Book Smugglers

The Convergence of Fairy Tales

convergence2I have a new novella out!

The Convergence of Fairy Tales is a horror story published by The Book Smugglers as the first in their new novella series. It’s really a mash-up of sorts, where five different fairy tale princesses – Sleeping Beauty, the Snow Queen, Snow White, the Frog Princess, and Rapunzel – are facets of the same person. That person wakes, as the original Sleeping Beauty does, with a baby sucking the needle from her finger. How the princesses deal with their rape and forced motherhood – and how they wreak bloody vengeance within the confines of their own stories, aided by poison apples and mirror fragments, by long hair and glass coffins and golden balls – is something I really wanted to explore.

The Sleeping Beauty woke with a heartbeat between her legs. That was what dragged her out of the sticky swamp of enchantment, of curses and nightmare dreams – a red beat, one centred in her cunt and pulsing. It anchored her as fishing line, hooked into her flesh and hauling upwards until she broke the surface of her sleep and woke to a world so much different than before.

Her eyes were sticky-shut, the lashes glued together. It took work to open them and then the sun was so bright, shining through her tower window, that the Sleepy Beauty promptly closed them again to let herself adjust to the light glowing pink through her lids. It was in that moment, floating just above unconsciousness, that she began to feel more than flares and fish-lines.

The sheets were wet. Damp, really, with the sour odour of sweat, especially in the space around her hips where she could feel the liquid pooling, feel the heaviness of the sheets against her skin. She tried to move, to shift out of the damp spot – had she wet herself, had her bleeding come early? – but it hurt to move and there was something between her legs, something soft and wet and spongy. Her lower back felt as if she had been beaten, and there was a tugging at one finger.

And really, look at that cover. It’s by the fabulously talented Kristina Tsenova (who also did the cover for my short story “The Mussel Eater”). How can you not want a book with that cover?

The Convergence of Fairy Tales is available at Amazon and Smashwords.

The Mussel Eater

The Mussel EaterA few months back, the dedicated book reviewing team The Book Smugglers put out a publishing call for short stories based around the theme of subversive fairy tale retellings. I’m a fan of both the Smugglers and retellings, so I thought I’d give it a go. I actually had two stories that could fit, so I dithered for a bit and finally decided to submit a story I’d written based on the Maori legend of Pania of the Reef. Naturally, I spent the next couple of months second-guessing that decision, as it wasn’t really a fairy tale, but luckily Ana and Thea liked it anyway. “The Mussel Eater” is now part of their inaugural publishing season.

It’s one of my “future fishing in New Zealand” stories – I’m slowly building up a collection of interlinked stories about a speculative fishing industry full of beasties and burials and robots. The next one’s due out early next year, I believe, in Apex Magazine.

You can read “The Mussel Eater” online at The Book Smugglers for free, and they’ve also got a short essay by me on why I chose this particular story to rewrite. These two things are bundled with a short interview into an e-book put out by the Smugglers – this, as with the other five stories they’ve published this season – is available from their site and various e-publishing outlets.

And seriously, it’s got the most amazing cover. That painting’s done by Kristina Tsenova and it’s beautiful. The claws! The colours! You should check out the rest of her work. She’s really very good.