It’s an awesome issue with four great stories and I’m not just saying that because one of them is mine.
Steven Blackmoore’s La Bestia gave me chills. He’s so good at writing dark landscapes where you feel like it’s about to be the end of the world and then when you’re worried that you can’t take it anymore — WHAM. There’s hope and a little bit of light at the end. I enjoyed La Bestia because dark urban fantasy works are my ultimate guilty pleasure. If there’s ever more of this story, of Enrique’s story, I’m going to be super excited!
Now Lilith Saintcrow is a recent fave for me. I stumbled across her novel Selene a few weeks ago and then proceeded to buy all of the omnibuses because her characters and her worldbuilding are too amazing not to dive into. This month’s issue has another part of her serial She Wolf and Cub up and while I’m definitely going to have to catch up before I can read it, I’m still super excited. I’ve come to expect great things from Lilith Saintcrow and she has yet to disappoint me.
He Who Watches is a work of flash fiction written by Alex Shvartsman. I’m unfamiliar with his work but I intend to fix that immediately. He Who Watches is dark. It’s after the literal end of the world and there’s just no brightness in sight. Decades after the world ends, Andrew still has his mission, one last thing that he has to do. I’ve reread this story repeatedly because it actually got me good. I wasn’t expecting what happened but man, it’s such a good story.
Lastly, there’s my story Accidental Queen of the Spiders.
I’ve wanted to talk about this story for ages so I’m excited that I’m getting the chance to do so while the story’s up.
Set in my home island of St. Thomas (although it’s implicit and not explicit so don’t beat yourself up for not noticing), the story pulls from my childhood and that of my nieces in South Florida. I reference details like the island’s Carnival season in the spring and local snacks like johnny cakes (fried and lightly sweetened pieces of dough) and tamarind balls (which we pronounce taah-mund instead of tah-mah-rin) along with my own personal experiences with St. Thomas’s spider population.
When I was little, I used to feed everything that came in our yard and in our house. I had pet ants and lizards (from tiny ones to the iguanas that showed up to eat our mangos during the season). My big sister would play with tarantulas in our backyard and I’d like to think that she befriended a few of them (out of the hundreds that still live on my dad’s property to this day).
The idea to write a cute story about spiders actually has a very hilarious backstory. I wrote it after one of my nieces discovered a massive spider living under her bed when we were cleaning. In the chaos that followed, the spider escaped and the niece in question decided that she wanted to sleep on the couch for the time being. I started thinking about how spiders usually don’t mess with people and how we’re the ones messing with them. I settled on this basic idea, that somehow, spiders were people too, and I started writing.
When I finished writing, I used my nine year old niece as a sounding board. I read her the story because she’s usually the only person in the house that can’t read my work. At the end of the story, she looked up at me and went “So, Auntie, are you going to write a sequel?”
That’s what sold me on the idea.
My wee nieceling loved the idea and wanted more of the story.
I sent it to my friends Fleet and Jill for them to look over immediately and then submitted it it once I got the all clear.
And a few days later, Brian from Fireside Fiction told me that my story had been accepted and well… here we are now.
I’m so excited to be a part of such a wonderful magazine for my very first professional publication! Ah! Thank you all for reading and supporting me.
And please, head on over to Fireside Fiction and support them!