Curated by Kristine Kathryn Rusch
The title of this bundle puts me in mind of an incident that occurred in an elevator at a World Fantasy Con some years ago. That year, the convention badges said World Fantasy Convention in large type and the con-goer's name in small type. I stood all by myself in the back of the elevator, dressed for some fancy dinner. The car lands on an upper floor and some businessman steps in. He sees me, leers, and says, as the door closes, "What's a fantasy convention?"
He saw a woman and the word "fantasy" and his mind went in the wrong direction.
All too often, this culture confuses women with fantasy. We are objects of fantasy, not writers of fantasy. Yet women have held the center of the fantasy field for a very long time—as creators of fantasy fiction. In fact, in this century, a woman revived the British Boarding School subcategory of fantasy with a place you might have heard of, some school named Hogwarts…
There are dozens of subgenres of fantasy, not just that British Boarding School subgenre, but made-up world fantasy, and high fantasy, and urban fantasy, and epic fantasy, and contemporary fantasy, and dark fantasy, and funny fantasy. Some fantasy features ghosts; some features elves. Some has more magic than we can keep track of and some has hardly any magic at all.
Women write all of it. Why do I harp on women? Because of something that happened last year. I discovered that much of the history of women in the science fiction and fantasy field has been forgotten. It's really true of science fiction—so true that I've done a series of projects to revive some of the lost/ignored works by women in sf, including a successful StoryBundle last August.
Women have a stronger presence in fantasy. We practically own the urban fantasy genre. High fantasy—that kings and queens stuff—seems to be dominated by male names at the moment, but readers know that women have written some of the classics in that genre as well.
When I proposed this bundle, I did so at the same time as the women in sf bundle. Unlike so many of the pundits outside the field, I know that science fiction and fantasy are two different genres, with different tropes and different histories. While a lot of the female contribution to sf has gotten lost, most of the female contribution to fantasy is still in print through traditional publishers.
I didn't want to work with traditional publishers. I want you to see what women are doing with the fantasy genre outside of those tight boundaries set up by marketing categories. There's a lot of creativity in the indie publishing community right now, and much of it centers on the fantasy genre.
In this bundle, I've combined writers whose work has spanned decades with writers who came to prominence in the 21st century. Some of the best of the best here, things you might have missed because of the attention paid to the more traditional stuff.
I love the work of every writer here. Some, like P.N. Elrod and Katharine Eliska Kimbriel, I have read for decades. Others, like Leslie Claire Walker and Robin Brande, I discovered in the past ten years or so.
These writers build worlds, new worlds, worlds we've never seen before. The novels and novellas here are just a taste. Once you sample the work of these writers, you'll want to read so much more. And there's more available. Use this as your introduction to the work of great writers.
I'm sure you'll find your fantasy here—and so much more.
One last thing. Storybundle always lets you donate to charity when you buy a bundle. Our charity, The Pearl Foundation, promotes education by endowing scholarships. The scholarships focus on returning students, who have been away from school for more than five years. Those students need a lot of financial assistance because they often have families, mortgages, and all those other expenses of adulthood.
So while you indulge your taste in fantasy, help some deserving people improve their lives with education. And enjoy your reading! – Kristine Kathryn Rusch
And now some notes from our curator on the spectacular authors and books featured in this bundle:
Marny: Feyguard Book 3 by Anthea Sharp
USA Today bestselling writer Anthea Sharp writes about the intersection between games and faerie—you know, between real life and (ahem) real life. She tells powerful stories about characters who become so real that they jump off the page. (I'm sure that's her next series.) Anthea writes under a variety of names in several genres. She also writes powerful short stories. You'll find one of her short stories in Fiction River: Hex In The City, which shows you just how varied (and strong) her work can be.
Tides of Darkness by Judith Tarr
I have read Judith Tarr's fantasy for a long time now. She's one of the best at epic fantasy—the kings and queens stuff I mentioned in the introduction. I love the tagline here: A wastrel prince, a forgotten emperor…I'm there before we get to the tides of darkness swallowing worlds. Because I know that Judith Tarr will hold me from page one, and take me on a grand adventure.
Night Calls by Katharine Eliska Kimbriel
In Night Calls, Katharine Eliska Kimbriel does something I absolutely love. She combines history and magic. In this case, the history is early American history. Yes, you'll find werewolves and vampires here, but more than that, you'll get a sense that the events in this book actually happened. These alternate history fantasy novels used to be called historical fantasy. Nowadays, traditional publishers have no idea how to handle books like this because they don't fit into neat and tidy categories. But I have a category: I call it great storytelling.
Miles to Go by Laura Anne Gilman
Laura Anne and I have a history together. We used to edit for traditional publishing companies. In fact, Laura Anne bought the first books in my Retrieval Artist science fiction series. At one point, I told her the same thing another writer/editor had told me: you'll have to choose between working as a traditional editor and your writing. Fortunately for all of us, when the time came, Laura Anne chose writing. She writes as eclectically as she edited. Miles to Go falls into her Cosa Nostradamus world, and combines two of my favorite things: magic and mystery.
The Raven and the Dancing Tiger by Leah Cutter
No matter what she writes, Leah Cutter always manages to surprise me. From mystery stories set in China or the old West to fantasy stories set in New Orleans to this marvelous series called Shadow Wars, Leah's imagination takes a sideways direction that's always entertaining. In this bundle, you'll find the first book in the Shadow Wars series and a short story in Hex in the City that comes from another of Leah's series. If you've never read her work before, you're in for a real treat. If you have, then you know what I mean.
Hunt by Leslie Claire Walker
Leslie Claire Walker calls her novel Hunt an urban faerie tale. It is, but it's so much more. Leslie has an enviable ability to make a reader fall into a story. I've read a number of novels and stories set in her worlds, and they are so real they feel like my own memories. She also has her finger on a young adult pulse—not by talking down but by dealing with deep, dark issues that all of us have to deal with. Leslie's stories have a healing power. You'll see what I mean when you read this one.
The Adventures of Myhr by P. N. Elrod
Many readers know P.N. Elrod's work because she writes great vampire fiction. She also writes great non-magical mystery fiction. But most readers never venture past what they know—and they should. The Adventures of Myhr features a man who is half human, half cat—and, as the tagline says, all hero. I love this book. It's campy and fun. You'll see why half the tropes in today's urban fantasy started with the writings of P.N. Elrod.
Book of Earth by Robin Brande
Robin Brande has written some of my favorite young adult novels, set in the modern era. With this new series, she turns to alternate world fantasy to take on some stunning topics—and to give us a great helping of girl power. I love it when Robin starts new adventures. The stories are always strong and surprising and impossible to put down.
Traitors by Kristine Kathryn Rusch
Traitors is what the romance writers call a book of the heart. I had to write this novel, and even now, years later, I can still see the events unfold in my mind. The novel combines things I love, from dance to big political ideas to a forbidden romance. I think you'll like it too.
Hex in the City by Fiction River
My husband Dean Wesley Smith and I are the series editors for Fiction River. What that means is this: we pick the actual editors and make sure that the story quality in each volume remains high. Sometimes we edit a volume, and often we ask others to do so. Kerrie L. Hughes has made a name for herself editing great urban fantasy anthologies. Hex in the City is one of them. It also includes our token male writers. The stories in this volume cover the gamut of urban fantasy. Kerrie's edited other Fiction River volumes. If you like this one, you might want to pick up those as well.– Kristine Kathryn Rusch
The initial titles in the Women in Fantasy Bundle (minimum $5 to purchase) are:
If you pay more than the bonus price of just $15, you get all five of the regular titles, plus five more:
The bundle is available for a very limited time only, via http://www.storybundle.com. It allows easy reading on computers, smartphones, and tablets as well as Kindle and other ereaders via file transfer, email, and other methods. You get multiple DRM-free formats (.epub and .mobi) for all books!
It's also super easy to give the gift of reading with StoryBundle, thanks to our gift cards – which allow you to send someone a code that they can redeem for any future StoryBundle bundle – and timed delivery, which allows you to control exactly when your recipient will get the gift of StoryBundle.
Why StoryBundle? Here are just a few benefits StoryBundle provides.
StoryBundle was created to give a platform for independent authors to showcase their work, and a source of quality titles for thirsty readers. StoryBundle works with authors to create bundles of ebooks that can be purchased by readers at their desired price. Before starting StoryBundle, Founder Jason Chen covered technology and software as an editor for Gizmodo.com and Lifehacker.com.