Valhalla Press-Short Fiction

The Ecstasy of Michaela

by John Pistelli

Price $2.99

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Michaela is no saint. Living alone in a decaying rust-belt city at the end of the twentieth century, her life completely adrift, she grudgingly attends her estranged mother’s funeral. There she learns about the grisly murder of a local boy named Tony Zabelsky. She becomes obsessed with his story and begins haunting the places he frequented until she meets his former lover, Eliza May Bradford. Eliza has repudiated her wealthy family and now lives in a squatter’s commune with her and Tony’s child. Michaela embarks on an almost hallucinatory journey through the ruined city and through the memories of Eliza and others who knew Tony Zabelsky. Along the way, she learns who holds power in her city and how they treat those who do not. Such unforgettable knowledge compels her to action. A dark literary fiction in the tradition of J. M. Coetzee and Don DeLillo, The Ecstasy of Michaela is at once a philosophical dialogue on the meaning of evil, an image-rich portrait of a country in decay, a political protest against the ravages that avarice and cruelty have unleashed on America’s cities, and a poetic character study of a woman who must find the resources to resist, in any way she can, the world’s crushing forces.

To hear the Valhalla Press interview with John Pistelli, click here.

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by J. Calvin Pierce

Price $0.99

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How can my patient look at his wife, who could serve as a painter's model for a sultry odalisque, and see a plain, "presentable girl"? His distorted dream-vision of her as a shameless wanton fits, in caricature, her air and appearance better than his waking one. Though I am sure it is done innocently and unconsciously, she radiates a sensuality that is all but suffocating. Even her voice captivates. It is low in pitch, dark in timbre, and seems to inhabit the ear like the murmurings of some exotic musical instrument. One does not care what she may say, if only she will speak. But now I believe she begins to lose hope. When she is standing near me I can see in her eyes a look of agitation, almost desperation. How I wish there were something I might do to bring comfort to this unhappy lady!

The novelette "Sahib" was originally published in an anthology of Little Deaths, 24 Tales of Horror and Sex and was also included in the later German (FIEBER—24 dunkle Geschicten) and French (LA PETITE MORT—Anthologie érotique de littérature fantastique) editions.

Amazon Prime customers may download to their Kindle for free.

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Meals on Wheels

by J. Calvin Pierce

Price $0.99

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What are a doddering old man and a pretty young girl doing in a dark, lonely rented house, and what secrets might be hidden there? The deputy aims to find out.

Amazon Prime customers may download to their Kindle for free.

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10/02/2014 07:23 PM

Ragnarok Alum wins Literary Fiction Prize

Ragnarok alumnus, Jay Antani, has achieved two important milestones in his writing career recently. His novel, The Leaving of Things will be republished on Kindle on November 18. A chapter from this book appeared in the Fall 2012 edition of Ragnarok.

The Leaving of Things also won first place in the Literary Fiction category at the 2014 Kindle Book Awards. Drawing on his own experience, Jay crafted a fascinating story of an Indian-American teenager forced to return to India because of family circumstances. Jay's chapter had garnered an honorable mention in Valhalla Press' 2012 writing contest. The judges were intrigued by Jay's tale of reverse immigration.

We at Valhalla Press are particularly gratified by Jay's success. The goal of our contests and the Ragnarok e-lit journal has always been to identify and give a platform to literature's emerging voices. In Jay's case, it appears we were right on the mark.

For those interested in reading Jay's work, the Fall 2012 edition of Ragnarok is available for only 99 cents. That issue also includes the work of Jan English Leary, Mary Beth Ellis, Mark Levine, Jennifer Peckinpaugh, Davey Jones, Jamie Derkenne, Albert Davenport,, John Pistelli, and Adrienne Terrell Washington.

To discover other emerging voices, we recommend downloading the Spring 2013 edition of Ragnarok, also, just 99 cents, to read the works of Robert Robeson, Orla McAlinden, Jo Haraf, Satya Khan, Mark Levine, Dominic Carew, Joseph Peacock, Wendy Roberts, Benjamin R. Smith, and Joel Burcat. Where author names appear as links, the links take you to their works on Amazon. As you can see, the Ragnarok writers are a pretty talented bunch. If you have not done so already, we invite you to sample their works.

07/09/2014 03:06 PM

Our Writers are Busy

Two of our writers have recently posted blog postings concerning their writing careers. John Pistelli looks back at his writing of The Ecstasy of Michaela two years later. Also, Albert Davenport discusses the enduring fascination with the apocalypse and how that influenced his novel Revelation 11.

Each work that an author writes gives readers a snapshot of the author's style and worldview. Unless the reader follows the author's work, that view may harden into an obsolete, distorted vision of his or her work. John Pistelli's post shows how just two years in an author's life can alter his perceptions and writing style. Returning to a writer can afford the reader a deeper, more nuanced understanding of the writer and his work.

The popularity of HBO's The Leftovers set Albert Davenport thinking about human fascination with the apocalypse. His post tells a little about how his musings on the "end of days" provided his upcoming novel, Revelation 11's, essential conflict.

We invite you to enjoy our writers' blogs and their works. The Ecstasy of Michaela is available on the Valhalla Press website and Revelation 11 is currently being marketed by Dean Krystek at the Wordlink Literary Agency. Fans are encouraged to 'Like' the Revelation 11 Facebook page.

04/05/2013 03:28 AM

New Ragnarok Issue Published

Due to the large number of entries in our two contests, the judges are running behind schedule in providing feedback to those who submitted works. For those of you who have not yet received feedback, the judges expect to have them all completed by April 15. We apologize for any inconvenience, but rest assured feedback is coming soon.

The Spring 2013 issue of Ragnarok- the e-lit journal of Valhalla Press is available in Kindle form from our website for $3.99. Even if you don't own a Kindle, you may download the issue to your PC or MAC. The Fall/Winter 2012 issue is now available for .99.

03/14/2013 02:57 AM

For five days, starting March 14, readers may download a FREE Kindle copy of J. Calvin Pierce's The Door to Ambermere from Amazon. For those who haven't read the first in Pierce's trilogy, this is an opportunity to enjoy a light-hearted fantasy at no cost. If you read the original 20 years ago when this cult classic was first published, you have another chance to travel with Daniel, Hannah, and Marcia through the Door to Ambermere to meet such memorable characters as the bumbling magician, Rogan, and the insatiable King Asbrak the Fat. Oh yes, there is a demon and a beautiful lady involved.

Amazon prime members may borrow a copy of Door to Ambermere free. Amazon limits the number of books members can borrow to one per month.

03/04/2013 09:16 PM

Complete List of Contest Winners

The judgements have all been rendered and the roll will be called in Valhalla. As stated previously, the winner of the Valhalla Press Flash Fiction/Flash Memoir Writing Contest is Robert Robeson for his story of heroism in Vietnam "Doc Drevo's Disarming Decision". Second prize went to Orla McAlinden for her memoir of growing up in Northern Ireland entitled "Control Zone." Two honorable mention winners from the contest will also have their work appear in Ragnarok-the e-lit journal of Valhalla Press. Jo Haraf's flash fiction piece, "Cherry" tells the story of how an old car leads to a new relationship. Satya Khan's flash memoir, "The Absence", explores postpartum depression.

We had a double winner in the Valhalla Press Legal Professionals Writing Contest. Mark Levine took first prize for his work "Margaret Mead". His story, "The Pain Industry" garnered honorable mention as well. Dominic Carew's legal-dystopian vision (a new genre, perhaps?), "The Documents", took second prize. Joel Burcat won honorable mention kudos for his novel excerpt, "The Executioners". Congratulations to all of our winners.

Ragnarok's Spring 2013 issue will also feature three directly submitted fiction pieces. Joseph Peacock's "Old" looks into an aging man's attempt to redefine himself in his later years. Wendy Robert's "Ouroboros" is set in Belgium shortly after the Nazi's retreated. Finally, Benjamin R. Smith's "Two in the House of Happy Air" explores a future where the arts are illegal.