It’s currently too cold to go outside, and I’m too deadlined to be in the world, but so far this month has been extraordinary. I went to North Carolina to ABA Winter Institute to talk to a bunch of wonderful independent booksellers about MAGONIA, my soon-to-be-YA-debut, and while I was there I hung out with so many amazing authors I can’t even count them, but they included Nova Ren Suma, Gwenda Bond, Kelly Link, Michele Filgate, and more.
Here’s a photo from Winter Institute, taken by Michele. I look happy because I am levitating. I can’t WAIT for Magonia to be out, and I was having so much damn fun.
Life is sweet.
Last night I got to do something stunning involving a rooftop covered in snow, champagne and steam, so I’m in a glad mood. Also, the Empire State Building was wearing Valentine’s Day lights, which in this case were red and had heartbeats. Here’s a link to the video I took, and a still as well.
And if you like that, of course, you should look at my last year’s Valentine’s Day story, THE TALLEST DOLL IN NEW YORK CITY. This image of the Empire State Building could be from the story itself.
AND HERE, two new and free stories for February!
The first is a giddy loopy romance for Valentine’s Day, involving snails, mail, mythology, love letters, an albino elephant named Lemon, and me enjoying myself by screwing around with the irritatingly gendered tropes of true love.
IVORY DARTS, GOLDEN ARROWS
“…Embedded in a tree, though, there was an arrow, and this a hundred years past those first wars. Fletched with a red feather, and bearing a golden tip. She tugged it from the bark and considered it. It was very, very sharp.
“I’m the postmistress!” she shouted. “Don’t shoot!”
Miss Kisseal squinted. “You’ve received a letter down in Fley,” she said. “I’m only trying to deliver it to you. You might try to behave yourself, whoever you are.”
Miss Kisseal took a cautious step. Feathers, yes, a mess of them. White, pink, and red, like those accursed lovebirds. The feather wearer raised its face and smiled. It had eyes the shade of violets, and lips the color of roses. It had been made for loving. She’d never seen anything so beautiful.
“What are you, then?” asked Miss Kisseal, somewhat taken aback.
“A monster stranded by snow,” it said, and quick as that it had somehow shot another arrow, this time hitting Miss Kisseal’s mail sack, no doubt spearing X-ray glasses, or damaging someone’s paper crown. She looked at this arrow. Silver tip. Ostrich plume. The creature was showy if nothing else.”
READ IT ALL AT UNCANNY MAGAZINE: http://uncannymagazine.com/ivory-darts-golden-arrows-maria-dahvana-headley/
The second story is a love story too, but a sadder one. Water nymph, monster in the ocean, impossible, intoxicating love, and a festival of sacrifices:
AND THE WINNERS WILL BE SWEPT OUT TO SEA
“Sometimes, when I sit out there, I see the monster under the surface, the tension scraping over its scales. It’s big. What I can see of it is only a spine, or a tail, sometimes, and then it’s gone. I sit on that rock, looking over the edge, and think about how I used to love swimming. When I was a girl, I could hold my breath for a month. I’d sit on the bottom of a river in the mud, or on the pebbles, and wait for the season to change. Once I tried to come up but the river had frozen, and I ended up swimming just under the surface for a while, waiting, waiting, until I found a fisherman by seeing his shadow. The fisherman had made a hole in the ice. He was crouched beside it, with a thermos and a fishing pole, and I rose up naked from beneath him. I took him in my arms, and he screamed with such terror that ice cracked elsewhere, a spiderweb of fractures, trees black and leaning, wolves howling, and his blood in my mouth. I was not sorry.”
READ IT ALL AT LIGHTSPEED: http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/fiction/winners-will-swept-sea/
And here’s an interview I did about the story: http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/nonfiction/author-spotlight-maria-davana-headley/