Sarah has always been on the move. Her mother hates the cold, so every few months her parents pack their bags and drag her off after the sun. She’s grown up lonely and longing for magic. She doesn’t know that it’s magic her parents are running from.
When Sarah’s mother walks out on their family, all the strange old magic they have tried to hide from comes rising into their mundane world. Her father begins to change into something wild and beastly, but before his transformation is complete, he takes Sarah to her grandparents—people she has never met, didn’t even know were still alive.
Deep in the forest, in a crumbling ruin of a castle, Sarah begins to untangle the layers of curses affecting her family bloodlines, until she discovers that the curse has carried over to her, too. The day she falls in love for the first time, Sarah will transform into a beast . . . unless she can figure out a way to break the curse forever.
After seventeen-year-old Felicita’s dearest friend Ilven kills herself to escape an arranged marriage, Felicita chooses freedom over privilege. She fakes her own death and leaves her sheltered life as one of Pelimburg’s magical elite behind. Living in the slums, scrubbing dishes for a living, she falls for charismatic Dash while also becoming fascinated with vampire Jannik. Then something shocking washes up on the beach: Ilven’s death has called out of the sea a dangerous wild magic. Felicita must decide whether her loyalties lie with the family she abandoned . . . or with those who would twist this dark power to destroy Pelimburg’s caste system, and the whole city along with it.
Sometimes playing to lose is the only way to survive the game of Houses.
Trapped in a hasty marriage to lower-caste Jannik and trying to make the best of their exile, Felicita is immersed in the machinations of the powerful ruling families. MallenIve is worlds apart from Felicita’s native Pelimburg, and her family name and standing will not help her here. Haunted by her past and those who died because of her, she attempts to regain her status as the scion of a once-great House, while confronting her true feelings for her distant husband.
If MallenIve’s leaders have their way, Jannik will soon have no more rights than an animal, and a union that once seemed to offer a solution to Felicita’s problems is now a dangerous liability. Felicita’s feelings are conflicted and it is all too easy to fall into the prejudiced mindset of the higher castes…until faceless corpses begin turning up on the rubbish tips, and Felicita might be the only hope Jannik and his people have.
Knowing the future is not about knowing the future. It’s about knowing which path to take.
Ilven comes from a family of Saints—future-tellers—but she knows her father didn’t waste more than a few grains of the precious drug scriv to see her fate. Now she’s facing an arranged marriage to a man she’s never met. So, inhaling stolen scriv, she reads three possible futures for herself, searching for the path that will lead to her heart’s desire.
“Mother, Crone, Maiden” is a short-story prequel to Cat Hellisen’s stunning young-adult fantasy debut, When the Sea Is Rising Red.
Irene Kerry has grown up with the memory of her mother’s suicide, and has been in love with her best friend Rain for as long as she can remember. She thinks she’s dealing with both just fine until the day her best friend falls in love with a much older man. A man who knew her mother, and believes Irene is a magician like her. In order to protect her friend and family, Irene goes on the hunt for an ancient magician who steals and eats magic, and discovers that the things she thought she knew about her mother’s death were all lies.
Your guidebook to the shadows and monsters of modern fairy tales.
In the title story, ‘Checkmate’, a devilish game of chess goes apocalyptically wrong. Elsewhere, ‘Bleed Them Dry’ puts a new spin on the contemporary corporate vampire, an aristocratic corpse tells his side of the story in ‘The Dead Do Listen’, and a little girl is fascinated with an antique that hides a dark world in ‘The Mirror Phase’.
Described as “a wonderful collection of tales of subtle urban fantasy with a delicious gothic flavour”, ‘Checkmate’ wants to comfort you and creep you out at the same time. If you enjoy the dark fairytales of Neil Gaiman, then you’ll love the weird tales of ‘Checkmate’!
Grey O’Donnell is back to normality after the events in Retribution six months before. He and partner Billy Cole are hunting down a fugitive with a large price on his head, and what should have been a routine job takes a turn for the weird when they follow the trail to an abandoned mining encampment. Something unnatural lurks in the trees near Bentley, and when the living dead pay a visit to the town, Grey enlists the help of a Ute medicine man to fight them off. Trouble is, the love of Grey’s life has gone missing, and he’s not about to lose Peggy a second time.
A collection of three interwoven stories surrounding the infamous Dead Man’s Hand of cards. In Part I, Edmund Rothers encounters a gambler with a grudge in nineteenth century Kansas. In Part II, one of his descendants discovers the perils of online gambling in the twenty-first century. In Part III, a legendary gunslinger learns the true extent to his legacy.
The collection also includes the first chapter of the pulp Western novella, The Guns of Retribution, as a sample read.
The search for a murderous outlaw has brought the long roving Grey O’Donnell near to his hometown of Retribution, Arizona. Bounty hunters might not be popular but old fashioned manners, kindness to regular folk and a face for the ladies make Grey an exception when he rides into town. Grey has a job to do, upholding the law when others won’t, like the odious Jasper Roberts who has made himself Sheriff of Retribution and who has a personal score to settle with Grey.
A vaguely steampunk adventure, set in the fictional city of Vertigo. The Resistance is pitted against the shadowy Weimar Corporation that runs the City. Their stalemate is broken by the death of a suspected infiltrator, setting Resistance Commander Liss Hunt and her bewildered companion Philip Wiseman on a journey into the depths of both organisations to discover the truth behind who – or what – is really running the City. Featuring automatons, mad scientists, chases, a gun-toting heroine and even the Living Dead, The First Tale is a short novella that proves people are not always what they seem.
Gothic ghosts and goddesses.
These 15 tales of the weird and wonderful are collected together for the first time, spanning fantasy, horror, sci fi and speculative fiction. Harbingers is a veritable Cabinet of Curiosities for fans of weird tales! If you enjoy the writing of Neil Gaiman or Ray Bradbury, then you might just see the wonder by strolling through these dark shadows.
In the title story, ‘Harbingers’, portentous visitors try to warn a young woman who fails to grasp their importance; a washed-up actress seeks to prolong her pact with a Greek goddess in a hotel bathroom; a porcelain woman awaits the return of her maker on a lonely rooftop; and a Resurrection man rethinks his career choices in Victorian London.
Harbingers also includes the pulp adventure tale, One Woman Cure, and a Grey O’Donnell ghost story, A Christmas Ghost Story in the West. You can also get a complimentary copy at www.icysedgwick.com/harbingers.
The stories in this collection merge technological wonder with the everyday. Children upgrade their fighting spiders with armor, and toymakers create punchcard-driven marionettes. Large fish lumber across the skies, while boat people find a new home on the edge of a different dimension. Technology and tradition meld as the people adapt to the changing forces of their world. The Sea Is Ours is an exciting new anthology that features stories infused with the spirits of Southeast Asia’s diverse peoples, legends, and geography.
INSIGNIA Vol.2 includes 7 Chinese fantasy stories with a mix of urban, literary, contemporary, myth-based, and historical fantasy pieces.
PART I: YOUNG ADULT / ADVENTURE TALES
‘The Bones Shine Through with Light’ by Joyce Chng
‘Looking for Trouble’ by Joyce Chng
‘The Great Qilin’ by Kelly Matsuura
PART II: ADULT / LITERARY TALES
‘The Red String of Fate’ by Holly Kench
‘Maidens of the Yangze’ by Kelly Matsuura
‘Black Smoke and Water Lilies’ by David Jon Fuller
‘The Ghost Bride’ by Kelly Matsuura
Enter a world of fantasy and magic and recipes set in Qing China. What happens when Xiao Xiao, a daughter of an Imperial Courtesan, finds a magical green pearl in the hands of her adoptive little sister? When she meets Ming Zhu, a dragon princess, daughter of the Dragon King, a friendship is formed. But will Princess Ming Zhu ever return back to her watery kingdom?
Li-Fang has a way with nature. So she is sent against her will to train as an Agri-Seer,
though she dreams one day of joining the Rider Corps like her sister Lixi. Partnered with
an arrogant Rider, Daniel Kelso, Lifang must forget the wild Hunter Quetz she met by a
hidden waterfall near her home, and accept who she is.
Until, that is, a wild Quetz is captured. Lifang discovers she can communicate with
the creature, a skill no Rider has ever demonstrated, and must now confront her
destiny all over again. Will going against convention be worth the cost?
When a beak-faced monkey aspirates next to Emily, she realizes that she may be as mad as her Gran’s long-time companion, Mamasita, who is terrified of the African Xhosa tokoloshies.
When she meets Josh, a spiky-haired street kid who know things, she is given clues to the Shimmers, and the parallel world of Aurana. So begins Emily’s journey into worlds unknown. Emily learns that controlling her thoughts is key with the help of the Shimmer, Pugly, an oddity in his clan, and his jiggly-wiggly sidekick Elvis.
But in crossing over, Emily alerts Admonai of the Shadows, shape-shifter, ruler of the beak-faced monkey, and controller of Silenkis (who can access the world of people via his Circles of Influence,) that she has awoken.When Jessica, a newbie, joins them at school, things get more complicated; the beak-faced monkey fails his task, and so Rupert, a sometimes repentant drunkard, disowned father of Jessica and influenced by Silenkis’s Circles of Influence, is called in to assist the Shadows. Someone will die.
Crossing worlds, dealing with teenage angst and issues, questing into the unknown, Emily, her best-friend Sam, her odd Gran and companion Mamasita, along with a cast of others, retain a sense of humour, doing the best they can in a world gone awry.
Emily and the Battle of the Veil, is based in fictional towns in South Africa, cultural influences inviting the reader to explore a different external world, spiritual concepts inviting the reader to touch on internal worlds.
Emily and the Battle of the Veil stand on its own, the 2nd of the series, Emily and the Sprites of Light is published in South Africa and the 3rd in the series, Emily and the Depths of Darkness is currently being written.
This is the story of a woman who believed she was not good enough but came to understand that she was more than she ever thought she could be.
At the age of 10, Karen’s mother is brutally attacked and strangled in Johannesburg, South Africa. At 17, her father is given 6 months to live. Then a strange occurrence catapults her into the life she doesn’t want to live. After crashing her car one drunken night, Karen, at the tender age of 25, attends Alcoholics Anonymous for the first time.
A door opens as she starts questioning what she calls: Life, the Universe and Everything Else. Visits to a psychologist, re-reading her 12 Steps, travelling to her widowed mother and writing her epitaph, she gets her first uninterrupted view of Connectedness on New Year 2000, with a young explorer at her side. When the rats in the roof suddenly get new meaning on a visit to a psychic, and the books she reads tell her something or someone is listening, a new path opens.
Delving into the esoteric, and opening the DSM-IV: Abnormal Psychology manual to check that she’s not schizophrenic, she begins her training as a medium, fearfully negotiating new visions and meanings. Attending a Barbara Anne Brennan course she screams like a banshee, releasing all the rage from her Dad’s death, and then finds herself pregnant. More visions of dead little girls follow, along with a night fighting good and evil, until energy lights up the trees around her.
God creeps closer but it is only on seeing her Dad on the way to her Graduation ceremony that she finally accepts her new calling.
Emily has no choice but to continue helping Aurana towards Balance, after losing her friend in the Battle and having been warned that this was just the Beginning of the End, by Admonai of the Shadows.
Her Shimmers, Pugly and Elvis along with jolly long-nosed Edwina, the bookstore owner, help Emily uncover how she is responsible for the explosive events. As Emily discovers the Powers of the Imagination she is surprised to find friends in old enemies and a warrior at her side, in Gift, a newcomer to her circle at boarding school in Kingstown.
Sam, Emily best friend, vibrates more powerfully and finally meets her own creature mentor, while Sarah, their small mouse like shadow mysteriously starts hiding her actions from her friends. Danger opens her arms to Josh, the spiky-haired streetwise child who knows things, as he willingly becomes entangled in the web that is being weaved.
But it is in the desert that Emily will find her greatest teacher, !Xu the clickety-clacking San bushman, and where she will come face to face with her arch enemy, only to lose the one is is learning to love.
Meisje is no ordinary dog. She’s a gardag, a cybernetically enhanced living weapon. She’s also lost, hungry, and lonely. Elke Veraart is on Meisje’s trail. If she can find the dog she’ll win back her own freedom. If she fails she’ll be sent back to prison.
As she closes in on the gardag, Elke finds her admiration for Meisje growing. And Meisje, weak with hunger, begins to wonder if she could trust the woman who is hunting her. Then Elke discovers that there are other hunters searching for the gardag and that her orders have changed. She no longer has to find Meisje. She has to kill her.
Gia’s brother Nico is different from other boys. And being different can be dangerous in Gia’s world. Cape Town is no longer the haven for magical refugees that it once was. The Purists want to get rid of all magic and the newspapers are full of dreadful stories about the Belle Gente, the magical terrorists.
None of this concerns Gia, until the Special Branch— police who investigate the illegal use of magic— come knocking at her door, looking for Nico. When Gia turns to her parents for help, she finds only more secrets. Then she realises that she was the one who put her brother in danger.
Never trust a werewolf.
That’s Gia’s first lesson as she enters the wolf cages at Special Branch, the police force that deal with the illegal use of magic. But working with the tracker-werewolves is not the greatest danger she faces: Gia is a spy. She risks torture and death if her secret is discovered.
Then Gia receives shocking news. Her little brother has disappeared, taken out of his bed, in the middle of the night. She doesn’t want to believe that Special Branch is responsible, but who did take Nico? Could it be the magical terrorists, the Belle Gente? Or is there another, even stranger explanation?
Contemporary fantasy set in Cape Town, South Africa: Wolf Logic is the sequel to Crooks and Straights.
A collection of ten illustrated fantasy short stories set in Cape Town, South Africa.
Meet a hitch hiking troll with a taste for pepper-spray and a homeless witch with a trolley full of secrets. Discover a book hoarding mermaid and a fridge full of frogs. And learn how to greet a witch – politely, of course. These stories describe encounters with every-day magic, where strange neighbours live in the flat next door or under the manhole cover you step on every day.
This collection includes the following stories:
In the Back Yard
Thorn Rose in Wynberg
Old Man’s Stuff
The Ink Witch
In the Oven
What if a story came to life — if the characters stepped off the page and into our world?
Rebecca has recovered from the coma but she still longs for the places she saw and the people she met in the coma-dream. Writing helps her bear her loneliness but things get out of control when the characters from her stories come to life in the streets of Cape Town. And Miss Mouse, the Antelope Girls, Hyena and the rest don’t exactly blend in with the crowd.
Cape Town in winter is a harsh place to be homeless. Esther, the witch who tried to kill Rebecca, is still at large. Rebecca has to keep her people safe until she finds a way to get them back into their story. She turns to her sisters for help but finds that they have secrets of their own. And Rebecca’s gun-packing neighbour is getting far too interested in her strange visitors.
The Broken Path is contemporary fantasy with illustrations by the author. It is the sequel to “The Story Trap.”
Bassist and all-round slacker Xan Marcelles spends his nights at a remote tavern in Pinecliffe, Colorado. But there’s something else, he’s also a vampire, and although he reckons he has a handle on this secret, he’s not prepared for the day when people he thinks are the FBI drug him and haul him away.
Ashton Kennedy isn’t human anymore and, as a member of a race of beings known simply as Inkarna, exists through the aeons by stealing bodies. At first his mission seems simple enough: break into the stronghold of a rival Inkarna House and liberate an artifact. He doesn’t bank on discovering a vampire, bound and tucked away neatly in a sarcophagus.
The two unlikely allies are thrown together in a house of mysteries, and have to battle overwhelming odds against an implacable enemy. The question is, can they overcome their differences long enough to make it out alive, or undead?
All Jamie wants is to get his life back on track. After all, no self-respecting occultist needs entanglement with a pack of fanatical Christo-militants. Nor does he want blood on his hands – innocent or not. But the nightmare is far from over. Now a fresh brand of hell is stalking the shadows in dreams, and young women are dying in violent ritual killings.
Can Jamie master his uneasy symbiosis with the sinister Burning One, get to the bottom of a rash of cult activity and stay one step ahead of a nosy reporter? All too soon the hunter becomes the hunted, and trouble with the police will be the least of Jamie’s worries.
Helen Ashfield’s world is about to be turned upside down. Is she ready?
Helen Ashfiel’s life is complicated. Not only must she adjust to her parents’ divorce, but she has to come to grips with her new school in the small South African Karoo town of Graaff-Reinet. She’s sorely mistaken if she thinks she’s going to slot seelessly into her new life. Her growing magical powers have attracted the unwanted attention of Trystan, a vampire, who may not have her best interests at heart.
Outcast from his kind for drinking another vampire’s blood, Trystan has been on the run for almost a hundred years from Mantis–the closest thing their kind has to an enforcer. All Trystan wants is an existence of quiet anonymity, but Helen turns his world upside-down.
Helen’s powers also mark her as one of Mantis’ targets. If Mantis gets control of Helen, she’ll change the course of history. . .for the worse.
Sometimes having a fairytale prince as a best friend can be a real pain.
Jay didn’t realise that sticking up for Rowan, the gangly new kid at school, would plunge him into the dangers and politics of the magical realm of Sunthyst. But if anyone is up for the challenge it’s Jay September. With his trusty dog, Shadow, at his side, he braves the Watcher in the dark that guards the tunnels between the worlds, and undertakes a dangerous quest to rescue the prince.
It’s a race against time – can he sneak Prince Rowan away from under King Lessian’s nose and bring him safely back home – all before the prince’s sixteenth birthday? Or is Rowan’s mother, the exiled Queen Persia, secretly trying to hold onto her power by denying her son his birthright?
Jay is ready for anything, except, perhaps, the suffocating darkness of the tunnels. And that howling …
Ashton Kennedy wasn’t a nice guy. He cheated on his girlfriend, knocked up a powerful drug lord’s sister, and abused vast quantities of illegal narcotic substances. Whoever ran him over with a big shiny SUV was doing the world a favour. His very male, tattooed body is the last place Elizabeth Rae Perry–a member of an ancient Egyptian cult–expected to reincarnate in, instead of the three-year-old girl she’d been promised. Not only must she now come to terms with her new existence in the body of a disagreeable man, and clean up the mess he made of his life, she also has to unravel the mystery of why House Adamastor’s chapter house is standing empty and find a way to protect a dangerous secret she had no idea she was supposed to keep. As if fate couldn’t deal her another blow, she has also attracted the attention of a malicious and potentially dangerous ghost. And to top it all off, she must deal with the consequences of finding love in a most unexpected place.
Bloody Parchment: The Root Cellar and Other Stories brings a fresh crop of horror and dark literature from the most recent South African HorrorFest Bloody Parchment short story competition. From dreary subterranean chambers and angelic visitations to the many-legged horrors of alien invaders and a meeting with the Devil himself, this collection of tales offers readers the opportunity to acquaint themselves with the likes of Toby Bennett (winner), and runners-up Anna Reith and Chris Limb. Finalists include Diane Awerbuck, Simon Dewar, Zane Marc Gentis, Stephen Hewitt, Benjamin Knox, Lee Mather, Glen Mehn, S.A. Partridge, and Icy Sedgwick.
Sometimes gentrification brings with it unexpected, sinister results, or your neighbours harbour secrets. Social media has a darker side or maybe it’s your kitchen appliances that are plotting against you. Who knows? The South African HorrorFest Bloody Parchment anthology, Beachfront Starter Home, Good Bones and Other Stories, offers you a selection of tales that will take you from the comfort of your home to deeper, disturbing destinations drawn from its 2013 competition finalists.
Step inside, draw up a chair near the fire, and discover the dark visions of these authors.
They are as night to day–but blood will tell when facing a common enemy.
A sought-after dancer in the upmarket Moonlit Garden, Isabeau Letier, has not given her future much thought. All that matters is the art of dance, and charming wealthy patrons into parting with a few extra coins. She has her exotic good looks and her youth. What could possibly go wrong?
When a mysterious nobleman pays her undue attention, Isabeau’s darker, bloodthirsty nature awakens and she kills him with her bare hands after he follows her home. Even worse, she drinks and enjoys his blood. Her brother, Eric, returns home to this disturbing tableau yet remains calm even as the corpse sifts to ash in the morning sun. Isabeau has no choice but to follow her sibling’s lead.
Not many people know that Michel Roux, owner of a slightly down-at-heel theatre in the District of Paper Lanterns, is a vampire. He prefers to keep things that way and steer clear of the petty politicking of the city’s vampiric subculture. When his estranged sire, Tomas, goes missing, and his grandsire sets him the task of solving the mystery, Michel is unwillingly dragged into all of the very dangerous games he thought he’d left behind him.
Isabeau and Michel become unlikely allies as they try to wriggle their way out of being the pawns in a game where they don’t know the rules. Isabeau’s ancient heritage is a danger, not only to herself, but to the established hierarchies at odds with one another in the city of Ysul, and the elders are desperate to either control her–or kill her.
As events unwind, it becomes increasingly difficult to separate friend from foe, and as the two flee for their lives they must also explore the true nature of the bond that they’ve forged and uncover the ages-old secrets that have pushed them onto this path. Warring factions are about to overturn centuries of custom, and two young people are marked to pay the price—in blood.
Silas is the last of a rare species of alchemical creature, and he’s quite content in his role as his mistress’s favoured companion. Anwyn is kind, and in his eyes a goddess. What more could a griffin ask for?
Only all is not perfect in the city of Anfi, where unfortunates are considered chattel, and the shift from noble to slave can happen overnight. Mistresses, however kind, do not possess divine powers. And fate has other plans for Anwyn. Silas must learn all that there is about what it means to be raven kin. Pampered pets don’t live long when they’re left out in the cold.
The might of the Janian Empire is great, yet when Silas finds himself embarking on a desperate mission, he discovers that there are things greater even than an empire.
And empires crumble.
A young woman will go to great lengths to discover the truth behind her ex-boyfriend’s supposed death, even if it means travelling into the unknown, with little or no resources. A vampire and a mortal share a passion for music, and a forbidden mutual fascination at the mercy of greater powers.
These two novellas by Nerine Dorman have now been revised and re-released, this time as the In Southern Darkness duology, and reflect a dark vision for lovers of South African speculative fiction.
A class outing to a botanical garden goes horribly wrong; a vampire survives the zombiepocalypse in the Mother City; a woman confronts a child’s ghost in an empty house—these are but a few of Nerine Dorman’s stories that have drifted between the cracks and lodged themselves in dusty corners.
Step closer and take a seat. There’s a warm fire, and the wind is rattling the windowpanes. Stay a while; let me whisper in your ear. Dream.
Jamie Guillaume is the man your mother warned you about, and South Africa’s wickedest man is about to raise more than hell. Haunted by the sinister Burning One and hunted by a pack of religious extremists, Jamie’s neck-deep in trouble.
Who does a black magician turn to when it seems like his carefully constructed world’s about to disintegrate?
In Terra Incognita, Short Story Day Africa is proud to present nineteen stories of speculative fiction. Contained within the pages are stories that explore, among other things, the sexual magnetism of a tokoloshe, a deadly feud with a troop of baboons, a journey through colonial purgatory, along with ghosts, re-imagined folklore, and the fear of that which lies beneath both land and water. Terra Incognita. Uncharted depths. Africa unknowable.
Bloody Parchment: Hidden Things, Lost Things and Other Stories showcases the top horror short stories from the 2011 Bloody Parchment writing competition, the literary component of the annual South African HorrorFest. The anthology showcases tales that examine fears – real or imagined – and plunges you into darkness from the relative safety of your armchair.
The Bloody Parchment horror writing competition is the ideal hothouse to nurture and cross-pollinate South African and international talent. This year’s anthology features top stories by Brett Bruton and Jenny Robson, and all the finalists adding their frightening voices to the offering.
Step across the threshold and taste the horror. We double dare you.