Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Story Spotlight #10: Angela Brown's A Diver's Ball

Here it is. The final story spotlight. Angela Brown is here to tell you about how her story "A Diver's Ball" came to be.

*     *     *

My contribution to this year's IWSG Anthology almost didn't exist. I sat on the story idea - inspired by Ready Player One - until about nine days to the deadline. While work demanded too much of my time and my daughter deserved way more of my time, I carved moments in between those two important forces in my life to write, revise, and haphazardly edit my short story, sliding it in on the day of deadline.

Yeah, I cut it close.

And I'm so glad I shared this story. Being a part of this anthology is such an honor. Sharing the tale of a young girl's brush with love in the online world of Cumulus is timely. We can be anything and anyone we want to be in the masquerade this is the online world, from keyboard smacktalkers to word vixens with an extra-sassy-sauce-twist. With role play games (RPG) and virtural reality (VR) diving growing more fantastic, who knows if a real life Cumulus will evolve into being, where daily life, and love, are all characters of the masquerade.

Here's a little about my story, A Diver's Ball:

What’s a gamer girl to do when her first chance at love collides with a once in a lifetime quest?

You can be anything you want in the online world of Cumulus. A human. An elf. A powerful beast mutation from your wildest imagination. But can you be in love?

Sixteen-year-old Alyssa hopes so.

Alyssa is stoked she's finally of age to attend the granddaddy of online parties: the Diver's Ball. And wonder of all wonders, her online gamer crush - erm - bud, Irv, asked her to go with his date!

Before her avatar can don the perfect corset and dress in honor of the ball's Steampunk theme, a once-in-a-lifetime quest barges in on her plans. Then the sudden onset of parental controls threaten to ruin everything.

Faced with these dilemmas, Alyssa makes a decision that impacts not just her online, but her real world life as well.

And oh the consequences...

Here's a short blurb:

After the greeting, the black screen behind Alyssa’s avatar transformed into a three-dimensional blue sky. Fluffy clouds moved gingerly above, below, and around her, as if she stood in the sky itself. Had she donned her full-body haptic suit, the gentle breeze spurring the clouds along would cool her skin with a grazing kiss and sweep through the locks of her hair. Only her haptic gloves were allowed for this dive. She held her hands toward a cloud, giggling at the cool, wet sensation that lingered on her fingers.

“This never gets old,” she said aloud.

“You have returned. So glad you are back.” This voice differed, understandably more purr to the words. Alyssa designed her simulated assistant, or SA, as a lithe black cat with piercing green eyes. It hopped from one cloud to the next until landing on her shoulder. Every Cumulus user had a SA assigned as a method of making interaction with the system more personable. She’d always loved things that went unloved or misunderstood. A black cat fit her.

“Yes, Baxter. You know what day it is?” Alyssa all but sang the last few words. She could finally attend the Diver’s Ball, the granddaddy of all online parties. This year’s theme: Steampunk Masquerade.

“Of course, I do.” He licked his paw and groomed his whiskers. “You are of age now and can go to the Yudarian-verse for the Selection. Finally, a winged Traveler all your own.”

“That’s right. I’ve got my corset and…wait, what? Oh no. The Selection? Today? No, no, no. Baxter, home.”

And make sure you go out and order your copy of Masquerade: Oddly Suited today!

Haunt us @
Purchase your anthology @ one of these universal links:

Find love at the ball…

Can a fake dating game show lead to love? Will a missing key free a clock-bound prince? Can a softball pitcher and a baseball catcher work together? Is there a vampire living in Paradise, Newfoundland? What’s more important—a virtual Traveler or a virtual date to the ball?

Ten authors explore young love in all its facets, from heartbreak to budding passion. Featuring the talents of L.G. Keltner, Jennifer Lane, C.D. Gallant-King, Elizabeth Mueller, Angela Brown, Myles Christensen, Deborah Solice, Carrie-Anne Brownian, Anstice Brown, and Chelsea Marie Ballard.

Hand-picked by a panel of agents and authors, these ten tales will mystify and surprise even as they touch your heart. Don your mask and join the party…

Angela is a gladiator-in-business-casual battling giants in the world of IT by day and mom to a teen and a tiny fur baby 24/7. A devourer of books, chocolate, and Hot Tamales, Angela uses words to build bridges for readers to escape, to feel, to explore, and to know they are not alone. In the Masquerade: Oddly Suited IWSG Anthology, she is the author of A Diver's Ball.

Haunt her here: Blog | Twitter | Instagram 

*     *     *

And now, before you leave, I'd like to let everyone know that the Masquerade Ball Bloghop kicks off tomorrow!

Each day leading up to release day, excluding Sundays, each of the ten authors featured in Masquerade: Oddly Suited will host a masked guest. This guest is a character from one of the stories in the anthology, though you will not know which one. You will also be treated to a small scene that relates to but does not appear in the story. Remember, the mystery is part of the fun! It is a masquerade, after all.

Return to each post on April 30th (release day) to learn who each character is and where they come from!


Thur. April 18th: L.G. Keltner

Fri. April 19th: Jennifer Lane

Sat. April 20th: Deborah Solice

Mon. April 22nd: CD Gallant-King

Tues. April 23rd: Elizabeth Mueller

Wed. April 24th: Chelsea Marie Ballard

Thurs. April 25th: Carrie-Ann Brownian

Fri. April 26th: Myles Christensen

Sat. April 27th: Anstice Brown

Mon. April 29th: Angela Brown

Tues. Apr 30th: Book Release and The Unmasking (Just follow links above)!


L. Diane Wolfe said...

It's a good thing you made time to write it.

Anstice Brown said...

I also submitted close to the deadline, Angela. I enjoyed the excerpt. I'd love to have a black cat as my SA.

Jennifer Lane said...

I totally thought of Ready Player One once I started reading your story, Angela! Baxter is the bomb. It's a wonderful story.