Cardboard Heroes speaks to various aspects of the imagination. Within these pages not only lie tales of an apocalyptic garage sale, an amnesiac with blood on his shoes, and a thief who learns about honor, but also works that wrestle with morality and question societal compliance. In Gray Market, Crumpton introduces us to his epic science-fiction Lonford Universe, a society of worlds perched precariously on the edge before tumbling into the abyss of dystopian nightmare. All the Water Held in One Hand is a striking contrast in the other direction, a realm of faded magic and unremembered history in Erad Riliath, where he proves to be just as adept in creating a fantasy world in which to wander.
Crumpton’s poetry is accessible, allowing the reader to get lost in the clarity and economy of words to build scenes and vignettes of the lost and struggling. His short fiction takes readers to new and exciting worlds where characters explore places we haven’t since childhood. Cardboard Heroes proves a capable introduction to readers new to the author and a welcome return to those familiar with his work.
Nestled in the Ozarks, the Crescent Hotel looms over the town of Eureka Springs like a sentinel from its mountain perch, and Shari Wheatley’s family has been tied to its history for generations. Shari has come at the request of her great-grandmother Millie, to return something taken eighty years earlier. “It’s important,” was all Millie told her. “I need you to promise me you’ll get it back to the Crescent.” Ever the dutiful granddaughter, Shari agrees, though she’s still uncertain what exactly she’s supposed to do or why she’s supposed to do it.
Shari quickly finds herself caught up in a twisted web of events that started almost a century ago, and is far from over. Back in the 1920s, when the music was roaring and legend intermingled with reality, Mildred Wheatley and two other students of what was then known as the Crescent College and Conservatory for Young Women, inadvertently set a terrible series of tragedies into motion. Through pettiness and arrogance, they opened a doorway to a dark and malevolent power that, acting through its human helpers, could bring about nothing short of hell on earth.
Now, the seemingly innocent request of her great-grandmother puts Shari squarely in the path of the same beings who tore apart the lives of two families so long ago. In a riveting story linking past and present, she learns how a Guardian, a priest, and Granny Millie worked together to protect their friends and loved ones from the legion of horrors waiting to be unleashed from the pit. Will Shari have the strength to defeat this terror like those before her could not? Or will the Crescent’s dark legacy simply prove too great to overcome?
Jerome Willis lost his father. Nothing will keep him from finding the man he holds responsible, even if he has to search through every cow town and house of ill repute across Kansas. But not even he knows what will happen when he finds Abner Scott.
BONUS MATERIAL: JC Crumpton’s critically-acclaimed short story, Jack & Jill.
The Moon Has Always Been a Mystery… But what if, after the first man left his print there, it became something more. What if the Moon became home? PROJECT MOONBASE is a collection of pulpy tales all taking place in settlements, villages, and outposts on Earth’s Moon. From straight up science fiction to mystery to horror to mash-ups, this volume takes readers from their everyday sidewalks and busy streets and rockets them to the moon! PROJECT MOONBASE.
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