Story Time: Courting the Lady Scythe

Today’s Story Time is “Courting the Lady Scythe,” which first appeared in Ekaterina Sedia’s anthology, Paper Cities: An Anthology of Urban Fantasy in 2008. The anthology won a World Fantasy Award for the editor in 2009.

This story is set in the same universe as A Warrior of Dreams. Like any decent universe, there’s more that goes on beyond what you see in the main storyline. There are legends and fables and cautionary tales, and this is one of those. Which one is something you’ll need to decide for yourself.

Standard Reminder: “Courting the Lady Scythe” will be online until next Wednesday, October 25th. After that, there will be something else in its place.

 

 

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Story Time: The Trickster’s Wife

This week’s Story Time is “The Trickster’s Wife,” originally published in Realms of Fantasy Magazine back in 2001 and later included in The Ogre’s Wife: Fairy Tales for Grownups, my first ever story collection and finalist for the World Fantasy Award. In a way this piece is a meditation on the nature and limits of fate. Mostly, however, it is a simple revenge story, using inevitable fate as the weapon.

Almost everyone knows the Norse myth of Sigyn, Loki’s wife. For his many crimes  Loki is bound to a rock in a cave where a venomous serpent drips poison on him, causing him to writhe in agony. His faithful and devoted wife catches the venom in a bowl to spare him the pain, but every now and then the bowl has to be emptied, and in that time the venom hits him and his thrashing causes earthquakes. But Sigyn is always there to catch the poison again, even though, one day, she will spill the bowl and Loki will thrash until he is free of his chains, signalling Ragnarok, the end of the world.

I always thought fate handed Sigyn a very raw deal. It occurred to me that perhaps Sigyn thought so too. Which puts her activities in an entirely different light, and so the story.

 

Standard Reminder: Next Wednesday, October 11th, the Story Time will change.  Until then, I hope you enjoy “The Trickster’s Wife.”

New Story Time: “Another Kind of Glamour”

As I’m writing this with Feline Assistance®, typing can be kind of tricky, so bear with me. It’s Wednesday, so as promised–or threatened–there’s a new Story Time: “Another Kind of Glamour.” This one originally appeared in the online magazine  Aeon #6, which is not the current online magazine of the same name (Publishing is often confusing, and sometimes you just have to go with it and move on).

Ahem. Where was I? Or right, Story Time. As I said about the previous entry, “Crack’d From Side to Side,” stories in one aspect are a sort of conversation with all the stories that came before it. “Another Kind of Glamour” is in direct and obvious conversation with Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.” While it remains one of my favorites of Shakespeare’s plays, there was something about the dynamic of the relationship between Oberon and Titania that I always found a little, shall we say, out of balance. Or maybe there was really more at stake there than we realized.  The process of thinking about such things tends to lead to new stories, as it did here.

Lawrence Kasdan once said “Being a writer is like having homework every night for the rest of your life.” Absolutely true. That doesn’t mean that you can’t have fun, and “Another Kind of Glamour” was a fun story to write. I hope it’s as much fun to read.

Speaking of free stories, I’m reliably informed that Beneath Ceaseless Skies #235 will go live tomorrow  (Thursday, September 28) and includes “On the Road to the Hell of Hungry Ghosts,” the next adventure of Pan Bao, Jing, and the Snake-devil Mei Li. There’s an early review up at Rocket Stack Rank.

 

New Story Time: “Crack’d From Side to Side”

It’s Wednesday, and as promised, an original, never before published piece for Story Time. Some views of art and craft of any sort (painting, poetry, storytelling, custom furniture, you name it) maintain that it is a type of conversation with every piece of art that has come before it. Sometimes it’s more of an argument than a conversation, but the point stands. In some ways it is exactly that, but usually a little less obvious than today’s Story Time. As will be apparent to anyone who reads it, “Crack’d From Side to Side” was both inspired by and a reaction to Alfred Lord Tennyson’s famous poem, “The Lady of Shalott.” Whether it’s a conversation or an argument I’ll leave for the reader to decide.

 

 

Note and Disclaimer: The Story Time link will always point to the current story, whatever it happens to be. As soon as a new one goes up, the previous one goes away. There is no archive, I’m afraid, so get them while they’re here.

Taking Inventory

I’m not sure if this is a blog post or an inventory report. Recently I’d been thinking of planning a new collection. Not that I’m ready just yet; my recent forced hiatus has put me a little behind where I’d like to be, production-wise. Yet when I started looking over my oeuvre, so to speak, I realized, for a great many of my stories, I didn’t necessarily remember if it had been collected or not. I usually did, but not always, and even then not always where. It occurred to me that this is the sort of thing I should know, that it was kind of and certainly at least potentially important. Even my own Bibliography was incomplete. Clearly I needed a better system than my faulty memory.

So, on a morning when I really should have been working on the trim in the mudroom, I was instead feeding story data into an Excel file. Every story collection I’ve done, whether print or ebook only, what stories are in each, and the publication year. All by way of making sure that, when I look at an individual story, if I need to I can quickly look up if, when, and where it’s already appeared. For instance, I’m already thinking of what story to put up for the next Storytime, but one I was considering as an original turned out to have appeared in one of the collections. It had completely slipped my mind. That’s the kind of thing that could lead to severe embarrassment, if not worse.

There are already some duplications, though they’re of the sort to be expected. Aside from their first magazine appearances, some of the Yamada Monogatari and Eli Motherbaugh stories had appeared in earlier general collections before being gathered into their respective character’s collections. I know to some of you out there this falls under the category of “High Class Worries,” but when you’ve published over a hundred stories, that’s a lot to keep track of even without considering reprints, and keeping track of everything is part of the job and I’d been neglecting it. This should get me back on track, but while I’m pulling this data together I may as well share some of it. Listed below are all my collections to date, together with the year, including major collections, special collections, and chapbooks.

The Ogre’s Wife: Fairytales for Grownups, Obscura Press, 2002

Worshipping Small Gods, Prime Books, 2007

On the Banks of the River of Heaven, Prime Books, 2010

Our Lady of 47 Ursae Majoris and Other Stories, Canemill Publishing, 2011

Ghost Trouble: The Casefiles of Eli Mothersbaugh, Canemill Publishing, 2011

The Devil Has His Due, Canemill Publishing, 2012

Yamada Monogatari: Demon Hunter, Prime Books, 2013

Two for Christmas, Canemill Publishing, 2013

The God of Small Troubles and Other Stories, Canemill Publishing, 2014

The Collected Tymon the Black, Canemill Publishing, 2017

 

The four done under Prime Books  imprint I consider my “major” collections, as in larger and more complete. Those listed under Canemill Publishing are the ones I take upon doing myself, for whatever reason. For instance, “Deal with the Devil” stories are pretty old-fashioned and there aren’t many markets for them. However, they’re fun to do and every now and then I wrote one anyway. So I put them together in The Devil Has His Due just to give them a home. Because I could. Two for Christmas, likewise for Christmas stories, though those are the only two I’ve ever done.

For this week’s Storytime I plan to have an original. Now with my story list up to date, I can be reasonably certain that it really is one.