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."
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.
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!
$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.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)