindle and want a Kindle version of the book to read on your device, you can download a Kindle-friendly version of the book at Smashwords.

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In The Shallows

by John Vicary

"in the shallows" by John VicaryThere is a sea in faraway Israel where nothing grows. It is called the Dead Sea, although it was not always known as such. In ancient times, it was invoked in many tongues, but most often it was named Yām ha-Mizrahî: the Eastern Sea.

A man may lie in the less famous shallows of the sister of the Sea of Galilee and rise to the top without effort, buoyed to the surface by science or faith. He need only to gaze upon its barren shores to delineate the foothills of history, when other men may have tried to float in the same sea and failed the test. How much does man trust in his knowledge and how much does he heed the pull of those stories from his youth? The joy drains from that swim like water from a cracked vessel, and he wonders if he had lived at that time in this land of Canaan if he would have escaped the brimstone fate that awaited so many others. His gaze traces the horizon and a twinge gnaws his gut. The sheltering arms of the waves remind him of a different embrace in years already spent.

Two angels had descended from heaven to give warning to the righteous, his mother had told him long ago. He could still hear her voice as she told him her favorite biblical tale.

“Disguised as two men, the angels tried to pass Lot’s house on their way to Sodom, but he insisted they break bread with him,” Mama said. “In those times, it was a solemn duty to give hospitality to those in need.”

“I’d recognize them, Mama,” he said. He imagined the men with a certain golden glow or perhaps an errant feather peeking from under their cloaks. “I’m special.”

“Of course you are, sweetie,” she answered, pulling the blanket up to his chest as she readied him for bed. “But there’s no way to know by looking. That’s why it’s always important to be kind, especially to strangers. Maybe you’ll be talking to an angel all along.”

Finish reading the rest of this poem in Sulfurings: Tales from Sodom & Gomorrah, or download the book at:

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Sodom

by Meg Eden

warmth by Kris VargaWhen the sky grew dark
and yellow, someone laughed:
It’s the end of the world!

Well, fuck! I said
and let in
my next customer.

Men and women
knock down my doors
to have sex with me,

I charge them now
to avoid
an affront to my body.

Finish reading the rest of this poem in Sulfurings: Tales from Sodom & Gomorrah, or download the book at:

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The Scent of Sin and Punishment

by J.P. Cianci

warmth by Kris VargaI drink deeply from my half-filled chalice, admiring the way the indelibly perfect, golden idol of Molech reflects the sunlight. I raise my goblet to Molech, my jewel-encrusted cup catching the brilliant rays of the sun, then I take another insatiable drink. I turn around to refill my cup when gentle fingertips run up and down my back.

“Adaron, how would you like to receive Molech’s blessing?” Sahar whispers seductively.

I smile, reveling in her touch, and close my eyes. I imagine all the delicious ways in which her body could satisfy the pressing fleshly urges her contact has aroused. “I would love to receive Molech’s blessing, but I cannot afford such a sanction,” I say, opening my eyes. I cup the temple prostitute’s breast and forcefully bring her in for a kiss.

She smacks me, but I laugh and grab her wrist.

“Come now, Sahar. I worship in here every day. I’m entirely devoted. Are you sure Molech wouldn’t want to bless a follower such as myself?”

“If you need money to afford his blessing, I know someone who would pay handsomely for the company of your daughter,” Sahar suggests.

I smack her quick and hard across the face, holding a finger to her—warning her—but I say nothing.

She slinks off to find another, no doubt richer, follower to seduce.

Incense wafts from silver plates beneath the idol and I try to forget Sahar and her remarks. I don’t need to pay to satisfy my desires. Many women, and even men, are happily drawn in by my sexual prowess.

I walk drunkenly back to the idol that is gloriously exposed to the sun by the open rooftop of the temple and fall to my knees in prayer. I slur my pleas and wishes for a few moments before my head bobs heavily from the wine. After an hour, I close my eyes to rest at the foot of Molech, basking in the afternoon sun.

“It’s too early to be this dark,” someone remarks a few minutes later.

“Quiet!” I bark. My eyes are still closed, but I do notice the almost imperceptible shift in light behind my eyelids. “It’s merely clouds passing in the sky.”

“What is that? A sandstorm?” someone else asks. The presence of a crowd gathering around me causes me to finally open my eyes.

“Gawk outside! Do not waste Molech’s temple for slack-jawed gaping!” I yell, but no one listens. I raise my head to the sky, which is shrouded in darkness. Plumes of smoke billow downward in waves, obscuring the sun.

“Sandstorms don’t move like that,” I say, shifting uneasily. People murmur excitedly all around me.

“It’s all right! I see light!”

“Yes! I see it too! It looks like the sun is coming toward us!”

“That’s not light, that’s fire! Run!”

“No! This is a sacred temple. We are safe here,” I assure them, but people take off to the streets. I kneel a few feet back from Molech and begin fervently praying. As the smoke surges closer, I cover my mouth and nose in disgust, but only for a moment. A ball of fire collides directly with my sacred idol. A stream of melted gold sprays in my direction, blinding me in one eye and cooling rapidly to my skin so that it’s encased in a painful, golden mask.

I moan in agony, turning to flee. “Oh Molech, Oh Molech. Why? Why?” I’m almost to the entrance of the temple when it collapses on top of me.

Finish reading the rest of this story in Sulfurings: Tales from Sodom & Gomorrah, or download the book at:

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Zachariah

by Melchior Zimmermann

warmth by Kris VargaZachariah ran up the hill, his feet flying over the yellow brimstone. Here and there, billows of smoke escaped from between the smoldering rocks. From time to time, he could glimpse a piece of charred limestone, remnants of a house or palace.

Zachariah’s father had told him that before the great destruction there had been a mighty city in this place. His ancestors had lived here, prospering through their prowess in trade and craftsmanship. But five years ago, when Zachariah had only been two years old, the hill tribes had declared war on them. They had beseeched their powerful god to help them in their battle, and he had rained fire and brimstone upon the mighty city of Gomorrah. Unable to ward off the wrath of the heathen god, his ancestors had fled the city. Few of them had made it alive.

As they were roaming through the plains in search of a new home, the hill tribes had descended upon them, killing man, woman, and child and slicing the throats of their livestock. Only a few dozen managed to escape this second onslaught. Alone, left with nowhere to go, his family decided to head back to Gomorrah to rebuild their home.

Finish reading the rest of this story in Sulfurings: Tales from Sodom & Gomorrah, or download the book at:

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Thick Air

by Terry Alexander

warmth by Kris VargaThe thick sulfur dust hung in the air like a hot mist. The slave master moaned at my feet. A flaming yellow ball struck his leg and reduced it to ash. I slipped the rope from my neck as he screamed in agony.

“James, help me. Save me and win your freedom.” Pain etched deep lines across his face. “Save me.”

My shaking hands closed on his robes and tore a long strip of cloth free. I tied it across my face to filter the thick air. His weak hands pawed at my legs. Blinking away the tears, I stared down at the man who had tormented me for nearly a year.

“Please, James, save me.” His face blistered from the hot powder falling from the sky. “Save me.” His hands fastened on the hem of my slave tunic. He was trying to pull me down.

I kicked him in the face. The blisters popped, draining a thick clear liquid. The sole on my sandal tore through his cheek. Blood gushed from the split flesh as panic gripped my heart. I gazed around, looking for the authorities. Rebellious slaves are dealt with quickly, savagely, by dismemberment and death.

Finish reading the rest of this story in Sulfurings: Tales from Sodom & Gomorrah, or download the book at:

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Warmth

by Kris Varga

warmth by Kris VargaCold. The word shutters over the mind. Cold is the cobbled streets in the brink of winter, resonating with the season appropriately. Cold is the city under a dainty snowfall while fleeting teal sparks reach for the heavens. Cold is the sound of vacancy among Gomorrah, whose electricity has been discontinued via an electromagnetic pulse. Cold is the soul at the brink of survival.

Patrick was cold.

“The Day of Shock,” Patrick creatively coined it, left him immobile and incapable of returning to an energy pod to restore his battery. He computed a light chuckle in his thoughts, one that was innocent enough to maintain the positive attitude he was designed to omit. His bio-constructed flesh tingled as his eyes transfixed on snowy open vastness. Patrick had traveled this path many times, but this time he gained a new perspective, catching a glimpse of himself as if a stranger. He computed a silent sigh.

“Soon enough,” he speculated, “Evelyn will return.”

Evelyn always returned.

#

Four days, two hours, thirty-six minutes and fifty-seven seconds ago, Patrick and Evelyn had passed through the quieter outlets of the city’s boundaries: the grasslands, as they were referred to by the people of Gomorrah. Their weekly destination, however routine, pleased Patrick.

Beyond the bubble-shaped buildings and transcendent automobiles, emitting violent screeches to convey each individual’s animosity towards another, lay the incandescent fields, preserved for the rare produce proprietors who lived a “simpler life.” Twenty-four degrees above the Earth’s meeting with the sky rested the sun, whose lackadaisical clock reminded Patrick of the bells that would ring ever so briefly from Divine Intelligence’s control tower. The grocery bags in Patrick’s hands would only slow down their travels.

“Patrick, slow down! I wanna enjoy the sunset.”

“My dear, we must hurry—for time, you see, is dwindling. It is almost of the eve.”

“Sing me the Clair de Lune.” Her eyes smiled their childish embellishment. “Pretty please?”

Patrick halted and glanced cheerfully at the heart of the city, then at the enticing sun, then at Evelyn’s purity. Against all odds, Evelyn’s smile won out, and she placed her knapsack on the ground and rested cross-legged in the open field as Patrick hummed the tune to his best ability. Even though this was not a part of his programming, Evelyn seemed to enjoy the flawed sound he produced. “Human-like”, she would call it.

Finish reading the rest of this story in Sulfurings: Tales from Sodom & Gomorrah, or download the book at:

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Payment

by Gary Hewitt

payment by gary hewittTwo guards approached.

“Why are you here?”

“I have come to see if the stories are true.”

Two lowered rifles met the visitor’s chest.

“What have you heard?”

“The rich prosper and the poor are fucked.”

The elder of the sentries snorted and kept his gun level.

“Are you rich or target practice?”

“Check your records and look for Mr Kitchener.”

He made a call and put his weapon away.

“Go straight to Big Eddie. It’s up the end of the street.”

Finish reading the rest of this story in Sulfurings: Tales from Sodom & Gomorrah, or download the book at:

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The Salt Pit

by JD DeHart

the salt pit by JD DeHartWhen Nephesh moved into the town, he was blown away by the vastness of the metropolis. Compared to the twin cities, his hometown was just a dot in the desert. There was a noticeable scent of brine in the air that never seemed to leave, burning the nostrils.

Perhaps it had addled the brains of the residents. Perhaps that was why they danced late into the night, their tattoos singing and their chains rattling, binding and wrapping each other. Perhaps that was why they had worshiped the beast, resting on its haunches in the middle of the cities, a smile on its face that said, “Welcome, have some fun, do not go away.”

The first night in the twin cities, Nephesh made the company of a bright young girl. Everyone else seemed to be giants bathed in ebony, but she was a light, wisp, paper-thin angel.

“Welcome,” she said to him in her lovely voice.

“What is all the ruckus about?” Nephesh had asked. Now, he knew.

Finish reading the rest of this story in Sulfurings: Tales from Sodom & Gomorrah, or download the book at:

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