Friday, April 4, 2014

New Posts on the New Site!

That completely new site I previewed for everyone a couple of weeks ago is now LIVE and has all the goodness of this site plus more on it.

I'll be updating my blog on there now and hope you'll all come over and bookmark it. If you have any difficulty following that blog compared to this one, let me know and I'll have the appropriate tools added for you.

It's my goal to make a site that is easier to use where I can better communicate with you, the readers. New books are coming out in short order and trade paperback versions of all my books are being readied for distro. I'm going to hold a couple of giveaways very soon for autographed versions of the whole Silo 49 series. Be sure not to lose track of me!

Friday, March 28, 2014

Cover Reveal for Synchronic!

And here it is! Well, it is the mock up for it anyway. Just take a look at those names. Can you believe I'm in there with them? Well, I am and I'm super excited.

So what is my story about and why am I in a time travel anthology? Answer to the second part is easy. I've never done it and I wanted to see if I could. Not to mention that the chance to be on paper and in bytes with two of my favorite authors was simply too much to resist.

As to what my story is is my blurb:

Everyone wishes they could change something in their past once in a while. Whether it is that embarrassing comment at an office party or going back to save a life lost too soon, we all wish for the impossible at least once. When too many people are given that power and no ability to control their fleeting thoughts of change, what happens is more than chaos. It could be the end.

I'm not sure how I feel about the blurb quite yet, but I know that I like the story. It's utterly and completely different from anything I've attempted before. The characters are in an impossible situation and they handle it so very differently. I sure hope that when this comes out, you'll read it and let me know what you think.

Monday, March 24, 2014

So...Is that a sexy new webpage? Why yes, yes it is!

I confess that I love this simple and easy to use blogspot page. It's provided a way to communicate with readers that I can actually use without screaming incoherently in frustration.

Well, this and now Facebook and Twitter and....

::cough:: Anyway, I've found a great web designer who has been busy at work creating a new and more comprehensive site for me that is easy to use for readers while still workable by me.

So take a tour of it and let me know what you think. Stinky or delicious? (It even has a nice easy address to remember!)

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Wool Gathering is Published!

 Get it on Amazon

Wool Gathering: Stories from the Silo is out and available on Amazon. Eight stories from some of the best Silo story tellers are included in 171 pages of glorious silo-ness.

The reviews are excellent already and I couldn't be happier.

So, what did I put in there and is it related to Silo 49? Yep! My story, The Last Republican, takes place in the time leading up to entry into the silo and directly after. I genuinely like these characters and hope you will as well.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

ARC Drawing for Woolgathering

I should have posted this on Saturday night, but the ARC drawing happened then and congrats to the two who got them. These ARCs (Advanced Reader/Review Copies) are as rare as hen's teeth and very limited.

For everyone else, be sure to sign up for the newsletter (to the right of the page at, near the top). About once every month or two I'll send something out, but I'll also announce ARC sign ups, contests for signed copies and new releases there.

As for the free days, they end tomorrow for Silo 49: Deep Dark, so if you haven't picked it up, grab it before the promo ends. Silo 49: Going Dark will stay free for as long as Amazon lets me.

And, as always, do try to leave a review. They help indie writers more than I can express.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Are they all going free? Answers to your many emails.

I got home from work today to find forty-four...yes 44...emails and other notes from readers asking if the rest of the series is going to be free soon because Silo 49: Going Dark went perma-free and now book two, Silo 49: Deep Dark is on free promotion.

The answer is...sadly, no. I don't do free promos but this is a one shot deal to celebrate the final permafree status on Amazon. I think giving away half the series (more than half if you take word count into it) is probably enough.

Another question that popped up in one of those emails, I'll answer:

Q: Why are your books different in length and price? Are those two overpriced shorts or real books?

A: They are all priced based on length and mine are bargain priced because I'm a newbie.
--Going Dark is 40+K words, which is a novella or about half the length of a standard novel. That is free but it was 99 cents because I like the idea of 99 cents.'s a cute word.
--Deep Dark is over 80K words, which is novel length. So, it's a full book.
--Dark Till Dawn is also the 80K sort, so another full novel.
--Flying Season for the Mis-Recorded is 20K+ words, or what I call a novelette and some call a novella. It is 99 cents.

To put it in perspective, the original WOOL was 12K words or so.

My books vary in length because I chose not to break them up into hanging episodes and instead release each new book as a stand alone piece. I think I enjoy books more when I don't have to wait a month between each new snippet of a few chapters.
The first one is shorter because there was less to tell. The middle two build in the detail and take the reader on the journey of a culture developing in a dark silo. Flying Season is a side story about two rather well liked characters in DTD, by reader request.

And a reminder, see the post below. I've gotten very few people signed up to get a chance at the ARC for WOOLGATHERING. It's a rare chance to read a book weeks before others do. See the post.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

ARC Giveaway of WOOLGATHERING Anthology

As some of you know, I was asked to be a part of a WOOL anthology. The proceeds will go to charity. While there are still some legal details to work out to be sure the charity is good with the final product and so on, the book itself is now done!

As you can see from the cover, it's a bunch of great writers who know their WOOL. My story is a prequel to Silo 49: Going Dark about the very day people went into the silos. Oh yes, and there are cute beagles. So there.

We're trying to do this launch right and in the pursuit of doing things right, we are each allowed to give way two ARCs (Advanced Reader Copy). This is what gets sent to reviewers and such so that a review of a book can appear on the date of release.

It will be in electronic format so you can put it to your kindle and read just like normal.

This is not the same as Beta reading. You can give us feedback if you want, but that isn't at all expected. Instead, we'd like you post a review on Amazon on the date of release. A truthful review!

Since this implies agreement, I won't just pull a winner from the mailing list. Instead, I'll select from people who specifically desire to enter. You can post a comment or you can just email me (contact form to the right). Either way, I'll select the winners soon so don't delay.

You'll be the first ones to read it and that is always cool. Good luck!

Friday, February 28, 2014

Silo 49: Going Dark finally FREE on Amazon! Celebrate!

As mentioned in my last post, the Friends of WOOL pricing for the full length novels in the Silo 49 Series, Deep Dark and Dark Till Dawn, was supposed to end today after many additional months of the discounted price. Well, Amazon finally went free price-matching on Going Dark and I'm over the moon.

Because a lot of people will pick up the book in the first flush of free-ness, I'm going to extend the 1.99 pricing on those two books for another day or two so these new Friends of WOOL can grab it at the low prices.

Assuming they don't hate Going Dark, that is.

Also, I wrote some time ago that I was working on getting print editions of the books for those who have written and asked about it. Well, the first one that will come out is the last book, Silo 49: Flying Season for the Mis-Recorded. Mostly because it is the shortest and so much easier to eat the costs of if the proofs don't work out.

I think the cover might have a problem but the proof copy will be here next week for me to check. After that, assuming the problem is easy for the cover artist to fix, it will be available! Whoot. Here's a peek.

And as I agreed to do in the various emails, I'll be sure and buy several at wholesale for those who want signed copies and then send them out. Cost will be exactly wholesale and cost of profit, for those who are first out of the gate. And yes, I will still be doing a giveaway of each signed version as they come out from those who are members of the mailing list. 

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Friends of WOOL pricing to end soon!

I've been delaying this for a while. It was only supposed to last three months but we are now into month six for Deep Dark so it is time.

While I am making Silo 49: Going Dark perma-free (it is available at Smashwords, iTunes and B&N for free, but Amazon is still not price matching yet!), I need to have the other ones pay me back for their production.

It ain't a huge jump and three or four bucks for a full length novel is still a good deal. I'm still a believer in LOW priced shorts so Silo 49: Flying Season for the Mis-Recorded, at 20K+ words is going to remain 99 cents. That is the lowest that Amazon will let me price.

I'm also going to keep them on the program that allows for Amazon Prime members to borrow, which means they won't be available in other venues.

So, I'm giving everyone the head's up so they can get books two and three for cheap before I change the prices. I hope this doesn't alienate any readers because my whole goal has been to entertain and connect with people who like to read.

And I will continue to offer Friends pricing for each new book when it first comes out. Mostly, only the first week or two, but if you're on the mailing list or follow this blog or facebook, you'll know about it and be able to grab it up at the lower price. No worries there!

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Freebies, Print and Major Milestones

Lots to relay today but all of it exciting. Plus a favor (no, not reviews) to ask of folks who read.

First off: Print!

The fabulous cover artist for the Silo 49 Series is currently working on making the print covers for Going Dark and Flying Season right now. Yes, print! But note that I said the first and the fourth book in the series. The reason? Because I'm going to do the fourth book first. That way, I can see what it looks like and be sure of my layout on the shortest book rather than the longest ones. If it looks good, then I'll be doing all the rest in short order.

I wasn't going to do print at all because I didn't think people would want them but then I got so many nice emails from readers who asked for them. And asked for autographed copies! If people are asking, then I mean to make them happy if I can.

Before they come out, I'll probably do a free copy selection for the trade paperback edition from those on the mailing list, so keep a look out for that. If you're not on the mailing list (remember, I don't do spam!) then you can click the link to the right ----> and get on it.

Second: Freebies!

This is where my favor asking comes in. I'm trying to make Silo 49: Going Dark "perma-free". That is when it is free on as many venues as possible. I've successfully got it free at Barnes&Noble online, iTunes and Smashwords (with Kobo to follow) and on the various library feeds but not yet on Amazon. Amazon doesn't do free but it will do price-matching. The only way to get it to make a book free is to complain long and often.

There's a part of the book page on Amazon that looks like this:

See that part that asks "tell us about a lower price?" That needs to be clicked and filled out often in order for them to get the idea. If anyone feels like it, please go to the Amazon Silo 49: Going Dark page and click on it. Then put in any of the following addresses:


The price is 0.00 with shipping 0.00 and then you're done.

Every single time I see someone has bought another copy, even though it is only 99 cents, I cringe. So far it's been downloaded for free hundreds of times at other sites, so there is no reason that Amazon shouldn't price match. Thanks!

Why am I trying to make it free? Well, because I really do think people should get to try a series before they buy a series in today's world. I had to wait for it to come out of Amazon Select to do it, so it took me an extra three months.

Third: Major Milestones!

It was awkward but also one of the coolest things that has ever happened to me. I was taking my time cruising around Wegman's (which is an amusement park for foodies and not a grocery store) and kept noticing a woman sort of staring at me. I figured she was probably someone who worked in the vast building I work in that I just didn't recognize. When I got over to the "really good meat" counter, I was standing there trying to decide between boar and lamb while I waited in line and looked over and saw her again. She was totally checking out the contents of my cart. So, when it came my turn in line I said she could go ahead of me because I still didn't know what I wanted.

Instead, she blushed and then asked me, "Are you Ann Christy? The one who wrote Silo 49?"

I was totally floored and dumbstruck so I just nodded.

She grinned at me and then....wait for it...asked me for my autograph! So, I gave it to her right there and was simultaneously embarrassed and delighted. I couldn't even get the meat and had to run off and scoop up some chicken afterward instead.

So, there's that big thing that happened. A reader found me at Wegman's!

Doggalito News!

Some of you may already know that my beloved dog, Charlie, had to get surgery last week to basically rebuild his knee. He's thirteen and pigeon-toed so we knew this might happen. He tore a ligament and then tore a second one on the same knee while waiting for his ortho appointment. So, last week he had the whole thing re-built with two titanium implants, ligament repairs and bone refacing to correct the pigeon-toed stance in that leg so it wouldn't happen again. Pretty big surgery. He came through like a champ!

I've had to remain camped on the lower level of the house for the last week while he is crated because he freaks when he can't see me. I run upstairs to change and take showers during the peak period of his drowsiness from his pain meds. You should see my hair! And my living room! It looks like a refugee camp down here. Here's his picture. You can see where they shaved his leg and his back for his epidural. No incision showing so the picture is safe for the squeamish.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Silo 49: Going Dark is now FREE on Smashwords!

It is not easy to get something to go free on Amazon. It may seem like it is easy because it happens, but for a regular person like myself, who does not have a tech team or even any experience, it is something of a labyrinthine process.

After much time, a few screams at the computer and a whole lot of hours spend diddling around with the format for each platform, I managed to get the first book in the Silo 49 series up on Smashwords for free. I won't know if it makes their expanded distribution for a while, which would make it free on other platforms and give me a shot at making it free on Amazon, but that first step is made.

You can get Kindle formats from there so if you haven't gotten it yet, but somehow wound up here, you can get it there. Here is the link:

My intention is to make it perma-free, which is the catch phrase for making it free on as many platforms as possible permanently.

Why am I doing this? A few reasons. It's already been pirated and I'd rather people get it from a safe and authorized site rather than go for the pirated version. But I won't be making all of them free so my line stops there. Also, I'm a relatively unknown author. Actually, outside the Silo fan circles, I'm completely unknown. It's a good chance for people to try something before they commit and I'm all for that. Also, I only make 35 cents a copy that is sold, so I won't be losing much. And it's worth it to have others be able to read books they might like. I like Silo people. You're a fun bunch!

Now for a request. Right now Going Dark has 93 reviews....93 is so close to 100 and I would love to have three digits of reviews. Really, truly, love.

The other three books, Deep Dark, Dark Till Dawn and Flying Season for the Mis-Recorded have far fewer reviews and that is hurting the visibility of the books. If you can, please drop over to Amazon and leave a review if you can. Twenty words is the minimum and I would really appreciate it.

I'm working hard on the next book...not in the Silo series. But I'm also tossing around a story called Roughneck that is set in Silo 49 at it's beginning. It marries up with my story, The Last Republican, that is slated to go into an anthology of Silo stories benefiting charity. We'll see what happens. The book I'm currently working on is a hard one because it has limited characters and spans vast measures of time and space, yet has a tiny and limited setting. Until next on!

Saturday, February 8, 2014

I Read Other Stuff, Too + Giggly Picture

I went to the Library on this grungy snowy day to pick up another audiobook for my wicked DC commute. So why do I look so happy here?

Because I'm going to make the commute this week a scary one. 

I finally got to the top of the list to pick up World War Z (there were six ahead of me when I put a hold on it). I go through about two a week unless it's George R. R. Martin. Those can take weeks with their 36 or more CDs per book. I'm currently listening to The Hunger Games, which I've read at least half a dozen times but never listened to. It's exceptionally well done.

I wonder how many others listen to audiobooks as a way to make their commutes go faster and avoid road rage?

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Book Four of Silo 49 is OUT!

 Buy on Amazon

For all the people who wrote and asked for Greg and Lizbet's story, here it is.  I wrote the story while I was mapping out the progression for Silo 49 but I didn't think I would publish it.  Here it is. Please tell me what you think of it and if you can...leave a review on Amazon.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Ann Christy on the dark side....Facebook!

In a lot of the emails I get from readers, I'm asked if I have a Facebook page.  I always say no because I have, up until now, avoided it. 

I mean, some of those ads are so creepy! Go on, you know it's true.

Anyway, I'm on it now. Ann Christy so if you'd like to visit me there, I'm just a click away.

Don't be shy, questions are fine and I'd love to have readers as friends.

Oh, and just between you and me, I've seen the two proposed covers for Silo 49: Flying Season for the Mis-Recorded and I nearly jumped out of my yoga pants I was so excited!  She's working on it now so the story should be out very, very soon!

Friday, January 24, 2014

Hugh Howey is on the air!

If you've read Silo 49, it's almost guaranteed it's because you liked Hugh Howey's WOOL. Well, he is on Authors on the Air at this very moment and will be for another hour or so...and he's taking calls.  Just a heads up for all the fans out there.

If you're seeing this after 9 p.m. Eastern Time on the 24th of January, then you missed it but the entire interview is recorded there so you can listen to your heart's desire.

And just in case you're wondering: Why yes, I did call in! Finally, after all this time I got the chance to thank him with my voice for giving me permission to write the series in his world. Much better than an email. I'm the first caller so it is somewhere in the first fifteen minutes or so. If you're curious, you can hear my voice. :)

Friday, January 17, 2014

Silo 49: Flying Season for the Misrecorded

So....yeah....I thought this would be a short story I would put out somehow, but it got longer.  Also, I've gotten a lot of emails asking me for more (or Moar!) about Greg and Lizbet.

At this point it is just shy of 20K words and that looks like where it will stay. I'm not sure what to call that in terms of categories. According to the Nebula Awards site, that would classify as a Novella, but I tend to think of those as longer.

I gave a preview of it a few posts back so if you like the taste of that, give me a shout out using the Contact Me form to your right and tell me.  Also if you think it sucks.

Do you think I should go ahead and publish it?

According to one Alpha reader who just got done with it, she started crying about halfway through and then kept sniffling the entire rest of the story. I was pretty appalled by that since I was looking for emotional connection but not that. But she claims it is a good thing because it was "beautiful" and she cries easily.

Really not sure what to think about that. I might need to call on a few of you who have volunteered so graciously to Beta read to see what you think.

As to what's up with the rest of Silo 49, alas, still only 4 reviews. I'm not sure what to think of that since by now I should have a lot more based on sales and the reviews from the first two. It's fairly disheartening.  I'm left thinking: Did I miss the mark? Make people unhappy with the outcome?

On to brighter notes.  The charity anthology of WOOL stories, called WOOL GATHERING is shaping up nicely! Some real talent will be inside there from some of the popular Silo Saga authors. I've seen a preview of the cover and it is super awesome. I'm hoping to be able to show it to you on the blog soon.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Silo 49 In Hardcopy? Say it isn't so...

Oh yes, soon enough the Silo 49 Trilogy will be available in hardcopy. Whoot! Very soon you should see the first book in the Trilogy available as an ebook through venues other than Amazon, too.

In other news....

An incredible collection of short to not-so-short WOOL stories is set to be released soon which will feature yours truly.  It's to benefit charity and I sure hope you like my addition.

I've named it: "The Last Republican"

If you recall...way, way the Shift series we learned from Hugh that the Democratic National Convention took place at a certain spot on a certain fateful day. Guess what my story covers.

Also, soon to be released is a tie in story for Silo 49 that tells the story of Greg and Lizbet. So far, every single alpha reader has cried. That's what I like to hear!

Also - as always, please review if you can bear to do so on Amazon. I know some people just can't do it and I respect that, so no pressure. (That is not my elbow nudging you. Surely not.)

Contact me at any time for any reason by using the form to the right. I've been answering questions and I like hearing from readers.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Charity Silo Short Story and Updates!

Hey readers!  I hope your new year is being kind to you and everyone who got a shiny new kindle for the holidays is packing it with delicious indie books.

A goodly number of the Silo Saga writers are getting together to do a charity anthology of silo stories and it looks like they are going to be good ones.  Yours truly is adding one but I was having a hard time figuring out what to write.

Well, it came to me today and I just finished the first draft.  I'm calling it, "The Last Republican" and it is a story that takes place just before and after the "event" that puts them all in the silo. I rather like it. Now I just need to make sure I'm not delusional and that it is worth it before getting to the hard part and editing it.

On to Silo 49: Dark Till Dawn...

I see that a whole lot of you have picked it up but there are just two reviews so I'm chewing my lip to find out if you like it. Do you?

If you did, please write a review on Amazon. It's the only way to be seen so they are important. It's the way that you, the reader (and me when I'm the reader) change the landscape of Amazon by telling others what is good to read. You probably get sick of hearing it, but the reviews make or break a book. Enough said.

As always, I'm just an email or Contact Me form away.  I've already heard from a few of you who want more Greg and Lizbet.  A few others have asked for another book on what happens afterward.

I have definitely heard you. I'll rely on more feedback to tell me which way I should go next. So keep it coming.

Friday, January 3, 2014

Silo 49 Short Story - Greg and Lizbet's Story

I know that Silo 49: Dark Till Dawn just came out less than a week ago, so I should be glued to the Amazon ticker seeing if it goes up in rank and if people like it.  And yes, I am doing that, I confess.  But I can't just sit here and watch the whole time.  What to do, what to do.

Well, I got a couple of emails already asking about what happened with Greg and Lizbet.  It just so happens that I wanted to know, too.  While I was writing Dark Till Dawn, I was also writing their story and I've just finished the first draft of it.

I'm calling it, "Flying Season of the Mis-Recorded".  If you've read Dark Till Dawn then at least part of that title should sound familiar and be understandable.  It's too different to put into the book and too short for a book of its own.  It's about 18.6K words long as it stands now.  Not quite a novella and not a short story but somewhere in the fuzzy area in between.

So, without further's the first chapter.  Remember, it's a first draft! What do you think? Continue with it or ditch it?

Flying Season for the Mis-Recorded

Lizbeth shoved the last of the trays into the freeze drying machine and slammed the door home with a little extra force.  The hinges needed to be worked on but until it actually quit shutting reliably, it would remain on the work list.  There were always other broken things moving past the not-quite-broken items on the lists.  She hit the buttons that set it to work and listened for the fans and compressor to kick on.
When the buzzing whine seemed stable she turned to inspect her work area.  Nothing on the floor, no forgotten trays of cut vegetables, packing tables clear and clean.  The vacuum sealer in the corner was cleaned and ready for the next day, its stack of buckets and bags neatly arranged and waiting.  She gave a nod of satisfaction then sniffed her hands and arms.  Not too bad today.  She was lucky it was carrots and not onions.  No amount of scrubbing would get that smell off and she didn't have a lot of time to waste tonight.
At the door she squared her shoulders and made sure her face was without expression, the familiar flush of anticipated embarrassment making a hot spot in her belly.  She raised her chin just enough to seem unbothered, but not so much as to seem proud, and opened the door.
Second shift was in full swing in the vegetable processing room and a dozen pairs of eyes followed her as she strode past.  Knives and cutters and scrapers all stilled and she could feel their eyes on her back like little points of pain.  She pushed through the swinging doors and kept walking toward the door that led to the safety of the compartments.
Like always, the pressure eased at about ten paces away and she sucked in a deep breath of relief.  One more day gone.  Going to and leaving from work were the two worst moments of her day and she counted each one completed without incident a victory.  There was no one in the hallway leading to the single compartments so she pulled the kerchief from around her head and let her hair fall free after being confined all day.  Her hair actually hurt when she let it fall, a sore tugging on her scalp.  The tight binds of her kerchief bent the hairs and the roots protested when the weight came back.  It happened at the end of every work day and she’d grown to like the soreness.  It was the same kind of pleasant discomfort that came from stretching in the morning after a deep sleep.
Her room was the last in the hallway, with the further space of an empty room between her and the next occupied compartment.  Though it was never said specifically, she knew no one wanted to even risk sharing a wall with her.  Especially not while they slept.  She even had her own bathroom so that nothing of hers would touch anyone else, even obliquely.  She didn't mind.  She might as well have some benefit from being nearly untouchable.
Inside her room, she stripped the sweaty coveralls off and scrubbed her skin till it hurt.  She sniffed her arms again and detected the faint dirty sweetness of carrots but she didn't think it was too bad.  It was almost nice.  Tonight was a big night and she wanted to be perfect.
The tunic she had finished sewing hung from the front of her closet.  It was daring and of her own design.  It wouldn't just raise eyebrows, it would drop jaws.  Dyed the darkest color she could find, it looked purple in the light but black in dim light.  Small bright blue spots were sewn around the bottom of the hem in the back, yellow spots on the front.  The bottom half was short enough that it barely reached past her shorts and the top half wasn't much of a half at all.  Two wide strips of cloth were anchored at the front waistline of the skirt and crossed over her chest, crossed again in back and were sewn onto the skirt at the sides.
Small orange ribbons kept the crossed bits in place and held all her parts where they should be.  She smiled and ran her hands down the supple cloth.  It would fly when she moved and her feet tapped in anticipation of the music to come.
She changed into her dancing shorts, a ribbon run through the hem at the bottom and tied around her thigh to keep it snug no matter what she did.  Today the ribbons were appropriately red.  She slipped the dress on and smiled at her reflection.  Perfect.
Pulling the coveralls over the dress was tricky and she was left with a little bulge around her hips.  It would tell anyone who looked carefully where she was going and what she was up to.  Then again, hundreds of other teen shadows would be taking the stairs in the same state, so that didn’t matter much.  She shoved her sandals into her satchel, added a quick spray of scent and a smudge of charcoal around the rims of her eyes.  She was ready.
There was a shadow in the butterfly garden as she passed.  It should have been empty and the door was cracked open so she peeked in.  Marcus, the farmer who had sponsored her and acted as her reluctant caster, was bent over the patch of parsley and looking intently at something within.
"Something wrong, Marcus?"
He started at the sound of her voice and rose too quickly, stumbling backward.  She reached out to catch him but he jerked his arm back.  She pulled away, expression carefully neutral.  Marcus may have sponsored her and he may have been the only person who seemed comfortable speaking with her alone, but he was no different than anyone else when it came right down to it.
"I didn't mean to startle you.  I was just passing by and saw someone in here," she explained, looking down at a butterfly on the ground near her feet.  It was wafting its wings slowly and canted a little to the side.  This one wouldn't fly again.
"Ah, don't worry about it, Lizbet.  I'm an old man and startle easily.  I just came to see them."  He waved a hand at the litter of dead and dying butterflies on the plants and ground.  "It's getting toward the end of flying season."
She murmured an assent and bent toward the canted butterfly.  The larger blue spots among the yellow and black meant this was a female.  She laid a finger on the ground in front of it and felt the tickle of its tiny legs as it crawled up her extended digit.  She knew it was silly, but when she did this, she imagined they felt relief to be off the cold floor.  She carefully transferred the weakening creature to the parsley and let her crawl off at her own pace.  Only when it was safely away did she speak.  "But flying season will come again for them."
Over the years of her life, Lizbet had become expert at looking at people without actually looking at them.  She saw Marcus stiffen a little, the posture one that spoke of concern.
She had said it too expressively, she thought.  She rose again, gripped her satchel in front of her and lifted her eyes for the barest second to meet his.  "They'll be back.  Everything that is of us— everything good— is born again to the silo.  Nothing is wasted.  Not even souls."  She gestured at the struggling butterfly and said, “Not even their souls.”
They said nothing more for a moment.  Lizbet was conscious of each moment passing her by.  She really wanted to go but Marcus wouldn't have been here just to see butterflies.  He must want to say something to her.  The farms were dark for the night and farmers at home.  If he was here it was for a reason.  She wondered who had complained about her now.
"Listen, Marcus.  I've been doing what I'm supposed to.  Keeping to myself..."
He raised a hand to interrupt her.  "Oh, Lizbet.  It's nothing like that. I..."  He stopped and cleared his throat uncomfortably.  "I just wanted to wish you a happy birthday.  Since you're off tomorrow and everything."
She flushed and tried not to smile.  "Oh, thank you.  Thank you for remembering."
He shuffled his feet and cleared his throat again.  "Well, it's a big one, isn't it?"  He pointed at her satchel and the red tag hanging from the strap.  "You’re going for one last dance?"
Lizbet spun the matching tag around her wrist and said, "One more and then I age out."
He laughed and said, "I remember that day.  Turning twenty felt like the end of the world.  Well, now you'll have to settle down like the rest of us."  He stopped abruptly, realizing what he had said and how absurd it was.  He reached out a hand and came within a hair's breadth of her shoulder.  His gaze fell for the briefest moment on the ridged circle of scar tissue on her cheek, her own personal and permanent ‘O’ carved in flesh.
"You know what I mean,” he added quietly.
They both knew there would be no "settling down".  There would only be the unending solitude she had now except that it wouldn't be broken once a fortnight inside the walls of 25 Drums, where all were the same and all were welcome.  It would just be this ceaseless shoveling of food into and out of machines and a meal she picked up to eat alone in her room.  And dreams of how it should be different, of course.  Always the dreams.
"It will be okay, Lizbet."  He knew.  He was saying goodbye.
"Yes," she said, her tone as flat as ever.  "It will be okay."
She looked down again.  He was uncomfortable once more.  He shuffled to the door of the enclosure, his back bent with age and decades spent over a spade in the soil.  "Have fun tonight.  I'll see you," he said as he left the enclosure.
When he was gone, Lizbet saw that there were two more butterflies on the ground that wouldn't make it.  After six years of shadowing inside the farms she had come to know their motions well.  She could tell which ones were resting and who was finished with their duty to life and simply waiting to die.
It was precious time she was using, but she let each crawl to her fingers to be returned to the parsley.  They had no expressions—no communication—but they seemed content there.  Tomorrow their little bodies would be plucked away but for now, they could be where it was familiar and safe.
The screen door sign read, "Close me!" in emphatic letters.  They were such efficient farmers and harvesters that these poor creatures had been made almost extinct within the silo.  Kept here, in their own enclosure with their own plants to put their eggs on, their numbers were sound.  But they were caged.  They fluttered their wings and rested on the screen like bright sparks of color.  She could almost feel their inborn desire to get beyond it.

She pulled the door closed behind her and stopped.  It was the end of flying season.  There would be more than enough eggs laid by now to ensure another year.  She looked around the darkened room and saw no one, no profile among the plants and no sound of rustling leaves from an evening stroll.  The door opened again without a squeak and she strode quickly away.  The current of wind created by her swift departure made for an easy path and wings fluttered in her wake.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Silo 49: Dark Till Dawn is Out!

With huge thanks to the Beta readers, who all sent wicked good notes and caught "whoopsies" in spelling and grammar that would have been terribly embarrassing, I'm happy to say that the book is out.

Happy New Year!

 Silo 49: Dark Till Dawn On Amazon