May I Want by Tiah Marie Beautement

May I Want, a brand new original short story of mine, is now LIVE and FOR SALE on Amazon, thanks to my lovely publishers, Stubborn Raven.

Synopsis:

To some the seas hold many mysteries, but not to Laila. Her seaborne gifts have given her much, but when she is visited by an old acquaintance from her previous life she will find out that all gifts, hers included, come at a price.

Quotes:

MayIWantMedium.png
Cover of May I Want by Tiah Beautement

~The ghostly light of the waning moon shimmered on the skin of the sea, creating an endless road. To Laila, it beckoned with promise. Seduction. “May I want?” she whispered, borrowing her daughter’s phrase.~

~The need to keep secrets was as much a part of the village as the stones it was built on.~

~A weaver’s magic cannot be forced.~

~Please know that I, too, have lost.~

~Her mother had whispered in her ear two of the vows sea-weavers must make: first, do not harm; second, never accept coin for the art.~

~No gift is truly for free.~

USA Amazon link

UK Amazon link

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The Plotters by Un-su Kim

The cover of The Plotters by Un-su Kim is red background with black lettering. The middle is slashed in the shape of a knife, revealing a man's stony face.

~He wasn’t sure why it wasn’t the right time. Only that there was a right time for everything. A right time for eating ice cream. A right time for going in for a kiss. And maybe it sounded stupid, but there was a right time for pulling a trigger and a right time for a bullet to the heart.~

~”Fire is so beautiful,” Reseng said.
“Ash is more beautiful once you get to know it.”~

~She must have known that returning to the red-light district meant she wouldn’t last long. But she went back anyway. In the end, none of us can leave the place we know best, no matter how dirty and disgusting it is. Having no money and no other means of survival is part of the reason, but it’s never the whole reason. We go back to our own filthy origins because it’s a filth we know.~

~Dictionaries are great…No mushiness, no bitching, no prechiness, and, best of all, none of that high-and-mighty crap that writers try to pull off.~

~In the end, even bad luck is just another part of life.~

~Whenever an assassination came to light, the first person the police looked for was the shooter. In the end, all they wanted to know was “Who pulled the trigger?”…What matters is never the shooter, but the person behind the shooter. And yet, in the long history of assassinations, not once has that shadow person been clearly revealed.~

Publisher’s website

I Won An Award

Memento Mori has won the Charles Payseur “I’d Ship That” Award for 2018.

A golden sippy cup with an emoji of smiles with heart eyes reads: 2018 "I'd Ship That" for Excellent Relationships in Short SFF to Tiah Marie Beautement for Momento Mori.

(Yes, that is a giant gold sippy cup)

Payseur writes:

I cannot say enough about this story. If I were trying to capture the feel of it in one sentence, I’d probably say “It’s an incredibly delicate look at consent, disability, independence, and love, all wrapped up prose that will make you want Death to be your boyfriend.” But there is so much here to unpack and enjoy, from the way that the main character is split between her freedom in the water to her resilience on land dealing with her chronic pain. And Death here, so often cold or aloof, is just charmingly careful in his attempts not to overstep. For a being who always seems inevitable, who seems always to be violating people who don’t want to die, this version of Death understands deeply the respect that consent deserves. He’s kind and obviously cares so much for the main character, and yet never forces anything, never does anything that implies that she’s not capable or whole. It’s a beautiful story, with dialogue that perfectly captures the relationship between the main character and Death, the simmering romance that’s hot but never uncontrolled. And seriously, it’s the completely unexpected story I didn’t know I needed from 2018, and you should go read it!

Big thank you to Omenana. It is hard to get stories with disabilities published in SFF, unless it is the “disability issue”. They not only accepted it, but their editing team took time to work with me to make this story better and better.

https://www.patreon.com/quicksipreviews/posts

Maid by Stephanie Land

~My daughter learned to walk in a homeless shelter.~

Cover of Stephanie Land's memoir, Maid features a black background with pink washing up gloves in the foreground.

~Being poor, living in poverty, seemed a lot like probation – the crime being a lack of means to survive~

~Caseworkers told me where to go, where to apply, what form to fill out. They’d ask me what I needed, and I’d say, “A place to live,” or “To eat,” or “Childcare so I can work,” and they’d help, or find someone who could, or not help at all. But that was all they could do. Recovering from the trauma was also vital, maybe the most critical, but not only could no one help me with that, I didn’t know yet that I needed it. The months of poverty, instability, and insecurity created a panic response that would take years to undo.~

~When I tried to confide in my aunt and brother about the bruises Charlotte and shown me, Dad had already talked to them and told them I’d made it up for attention, that I’d made up everything that’d happened with Jamie for attention, too.~

~Mothering, for me, so forgotten meant learning to say goodbye in the hope of gaining trust in my return.~

~People I talked to rarely assumed I needed food stamps to survive, and they always said “those people” in conversations. Yet “those people” were never people like me. They were immigrants, or people of color, or the white people who were often referred to as trash.~

~Without food stamps, we would have frequented food banks or free meals at churches. Without childcare assistance, I wouldn’t have been able to work. The people lucky enough to remain outside the system, or on the outskirts of it, didn’t see how difficult those resources were to obtain. They’d didn’t see how desperately we needed them, despite the hoops they made us jump through.~

https://www.stepville.com

Blanca & Roja by Anna-Marie McLemore

Cover of Blanca & Roja by Anna-Marie McLemore features a red-ish swan curling around a white-ish grey swan, creating an illusion of a variegated rose.

~I had gone into the woods already broken, and now I had collected so many other ways of being broken, I could barely carry them.~

~I would not let the swans write our story for us.~

~To boys like this, the world was there to offer them things. But I had said this corner of the world was not his.~

~The pain found me. It woke me. The moon reached its fingers through the window and squeezed the pear of my womb so hard the rest of my body went numb.~

~Sometimes what a story needed was not a girl who would do what the prince told her, who would content herself with meeting him only in the dark…Sometimes a story need the girl would would find him among the crumbling stones where he hid, pretending all of it was castle. It needed the girl who took the prince’s orders and crushed them between her black teeth.~

~We were opening our hands. We were giving up the stories we thought we already knew. We were becoming.~

http://author.annamariemclemore.com/

Karen Burnham reviews Memento Mori

Karen Burnham has reviewed Memento Mori on behalf of Locus Magazine.

Sunny Efemena's illustration shows a shadowy figure (Death) holding a bathrobe and towel as a mer-woman swims in the foreground.
Art work by Sunny Efemena

Burnham writes:

My favorite story of the [Omenana] issue [12] is “Memento Mori” by Tiah Marie Beautement. A woman suffering from the chronic condition Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, which causes hypermotility of the joints, is a good friend with the personification of Death. In the evenings she turns into a merperson, able to search out souls that have become detached from their bodies prematurely (Alzheimer’s suffer­ers), floating in the water. This is mostly a slice-of-life story, showing how Death genuinely cares for her, worries about her, and how she is able to help Death’s efforts. The details of how Death interacts with our world are charming, and their respectful and intimate relationship speaks volumes.

Adding to my delight, is that Brunham is an electromagnetics engineer, who happens to have done a bit of work for NASA, including being part of the Dream Chaser spacecraft.

Somebody who works with NASA liked my work. *swoon*

Read the full article at Locus Magazine and Memento Mori at Omenana.

Trigger Warning by Neil Gaiman

Cover of Neil Gaiman's short fiction collection, Trigger warning. Features a woman in a black dress standing on a cliff top holding a branch, while a wolf gazes back at her in the background.

~On day I will write another book, and when I’m done I will climb it, like a stool or stepladder.~

~”You’ll get a better idea of how things lie when we get to the top of the hill.”
“How do they lie?”
“At the top of the hill.”~

~In my family “adventure” tends to be used to mean “any minor disaster we survived” or even “any break from routine.” Except by my mother, who still uses it to mean “what she did that morning.”~

~Maybe she’s back to herself again, and dancing, up there, wherever she is, and all the aliens love her pole dancing because they just don’t know any better.~

~In May I received an anonymous Mother’s Day card. This puzzled me. I would have noticed if I had ever had children, surely?~

~Life is life, and it is infinitely better than the alternative, or so we presume, for nobody returns to dispute it.~

@neilhimself

Apex Magazine reviews May I Want

Apex Magazine, in their feature Words for Thought, has reviewed May I Want.

Excerpt from A.C. Wise’s review:

~There’s a fairytale like quality to the story, but Beautment goes beyond fairy-tale tropes, filling the story with longing, and giving her characters complicated pasts. Fairy tale structure is deployed, as well, with the repeated refrain of ”May I want?”, Ziya’s way of expressing interest in something as her language skills develop. What is innocent curiosity in a child’s mouth becomes something else in her mother’s—the melancholy expression of someone who feels they are not allowed to desire anything for themselves, who feels constrained by fate, lineage, and station in life. The story is beautifully written, full of characters afraid to express themselves, living with various social restrictions and expectations. Every choice comes with a cost, something else that must be sacrificed. Naja’s choice to marry the Lord costs her relationship with Laila, just as Laila’s choice to pass her legacy and power on to her daughter means conferring the burden of that power at the same time. ~

Educated by Tara Westover

~Positive liberty is self-mastery-the rule of the self, by the self. To have positive liberty, he explained, is to take control of one’s own mind; to be liberated from irrational fears and beliefs, from addictions, superstitions and all other forms of self-coercion.~

~It’s strange how you give the people you love so much power over you.~

~Somehow, it had never occurred to me that my sister might have lived my life before I did.~

~”What exactly are you saying?” Dad said.
From that moment it was an interrogation…”Where’s your proof?”~

~Reality became fluid. The ground gave way beneath my feet, dragging me downward, spinning fast, like sand rushing through a hole in the bottom of the universe.~

~There was little hope of overpowering the history my father and sister were creating for me. Their account would claim my brothers first, then it would spread ot my aunts, uncles, cousins, the whole valley. I had lost an entire kinship…~

~The thing about having a mental breakdown is that no matter how obvious it is that you’re having one, it is somehow not obvious to you. I’m fine, you think. So what if I watched TV for twenty-four straight hours yesterday. I’m not falling apart. I’m just lazy. Why it’s better to think yourself lazy than think yourself in distress, I’m not sure.~

~I had retreated, fled across an ocean and allowed my father to tell my story for me, to define me to everyone I had ever known. I had conceded too much ground – not just the mountain, but the entire province of our shared history.~

https://tarawestover.com/

Wild Beauty by Anna-Marie McLemore

Cover of Wild Beauty by Anna-Marie McLemore has a black background, gold lettering, and is framed by a bounty of blooms.

~She hated her name the way she’d never hated it before, now that it was hitched to that word. Mistake. It was like a new middle name.~

~Never underestimate what the ground under your feet knows, what it can do. What it can give you and what it can steal.~

~Her name had not saved her. Estrella’s mother had hoped. If she named a girl for things held in the sky, how could she be tied to anywhere on this earth? But her mother had not freed her from their family’s legacy. She had just given it the shape of stars.~

~Men and boys had no claim on their secrets or their bodies. La Pradera was a world in which women did not listen to men just because they were men.~

~Now, though, with Reid calling her by something other than her name, this seemed strange, wrong, like he had crossed the threshold of her room.~

~There’s a story…about dragonflies. How they’re really little horses that come from the devil. That they’re the souls of those who’ve sinned and that you can tell their sin by their colour.~

~You can’t have two last name,s the foreman yelled at them.
They’re not two last names, Fel’s brother said. It’s our father’s name and our mother’s name.
Well, pick one.~

~Theirs was a story that needed to be told, and the land wanted it spoken as much as they did.~

http://author.annamariemclemore.com/

The Reject by Edyth Bulbring

Cover of The Reject by Edyth Bulbring features the profile of a man and a woman facing away from each other with an ibis flying between them - all of which hovers over the sea.

~I hear you when you cry out in your sleep. It shreds my dreams.~

~Sometimes lies are told not in what is said, but what is not said.~

~The clown smiles down at me. “Parting is such sweet sorrow. Still, you can’t say I didn’t show you a good time.”~

~Just because [animals] can’t tell stories, it didn’t give Homesaps the right to treat them like they were less.~

~To kill my god! Who will I pray to? Who will save me when things go wrong?~

https://edythbulbring.com/