So It Begins

Manifest Reality cover

What if I told you Other Me didn’t write the Shipley story in this anthology.

I did.

“Mistress, feed us.

Mistress, lead us.

Your legion awaits your fury.”

Everyone is looking at you funny, right? RIGHT?! They are, they’re looking at you out the corner of their eyes, plotting against you. The whole world, they’re out for you. Aren’t they?

He wanted this. You know he did. He said forever, didn’t he? Well, maybe he didn’t say it, but you could tell he thought it by the way he smiled at you while you checked out with your newest batch of steamy romance novels. The way the light shined off the spikes of his hair while he tried to sell you a discount card, you could tell he wanted to spend eternity with you. That struggle? That wasn’t a struggle, he was just playing hard to get. All the other boys did that before your special potion too, but this time will be different because his smile said forever.

Manifest Reality is a collection of sanity-bending short stories with one single, tenuous thread connecting them:

It’s all in your head.

“Manifest Reality” – featuring “Sundown” by Danielle E. Shipley

Available now

Society is Insidious

Society says _____.

(Insert anything here.)

And maybe you don’t believe it.

(You’re smarter. You’re wiser. You know better.)

But you hear it.


Over and over again.

(Society never stops talking.)

Replay it enough outside of your head, and it’ll replay inside of it, too —

a snatch of a tune that you find yourself humming at random.

(Or less than random. Oh, the subtle power of association.)

Society says _____.

(It never shuts up.)

And maybe you don’t believe it.

(You know better than this. You know better. You do.)

And yet…

it’s what you think.

Be Still, My Villainous Heart

After several months of frantic anticipation, my other self* finally saw the latest Marvel blockbuster, “Avengers [2]: Age of Ultron”.

*…Whose brain is twitching because she can’t remember whether I prefer to call her “Other Self” capitalized or “other self” sans capitalization, and I’m refusing to let her check through my meager backlog of posts and satisfy her obsessive-compulsive desire to exact some consistency around here, because I’m evil.

She went out decked in red, white, and blue, paying casual homage to the first / her favorite Avenger. Big surprise. Lover of truth, justice, Mom, and apple pie* that she is, of course she gives her superhero top spot to Captain America.

*She could actually take or leave the pie.

I, meanwhile, came away from the film with a favorite of my own. The eponymous Ultron.


Hot yum.

Don’t think* he gets a free pass with me just because he’s the movie’s villain.

*Of course I get to tell you what to think. [Up-and-coming] evil overlord, remember? It’s a perk.

Were he weak sauce, I’d sneer at him and let my evil pigeon heed nature’s call on his face. Let that teach him to fall short of my perfectly reasonable standards.

But happily for all (the possible exception being my evil pigeon), Ultron rocked fabulously.

It’s not only that he’s ruthless. I mean, if you’re going to be a villain worth anything, that’s just basic. Mercy is for fools.

No, though — above and beyond the ruthlessness was the passion. This man– er, robot… entire army of robots sharing a single consciousness… The point is, Ultron gave a hoot. He believed in something. He had a dream. A dream, as it happens, that I wholeheartedly share. A dream of taking this miserable planet full of wretched, self-destructive morons and elevating it to a world to be proud of. And if a few [billion] people need to be shown the door to make that happen… well, we do what we must for the greater good/evil/necessary reforms, never mind the morality.

He also had a sexy voice.

And sang Disney.

I may be in love.