Is it a horse? A unicorn? A pegasus? One of the best things about this cover for Equus is that you can’t tell — but you know it is equine. The cover was done by Jonathan C. Parrish and I love it. I think the sparkles add the perfect fantastical element, the equine is beautiful and the white will stand out among the other covers of the series while still fitting in with them. It’s an awesome collection and I’m super happy that it has an equally amazing cover to go with the stories!
There’s always something magical about horses, isn’t there? Whether winged or at home in the water, mechanical or mythological, the equines that gallop through these pages span the fantasy spectrum. In one story a woman knits her way up to the stars and in another Loki’s descendant grapples with bizarre transformations while fighting for their life. A woman races on a unique horse to save herself from servitude, while a man rides a chariot through the stars to reclaim his self-worth. From steampunk-inspired stories and tales that brush up against horror to straight-up fantasy, one theme connects them all: freedom.
Featuring nineteen fantastic stories of equines both real and imagined by J.G. Formato, Diana Hurlburt, Tamsin Showbrook, M.L.D Curelas, Laura VanArendonk Baugh, VF LeSann, Dan Koboldt, J.J. Roth, Susan MacGregor, Pat Flewwelling, Angela Rega, Michael Leonberger, Sandra Wickham, Stephanie A. Cain, Cat McDonald, Andrew Bourelle, Chadwick Ginther, K.T. Ivanrest, and Jane Yolen.
I was telling the contributors to this anthology that I look at the TOC reveal a bit like the part of a show where the house lights go down and the curtain begins to open. Not wide open, just a peek — enough to whet your appetite and make you excited for what’s about to come next. This is me introducing you to the anthology… the cover reveal is, I dunno, the handshake perhaps? And the release is when you really get to know one another.
I love Equus. I think it’s the strongest anthology I’ve ever put together and I can barely wait for you to meet and fall in love with it like I have, but for now the introduction. The lights are going down… here’s your peek behind the curtain:
Equus Table of Contents
Stars, Wings, and Knitting Things by J.G. Formato
Eel and Bloom by Diana Hurlburt
A Complete Mare by Tamsin Showbrook
Neither Snow, nor Rain, nor Heat-Ray by M.L.D Curelas
Rue the Day by Laura VanArendonk Baugh
Riders in the Sky by VF LeSann
Above the Silver Sky by Dan Koboldt
A Mother Unicorn’s Advice to Her Daughter by J.J. Roth
For this, the final entry into the Sirens blog tour, I’d like to leave you with something amazing — The Sound of Sirens. This podcast was created by Cat McDonald and edited by Nick Acheff to celebrate the launch of Sirens so we affectionately refer to it as our launchcast 🙂
When Cat and I first started discussing the possibility of creating this launchcast I said, “I like this podcast-style idea you have. Do you have any experience dealing with audio editing or anything of the like? Because I don’t LOL So while I’m happy to solicit recordings from people and such, I don’t have the skills to turn it into something cohesive & I’d need someone else to take the lead on that. Could that person be you?”
Cat’s response after a couple more emails was “I baaaaasically can’t be stopped.”
She meant it.
Cat put together an amazing line-up of Siren-y interviews and readings. I’m biased. Of course I’m biased. But it’s true. Check it out:
One of my favourite things about this launchcast was hearing the variety of accents of my contributors. It made it so real to me, like nothing else ever has, now very multi-national this (and every one of my anthologies) book is. Please listen and enjoy The Sound of Sirens.
And thank you Cat. This is a gift. To me, to everyone, and I really can’t say thank you enough.
As suggested by the title right there *points up* and right there *points down”, this is an alternate opening for Cat McDonald’s Sirens story, “Notefisher” 🙂
Notefisher Alt Opening
Terra wiggled back into the rain-wet couch as the smells of wood smoke and palo santo incense whirled around her. When she felt her fingers penetrate her cup of cocoa like tree roots, winding through it and dragging its sweetness into her, she figured the C-Sharp she’d taken was kicking in, so she settled in to enjoy it.
Their timing was good. A chillstep act had taken the main stage while she and Jordan had been up getting cocoa, so she could just relax into the sound, wait for her guide, and find out where the bass intended to take her.
Jordan turned around to look up at her from his spot on the ground. He seemed to like sitting right against the earth; he settled in the grass every chance he got, like a preschooler or a true festival kid. He wasn’t, of course; he didn’t seem to know anyone, always looked a little confused when he heard a new music take the stage, and had worn a plain red t-shirt. It was obviously his first festival, so he needed a guide, and Terra’s campmate had abandoned her to pursue a DJ anyway, so they’d become friends.
Right now, all she knew about him was that he was new to this, that he liked drum and bass more than house, and that he couldn’t keep himself from staring at dancers.
“How are you doing?”
He stared at her for a moment or two, black-brown eyes shining in the reflected firelight, seeming to change shape as she struggled to keep a handle on her perceptions. The stage went red as a more traditional dubstep took the stage from her ambient chillstep.
“I’m fine,” she thought she heard him say as he turned back to face the fire, entranced by something only he could see. Terra followed his gaze as a ribbon of wood smoke wriggled between the stage’s lasers toward her.
The scent of incense reached out to caress her face, and when she glanced down she saw a transparent gray-blue hand cradling her. Red and orange stage lights flickered inside the hand and arm like lightning strikes, contained in the body of the muse she’d grown to love.
A pleasant humming in her ear skirted just under the music, in awkward, unpracticed harmony with the deep, booming music, and a smoky breeze tickled at her left ear. Terra turned to see a familiar smile rippling through the air, wavering but brilliant like treasure at the bottom of a clear pond. The embers of the fire glittered in the muse’s eyes, and when she opened her mouth to speak, Terra felt her ears tingle.
Behind the head and torso of a stately, dignified older woman, the body of a great rainbow-colored serpent glittered in twisted ribbons that bumped and writhed along the waveforms of the music like a fast-moving river. Every time Terra got a fix on one of her colors, the peerless aquamarine just behind her shoulder, it changed and the entire body had moved away on the wind to be discovered anew. Now, the journey could begin.
Rather than staring straight at Terra, her sparkling eyes stared down at the ground in front of the couch, where Jordan stared out into the distance after his own muse.
A high-pitched squeal in her ear pulled Terra’s focus back to the muse’s face, to the way her brows knit together, to the deep darkness that had settled in behind the sparks in her eyes. She brought her transparent hands together in front of her and cupped them in the air as if cradling something very delicate.
Terra reached out to take those hands, and felt nothing even though she saw them return her grasp.
“I understand. I’ll look out for him,” Terra said, and although the darkness never left the muse’s eyes, she smiled.
Then, as always, the world started to ripple around them as the muse pulled Terra forward into her dark, uncertain, watery world.
“I trust you,” Terra heard herself say out loud before falling forward to find out where the trip led next.
Cat McDonald lives in an eighth-floor apartment in Edmonton with a baby tortoise and at least a dozen tarot decks. She’s studying Investigations at Macewan and Tarot at Northern Star college, and makes better choices now than she did five years ago. Eli is two years old and loves strawberries.
Here she is, the much-anticipated cover and table of contents for the fourth of my Magical Menagerie anthologies: Sirens!
Cover by Jonathan C. Parrish
Sixteen siren songs that will both exemplify and defy your expectations.
Sirens are beautiful, dangerous, and musical, whether they come from the sea or the sky. Greek sirens were described as part-bird, part-woman, and Roman sirens more like mermaids, but both had a voice that could captivate and destroy the strongest man. The pages of this book contain the stories of the Sirens of old, but also allow for modern re-imaginings, plucking the sirens out of their natural elements and placing them at a high school football game, or in wartime London, or even into outer space.
Featuring stories by Kelly Sandoval, Amanda Kespohl, L.S. Johnson, Pat Flewwelling, Gabriel F. Cuellar, Randall G. Arnold, Micheal Leonberger, V. F. LeSann, Tamsin Showbrook, Simon Kewin, Cat McDonald, Sandra Wickham, K.T. Ivanrest, Adam L. Bealby, Eliza Chan, and Tabitha Lord, these siren songs will both exemplify and defy your expectations.
Table of Contents:
Siren Seeking by Kelly Sandoval
The Fisherman and the Golem by Amanda Kespohl
We Are Sirens by L.S. Johnson
Moth to an Old Flame by Pat Flewwelling
The Bounty by Gabriel F. Cuellar
The Dolphin Riders by Randall G. Arnold
Is This Seat Taken? by Micheal Leonberger
Nautilus by V. F. LeSann
Siren’s Odyssey by Tamsin Showbrook
Safe Waters by Simon Kewin
Notefisher by Cat McDonald
Experience by Sandra Wickham
Threshold by K.T. Ivanrest
The Fisherman’s Catch by Adam L. Bealby
One More Song by Eliza Chan
Homecoming by Tabitha Lord