Tuesday Toot – Angel Leigh McCoy

Tuesday Toot is a semi-regular feature here at The Word. An invite-only series of short posts where writers, editors, booksellers and other creatives have been asked to share their stuff and toot their own horn. It’s hard to be seen in the digital morass and hopefully this occasional segment will help some of the quality stuff out there get noticed. It should all be things that readers of The Word will find edifying.

This week, it’s Angel Leigh McCoy tooting. You might recognise the name – she’s in charge of Wily Writers, one of my favourite fiction podcasts/publishers. They’ve published a couple of my stories (Stand Off and Declan’s Plan) and loads of other good stuff. I was also recently a guest editor there and got to pick two stories for publication. So I’m very happy to give Angel some space here today.

ALMWho is Angel?

I’m hijacking my own bio space to say two things, Alan. First, OMG! Your novel is on Audible! You have no idea how happy that makes me. I read audio books while I’m commuting across the Seattle asphaultscape to and from work. So psyched! [Thanks! – Alan] And secondly, I just want to say I love that I get to toot today in public and not feel embarrassed. Thank you for allowing me a little swatch of your blogspace.

When you get to be my age, your bio becomes a daunting exercise in what to leave out, so I’ll just mention that I live in the upper-left corner of the USA, with three loving cats. Oh, and I’m a writer. During the day, I work at a company called ArenaNet, writing dialogue for a little game called Guild Wars 2. The Border House recently published a two-part interview with me, in which I talk about game design and the sylvari race of characters in the game. I’ve been a game writer for almost 20 years, so you can guess how much I love my job.

Best of Wily WritersWhat are you tooting?

As for what I’m tooting today, I want to tell your peeps about my speculative fiction podcast,Wily Writers. Folks, you may have listened to a couple of Alan’s incredible stories there, but if you haven’t, go do so! You’ll enjoy them. We liked his story “Stand Off” so well that we put it into our first Best of Wily Writers anthology alongside a primo selection of our best from 2010. We’ve also recently released our second collection of the Best of Wily Writers.

Wily Writers is all speculative fiction, all the time, and that means some of the best horror, fantasy, and science fiction out there today. Also, we just became a pro-rate market, so if you’re a writer, check out our submission guidelines. We have a special contest coming up for SpecFicNZ members. SpecFicNZ is a New Zealand writers organization.

I also wanted to mention a little story I wrote, a novella, called “Charlie Darwin; Or, the Trine of 1809.” “Charlie Darwin” is about three boys who get kidnapped and taken to a magical dimension land while in their formative years. These boys are Charles Darwin, Abraham Lincoln, and Edgar Allan Poe.

Charlie DarwinIn real life, these three were born within a month of each other, and all three went on to become extremely influential in the world. The story I wrote suggests that maybe the reason these men lived such amazing lives was because they had an adventure when they were nine years old that opened their minds to possibilities others couldn’t imagine.

The story is great to read to your kids, but it’s also fun for adults. I had an awesome time doing research, and I wove some of their futures into their pasts.

That’s all I wanted to tell you about today. I’ll leave you with this brief excerpt from “Charlie Darwin.” If you end up reading the rest of the story, please do drop me an email and let me know what you thought.


“What in tarnation?”

The strange words awakened young Charlie Darwin. He wasn’t positive what they meant, spoken as they were with unfamiliar inflection, but he got the gist. Charlie pushed up on one elbow and gawped. He lay on the deck of a galleon constructed and carved of dark wood. It swayed and swashed as if afloat.

A bean-pole of a boy with ragged brown hair was pacing back and forth, his unpolished boots thudding upon the deck. He was the one who had spoken.

Another boy lay on the deck next to Charlie. He slept, eyes closed, mouth open, snoring a wheezy little snore. He wore a black suit and had hair as slick as a raven’s feathers.

Charlie spied a man on the quarter deck, standing at the helm, attention focused on adjusting a set of brass levers. He wore white from head to toe, including cowboy boots, a European-style cloak, a knee-length Templar tunic (slit to reveal fringed chaps) and a ten-gallon hat on his head. The wind whipped his cloak out behind him and flattened the tunic to his thighs.

Charlie’s perusal of the man was curtailed by a thunderous whoosh from overhead. He ducked, covered his ears, and looked up. Where he had expected to see sails pulled taut by the wind, he found a trio of white balloons tethered to the boat with criss-crossing ropes. It took a moment for the sight to sink in and for his brain to analyze what he was seeing, but only a moment. In the next instant, he was up and running to the deck railing so he could look out over the ocean. It was there, vast and blue-gray, but it was far, far below.

Charlie sat down and wrapped his arms around his knees.

“You okay?” asked the tall, thin boy.

“I don’t like heights.”

The other boy patted Charlie on the shoulder. “Sorry about that.” He plopped down too. “You’re awake.”

“That remains to be seen,” Charlie said.

Read the rest of “Charlie Darwin”.

Find Angel at her website: AngelMcCoy.com.

Tweet her at @AngelMcCoy and find her on Facebook!

You really don’t need me to tell you again how good Wily Writers is, but I’m going to anyway. Seriously, get over there and get your fix of great spec fic, in text and podcast flavours. – Alan


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