Hi guys! We have the Summer Fair charity anthology popping in today with it’s authors, there’s a fantastic guest post, a great excerpt and an awesome $75 Amazon GC giveaway, so guys lets support this brilliant charity anthology, enjoy the post and enter that giveaway! ❤ ~Pixie~
Harley Easton, Annabeth Leong, Gregory L. Norris, R.L. Merrill, CM Peters, Marie Piper, Sienna Saint-Cyr, Arden de Winter
Summer festivals bring the aroma of popcorn, the excitement of rides, and the promise of real-life enchantment. Seven authors bring you original love stories, each set at a different summer celebration. You’ll experience the thrill of the Chicago World’s fair through the eyes of a plucky girl reporter and the quiet desperation of a teen working a summer job at a traveling carnival. Get whisked away on romantic journeys around the world from a sweet Texas Dewberry Festival to a lantern-filled temple celebration to a surprisingly rowdy New England Founders Day. Whether it’s the magic of a Renaissance Fair, the excitement of a Theater Retreat, or the pulse of a Music Festival, you’re sure to get geared up for all things summer with this delightful new collection.
Riding the Wave by Annabeth Leong
Amaryllis and New Lace by Gregory L. Norris
Salty and Sweet by R.L. Merrill
Dewberry Kisses by CM Peters
All the World by Marie Piper
Carnie by Sienna Saint-Cyr
The Storyteller’s Side by Harley Easton
With Stars in His Eyes by Arden de Winter
Summer Fair Inspiration!
Summer Fair is the third StoryPenners book I’ve taken part in. Each one has been both a great experience and a real struggle for me. I love crafting short stories because they are constricting. You have to create an entire world, motivate believable characters, and connect with your audience in a limited number of words. It can actually be very freeing to have that structure.
When I look at open calls for anthologies, I ask myself if I have something new or unusual to say about the theme? I like to play with unexpected situations, folk and fairy-tale revisions, and the paranormal made normal. Usually, I can just put a story on the back burner if it isn’t working, but I didn’t feel I had that option with the StoryPenner anthologies.
Either the anthology supporting a worthy cause or it being an invite-only call, made me refuse to back out. That conviction gave me horrible writer’s block. For both Melt and Haunt, I had great initial ideas that fizzled when I tried to put them on paper. They weren’t engaging enough. I had to scrap them and create completely different stories, and though I’m very proud of both, for Summer Fair, I was determined to stick with my original idea.
Every year, I look forward to the Renaissance Fair. When we decided on a theme of summer festivals for this anthology, I knew I had to use the Ren Fair as my setting. I always wonder if there is some bit of magic hidden in the fair. It’s not a new concept, but that opening for the unexpected made it the perfect place to play with the thin line between people and their own realities.
Right away, I knew my characters. Edie and Chase have been in the forefront of my mind as part of a larger project I’m working on. I wanted to tell the story of how they met. The trouble with writing their origin quickly became that I knew too much about where their story ended. My characters were too fully formed in personality to make some of the obvious choices another character could have made. Both of them are guarded, but neither are completely walled off. They both acknowledge that the world can hurt you, but they retain the hope that it can offer joy as well.
Edie, in particular, doesn’t want to depend on anyone, so she’s quick to make judgments. She’s just experienced a major violation of trust that causes her to keep people at arm’s length to protect herself. Still, she takes joy in life’s unexpected moments. Originally, she was a tallish Asian-American woman from the West Coast, but halfway through writing, she morphed into a feisty, petite woman from near Atlanta. She borrowed the looks of actress Ruth Negga, and the backbone and charm, if not the tenacity, of some of my favorite characters Negga has portrayed.
Chase has walled himself in to protect those around him. He lives a transient lifestyle, using his job as a performer to keep free from attachments. Edie is the first person he’s met that he can get close to. That need for human connection, romantic or not, is strong for him. He doesn’t want to burden her with expectations or secrets, he just wants to spend time with someone and be comfortable. Chase’s rare, but welcoming smile, really formed his character and led me to cast Aidan Turner in his role.
I’m excited to have Chase and Edie’s story in this anthology, mainly because I’m sharing the book with amazingly talented authors who all took the theme in completely different ways. One of them described the collection as “one of every flavor”, and I couldn’t agree more. Our couples run from cis straight to gay to poly and one of my favorite heroes is the anthology is trans. The authors didn’t focus on a certain genre, so the stories are contemporary, historical, or brushed with a little fantasy. The range of emotions is impressive too, leaving the reader with anything from a warm glow, to a belly laugh, to a wistful melancholy. I couldn’t be happier with how my story and the entire anthology developed. I really hope readers enjoy it.
From All the World by Marie Piper
She decided to do something bold. “Come up in the wheel with me.”
“I’ve been up in the wheel,” but Cathleen didn’t say no. “You don’t have to buy me a ticket.”
“But I want to,” Anna said. “I want to go up there with you. The line is long. It may be the last thing I get to do today, and though I’m terrified I can’t pass up the chance to do something that is once-in-a-lifetime.”
“No, I imagine you can’t.” Wiping her face, Cathleen finished her hot dog. Anna did the same, and they returned their glasses to the Pabst booth and then got into the long line for the wheel. Children bounced in line, excited to go up but bored with waiting. Men smoked and sent the wafts of smoke across all the people in line, and more than one person looked nervous about going into the sky in the steel contraption.
Anna and Cathleen bought tickets and, by virtue of space, were shoved together as they shuffled slowly to the front.
“Mercy, but it’s high.” Anna felt as if she might be sick.
“You don’t have to do it, you know.”
“But I’ve already bought a ticket.”
“Someone’d pay you for it.”
“But I’ve come all this way and I’m here standing underneath it. Besides, what’ll I do if I don’t—go look at the Fisheries?”
She felt a warm hand take hers and nearly fainted. Cathleen had taken her hand. “Don’t be afraid. It’s fun. It really is.”
“And if it collapses and we die, at least we’ll die together.”
Anna groaned but did not take her hand away. Hand in hand, they reached the front of the line and waited with a group of thirty others for the next car to come down and to board. Cathleen pulled them to a windowed corner where they could both press against the glass.
Still, they held hands.
And when the car started to move, Anna squeezed hard from nerves without thinking. Cathleen ducked her head in and put her lips to Anna’s. It was brief, just a momentary touch, but then she whispered into Anna’s ear. “Don’t be afraid.”
Anna wasn’t. Cathleen’s lips against hers had taken away all the fear she had felt about the Ferris Wheel, and then some. With Cathleen beside her, their fingers entwined, she rode the car that rose into the air and beheld the entire fair in all directions before her. She saw the Coliseum of the Wild West show, and the balloon in the sky, and all the trains, and all the people, and all the way back to the basin where she’d first entered the fair off the Lake. The sun was just beginning to go down in the sky. Soon, it would be evening, and Anna would need to get on her way—but with the incredible views and the hand of the lovely girl in hers, and Anna’s heart swelled about to bursting. She could have wept at it all, at this perfect day.
The car started to descent.
“We get one more loop,” Cathleen said.
“I wish it was a hundred,” Anna replied, turning to her friend. “I wish we could stay here forever.” It was an honest confession.
Cathleen smiled, but sadly. With the displays below, Anna felt as if she could see all the world ahead of her. And all the world seemed so small and unimportant.
The brain child of Chicago romance author Marie Piper, the StoryPenners is a collection of fiction and romance authors dedicated to producing independent anthologies to support charitable causes. The StoryPenners has members from the Midwest, the West Coast, New England, Canada, England, and Australia.
Original Members: Marie Piper, Harley Easton, CM Peters, S.B. Roark, and Sienna Saint-Cyr
Contributing StoryPenners: Randi Perrin, Annabeth Leong, Gregory L. Norris, R.L. Merrill, Katey Tattrie, R. Diamond, Arden de Winter