On Grimm Mistresses, Nectar, Being Invited to an Anthology

First, I am pleased to announce the release of an anthology just in time to celebrate Women in Horror Month. As a dark fiction writer, it's been my honor for a few years now to participate in various interviews and blog tours every February, but this is the first time I've been asked to submit a piece of fiction. This beautiful book comes to you from the great folks at Angelic Knight Press, the horror imprint of Ragnarok Publications, and I am extremely proud to have my name on the cover.

REMEMBER THOSE GRIMM BROTHERS? Dark fairy tales that made you leave the light on long before Disney sanitized them? Well, we certainly do! And now the MISTRESSES GRIMM take back the night, five female authors who will leave you shuddering deliciously. Get ready to leave the lights on again with five pieces of short fiction bringing the Grimm Brother’s tales into the present. Be advised: these aren’t your children’s fairy tales!

GRIMM MISTRESSES contains the following tales:

• "The Night Air" by Stacey Turner
• "Little Dead Red" by Mercedes M. Yardley
• "Nectar" by Allison M. Dickson
• "Hazing Cinderella" by C.W. LaSart
• "The Leopard's Pelt" by S.R. Cambridge

Ragnarok is also offering up limited edition signed hardbacks of this gorgeous book! You can order one here. For this week only, if you buy the ebook directly from Ragnarok, enter the coupon code WiMH and get it half-off!

Of course, being invited to participate in anthology is a huge honor, and when the request initially came and I saw the names involved, I knew I'd be stupid not to do it. I've admired Yardley and LaSart from afar for awhile now, and Stacey Turner (the one who invited me) has been one of my favorite people working the indie horror--so gracious and giving of her time and energy to great writers and stories. S.R. Cambridge was a recent newcomer, but she fit perfectly into our group, and I've read her story and can only say she's one to look out for.

The only requirement was to take a classic fairy tale and put a dark and sinister twist on it, and I felt up to the challenge. In particular, I had my heart set on the Brothers Grimm tale that always used to chill me to the bone: Hansel & Gretel.

Only . . . the story took its time coming to me. I struggled. Though I had a few months before the deadline, I was getting closer and closer to that date with still nothing. In fact, I was pretty sure I was going to have to go back to Stacey and tell her she'd need to find somebody else. But then one day about two weeks before the final deadline, I sat down and started free-writing a blind date scene between a disillusioned and cynical man, and a young, beautiful woman who smelled like cotton candy and had a vocal fry problem.

It wasn't until I got to the end of the first scene, when he decided to follow her home for a night of fun, that I realized I was writing my fairy tale, which I came to call "Nectar." It's a hugely abstract version of Hansel & Gretel, one you would have to look closely at to see the parallels. Instead of lost kids, gumdrop roofs, and hungry witches, I wound up with a clan of far-future time-traveling warrior women enslaving lost men from the present day and fattening them up with sexual desire. Writing it was equal parts thrilling and frustrating.

I struggled because my fiction writing has largely belonged to me and me alone for many years. Meanwhile, so many of my writer colleagues have been in dozens of anthologies, have made them a major part of their offerings, but I rarely if ever submit, even when invited directly. I guess it's performance anxiety on my part. But there is also something deeper going on, I think. So many people huddle together against the cold, and yet I've always felt like I've existed outside those circles, foraging for my own place because I've already convinced myself no one would want me.

And yes, I realize how stupidly pathetic that sounds, but old habits die hard. I tend to stumble into groups or find myself lassoed into them, but make no mistake: being invited to someone else's sandbox is a privilege, and I need to do it more often, because I've met some great and talented people doing this, just as I did when I appeared in the two WRAPPED anthologies through Sekhmet Press, and I think collaboration is an important part of the process.

Writers write alone, but we can't be islands. Together, we raise one another up. Not only that, but we inspire on another. These women have certainly inspired me.

GRIMM MISTRESSES is dark, dangerous, gritty, and pretty lovely. I do hope you'll check out this book and let us all know what you think!

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