I’ve been stoked (heh) about this anthology from the very beginning for all sorts of reasons. First, because it’s the first volume in what I hope will be a new and awesome series. Second, because it’s my first foray into working with Tyche Books. Third, because it’s a super fun theme with tonnes of potential. Fourth — demons, dragons and djinn. I mean, c’mon!
But despite how excited I was there’s this stage that happens with every anthology I work on where I’m absolutely, positively certain that things aren’t going to come together and I’m never going to have a table of contents and even if I do it’s not going to do the thing justice and blah blah blah blah. You know what I’m talking about, if not specifically when it comes to anthologies than about something. It’s like Imposter Syndrome and ‘It’s always shinier in my brain than it is on the page’ had a baby and that baby moved into my brain and is having a never-ending temper tantrum. Yeah. That.
It happens every time.
And every time the baby eventually grows up and moves away and I realise that, actually, I’ve put together something special.
And each anthology is special in its own way.
The Fire baby (man I’m really milking this aren’t I? LOL) moved out quite a long time ago, actually, so I’ve had lots of time to really enjoy this anthology and really appreciate the things about it that make it special.
Fire is special to me for two big reasons.
First, the quality of the stories and their diversity in regard to tone, voice, point of view, theme and style is impressive. By my count, just off the top of my head and going by memory within these twenty-one stories six have demons, six have dragons and three have djinn. Some have all three. Some have none of those. Some are pretty subtle and others couldn’t be more in your face if they tried. There are fire critters I’d never heard of, and stories went in directions I never could have guessed at, and I love that.
Second, there is a fantastic mix between authors I’ve worked with before and those I’m working with for the very first time. Working with people I’ve worked with before is always a bit easier–we’ve been down this road, we know what to expect. It’s comfortable, familiar. We know each other. We might even be friends. And working with new people is exciting, scary and new. I never know exactly how they are going to take my edits, or my sense of humour. In some cases we’ll meet for the first time at a launch, or event. It keeps me on my toes. This anthology has a great mix of comfort and fear… sort of like fire itself.
So without further ado:
Fire: Demons, Dragons and Djinn
“Bait” by Krista D. Ball
“Strange Attractor” by Kevin Cockle
“The Midwife and the Phoenix” by J.G. Formato
“The Djinni and the Accountant” by Hal J. Friesen
“Midnight Man versus Frankie Flame” by Chadwick Ginther
“Cold Comfort” by Gabrielle Harbowy
“Aitvaras” by R.W. Hodgson
“The Hatchling” by K.T. Ivanrest
“She Alone” by Blake Jessop
“A Girl, Ablaze with Life” by Claude Lalumière
“Old Flames” by V. F. LeSann
“Light My Fire” by Susan MacGregor
“Double or Nothing” by Mara Malins
“Aladdin’s Laugh” by Damascus Mincemeyer
“Cilantro” by Annie Neugebauer
“Breath of the Caldera” by Wendy Nikel
“Phoenix Rising” by Heather M. O’Connor
“Ring of Fire” by JB Riley
“Permanence” by Dusty Thorne
“The Second Great Fire” by Laura VanArendonk Baugh