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Small Press, Big Stories: Mrs. Claus Anthology – Cover Reveal

Summer’s gone, days spent in the grass and sun. And with the drop in temperature come pumpkin spice lattes, fireworks, and eventually Christmas! So with that in mind, it’s more than time to get your seasonal TBR pile set and maybe have something to read while you’re waiting for Santa to make off with the mince pies and sherry. At #SmallPressBigStories, we only have your comfort in mind!

When you think of Mrs. Claus, do you imagine a quiet North Pole homebody who finds complete fulfilment in baking cookies, petting reindeer, and crafting toys alongside elves? How about a magic-wielding ice goddess, or a tough-as-nails Valkyrie? Or maybe an ancient fae of dubious intentions, or a well-meaning witch? Could Mrs. Claus be a cigar-smoking Latina, or a crash-landed alien? Within the pages of Mrs. Claus: Not The Fairy Tale They Say, from World Weaver Press, Santa’s better half is a hero, a villain, a mother, a spacefarer, a monster hunter, and more. The only thing she decidedly is not, is a sidekick.

It’s Mrs. Claus’ turn to shine and she is stepping out of Santa’s shadow and into the spotlight in these fourteen spectacular stories that make her the star! Featuring original short stories by Laura VanArendonk Baugh, C. B. Calsing, DJ Tyrer, Jennifer Lee Rossman, Kristen Lee, Randi Perrin, Michael Leonberger, Andrew Wilson, Ross Van Dusen, M.L.D. Curelas, Maren Matthias, Anne Luebke, Jeff Kuykendall, and Hayley Stone.

Mrs. Claus (cover)

Mrs. Claus: Not the Fairy Tale They Say will be available in trade paperback and ebook via Amazon.com, Barnesandnoble.com, World Weaver Press, and other online retailers, and for wholesale through Ingram. The book is edited by Rhonda Parrish, who was the founder and editor-in-chief of Niteblade Magazine, is an Assistant Editor at World Weaver Press, and is the editor of several anthologies including, most recently, Sirens and C is for Chimera. In addition, Rhonda is a writer whose work has been included or is forthcoming in dozens of publications including Tesseracts 17: Speculating Canada from Coast to Coast, Imaginarium: The Best Canadian Speculative Writing (2012 & 2015), and Mythic Delirium. Her website, updated weekly, is at rhondaparrish.com.

Mrs. Claus: Not the Fairy Tale They Say is due out November 28, 2017. You can learn more about this and other World Weaver Press anthologies on their website. But if you can’t wait till release day here is a small teaser for three of the stories.

Happy Reading and Happy Christmas!

– – –

“Wight Christmas” by Laura Van Arendonk Baugh

I put a hand on his arm to gently but firmly lift it out of my way and started to step inside. The vampire twisted to plant a hand on my solar plexus and shoved hard. I stumbled back against the brick wall opposite the elevator door, more surprised by the audacity than hurt by the attack itself. Vampire goon came after me, kicking over one of several trash cans lined up in the ill-lit alley. It was one of the old metal kind, and it clattered over the cement and spat refuse as its lid skittered free.

The movement and noise pulled the Skeleton King from his phone call, and while it’s harder to read a face with no eyebrows, his posture definitely stiffened, even for a figure made entirely of bone.

“Frank,” he said, taking a step out of his corner. “I think you should—that is Mrs. Claus.”

“Mrs. Claus?” Frank the vampire bodyguard didn’t seem to get it. “What’s she doing here? She’s not the Big Man.” He sneered, showing canines. “Go home and bake some cookies, Mrs. Claus. Maybe watch some Cake Boss.”

I stomped on the upturned rim of the metal trash can lid, flipping it into the air, and caught the handle left-handed as it rotated toward me. I punched it solidly into his face and felt a satisfyingly solid connection.

“Shield boss, actually,” I quipped, but he didn’t catch my terrible pun because he was busy stumbling backward and trying to stay conscious.

“Moves Like Jagger” by Randi Perrin

The moon was brighter and larger than he’d ever seen before, casting its light on the scene before him and a sign peeked out of the snow that read North Pole.

A horse carrying a tiny hobbit-looking creature on its back charged toward him. The animal kicked up snow that went up Ian’s nose and into his eyes as it drew closer. The hobbit was wearing a tank-top and a pair of board shorts with loud neon colors and silhouettes of palm leaves all over them. Just looking at the hobbit made him shiver, even buried deep within his red parka.

“Aren’t you cold?” Ian asked as he wrapped his arms around himself.

“Cold is but a state of mind,” the hobbit said before he hopped down off the horse. Unlike Ian and the horse, his feet never broke through the surface of the snow and he walked toward Ian on top of it. “I’m Gorbadac, and I’ll be your guide until we meet with Rhiannon.”

“My guide? Are we going to run into Gollum while we’re at it?”

Gorbadac shot him a look worthy of ice daggers flying across the moonlight. That was apparently the wrong damn thing to say.

“Look Mr. Know-It-All, just do what I say.”

Ian nodded, worried if he talked back to him he might actually end up on a mission to destroy a ring in Mordor.

“You’d Better Watch Out” by Maren Matthias

Nick beamed at her from behind the island counter.

“Darling!” he crowed. “I think I’ve finally perfected my sugar cookie recipe! Come, come, have a taste.”

“This is the urgent issue you had that couldn’t wait until I’d brought back the tree?” she asked sternly, although she couldn’t deny how adorable her husband was, giddy and completely covered in flour. She never tired of it.

“He took me away from reindeer training,” her eldest, Erin, was sitting on the far edge of the counter, her curved lips peppered with sugar.

“You both always take so long and this couldn’t wait. Here.”

Fianna accepted the cookie he handed her and took a bite. It was perfection. Nick chuckled to himself. She knew he didn’t need her opinion to know he’d succeeded; he just wanted to see the look on her face.

“I hate to interrupt…” They all turned to see Damien standing in the doorway. “There’s been another abduction. A children’s center in Oslo, Norway.”

Four sets of eyes zeroed in on Fianna. It was always the same reaction—an eruption of fire followed by a deep breath that wasn’t calming enough.

“This calls for Scotch.”

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