In which I read as well as write

Beauty and Wickedness, the first volume in the new anthology series Ever After Fairy Tales, is getting closer to launch! I made teeny tiny tweaks to the cover to appease my OCD, I’m working on formatting the ebook, and I’ve been experimenting with marketing images. I’m also reading through every story to make sure there isn’t a random typo hiding somewhere, and so far have only found one very minor one where the word itself was spelled correctly, it was just the wrong word. 🙂

Speaking of fairy tales, I interviewed Jenna Elizabeth Johnson, one of my fellow authors in the Once Upon a Quest anthology. Jenna’s story “Bane and Balm” is loosely based on “Red Riding Hood,” and is set in the world she’s created for her Otherworld fantasy series.

I love the idea of writing multiple related stories set in the same fantasy world. This is what I’ve been doing with my faery short stories for the past year and a half – they’re all set in the same world I created for my really-almost-done-novel-as-soon-as-I-have-time, Entangled by Midsummer. Another nice thing about writing shorter works in the world I’ve created is that I can experiment with things. For example, in “The City Trees,” one of the characters uses something magic to create a portal from our world to the Land of Faerie. I have no idea how that magic works 🙂 but I’ll find out because it’s going to show up in future stories – and by writing about it in a short story I was able to play with the concept in a way that would be much harder to do in a novel.

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Her insides felt as though they’d been tied in knots. She watched, unable to pull away, as Roderick sat down on the edge of her bed and took her hand in his. The cold, hard metal of the ring he wore on his pinky finger rubbed against her skin. She willed herself to sit up, to pull her hand free from his, to push him off her bed and hit him over the head with the crystal potpourri dish.

She couldn’t move even the tiniest muscle.

“My dearest Maude,” he said. The moonlight cast dark shadows across his face. “I apologize for disturbing your slumber, but I simply couldn’t wait until tomorrow. I caused this lovely music to play in order to awaken you. I have fallen in love with you, and want you to be my bride.”

His bride? Who broke into a woman’s rooms, did something so she couldn’t escape – or even speak at all – and then proposed?

– from “Magic and Machinery”
in Once Upon a Quest

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In addition to everything else, I’m doing a ton of reading in preparation for the week-long Fantasy Workshop I’ll be taking in a few months. It’s taught by the wonderful Kristine Kathryn Rusch, who taught the Historical Fiction/Alternate History/Time Travel workshop I took in 2016. We have a massive reading list: 2 anthologies, 18 novels, 8 short stories, 4 movies, and 3 Wikipedia articles. 🙂 Fortunately Kris prioritized these so that we can read the ones most important for the class first, and then do our best to get through the rest. And even more fortunately, I’ve read 5 of the books before (really 6, but I haven’t read the 6th since high school and don’t remember anything about it).

Not only is it fun to read these stories, it’s been a big help for me because I got out of the habit of reading regularly years ago when I had a very demanding job, and while I’ve been trying to read more it’s hard to stay on track since my reading time is also my writing time. I do read stories for the collections I put together, and I’m also in a small critique group so I read the submissions there, but it’s not the same as reading books just for fun. The one downside is that there are a few books where we’re supposed to read book #1 in a series, and now I have to wait to read the rest of the books until after the workshop because all my reading time is booked solid!

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