Friday, August 9, 2013

Guest Post & Giveaway: Author Justin Blaney

I'm really happy to have author Justin Blaney on the blog today, sharing with us one of his new stories!  Don't forget to enter the giveaway linked down at the bottom!

Announcing the world of Isfits and my original illustrated short story

Cinderella Goes To The Potty
by Justin Blaney

I’m excited to announce a new world, long in the making. It’s called Isfits!
Co-conspirator, Benji Todd and I, have been dreaming ideas and crafting illustrations for the last 8 months. We’re planning to launch a Kickstarter this fall to finish the rest of the art, print some books, and maybe even make an animated movie!

Isfits is many things.
It’s a world of marvel, sometimes scary, where something unexpected lurks around every toilet tree.

It’s a family, filled with characters you love, but may not know as well as you think.

It’s a series of children’s books. Our first project is an ABC book that introduces 26 characters, like Cinderella Goes To The Potty, featured in the illustration above. Each character will audition to star in their own book, chosen by you, based on the merit of their ambition and quality of their resume. Cinderella, for example, aspires to teach children about the perils and wonders of learning to use the toilet. Other characters will make appearances like Serious George, a partially depressed repeat offender; Kat in the Sack, a retired WWI French pilot who lives in the shell of his crashed fighter plane; and Zzzoldermort, an old farmer who plays with his sock puppet snake when he’s not falling asleep at the wheel of a combine tractor.

Benji and I are illustrating 14, two-page spreads like Cinderella’s. As we release each new spread, I’m going to publish a short story inspired by the art. These short stories are not necessarily going to find their way into the books. I’m writing them for you, the readers of this blog. :)

Today, I’m pleased to present you with the first of these 14 short stories.

I’d love to hear what you think, so please stop by and leave a comment on Facebook, Twitter or at the bottom of this post. And don’t forget to check to see if you’ve won last week’s giveaway. I’ll announce the winner and start a new giveaway after the story.

Now turn down the lights, start a little fire and roast some s’mores while you enjoy the premier of Isfits and our first family member, Cinderella, like you’ve never known her before.

Cinderella Goes To the Potty

Cinderella lay in her bed, eyes wide, staring at the splintered ceiling. The stone wall next to her, lit by silver moonlight, was covered with scratches. Cinderella knew exactly how many scratches were on the wall without counting. She made them herself, scratched a new line every night when the clock rang twelve. 

999 lines.

Cinderella had always promised herself she would not stay long enough to see 1000.

It was 11:58, two minutes until the clock struck midnight.

Cinderella tried to ignore the howls coming from the forest beyond the creek. Should she attempt to escape through the window, 100 terrifying feet above ground. Or, should she wait for the old man and the old woman to come. They checked on her every night about this time. She could hide behind the door, then shove them out the window when their backs were turned.

A scratching sound, like feet on stone, from the other side of her rickety wooden door.


Something heavy was being drug up the stairs. Candle light flashed through the gap beneath the door. Voices.


“Hurry,” said the old man in a deep raspy voice. “The Tree is hungry.”


Cinderella crept out of bed and peeked through the keyhole. The old man drug an axe behind him. With each step up the stairs, the bloody axe head clanked on the wooden planks.

“Is the girl fat enough?” said the old woman.

“She’ll have to do. The Tree will eat us if we don’t feed him soon.”

The old woman reached the top of the stairs, fumbling with a rusted ring of keys. Cinderella backed into the shadows. The clock began to chime.


The handle turned. Cinderella grasped at the wall behind her, looking for something to strike her captors with, but her hand felt only scratches. She climbed up into the window.


The door creaked. Cinderella risked a glance down. Her stomach twisted. Her hand, slick with sweat, slipped and she nearly fell backward.


“She’s getting away!” The old woman yelled.


“Grab her, quick,” cried the old man.

But Cinderella was quicker. She stepped out onto a ledge and slid sideways across the face of the tower. The old man crashed through the half open window, shattering the stained glass. He leaned out, head bleeding from a fresh cut, axe in hand. Swinging, his axe flew at Cinderella’s face. She ducked just in time, feeling a whoosh of wind as it struck stone. Sparks showered down into the darkness.


“Let her fall,” The old woman said. “The Tree don’t care if she’s breathing.”

The clock finished ringing out. Cinderella heard the old man and the old woman clambering down the stairs. Cinderella managed to slide around to the side of the tower where she found thick ivy growing. She used the ivy to rappel down, wondering, after a few minutes, why the old man and the old woman weren’t waiting for her at the base of the tower.

She jumped the last few feet, landing softly in a bed of leaves. Crawling around the base of the tower, she peered through an arched glowing window. A huge tree with eyes and a mouth shaped like a toilet grew through the floor boards. Sticking out of the tree’s mouth were two pairs legs. The old man and the old woman.

Cinderella smiled. They meant to feed her to The Tree, but became the meal instead.

She dusted off her faded blue dress and turned to the forest. Goosebumps formed on Cinderella’s arm as the sound of howling grew on the air.

A broken sign, creaking in the wind, pointed down a dark, winding path.

Toilet Forrest. 1 Mile.

Cinderella started down the path, stepping carefully to avoid making noise. But the howling grew closer with every step. Coming to a bridge made from an overturned clawfoot tub, she glanced back at the tower, no more than a faint outline on the horizon. Breathing deep, she turned to the forest and crossed the creek, staring up at the dark trees growing tall around her.

Cinderella was going to the potty and there was no going back

About the author

Justin Blaney is the #1 bestselling author of Evan Burl and the Falling. He’s a blogger at and, the creator of Isfits, and a film producer with Inkliss. He lives outside Seattle with his wife and three daughters. Connect with Justin on Facebook, Twitter or Youtube.

The Giveaway
Click the link below to enter to win a signed paperback copy of Evan Burl and the Falling and a $250 Amazon Shopping Spree!

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