Out today: Heiresses of Russ 2013

heiressesofruss2013-cover-300hFresh on the heels of the Lambda Emerging Writers Retreat, I think it’s serendipitous that today I’m celebrating the publication of Heiresses of Russ 2013: The Year’s Best Lesbian Speculative Fiction edited by Tenea D. Johson and Steve Berman (Lethe Press), which includes one of my short stories, "One True Love." As Johnson writes in the introduction:

"It should not be easier to find a zombie apocalypse than it is to find a lesbian protagonist in the aisles of your local bookstore. Falling for werewolves and shape shifters should not be more accepted than a transgendered love affair; marginalized people really will still exist in the future; more folks should know that, and more so create like they know it. Someone then must step into the gap, or to be more accurate the gaping holes in the collective visions of our possibilities as human beings. In these pages, someone has."

Indeed!

My story "One True Love" originally appeared in Foretold edited by Carrie Ryan (Delacorte). That means "One True Love" was originally published in a young adult anthology, but Heiresses of Russ is not YA. I really appreciate that they've invited me to be in this anthology, because I think my writing often straddles the line between YA and adult, and honestly, I'm not sure that "One True Love" is your typical YA tale.

I’ve already blogged about the inspirations for “One True Love,” so today I’ll simply note (provocatively?) that this story is about a princess who falls in love with her stepmother. And that princess gets to wear some armor in the process.

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I thought it was fantastic to have my story included in Foretold, which is a collection of stories by totally mainstream bestselling authors such as Meg Cabot, Richelle Mead, Michael Grant, and more. I think my little tale of lesbian heroics actually fits in there fine.

But it’s also incredibly cool to have “One True Love” collected in Heiresses of Russ 2013, because now my little tale of lesbian heroics is only one among many tales of lesbians — heroic or otherwise. How often do you get to read an entire anthology of speculative fiction about lesbians? Come on, really? Pretty much only when Heiresses of Russ comes out — once a year.

This year’s anthology includes tales by Jewelle Gomez, Jamie Killen, Brit Mandelo, Richard Bowes, Julia Rios, Nisi Shawl, Megan Arkenberg, Sarah Diemer, Wendy N. Wagner, Claire Humphrey, Andrea Kneeland, Alex Dally MacFarlane, Kate Harrad, JL Merrow, Benjanun Sriduangkaew, and Carrie Vaughn.

Heiresses of Russ 2013 is available at Amazon (including Kindle), B&N Nook, or directly from Lethe Press.

Happy book birthday, FORETOLD!

The book cover for FORETOLD edited by Carrie RyanToday is the official publication day for Foretold: 14 Tales of Prophecy and Prediction edited by Carrie Ryan … and it includes a short story written by me, "One True Love"! This is the first time a short story by me has been published in a hardcover anthology, and I'm so thrilled to be published alongside authors such as Meg Cabot, Laini Taylor, and Diana Peterfreund (just a few of my faves). When Carrie Ryan (who wrote the creeptastic zombie novel The Forest of Hands and Teeth and its sequels!) asked me if I'd be interested in writing a story that included a prophecy, I was immediately intrigued by the possibilities. Several fairy tales are set in motion by a prophecy or prediction, and I really wanted to write another fairy tale retelling, which I hadn't done since Ash. The first fairy tale that came to mind was "Sleeping Beauty."

The image shows a scene from Disney's "Sleeping Beauty," in which Princess Aurora lies asleep waiting for the prince to save her.

You might remember that at the beginning of "Sleeping Beauty," an evil fairy crashes the christening of a princess and predicts that on her sixteenth birthday, the girl shall prick her finger on the spindle of a spinning wheel and die. I didn't think I really wanted to retell "Sleeping Beauty" because … well, the girl is asleep for most of the story, and I wanted her to do something.

The next fairy tale that I considered was "Snow White." (I know, the princess is unconscious in this story too, but wait!) Several of the pre-Disneyfied versions of "Snow White" are pretty darn creepy, but those weren't what drew me to "Snow White." I kept returning to the idea of the beautiful queen gazing into the mirror, which told her, "You are the fairest of them all." That's not exactly a prophecy, but it had the same kind of weighted feel.

The image, an ad for Disney's theme parks, shows actress Olivia Wilde as the evil queen in Disney's "Snow White" and Alec Baldwin as the mirror

The most interesting thing about "Snow White," to me, was that it was about a stepmother being somewhat unhealthily obsessed with her stepdaughter. Of course, her obsession was evil; she was filled with jealousy. But I started thinking: What if she was obsessed with her in a different way? What if the stepmother fell in love with the stepdaughter?

From that moment, the story I wanted to tell began to take off. It very quickly left "Snow White" behind. (It left "Sleeping Beauty" behind too, although my story does begin during a baby's naming ceremony in which a prophecy is delivered, so that's sort of similar.)

My goal with "One True Love" was to tell a fairy tale. There are no actual fairies in it, but I think it has a fairy tale feel. I wrote it in the style of Ash, or at least closer to Ash than anything I've written since. The experience of writing it felt a little like putting on a very comfortable pair of old but still extremely kick ass boots.

And just because I could, I added in a lady in armor.

This image shows actress Kristen Stewart in her role as Snow White in "Snow White and the Huntsman"

"One True Love" is one of my favorite things I've ever written. I really, really enjoyed writing it, and I hope that you will enjoy it too!

To celebrate the publication of Foretold, I'm giving away one hardcover of the anthology, and I'll autograph "One True Love" for the winner (if they wish!). The giveaway is open internationally, and the deadline is Sept. 3 (Labor Day in the USA). Good luck!

Alternatively, you can get your own copy of Foretold at Amazon, B&N, or IndieBound.

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