Once again, I celebrate the holiday founded by papersky, International Pixel-Stained Technopeasant Day, wherein writers are invited to share bits of fiction for free online, and thereby prove that this does not cause the sky to fall.
This year I've decided to post one of my favorite stories: "Nine Sketches, in Charcoal and Blood." It's a favorite because as I was on my way to VeriCon one year these characters wandered into my head and immediately struck up a conversation that hinted at but never said outright all kinds of fascinating things about who they were and how they knew each other and why they had come together again after a long absence. Never have I had such a strong feeling of uncovering a story that was already there, rather than making one up -- and hell, I still wonder what some of the things are that they never got around to telling me.
This year, I'd like to make it interactive, too. Leave a comment telling me about free, online fiction you've really enjoyed lately, whether a specific story or a particular market or whatever. I read Beneath Ceaseless Skies regularly, but I'd love to gather a bunch of other recommendations, and maybe find some new authors or markets to read. So share the love in the comments, and happy Sant Jodi/Shakespeare's birthday/Thumb Your Nose at Howard Hendrix Day.