I’ll be at the Norwalk, Ohio public library on April 1 from 11am-1pm for their incredible Author Book Fair. Since my book isn’t out yet, I’ll be passing out bookmarks and links to short stories. Hope to see you there!
Author Archives: stephaniesandersdb088e9cb8
Singing All the Way Up is coming July 2023!
Here’s an exciting update: My debut novel, Singing All the Way Up, has a tentative release date of July 2023.
I’ll let you know when an exact day is set.
It’ll be available on Kindle and in paperback with a preorder period before release.
I just added a page to the website all about the book, so take a look and see if it’s up your alley!
Spirit Box – Free Short Story
Hi! Here’s a little tie-in to my novel, Singing All the Way Up. While it takes place years after the events in the book, it can be read before or after the novel.
For more information and to read the story, click here!
You’ll be asked to sign up for my newsletter to get the book. If you’re already subscribed, click here to download your free copy!
I’m super excited to share this as it’s the first glimpse into the world of Singing All the Way Up. I hope you enjoy!
Annihilation and Mexican Pizza – My Taco Bell Quarterly Submission
Taco Bell Quarterly publishes writing and art that contain a reference to Taco Bell. I submitted back in June and received my (very encouraging) rejection today. I thought I’d share my submission here. It was written in the dark period when Mexican Pizzas were taken off the menu only to return for, like, half a day. I hope you enjoy!
Sometimes he looked at the stars and sometimes he slept. But sleep didn’t come easy; he tossed and turned, cried out like a newly-whelped pup. And when he did manage to keep his eyes from springing open, he’d wake with the taste of beans still on his tongue, a taunting kiss from a dream.
So it was easier to stargaze, to set up his big telescope in the dark corner of the lawn and scan the sky. He’d visit his favorite constellations, familiar old friends, and his heart would stutter when a satellite streaked by. He was waiting for something to happen. He was waiting for rapture.
He was hurting, wanting, quaking all over with an insatiable need. Two years of suffering had left him hollow and indifferent. He swiveled the telescope around on its tripod, looking for an asteroid. The only thing that excited him anymore was annihilation. Annihilation and Mexican Pizza.
You see, they’d taken it away from him. Discontinued, its absence leaving more than his stomach empty.
But like Halley’s Comet it had returned, briefly shining. So he waited in line with the rest of them, sweat trickling down the back of his neck. And when he at last laid his hands upon the counter and spoke his heart’s desire, the man in the visor frowned at him. “Man, that’s been sold out since eleven. What else you want?”
His mouth gaped open and a prickling heat spread across his body. He didn’t remember leaving, didn’t remember the drive home. Everything after was a bright white gash.
And so now he sat in the dark, wheeling the telescope around, void looking into void.
The night was like any other. A cold, algae-scented breeze blew in from across the lake, but he didn’t shiver, didn’t even register the wind but for the way it pushed his hair in front of his eyes, obscuring his view. He tucked the strand behind his ear and pressed his brow to the eyepiece once more. He visited Cassiopeia, Ursa Minor. They hung firm in the dark, but a lightness was blossoming in the east and soon he’d have to slink back to the house, defeated.
“Come on,” he said, growing frantic. “Show me something.”
He didn’t know how many more nights like this he could take.
He stood, dismantled the telescope, and tucked it under his arm without replacing the lens caps. He didn’t care. He’d let dust settle on the convex glass. At least he’d have something to look at.
Standing on the deck, he turned one last time to bid the night goodbye.
And that’s when he smelled it.
A mild spice, melted cheese, the earthen scent of beans. It was unmistakable. His mouth flooded in response, Pavlovian and right. He whipped around, searching for the source. A morning bird trilled in the distance. But for the smell, everything was devastatingly normal. It didn’t make sense.
At first the sound could have been mistaken for another bird, distressed at having lost its fledgling in the night. But the high-pitched scream grew, turned into a holy whirring. The smell was overwhelming now, heavy, almost palpable. He choked on it and his eyes watered.
“Where are you?” he yelled. He knew he was going mad. He knew something had broken inside of him, but he didn’t mind. Let this be his last semi-lucid memory. He’d gratefully carry it with him into lunacy.
A smudge marred the horizon and his hair stood on end. It was coming.
The disc approached from the north, spinning silent and slow. He watched in wonder, mouth gaping once more, and the telescope fell from beneath his arm. He heard a vague shattering, but it was far away, another life. Not for him.
The object hovered above him and he fell to his knees. It was massive, nearly the size of his house. The texture of the crisp flour shell was clearly visible in the half-dark. He raised his arms, reaching toward the shell. “Take me,” he whispered. “Take me.”
The pizza tilted in response, a nod to the man who yearned.
Red sauce dripped upon his face, mingling with his tears.
I’m very excited to announce that my novel, tentatively titled Singing All the Way Up, is to be published by No Bad Books Press!
It’s the story of a young girl who may or may not have been abducted by aliens. Her parents tell her it happened, and benefit from the resulting fame, but she has no memory of the event. Is she deceiving everyone? Why does something she can’t remember hurt so much?
Interspersed with real UFO accounts, the book explores truth and belief.
I’ll let you know when a date is set 🙂
Short Story: Maw, Christmas Morning
Rod Granger cleared his throat, a craggy, broken sound, and I topped off my drink – a few fingers of scotch with a splash of soda. I needed it for what was next. I shuffled past the ravaged table, all gristle and bone, and into the den. I settled onto an ottoman in the corner of the room, my brother and niece at my feet.
Some families might read The Night Before Christmas, maybe sing a little while Daddy plays the piano, but not us, oh no. Every year we congregated around Rod Granger and let him regale us with the tale of how he found his mother cold and dead on Christmas morning, seventy years ago. Every year it was the same – the slow climb up the stairs, the mother, dead in her bed, and the desperate run to the neighbors, crying for help, for someone to save her. It was a morbid tale, but it had been worn smooth with the years, no longer bit. The kids didn’t cry anymore.
Why we let him do it, I’m not sure. Could have been sympathy, could have been some dark joke, an excuse to get drunk, but we let him do it all the same.
Rod wiped his mouth with the back of a weathered hand, folded them neatly in his lap. “I had to wait to open my presents,” he said. “I was just sitting there, staring at all that bright paper, waiting.”
My lips moved involuntarily, miming along with Rod. I knew every word, every break for breath. I wondered if he rehearsed in the mirror or if it just rolled out of him, fully formed.
“I couldn’t take it anymore. I was only seven, you see. And I was meant to wait for my mother to wake up, but I couldn’t. That paper – it called to me.”
Lights twinkled on the mantle behind Rod’s head and a pair of magnetic skaters danced across their plastic lake. Someone coughed.
“So I crept up the stairs and down the hall. My mother’s room was at the end, and I could see from the crack beneath the door that it was dark; she still had her curtains drawn.”
I took a sip of my drink, winced at the sharpness of it.
“It wasn’t like her to sleep in, but Christmas isn’t a normal morning, is it? So I didn’t think much of it when I nudged the door open, found her sleeping. She was laying on her back.”
My uncle Ralph waggled his eyebrows at me from across the room, raised his glass.
“But she wasn’t sleeping,” he said, voice low. “I touched her arm and it was cold, stiff. I opened my mouth to scream and – and -”
I lowered my drink. It wasn’t like Rod to stumble.
“And her mouth opened, so wide and dark.”
No. That’s not how it went. That’s not how it goes.
“And that maw kept growing, kept opening.”
I set my drink on the floor.