publishing, stories, writing

Castles in the Air

Last year–almost exactly a year to this day, in fact–I was in Bavaria, visiting Neuschwanstein Castle for the first time. That trip–planned mainly because I wanted to visit the München Christkindlmarkt–came so close to not happening: both Carl and Grace were recovering from the flu; Carl had just gotten back to Cambridge from flying to Texas to see his aunt in the hospital and say goodbye to her (she died of pancreatic cancer the day we returned from Germany to England); we had just made the incredibly difficult decision to cut our time in England short and return to the US after Christmas; life was more than a little overwhelming.

And yet. We knew we’d never have a better chance to do this. For some reason, it was incredibly important to me to see Munich. We decided the fresh Alpine air would do Carl and Grace good, and we also decided that if we needed to spend the entire trip resting in our AirBnB we would. So we went.

The first time I saw the Alps out the window of our rented car, I burst into tears. (Yes, I was obviously emotional from all the other situations. All the same, crying over mountains is not a usual emotional response for me.) The landscape, the scenery as we drove to Neuschwanstein … it was magical. I suddenly understood why the Germans are so steeped in fairy tales and folklore. I could believe in gnomes, dwarves, dragons, and talking beasts here.

After all that, the castle itself was a minor letdown. Fancy … but not real. We were glad to have toured it, and Joy especially was thrilled to see “the” original fairy tale castle, but a castle meant to imitate fairy tales was just that: an imitation. The real magic was outside.

The rest of our trip was incredible–we visited Oberammergau, in large part because of my love for the Betsy-Tacy books, and bought ornaments, gifts for family, and our very own Christmas pyramid there. We did make it into Munich–or München–and met up with an old friend, who took us to lunch at the Hofbräuhaus and showed us some of her favorite Christmas markets, and we watched the Rathaus-Glockenspiel strike noon, and drank mulled wine (Carl), hot chocolate (the kids) and hot gin toddy (me), and brought home the mugs, and bought yet more ornaments, and made incredible, incredible memories.

But perhaps the best of all was the magic of driving around the Alps.

So, when we had returned to Cambridge and I was writing the monthly flash fiction for my Patreon supporters, there was only one story I could tell: that of someone looking for inspiration at a fairy tale castle, and finding it … well, I won’t tell you where. You’ll have to read it for yourself.

Today, that story has been published in New Myths, and I’m so happy to be able to share it with the world. Go ahead and give it a read–hopefully it will make you fall in love with Bavaria just as I did.

Castles in the Air, available now at New Myths

publishing, writing

The Song

TheSong-BATES-CoverABergloff

My flash fairy tale The Song is now available at Enchanted Conversations. (Isn’t that cover art stunning? It makes me want to re-read the story, and I normally can’t bear to read my own stuff after it’s published; I can’t turn off my editor’s eye.)

I’m so pleased to be able to share this story with you all! It’s my first ever attempt at an original fairy tale. As for whether or not it has deeper meaning behind the obvious … I’ll leave that up to the reader.

Enjoy!

publishing, writing

Exciting News

Well, exciting for me, anyway. I hope exciting for you all as well, as it means a new story by yours truly to read in February.

What’s that? A new story?

That’s right! My YA sci-fi short story, “A Spot of Orange,” will be published in the February issue of FrostFire Worlds, put out by Alban Lake.

I stumbled out of bed yesterday morning and checked my email on my phone without thinking too much about anything or expecting anything … truth be told I had almost forgotten the submission to FrostFire, done right before the bustle and hurry of Christmas and travel and all that. Once I recognized the email address and remembered the submission I thought, “oh, another rejection. Oh well, at least I tried–wait. What? An acceptance? Did I read that right?”

I rushed right back into the bedroom and stood there goggling until Carl woke up enough to ask what wrong. I mutely handed him my phone with the email still up on it and continued to stand there in shock.

This makes two (2) published short stories now, The Last Defense with Empyreome last April, and now A Spot of Orange with FrostFire Worlds in February. This seems like an auspicious start to 2018!

Sci-fi, stories, writing

The Last Defense

My short science-fiction story, The Last Defense, is available today at Empyreome Magazine. If you enjoy that sort of thing, go check it out!

The Last Defense

This is my first traditionally published story, and I’m very proud of it. It was a real challenge to write and stretched me outside of my comfort zone more than once, but the end result was worth it.

Happy reading!