Our latest story
The howls of the gore-hounds filled the night air. Vanda stopped to catch her breath. Sounds echoed off the trees, throwing noises at her from odd angles. Her pursuers were close. When they caught her it would be the end.
She peeped at the precious cargo she carried, strapped across her chest in the sling she’d fashioned from an old shawl. The night was dark – of course – but there was just enough starlight to see Abha’s tiny face peeping out, wide-eyed in wonder, oblivious to what was happening. Vanda envied the baby. Abha had no idea that the gore-hounds, if they caught up, would rip her to pieces like a rabbit.
Vanda set off again, ignoring the stomach cramps tearing at her. The ground was rising. She’d heard the Chronicler lived in a ramshackle hut on a hill in a wood. That was all she had to go off. It was entirely possible the whole thing was no more than a story. When it came to the Chronicler, the lines between truth and tale weren’t always clear.
She glimpsed a light through the shifting boughs: a single yellow candle shining from a cottage window. In one of his tales it would have been placed there as a beacon for the desperate. She raced into the clearing and rapped on the door, gaze darting around. She expected the hounds, black as night and red of eye, to lope from the woods at any moment. Away over the treetops the thinnest of crescent moons sliced through the night sky. As it always did.
The door creaked open. An old man’s face peeped through the gap, regarding her over the top of his half-moon spectacles. His wrinkled, veined skin might have been the map of an imaginary land. A red birth-mark, a blotch like the shape of some island, adorned his cheek. He didn’t look surprised to see her.
What the Darkness Is – Simon Kewin
Renewal – Michael Gardner
The Lost Languages of Exiles – Laura E. Price
A Conversion of Crows – B. Morris Allen
I’m happy to say that our September cover artist, Wendy Thompson, is from the same little part of the Oregon coast where the magazine is based. It’s a strikingly beautiful area, and you can see it in her art.
It’s also the first place this year’s solar eclipse will strike the US. If you’re coming to town for the event, don’t miss the opportunity to see Wendy’s (and many others’) art at the 25th annual Nestucca Valley Artisans Festival, in Pacific City. We’ll be there too, wandering the tables and picking up a little beauty to admire when we’re far from home.
Q: What distracts you?
A: I’d like to say I’m not easily distracted, but it’s a different matter entirely when an idea for a story pops into my head. A concept, word, title, or the temptation of ‘what if’ can distract me from my usual day-to-day life of being a wife to a patient husband and mum to three very loved children. When a story grabs me, I can write until sunrise, yet still function through the day as though I’d slept better than Sleeping Beauty. I am guilty of not being present when these moments strike. I might be baking that pie or making a bed, but in my mind, I’m firmly in my story and I stay there until the story is done. I have learnt over the years not to bore my family with the messy details of an evolving story, but they are very good critics, and no story gets sent anywhere without at least one of them reading the final copy first.
- A Conversion of Crows – B. Morris Allen
- The Lost Languages of Exiles – Laura E. Price
- Renewal – Michael Gardner
- What the Darkness Is – Simon Kewin
- Radical Abundance – Angie Lathrop
Cover art by Wendy Thompson.
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It takes considerable time and patience to complete a colored pencil painting. Wendy Thompson finds the process quite meditative and therapeutic. When working, her thoughts reside among the quiet places of the woods and ponds, and she emulates this in her work, conveying a sense of quietude and tranquility.
Born and raised in Oregon, Wendy finds that The Pacific Northwest offers a continually changing palette from which to draw inspiration. Primarily self-taught as an artist, she attends occasional workshops for continued confidence and inspiration. Working with watercolor, oil, and graphite over the years, she ultimately settled on colored pencil because it allows for precision, control of detail, and depth.
Wendy’s art is very distinctive and detailed. Her pieces show nature as she sees it. She captures the beauty of a blooming lily, along with the flaws that show bug-eaten leaves. She lives among the fir trees of the northern Oregon coast and has come to appreciate the ravens that live close by. Their stories come to life in many of her pieces, which are sought after by a worldwide clientele.
With several pieces of her artwork juried into International exhibitions, Wendy earned her signature membership in the Colored Pencil Society of America (CPSA 2007), and received Master Pencil Artist Status (MPAS 2013) with the Pencil Art Society. She began self-marketing in 2004 and was fortunate to connect with publishers to license work for use on calendars, cards, magnets, and journals. Working with publishers, galleries, and personal sales, she is able to support herself as a working artist and devote time completely to her art.
Wendy Thompson‘s image “Slugs and Crows” is the cover art for our September 2017 stories.