Thursday, June 22, 2017

The World Magazine "Missing Elements" Ad

As I began typing the first letters of this blog post, I was thinking about monarch butterflies, and I glanced up to see how many chrysalises I have on our bay window and saw a 5th instar larva that had been hanging in the J-form overnight had just split its skin and was transforming.  Now it is an elongated jade-green teardrop twisting and shrinking toward the compact gold-flecked pupa it will be for the next 10 days or so.

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The Missing Elements ad with a monarch butterfly on a zinnia flower is enigmatic, I think.  When writing fiction it’s usually more elegant to avoid hitting the plot points too much “on the nose” as some critiquers say.  How can I interest readers about a mystery, or a twist in the story ahead of time without revealing those things?

In the early months of 1976, I was working on the green chain of a lumber mill along the Columbia River.  The green chain was in a long shed open on the north side, toward the yard, but closed on the riverside, so I couldn’t see Mt. Hood towering in the east.  Pulling lumber, some of it 12”x 12” by 10 feet long was an eight-hour weight lifting marathon every day, so by evening I was exhausted.  I’d fall asleep in an easy chair while listening to classical music on the radio.  But one night on the news, I heard about flooding in Bangladesh and how people were starving, and I decided to go there and help.  I then studied Agriculture in college.

In short I never went to Bangladesh, but I ended up working in an area where the people are as needy, and maybe more so.  My idea was to go where the human need is greatest and the people trying to meet that need were the fewest.  Thirty years ago that place was in the realm of abortion, and it is now, I believe.  

My stories often follow the same principle that guided my life work.  You might say my stories, most of them, are agenda driven.  They begin with an idea.  But the story must be a story, that is, to appear as much as possible to represent real life, and not be a tract.  A breeze in the face, and not a hammer to the thumb.  Maybe even a stiff gust of wind that throws you off balance for a moment, or possibly changes the course of your life.

I’ll give one example of a buried agenda.  “The Tragedy of Bernie the Homeless” is not about animals or beekeepers.  It’s about transgenderism.  I’m sure you wouldn’t have guessed that if you just read the story.  I’m sure that the UK based, post-environmentalist Dark Mountain Project wouldn’t have published the story if they knew what my agenda was.  They certainly noted the agenda that I presented, one with which I am sympathetic.  The story works in many ways, I hope.  But it should raise the question, “If maleness and femaleness, which exists in every single cell of every single person, is fluid, then isn’t species also fluid?”

Some of my stories are breezy and fun, I hope.  One or two are horrific.  I’m tempted to tell you which is what so that you’ll want to read them, but I’ve said enough for now.  Except… “Spark” explores the idea of a finite universe.  It’s tale of scale.  A short, short, short story—even the title is short—about next-to-the-hugest concept we can imagine.

Go HERE to read brief blubs of the stories in When Earth Whispers & Other Mostly Speculative Tales.  You may find in one of these stories and elsewhere in my writing that monarch butterflies are an argument against abortion.

Friday, June 16, 2017

Welcome World Readers!

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“Chaotic terrain” is an astrogeologic term to describe a jumbled landscape on a planet, such as Mars.  It’s a type of landscape not really seen on Earth, but I do think it is appropriate for our world on spiritual, cultural, and political levels.  At the same time, there’s incredible beauty everywhere.  I write stories that attempt to capture both the chaos and the beauty of life by embodying ideas that are often neglected or missing in literature—what I call, the missing elements.

After being a prolife/antiabortion activist since 1988 or so and writing countless letters to the editor and guest commentaries, in year 2000, I decided to write a novel.  It took a long time to rewrite and revise.  I didn’t finalize the current covers until a month ago.  And early this year I hired a recent seminary graduate to proofread the book again. The title is Universal Man, which is a turn on the concept of the holy, catholic (universal) church we ascribe to in the creeds.  Do I give away too much by saying that the main character, Stanley Timmons, represents the visible Church?  At least he does in my mind.  It was my intention to give him that role, though I hope I’ve made him to be a true-to-life person and not anything like an archetype. The primary characters, including Timmons, take their beliefs to the logical, often disturbing conclusions.

The book is in three volumes. An early reader called it a contemplative thriller.

My dear wife told me once that publishing short stories would bring attention to my novel.  That never came true.  Not yet anyway.  After the novel was more or less complete, I wrote about 30 short stories and got a number of them published in small places here and there.  But I got tired of rejection letters.  At about 250 rejections, I quit “submitting” stories, deciding rather to “dominate” them, hence my book When Earth Whispers & Other Mostly Speculative Tales, speculative meaning not strictly real-world, and that would include horror, contemporary fantasy, and science-fiction.  You can buy the book at Amazon, but since you probably don’t know me, I suggest you first read a couple stories here on my blog.  All of them are published or linked here and you can read them totally for free.  For this purpose I recommend one of the flash stories—complete stories in 1000 words or less.  Maybe try “Deprescience”.  A now retired editor at God’s World Publications said about it in the comments section at Every Day Fiction:

“This story is filled with surprises, the main surprise being its consistent and profound surprises themselves from beginning to end. Very well written, bolstered by obvious wisdom and literary panache. I was captivated by the scope of this quite brief masterpiece.”

So, you can find story titles and links on the blog column on the right.

If you like it, or are at least intrigued by “Deprescience”, try “Genius” or “Not the Wrong Planet”.  My almost shortest story is “Spark” at 544 words.  Then if you wish, try something longer, and when you’re ready, tackle the novel.  Or start with the novel.   After all, I wrote it first.  It is filled with surprises, too.  One interesting thing is that the novel contains numerous photographs of the real locations in the story, or locations that served as models for writing the scenes.  For ordering books, go to my “official website” ChaoticTerrain.com. It’s far more straightforward than this messy blog.

By the way, the monarch butterfly in the photograph is a male I raised in my house, and it’s perched on a milkweed plant (asclepias tuberosa) I grew from seed.  I had just released the butterfly and it had not yet taken its first flight.  But then it did and flew up into the wide world, perhaps to travel a thousand miles. Of course I hope that’s a metaphor for my stories, all of them and the novel, homegrown.

            -Meredith Eugene (Mickey) Hunt


(Not to distract you, but if you are fascinated by insects, watch my HD close-up video of a monarch butterfly emerging from its chryrsalis shell.)

Author

PHOTO BY EDITH HUNT AT THE DEVIL'S COURTHOUSE 
ON THE BLUE RIDGE PARKWAY, 2014.  click to enlarge
Husband of one wife and father of six children, Hunt has been an anti-abortion activist for 30 years. He lives in western North Carolina.

Works in progress include the science-fiction novel, Clouds Fall to Earth, which is about a people who have lived in dirigibles for a thousand years, and a unique non-fiction guide about Monarch Butterflies.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

The Final Cover of UM 3/ Then a Soldier

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The text on the back cover is the "All the World's a Stage" speech from the play "As You Like It" by William Shakespeare.  I may not have mentioned it elsewhere, but the monarch butterfly in the "logo" of Chaotic Terrain Press is feeding on zinnias in our garden, our vegetable garden of the fall of 2016. I grow three types of milkweed on our modest gentleman's farm we call Windfall, and raise monarchs in our house. The photo captures the butterfly in motion.

The Cover of UM 2/ The Chinook Assembly

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The final version of the cover, in black and white. There's a lot of meaning to this cover image. You'll have to read the book and study the interior photographs to discover what and why.  All the photos in the novel are actual location shots, or at least of places that served as models for the writing. Those are real places, transposed into the story's geography.

The Cover of UM1/ Graceful Runner

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This is the final cover of Universal Man 1/Graceful Runner.  For a long time I had it in color and then later it just seemed to create a better mood and unify the three volumes in my black & white experiments.  Note how the background image shows through on the back cover, and there it is still in color.  I thought this a nice touch.

Monday, June 12, 2017

I'm Not Homeless & I'm Not Poor

A couple weeks ago I tried a sales/marketing experiment using my sign-making and sidewalk-wise communication skills.  I stood out near our local Ingles with the above sign.  In sum, in two hours I gave out five of my short story books and collected $35 in cash and about $15 worth of edible food.  Not terribly profitable, but I’d like to try it downtown Asheville.  I plan to add “I am NOT homeless.” to the sign because a couple people, including a middle school age boy, offered me zip lock bags containing personal hygine supplies, like wipes, a comb, toothbrush etc.  That was embarrassing.  I told them, “Thank you for your kindness, but I'm not homeless and I’m not poor. I’m trying a creative approach to selling my books.”  It's literary busking.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Universal Man/ 3. Then a Soldier

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This is the underlying cover photo for Universal Man/ 3.Then a Soldier. I took the photo in Arlington, VA in May, 2011. If you look closely at the cover on Amazon or a copy of the paperback, you'll see that the photo is in color behind the screen on the back, while the photo on the front is in black & white.  UM/3 is now available, and today I rebuilt our simple website from scratch and linked from it to where you can purchase the book either with a significant discount or with a free Kindle Edition, which is readable on any computer.  The Kindle version has nearly all the interior photographs in color. The CTP website link is HERE, and in the upper right corner of this page, below the banner photo.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Updates

As of today I have changed the print version covers of UM 1 and UM 2 to black & white on the front, but I've maintained the screen over color on the back.  I'm also keeping the full color cover on the Kindle versions.  

UPDATE (2/20/17):  The short stories here on the blog have been updated to incorporate the changes and corrections that went into the book and Kindle forms.

Sunday, February 5, 2017

The Chinook Assembly is Available NOW!

In the electronic Kindle version, which includes color photographs of location shots or of places that guided me in the writing. Order it HERE. The print version should be available in a week from now.  If you order the paperback, the Kindle version comes with it for free.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

NEWS!

My novel Universal Man will SOON be back in print.  I plan to have the first volume, Graceful Runner available no later than January 22nd. Then, The Chinook Assembly will be available by Ash Wednesday. Lastly, Then a Soldier, will be available by Easter. One feature in this new, second edition will be a number of original black & white photographs of story locations. See the new cover!

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Note: Editing Currently in Progress

During the production of the collection When Earth Whispers and Other Mostly Speculative Tales, I literally made hundreds of changes--some in the way of small improvements and some on the order of simple corrections.  So, the stories that appear here on this blog site have improved, but I haven't had time yet to change the online text.

Monday, October 24, 2016

NEWS!

I have just now posted all my short stories. Notice that the four Jonathan T. Barron paranormal fantasy stories are all here and listed in order on the right column of my main page. (They each won Honorable Mentions in a huge, international contest.)  Also, I've posted some links to my related videos on my YouTube channels.  Actually, the one channel UniversalDirt, is as about as intimate a profile of "the author" as it decently can be.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

NEWS! "The Shoreless Ocean of Eternity" is Available

"Shoreless" (9962 words) transcribes one of the astonishing voyages of Captain Therreal mentioned in "Ships Passing in the Night".

From the published notes of "Ships Passing": [2] This is the same Therreal who commanded the starship UNS Chariot in the first intentional time-transcendence excursions based on the theories of Nobel Prize winning propulsionist, Dr. Pachero-Nanez, who discovered that as a vessel neared the speed of light, its mass decreased, enabling it to break the light barrier and escape the limitations of the material-energy-chronos universe.


Read "Shoreless" HERE.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

The Mad Scientist Journal Cover, Autumn 2016

Welcome new readers. You can actually read my story "Ships Passing in the Night, Etc." free in the sample Kindle pages on Amazon. Please review the story there, or leave a comment below.  Thanks!

Cover art by Ariel Alian Wilson
Cover layout by Katie Nyborg

The art for the story is by Errow Collins.

Update (10/10/16): The story is now available online at the MSJ.

Update (2/2/17):  I have posted it now HERE on the blog, too. Note the footnote links will take you to the MSJ site.

Monday, September 19, 2016

NEWS! "Ships Passing in the Night: Romance and Marriage between Lovers from Anti-Synchronous Worlds" is coming out in October in the Mad Scientist Journal

I just recently learned that "Ships Passing..." will be published in its real quarterly book in Autumn 2016 (October) rather than only online.  The Mad Scientist Journal bills itself as "The Academic Journal for the Misunderstood Genius" and "The World's Only Reliable Newspaper."

The “Ships Passing” title is a reference to a lines from happy romance contained within the epic poem “Tales of a Wayside Inn” by Longfellow. The lines are:

Ships that pass in the night, and speak each other in passing,
Only a signal shown and a distant voice in the darkness;
So, on the ocean of life we pass and speak one another,
Only a look and a voice, then darkness again and a silence.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Skirmishing for Food

The honey spill was an accident this morning, but it fits my story [404 words] perfectly. (The story of the title of this post.) UPDATE 10/16/16: Read the story HERE.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

NEWS: My story "The Tragedy of Bernie the Homeless" Comes Out Tomorrow in Dark Mountain, Issue 9.

This is my copy that just arrived in the mail today from the United Kingdom. The story works on several levels, environmental, social, and political. It might be more relevant than it first appears. Scroll down to the photo of the bear cubs for more information.

Friday, April 8, 2016

NEWS: "Just Cold", Just Published at the Dead Mule School of Southern Literature

Scroll down to see more information, in particular the link to the TV news story about the real Jeffrey Reynolds. "Just Cold" was supposed to come out on January 1 of this year, and when the magazine had some delaying glitches, rather that this spring, I asked that it wait until December to be in time for Christmas. Well, we're having Christmas in April.

UPDATE 10/24/16:  I can't find the story anymore at the Dead Mule, but my cool bio, called a Southern Legitimacy Statement, may be read HERE.

Read the story HERE.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Denying the Signs

This 500 word story in the Harold Stumbo series was given an Honorable Mention in Rapid River Magazine's flash fiction contest. You may read it HERE. Check out my story "Homesick" that's featured a few inches below. I won't spoil the surprise.

Watch the 11 second video this image was lifted from HERE.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Leaving Roanoke Island

Another flash length story in the Harold Stumbo series. "Homesick" is the first one, and this is the last. This image is from "The Asphalt Jungle," Harold's favorite movie. UPDATE 10/21/16: Read it HERE.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Dreaming is Believing

Starlight illuminated the crests of the crashing waves. Rob's SEAL team members crept like wisps of black fog toward the campfires among the palm trees ahead. He lay down his M4, unsaddled himself from the ammo cases, waded into the surf, and dove into an oncoming wave, striking out for the lovely, lush island not far offshore. The freshness of the water woke him.

"How was your nap, honey?"...

"Dreaming is Believing" (800 words) was submitted to various publications and as a result of feedback is now being given a significant rework.  UPDATE (2/20/17): The rework is done.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Homesick

by Mickey Hunt
A flash-length story in the Harold Stumbo series. Harold was an illegal horse race bookie, and he's trying to stay retired and out of jail. He lives with his autistic wife on Roanoke Island, North Carolina. "Homesick" was published by Every Day Fiction on 10/10/15. The story is about 1000 words long, so it should only take you five minutes or so, if you’d like to read it. Leave a comment and a rating. Thanks so much!
Click to enlarge.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

The Tragedy of Bernie the Homeless

     After his mother chased him away, Bernie enjoyed a simple life off the grid, but acorns, berries, and grubs grew boring and harder to find, and they didn’t always suit his digestion. Then winter struck and froze his butt. Also, he thought he’d eventually find company in the wild, but others who shared his freegan, opportunivore ways shunned him. Ran from him, in fact. Were afraid and thought him loony.
So, Bernie finally quit living in the forest...

"Bernie" [1000 words] was accepted for a April 15, 2016 publication by the Dark Mountain Protect, an international post-environmentalist/artistic network, in their bi-annual journal, in particular, Issue 9. Read a DMP description of the volume and find ordering information HERE.  You can read the story free HERE. UPDATE: 9/19/16: The story was published again, this time at the Rapid River Magazine.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Literary Advocacy in Susan Glaspell's Play "Trifles"

NON-FICTION

by Mickey Hunt
While Glaspell’s frequently performed 1916 play Trifles as literary advocacy conveys a valid message within its historical period, and raises issues regarding the legal system, it does so at the cost of casting men as being arrogant, foolish, and bound to a certain narrow set of interests, a negative stereotype with potential to create its own injustice.
Read in full HERE.  (2323 words)

Friday, May 1, 2015

The Greenlandic Windows

by Mickey Hunt

Jonathan T. Barron takes his new bride Isobel, a former police officer, and her toddler Scotty for a month long "honey and moon" at a mysterious stone house on the remote, frozen east coast of Greenland. The house, designed in trapezoids and possibly built before the first Europeans arrived, isn't the only mystery however, because the elderly caretaker's wife babbles on and on about space ships... in Greenlandic.  Fourth in the JTB short story series, "Greenlandic Windows" at about 11,000 words, received an Honorable Mention in a 2016 Writers of the Future Contest.  (Update 10/22/16: Read "GW" HERE.)

Friday, April 24, 2015

Board & Ivy














































The photos tell a story of an abandoned house along the railroad tracks in Swannanoa, North Carolina.  I took them on 12/28/2014. Nothing in the rooms was touched, it's all as I found it. The photos appeared April 2015 in UNCA's creative arts magazine, Headwaters, pages 69 and 70. Click to enlarge.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Truth, War, & Story

NON-FICTION

by Mickey Hunt

A creative essay on the auto-biographical short story "How to Tell a Truth War Story" by Tim O'Brien. I recently wrote the essay for a literature class at the University of NC-Asheville.

READ HERE!  

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Attack of the Gravid Amazons

A mid-30ish couple's marriage is on the rocks. He's an acoustical architect and she's an ob-gyn. About the only thing they have in common is a love of bug watching, so they are taking an entomological expedition to Indonesia to try to patch things up. Then Earth is invaded by pregnant green women. Among other inexplicable places around the planet, they attack in Singapore where the couple is staying for a few nights.

"Gravid Amazons" [8050 words] was revised in September 2016.  

Read HERE.

See my related Monarch Butterfly Photos from the Blue Ridge Parkway SW of Asheville NC, September 25, 2016.  Watch my 32 Second HD Video of them.


Thursday, May 1, 2014

Odd Fellows

by Mickey Hunt

A boy with extraordinary powers of smell, his girl cousin who can perform impossible mountain bike stunts and never crash, a truck driver uncle who figures complex math problems in his head, and a grandma who always guesses right. These and other odd family members team up one summer with paranormal investigator and radio personality Jonathan T. Barron to stop a state governor’s sex trafficking syndicate and the blackmailing of big winners of the South Carolina Education Lottery.

“Odd Fellows,” third in the JTB contemporary fantasy series and nearly at 17,000 words, received an Honorable Mention in the Writer's of the Future Contest in the 3rd quarter of 2015.  Read it HERE.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Genius

by Mickey Hunt
    Brad heaved what might be a truncated stainless steel water heater onto his table under the ancient live oaks.
    "Still peddling your miraculous apparatus?" Marquis said and plucked a dog-eared brochure from Brad's stack. "Looks dubious, old man. Hmm... Lead lining and rechargeable battery."
    "If I was a person of color like yourself..."
    "What? Bullscat. Everybody got a color."
    Cars swished by on the road. Breezy. Hot. Seagulls gliding overhead. Marquis stood behind his van, handing out bags of fresh shrimp and ice, taking in cash, improvising rhymes. Brad sagged in a chair at his tailgate while massaging the small of his back...

"Genius" (1090 words) was published at Stupefying Stories Showcase on March 25, 2015.  It was republished in March, 2016 and can also be read HERE at AntipodeanSF, based in Australia. 

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

The Cruller Twist

by Mickey Hunt
     A bright spring noon and there’s Nicole, sitting at the cafĂ© table along the sidewalk. “Lauren!” she says and jumps up. “Wow. So glad you came. A wonderful reunion for my birthday.”
     We hug and I say, “You look so good, Nicole.”
     “You do, too.”
     “I can’t believe it’s been, how many? Five years since graduation?”
     “Yeah!” Nicole says. “We’re really looking forward to your concert tonight.”
     “My first in Asheville. Here’s a . . . Here’s a present for you. I hope it's not too big.”
     Nicole reaches into the decorative bag and lifts out a snowy white hoodie emblazoned with a Duke Blue Devil. “Perfect, it’s perfect!” she says, holding it up...

"The Cruller Twist" (956 words) a "literary" story, is available for publication. It was a finalist in the 2016 Neoverse writing competition. Read it HERE.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Just Cold

by Mickey Hunt
  
     When the doorbell rang, Mr. Reynolds went to answer. The young man on the front steps popped open a beer can he had pulled from his ragged, oversized coat. “Are you on the wagon?” he asked, and offered Mr. Reynolds the first slug.
     “Lee,” Mrs. Reynolds called from behind her husband. “It’s freezing outside. The chowder? The children are hungry.”
     “We’re sitting down for supper,” Mr. Reynolds said to the boy. “What, what’s your name?”
     “Jeffrey. I’ve got some peanuts. Give them to your kids.” He set the beer down and fumbled at his coat. “That’s a nice manger scene in your yard. It’s like real.”
 


"Just Cold" (1000 words) has been accepted for a December, 2016 release by an online magazine with an improbable name.

The story of the real Jeffrey (as shown on a WLOS Television News story).

UPDATE 10/24/16: Read "Just Cold" HERE.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Turtle of the World

by Mickey Hunt
    "Your aunt wrote to me about the strange happenings at the Swan Mountain Retreat Center.  She said they foreshadowed the potential end of all humanity.”
    “Holy Moley! The end of all humanity?”  I pulled off to the side and a car blared its horn as it flew by.  “She never told me. It’s worse than I guessed.”
    “You don’t think she exaggerated?”
    I shook my head. “Mr. Jonathan T. Barron, be real careful there. My Aunt Ilana never exaggerates. The end of humanity. Whew.” I put the truck in gear and resumed our drive.
    "O-kay,” he said. “Trash raided, dogs and cats eaten, mangled birds lying on the ground, the larder broken into and food stolen. Wild screams in the darkness." He removed a photograph from his pocket and flashed it to me. "What do you think this is?"
Turtle of the World (8000 words) takes place in western North Carolina.  Read the entire story HERE.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Miss Thurman's Intervention

by Mickey Hunt
“Miss Thurman, I’m not working for you anymore on my day off,” Barry said and closed the hatch of the Subaru.

     “Here, take this.”  Miss Thurman held a folded $10 bill.

     “Now, you know I’m not allowed tips,” Barry said.

     “You’re a young man and you need money for your future, for your braces when you get them.  You should go to college.”  She paused a moment and said, “I couldn’t possibly lift those chicken feed bags when I get home.  My figure has turned into a dumpling.”

     Barry pursed his lips over his jutting front teeth.  “I’ve saved money for braces,” he said.  “This is a good job—Whatley’s pays for health insurance, too.  Did you hear me?  I won’t do your yard work unless we clean up your house.  You have a problem.”

     Miss T’s lower lip drooped like she might cry...

Thumbnail: Barry, a neatnick, does yardwork on his days off for Miss Thurman, a compulsive hoarder.  The story was a finalist in the 2016 Neoverse writing competition, but didn't win.  Read it in full HERE.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Not the Wrong Planet


by Mickey Hunt

The Radiant entered a high, slow orbit around Lumen.

Alone in his tiny quarters, Specialist Johnten stared from the port window at the charcoal-black nightside of the planet. No lights broke the gloom below...

Another lonely, silent world.

Like me...


Not the Wrong Planet (1080 words) was first published in the near professional level e-mag Penumbra in the November 2014 issue.  But the parent company, Musa, went out of business early in 2015 and took down all its past issues.

But, the story is out again as of December 2015 at AntipodeanSF, an online Australian-based publication. Find it RIGHT HEREIn January, 2016, AntiSF made it available as an audio podcast read by me. The podcast may be heard HERE.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Spark

by Mickey Hunt
"Welcome to the edge of the universe," I said cheerfully. "The very edge."
The clutch of tourists easing into my parent's store seemed overawed.  At night, part of our sky is lit with nebulae, pulsars, galaxy clusters, and all sorts of stuff, but the rest of the sky is black, pitch black.  As far as anyone knows, no electromagnetic phenomena, gravity, or nothing ever emanates from out there...

Find Spark at 365 Tomorrows.

Read it with a New & Better ending at Rapid River Magazine. (1/7/16)

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Demon Dragonfly

by Mickey Hunt
      The slave Mao Ping picked himself up from the street and dusted off his elegant embroidered robe. His cowardly porter peeked from behind a vendor stall, stumbled out to him, and bent over to reclaim the brown, cloth-wrapped package.

      Happily, Mao Ping thought, the mysterious package did not appear damaged. It might be the open umbrella of a princess, but was heavier, as he had noticed earlier when they collected it at the wood carver’s shop.

Demon Dragonfly (2644 words) was rejected 29 times.  It was a finalist in the 2016 Neoverse writing competition. Read the story HERE.
 

Friday, December 14, 2012

Deprescience

by Mickey Hunt
   As a child, our son Timothy told his teachers he was adopted. During adolescence, he wailed in misery, certain that his best friends had moved away. By age twenty, Timothy’s grief sank into glum desolation, and he would lie on the bed all day, bemoaning an imaginary poverty. None of his therapists could free him from his flawed perception of loss...

This story (about 1000 words) can be found at Every Day Fiction.

See my Top Story of the Month interview about "Deprescience" at
Flash Fiction Chronicles.  (Note: the interview has vanished.)

Folly Blaine recorded a podcast of the story that you can listen to HERE.

The story came out as a reprint in August 2015 in Beyond Science Fiction.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

The Gingerbread Puppet Boy

by Mickey Hunt
The wrinkled old man sat patiently beside his luggage in the bus station and stared toward the glass door at the far end of the waiting room. What was this madness? he wondered. It had all started so innocently.
   He chuckled softly to himself . . .
   His wife had wanted a son, plain and simple. But the doctor had told them even before they were married years ago this was impossible. She would be barren.           ...continued
Wayman Publishing-Amazon

Note: This story appeared December 1, 2012 in the anthology Open Doors: Fractured Fairy Tales, available for purchase from Amazon at the above link, either as a printed book, an audio book, or an e-book.

See my creative non-fiction bio at Wayman: Featured Author

Monday, August 27, 2012

Shoreless Ocean of Eternity

        Before the seas rose and covered much of the land and before the Great Chaos overwhelmed civilization on Earth, the State of Israel devised a plan to prevent the breakdown from even beginning to happen in the first place.
#
        A man of medium height and dark, receding hair stood back from the door and looked up at the imposing edifice.  The building was not particularly large, but it preserved memories of fear, death, and unthinkable horror.  Not a prison, but containing the memory of prisons, remembrances of prisoners.  He put the keys into his pocket and said to the young woman beside him, “It’s closed then.”

Shoreless Ocean of Eternity (9,880 words) has been rejected so many times that I finally gave up submitting it to other people's publications. It is a prequel to my novel in progress, Clouds Fall to Earth.  Read "Shoreless" HERE.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Guest Lecture

by Mickey Hunt
   The guest speaker paused to survey his audience one final time. There was a professor or two, and scattered throughout the cavernous lecture hall were probably three dozen students—both undergraduate and graduate.
   Dr. Gimbel’s audiences were growing smaller and they didn’t laugh at the jokes anymore. People were losing interest in his subject. Thankfully, it was his last appearance on this particular university tour...

Guest Lecture (855 words) was first published in July, 2012 on the website of the speculative fiction magazine Residential Aliens, but for some reason they took the story down.  I updated it and it was accepted as a reprint at the Literary Hatchet (Issue #12) and published on August 16, 2015.  The 300 page magazine is available free as a download, or $14 for a hard copy. You can find more information at the link above or HERE. The artwork is cool.

Lastly, you can easily find and read it RIGHT HERE.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

I'm Not a Baby Anymore

by Mickey Hunt
      Dad adopted me when I was a pup and we don’t look alike at all, but no matter. He was single and kind of old for raising a baby, and not the most responsible parent, either—I mean, he was okay until he . . . but I’ll explain that situation in a minute.
      Our friend Jake and his girl Sally would sit around the campfire with us and tell stories.   (I love being outdoors—all the delicious smells!) Sometimes they’d be drunk and argue. I was too young to remember it happening, but my favorite story was about my adoption...

I'm Not a Baby Anymore (726 words) was published at Rapid River Magazine and can be read HERE.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

When Earth Whispers

by Mickey Hunt
During the first seconds of last spring’s devastating earthquake in Lynchville, California, some people believed they had fallen ill, some assumed they had been struck by lightning, some thought a truck rammed their house. Those living adjacent to railroad tracks wondered if a train had derailed. I was praying in my study at the church early Sunday morning. As the furniture jerked back and forth and books tumbled through the air, it occurred to me that the world was ending and I would die.

When Earth Whispers (6600 words) won an Honorable Mention in the Writers of the Future Contest, the 3rd Quarter of 2014. Events in the news [Summer 2015] made the story even more relevant than when it was written.  Read the story in full HERE.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Arrangements

by Mickey Hunt

        David Welch, Sr. arranged flowers, but right away you probably adopted the wrong impression about him, because he made the art form nearly into a masculine sport. As with the great chefs and composers of the world, most of the top floral designers are men.
        I suppose his regular work lent masculinity to his love for color, pattern, balance, theme—all those elements contributing to a finished arrangement. And his were not just “arrangements”—the masses of flowers you see at weddings or funerals—rather, they portrayed natural environments and worlds in themselves reflecting an idealization of life. He was a landscaper and a retail nursery owner—had been all of his adult life.
        He didn’t actually begin flower arranging until his wife died four years ago. That’s when he ordered several boxes of flowers and made the funeral displays himself, weeping off and on. Those displays were simple, like what you usually see, he being a beginner, though they served well enough.
        Funeral flowers . . . they never help anything . . . they’re mere thoughts, symbols of sympathy and consolation, and not real in themselves.
        Hannah is real. She emanates a beauty that catches your eye, yes, but becomes even more apparent and satisfying the more you watch her, the more you get to know her. A complicated beauty and intelligence that might intimidate most men, the beauty of a talented movie star when she isn’t made up and glamorized. She was a friend of David’s daughter, Olivia, and was the same age as her, and she worked at the nursery in the summers, the Bluestone Nursery and Landscaping. Hannah was pursuing a horticultural degree at North Carolina State University, and when she graduated, she came on board as a manager...
[Arrangements continued]

Arrangements (4316 words) was revised and re-titled on 10/17/14.

Update 10/24/16:  Watch a HD video of me handing out the first five paragraphs of this story at an anti North Carolina HB-2 rally in Asheville.
Part One.  Part Two.