Dear Intrepid Reader,

Do you like a little witchcraft in your fiction?  I do and so I was more than a little intrigued when I came across a call for submissions from Drollerie Press for their forthcoming anthology collection HELLEBORE & RUE: Tales of Queer Women and Magic edited by JoSelle Vanderhooft and Catherine Lundoff.

    "We’re looking for stories about lesbian-identified sorceresses, witches, magicians and magic users of all kinds. Lesbian and trans protagonists are welcome. All stories must include a woman who identifies as a lesbian and who uses magic. The definition of magic is open to interpretation-surprise us, dazzle us, make us believe in all different kinds of magic all over again!"

   When I sat down to write something for the anthology, I decided that it would take place within a tenative universe that has been forming as I've jotted a few short stories; a universe I hope to one day write a novel, or a whole series of novels set in.  I call the stories that take place here 'Cusp Tales' and the story I finally submitted to the editors of HELLEBORE & RUE, entitled Gloam, is certainly a Cusp Tale.  The protagonist of the piece, Nilla Hayes, is a witch with a problem.  She's seen a shadow out of the corner of her eye, a corpse shadow.  Somebody is going to die and as soon as the corpse shadow steps into the light Nilla Hayes will know who and when.  It's the one thing she hates about being a witch.  A bad start to her morning, but that's only the beginning...of course, things always get darker, darkest at the approach of the storm...

    I was delighted when Gloam was accepted for the anthology and impressed by the various authors who joined me in the anthology.  The Table of Contents of HELLEBORE & RUE promises an excellent collection of tales:

Counterbalance” by Ruth Sorrell
Trouble Arrived” by C.B. Calsing
Personal Demons” by Jean Marie Ward
The Windskimmer” by Connie Wilkins
Sky Lit Bargains” by Kelly A. Harmon
Gloam” by Quinn Smythwood
Witches Have Cats” by Juliet Kemp
D is for Delicious” by Steve Berman
And Out of the Strong Came Forth Sweetness” by Lisa Nohealani Morton
Bridges and Lullabies” by Rrain Prior
Thin Spun” by Sunny Moraine
A State of Panic” by Rachel Green

    I may have a story in the collection, but it's a collection that I can't wait to read.  There are twelve stories in the anthology and I anticipate twelve very different witches in unique worlds with boiling magic and bubbling plot lines.  HELLEBORE & RUE will hopefully release soon.  Do you like a good tale featuring a witchy heroine?  What do you most like about witches?  The magic?  The familiars?  The paranormal?


Quinn Smythwood


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