“Rosaraie de l’Hay” by Jay Lake & Ruth Nestvold
In the steep-walled country of Hy Rugosa, where the women guard their swords and the men guard their tongues, dwelt a daughter of the fey named Roseraie de l‘Hay. She had been born to gentility, armored in beetle carapaces and twinkling magic while still in her willow-wood cradle, and grown slowly in the manner of the fair folk into a woman of subtle beauty and profound power.
Jay Lake lived in Portland, Oregon until his death in 2014, shortly before his 50th birthday. His books include Kalimpura from Tor and Love in the Time of Metal and Flesh from Prime. His short fiction appeared regularly in literary and genre markets worldwide. Jay was a winner of the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer, and a multiple nominee for the Hugo and World Fantasy Awards. In 2015, he posthumously received the Locus Award for his collection Last Plane to Heaven.
Learn more about him and his work at jlake.com.
Ruth Nestvold has published widely in science fiction and fantasy, her fiction appearing in such markets as Asimov’s, F&SF, and Gardner Dozois’ Year’s Best Science Fiction. Her work has been nominated for the Nebula, Tiptree, and Sturgeon Awards. In 2007, the Italian translation of her novella Looking Through Lace won the Premio Italia award for best international work. She maintains a web site at ruthnestvold.com and blogs at ruthnestvold.wordpress.com.
“The Immigrant” by Cherie Priest
(Originally published in Mythic 2.)
Found among the papers of Ryder Neal, on the day after his funeral, July 30, 1996, Jonesboro, Tennessee.
“Venez m’aider,” he said.
With a jaw like that, so long and underbitten like boxer dog, you wouldn’t have thought he could speak at all. His face wasn’t made for talking, but he forced the words out. He said it again, quiet-like.
[Author’s note: “A number of years ago, an old and dear friend from Memphis shared a bit of family lore that stuck with me; and eventually (with her blessing) this lore became a story called ‘The Immigrant’. In short, according to my friend there was a farm in West Tennessee — and upon this farm was a dragon… or so the kids were told. They never saw this dragon, but they could leave it presents and it would leave them notes in return, singed around the edges from the fire it breathed when no one was looking. Apparently this dragon reigned over the valley sometime after the second World War, but beyond that, details were fuzzy. Even so, this skeleton of a tale was enough to build ‘The Immigrant’ upon. I do hope you enjoy it.”]
Cherie Priest is the author of 19 books and novellas, most recently I Am Princess X, Chapelwood, and the Philip K. Dick Award nominee Maplecroft; but she is perhaps best known for the steampunk pulp adventures of the Clockwork Century, beginning with Boneshaker. Her works have been nominated for the Hugo and Nebula awards for science fiction, and have won the Locus Award (among others) – and over the years, they’ve been translated into nine languages in eleven countries. Cherie lives in Chattanooga, TN, with her husband and a small menagerie of exceedingly photogenic pets. She can be found online at cheriepriest.com.
“All the Lovely Brides” by Kelly Sandoval
(Originally published in Grimdark Magazine #3.)
Sariana’s touch is gentle as she slides the last ruby pin into Lydra’s hair. Still, Lydra flinches. Soon, Sariana’s sure fingers will draw a blade across Lydra’s throat. Will she be so gentle then? The knife is more difficult, in Lydra’s experience. When she slit her own Mistress’s throat, her hands would not stop shaking.
That was five years ago. Her Wedding Day. She remembers the blood on her skin, warm as the Lord’s smile. She remembers believing he loved her. That she would be the one he kept.
For a time, he let her believe. He danced with her on the surface of Bride’s Lake and visited her bed. Everything bloomed. Now the farmers complain of their weak harvest, and she shrivels as his hunger consumes her. She believes very little, anymore.
Kelly Sandoval lives in Seattle, Washington, with her patient husband, demanding cat, and temperamental tortoise. She attended Clarion West in 2013 and lived to tell more tales. Her fiction has appeared in Shimmer, Asimov’s, and Flash Fiction Online. You can find her online at kellysandovalfiction.com.
About the Narrators:
Deanna Sanchez is a voiceover talent and actress who has performed professionally for 14 years. She has voiced various commercials, industrials, and characters, and specializes in the “sexy voice” of powerful female roles. Deanna also consults in Geographical Information Systems and develops custom mapping applications for real estate and other industries. Three-dimensional visualization of spatial data is a favorite pastime, and she has spent many hours translating real-Earth elevation data into unique 3D worlds. Deanna’s voice over demo can be heard at the Lambert Studios website, an outstanding full service recording studio.
Anthony Babington is a voice in the internet’s head. He looks almost, but not quite, exactly how you expect him to. He currently resides in Houston, Texas, but is in the process of relocating to Minnesota. He can be found on Google Plus.
Andrea Subissati is a sociologist, journalist, and podcaster. In 2010, her Master’s thesis on the social impact of zombie cinema was published under the title When There’s No More Room In Hell: The Sociology of the Living Dead. She joined the staff of Rue Morgue magazine in 2014, to which she is a frequent contributor. Her writing has also been published in The Undead and Theology (2012) and The Canadian Horror Film: Terror of the Soul (2015). In addition to writing, Andrea is the co-host and producer of The Faculty of Horror podcast with writer Alexandra West. She has made guest appearances on the Rue Morgue Podcast and Pseudopod, and is co-curator of The Black Museum, a Toronto-based monthly horror lecture series she founded with Canuxploitation creator Paul Corupe. Lady Hellbat lives and works out of Toronto, Ontario. Follow her on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.
Heads up! Nominations are open for the 2016 Parsec Awards through May 31st. If you’ve been particularly impressed by one of stories we’ve presented over the past year, feel free to nominate it in the Best Speculative Fiction Story – Small Cast (Short Form) category. Visit the Parsec Awards website for details. Thanks for the support!