This new anthology is one I couldn’t resist hosting here on my blog. See, I live in Colorado, and spent over twenty years in Arizona (loving every hot minute of it, by the way). I’m a bellydancer. And I have participated in NaNoWriMo since 2003.
Wait, what? What’s all that got to do with a new release?
Easy. The authors of this anthology are all NaNoers, one lives in Colorado, one lives in Arizona, and one’s a bellydancer. How cool is that?
Love Shines Through: A Fractured World Anthology
With stories by Kit Campbell, Siri Paulson, KD Sarge, and Erin Zarro
Genre: LGBTQ fantasy romance anthology. Pairings include two F/F, one M/NB, and one M/F.
One-liner: Four romance stories set in a shared universe—a fantasy world shattered into multiple dimensions by a cataclysmic war. The pairings include two F/F, one M/NB, and one M/F.
Publisher: Turtleduck Press ( http://turtleduckpress.com/ )
Canadian Kindle: https://www.amazon.ca/Love-Shines-Through-Fractured-Anthology-ebook/dp/B07PH9YZHH/
Canadian print: https://www.amazon.ca/Love-Shines-Through-Fractured-Anthology/dp/1090133901/
Turtleduck Press web page: http://turtleduckpress.com/wordpress/2019/03/11/love-shines-through-a-fractured-world-anthology/
Back cover copy
The world was whole before the war.
But war is a terrible thing, and terrible things are done in the name of defense and protection. And this war tore the world apart, fractured it, separated families and lives and dreams. The reasons why no longer matter, but the effects still linger. They cause pain, though the war is over.
But despite the monsters and the poisons and the despair, there is a glimmer of light. And hope and love are not gone from the world.
These four stories, set in the Fractured World, explore how light can make it through the darkness. How hope can conquer fear. And most of all, how love can still flourish, even when the world is bleak.
A young woman braves monsters to see the sky.
A reluctant man chooses forgiveness over suffering.
Lovers reunite to save a child and their community.
Best friends risk everything for each other.
Come see the light for yourselves.
from Of Poison and Promises, by Erin Zarro
Disconnected sounds. Breaths. Murmurs. Fire. A labyrinth of darkness. She’d latched on to Nyssa’s voice, her lifeline.
It was warm, Deysi noted. And it did not feel like the forest.
But that was impossible. They hadn’t gotten out of the forest yet—
“It’s poison from the war,” a woman’s voice said. It sounded like Gylla, one of the healers. “I’ve heard about cases like this. The prognosis isn’t good. Possible effects include blindness, paralysis, and death. You don’t have much time.”
“Deysi is strong,” Nyssa said. “She’ll beat this. And so will I.”
“You’re the most stubborn girls in this town,” the woman said. “If anyone would beat it, it’s you two.”
A surge of pride filled Deysi. Of course they’d beat it. They could do anything together.
“You’re going to need a specific talisman for this. It’s rare,” the woman said thoughtfully. “If I’m not mistaken, Deysi’s family had it last. But where, I have no idea.”
“Deysi’s parents are dead,” Nyssa said. “I don’t think Deysi knows where it is.”
“It’s the only one that will work,” Gylla said.
“What’s different about it?” Nyssa asked. “Aren’t all healing talismans the same?”
“Usually, but this one has the power to purify as well as heal.”
It sounded impossible, but Deysi refused to believe that it was.
“We’ll find it,” Nyssa said. “I found help,” she told Deysi softly. Her hand—Nyssa was holding her hand. “You’re all right, Deysi. We just need to find—”
“Enough,” Gylla said brusquely. “Wait for her to wake up. She can’t hear you.”
But Deysi could. That voice—Nyssa—was her connection to life. To…love. To…everything. If she couldn’t hear her, she’d fall back into the blackness of the abyss.
The abyss where she’d found herself.
It had been a never-ending, serpentine maze. No way in and no way out. It just…was.
But she’d heard Nyssa and followed her to the end.
She couldn’t find the surface, though. As hard as she tried, she couldn’t quite reach it—
“But I’m sure she’s hearing me, Gylla. She has to be.”
A bark of a laugh. “Silly girl. Come on. We need to find that talisman.”
“But shouldn’t we wait for Deysi? It’s her family’s talisman. She could help us search.”
“She’s in no condition—”
“No, don’t say it! I don’t want her to hear it,” Nyssa snapped.
Deysi felt a swell of love for Nyssa. She tried so hard to squeeze Nyssa’s hand but…she wasn’t strong enough. Or close enough to the surface.
Shadows surrounded her. She couldn’t see anything. If she could just find the way to the surface—
“She hasn’t got long,” Gylla said softly. “Once the night comes…” She did not finish her statement. “And you…”
“No, I refuse to believe it! We’re young and resilient and she’s got to make it, at least. Please.”
“We will see. Everything hinges on finding the talisman.”
Nyssa sniffed. “I promise you, Deysi, we will get through this. I’m not going to let you go. Never. So fight. Fight hard. We will find the talisman and we will heal you. I swear it.”
How would they find this talisman? Her parents were dead, so their house had been uninhabited for years. And who knew if it was even there?
She tried to remember…it might have been a piece of jewelry.
She vaguely recalled her mother telling her, years ago, that it was the only one of its type in existence.
Her parents had been meticulous about keeping important things like that safe. It had to be in the house.
She couldn’t let this go. She couldn’t die. She made a promise to herself.
To be worthy of Nyssa’s love.
Author Bio – Siri Paulson
Siri Paulson loves nothing more than mixing up genres to see what will happen. She also wears the hats of non-fiction editor by day and chief editor of Turtleduck Press by night. Her other passion is contra (folk) dancing. Thankfully, her long-suffering husband is good at keeping himself occupied. After growing up in Alberta, Canada, she moved to Toronto and achieved her lifelong dream of buying an old house, dubbed the TARDIS because it’s bigger on the inside. Other lifelong dreams include publishing novels (one and counting), travelling the world (so far, so good), and becoming an astronaut (still waiting on that one).
Siri’s debut fantasy novel is set in the same world as Love Shines Through, several hundred years later. City of Hope and Ruin, co-written with Kit Campbell, was published in 2016 and is available at Turtleduck Press.
Her short SF&F fiction has been published in the 2017 “A Holiday to Remember” collection from Mischief Corner Books, in Queer Sci Fi’s flash fiction anthology Renewal, and on Daily Science Fiction. More short fiction and the anthologies she has edited can be found on her Turtleduck Press bio.