So here it is – my exciting announcement, which I’ve been gleefully hugging myself over for a week or so. I had almost given up hope for my little story which I submitted to the Wandering Weeds antho way back (especially since the prospective publisher’s website appears to have been taken down – picture my joy when I discovered that). So I was completely delighted to receive word from Jaleta Clegg and Frances Pauli that the book had snuck out, in print and Kindle, published through CreateSpace and managed independently by the editors.

weedsebookcoversmallI’m so chuffed by this, I can’t even tell you. Fantasy is one of my go-to genres for reading and writing both, and I’m so delighted to have made it into this antho alongside a such a talented bunch of writers. Also, I can’t thank Jaleta and Frances enough. They’ve kept this antho alive through all sorts of backstage stuff which I can only guess at – believe me, bolshy authors have been the least of their troubles – and at the end of the day we (the authors) have come out with a rather better deal than we signed up to in the first place. Way to go, ladies – you’ve done us proud.

The book is available through the usual retailers in both paper and Kindle versions (Amazon US – here and here; Amazon UK – here and here), as well as direct from CreateSpace here. To whip up your enthusiasm even further, this post is part of a bloghop event for the book – you’re already part of it, but do take some time to poke about on the websites of some of the other contributors. Here are the links:

Finally, by way of an advert for the book, here is a short excerpt from my story, Sleeping Beauty – a retelling of the old fairy story that doesn’t have quite the happy ending you might expect.

Part of the enchantment, as I’m sure you know, was the dense hedge of razor thorns that sprang up and enshrouded the palace, sealing the recumbent inhabitants inside and disbarring all from entry. The thorns were as long as your arm, vicious and ragged, saw blade teeth with scalpel edges. The leaves were thick and leathery, darker green than the deepest forest night, and the stems and branches resisted any attempt to hack a path through them, twisting and writhing to trap the unwary or the foolhardy in a verdant tomb.

Those who tried—and many did, my dear, in the early days when folk were still testing the terms of the enchantment—were all beaten back, slashed and twined and strangulated into slinking retreat. Some never got the chance to retreat at all, becoming mired in the twisting growth, impaling themselves on the thorns and bleeding their life out into the roots of the plants. Their shrivelled corpses, sucked dry and gradually turning to dust, hung from the spines that drained them, the tatters of their clothing flapping and whispering like macabre ribbons on a deadly wishing tree.

As the decades passed the number of visitors dwindled, until eventually years might go by with no attempts on the palace at all. Where once there had been the laughter of well-bred maidens, there were no sounds but birdsong, the soft chirr of the wind slicing itself apart on the thorns, and the occasional sigh from the princess and her attendants in their tormented sleep.

However, excitement grew as the centenary of the enchantment approached, and hopeful youths came from far and wide. The beauty of the princess was legendary, as was the wealth of her father, and every boy in every village had heard the tales of the slumbering princess who could only be won after a full hundred years by her true love battling through the thorns and placing a chaste kiss on her soft pink lips.

Millers’ sons came, and farmers’ boys, and blacksmiths’ apprentices, and yeomen’s lads, and noble-born youths, and even a couple of princes. Some were handsome, my dear, and some were rich, some were both and some were neither, but all believed that the thorns would not pierce their tender flesh—or, even if they did, how bad could it possibly be?