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Millennium Art, New Reading, Reviews, and more

L.B. Shimaira: News, Updates & More
In this issue:
  • Millennium updates & COVID
  • Millennium art
  • Reading a snippet from My Lord
  • MY LORD review from Emily S. Hurricane
  • Review: The Uncanny and the Dead, edited by Ezra Arndt 
  • Short story: “The Dead don’t Dream” by L.B. Shimaira
In case you missed the previous issue, you can find it here.

Millennium updates & COVID
I’m still working on editing Millennium. Currently 9 chapters are done 💃
Because I’m still editing existing material, I want to have several chapters of new content first before I start considering doing regular updates to wattpad. However, I’m quite pleased with the current progress 😊
Everyone in my household had COVID the other week (we’re still not fully recovered) and can I just say, YIKES 💀 I’m seriously glad we were vaxxed because this hit hard and I was in a LOT of pain 😭 Thankfully the worst of it only took a few days. Hoping to be fully back to normal by next week 🤞
Millennium art
I love (fan)art, let there be no doubt 🥰
A friend of mine draws a lot of my Millennium characters, and I found the following piece hidden away in an old email 👀
Blue, character by Shimaira, art by Alshe
Blue, character by Shimaira, art by Alshe
Reading a snippet from My Lord
I did another reading from My Lord after a friend made a request ♥
~ If you have any suggested passages you’d like me to read, please do let me know 😊
Shimaira 🦇
I did another reading and this time... you get to see my face 👀
Thank you @Nyhterides for the suggestion🖤 https://t.co/p6ACzZ2LvR
MY LORD review from Emily S. Hurricane
A recent review for MY LORD:
After reading In Sickness and in Hell, I was sure that I would be into anything Shimaira produced. I ordered a copy of My Lord in hardcover because it is gorgeous, and meant to leisurely read it over time, letting myself live and bask in the world for a while.
Yeah, I binged it. Every deep and dark sultry page.
I was hooked from the get go—I knew that Shimaira was good at horror, and given the time period and gothic feel, expected terror at every turn. But My Lord is much more subtle, an underlying tendril of dread mixed with curiosity and intrigue that kept me up at night reading. I had to know what was up with Lord Deminas. I had to know if Meya would be betrayed by her peers in the castle. I had to know if she was going to get closer to the other ladies working alongside her—and in none of these things did Shimaira disappoint.
My Lord begins Meya’s journey being captured into a life of servitude, and though it’s all new and scary, it’s not all bad. Lord Deminas is a hardass, but he’s fair, and despite his sadism she is curious about him, and in turn, so was I! He never ceased to surprise me, and neither did any of the other characters.
Shimaira easily weaves romance and even tenderness into her horror, but in My Lord this is even more of a feat because one of the love interests is kind of also the antagonist. Lord Deminas is a complicated man, but he’s interesting and sexy and Meya does what she must with the libido and curiosity and opportunities she is given. It’s organic and fascinating, and mygawd the steam.
Let’s just say my favourite scene between the two of them has to do with a particular hot melty substance…
If you want to check out Emily’s work, you can do so here.
Review:
The Uncanny and the Dead, edited by Ezra Arndt
Cover and blurb of The Uncanny and the Dead
Cover and blurb of The Uncanny and the Dead
I had the privilege to read this anthology early as I was asked if I could write a little something for the blurb. The anthology is out now in both ebook and paperback, so here is my review and I hope it’ll make you consider getting a copy too ♥
A great anthology with a lot of range. Some stories are paranormal suspense while others will fill you with dread.
The anthology itself is beautifully designed, with each story having their own header art.
Above each story you will also find a short list of content warnings, which is something I love to see.
Longer, more in-depth review:
Because it’s an anthology of various short stories, it’s hard to review without dropping spoilers.
One of the things I always enjoy about anthologies is how they introduce you to new writers. Love a certain story? Look up the author and see what else they have to offer :) Sometimes an anthology is what leads one to find their new favourite author.
It can also be the other way around, where you already have an author you love and an anthology offers a short story in the same universe as existing books.
On LGBTQ+:
With queer authors, there are also several stories that clearly feature queer characters. For example, THE FIELD DEVOURS has a character who uses they/them pronouns.
On THE RELUCTANT HUSBAND:
Yeah, I’m biased… I love C. M. Rosens THE CROWS so when I was reading THE RELUCTANT HUSBAND and realised it was basically a prequel to that novel… I literally did a little squeal of joy 🙈 If you’ve read THE CROWS and want to read more about the history of , that alone should be a reason to pick up a copy of this anthology ♥
On style:
As stated on the back of the book, the stories are in both US and UK English, but there is also THE DARK PURSUIT which is written in US English but uses Brazilian conventions. I’d never read a story before that used that, but it was pretty straightforward and didn’t take long to get used to.
Stories are written present or past tense, and in first or third POV. However, there is also one story written in second POV: HITCHHIKING. I have to admit, when I started that story the second POV took me off-guard… But it was *perfect* for the story. It would not have achieved the same level of eeriness and uncanniness if it had been in any other POV.
Final notes:
If you’re looking for a collection of short stories that offers a good range, a variety in length (the shortest story being 4 pages long and the longest 67), with amazing authors who each tell their story with a unique voice… Be sure to pick up a copy of THE UNCANNY AND THE DEAD ♥
PS:
It features eldritch horrors, old gods, and also tentacles 👀
If you want to check out the kickstarter for their next anthology, MONSTROUS DIVINITY, and perhaps even submit a short story of your own, have a look here.
Monstrous Divinity anthology, edited by Ezra Arndt
Monstrous Divinity anthology, edited by Ezra Arndt
Short Story:
The Dead don’t Dream, by L.B. Shimaira
When I sleep, I dream. In my dreams, I can’t drown.
For some reason, in all the dreams I’ve ever had, I never drowned because I could breathe underwater. 
Breathing would be slow, heavy, but it was always enough to sustain me.
I would float in the warm water, darkness around me, and just open my mouth and ever so carefully breathe.
The water would fill my mouth, then my throat, all the way down to my lungs. It never hurt; it even felt nice.
Nostalgic.
I’d get enough oxygen to sustain me, not much more. It was too hard to move with the little bit of air my strange feat of unknown biology could muster.
But, I only needed enough to survive.
To not drown.
Yet, this is not a dream.
This is real.
The taste of salt on my tongue tells me so, for in none of my dreams did I ever taste that.
I hold my breath as the current pulls me down. The water is cold, strong.
Nothing like my dreams.
Struggling would deplete my oxygen supply faster, so I stay as still and calm as possible—I know I can’t fight my way back to the surface. Not with just my arms.
At least I’m not in the wheelchair; that would’ve dragged me down even faster.
I look up at where the ship’s hull blocks the sunlight.
It doesn’t seem to be stopping.
Help does not seem to be coming.
No-one is jumping in after me.
Did she not tell anyone?
She was there when I tumbled over the railing.
She was the one supposed to support me, yet she let me slip.
Or did she push? It happened so fast, I’m not quite sure now.
The current tugs at my clothes and pulls me deeper and further away.
Well, I suppose it doesn’t matter if nobody comes to help me.
I try to recall what she had said before she had helped me out of my chair. She hummed something when she guided me to the railing, that I do remember—just not what.
The cold water makes it so hard to focus. The lack of air makes it hard to focus.
My lungs burn; too little oxygen in them and too much carbon dioxide.
I let out a small bubble and it eases my chest ever so slightly.
The surface is moving further and further away. The pressure against my ears increases, but what can I do?
I never learnt how to swim, just how to float—and I’ve failed horribly at that so far.
But, maybe I can pretend this is a dream.
I part my lips and let the cold seawater fill my mouth—but only my mouth.
I watch the bubbles that escaped float up to the faraway surface.
The light of the sun seems so distant. The water around me grows darker with every beat of my heart.
There is nothing.
No reef, no fish, no bottom I can see.
Just a big, black abyss that’s pulling me in.
My ears stop hurting from the pressure now that my head is filled with the salty water, yet it stings.
My chest, however, burns.
My body needs oxygen, but the surface is beyond my reach.
Maybe I should try…
Pretend I am asleep.
Pretend I am dreaming.
In my dreams, I can breathe underwater.
The cold liquid flows down my throat, an involuntary spasm follows.
It’s okay—I can do this.
I imagine being able to take the oxygen from the water.
It’s difficult, heavy, but I’ve done it before.
The burning sensation in my chest slowly vanishes and my head feels lighter.
I’m still drifting further down into the dark.
Whispers from the void are at the edge of my mind. What is it they want? Do they desire my death? Or do they want me to keep on living?
I take another “breath”.
The surface is becoming nothing but a memory now that the light fades away.
But I am still alive.
In my dreams, I can breathe underwater.
As long as I dream, I can breathe.
It’s difficult and takes all my focus, but I am determined to keep going.
To stay alive.
I keep sinking and the pressure keeps increasing, every hint of light now gone.
But I can dream.
And thus, I can breathe.
The dead don’t dream, therefore I am not dead.
I close my useless eyes, nothing there to see.
Breathe.
Dream.
Never stop dreaming.
I open my eyes.
Grotesque pillars are emerging from the depths. Obelisks darker than the seawater.
Atlantis?
No, that would have been a very different sea.
These structures don’t have any architectural style I know of.
… but how am I seeing them?
There is no light at this depth—there shouldn’t be.
Dream…
Breathe…
Don’t die.
The whispers are louder now, but I still can’t understand what they say.
Are they helping me?
I can’t move, I just float on the current as it drags me along.
How tall are these pillars? Where is the bottom of this ancient sunken city?
I close my eyes again, but the monoliths remain visible.
It would make sense that I am not seeing them with my eyes, considering the lack of light.
But how then am I seeing them?
Something is wrong with this place. I can feel it in my entire being, but I just can’t quite explain what or why.
Is it the size of the structures? Of how they seem so alien? Or is it because I can still see them while everything around me is pitch black?
The salty water keeps slowly flowing in and out of my lungs, but I can’t help but wonder…
Do I really want to keep on dreaming if it takes me to this forsaken metropolis of drowned onyx structures too big to have ever been constructed by human hands?
Those who dream can’t die.
Was this my own thought, or someone else’s?
The current takes me towards a gigantic structure that, if anything, reminds me of a stargate. The ring itself appears to be a helix, but I count six—no, seven strands. The portal within is a shimmering black void.
I don’t want to go through.
Every fibre of my being is screaming to stop nearing it. But, I can’t move.
I can’t resist.
No human mind, no matter how ancient its civilisation, could ever have engineered the monstrosity I am being pulled towards.
What lies beyond that shimmering void?
I suppose it won’t be long until I find out.
But, I don’t want to find out.
I need to get away, as far as possible—and fast.
I need to stop dreaming.
And, with a gasp, that’s what I do.
The salt water burns my lungs and my body convulses.
The abysmal ring fades back into the dark depths.
Every pillar, every monolith, every sign of the abysmal sunken city … gone.
My chest hurts; there’s no more oxygen.
The dead don’t dream.
I’ve stopped dreaming.
~*~
Well, that’s it for this issue. If you have any feedback (things I can improve, things you like, anything really) please let me know 💜
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L.B. Shimaira: News, Updates & More
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