About Mari Ness

Speculative fiction writer and poet

Through Immortal Shadows Singing

I’m very pleased to announce that Through Immortal Shadows Singing, my epic novella in poetry, is now available for preorder from Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and many other retailers!

And by epic, I do mean epic – the 170 pages do include a table of contents and things like that, but this is about 167 pages of poetry.

Here’s the blurb:

Maligned for her beauty, cursed for her role in causing a war, she has rarely been given her chance to tell her tale. Now Helen of Troy’s voice breaks free, offering a new vision in this epic lyrical sequence that follows her journey from Sparta to Troy, from earth to hell, and back.  A stunning debut novella from Mari Ness, THROUGH IMMORTAL SHADOWS SINGING will transform your view of Helen and the Trojan War, in a soaring poem of love and war, healing and pain, hatred and triumph.

And here’s two small tastes of the poetry inside:

I walk, knowing that the queen of death

may name me sister, that the

cry of the hunt

shares my blood, that I share a father

with the Fates.

#

Bone on silver,

silver on bone,

the sound of a harp

the memory of dream.

Available April 25.

The Lion

The Huntsmen was one of those stories that I wrote because the general concept wouldn’t stop nagging at me: how did the princess of the original tale, collected by the Grimm brothers back in the early 19th century, manage to find eleven women who looked just like her?  (It was only after I finished the story that I remembered that the majority of people at the time had no access to corrective lenses, so many people would have been too nearsighted to tell the difference.) And why go to so much effort just to get an unfaithful lover back?

I was so focused on those questions that I more or less ignored the other oddity of the tale – the sudden, never explained entrance of a talking lion. But as I shuffled the lion to the side, he started nagging at me too.

This is the result.

It’s an example of how very often, when writing one story, another one appears. At least in my case.

 

Happy Watermaidens Day!

You may, perhaps, be feeling a touch of darkness just now, of despair, of grief.

Feelings, alas, that many watermaidens and snowmaidens understand all too well.

Most, of course, are solitary sorts, keeping themselves hidden in their rivers and springs and ponds, hiding from mortals and fairies alike. A few have even, by choice or coercion, spent their lives half-frozen behind snow and ice, a condition that, however cold and uncomfortable, keeps their hearts secure from pain.  Others live only through a single rainfall, a life too swift, too ephemeral, for sorrow or joy.

But even the most solitary watermaiden may find herself grieving over the loss of a nearby tree, or the disappearance of a favorite owl.  Even the most frozen snowmaiden may hear a crack in the ice surrounding her, and for a moment – just a moment – think of pain, or feel despair.  And those who have spent thousands of years hiding in the depths of their lakes, can tell you of long dark nights, when they wondered if they would ever see light dance through their waters again. Others sing of lost friends, of lost loves, of moonlit evenings they must not forget.

And those a little less solitary, a little closer to mortals – their sorrows can be even sharper.  Many have watched as their homes are threatened, or sobbed as fewer and fewer birds arrived each year. Others have dared to talk to mortals, and even more – something that can bring joy or pain.

After all, watermaidens can fall in love, even if they are made of water.

And today, by decree fee, the Official Day of Watermaidens, is a day for remembering those sorrows, those fears, those despairs.

A day where the shimmer on the water you see, out of the corner of your eye, might be no more than a shimmer or a flash of light. Or where a twirling mist might be just an ordinary mist. The water shaking in your glass nothing more than a nearby breeze.

Or it might be a watermaiden, letting you know that she understands.

Watermaidens Day is the brainchild of folklorist Nin Harris. As always, I’m just borrowing it for fun.

2016 publications round-up post

And now that I think that everything due out this year is out, time for the obligatory end-of-year round up post.

For the second year in a row, my most popular work seems to have been in the non-fiction/Best Related Work category, specifically the Disney Read-Watch over at Tor.com, which wrapped up this year with a post on Moana.  No word yet on whether I’ll be covering future Disney feature length animated films – my best guess is maybe – but I will be continuing with two additional projects in 2017.

Those posts ended up eating considerably more time than I’d expected, but still, although this was (apart from those posts) not a good year for writing, it was a decent year for publication: nine short stories, four flash fiction pieces, and seven poems.

If you missed them earlier, here’s a list:

Short fiction:

DeathlightLightspeed Magazine, May 2016.  Arguably the story that garnered the widest range of responses from readers, it was also the one hard science fiction story I managed to publish this year.

The Middle Child’s Practical Guide to Surviving a Fairy TaleFireside,  May 2016. Let’s face it, I was bound to write something like this eventually.  Even if I am an oldest, not middle, child.

Cat Play, Metaphorosis, January 2016. A story set where I live.

My Own Damn HeavenBourbon Penn, March 2016. A story definitely not set where I live.

The Huntsmen, Truancy, with part one published in March 2016 and part two in December 2016 (part one has a link to part two.)

“Mistletoe and Copper,” An Alphabet of Embers, Stone Bird Press, July 2016. The anthology is available from Amazon and Barnes and Noble, and is eligible for the Locus Award for Best Anthology, as are two other collections listed below – Clowns: The Unlikely Coulrophobia Remix and Fae Visions of the Mediterranean.

Coffee, Love and Leaves, Capricious SF, July 2016. Coffee appeared in a number of tales on this list, but in only one title.

DragonboneDaily Science Fiction, July 2016.

The Cat Signal, Daily Science Fiction, August 2016.

I gotta be honest here: when I sent this one off, I had a bad feeling that it might signal – pardon the pun – the end of what’s been a pretty decent relationship with Daily Science Fiction.  On the other hand, it has this sentence:

If I were a bitter person, I’d say that that my Cat Signal fell on the wrong clowns.

The editors still seem to be speaking to me.

Flash fiction:

“The Game,” in Clowns: The Unlikely Coulrophobia Remix, January 2016.  Available at Amazon or Barnes and Noble. The one story on this list loosely based on a real event. Very loosely based.

Nine Songs, in Daily Science Fiction, August 2016.

Souls, in Daily Science Fiction, October 2016.

Hundreds, in Daily Science Fiction, December 2016

(The last two are part of a long running fairy tale series.)

Poetry:

“The Heart of the Flame,” in Fae Visions of the Mediterranean, May 2016. Possibly the least read piece I published this year, in an anthology that I think deserved a lot more attention, and which is still available at Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

At the Center, in Kaleidotrope, June 2016.

“Madrepore,” in Spelling the Hours, July 2016. Arguably the second least read piece I published this year, this is part of another project deserving of attention: a chapbook of poems celebrating women scientists. It’s available from Amazon, and is one of my few poems that explores marine biology.

Hamelin, A Remnant, in Though the Gate, August 2016.

Three Nuts, in Through the Gate, October 2016

After Midnight, in Mythic Delirium, November 2016

Ice/Shadow, in Strange Horizons, December 2016, the hands down trickiest poem to write this year and probably the one the I was proudest of, though I’m also deeply fond of “The Heart of the Flame” for purely personal reasons.

 

 

 

 

The Huntsmen

The third issue of Truancy is out, and with it, the second part of my short story, “The Huntsmen,” a retelling of “The Twelve Huntsmen,” a tale originally collected by the Brothers Grimm in the early 19th century.

As a kid, I loved the story because it featured girls Doing Things – cross dressing, tricking lions, hunting, tricking adults – all great stuff.  It took me years to realize just how weird the story is, even apart from the cross-dressing, and to find myself asking questions. A lot of questions. Which turned into several short stories, with at least one more coming up in Daily Science Fiction next year, and this one:

Part one.

Part two