After the Happily Ever After anthology
This massive anthology transforms well-known fables into darker, more fantastical tales.
What is AHEA?
After the Happily Ever After: a collection of fractured fairy tales is a massive anthology that features more than seventy stories that transform the well-known and strange fables into sweeter, darker, and more fantastical tales. These certainly aren’t the stories we grew up with.
Our goal is to bring well-written stories to our readers. Besides the wide range of styles, themes, and genres collected within, we also hope to pay our contributors fairly for their work.
As a small publisher, this is hard to do. We hope to double, or triple, our current pay for our authors.
For $1, you can have your name listed on a special dedication and thank you page for our Kickstarter supporters.
For $5, you can get a digital poster.
For $10, you can get an e-book.
Got $20? You can have the anthology AND any of Transmundane Press’s other publications in e-book form.
For $30, you can have your choice between a personalized poem or a special, un-published author short PDF.
Get the paperback copy of this massive 550-page anthology for $40.
For $50, you can have a limited-edition hardback copy of the anthology.
Get it signed by both editors for $75.
Also for $75, you can have a special Editor’s package of never-before-seen material.
And for $100, you can buy a personal editing session for you or your writing friend.
We will be providing a limit of 150 hardback copies for this campaign, which will be unavailable after this promotion.
Where will the $5,500 go? 50 percent will go to our contributors. 40 percent will go to publishing costs. 10 percent goes to Kickstarter.
Our original plan was to donate 10 percent to a horror-themed charity, but since we’re not allowed to raise funds for charity, Anthony and I will instead donate our own time and money to charities upon successful completion of this campaign to celebrate and give back. Those who fund our campaign will receive photos and videos with their updates.
Thank you for checking us out and for any support you can offer.
Click the “manage your pledge” button on the project's page. Increase your pledge by the amount needed to claim the add-on(s). Save your pledge. Do not change the tier that you originally pledged at.
$2 – AHEA bookmark
$15 – AHEA or Transmundane coffee mug
$18 – AHEA poster
$25 – AHEA or Transmundane T-shirts
“It’s in Her Kiss” by Tiffany Brown
Delilah has developed a fetish of the human-who-was-once-an-amphibian variety. Her predilection has progressed into a full-fledged addiction as three or four times a week, the door to our flat bursts open and a new prime specimen drips pond water onto the Ikea rug in the foyer.
Delilah wears a proud smile and clings to their arms, bright with infatuation, gleaming with accomplishment. After all, her rose-pink lips elicited their transformations. And they are all hers, rescued from the muck and ever-grateful to their savior.
Each specimen is distinctly different, but they all are ambitiously handsome. Last week, Delilah’s first catch was Italian. Olive skin, dark, emotional eyes, clothing that only a European can get away with wearing. He was young, so he was probably an exchange student. Her second catch looked like a lumberjack, a man with a full beard, bulging muscles, and enough freckles to create a connect-the-dots coloring book. I half-expected him to produce an axe to cut the lasagna they shared that evening. The third was an older Russian gentleman who moved with innate bravado and had the saddest blue eyes. He didn’t speak a lick of English, but Delilah didn’t care. She took him to bed anyway, as she does with all of them.
The next morning, she kisses them goodbye. When they’ve reassumed their froggy countenances, she affixes their legs with a little gold band. It helps her to determine which frogs she’s already romanced. Then, out the door and back to the park they go, as if nothing ever happened.
I’ve lost track of the number of suitors that have come through our door and dampened our rug.
Does Delilah know? Does she keep track? Does she delight in her growing number of conquests?
And if she does, is my name at the top of the list? Does she fondly remember me as her first? Or does her lack of lust and passion for me exclude me completely from the ranks?
"While You Were Sleeping" by Rohit Sawant
“Lately, I’ve been finding myself thinking about...it a lot. And it frightens me.”
Maybe the curse won’t happen, he wanted to say; he wanted to say other things as well. Instead, he held out his palm. She took it.
“It’ll be all right, Dawn. I’ll save you.”
“You are aware that you have to be a prince to pull that off.” She half-teased.
He flushed with embarrassment. How ludicrous it sounded now that he voiced it. Like something read in storybooks.
“Why a prince?” Indignation pricked him, the helpless sort only those with rough hands know. Their conversation reached a place where neither of them made eye contact.
“Tradition, I suppose? But don’t worry. I doubt any of it shall transpire. I mean, it hasn’t until now. Right?”
But it did happen.
It happened the next day.
"Ten Days After Happily Ever After" by Amelia Steiner
I smacked my knight in shining armor on the head with a heavy skillet. He wasn’t wearing his armor at the time so he grimaced, but I digress.
On our wedding day, my father, the king, gave us a ton of gold, a full two-thousand-pounds worth. He also gave us a castle in a neighboring kingdom. The evil gleam in my step-mother’s eye and smiles of glee on the ugly faces of my step-sisters quickened my heart. Let them rejoice at my departure. My knight and prince had vanquished all the dragons, rejected my sisters, and chosen me to be his bride.
The following day we loaded the horses. We took only the basic necessities as luxury awaited at our castle.
My champion mounted his white steed and I rode a sure-footed mare. He led the string of horses that carried his belongings and the gold. For the journey, he selected two sets of armor, as one was severely dented and probably had but one good battle left in it. He also packed three swords, including a broadsword and a longsword and two jousting lances, one war hammer and a mace. He packed three suits, one for appearing at court, one for lounging, and the other a full suit of mail.
I packed three exquisite gowns plus two for every day. Even though underwear is never mentioned in such tales, you only have to look at the illustrations to know I wear a push-up bra and an enormous number of petticoats. In addition to these, I took five pairs of glass slippers and three tiaras. A single pack-animal sufficed to carry my belongings.
We journeyed through the Hundred-Acre Woods, where there’s so much to do, then over a mountain range and into the Dark Forest. As we neared the edge, a group of marauders approached on foot. My defender dispatched the gang in short order.
No sooner had he banished the mercenaries when we were assaulted by rampaging boars. He speared one as the rest vanished into the forest. We dismounted to admire our prey.
My prince planted his boot on the belly of the beast. “Dinner.”
We’d been traveling on the road for a couple of days and were quite hungry. Normally we only eat at feasts or bite the occasional bewitched apple. We looked around for the pit in which the servants would bury the boar. Not only was there no pit but no servants came running to care for our steeds and offer us mead. We were quite alone.
"Troll Bridge" by Robert Kibble
I’ve waited a long time for a boy to walk past alone. Adults usually stop them: “It’ll collapse” or “It’s fenced off.” I hate that. When I was young, children ignored fences. Of course, when I was young, the fences weren’t here. People walked along this stretch of the riverbank, enjoying the little ornamental bridge. They only blocked it off a few years back, and since then, I’ve gone hungry. I’ve had plenty of time to think, to plan, and to change.
I need carefully-crafted mystery now, so he’ll climb over that fence.
A breeze to refresh him on this hot summer’s evening.
His curly blond hair reacts to the wind, and he turns.
He’ll think the river blows strange breezes. Two ducks swim below me, a tasty snack if I was hungry enough. I’ve been that hungry before. The goose I scavenged two weeks ago—that’ll keep me going. No one misses geese…swans, though. They’ve got those metal bits ‘round their legs, which I have to bury.
The boy wanders over to the fence. He’ll see the crack running up the side of my bridge, or the missing bricks in the top-right corner. Maybe the bent railing. He won’t see the joyous proportions of the arch that make it perfect for me to hide, except when rowers go past. If they’re concentrating, I stay hanging as they pass. Sometimes, a bored rower looks, and I pull myself up into the bridge.
"Alice on the Analyst's Couch" by Linda G. Hill
Alice's psychiatrist, the esteemed Dr. Dinah Fell, promised her the nightmares would stop. And to the doctor's credit, she seemed to know what she was talking about; six months after the incident when seven-year-old Alice fell asleep under the tree, they had. That was, however, fourteen years ago.
Fresh out of college, Alice found a job quickly—to the dismay of many of her peers who had exceeded her in marks, but not in popularity—in the accounting industry for which she had studied. She hadn't wanted to admit, even to her sister with whom she shared an apartment, that the leering man in human resources hired her based on the length of her legs and the cut of her blouse rather than her qualifications. He reminded her of someone with far too many teeth for the size of his mouth.
But regardless, she left her car at home and took the bus to work, knowing that parking spaces downtown were prime real estate. She walked the two blocks from the bus stop—about all she could stand in stilettos—and approached the receptionist at the paneled desk that fronted the office of Queen and Jack Inc. The middle-aged woman with a red bouffant hairstyle studied Alice from top to bottom. Her tight-lipped moue indicated her disapproval of the young woman's tight sweater and short skirt, but she conceded that there was, indeed, a Mr. Topper waiting to see her in his office.
"Haunt Us No More" by Jenn Tubrett
The mud on the path seemed irritating but not necessarily problematic. However, when Gretel's heel sunk in, she slipped and landed hard on her left hip. She let out a cry.
She was all right, not injured, just tired.
And sad. She was so sad.
Gretel searched for a place to rest. She hadn't planned on taking a break, even though she was only one day into a two-day trek. The wonderful thing about never being able to sleep well was that, when necessary, she could get by on very little.
The sun was out, but the dull light meant she couldn't see the pebbles Hansel left for her, so it was as good a time to rest as any.
She abandoned the main path, found a mossy patch, and sat leaning against a tree. Eyes closed, she reminded herself that, even though this self-assigned mission was the most difficult of her life, she only had to do two things.
First, she had to find her brother.
Second, she had to kill him.
“The Hunter” by Will Gilmer
“Jameson on the rocks.”
The Hunter watched the young man check the tape in his recorder three times before anxiously setting it on the bar.
“I bet you’re getting tired of all these questions by now huh?” His voice squeaked with nerves and inexperience.
“I never get tired of free drinks, kid. I’ve told this story to 20/20, 60 Minutes, and PETA. As long as people keep picking up the tab, I’m gonna keep telling it.”
The Hunter took a generous slug from his glass.
“Well that’s not exactly what I’m writing about. Like you said, everybody knows what happened. I’d like to know more about the aftermath, the fallout you’ve experienced from all of those stories. How has this changed you, as a person?”
A smile walked across The Hunter’s face as he tipped his now empty glass toward the waitress.
“I’ll tell you what, kid, killing that animal destroyed me. I can’t show my face outside this dive without some baby crying. I’ve broken the hearts of an entire generation of children, and I’m pretty sure they’re never going to let me forget it.”
"Beauty and Her Prince" by Clara LawryniukBelle didn’t have anyone to talk to besides her prince, and at times she grew quite lonely. She was fond of one young woman in particular, a chambermaid by the name of Mary. The two were close in age, and what started as idle conversation while Mary tidied Belle’s chambers led to a bond forged over a mutual love of fairy tales, folklore, and poetry. Mary was charming and sweet, with a quick wit, and made Belle laugh so readily it was easy for her to forget they were mistress and maid rather than two rambunctious farm girls. Spending time with Mary gave Belle great joy and comfort, while making her homesick as well.
“Being friends with servants is beneath you,” her prince said.
“Well, I don’t see a problem with it. Some of them are quite pleasant company, and it can be so lonely here.”
“How could you be lonely? You have me.”
Belle held her tongue. She sensed a trap waiting for her if she responded.
When she did not take the bait her prince sneered petulantly. “We were having such a lovely time and you had to ruin it.”
The blame hit her like ice water.
They finished the rest of their meal in the sounds of cutlery scrapping against plates, the clinking of glass as he poured himself more wine, and breaths heavy with disapproval.
Belle wanted to undo the damage she’d done. But she could not grasp coherent thoughts through her anxiety. It stood her every hair on end. She ate nothing and clenched her fists in her lap.
She desperately hoped her prince would break the unbearable silence, whether to reassure her or scold her; by then, she did not care.
Yet to Belle’s dismay, after her prince’s fifth glass of wine, he took his leave without so much as wishing her goodnight.
"The Emperor's Pig Princess" by Candace Gleave
“Yes, your grace?” Jonathan asked softly.
“I have nothing in common with these girls.” The Emperor whispered. “There is one here that is deathly afraid of spinning wheels? I will not be forced to have a drab kingdom based on preposterous superstitions.”
“It’s more of a curse,” Jonathan corrected.
“Curse, what? Have you heard a single word I’ve said?” The emperor felt a sigh coming on and suppressed it. “I can’t even begin to rip apart her wardrobe selection. Talk about Wednesday pearls on a Saturday night.”
"She of Silken Scarves" by Alisha Costanzo
“Are you ready?” My mentor adorned her reaper’s hood, disguised as a craggily, old woman.
She produced the poisoned apple, laced with a drug that would make me sleep like the dead; only my brain would record everything. One bite, and I will be at the whim of whoever finds me.
Cupping the gleaming red fruit in both hands, I took a breath to soften my nerves, and Madame Grimm pinned a charm to the bodice of my dress. It was a forget-me-not serum. If they discovered me, I’d inject myself to erase all knowledge of my mission and my agency. It was a fail safe, and I hoped I wouldn’t need it.
I bit the apple, the sweet juices mixing with the bitter taste of the sleeping drug.
My body grew heavy. I slipped the antidote behind my lower lip so that when Prince Charming kissed me, it would break.
Madame Grimm caught me, laying me half on the grass and half on the path to my secret lair, where the D.W.A.R.V.E.S. will find me and contact the kingdom.
$6,000 – A humorous video of a bartending unicorn straight from New Orleans.
$6,500 – We will triple the pay to our authors. Without your support, we can only pay our authors between $5 and $20 for their stories. This will allow us to pay them between $15 and $60 for their hard work.
$7,000 – We will include at least ten custom pieces of artwork for the anthology and make another 100 hardback copies available for purchase.
$7,500 – A custom story poster from Dean Samed. We will commission a second piece of artwork from our amazing cover artist.
$9,000 – Story trailers for a variety of the stories included in the anthology.
We will update you whenever we hit a milestone and as we add prizes or contributors.
And a thanks to http://kickingitforward.org for for Kicking It Forward.
Risks and challenges
The work for this project is over the hump. With a few more stories to edit and formatting in place, we only have to finalize our manuscript, upload, and print! Then this beauty will be in your hands.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)