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New York Times bestselling author Kristine Kathryn Rusch writes in almost every genre. Generally, she uses her real name (Rusch) for most of her writing. Under that name, she publishes bestselling science fiction and fantasy, award-winning mysteries, acclaimed mainstream fiction, controversial nonfiction, and the occasional romance. Her novels have made bestseller lists around the world and her short fiction has appeared in eighteen best of the year collections. She has won more than twenty-five awards for her fiction, including the Hugo, Le Prix Imaginales, the Asimov's Readers Choice award, and the Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine Readers Choice Award.

Publications from The Chicago Tribune to Booklist have included her Kris Nelscott mystery novels in their top-ten-best mystery novels of the year. The Nelscott books have received nominations for almost every award in the mystery field, including the best novel Edgar Award, and the Shamus Award.

She also edits. Beginning with work at the innovative publishing company, Pulphouse, followed by her award-winning tenure at The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, she took fifteen years off before returning to editing with the original anthology series Fiction River, published by WMG Publishing. She acts as series editor with her husband, writer Dean Wesley Smith, and edits at least two anthologies in the series per year on her own.

To keep up with everything she does, go to kriswrites.com and sign up for her newsletter. To track her many pen names and series, see their individual websites (krisnelscott.com, kristinegrayson.com, krisdelake.com, retrievalartist.com, divingintothewreck.com).

Five Fantastic Tales by Kristine Kathryn Rusch

The five magical stories in this short collection include stories of fairies and shapeshifters and magic shops. In this collection, you'll find the heartwarming "Flower Fairies," the whimsical "The Poop Thief," the outrageous "Say Hello To My Little Friend," the political vampire tale, "Victims," and a tale of high school gone wrong, "Domestic Magic."

 
 

BOOK PREVIEW

Excerpt

Introduction

Sometimes I think I write fantastic stories because I can't see very well. My relationship with my eyes has always been iffy. Or perhaps it's best to say my relationship with my glasses.

I got glasses around the age of ten, but I needed them much earlier. I lied about it. I kept telling my parents my eyes were just fine. When they finally got my eyes tested, I needed pretty serious glasses. My mother, ever practical, bought the cheapest pair, some unfashionable cat's eyes with rhinestones.

I stepped on them the very next day on purpose and told Mother that some other kid (unnamed) had done it. I don't know if she believed me, since she knew I wanted the more fashionable (and expensive) granny glasses. Off we went to the eye doctor who replaced my lenses in those horrible cat eye frames.

I stepped on the frames the next day.

This time, my parents caved in and I got the granny glasses. I took them off once I got to school, however, and only put them on when I really needed to see the chalkboard.

I was thirteen when my best friend pulled me aside and said, "You know, you look worse when you squint than you do when you wear your glasses." I practiced in front of the mirror and discovered that lo and behold, she was right.

I wore my glasses from then on. Then, at sixteen, I got contact lenses, and could see all the time.

But my bratty history with glasses means that I spent most of my formative years looking at a fuzzy world. A world where things weren't quite what they appeared. A world where an amorphous green and brown blob might be a tree or it might be a man wearing a brown suit and a green hat.

Without my glasses, the world was full of possibilities.

And danger.

I often write about sneaky magic, little magic, magic that seems less powerful than it is. I think that comes from the disappointment of discovering a tree when I expected a man. Or realizing that the scary ghost-like thing at the edge of the yard is actually a shirt drying on a clothesline.

This little collection is filled with stories about sideways, little, and sneaky magic. It starts with "Flower Fairies," which is a rare story in that I dreamed it before I wrote it. I actually saw that little flower fairy peering out of her bouquet in a dream, got up, and wrote down the opening image before I forgot it.

Next, "The Poop Thief," which I fortunately did not dream. "The Poop Thief" didn't come from anything visual. Instead, it came from an ad on the radio for a lawn cleanup service. I, of course, took it the wrong way.

I wrote "Domestic Magic" for an anthology Denise Little put together in the height of the Harry Potter craze. She wanted a story about magic and high school. I was trying to figure out a way to write about something that wasn't Potterish. Instead of dealing with the most magical kid in school, I dealt with the least.

"Say Hello To My Little Friend" is an imaginary friend story. I have many imaginary friends—that's why I write. So, for me, "imaginary" and "friend" in combination does not mean someone who does not exist. And if I say any more, I ruin the story for you. Enjoy the whimsy, because the final story in the book isn't whimsical at all.

When I wrote "Victims" in the late 1990s, vampires were not considered sexy or anywhere close to human. If anything, this story has become more relevant over time. In its day, it was so unusual that the initial editor commented on the strange point of view.

Now it belongs in a collection of urban fantasy, right alongside the flower fairies.

This is my second five-story collection. The stories unite around a genre or a theme or a topic. Sometimes you'll find duplications. Sometimes you won't. What you will find are stories that should be together at a cheaper price than you would get them if you bought them as individual e-books.

I hope you like these five fantastic tales. There are five more in the future, and five more after that. In the past twenty years, I seem to have written a lot of stories. And the wonderful changes to the publishing industry have allowed me to make them available to you.

Enjoy.

—Kristine Kathryn Rusch
Lincoln City, Oregon
July 7, 2010