Beyond the Latch and Lever: Speculative Short Stories

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A Peek Inside the Stories of Beyond the Latch and Lever!

Esterbell (© 2020) Elle Blackwood: An old woman returns to the crumbling French château where she spent her childhood to say goodbye to the keeper of her past.

The Two Lives of Agapito Cortez (© 2020) Carlos Joaquin Gonzalez: A wounded, Mexican-born Union soldier awakens to find the world isn’t the same as he remembers.

The Third Quirk (© 2020) Karin Larsen: An alien retrieves their dead brother’s spaceship and comes to terms with their grief.

Home to Skjolden (© 2020) Erik Amundsen: When a man returns to Northern Norway to sell his family’s farm, a curious encounter unearths the past and makes him question his legacy.

Flight of the Bumblebee (© 2020) Susanna Skarland: A young couple in the near future struggle to survive in a world where the natural pollinators have died off and corporate robotics serve as their replacement.

Liminality (© 2020) R. L. Castle: An elderly doormaker seeks comfort in the doors of his past.

Between Hell and Fire (© 2020) Bobbie Peyton: A young Filipina farmworker must navigate the haunting nature of racism on an asparagus farm in 1960s California.

The Pantry Ghost (© 2020) H. K. Porter: Trapped inside an unfamiliar pantry, a young woman struggles to piece together the string of events that led to her isolation.

Rabbit’s Key (© 2020) Steve Garriott: When a physics major agrees to an adventure with an eccentric young man, they stumble upon a scientific discovery that alters their reality and their futures.

The Last Door in the Hilbert Hotel (© 2020) Evvan Land: A man must complete a test to find the exit from his own personal hell.

The Wending Way (© 2020) J. S. Artz: A celestial being sent to Earth must decide whether to stay and help, or leave humankind to their own destruction.

Meet the Authors!

Here they are! Eleven contributing authors whose stories are featured in our upcoming speculative fiction anthology, Beyond the Latch and Lever!

Erik Amundsen is from a small Norwegian village north of the Arctic Circle. Surrounded by forests, mountains, and fjords, he spent his youth hiking, fishing, and cross-country skiing. When he wasn’t outdoors, he had a book in his hand, reading mysteries and westerns before he was old enough to start school. After college, Erik lived in Oslo, worked in IT, and became a genealogy researcher. He had nearly forgotten about books until he married a writer. Erik divides his time between Norway and the Pacific Northwest. He has over 70,000 relatives in his family tree. 

J. S. Artz spent her young life sneaking into wardrobes searching for Narnia. When people started thinking that was creepy, she had to find other ways to explore her passion for mystical adventures. Now she finds those long-sought doors to magical story worlds in her work as an author, developmental editor, and book coach. An active member of the writing community, she volunteers for SCBWI and Pitch Wars and is a member of EFA and AWP. Julie lives in an enchanted forest outside of Redmond, Washington, with her husband, two strong-willed teenagers, and a couple of naughty furry familiars. 

Elle Blackwood is a writer, poet, and editor with a bachelor’s degree in creative writing and English literature. She is the author of A Map of My Existence, an autobiographical poetry collection published under her pseudonym, Elle Wonders. When crafting prose, Elle writes magical realism and literary Gothic fiction infused with folklore. She creates landscapes of dark woodlands, lochs, and rugged moors, with old mansions and thatched cottages that serve as central characters. Elle lives in a small Victorian river town with her husband, son, and a big black poodle with a penchant for solving mysteries. When Elle isn’t writing, she’s painting, traipsing through old graveyards in search of lost stories, or browsing antique shops. She collects obscure antiquarian books, lonely teacups, and vintage photographs of people she doesn’t know. 

R.L. Castle writes science fiction, fantasy, and speculative fiction—from robotics and elementary particle physics to dragons and wizards. He has a soft spot for writing realistic family dynamics, despite fantastical settings and circumstances, and slays the page with love and loss. He holds an M.F.A. in writing for children and young adults from Hamline University and writes in all forms for young readers and adults alike. When not writing, he can be found battling monsters on Pokémon Go. 

Steve Garriott has always been a voracious reader and writer. He enjoys all genres of fiction and non-fiction, with a special love for books about Presidents Lincoln and Grant, and the works of Mark Twain, and Kurt Vonnegut. In 2016, Steve’s three submissions were chosen as the winners of the Everett Public Library flash fiction contest. He has navigated ships, taught writing to high school students and adults, been a corporate trainer, and currently works as a technical writer. A regular participant in National Novel Writing Month, Steve has numerous unfinished novels scattered on flash drives. 

Carlos Joaquin Gonzalez is a Chicano writer who grew up in a household filled with music and books. He became absorbed in storytelling at a very young age, and being half Mexican mestizo, half European-American, he has two distinct cultures to draw from. An autodidact by nature, Carlos has been a lifelong historian and is fascinated with alternate history. Aside from writing and researching, he loves grunge music, concerts, and single-malt Scotch. Carlos is majoring in Chicano Studies at the University of Washington and will graduate in 2021. 

Evvan Land is a writer who grew up immersed in storytelling of all kinds—through books, role-playing games, movies, and a wicked sense of humor. Evvan is drawn to philosophical ponderings, mathematical proofs, and astrophysics. When he’s not writing or calculating, you can find him playing piano, practicing Japanese, reading, and eating peanut butter. A Pacific Northwest resident at heart, Evvan is pursuing a degree in Mathematics from the University of Colorado, Boulder. 

Karin Larsen fell in love with writing during a childhood filled with arts and music in the American Midwest. She pursued a degree in sacred music, combining writing and music composition to create and direct a stage musical for her capstone project. When fibromyalgia ruled out the world of collegiate-level teaching after a few years, she turned her energy towards her family and faith communities. She now works as music director of a small Lutheran church, and her writing often focuses on family and relationship dynamics. She lives in the state of Washington with spouse Keith and daughter Phoenix. 

Bobbie Peyton is a writer of Filipino and European heritage. Born in the Philippines, she moved to the United States as a baby and grew up in an idyllic small town in Oregon. Bobbie now lives in northern California with Tillman and Wonton, her two little (but ferocious) dogs, where you can find her at work on many writing projects, especially for younger readers. A former high school special education teacher, Bobbie has master’s degrees from Tufts University and Hamline University’s M.F.A. program in writing for children and young adults. 

H. K. Porter is new to writing, but not to stories. She’s been an avid reader since she was three years old and is currently an active member of two book clubs and National Novel Writing Month. In addition, she is a beta reader and provides critiques for the books of indie author and publisher, Heather Marie Reaves. Ms. Porter lives in the Pacific Northwest, and aside from reading, she loves cooking with her partner, gardening, and exploring thrift stores for unusual objects as inspiration for short stories. 

Susanna Skarland is an editor, author, and unicorn, holding an M.F.A. in writing for children and young adults from Hamline University. She is a member of SCBWI and volunteers for PNWA and the Society of Young Inklings, providing editorial support. Susanna writes fantastical, adventurous fiction about ancient dragons and flighty faeries. A sucker for playful language, she flagrantly fashions fanciful fractal fricatives. All of Susanna’s stories weave in a strong thread of science and the natural world, the residual effect of a substantial career in biological research. Her home is under the clouds of the Pacific Northwest, where you will find her with a cup of tea in hand and cat underfoot.