Cover art and design by Jonathan C. Parrish

C is for Chimera Release-versary

Cover art and design by Jonathan C. Parrish

Today C is for Chimera turns one–by which I mean, it’s the anniversary of its release.

Like most people my favourite project tends to be the newest one–it’s shiny, it’s bright, it’s… well, new. But right now is the middle of ‘nominate things for awards’ season as well, so I was just re-reading this anthology* to choose which stories to nominate for things and I fell in love with it all over again. This is a strong, diverse collection with re-told fairy tales, hard science fiction and fresh new fantasy that tackle subjects as diverse as regret, victimizing women, devouring knights and post-apocalyptic playgrounds. I continue to be incredibly proud of it. Because it is awesome 🙂

This installment of Rhonda Parrish’s alphabet anthology series asks skilled storytellers to write around the theme of chimera. The resulting tales are part fable, part poem, part dream. But like any chimera, the parts make up a greater whole. Blend reality with fantasy. Mesh science fiction with mystery. Mix history with what should have been. They are all chimera. A shadow tells a tale of schoolyard bullies. A long-vanished monster returns from the cold dark. Make-up makes up a life. Alchemy, Atlantis, and apocalypse. These 26 tales bring both chaos and closure to dark and elusively fantastic geographies.

Contributing authors include:

~ BD Wilson ~ Jonathan C. Parrish ~ Alexandra Seidel ~ Pete Aldin ~ Beth Cato ~ L.S. Johnson ~ Marge Simon ~ Simon Kewin ~ Samantha Kymmell-Harvey ~ C.S. MacCath ~ Suzanne van Rooyen ~ KV Taylor ~ Sara Cleto ~ Michael M. Jones ~ Michael Fosburg ~ Milo James Fowler ~ Laura VanArendonk Baugh ~ Megan Arkenberg ~ Michael B. Tager ~ Gabrielle Harbowy ~ Steve Bornstein ~ Lilah Wild ~ Amanda C. Davis ~ Megan Engelhardt ~ Michael Kellar ~ Brittany Warman ~

 

Find it online:

Amazon

Kobo

Barnes & Noble

 

*skimming more than reading, I suppose, but to be fair I have read it cover to cover a ridiculous number of times LOL

SIRENS -- cover by Jonathan C. Parrish

Aurora Award Nominations are Open

It’s the time of year again! Nominations are open for the Aurora Awards.

This year I have two eligible anthologies, Sirens and C is for Chimera.

In addition, the following individual stories from the anthologies are also eligible:

Sirens:

  • “Moth to an Old Flame” by Pat Flewwelling
  • “Notefisher” by Cat McDonald
  • “Nautilus” by V.F. LeSann
  • “Experience” by Sandra Wickham

C is for Chimera:

  • “G is for Gladiator” by BD Wilson
  • “T is for Three (at the End of All Things)” by C.S. MacCath
  • “Y is for Yahoo” by Jonathan C. Parrish

If you are eligible to vote and nominate and would like a copy of either (or both) of these anthologies so that you can fairly consider them I would be happy to provide. Just let me know.

More details about the Aurora Awards can be found here.

Chimeric Contributor: Laura VanArendonk Baugh

It’s kind of become a tradition that I interview the contributors to my anthologies and share those interviews on my blog. It’s also kind of become a tradition that it takes me a very long time to get them all posted. I plan to continue the first tradition but I’m hoping to avoid the second. Just to be different.

We’re continuing the Chimeric contributor interviews with a familiar name on my blog–Laura VanArendonk Baugh. Laura is a talented writer who I’ve had the pleasure of working with on three of my Magical Menageries titles. This was her first foray into the Alphabet Anthologies but with a little luck she’ll stick around for a good, long time 🙂

 

C is for Chimera-Interview

What letter were you assigned?

N.

Did you struggle with the letter you were given?

Not really, but….

I was a late addition to the anthology, and I had to come up with an idea on short notice. I kept thinking, Chimera, N, what word starts with an N and goes with chimera? And I remembered Nina, from the manga and anime Fullmetal Alchemist.

If you’re not familiar with this story, you can find a fairly dry and unemotional spoiler here (http://fma.wikia.com/wiki/Nina_Tucker), but trust me, much like a certain pivotal gut-wrenching scene in the Firefly ‘verse (“too soon!”), this is an incident which still draws cries and wails from fans over a decade later. It’s made quite a few Top Ten lists of most heart-wrenching anime moments.
I posted on social media that I needed a chimera association with the letter N and linked an image of Nina, and then I sat back to enjoy the flood of emotional-devastation reaction gifs. Because writers are basically sadists.

I did have to work a bit to clear my mind for a new idea, and I had a false start involving genetically-modified bees and GMO crops, but I really like what eventually came.

What was your favourite idea for the ‘word’ to use in your title that you didn’t use?

I didn’t have any other ideas than what I submitted. I wrote the entire story without the title word, and thank God the final scene suggested a word to me. (As I said, I was a late addition and wrote the story in a week. There was more panic than leisurely mulling in my process.)

What kind of chimera is your story about?

I took a fairly literal approach, using the Khaimara of Greek mythology.

What, other than the letter you were assigned, helped inspire your story?

I’d been researching geologic phenomena for another story, earthquakes and tsunami, and I’d found some new reports on a massive crevice opening far more rapidly than science had ever thought possible, and I thought – well, what I thought would be a spoiler. But that was the germ of this story.

Lion, goat or snake–which are you more like?

A Harry-Potter fan friend insists I am the Gryffindor, so I suppose that makes me the lion. Though I think I can have serpentine aspects at times. Don’t tread on me.

If you were going to be magically transformed into a chimera composed of three different creatures, what would you want them to be?

Oh, man. I suppose horse, hawk, and hound, but I think I’d prefer to be able to shift as necessary than to share aspects of all at all times. Or a sea mammal might be nice, too, to explore the oceans….

What if it wasn’t limited to creatures? What three things would you want to be composed of?

I can’t help but start to think of this in superhero terms. Adamantium? Diamond? Elastic?

But I think I would get in my own way, if I were composed of three different materials. A watery torso couldn’t slip through a tight space if held back by inflexible metal legs. Dazzling golden skin would look incongruent next to silken skin, even if both were gorgeous. And if I were made of dark chocolate I would really struggle wi—nom nom nom nom.

Unrealizable dreams have been called chimeras. Taking the ‘unrealizable’ part out of the equation, what is one of your fondest dreams/goals?

I’ve achieved a number of my goals already! But of course there are always new dreams. I’d love to be an author guest of honor at a major convention; I have several in mind. We’ll see.

Can you share a short excerpt from your story?

“This is the way,” Casta said, her voice low in the dark. “A labyrinth to enlightenment.”

Anastasios lifted the lamp, showing the rough stone wall’s curve darkly golden in the lamplight. Concentric circles, again. “Do you know the way?”

“I know there is a way. That is not quite the same.” But she took the lamp, pressing past him in the narrow corridor, and started down the passage.

There were no branching paths, for which Anastasios was grateful. This was a labyrinth, then, and not a maze. Troughs ran along the floor, deep and narrow grooves parallel to the curving walls, and Anastasios could not guess their purpose.

The path doubled back on itself, working back and forth but ever inward. He kept close to Casta, and she stayed near him, as if they somehow needed each other’s warmth in this warm dark.
The curves became tighter and tighter. And then the passage opened into a wider space and Casta stopped so abruptly that Anastasios bumped into her from behind and jostled the lamp. She did not look back at him or speak.

Beyond her, something was in the dark. He could feel it, sense it, a disturbance in the air and a presence against his skin. Casta lifted the lamp, and eyes shone green back at them.
They leapt backward, Casta stumbling against Anastasios, and he caught and steadied her.

Anastasios steeled himself. “Who’s there?” he called, and his voice wavered only a little. “Your prince asks.”

There was a rustling sound, as of leather or scales brushing stone, and a soft laugh. “Not my prince,” came a low voice, resting just a bit longer than usual on the final consonant.

Anastasios swallowed and took the lamp from Casta. Be confident and assertive, the queen had admonished him, and demand their respect. They cannot refuse you. He put a hand on Casta’s shoulder and stepped past her, raising the lamp high. “Who are you, then, if not my subject?”

Light spread forward, and a lion’s face stared steadily back at him from the shadow.

Anastasios flinched backward, but Casta’s hand caught him between the shoulder blades. “Stand still,” she whispered, her mouth close to his ear. “Quick movements enrage or entice. Be still, and offer no threat.”

She would know how to face dangerous animals. He froze, his knees nearly trembling with their rigidity, and waited.

The lion’s lips curled in a cat’s smile. “Your female is clever,” it said, its mouth forming about the words as no lion’s mouth could do. “But you live by my forbearance, not by her wisdom. I have something to say to you, prince.”

Anastasios swallowed. “How can a lion speak to me?”

“A lion.” The cat sounded disdainful. The big head turned, showing a thin mane which did not conceal the ears. The mouth opened, and the beast spat forth a stream of fire.

Casta and Anastasios screamed together. Fire lit the passage, making them shield their eyes, but Casta against Anastasios’ back kept him in place despite his fear.

When they looked again, the floor trough was full of fire, burning invisible fuel in a long line about the outer edge of the round chamber. In the center stood a creature, a beast beyond comprehension. It was a lion, or at least the front part of it was. A goat’s head rose from the withers and watched them over the lion’s thin mane. A long tail moved restlessly behind the lion body, but it was not a tail, it was a serpent with its own head for the tail’s end, eying them.

Trikephalos,” breathed Casta.

 

Laura VanArendonk Baugh was born at a very early age and never looked back. She overcame her childhood deficiencies of having been born without teeth and unable to walk, and by the time she matured into a recognizable adult she had become a behavior analyst, an internationally-recognized animal trainer, a costumer/cosplayer, a chocolate addict, and of course a writer.

Cover art and design by Jonathan C. Parrish

Find C is for Chimera online:

Amazon

Kobo

Barnes & Noble

OmniLit

Payhip 

Barnes & Noble

Smashwords

Chimeric Contributor: Samantha Kymmell-Harvey

It’s kind of become a tradition that I interview the contributors to my anthologies and share those interviews on my blog. It’s also kind of become a tradition that it takes me a very long time to get them all posted. I plan to continue the first tradition but I’m hoping to avoid the second. Just to be different.

Samantha Kymmell-Harvey was one of the best slush readers I ever had at Niteblade, and she’s been with the Alphabet Anthology series from the very beginning 🙂 Her contribution to C is for Chimera was described by Stephanie Cain as, “…another marvelously crafted post-apocalyptic story, focusing on genetic experimentation and the unintended side effects. Beautifully written, this futuristic story resounds with the echoes of a time when women could be locked in institutions for being ‘hysterical’, and yet the story also carries the reader forward into a new world.” I couldn’t have said it better myself. Truly.

C is for Chimera-Interview

What letter were you assigned?

U

Did you struggle with the letter you were given?

Yes, a little bit. It took me a while to figure out what I wanted to do.

What was your favourite idea for the ‘word’ to use in your title that you didn’t use?

I was in an adjectives sort of mood while choosing, so words like “unstoppable” or “unchangeable” but I’m glad I didn’t’ choose these!

What kind of chimera is your story about?

The genetic kind, though I was tempted to incorporate the classic Greek monster kind.

What, other than the letter you were assigned, helped inspire your story?

I am such a sucker for “undying love” stories in the Gothic genre, so the idea that love can persevere through time and even within DNA was one that inspired me.

Lion, goat or snake–which are you more like?

I’d say lion because I’m totally a cat lady! But also, I ‘ve been known to fiercely defend my opinion.

If you were going to be magically transformed into a chimera composed of three different creatures, what would you want them to be?

Probably a cat-unicorn-pegasus! Because then I could be a cat, I could fly, and I could have a magical unicorn horn. Who doesn’t like flying cat unicorns??

What if it wasn’t limited to creatures? What three things would you want to be composed of?

Maybe a paper-glitter pen- desk creature? Because I seem to always be writing, whether it’s creatively or simply grading papers.

Unrealizable dreams have been called chimeras. Taking the ‘unrealizable’ part out of the equation, what is one of your fondest dreams/goals?

I’d really love to own a little cottage on Orkney island where I could go to unplug and just write and be inspired by the gorgeous Scottish countryside.

Can you share an excerpt from your story?

“The crisp May wind brought goosebumps to Claire’s exposed arms as she stepped awkwardly onto the path. She hadn’t gone on a hike since her diagnosis. She inhaled and closed her eyes. Smelled like dirt and dankness.

Look for the circle of oaks, said the woman.

With each step, Claire went further into the forest, never questioning the path she walked. A stinging sensation of panic teased her stomach. A branch broke beneath her feet.

They’ll never find us here. We’ll be safe if we just stay. Claire saw a tent, a little brook trickling by. Angry voices echoed in the distance. The tent vanished as Claire spun around. There were nothing but trees. It had all been a distant memory.

Am I crazy?

You’re finally waking up, said the other woman’s voice.”

 

Samantha Kymmell-Harvey is thrilled to once again be a part of the Alphabet Anthologies. Her stories can be found in Bete Noire, Flash Fiction Online, and Spark: A Creative Anthology just to name a few. She is also a graduate of the Odyssey Writing Workshop.

Cover art and design by Jonathan C. Parrish

Find C is for Chimera online:

Amazon

Kobo

Barnes & Noble

OmniLit

Payhip 

Barnes & Noble

Smashwords

Cover art and design by Jonathan C. Parrish

Chimeric Contributor: Michael M. Jones

It’s kind of become a tradition that I interview the contributors to my anthologies and share those interviews on my blog. It’s also kind of become a tradition that it takes me a very long time to get them all posted. I plan to continue the first tradition but I’m hoping to avoid the second. Just to be different.

I met today’s interviewee, Michael M. Jones, when yesterday’s featured contributor, C.S. MacCath, introduced us at the World Fantasy convention in Washington, DC. I loved Michael’s contribution to B is for Broken and his C is for Chimera story just blew me away even further. You’re gonna love it 🙂

C is for Chimera-Interview

 

What letter were you assigned?

I was assigned the enigmatic letter “E” which has always been one of my favorite vowels.

Did you struggle with the letter you were given?

Not really. As with my story in B is for Broken, I happened to have a story already in the works which, with a title change, was perfect for my needs.  It helps to have a good vocabulary and an esoteric grasp of weird words.

What was your favourite idea for the ‘word’ to use in your title that you didn’t use?

I have so many ideas. I never throw any of them away.  In this case, the story came first and the title came in a flash of brilliance. I never really considered anything else seriously, save for a few vague concepts I’ve filed away until they can be of use.

What kind of chimera is your story about?

It’s about two different things which combine to form something different. But it’s not how you’d expect.

What, other than the letter you were assigned, helped inspire your story?

This story was originally written as a class exercise. We were supposed to write from a non-human perspective, and after I stopped laughing because honestly, most of my stories are written from the viewpoint of nonhumans, I started thinking about a shadow that was alive and wanted to be a person.

Lion, goat or snake–which are you more like?

Lion. To differentiate me from all the other Michaels we know (5 or 6, including editor Mike Allen and brother-in-law and fellow author Michael Shean) I often respond to the nickname Leo. Because in the Chinese zodiac, I’m a Leo. And by the Chinese yearly cycle, I’m a Tiger. I’m just a cat any way you look at it.

If you were going to be magically transformed into a chimera composed of three different creatures, what would you want them to be?

I would be part coyote, part raccoon, part cat. This is already established. Ask my wife. It’s weird, okay?

What if it wasn’t limited to creatures? What three things would you want to be composed of?

A book, lightning, and the color blue. And if you figure out what that creates, tell me.

Unrealizable dreams have been called chimeras. Taking the ‘unrealizable’ part out of the equation, what is one of your fondest dreams/goals?

I’ll give you a hint: it’s shiny and rhymes with Yugo. Please vote for this anthology next year.

Can you share a short excerpt from your story?

I am a shadow who once was a girl.

I flit through the hallways, darting from one dark place to another, leaping from person to person as they talk and laugh in the brief moments between classes. Every now and again, someone detects my presence, shivering despite the late spring heat and ineffectual air conditioning. Even rarer, one of them stops and turns, trying to figure out what they’ve seen out of the corner of an eye.

A bubbly gaggle of girls comes out of the bathroom, giggling over some shared joke. I linger on the nearby lockers and borrow one brunette’s laugh, trying it on for size.  My attempt to join in comes just as the group quiets; they look around, baffled and just a little uncomfortable.

The laugh doesn’t feel right to me and I leave it behind as I continue my journey. The girls’  group disbands as they move along to their various classes, their shadows following obediently, nothing more than patches of darkness.

 

Michael M. Jones lives in Southwest Virginia, with too many books, just enough cats, a plaster penguin, and a wife who knows where all the bodies are buried. His fiction has appeared in anthologies such as B is for Broken, Clockwork Phoenix 3, and A Chimerical World. He also edited Scheherazade’s Facade and the forthcoming Schoolbooks & Sorcery. Visit him at www.michaelmjones.com.

Cover art and design by Jonathan C. Parrish

Find C is for Chimera online:

Amazon

Kobo

Barnes & Noble

OmniLit

Payhip 

Barnes & Noble

Smashwords

Chimeric Contributor: C.S. MacCath

It’s kind of become a tradition that I interview the contributors to my anthologies and share those interviews on my blog. It’s also kind of become a tradition that it takes me a very long time to get them all posted. I plan to continue the first tradition but I’m hoping to avoid the second. Just to be different.

Today’s interviewee is C.S. MacCath. Her story for B is for Broken was the longest piece in the anthology and I think her contribution to C is for Chimera was the shortest–and length is only one of the ways her work shows her huge range. C.S. MacCath is a master storyteller with a poetic style that I freaking love. Love!

C is for Chimera-Interview

What letter were you assigned?

T

Did you struggle with the letter you were given?

I rather like to think of it as processing the letter and theme against a story idea. I’ve written three stories for the Alphabet Anthologies now, and I’m developing a pattern. I receive my letter and theme, and then I think about whether or not an existing story idea might be developed using them (I have a personal wiki page full of story ideas I hope to develop someday) . If so, then I start writing. If not, I do a bit of research/worldbuilding and let the story shape itself. In this case, it was a bit of both.

What was your favourite idea for the ‘word’ to use in your title that you didn’t use?

I didn’t have a favourite, unused word. The title popped into my head right about the time the story took shape. Convenient, that!

What kind of chimera is your story about?

My story is about three sentient supermassive black holes at the end of the universe who take the shapes of things they’ve swallowed throughout time.

What, other than the letter you were assigned, helped inspire your story?

Suns themselves; forges of the elements, great-grandmothers of life, death-bringers.

Lion, goat or snake–which are you more like?

I am all goat; capable, adventurous, and stubborn as hell.

If you were going to be magically transformed into a chimera composed of three different creatures, what would you want them to be?

I’d want the head and curving horns of a goat (for reasons mentioned above), the wings of a raven (for cleverness), and the body of a garter snake (for transformation). You might call me a Govenke.

What if it wasn’t limited to creatures? What three things would you want to be composed of?

I’m already composed of star stuff, coffee, and half-told stories. I don’t want for any other shape.

Unrealizable dreams have been called chimeras. Taking the ‘unrealizable’ part out of the equation, what is one of your fondest dreams/goals?

To write all of the stories I want in the time I have.

Can you share a short excerpt from your story?

Before the ancient stars coalesced into brightness, in the vault of the foregoing universe, there were sorrows too great for any being to bear, and the greatest of these was the sorrow of ending. Not the end of a day, with its sundown promise of another sunrise, and not the end of a life, while memories of the dead remain and there is hope in some hearts for the soul’s journey onward. No, this sorrow was vast, cold and complete, and it spanned the void of space among the last rough fragments of matter strewn in terminus.

Who was there to grieve in that heat death?  Scripture tells of three; supermassive singularities at the end of their gathering in, brooding upon the cacophony before and the quiet ahead, sacrificing radiation to become chimeras of the wonders they once devoured. There was Face-of-Time, in whose mouth a trillion tongues cried out in languages long extinct. There was Skin-of-Suns, fat with the orbits of planets given to memory. And there was Feet-of-Entropy, fevered with a dance of creation fallen to stillness.

 

C.S. MacCath is a writer of fiction, non-fiction and poetry whose work has appeared in Strange Horizons, Clockwork Phoenix: Tales of Beauty and Strangeness, Mythic Delirium, A is for Apocalypse, B is for Broken, Murky Depths and other publications. Her poetry has been nominated twice for the Rhysling Award, while her fiction has been nominated twice for the Pushcart Prize and shortlisted for the Washington Science Fiction Association Small Press Award.

Cover art and design by Jonathan C. Parrish

Find C is for Chimera online:

Amazon

Kobo

Barnes & Noble

OmniLit

Payhip 

Barnes & Noble

Smashwords

Chimeric Contributor: Alexandra Seidel

It’s kind of become a tradition that I interview the contributors to my anthologies and share those interviews on my blog. It’s also kind of become a tradition that it takes me a very long time to get them all posted. I plan to continue the first tradition but I’m hoping to avoid the second. Just to be different.

We’re continuing the Chimeric contributor interviews with a familiar name on my blog–Alexandra Seidel. Alexa and I have worked together in tons of different capacities for several years now. It started when I accepted one of her poems for Niteblade, then she was a slush reader, then Niteblade’s poetry editor… She’s also contributed to every single one of the Alphabet Anthologies so far 🙂

C is for Chimera-Interview

What letter were you assigned?

A

Did you struggle with the letter you were given?

Not at all. The story started forming in my head right away.

What was your favourite idea for the ‘word’ to use in your title that you didn’t use?

Mmh, my title is actually exactly as I wanted it to be!

What kind of chimera is your story about?

The one with two heads. It’s pretty close to the Greek creature, but also it’s something else entirely.

What, other than the letter you were assigned, helped inspire your story?

My story is actually set in a world that I’ve explored before (in The Marriage of Ocean and Dust, which appeared in Postscripts to Darkness) so that was part of the inspiration. I don’t want to give away too much, but one of Poe’s stories also helped inspire me.

Lion, goat or snake–which are you more like?

Well, I really want to say lioness, and some people would agree. But I do have some snake-like qualities as well. I’m not much like a goat, at least the last time I checked I wasn’t growing horns.

If you were going to be magically transformed into a chimera composed of three different creatures, what would you want them to be?

Let me think; I’d want to be one third dragon, one third tiger, and one third crane.

What if it wasn’t limited to creatures? What three things would you want to be composed of?

That one’s easy: one third wormhole, one third Mimir’s Well, and one third a witch’s cauldron.

Unrealizable dreams have been called chimeras. Taking the ‘unrealizable’ part out of the equation, what is one of your fondest dreams/goals?

Oh, I’d just want to have more time to write things, it’s as simple as that.

Can you share a short excerpt from your story?

When her daughter left to become an alchemist, the mother did not understand. Had her youngest child not always loved the harp, played songs as if the ghost of muses lived inside her hands? But the girl said she wanted nothing more to do with string, and ever since that moment, her harp would not speak another sound.

 

Alexandra Seidel is a writer, poet, and editor. Her writing has appeared in Strange Horizons, Lackington’s, Stone Telling, and elsewhere. If you are so inclined you can follow Alexa on Twitter (@Alexa_Seidel) or read her blog: www.tigerinthematchstickbox.blogspot.com.

Cover art and design by Jonathan C. Parrish

Find C is for Chimera online:

Amazon

Kobo

Barnes & Noble

OmniLit

Payhip 

Barnes & Noble

Smashwords

Chimeric Contributor: Suzanne van Rooyen

It’s kind of become a tradition that I interview the contributors to my anthologies and share those interviews on my blog. It’s also kind of become a tradition that it takes me a very long time to get them all posted. I plan to continue the first tradition but I’m hoping to avoid the second. Just to be different.

Today’s interviewee is Suzanne van Rooyen. I met Suzanne through Niteblade and was exceptionally happy when she agreed to contribute to this series. Her C is for Chimera story was described by one reviewer as being “full of gorgeous sentences“, which I think is something that can actually be said for most of Suzanne’s work.

C is for Chimera-Interview

What letter were you assigned?

W

Did you struggle with the letter you were given?

Not really. There are tons of great words that start with W – I actually had a harder time narrowing down what I wanted to use in the story rather than struggling to come up with ideas.

What was your favourite idea for the ‘word’ to use in your title that you didn’t use?

Gosh, so many. I had quite a few ‘war’ related ideas that I might still use sometime or try to incorporate into a novel perhaps.

What kind of chimera is your story about?

I’m not really sure I can talk about that without giving away spoiler, but suffice it to say my chimera is more man than beast 😉

What, other than the letter you were assigned, helped inspire your story?

My daily life in Stockholm and the gypsies who routinely busk on the commuter trains.

Lion, goat or snake–which are you more like?

Um – I have no idea. Maybe a goat considering I like to climb.

If you were going to be magically transformed into a chimera composed of three different creatures, what would you want them to be?

Ooh, this is hard. Maybe a panther for the body and head, condor for the massive wings and let’s go with dragon for a lethal tail and talons.

What if it wasn’t limited to creatures? What three things would you want to be composed of?

Adamantium, whatever Mystique is made of that allows her to shapeshift, and Tesseract energy.

Unrealizable dreams have been called chimeras. Taking the ‘unrealizable’ part out of the equation, what is one of your fondest dreams/goals?

I really really want to do a roadtrip across the States in a VW Type II. But if that fails – which it probably will considering the reliability of VW Type IIs, then my next more realistic dream is to travel to the Galapagos islands.

Can you share a short excerpt from your story?

Tucked safe in the corner at the back of the carriage, I count the seconds between stations.

At Slussen, the doors open and she wafts into the train, skirts rustling and long plaits swinging. She sees me and inclines her head, her smile shy but spilling into her fathomless eyes. Others shift uncomfortably in her presence, wary of the jangling coins in her paper cup. The train leaves the station and she starts to sing.

Her voice weaves a tapestry of color, sound eddies rippling in neon to splash against the windows. Her music spatters me with red and yellow, a hundred shades of blue I cannot name, dousing my clothes if only it could douse my skin and extinguish the searing presence of everything left unsaid. She paints her memories through melody, her hopes and dreams for those willing to see.

 

Suzanne is a tattooed storyteller from South Africa, and the author of the novels The Other Me, I Heart Robot, and Scardust. She currently lives in Sweden and is busy making friends with the ghosts of her Viking ancestors. Although she has a Master’s degree in music, Suzanne prefers conjuring strange worlds and creating quirky characters. When she grows up, she wants to be an elf – until then, she spends her time (when not writing) wall climbing, buying far too many books, and entertaining her shiba inu, Lego.

Cover art and design by Jonathan C. Parrish

Find C is for Chimera online:

Amazon

Kobo

Barnes & Noble

OmniLit

Payhip 

Barnes & Noble

Smashwords

Simon Kewin

Chimeric Contributor: Simon Kewin

It’s kind of become a tradition that I interview the contributors to my anthologies and share those interviews on my blog. It’s also kind of become a tradition that it takes me a very long time to get them all posted. I plan to continue the first tradition but I’m hoping to avoid the second. Just to be different.

We’re continuing the Chimeric contributor interviews today with Simon Kewin. I’ve been working with Simon for so long I’m not even sure where our professional relationship began, but I’m extremely pleased that it did. Not only is Simon’s work in all three alphabet anthologies, he also has a story in my forthcoming Sirens anthology 🙂

 

C is for Chimera-Interview

What letter were you assigned?

F

Did you struggle with the letter you were given?

Everything fell into place quite nicely. I had a few ideas for a story, but given the letter and the theme, there was really only one story I could write.

What was your favourite idea for the ‘word’ to use in your title that you didn’t use?

One early idea was to write a story about a slightly rubbish superhero called Fishmonkeyman. Quite pleased I didn’t go with that idea in hindsight.

What kind of chimera is your story about?

Without giving too much away, my chimera isn’t one made up of body-parts from wildly different species; I’m using the word more in its biological than its mythological sense.

What, other than the letter you were assigned, helped inspire your story?

My story references another quite well-known story, and it was thinking about that – the author’s original intent and where it was left – that gave me a way in to my tale.

Lion, goat or snake–which are you more like?

Umm, tricky. If I had a choice I’d probably go for the lion – although as a vegetarian, that’s probably not going to work out that well…

If you were going to be magically transformed into a chimera composed of three different creatures, what would you want them to be?

Can I include wise and all-powerful aliens entities from beyond space? Failing that, I’d go for something that could fly, something that could swim and something that could lie around in the sun. Eagle/dolphin/lion would do…

What if it wasn’t limited to creatures? What three things would you want to be composed of?

An artifical biomechanical body capable of hosting a human mental matrix whilst being inifinitely repairable and modifiable would do nicely.

Unrealizable dreams have been called chimeras. Taking the ‘unrealizable’ part out of the equation, what is one of your fondest dreams/goals?

I’m quite keen on the idea of immortality. Probably not going to happen, but it would be good…

Can you share a short excerpt from your story?

There were things he needed to understand, too. Questions that needed answers. Whose fingers did he slip into the fish’s mouth to break its spine and end its suffering? Whose muscles sawed at the ice to open up access to the water? Whose eyes did he see the world through? Whose brain, even, thought these thoughts, asked these questions? Who were they, all the poor, broken wretches that were him? Young or old? Male or female? He could tell from his external appearance that young, strong men made up a large part of his anatomy. But his organs? His inner workings? He didn’t know.

He didn’t know who he was.

 

Simon Kewin is the author of over 100 published short and flash stories. His works have appeared in Nature, Daily Science Fiction, Abyss & Apex and many more. He lives in England with his wife and their daughters. The second volume in his Cloven Land fantasy trilogy was recently published. Find him at simonkewin.co.uk.

Cover art and design by Jonathan C. Parrish

Find C is for Chimera online:

Amazon

Kobo

Barnes & Noble

OmniLit

Payhip 

Barnes & Noble

Smashwords

Chimeric Contributor: L.S. Johnson

It’s kind of become a tradition that I interview the contributors to my anthologies and share those interviews on my blog. It’s also kind of become a tradition that it takes me a very long time to get them all posted. I plan to continue the first tradition but I’m hoping to avoid the second. Just to be different.

Today’s interview is with L.S. Johnson. I first learned of L.S.’s work when she submitted an amazing story, The Queen of Lakes, to Fae and I’ve been enamored with her work ever since. When she accepted my invitation to contribute to B is for Broken I was ecstatic, and even more so to have her stick around for C is for Chimera 🙂

C is for Chimera-Interview

What letter were you assigned?

R

Did you struggle with the letter you were given?

Actually, no! I had already started sketching out this story, title and all. That the title began with R and the story dealt with chimeras in a few different ways was pure serendipity.

What was your favourite idea for the ‘word’ to use in your title that you didn’t use?

No alternatives this time, it was full speed ahead on the idea I had. Though I will say that there is a version of this story that is twice as long, with a present-day framing narrative that I just couldn’t make work. Perhaps someday there will be an alt version?

What kind of chimera is your story about?

Well, it’s based on the story of Philomela and Procne, which like many Greek myths involves a physical transformation. But a chimera can also be an illusion of the mind, a mental fantasy, and part of the story is about how narratives frame events, especially when they’re based on a feminine ideal that has little to do with reality.

What, other than the letter you were assigned, helped inspire your story?

I had a lovely great-aunt who was a recluse; she lived in an apartment in Queens, hardly ever went out, and seemed to subsist on candy, Cheez Doodles, and the occasional roast dinner. I only met her a couple of times in my childhood, but I always thought of her apartment as a kind of nest—her own little world in a vast hive of similar spaces. I used to look at the flat windows of her building and wonder how many others were like her, looking out but never seen.

Lion, goat or snake–which are you more like?

Snake, for better or worse.

If you were going to be magically transformed into a chimera composed of three different creatures, what would you want them to be?

Bird-cat. Don’t need a third. Just bird-cat.

What if it wasn’t limited to creatures? What three things would you want to be composed of?

Cotton lawn, a Leuchtturm journal, and the smell of my youngest cat’s fur.

Unrealizable dreams have been called chimeras. Taking the ‘unrealizable’ part out of the equation, what is one of your fondest dreams/goals?

To finally feel settled somewhere. I live very far from my family, and my spouse is from another country entirely; yet my hometown has become far too expensive for us to ever consider moving back. Try as I might, California has never quite felt like “home”, so I keep hoping that one day we might find a place that does.

Can you share a short excerpt from your story?

Her mother had often told her bedtime stories that weren’t in books, stories from the old world, stories her mother’s mother had told, and her mother before that, and so on . . . Stories of women who were changed into things, river rocks and fleet deer, nightingales and sparrows and tall, twisting trees: always they were betrayed by someone and then swiftly changed, to save them from a worse fate. And then she was no more of this world, her mother would always finish, and then she would pretend to show Elsa something from the woman in question—a leaf, a feather. But such endings had never felt like escapes to Elsa. They felt like condemnations, and her dreams would be filled with monstrous images of animals with women’s faces, their silent mouths screaming endlessly.

Only now did Elsa understand her child-self had been right, that those stories weren’t fantasies. They were warnings.

 

L.S. Johnson lives in Northern California. Her stories have appeared in Strange Horizons, Long Hidden, Fae, Lackington’s, Strange Tales V, and other venues. Currently she’s working on a fantasy trilogy set in 18th century Europe. Find her online at http://traversingz.com/.

Cover art and design by Jonathan C. Parrish

Find C is for Chimera online:

Amazon

Kobo

Barnes & Noble

OmniLit

Payhip 

Barnes & Noble

Smashwords