Bustling, not bustles

I’ve been doing a lot of editing and organizing, but finally got to a point where I was able to start a new short story! This was extremely convenient, since this story is due in a little over a week. 🙂

Here’s an excerpt—this is the opening of my new story.

I leaned against a pillar of marble, tucked a stray curl behind my ear, and took as deep a breath possible given the ridiculously tight corset I wore. I rummaged through my beaded satin handbag, pushing aside the tiny, ribbon-wrapped spells I’d prepared ahead of time as I pretended to look for something—but I was really watching my target out of the corner of my eye.

Elizabeth Mercy Lévesque—or, as she was known here in Denver, Colorado, Diamond Betty—stood in the center of the mezzanine of the opera house. Her flame-red hair stood out against her ermine opera cloak like a splotch of wine on a white linen tablecloth. She held a flute of champagne in one hand; her other hand rested on the arm of her new husband, Cornelius Montgomery. Betty said something I couldn’t make out from this distance, then tossed her head back with a laugh like the pealing of bells. The crowd of well-dressed, well-coiffed, and well-to-do ladies and gentlemen surrounding her joined in, a few giving soft, polite claps.

This is from the first draft, so the opening could change drastically by the time I’m done. I’m having a lot of fun with this story! My only worry at this point is that I’m having so much fun it’s going to be hard to keep this story short. 🙂


I learned that there’s a special kind of top hat called an opera hat which folds up so that it can be easily stored under a seat, or in a cloakroom.

Is this information showing up in a story? No! Well, not in any story I’m working on at the moment. But it did answer my question about what the men in the historical fantasy story I’m working on did with their hats while they were inside the opera house. 🙂

In addition to learning about opera hats, I also learned how to sit down while wearing a bustle. I’m grateful that I don’t have to put that lesson into practice.


I finished editing the last story in an anthology! Last year, when I switched from organizing ebook bundles of short stories to anthologies, I was thinking about the overall experience for the reader—not how much more work I was signing up for. The overall experience is, in my opinion, much nicer. But I didn’t realize just how much time editing an entire anthology would take. Some stories are super clean, and at most I’ll find a single typo. Others require multiple passes, and I go back-and-forth with the author to make sure everything is clear.


I don’t think I’ve read any fiction in the past week, other than the stories I’ve been editing for an upcoming anthology—and with those I’d already read them, and have just been working on the final edits, so I’m not sure they count.

Non-fiction-wise, I’ve been looking things up in a number of books, but I consider this “researching” not “reading.”

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