What’s the difference? Read on for some general news, and a little teaser of SFFWorld‘s latest excellent anthology, Lucky or Unlucky? 13 Stories of Fate.
So I’ve recently got a good jump on a new novel, taking advantage of the swirling, chaotic rush that is NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month). Now, I do write on a pretty regular basis as it is, but since I have many friends that take on the November challenge, I find that it gives me extra motivation. And that motivation, it goes well past November, especially when you discover that your novel isn’t quite as bad as you expected it might be. And really, you know what? This story ain’t bad, ain’t bad at all! I planned it better than I had any other story, and I’m so pleased with it so far that I’m gonna keep running with it.
And that is my excuse for the lack of news regarding my latest published story, included within Lucky or Unlucky? 13 Stories of Fate, really an excellent collection of stories, led by the fantastic Mark Lawrence, an author I greatly admire. His Broken Empire series was the best I’ve read in years.
Now, another author I enjoy is one Nils Durban. Not famous (yet), but he writes entertaining characters, and one of my favorites so far is one Lucky Bill Borrows, from his story Lucky Bill. I love his colorful language, and the man’s sinister naivety. Like so:
Borrows was lowering the gate on the back of the cart and then proceeded to sweep aside the straw that covered the boards. Horace retreated as far back as he could, desperately wanting no part in whatever this frightening character had planned. He watched as the man drew a small leather pouch from within his voluminous cloak and spilled the contents out before him. Five milky white dice rolled onto the boards.
“We’re gonna play dice then, Bill?” their father asked.
“Aye, that we is,” Borrows beamed back as if he had come up with some astoundingly miraculous idea, as opposed to the prospect of a game of dice on a cold Autumn eve in the middle of nowhere . “These, me friends, is me lucky dice. I acquired them from a colleague of mine many years ago.” He held one up for them. “Each one has pictures on it, see? Which suits me, ’cos I can’t read none, but pictures is good. Look ye here, Gil, there’s a raven, a dagger, a star, a skull—that be me favourite one. Then there’s this double cross thingy,” he turned the die over to display each face, “I’m fucked if I know what that means. Then there’s this one. Can you tell me what it is?”
Horace had leant forwards slightly for a clearer view. “It’s the number thirteen,” he piped up involuntarily, hoping that this was part of the game and that they were well on the way to finishing it. His father shot him a warning glance but Bill slapped the back of the cart in glee, causing the dice to jump around. “That’s exactly what it is, me lad. I can’t read it me self, not proper like. But I recognise it, I do.”
Horace wondered whether he should inform Borrows that recognising words and numbers was how reading was generally accomplished, but he held his tongue.
“Now,” Borrows continued, with a devilish wink, “pay attention, Gil, for I’m gonna tell yer how the game’s to be played. Yer’s gonna roll these five dice into the back of yer cart ’ere, all at once like, and if even one of ’em turns up thirteen, you’re the winner. How does that sound to yer?”
“And what exactly does I win, Bill?” his father enquired, presumably trying to enter into the spirit of things. Borrows roared with laughter and slapped his father on the shoulder heartily. “I had you down as the gamblin’ sort right from the off I did, Gil Caster, and now yer be provin’ me right.”
“Oh, I ain’t, Bill, I’ve never had a wager in me life.”
“Well, it ain’t never too late to start. That’s what I was told once, although I think that had something to do with an honest day’s work or some such nonsense , I don’t rightly recall now. Anyway, to answer yer question as to what yer prize be, ’tis yer freedom! All of yer’s. You roll that number thirteen, Gil, or two of them or more, and yer free to go. How’s that for winnings?”
You can read more about the poor, misunderstood Lucky Bill Borrows in Lucky or Unlucky? 13 Stories of Fate, available at these fine web stores:
And if you do check out the anthology, we’d love to hear what you think on Goodreads!