I want to talk about all of them, but I'll start with "Dying to Live," which features Esther, the flapper ghost from my Jonathan Shade series as the protagonist. I'm a member of a small group of authors who meet every week online to discuss marketing and accountability. This group also does the occasional anthology, so when they invited me to join the group, I was also invited to contribute to the next book. That book is Unlikely Heroes.
Here's the cover:
While it's not necessary to have read any of the Jonathan Shade novels to enjoy "Dying to Live," people often want to know where in the Shade timeline a story takes place. This one takes place shortly after the events in Timeless Gods. Esther faces off against a creature who wants to feed on her life and memories. I hope you enjoy the story.
Back when I mostly wrote short fiction, my most popular character was a blue collar hitman. He made appearances in Robert Bloch's Psychos, Pulp Friction: Noirotica 2, Fantastic Stories of the Imagination, and Crime Spree before being collected into my short story collection, Quick Shots. A couple years ago, Josh Viola asked me to submit a story for a crime anthology that would include stories from our world and beyond. Mario Acevedo was the co-editor. I suspect they were hoping I'd write an urban fantasy story about Jonathan Shade or Kelly Chan. Instead, I wrote "An Officer and a Hitman." Our world. A straight-up crime story, though a bit over-the-top as all the hitman stories are. Fortunately for me, they liked the story and bought it for Blood Business. The book has two covers. The hardcover and paperback flip over like the old Ace Doubles so one side is our world, and the other side is the stories from beyond. Here's the cover for our world:
To see the cover for beyond, just click the link above as the ebook edition features the other cover. All the stories are included, of course.
Finally, we get to the reprint of "Mending Wounds," which first appeared in the Marion Zimmer Bradley anthology Sword and Sorceress VII. It was my first sale (third story published). It was also the first of my stories that Edward Bryant, the Nebula Award winning author, read and critiqued. I made the few minor changes he suggested and the story sold with ease. Ed died back in February. Ed was a mentor and a friend, and I'll always miss him. Ed helped a lot of writers, and this summer, Charles Anderson and Jim LeMay decided to assemble a tribute anthology, which would include reprints and originals from the authors Ed had influenced. I'm honored to be included in the book with such amazing authors as Connie Willis, Kevin J. Anderson & Janis Ian, Steve Rasnic Tem, Lucy Taylor, and so many others including a lot of old friends. The book is called Edward Bryant's Sphere of Influence. And here's the cover: