Saturday, January 31, 2015

The Toll of Another Bell a Fantasy Anthology

edited by McKenna Gardner


A collection of out-of-this-world short stories that ring true in mortal hearts.

Breath: The Guardian of Souls realizes her life is incomplete and sacrifices everything to find 

what’s missing.

Awareness: To achieve the status of Magi, Jyn must pass his father’s ultimate test.

Phoenix: Orion loses his wife on their wedding day and uses dark magic to seek her in the 

afterlife.

Life Under Research Conditions: Can a bioweapon possess a soul and make choices to save 

humanity?

The Year of No Foals: A miraculous colt and a mysterious old man bring healing to a family 

ripped apart by tragedy.

Naoki No Yokai: Yokai have overrun a local village, and it’s up to Saga Naoki to discover the 

reason why.

Jilted River: An Appalachian fairy tale attracts visitors to a state park, but then they start to 

disappear.

Tower Gods: A thirteen-year-old boy with an oxygen mask befits the role of hero in Watcher 

Benson’s eyes.

Reality As We Know It: Where otherworldly magic fails, is Row’s friendship enough to mend 

Singer’s grieving heart?

60 Seconds to Midnight: Fleeing an ancient evil, a young woman from amongst the stars finds 

unlikely refuge on Earth.




This is an eclectic collection of short stories with many subgenres from fairy tale to fantasy, mythology and steampunk.
Some are much deeper and take more focus;
others are lighter and lean more towards fantasy delight.

The collection starts with BREATH, when Fauna, the Eternal Guardian of Souls, the only one in her family with a beating heart, who is responsible for comforting and guiding every creature everywhere. She has only raised one creature herself and now he has matured and is ready to find a mate. For the first time in her existance Fauna feels longing and lonliness. This story tells how her brothers and sisters try to aid her even when they can't truly understand the emotion.

In Phoenix, a musician meets his muse in the audience of his concert and falls under her spell. They marry soon after but she ides of a spider bite on their wedding day. Heis so distraught he considers suicide to be with her. Instead he visits a witchy woman and goes on a mystical journey.

The Year With No Foals seems to be the most popular story in this collection. Even with topics of child endangerment and poverty, this is one of the lighter fantasy reads. A colt born with six legs struggles to adapt and takes a young girl to magical heights.

Other stories in the collection feature goblins and deceit, a Sqid Panther and bioweapons, music, dispair and missing persons, Daimons, and ultimate challenges. A wide assortment of topics and styles.

As author T.C.Phillips su succinctly writes "strange is better than dead."

I did receive this collection as part of a blog tour. This review is my own


About the Authors:




Jodi L. Milner lives among the most epic vistas of the Rocky Mountains in Utah and uses them for inspiration when writing fantasy. When not shepherding her children, she dreams of magic and getting a good night's sleep. She's published fiction and poetry in the online literary magazine Soft Whispers.


Timothy Vincent splits his time between his home in Kentucky and his work in Nanjing, China. A published writer and scholar, he teaches for an American Overseas program. His previous creative writing publications include: “Prince of the Blue Castle” (The Bacon Review 2013); “Star-Crossed” (Winner, Terri Ann Armstrong Short Story Contest, Suspense Magazine, 2012); “The Blanket” and “Standing on the Doorstep with Borges” (The WriteRoom Literary Magazine). He was a top 25 finalist in Glimmer Train’s new writer contest in 2010.



Elise Stephens illustrated and wrote her own storybooks from an early age, binding them with staples, and displaying them to a captive audience of family and friends. She thanks her mother for teaching her the confidence to perform, and thanks her father for reading books out loud to her. She received the Eugene Van Buren Prize for Fiction in 2007 and was a quarter-finalist for the 2011 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award. She has published two novels. Moonlight and Oranges (2011) and Forecast (2013). She lives with her husband and son in Seattle where she loves to paint, sing, see live theater, dance in the rain, and eat tiramisu in generous proportions.



Thaxson Patterson II is a 30-something, single, African American writer, living in Denver, Colorado. He is the child of an Air Force retiree and loving mother who’s wild about superheroes and fantasy literature. He graduated from the University of Denver in 2003 with a degree in Electronic Media Art Design. His lifelong obsession with a variety of literary genres including Lovecraftian horror, Stephen King supernatural tales, and the heroic myths from antiquity and Jack Kirby fueled his passion for art design. His family has been a constant thorn of encouragement in his side. Writing has been an ongoing journey full of creativity, joy, and tears spanning several years.



Scott E. Tarbet is the author of "A Midsummer Night’s Steampunk" from Xchyler Publishing; "Tombstone", in the paranormal anthology "Shades & Shadows"; "Ganesh", in the Steampunk anthology "Terra Mechanica". He writes in several speculative fiction genres, sings opera, and was married in full Elizabethan regalia. He loves Steampunk waltzes, cosplay conventions of all flavors, and slow-smokes thousands of pounds of authentic Texas-style barbeque. An avid skier, hiker, golfer, and tandem kayaker, he makes his home in the mountains of Utah. Follow Scott E. Tarbet online at http://scotttarbet.timp.net/ or on Twitter @SETarbet.


F.M. Longo spent most of his career as a software designer and consultant. An accomplished musician, he played professionally with several jazz greats, and he has won awards for his photography. He now has his own boutique publicity agency, and spends most of his time writing press releases, designing print ads, and producing radio spots. He is also the co-editor of the regional newsletter for a large non-profit organization. Longo lives in a small rural town in Western Connecticut.



Ginger Mann is a poet, musician, and digital security engineer. If you can't find her doing those things, look for a woman chasing around her small children with a camera. A Texas artist, she enjoys writing for other Texans. Her song, "River Night", premiered on October 12, 2013 in North Austin. During that same weekend, her first short story, "China Doll," began selling on Amazon.com.
She is also a key writer, and digital security adviser, for "Think Before You Click," the Cyber-Safety campaign of legal counsel, Rick Mann. Ginger lives with her family in the Austin, Texas area.



J.R. Potter has succeeded in the great dream of never growing up. He writesfor young readers, and those like him who don’t want to give up on magic. He like dinosaurs who can speak with polished accents, who wear vest coats and carry robotic briefcases; he likes fearless young girls with mechanical arms who risk everything for love and honor and a glimpse of the world above the clouds; he like to rewrite and re-imagine the past because it feels both old and new all at once, and well, the victors of history have been doing it for years.
Potter’s  world is equal parts fantasy, obsession, and transformation. He feels he has been lucky to bring this world to life through publication in The Portland Review, through winning short story competitions in the realms of Horror and Fantasy, and through a continued bond with his faithful publisher Xchyler Publishing who truly lives up to their motto “enhancing lives one book at a time." He invites readers to “come fly with me inside a WWII robot, or step out on the wings of a pneumatic ‘Whirly-Bird’ in my upcoming novel Pneumatica: Adventures in Steampunk. Together I know we will find some magic.”


Danielle E. Shipley's first novelettes told the everyday misadventures of wacky kids like herself. Or so she thought. Unbeknownst to them all, half of her characters were actually closeted elves, dwarves, fairies, or some combination thereof. When it all came to light, Danielle did the sensible thing: Packed up and moved to Fantasy Land, where daily rent is the low, low price of her heart, soul, blood, sweat, tears, firstborn child, sanity, and words; lots of them.
She's also been known to spend short bursts of time in the real-life Chicago area with the parents who home schooled her and the two little sisters who keep her humble. When she's not living the highs and lows of writing, publishing, and all that authorial jazz, she's probably blogging about it at EverOnWord.wordpress.com.


TC Phillips hails from tropical central Queensland in Australia, where he currently lives with his loving wife, three young children, a spoilt cat, and an overactive imagination. An avid reader from a young age, he has held a long standing attraction for the written word and is excited to able to make his own contributions to the vibrant and ever shifting world of storytelling. Holding degrees in both Theatre Studies and Education, he is also currently completing his Master of Arts (writing) through Swinburne University of Technology.


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The Toll of Another Bell
a Fantasy Anthology


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