Sale: Not the Grand Duke's Dancer

I'm quite happy to announce that my short story "Not the Grand Duke's Dancer" will appear in issue #5 of The Dark, an online magazine of dark and strange fiction. This is my first Odyssey story to find a home-- the story began its life as a much shorter piece that I read at the Odyssey Science Fiction and Fantasy Slam. This is a tradition at the workshop where halfway through the hectic six weeks of writing and critiquing, Odyssey students take a break to road trip from Manchester, N.H. to a Barnes and Noble in Nashua, N.H., where they read flash fiction pieces. This was one of my first experiences reading my writing out loud, and while it was nerve-wracking (my parents were there!), I do think it's an essential skill for any writer to develop. At any rate, when I returned home from the workshop, I expanded the piece to its current form, and here we are.

This story contains many of my favorite things: bones! Train travel through Europe! A veiled reference to Rasputin! It also switches settings quite a few times in its 3400 words. I'm a very visual person/writer, and I love designing sets and settings and scenery for my stories. When I was writing this story, I referenced several places and cities that I've visited. As a preview of the tale, I thought I'd include some of the photos that I used to write the story:


Mariinsky Theater in St. Petersburg, an important setting in the story.

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DSC01153

Also pictured: 18-year-old me, imagination whirring, no doubt. 

Hot air balloons rising over Stockholm. This image has always stuck with me--I took this picture on a lazy summer evening, at about 9 p.m., because it stays light quite late in Scandinavia in the summer. I was sitting with one of my best friends by the water, eating violet ice cream. I'm glad I was able to insert such a happy memory into a story.

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муми 023

A view of Munich. One pivotal scene in this story takes place in a cursed church in Munich, which I based on the Frauenkirche, the church on the left in this picture, which has several interesting legends attached to it.

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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Highgate Cemetery in London, which I visited when I was studying abroad in London, because I do love visiting cemeteries (to no one's surprise). Karl Marx is buried here, and many people believe it inspired several scenes in Bram Stoker's Dracula.

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Of course, this story isn't all fun and games and frolicking through Europe on a magical tour. I also drew on negative and bittersweet experiences--especially those involving relationships-- to write this story. Which just goes to show you that the old cliche is true: no experience is ever wasted for a writer.

Anyway, I'm pleased this story found a home, and I hope you enjoy it when it comes out in August.