“Keeper of Memory” by Todd Lockwood
Daen screamed until the monster’s teeth crushed ribs against ribs. Blood poured from his lungs, a bright flower unfurling on the pavestones. He bolted upright. A tree root scraped his back as he tried to crab backwards, but his feet were entangled in his blanket. He sat still, surprised to feel moss and short grass under the heels of his hands. A soft hush surrounded him, the landscape shrouded in fog that deadened sound and confused distance, rendering trees and stones into ghostly shadows ofbthemselves. Panting, he rubbed his face with pale fingers and blinked away the blur in his eyes. His sweat grew cold in the damp air. Gods, what a dream!
Todd Lockwood creates his images with a mystic combination of acrylics, oils, Corel Painter, Photoshop, blood, epithets, secret incantations, and gin. His designs involve images derived from fantasy and science fiction, fantasy role-playing games, his dragon fetish, years of playing Dungeons & Dragons and watching mother nature, his love of mythology and the transformations of myth in religion. Um…. He is also disturbed by writing about himself in the third person.
Todd Lockwood’s illustration work has appeared on NY Times best-selling novels, magazines, video games, collectible card games, and fantasy role-playing games. It has been honored with multiple appearances in Spectrum and the Communication Arts Illustration Annual, and with numerous industry awards. Always known for the narrative power of his paintings, Todd now turns his hand to writing, and is working on a novel to be published by DAW Books at a date still to be determined. You may view his art at his website, http://www.toddlockwood.com, keep up with him at http://www.tolo.biz, or get chummy at https://www.facebook.com/artoftoddlockwood
“Awakening” by Valjeanne Jeffers
The nine year girl ran to catch up with them. “I want to go Father!” she called. “I want to practice too!” Adegoke, a muscular giant of man, turned to face his daughter. “You can’t go Nandi,” he said sternly, but there was compassion in his brown eyes.
Adegoke took her chin in one of his big hands. “Because my flower, you are a girl. You’re not meant to fight and the ancestors would be angry with me if I trained you for battle. Besides, think of how dirty you’d become!”
“I don’t care!”
“Nandi you’re my daughter, the daughter of a king,” Adegoke continued patiently. “One day you’ll marry a handsome prince, he will take you away to live in a new palace. Your every wish will be granted. Doesn’t that sound nice?”
“No!” tears rolled down Nandi’s cheeks. “It sounds horrible! I don’t want to leave you and Mama! I want to stay here and fight!”
Valjeanne Jeffers is the author of the SF/fantasy novels: Immortal; Immortal II: The Time of Legend; Immortal III: Stealer of Souls; Immortal IV: Collision of Worlds; The Switch II: Clockwork (includes books 1 and 2); Mona Livelong: Paranormal Detective; Colony: Ascension An Erotic Space Opera; and Voyage of Dreams: A Collection of Otherworldly Stories. She was a contributing author during the 2014 Octavia Butler Arts and Activism Celebration (organized by Tananarive Due); and she was the 2007 semi-finalist for the Rita Dove Poetry Award. Valjeanne’s fiction has appeared in numerous anthologies including: Steamfunk!; Griots: A Sword and Soul Anthology; LuneWing; PurpleMag; Genesis Science Fiction Magazine; Possibilities; 31 Days of Steamy Mocha; Pembroke Magazine Issue no. 39; Revelry; The Ringing Ear; Liberated Muse: How I Freed My Soul Volume I; Drumvoices Revue; Say it Loud: Poems About James Brown; and Griots II: Sisters of the Spear. She is co-owner of Q&V Affordable Editing, and more of her work is available at www.vjeffersandqveal.com
Sam Walter and Miss Bee
When he is not traveling across the US looking for the finest BBQ, Sam spends his time learning all about the latest and greatest in the world of craft beer. He hosts the West Lot Pirates podcast which focuses on college sports, primarily college football. He lives in Chicago with his wife and their adorable cat.
Miss Bee was introduced to the world of professional narration while working as a studio monitor for the American Printing House for the Blind (APH) in Louisville, Kentucky. While at APH Miss Bee was involved in the production of more than 450 Talking Books for the National Library Service of the Library of Congress. Miss Bee, whose baccalaureate degree is in Mass Media Arts and Mass Communications, has been engaged in providing American Disability Act compliant audio services for the blind and print handicapped as both a vocation and avocation since the 1980s.
She is responsible for introducing Spanish language programming for the blind during her tenure as a radio control board operator for the Georgia Radio Reading Service for the Blind and Print Handicapped (GARRS). In addition to voicing, proofing, editing, mastering and publishing audio files via the Internet as audio books and eBooks, she also creates mp3 audio for eLearning, training, audio signage, tours and mp3 audio devices including CD and computer platforms.
Currently, Miss Bee also hosts a monthly podcast that surveys the African-American press for the Audio Internet Reading Service of Los Angeles (AIRS-LA). Her website is http://MissBee4VO.com