Two fantasy stories and a romance (and a cherry on top!)

I’ve been remiss in announcing some new publications, so here are three—two fantasy stories and one romance story—for your reading pleasure.

Still-Waking Sleep by Dayle A. Dermatis
literary alchemical fantasy short story

Fiction River’s latest anthology contains my story “Still-Waking Sleep,” which is one of the more unusual stories I’ve written. The editor of the volume said I created a new subgenre: literary alchchemical fantasy. Okay, I’ll take that!

Tangent Online reviewed the issue and said of “Still-Waking Sleep,”

“Dermatis has a love of lush language…that fits well into the story.”

(I recommend you read the issue before you read the review, because it contains some minor spoilers.)

Here’s what the issue is all about:

Humans prove great fodder for fiction. But what about the universe of possibilities offered by the nonhuman protagonist? The eighteen daring humans of Fiction River’s latest volume explore just that. From a goblin who must choose whether to risk everything for love to a heroic rat adventuring at sea to sentient underpants (yes, underpants), these nonhuman tales demonstrate why Adventures Fantastic says: “If you haven’t checked out Fiction River yet, you should. There’s something for everyone.”

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | iBooks
and in print: Amazon | Barnes & Noble

You can also check out the book’s product page here and learn more about the entire Fiction River series.

Girls That Glitter by Dayle A. Dermatis
urban fantasy short story

Fans of my Nikki Ashburne/Ghosted series, rejoice! For here is a new Nikki story. It has drag queens in it. It has a search for missing paperwork. And it’s my homage and fond farewell to the Sunset Strip House of Blues.

Here’s what the issue is all about:

Think you know a tavern tale when you hear one? Think again. The seventeen stories in this volume run the gamut of genre and mood. Bars filled with glitter and ghosts stand alongside taverns filled with orcs and adventurers. Exclusive members-only drinks served at the end of the universe war with coffee bars with strange employee policies in the Pacific Northwest. Dive bars, afterlife bars, gay bars—you name it, and you’ll find it in Tavern Tales. So, grab a drink and get ready for one of the most entertaining Fiction River volumes yet.

I love every story in this issue.

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | iBooks
and in print: Amazon | Barnes & Noble

The book’s product page
More about the entire Fiction River series

Leave a Candle Burning by Dayle A. Dermatis
romance short story

The second issue of Heart’s Kiss is out now, with my story “Leave a Candle Burning.” Hurrah!

About my story:

Claudia lives a vagabond life, crisscrossing the country doing research for a reality show about American myths and legends. Christmas finds her in the Adirondack Mountains of upstate New York, at a small hotel allegedly haunted by the Lady in White, who leaves a candle burning for her husband, lost in the snow.

The ghost might not be real, but Claudia’s attraction to the mysterious Reese, who once lived in the Victorian house, definitely is. Will he be what it takes for Claudia to change her wandering ways?

You can buy the issue on Amazon or Barnes & Noble in ebook or print form, from Kobo in ebook, or purchase directly from the website. You can also subscribe to the magazine, which might not be a bad idea, because I have a story in issue #3 coming up, too…!

emagazine: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo
print: AmazonBarnes & Noble
Heart’s Kiss website

If you’d like to get this sort of information—and more!—directly in your In Box each month, you can sign up for my newsletter. The May newsletter has publication news about three additional new stories plus an upcoming novel! BONUS: you get a free short story every month! What are you waiting for? Subscribe today!

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Heaven Has Eyes

Cassie suffers from a chronic disease and hides her sexuality from her family.

Feeling alone and adrift in her new home in Southern California, she turns to crafting little white lies—and maybe little white spells.

But when her only friend disappears, Cassie discovers a deeper magic than she ever thought existed…and must choose whether to come clean once and for all.

Especially to herself.

“Heaven Has Eyes” combines myth and reality in a touching YA short story.

Buy it at any of these fine online retailers:
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | KoboSmashwords | iBooks

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The Faerie Summer Bundle

The Faerie Summer Bundle
20 faerie stories

The summer sun bathes the earth in warmth and light
Faeries dance under the moon at night.
Cross through the portal into a land ancient, beautiful, and wild.
See the wonders that enticed the stolen child.
Come away, O reader! To the Realm of Faerie.
But if you want to make it back home, you had better be wary…

This collection includes twenty tales of faeries and magic set in our world – and in others.

THE FLAT ABOVE THE WYND by Alexandra Brandt
SILVER DUST by Leslie Claire Walker
UNICORN MAGIC by Roz Marshall
FLOWER FAIRIES by Kristine Kathryn Rusch
PAULALEENA by Leah Cutter
ROLO THE GREAT by Annie Reed
PROOF OF DEVOTION by Dayle A. Dermatis
BY DAWN’S BLOODY LIGHT by DeAnna Knippling
ONDINE by Brenda Carre
SNAP A TRAP, INC. by Louisa Swann
THE FAERY’S CHOICE by Jamie Ferguson
THE QUEEN OF MAY by Linda Jordan
SKYWALKERS by Marcelle Dubé
THE BODY PLOT by Rebecca M. Senese
HAWTHORN & WILLOW by T. Thorn Coyle

Buy it at any of these fine establishments:

Breakfast in Bed by Andrea Dale

Jennie’s husband, Cal, wakes her up for a naughty meal involving a bit of restraint and some creative use of strawberries and crepes. Breakfast in bed never sounded so tasty—or sexy!—in this wickedly delicious short story from legendary erotica heavy-hitter Andrea Dale.

“Breakfast in Bed” originally appeared in Afternoon Delight: Erotica for Couples (Cleis Press, 2009).

Buy it at any of these fine online retailers:
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | KoboSmashwords | iBooks

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Living With the Past

Former Hollywood party girl Nikki Ashburne sees ghosts—in fact, many of them are her friends. Okay, they’re kind of her only friends. Most ghosts stick around because they’re happy here and have no desire to move on…but sometimes, they need help.

Like when a decades-dead Marilyn Monroe impersonator wants Nikki to find her granddaughter. In Los Angeles.

Yeah. That’ll be easy.

Another story in the Ghosted urban fantasy series featuring Nikki Ashburne, “Living With the Past” originally appeared in Fantastic Detectives (Fiction River, 2014).

Buy it at any of these fine online retailers:
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | KoboSmashwords | iBooks

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So hard, but so worth it

It’s Saturday night, and I am fried crispier than I’ve ever been before.

I’m also filled to the brim with joy, with pride, with the creative energy of a group of fascinating, intelligent, and wonderful people who happen to be fucking phenomenal writers.

I can’t wait to go home.

I don’t want to leave.

Okay, yes I do. I’ll miss everyone, but I seriously need a couple of days to decompress, and snuggle with my beloved, and prepare the house for the new kittays (Thursday!), and get back to writing and my massive to do list. Sometimes I can look at my massive to do list and want to run away screaming, but right now so many things on it are fun or exciting. Story deadlines. New projects. Opportunities to challenge myself.

(It may take me several days to just parse my to do list into manageable chunks.)

My view leaving the Anchor Inn on my way to discuss my anthology, Doorways to Enchantment… Which door would you choose?

When Dean Wesley Smith asked me to be an editor at this year’s Anthology Workshop, I blurted “Are you kidding me?!” which in hindsight was so embarrassing because Dean doesn’t joke about stuff like that. I was, as my dear friend (and wonderful writer) Leslie says, “Exfrightened,” which means being excited and frightened in equal measure. I didn’t identify until I was standing up with the other editors that I was also dealing with a level of imposter syndrome. Kris and Dean have been my writing mentors for 15 years (as of this month!) and are award-winning authors and editors. What did little ol’ me know?

I probably spent more time than I should have reading the 1.1 million (yes, you read that right) words of short fiction written by the 50 authors (about 250 short stories). I’d been on the other side of the table for 11 of these workshops, so I was reasonably sure I knew what would be helpful to the authors. It’s not enough to say “This story didn’t work for me” (although occasionally that was true—sometimes you just can’t put your finger on it), and if I were rejecting a story, I wanted to give a thoughtful explanation of why. The fact that I didn’t figure out until the morning of the first day of the workshop part of what I was looking for in the stories for my anthology added a bit more stress…but I learned a lot right there. Quite a few authors thanked me and said they appreciated my comments on their stories, which let me know my efforts were the right thing to do. Yay for that.

I also learned so much from the experience itself—more than one epiphany, more than once a feeling of leveling up in understanding. I didn’t expect that.

My final story selections, with bonus! photobomb by Mark Leslie Lefebvre of Kobo Books (and another editor).

I’ve talked more in the past week than I normally do in two or three months. Remember, I work at home, where I occasionally talk to the cat. Obviously I have conversations with Ken in the evening and on weekends, and see friends as well, but this was eight hours a day, plus lunches each day with a small group of people who signed up to talk to me (cue imposter syndrome, although some people just wanted to hang out, and that was cool), plus a few dinners, plus breakfasts (by the end I was eating breakfast in my room because it had become too much), plus a two-hour Uncollected Anthology meeting today.

Here’s the plan: after breakfast tomorrow, drive to Portland and drop someone off at a hotel near the airport, then go home. Have lunch with Ken if we can peel ourselves off of each other. Unpack, toss laundry in. Maybe do a quick grocery shop (I did a meal plan last month). Take a long, hot, epsom-salt–filled bath. Watch TV or a movie. Sleep a lot. Monday I’ve got a massage scheduled and yoga in the evening; Tuesday I have a scheduled walk with a writer friend (because she’s awesome and I didn’t see enough of her this week) and I’ll get a chiropractic adjustment. (My right shoulder is swollen from lugging my computer bag around and also looking to the right at four of the five other editors.) Wednesday, back to work—unless I feel I need more recovery time. I’ll triage a few time-sensitive things before that, but mostly it’ll be about getting organized so I can hit the ground running. (And prepping for the kittays!)

I’ll probably write as well. Not just because I have deadlines, but because I’ve been missing it. I managed to write only one day this week, between being busy and braindead. (Yesterday I made up a new word: Nebulated, which means to be nominated for a Nebula award. This morning I said to one of my roomies, “I’m sorry, I haven’t had alcohol yet.” Thankfully she was able to translate that I meant caffeine. Egads.)

All that was written Saturday night. Here’s what I wrote Sunday evening:

I’m home, and managed to miss the actual snowfall (the roads were clear and the aftermath was pretty). Bath has been taken, suitcase is unpacked, and the first load of laundry is in. I had a small surge of energy earlier but now I’m wibbling. Any hint of decision making is off the table. Ken’s picking up pizza, and then it’s no brain necessary for the rest of the night.

I’m realizing this is one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. I didn’t know if I could do it. I don’t know if I could have a year ago.

It’s a lot to process. For now, I’m feeling pretty proud of myself. I feel like I’ve leveled up, and I have a confidence I didn’t have before. The Year of Dare is going pretty well so far.

Mockup of the cover of my anthology, with me listed as Editor. Eeee! (Design by the extremely talented Allyson Longueira, publisher at WMG Publishing.)

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Haunted Bundle is 30% off!

Sorry to keep flinging news at ya’ll, but I’m not responsible for all these deals and deadlines. I’m not complaining about them, mind you—I just didn’t choose to have them hit all at once!

The Haunted Bundle is currently part of a promotion at Kobo Books, where you can get it for 30% off by using the code 30BOX when you check out.

It’s normally $3.99 for 20 short stories, which is dead cheap already, and 30% off is…uh, math. Cheaper. An even better deal. A steal!

But you only have until Monday, February 27, to get the deal, so gogogo!

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Run away with the Escapist Bundle!

I feel like a kind of lame writer right now because I’m running out of ways to say I’m delighted, happy, chuffed, squeeing, running around the house without pants on flailing my hands about some piece of good news.

I am all of those things over the fact that I’ve been invited into to participate in Storybundle’s Escapist Bundle.

This bundle is based around the Fiction River anthology Recycled Pulp. The stories in the anthology (which is included in the bundle) were all inspired by pulp-like titles, but none of the stories are pulp. They run the gamut of genres, and they’re all unusual and a great read.

The authors in the anthology were asked to include a longer work of fiction that related to our short story. That was tough for me, because my story, “The Imperfect Otter Empire,” is a odd but touching story about a woman watching the otters at the Santa Barbara Zoo (and then Stuff Happens). I don’t have any novels quite like that.

So I suggested Waking the Witch, a gothic mystery with a hint of romance, and the bundle coordinator was on board with that. I think it makes sense. You tell me after you’ve read the story and the novel, okay?

Of the novels and collections in the bundle, I’ve read a few, and they’re marvelous. I’ve read at least something by every author in the bundle, and I’ve loved their work, so I’m pretty confident it’s all wonderful.

This bundle is available for only three weeks, so hop on board now, while you can. You can get any ebook format, worldwide.

For a mere $5 (less than $1/book), you get…

  • Waking the Witch
  • Recycled Pulp
  • Isabel’s Tears by Lisa Silverthorne, a novel about a magical inn
  • The Pale Waters by Kelly Washington, the first novella in a four-part epic journey
  • Hot Waters by Erica Lyon, a steamy sea adventure novel

For $14, you get a bunch of bonus reading material:

  • Rebecca Senese’s ten-story science fiction collection Tales of Possibilities
  • Thomas K. Carpenter’s Revolutionary Magic, a historical fantasy and the first in the Dashkova Memoirs
  • Annie Reed’s A Death in Cumberland, a moody police procedural
  • Nebula Award finalist Cat Rambo’s Neither Here Nor There, a double collection of alt-world and real world fantasy stories
  • New York Times bestselling author Kristine Kathryn Rusch’s The War and After, five historical fantasy stories of magic and revenge
  • USA Today bestselling author Dean Wesley Smith’s The Slots of Saturn, the origin story for his fan-favorite superhero Poker Boy.

You can pay more, of course, if you think 20 novels/novellas/collections are worth more than $14 (seriously, just round it up to $20, why don’tcha?)—and you can choose how much of that gets donated to the charity SMART (Start Making a Reader Today), which promotes the love of reading for children in Oregon. That is a charity I can get behind one hundred percent.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to run around the house without pants on flailing my hands, then curl up and read some seriously good fiction. I hope you do, too. The reading seriously good fiction in the bundle part. But feel free to run around the house without pants on flailing your hands too.

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Heart’s Kiss, a new romance magazine

I meant to post this by Valentine’s Day (the official day to post about romance, even though romance readers are the most voracious of any genre and devour romances all year long, hurrah! And I am one of them.), but our home Internet went out, and Life. (Don’t talk to me about Life.)

I am thrilled to be in the inaugural issue of the brand new Heart’s Kiss, a magazine devoted to short romance. It’s edited by Denise Little, one of the top editors working today. She had her own imprint at Kensington, was the executive editor for Tekno Books (during which time she edited approximately a bazillion anthologies for Daw Books), and worked as a national buyer for Barnes & Noble). She’s also one of the funniest people I know.

But I’m here to tell you about Heart’s Kiss. The first issue has an interview with and a story by Mary Jo Putney, and more fiction from Kristine Kathryn Rusch, Christina F. York, Laura Resnick, Diane A.S. Stuckart, Petronella Glover, Casey Chapel, and Neesa Hart, plus some nonfiction as well.

You can get it for your Kindle or buy the hard copy, and even better, you can subscribe and never miss an issue (it comes out bimonthly). (Psst, I can tell you I have a story in an upcoming issue, too. I’m not officially announcing it ’til I sign the contract, but Denise has asked for the story, so it’s almost a done deal.)

My story in the first issue, “Then & Now,” was inspired by true circumstances, although I changed both the decade(s) and the outcome. It’s a lost love found again story, a second changes story, and it’s sweet and…well, you can read it and see. I hope you like it!

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Grimoire, June 1999 – February 11, 2017

We said goodbye to our beloved Grimoire yesterday. He was 17 1/2, a venerable age for a cat, and it was his time. He’s young and healthy and purring again now.

He joins his mother, Eostre, and his siblings, Eclipse and Snowdon. Eostre was a stray with a broken leg who showed up when we lived in Wales; nobody, not even the vets during multiple surgeries, realized she was pregnant. We came home from a trip to find a note from our cat sitter that said in part, “Watch where you step.” I still have that note.

Grimoire was the last of his line. He had extra toes and a little notch in his right ear, the result of a kittenhood tussle with his brother. He loved food, laps (and there was a hierarchy to them—he would stomp over people to get to his favorite, and if you didn’t make space for him, he’d sit next to you and tap you on the arm until you did), scritchies, and, for a time, fetching paper.

He’ll always be my baby boy, purring in my heart.