Fire&Ice: What’s Next?

WELCOME to our final edition of Flash! Future! From the beginning—way back in August, believe it or not!—we launched Fire&Ice hoping to build and spread courage in the sharing of stories among friends. The world has seen hard times before and will again. But there’s always hope to be found, as you have shown us so powerfully week after week. Your story-words and faithful encouragement of each other proved just the therapy we needed, and we hope it’s proved the same for you. Thank you!

Where can writers go after Fire&Ice? Sooo many wonderful places to stay connected with the flash writing community. We’re slightly biased of course, but #VSS365 is the Twitter venture closest to our hearts. Read more about it in our Flash!Future post here from September. Be sure to read up on its exciting changes here. In the #VSS365 community you will find daily engagement and encouragement, as well as heaps of hashtags to join all sorts of other related writing challenges.

OK, but what about the actual Fire and Ice dragons? Who are you, anyway, and are you disappearing back into the Void after Sol 19? Very sweet of y’all to ask! Here’s a quick take.

Fire Dragon: Rebekah Postupak, aka Kitten Minion

What do you write? My home is dragons, always and forever (I’ve even the tattoo to prove it!) in the wide world of YA

What’s your favorite mythological tradition? Despite growing up in the story-rich jungles of Southeast Asia, my reading roots germinated in Tolkien and Lewis. It was Robin McKinley who first showed me women could wield magic too, and that the pale fairytales of the West could be fractured and re-spun. These days I’m mostly, gloriously, lost in un-mything myself; I’m elbows-deep in histories and biographies and other works of non-fiction, alongside a towering stack of non-Tolkien-esque fantasies. I’m forever grateful to and for Middle Earth; I’m also grateful for an industry that’s finally, if reluctantly, recognizing there are worlds beyond it.

What’s the best book you read in 2020? Nonfiction: a very belated but lifechanging read, The Warmth of Other Suns, by Isabel Wilkerson. Fiction: also very belated, but ohhhh the thrill of making up for lost time! the Middle-Earth-shaking The Fifth Season, by NK Jemisin, and brain-bursting, heart-rending Who Fears Death, by Nnedi Okorafor. And then for pure candy: The Ten Thousand Doors of Januaryby Alix Harrow. Maybe next year I will finally finish Chernow’s Grant.

What’s up for 2021? Where can we find you? Oh my goodness, it’s been ages since I’ve felt this excited about a new year. Thanks to my heart-and-writing-sister Deb, I’ve a heap of new stories just about ready to go out. Funnest of all, though, is the Middle Grade speculative fiction project we’re building together. Without risking spoilers, I’ll whisper in your ear alone that you can expect to meet a young dragon, Manhu, who might be an utterly amazing dragonglass-spinner if he could go five minutes without breaking something. -Follow me on Twitter here (I’ll follow back), so I can, like the busybody I am, stalk your personal affairs without having to ask first.

Robot DreamsIce dragon: Deb Foy, pictured here as a space-bewitched robot

Your turn! Tell us what you write. I write Middle Grade worlds populated by capricious spirits, alien-made mech, & apocalyptic scavenger kids.   

A portal into fiction’s multiverse just opened up. Where are you off to? So many places! I’d wander the cities reseeded by nature in the action-adventure game The Last of Us; there’s a peacefulness, a comfort, in such a quiet, moss-and-vine triumph. Or I’d sneak through the decks of the HSS Matilda from Rivers Solomon‘s novel An Unkindness of Ghosts, or walk the B-Mor settlement in Chang-rae Lee‘s On Such a Full Sea to better understand how communities move in solidarity or function despite emotional isolation. Or perhaps, more indulgently, I’d drop by a certain Hobbit-hole in time for all the soups and pies and cakes and ale one serves at an unexpected party.       

Any books you read in 2020 you won’t soon forget? Freshwater, by Akwaeke Emezi; their novel is raw and weighty, with imagery that will carve itself into your soul. Also, Katherine Arden‘s The Bear and the Nightingale. She weaves Russian folklore into the narrative seamlessly, and the chill of her wilderness winter seeps into the bones.

Tell us about your half of our 2021 middle grade mischief! And where can we find you? I still can’t believe we’re doing this! I already adore the fearless Manhu. ♥ Of course what every impetuous dragon needs is an overly-practical robot companion, no? Enter Oki! Together, the two of them *might* be able to save their world from certain annihilation despite themselves. To track our progress, and encourage us when the chocolate runs out, stalk our social media! I’m on Twitter and Instagram—find me here & here

Flash! Future: Meet & Greet II

WELCOME to another special edition of Flash! Future! Rounding out our Sunday tradition of featuring writers from around the world, this is our second of two posts specifically highlighting Fire&Ice writers. (Note that once we close up shop, all Flash! Future posts and interviews, like your stories, will remain accessible in our archives: just look for the corresponding link in the sidebar after December 21.)

It’s a privilege today to (officially) introduce to you two writers whose names you doubtless already know from their consistent & memorable tales, as well as their set of Honorable Mentions: TadK and Jethro Weyman.  Welcome to the mic, O Ye Writers! Take it away. 


 Name: Tad Kelson (TadK/Gamerwriter)

Tell us something about yourself!  

I’m a longtime gamer, sometime writer in his mid 50s, married, Vet, administrative and paperwork sort of fellow. I’ve been writing on and off for a good 30-some years.

Tell us, what’s 2020 been like for you?

2020 has been interesting. Have spent most of it working from home, dealing with some household and family challenges, and of course, the pandemic.

Could you share some of your personal hopes and goals for 2021? Anything to share with the F&I community?

Planning to finish up two WIP, get my Patreon back up and running, and work on personal stuff like weight and debt. About it for 2021 for goals—that is enough to start with right? To the others in Fire&Ice: What a great array of writing and talent. As of Sol 13 I have one mention, which is way more than I anticipated. So keep on writing all ya all.

Tell us about your published life! 

I have one self-published novella on Amazon titled Red Hollows. It is a spin on Little Red Riding Hood, from the perspective of her son and the now-undead wolf of the original tale. Portal Fiction in nature and a couple of sequels planned, never written.

Where can we find you and your work?

Follow me on Twitter here. Find my novella on Amazon here

Name: Jethro Weyman

Tell us something about yourself!

I’m a neuro-specialist physiotherapist managing a small five-person team in the NHS in Birmingham (UK). I try to make the most of the outdoors, either on foot or on my bike but… lockdown. I do a bit of bouldering and very occasional yoga. Oh yeah, and I write books!

How has 2020 been for you?

2020 has been very busy… I went to Brazil just before lockdown, started the new job (extra challenging with COVID!), bought and moved into my new house and tried my hand at being a film extra… so basically, not enough writing!

What are your hopes & goals for the coming year? Any comments for the Fire&Ice community?

I would love to have one of my full-length novels out in 2021 (come on, agents!) as well as get my screenwriting projects in front of the right people.

Joining in with Flash!Friday has been a great experience too… I hope it returns! There’s so much talent in this group and it’s amazing to see such variety in interpretation.

Tell us a little something about your published work!

Bang to Begin is a series of interconnected short stories of a number of different genres, from sci-fi-horror to fantasy-suspense. It has been described as ‘a bit like Black Mirror,’ but mostly, it’s a dark and twisty look at the human perception of fate – hence the tagline “Reality is Relative.”

Please check out the links below!

Find a copy of Jethro’s work on AmazonUK or AmazonUSA. Of course be sure to follow him on Twitter.

Flash! Future: Meet & Greet

WELCOME to a special edition of Flash! Future! For Rebekah and me, Fire&Ice has always been about y’all: giving back to, and uplifting this community, as much as we’re able in the sliver of time that we have. To that end, we’re taking the next two Flash! Future Sundays to spotlight a few brave dragons, some who’ve been with us from The Before Times with Flash! Friday, and some who are new—and oh so welcome!—in the lair. Today, it is our privilege to introduce you to two writers who have caught our fiery Judges’ eyes on more than one occasion with multiple shout-outs and even, in Maggie’s case, a Runner Up! Join us as we sit down with P.A. Duncan (known to her friends as “Maggie”) and Bill Engleson for a quick check in on them, their books, and life in 2020. As always, your comments are most welcome!     




Name: P.A. Duncan

BIO: P. A. Duncan is a former aviation safety official and ex-bureaucrat with an overactive imagination. She writes about history, politics, and spies in the beautiful Shenandoah Valley of Virginia, where she also watches NASCAR, cheers for the New York Yankees, and spoils grandchildren.

Tell us, what’s 2020 been like for you?

(P.A. Duncan:) This year has not been easy on any of us. I thought in lockdown I’d find plenty of time to write, and I did. Sort of. I decided to try a flash-publishing experiment: three books in three months. That kept me so busy formatting, getting covers done, reviewing proofs, etc., that I hardly had time to write—until Flash!Friday and NaNoWriMo came along.

Could you share some of your personal hopes and goals for 2021?

(P.A. Duncan:) For 2021, I hope to publish two novels and a collection of short stories—though in 12 months not three—and I hope to join my fellow Fire&Ice writers for even more flash fiction!

Give us the blurb for your next published work! 

A cabal recruits two boys for a mission that could cost one his life. A man trapped in East Berlin will do anything to return to his family. From these lives we learn love is eternal and forgives almost anything.

But love is also sometimes the perfect companion for death.

Description of Love Death: A Cold War Novel, inspired by “Liebestod” from Wagner’s Tristan and Isolde; publication date: 2/14/21

Looking for more? Check out P.A. Duncan’s links below!

Find P.A. Duncan’s other novels and novelettes, blog and book trailers on her website. She also hosts the must-listen-to podcast “Real Spies, Real Lives” and all her works can be found here

Cover of LACTH with badge

Name: Bill Engleson

What’s 2020 looked like for you?

(Bill Engleson:) I wish I could say that a lot has changed for me. I am a volunteer…zoom helps with that. I am a writer and I have certainly written oodles during the Pandemic. In fact this winter, my poetry will appear in their anthologies, two of them Pandemic-themed.

What are your hopes & goals for 2021?

(Bill Engleson:) I am seventy-three. For 2021, I hope for a productive writing year and my share of good health.

What words of encouragement would you offer our fellow writers?

My dear fellow writers, keep writing. Flash, whatever you write and share your work at every opportunity.

Have a blurb of your published work to share?

Like a Child to Home is my first published work. It tells the story of Wally Rose, a Provincial Government Child Protection Worker, and the kids in his charge. Yes, it is slightly autobiographical…slightly.

Do check out the links below!

Find Bill Engleson’s novel and essays at his website along with his bio and contact info. You can purchase his works through Amazon or his Publisher.