Fell Beasts and Fair: A Noblebright Fantasy Anthology is now available!
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In this exciting collection of noblebright fantasy, fresh new fantasy voices and award-winning authors explore grief and hope, sacrifice and heroism. Rediscover the best aspect of classic fantasy – the noblebright ideals that made heroes heroic, even when the world grew dark around them.
Thieves, dragons, nightmares, fairy warriors, pookas, enchanted bear-men, and other magical creatures will delight you in these unique tales of possibility, courage, and hope.
This anthology features stories from:
Leslie J. Anderson, C.A. Barrett, Terri Bruce, Aaron DaMommio, M.C. Dwyer, Anthony Eichenlaub, Francesca Forrest, Chloe Garner, W.R. Gingell, Lora Gray, Kelly A. Harmon, Tom Howard, Rollin Jewett, Tom Jolly, Samuel Marzioli, Amanda Nargi, Aimee Ogden, Beth Powers, Darrell J. Pursiful, Charles D. Shell, April Steenburgh, Alena Sullivan, and Troy Tang.
Edited by Robert McCowen and C. J. Brightley.
Both ebooks and paperbacks are now available! Order it today!
Here’s a sneak peek of one of the stories in the anthology, “Blanche, Bear-Wife” by Alena Sullivan:
The café sits on the corner of the town square, its back to the woods and its face to the other shops around the town. The windows are stained glass, a hodgepodge of color and shadow, not really depicting anything, just rioting shades of light spilling their reflections onto the sidewalk. There’s no real sign, no name, just a square wooden shingle, anachronistic, hung above the door, reading CAFÉ in letters that are just a little lopsided, maybe. My Grampa carved that sign with his own hands, back before the War, before they started to shake.
It’s during the ice storm in February that the bear first comes by.
“I hate to be a bother, but it’s mighty cold out,” he rumbles apologetically, hugging his ice-crusted coat tight around his shoulders as he ducks through the doorway.
“It is, that,” I admit, smiling a little crookedly and pouring a hot mug of apple cider. I reckon that’s the sort of thing a bear could drink—it’s something warm, at any rate. I set it on the counter as the bear lumbers up and takes a seat on the stool across from me, gingerly testing it against his weight before he settles properly.
Rosie nudges me, elbow bordering on painful against my ribs. “He’s a bear,” she grits out through clenched teeth.
I lift a shoulder in a shrug. “It’s cold out there.” My Gramma, who raised me, is a little old lady who believes in real Southern hospitality, in making everybody welcome and looking after them all the same. When she opened this place, it was the only joint on the street that didn’t have a sign in the window that said whites only, and she never looked twice at anybody, not for their color or their war wounds or their piercings or tattoos. She doesn’t like my tattoos much, but she loves me, with or without them, and I’m not gonna shame her by turning anybody away in this weather.
“A freaking bear,” Rosie repeats, a little louder, a little shrill, and I can feel my mouth go tight around a cringe. The bear flinches.
“That’s no call to be impolite,” I say, trying not to be rude in my own turn. Smiling, I ignore the now actively painful elbow in my side and turn to the bear, putting a hand over his shaggy paw. “This one’s on the house, sir.” His fur is clouded with little ice crystals that crunch and melt a little under my palm.
He makes a face that might be a smile, but is mostly a baring of teeth and a huff of breath. “Mighty kind of you,” he says, nodding his head in acknowledgement. He has manners—real manners, ingrained, like my Grampa—you can see it in everything, in the way he holds himself straight and sits like somebody’s paying attention. To be fair, people are; the smattering of folks that came out in weather or were too dumb to leave before the ice really started coming down are all pretending not to stare and doing a thoroughly poor job of it. The bear is ignoring it with more dignity than I know I’d manage. Gramma would say he’s a real Southern gentleman.