Absolutely thrilled to present to you the six authors who are joining the Luna Novella series, and for some of them, the Luna Family: Eugen Bacon, Andrew Knighton, Abigail F. Taylor, Jess Hyslop, LK Kitney and Chloe Smith!
For the third year in a row, we opened submissions to speculative novellas, and for the third year, we were rewarded with incredible stories by writers from all over the world. Once again, a heartfelt thank you, for trusting us with your writing: we never give it for granted.
You can see all our novellas on our store page, and watch the previous book launches on our YouTube channel: Books 1-6 and Books 7-12. Needless to say, expect a lovely launch party in February 2023, as we celebrate the new releases.
The series' success has made this past April's open submission window a great challenge, but in the end, we found our Luna gems for 2023!
Now, let me introduce you properly. Make yourself comfortable!
Luna Novella #13 - Eugen Bacon - Broken Paradise - Fantasy
Eugen Bacon is an African Australian author of several novels and fiction collections. Her recent books Ivory’s Story, Danged Black Thing and Saving Shadows are finalists in the BSFA Awards. Eugen was announced in the honor list of the 2022 Otherwise Fellowships for ‘doing exciting work in gender and speculative fiction’. She has won, and been commended in international awards, including the Aurealis Award, Foreword Indies, Bridport Prize, Copyright Agency Prize, Horror Writers Association Diversity Grant, Rhysling, Australian Shadows, Ditmar and Nommo Awards for Speculative Fiction by Africans. New books: Mage of Fools (novel), Chasing Whispers (collection) and An Earnest Blackness (collection).
Visit her website at eugenbacon.com and Twitter @EugenBacon
Eugen on the novella:
I am naturally a short story writer more than a novelist. A novella offers perfect balance. I have a model of embedded stories that welcomes the writer whose form is experimental. Applying it, I take advantage of my familiarity with the merits of the short story—immediacy, intensity, succinctness—to layer a longer work story by story. I can create in a discipline already familiar, writing stories that are continued, rather than expanded, carefully layered into the novel or novella as a sum of the parts.
This is how Broken Paradise came about. I wrote a short story and deeply connected with its characters, what drove them. I wondered if the tale had a beginning, and a new ending. This is how I uncovered and revelled in the gods, magic and mythology of the cross-lingual, fictional world of Broken Paradise.
A quadruplet that is perfect, four magi begot from a goddess. But are things ever equal?
Luna Novella #14 - Andrew Knighton - Ashes of the Ancestors - Fantasy
Andrew Knighton is an author of short stories, comics, history articles, and the fantasy novella Silver and Gold.
Working as a freelance writer, he’s ghostwritten over thirty novels in other people’s names. He lives in Yorkshire with a heap of unread books.
You can find him at andrewknighton.com and on Twitter as @gibbondemon.
Andrew on the novella:
Ashes of the Ancestors is a story about the tensions of tradition, about how the past can drag us down or raise us up.
The story's protagonist, Magdalisa, is the lone living soul in a monastery full of ghosts. For fifteen years, since the death of her family, she has laboured to keep tradition alive, to serve the spirits of great leaders who came before and to share their wisdom with the world.
But the land is dying, a mighty empire withering into dust, and its conflicts can't be kept from the doors forever.
The struggle to respect the past while building a better future is one we all face, and through Magdalisa, I've found a way to face that struggle myself.
Luna Novella #15 - Abigail F. Taylor - The Night Begins - Horror
Abigail F. Taylor is a Texas poet and novelist of Indigenous and Irish descent. Inspired by the oral traditions of her elders, as well as the somewhat unstable and highly eclectic upbringing, it was only natural that she would fall in step with the family tradition of storytelling.
Her poetry has been published in Illya's Honey, 3Elements Review, and Sixfold Magazine, among others. When she's not writing, she's being thrown against a musty dojo mat or searching for a forest trail to stray from.
She can be found regularly updating her twitter: @AbigailFTaylor or her blog: abigailftaylor.wordpress.com
Abigail on the novella:
What inspired The Night Begins was a combination of old folklore and ghost stories told by my father at bedtimes, an endearing fascination with the wilderness, and falling in love with Lon Chaney Jr. in The Wolfman when I was about twelve years old. I wanted to take these things that both delighted and frightened me and create a story around shapeshifters and relationships that are full of uncertainty and dark secrets. Admittedly, part of this creation came from wanting to explore my own experience with being gaslighted by a loved one. A larger part of me wanted the challenge of writing a book with only one setting and a limited set of characters to put through the ringer. Then, one day, while at work, the first sentence came to me: Mama lives alone on the hill. From there I knew how the protagonist spoke, why her mother lived alone and what haunted them both. It was a joy to write to the very end.
Luna Novella #16 - Jess Hyslop - Miasma - Fantasy
Jess Hyslop is a British writer of fantasy, fabulism, and science fiction.
Her short stories have been published in venues such as Black Static, Interzone, and Cossmass Infinities, and she is currently working on an adult fantasy novel.
She can be found online at www.jesshyslop.com and on Twitter @JinxedJester.
Offline, she resides in Oxford with a number of slowly decaying houseplants.
Jess on the novella:
The idea for Miasma arose from a single word: ‘cataphract’. I first encountered this term some years ago, and, looking it up, I found that it meant a fully armoured soldier, and that etymologically it stems from the Greek kata (“entirely/thoroughly”) + phraktós (“to enclose/defend”). Immediately this crystallised into the idea of a knight whose armour must be completely impenetrable, because they must travel through a toxic environment. But in what way toxic? I asked myself. And for whom?
Miasma is the result of those questions. It follows Nereus Vestryn, a young boy who lives alone with his mother on the edge of an ever-encroaching swamp teeming with toxic magic. When one morning he finds his mother crawling sickened from the swamp, he has no choice but to summon a mage to help her. But mages are feared figures, reminders of the ways the swamp can twist people, and her arrival has greater repercussions than Nereus bargained for. Long-held family secrets are uncovered, and all of Nereus’s previous beliefs are turned upside down.
Miasma is about power and how it is kept, the terrible things we do in fear and in ignorance, and, ultimately, about family. It's also got knights in gas masks who ride reptiles. Because, well, why not?
Luna Novella #17 - LK Kitney - The Lies We Tell Ourselves - Fantasy
LK Kitney lives in Orkney, Scotland, surrounded by tempestuous waters, wild, open skies and very few trees.
They have a habit of collecting hobbies including; karate, rollerblading, and fencing (with swords) but, where those others gather dust, words and stories always hold their interest and their heart. They only sometimes dream of running away to sea.
Their first publication was in the anthology Slave to the Axe Song by Schreyer Ink in 2018, and are just getting started.
They are on Twitter at @Shopboughtchaos
LK on the novella:
In a world still bearing the scars from an ancient magical conflict, those who wield magic – or are changed by it – are condemned as Abominations, their lives forfeit.
Raised at sea under the tyrannical rule of his father, there is nothing the young Captain Fiaer Dradorn won’t do for the knowledge of a lost treasure that drove his fathers obsession. Even start a war. Betrayed to the mercy – and consequences – of catastrophic, uncontrolled, magic, Fiaer is left with nothing but the belief in his own monstrosity and the overwhelming desire for revenge. As his plans take form, he realises that true monstrosity is less what someone is, and more who they chose to be. A choice he must make before others make it for him.
I started The Lies We Tell Ourselves more than ten years ago and for almost all of those it sat at a few thousand words while I drifted – almost aimless – trying to find my place in the world. I would come back to Fiaer now and then, always wondering what made someone chose to be a pirate – an outcast, a rebel. A man whose reputation was fed on rumours, lies and fears and how much of that was based on “truth”. As I began to find my own belonging, Fiaer fell more into his and I realised the reason he had held on so long, waiting for me. He represented finding – making – a place of safety, while acknowledging that reaching such spaces is not always easy and the journey can leave scars.
Luna Novella #18 - Chloe Smith - Virgin Land - Science Fiction
Chloe Smith teaches English and history to 13-year-olds, a job that is never boring. She moonlights as a proofreader for Locus and Fantasy magazines, and writes science fiction and fantasy stories whenever she can make the time.
She was born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area, and she lived in Texas and Washington states, New York City, and rural France before coming back to California.
Her short fiction has appeared in Metaphorosis, Three-Lobed Burning Eye, Daily Science Fiction, and elsewhere.
As @chloehsmith, she tweets mostly about writing and live bird nest cams.
Chloe on the novella:
Virgin Land is, like most of my writing, the product of a handful of different ideas, details, and factoids jumbling around in my head until they struck sparks off each other. This one began with something my sister repeated from a coworker, which made me think, “I have to write something about that!” This person had lived for a time on a ranch in Australia, and has a lot of stories about interactions with irrepressible nature—including coming home one day to find her house invaded by snakes. Aside from wanting to riff on that sense of shock and alienation (and put the story on another planet, because things are better in space), the anecdote resonated with me on a deeper level.
We live in a world distorted by the runaway consequences of human activity. Part of this is the inheritance of a European colonizer sensibility that the natural world is there for the taking, that any environment in which you cannot recognize the forces and factors that sustain it is somehow “untouched.” I wanted to engage with this fallacy of “virgin land,” and I wanted to do it as the story of someone who is waking up to the blind spots in her own upbringing.
Shayla, the protagonist of this novella, struggles with the realization that her own sense of how the world works is evolving and maturing, taking her farther from what she’s been taught as a child. She also struggles with the discovery that she doesn’t want the thing she’s believed her whole life that she should want. Her journey, for all it takes place on an alien world, felt real and personal to me as I was writing it. I hope it strikes readers the same way.
Once again, welcome to the Luna Family!!!
You can follow the production progress on our monthly newsletter, and we are aiming for a February 2023 release date.