We are very happy to continue our Author Spotlight series featuring contributor’s to our upcoming anthology A Darke Phantastique with the lovely Melanie Tem.
Her story “Timbrel and Pipe” is a fabulous tale of physical transformation:
“Fire spun high into the city night sky and low into the night river right through the rapids, leaving streaks like stars newly lit and stars falling, sizzling in the riverbank weeds so dry from weeks without rain, illuminating and surely sometimes singeing the spinner’s pale forearms and long white-blond hair. Laura watched and trembled.
The fire-spinner was very tall, unless that was just angle and reflection and fire drawing the eye upward. Sirens sang
past, not coming here, not for this place. The fire-spinner made crazy music with a million voices, with some sort of instrument that gleamed like teeth, with ankle- and wrist- and nose- and ear-bells and -rattles invisible except for near-invisible glint. Laura thought, I could do that. Not throw fire and catch it, but my voice jumps around all over the place and my tremors could make music if I put bells on my wrists. There was always drum-play, a single kettle or a concert set or rows of them like blood beats on both sides of the river. There was always weed and wine.
‘That’s what I want to do,’ Brett said beside her.
‘Why?’ A single-word question often sounded like a challenge, but it was all she could manage right now. She hoped he knew she was eager to understand this about him.”
About the story, she writes:
“The genesis of ‘Timbrel and Pipe’ was a late-night foray with my son into the world of musicians, street poets, performance artists, jugglers and poi spinners, potheads, thieves and gangs and roving band clans, down along the confluence of the Platte River and Cherry Creek where Denver began. You go there late on a summer night. It’s a vivid, edgy place, full of images and possibilities.”
Melanie Tem’s work has received the Bram Stoker, International Horror Guild, British Fantasy, and World Fantasy Awards and a nomination for the Shirley Jackson Award. She has published numerous short stories, eleven solo novels, two collaborative novels with Nancy Holder, and two with her husband, Steve Rasnic Tem. She is also a published poet, an oral storyteller, and a playwright. In Concert, a collaborative short story collection with Steve Rasnic Tem, was published in 2010, and solo stories have recently appeared in Asimov’s Science Fiction Magazine, Crimewave, and Interzone, and anthologies such as The Devil’s Coattails, Searchers After Horror, and the Black Wings series. Her novels Yellow Wood and Proxy will be published by ChiZine Publications in late 2014 and mid-2015. Melanie is a social worker and non-profit executive director. The Tems live in Denver. They have four children and four granddaughters. Visit them online: www.m-s-tem.com.
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