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This volume collects the stories set in the world of T.A. Pratt's Marla Mason urban fantasy series, including new fiction.
This volume collects the stories set in the world of T.A. Pratt's Marla Mason urban fantasy series, including new fiction.
237 backers pledged $8,865 to help bring this project to life.

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$8,865

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From 2007 to 2017 I published an urban fantasy series spanning ten novels (plus a short novel prequel) about sorcerer Marla Mason. That's a big story – but it's not the whole story.In addition to the novels, I've been writing short fiction about Marla and her world for almost 20 years.

(I write good stories. I won a Hugo Award, the SF/Fantasy field's highest honor, for short fiction, and my stories have been nominated for Nebula, World Fantasy, Stoker, and Sturgeon awards, and reprinted in The Best American Short Stories and heaps of genre year's best anthologies. You can find links to read a few of the Marla Mason stories free here!)

Do Better collects those stories, offering tantalizing, exciting, moving glimpses of Marla's life (and afterlife). It's a great introduction to new readers – and a perfect capstone to the series for those who already know and love (or feel ambivalent toward) Marla. (Someone asked if you can enjoy the stories without knowledge of the novels. Totally! They're all standalone stories, just with the same cast of characters.)

Many of these stories were only previously available as limited edition chapbooks or Kickstarter rewards, so even the most dedicated Marla fans will likely find something new to enjoy.

I'm also including an original novelette, "Do Better," set during Marla's time as a freelance monster hunter. (There may be a second original story as well, depending on how successful the kickstarter is).

Do Better includes stories about Marla, from her apprentice days in "The Doorman"  to her mercenary years in "Mommy Issues of the Dead" and "Ill Met in Ulthar"; her rule of the city of Felport in "Pale Dog," "Grander than the Sea," and "Little Better than a Beast"; her exile and time as an occult detective in "Shark’s Teeth" and "Snake and Mongoose"; her demigod days in "Sorcerer's Honeymoon" and "Mother of the Bride"; her time as a monster hunter in "Cages" and "Manic Nixie Dream Girl"; and her long reign as queen of the underworld in "Three Petitions to the Queen of Hell."

It also includes stories about Marla's friends, enemies, and "it's complicateds," like "Down with the Lizards and the Bees" (her apprentice/god of the multiverse, Bradley Bowman), "Life in Stone" (the assassin Mr. Zealand), "A Void Wrapped in a Smile" (the lovetalker Joshua Kindler), "That Time Hell Froze Over" (Marla's friends Pelham and Rondeau), "A Cloak of Many Worlds" (Marla's evil parasitic cloak vs. Bradley), "Ice Murder Safari" (the deadly duo of Crapsey and Squat), "The Atheist in the Garden" (Pelham and the demon Muscles Malone), and "Gift of the Anthropophagi" (in which Bradley and Rondeau save Christmas).

Fan favorite Elsie Jarrow (chaos witch, trickster god, and Marla's best frenemy) takes the stage in "Ghostreaper," "Happy Old Year," "A Pathway Up and Down," and "Under the Tree."

The e-book version will also include the three earliest stories I wrote about Marla, though they don't really fit the greater continuity: "Encounter on a Back Street," "Haruspex," and "Pride Is an Engine."

Stretch Goals

If I hit $6,000, I'll commission a few pieces of interior art! In the past I've had artwork by Zack Stella and Aislinn Quicksilver Harvey.

Art by Zack and Aislinn
Art by Zack and Aislinn

If I reach $8,000, I'll write a second original story (about Elsie and Marla on a divine road trip).

If I reach $10,000, I'll commission original cover art from Lindsey Look. (Quality original cover paintings are not cheap. Fortunately, I love giving Lindsey money.) She did these amazing covers for Grim Tides, Bride of Death, Lady of Misrule, and Closing Doors. Behold!

Lindsey's art for Grim Tides and Bride of Death
Lindsey's art for Grim Tides and Bride of Death

 

Lindsey's Art for Lady of Misrule and Closing Doors
Lindsey's Art for Lady of Misrule and Closing Doors

$12,000: I'll be very happy, and take my ten-year-old on a cruise (he really wants to go on a cruise) and send you all some vacation photos.

Risks and challenges

I've successfully crowdfunded about a dozen projects (including over half a dozen through Kickstarter) in the past decade, and I don't foresee any problems with this one. I'm aiming to get everything done by autumn, with a fallback of "end of 2018 at the latest."

It's always possible there will be delays in the production process, or an unforeseen illness or other disaster, but if so, I'll keep everyone posted.

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  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $10 or more About $10

    Runaway

    EBOOK! Your name in the acknowledgments, and an ebook bundle (PDF, epub, and Kindle versions) of the finished collection.

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    Pledge $20 or more About $20

    Apprentice

    BOOKMARK! A custom Do Better bookmark to go along with your ebook bundle.

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    Pledge $35 or more About $35

    Renegade

    BOOK! Just want the book, and don't care about geegaws and signatures? This gets you the trade paperback and ebook bundle.

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    Pledge $40 or more About $40

    Mercenary

    DIGITAL CORNUCOPIA! If you don't want physical objects cluttering up your house, this level gets you e-books of Do Better, plus Marla Mason novels Bone Shop, Broken Mirrors, Grim Tides, Bride of Death, Lady of Misrule, Queen of Nothing, and Closing Doors, plus my science fantasy novel The Nex and two story collections (The Christmas Mummy, and Antiquities and Tangibles), along with your name in the acknowledgments.

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    Pledge $50 or more About $50

    Chief Sorcerer

    SIGNED BOOK! A trade paperback, signed and inscribed however you like (within reason), a bookmark, all the ebooks, and your name in the acknowledgments.

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    Pledge $100 or more About $100

    Occult Detective

    CHAPBOOK! A signed limited edition chapbook featuring a new Marla Mason story NOT included in the collection. Plus a signed trade paperback of the novel, all the ebooks, a bookmark, and your name in the acknowledgments.

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    Pledge $200 or more About $200

    Monster Hunter

    POSTCARD! A handwritten custom-made postcard from Marla Mason (or an authorized forger). Plus a signed trade paperback of the novel, all the ebooks, chapbook, bookmark, and your name in the acknowledgments.

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    Pledge $300 or more About $300

    Demigod

    TUCKERIZATION! I'll name a character – or spell, or monster, or something – after you, or use a name we mutually agree on, in one of the new stories, Plus the postcard, chapbook, a signed trade paperback of the novel, all the ebooks, a bookmark, and your name in the acknowledgments.

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    Pledge $1,500 or more About $1,500

    God of Death

    YOUR OWN STORY! The rarest collector's item. I'll write a story about any character of your choice in the Marla Mason series, and send you a one-of-a-kind signed chapbook. Plus all the other stuff, of course.

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Funding period

- (30 days)