A Chimera Story

Origin: Palace of Knossos. Height of restored fresco 78.2 cm. MM III-LM IB period. Heraklion Museum

Today I’m happy to announce the re-release of a story you might not have seen before.

This story was originally published in C is for Chimera, a 2016 anthology edited by Rhonda Parrish. I’m proud of this story for several reasons. First, I actually do like the story itself, its imagery and its theme. Second, I’m proud of how it happened.

She Speaks In Flames

I wasn’t supposed to be in this anthology. I was just ending a vacation in Denmark with my husband when I got the message from Rhonda. One of her anthology authors was not able to turn in a story, and because it was an alphabet anthology it needed a full 26 stories, one per letter, and would I be able to write a story to theme in the two weeks before it went to layout? Oh, and for the letter N?

Of course, I said, without the faintest idea of what that would be.

I started a story on the flight home, about medical chimeras and genetic engineering, but it had, like, two decent lines and I trashed it. Then I started another story, about a prince and the original Greek Khimaira and its dark foretelling, and this one started to come together.

(By the way, that’s where the Ivory Throne came from! I had just seen Denmark’s throne made of unicorn horns narwhal tusks.)

I had a lot of fun researching this piece, which I did a fair amount of despite its short turnaround. I drew on some unorthodox ideas of Atlantis and a lot of earthquake and volcano research, from a frighteningly fast geological crack in Africa to toxic gasses that kill in seconds.

The first bull mentioned in the story is a red roan, and of course that is a reference to the famous bull-leaping fresco from the palace of Knossos. If you’re going to borrow from history, at least make it obvious!

The chimera itself I kept very close to Greek legend, and I used a well-known Etruscan statue for visual inspiration.

Get It!

I’m happy to have this story out again. It has a new title for independent reading and two shiny new formats.

I’ve just added short story benefits to my Fae Tier on Patreon, so supporters at Fae and above will get it this month, in both ebook and audio, or you can pick it up separately here on my website.

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  1. So… where does the letter “N” come into all this?

    • In the original anthology, each story’s title, “A is for –” was revealed at the end of the story, usually making some reference to a plot twist or a theme. Because my story’s title, “N is for –“, made sense only after the context of the story and its final lines, it really doesn’t work as a standalone title or to refer to the story. So it has a new title here, “She Speaks In Flames.”

      Hope that makes sense!

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