Sarah Porter - Tor/Forge Blog



Fantasizing About Revenge

Revenge is a dish best served cold, but these revenge-centric fantasy novels are hot! 

Check ‘em out!

projections by sarah porterProjections by S. E. Porter

Catherine Bildstein is dead. She is not gone. She was murdered. Now, she’s out for revenge. 

In a gothic historical fantasy about poisonous attraction and strange magic, a sorcerer obsesses over a woman, and when he understands he cannot possess her, kills her. Unsatisfied with this peak level of despicability, he sends projections of himself out into the world to ruin the lives of more women who won’t deliver to him the affection to which he believes himself entitled. 

Dead Catherine may be, but her slighted ghost feels strongly the magnetism of revenge. The world is full of strange magic. Garbage wizards better watch out. 

one for my enemy by olivie blakeOne for My Enemy by Olivie Blake

This story of star-crossed love and Manhattan’s occult underworld is Romeo & Juliet done Olivie Blake-style. Those who have read The Atlas Series know that Blake doesn’t play when it comes to writing emotionally devastating arcs, and One for My Enemy is no exception. It’s the scions of shadow underlord Koschei the Deathless versus the daughters of potion maven Baba Yaga as heirs to two respective magical crime families. Doesn’t matter how supernatural you are though—love will turn the lives of you and everyone you know upside down, and strong feeling is a prerequisite for revenge. 

the traitor baru cormorant by seth dickinsonThe Traitor Baru Cormorant by Seth Dickinson

Baru wants revenge. She needs it, and her target: a colonial empire called the Masquerade. Educated in their schools and knowledgeable in their ways, Baru begins accumulating power but plays by their rules—for now. She becomes an accountant. Her goal is to hold the Masquerade accountable. 

Sometimes revenge is a numbers game. 

vicious by v. e. schwabVicious by V. E. Schwab

Victor and Eli start out as college roommates and that’s also where things go wrong. In their senior year, their shared passion leads them to research superpowers and the conditions under which a person might develop them. Of course, like many roommates in college, everything goes wrong and they despise each other. Victor’s been in prison for ten years now but is cooking an escape. Eli is at large in the world on a mission to exterminate everyone with superpowers. They both want vengeance. 

the archive undying by emma mieko candonThe Archive Undying by Emma Mieko Candon

This epic science fantasy about giant robots that eat people, tyrannical AI deities, and totalitarian police states follows a man named Sunai who cannot die. He was inferfacing with his AI god when it corrupted and now he’s immortal and upset about it. He’s been killed plenty of times though. It just hasn’t stuck. Sunai is fundamentally sad however, and unlikely to seek revenge against his many killers. Himself though? Yeah, he’ll take revenge on himself for every mistake he’s ever made. 

Pretty heavy, and the rest of this book is too. It’s also heart-achingly beautiful and there’s a robot composed of a chittering shifting coral carapace. 


The Frightening Fae of Fiction

The Frightening Fae of Fiction

Many of us are used to seeing fairies in a very specific light-beautiful, magical, and most importantly, benevolent. But not every fairy is quite so…nice. In the dark debut You Let Me In from Camilla Bruce, readers see the Fair Folk in a very different light. Check out our list of the most frightening fae in literature below!

Placeholder of  -58You Let Me In by Camilla Bruce

Cassandra Tipp is dead…or is she?

Cassandra Tipp has left behind no body—just her massive fortune, and one final manuscript. Then again, there are enough bodies in her past—her husband Tommy Tipp, whose mysterious disembowelment has never been solved, and a few years later, the shocking murder-suicide of her father and brother.

Cassandra Tipp will tell you a story—but it will come with a terrible price. What really happened, out there in the woods—and who has Cassie been protecting all along? Read on, if you dare…


Image Placeholder of - 96The Stolen: An American Faerie Tale by Bishop O’Connell

When her daughter Fiona is snatched from her bed, Caitlin’s entire world crumbles. Once certain that faeries were only a fantasy, Caitlin must now accept that these supernatural creatures do exist—and that they have traded in their ancient swords and horses for modern guns and sports cars. Hopelessly outmatched, she accepts help from a trio of unlikely heroes: Eddy, a psychiatrist and novice wizard; Brendan, an outcast Fian warrior; and Dante, a Magister of the fae’s Rogue Court. Moving from the busy streets of Boston’s suburbs to the shadowy land of Tír na nÓg, Caitlin and her allies will risk everything to save Fiona. But can this disparate quartet conquer their own inner demons and outwit the dark faeries before it’s too late?


Image Place holder  of - 84Daughter of the Forest by Juliet Marillier

Lovely Sorcha is the seventh child and only daughter of Lord Colum of Sevenwaters. Bereft of a mother, she is comforted by her six brothers who love and protect her. Sorcha is the light in their lives, they are determined that she know only contentment.

But Sorcha’s joy is shattered when her father is bewitched by his new wife, an evil enchantress who binds her brothers with a terrible spell, a spell which only Sorcha can lift–by staying silent. If she speaks before she completes the quest set to her by the Fair Folk and their queen, the Lady of the Forest, she will lose her brothers forever.


Poster Placeholder of - 75The Changeling by Victor LaValle

When Apollo Kagwa’s father disappeared, he left his son a box of books and strange recurring dreams. Now Apollo is a father himself—and as he and his wife, Emma, settle into their new lives as parents, exhaustion and anxiety start to take their toll. Apollo’s old dreams return and Emma begins acting odd. At first Emma seems to be exhibiting signs of postpartum depression. But before Apollo can do anything to help, Emma commits a horrific act and vanishes. Thus begins Apollo’s quest to find a wife and child who are nothing like he’d imagined. His odyssey takes him to a forgotten island, a graveyard full of secrets, a forest where immigrant legends still live, and finally back to a place he thought he had lost forever.


Place holder  of - 42Ironskin by Tina Connolly

Jane Eliot wears an iron mask. It’s the only way to contain the fey curse that scars her cheek. When a carefully worded listing appears for a governess to assist with a “delicate situation”—a child born during the Great War—Jane is certain the child is fey-cursed, and that she can help. Step by step Jane unlocks the secrets of a new life—and discovers just how far she will go to become whole again.


Never Contented Things by Sarah Porter

Bound by haunting tragedies, Ksenia Adderley and Joshua Korensky have shared a home as foster siblings since they were children. As teens, they’ve grown even closer. Some say unnaturally so. With Ksenia’s eighteenth birthday approaching, their guardians expect her to move out. They want to free Josh of his obsession with the foster-sister whom they regard as a strange, unhealthy influence. But they don’t understand the depths of Josh’s feelings for Ksenia and how desperate he is to ensure they stay together—forever.


New Releases: 9/12/17

Happy New Release Day! Here’s what went on sale today.

Iraq + 100 by Hassan Blasim

Poster Placeholder of - 91 In a calm and serene world, one has the luxury of imagining what the future might look like. Now try to imagine that future when your way of life has been devastated by forces beyond your control.

Iraq + 100 poses a question to Iraqi writers (those who still live in that nation, and those who have joined the worldwide diaspora): What might your home country look like in the year 2103, a century after a disastrous foreign invasion?

The Man in the Tree by Sage Walker

Placeholder of  -64 Humanity’s last hope of survival lies in space…but will a random death doom the venture?

Our planet is dying and the world’s remaining nations have pooled their resources to build a seed ship that will carry colonists on a multi-generational journey to a distant planet.

Everything is set for a bright adventure…and then someone is found hanging dead just weeks before the launch. Fear and paranoia spread as the death begins to look more and more like a murder.

When I Cast Your Shadow by Sarah Porter

Place holder  of - 90 A teenage girl calls her beloved older brother back from the grave, with disastrous consequences….

Haunted by her dead brother, unable to let him go, Ruby must figure out whether his nightly appearances in her dreams are the answer to her prayers—or a nightmare come true.


Everfair by Nisi Shawl

Image Placeholder of - 20 What if the African natives developed steam power ahead of their colonial oppressors? What might have come of Belgium’s disastrous colonization of the Congo if the native populations had learned about steam technology a bit earlier?

Fabian Socialists from Great Britain join forces with African-American missionaries to purchase land from the Belgian Congo’s “owner,” King Leopold II. This land, named Everfair, is set aside as a safe haven, an imaginary Utopia for native populations of the Congo as well as escaped slaves returning from America and other places where African natives were being mistreated.

Strikeout of the Bleacher Weenies by David Lubar

Image Place holder  of - 82 Welcome to the Weenie Zone! Here are thirty hilarious and harrowing stories that will scare you, make you laugh, or get you to see the world in a whole new way. Find out where the author got the idea for each story at the end of the book.


Thessaly by Jo Walton

The goddess Athena thought she was creating a utopia. Populate the island of Thera with extraordinary men, women, and children from throughout history, and watch as the mortals forge a harmonious society based on the tenets of Plato’s Republic.

Meanwhile, following his famous spurning by a nymph, Athena’s ever-curious brother Apollo has decided to live a mortal human life on the island, in an effort to gain a better understanding of humanity.

Vassa in the Night by Sarah Porter

When Vassa’s stepsister sends her out to buy lightbulbs in the middle of the night, she knows it could easily become a suicide mission. Babs Yagg, the owner of the local convenience store, has a policy of beheading shoplifters—and sometimes innocent shoppers as well.

But Vassa has a bit of luck hidden in her pocket, a gift from her dead mother. Erg is a tough-talking wooden doll with sticky fingers, a bottomless stomach, and ferocious cunning. With Erg’s help, Vassa just might be able to break the witch’s curse and free her Brooklyn neighborhood. But Babs won’t be playing fair…


Kase-San and Shortcake Story and art by Hiromi Takashima

Non Non Biyori Vol. 8 Story and art by Atto


On the Road: Tor/Forge Author Events in September

Tor/Forge authors are on the road in September! See who is coming to a city near you this month.

Spencer Ellsworth, Starfire: A Red Peace

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Friday, September 1
The Book Bin
Salem, OR
7:00 PM

Saturday, September 16
Village Books
Bellingham, WA
7:00 PM

Sarah Gailey, Taste of Marrow

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Saturday, September 9
Borderlands Café
San Francisco, CA
5:00 PM
Also with Seanan McGuire.

Max Gladstone, The Ruin of Angels

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Tuesday, September 5
Pandemonium Books and Games
Cambridge, MA
7:00 PM

Monday, September 11
Powell’s Books
Beaverton, OR
7:00 PM
In conversation with Fonda Lee.

Saturday, September 16
Borderlands Café
San Francisco, CA
3:00 PM

Monday, September 18
The Last Bookstore
Los Angeles, CA
7:30 PM

Thursday, September 21
Harvard Book Store
Cambridge, MA
7:00 PM

Matt Goldman, Gone to Dust

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Sunday, September 10
Poisoned Pen
Scottsdale, AZ
2:00 PM

Wednesday, September 13
Montgomery Public Library
Montgomery, MN
7:00 PM

Thursday, September 14
Once Upon a Crime
Minneapolis, MN
7:00 PM

Alan Gratz, Ban This Book

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Sunday, September 24
Asheville, NC
2:00 PM

Monday, September 25
The Book Stall
Winnetka, IL
4:30 PM

Tuesday, September 26
Anderson’s Bookshop
Downers Grove, IL
7:00 PM

Wednesday, September 27
Avid Bookshop
Athens, GA
4:00 PM

Thursday, September 28
Let’s Play Books
Emmaus, PA
3:30 PM

Friday, September 29
Hooray for Books
Alexandria, VA
6:30 PM

Saturday, September 30
Chapel Hill Library
Chapel Hill, NC
2:00 PM

Rachel Howzell Hall, City of Saviors

Sunday, September 10
Poisoned Pen
Scottsdale, AZ
2:00 PM

Nancy Kress, Tomorrow’s Kin

Thursday, September 14
Third Place Books – Ravenna
Seattle, WA
7:00 PM

Annalee Newitz, Autonomous

Wednesday, September 20
New York, NY
6:00 PM
In conversation with Rose Eveleth.

Thursday, September 21
Fountain Bookstore
Richmond, VA
6:30 PM

Friday, September 22
Flyleaf Books
Chapel Hill, NC
7:00 PM

Saturday, September 23
Bookfest St. Louis at The McPherson
St. Louis, MO
5:00 PM
Science Fiction Panel – also with Charlie Jane Anders, Mark Tiedemann, and Ann Leckie.

Sunday, September 24
Women and Children First
Chicago, IL
Also with Charlie Jane Anders.
4:00 PM

Thursday, September 28
Books Inc
Alameda, CA
7:00 PM

Saturday, September 30
Borderlands Café
San Francisco, CA
3:00 PM

Malka Older, Null States

Monday, September 18
Kinokuniya Bookstore
New York, NY
6:00 PM

Thursday, September 28
East City Bookshop
Washington, DC
6:30 PM

Sarah Porter, When I Cast Your Shadow

Thursday, September 14
The Astoria Bookshop
Astoria, NY

Linda Stasi, Book of Judas

Monday, September 18
7:00 PM
Also with Nelson DeMille

Thursday, September 28
Book Revue
Huntington, NY
7:00 PM

Sage Walker, The Man in the Tree

Saturday, September 16
Page One Bookstore
Albuquerque, NM
4:00 PM
Also with Jeffe Kennedy.


Tor Teen Back to School Sweepstakes

It’s August, and that means we’re in the final days of summer. It’s nearly time to head back to school, but hopefully there’s still a bit of time—time to get that last beach trip in, that last dip in the pool, or that last lazy afternoon with a book and a frosty lemonade. Whatever your ideal last days of summer consist of, we want to give you a pile of books to keep you company and to last you well into the new school year. Take a look at the titles we’re offering:

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Sign up for to receive our monthly Tor Teen newsletter to enter for your chance to win:

Birth Month:


Tor Teen Back to School Sweepstakes


  1. To Enter: Submit your entry by fully completing the sign-up form found at (the “Site”). Sweepstakes begins online at 12:30 AM Eastern Time (ET) on Monday, August 21, 2017 and ends at 11:59 PM ET on Friday, August 25, 2017. Your entry will sign you up to receive emailed news related to Tor Teen as well as enter you into the sweepstakes.

Limit one entry per person or household. The entry must be fully completed; mechanically reproduced; incomplete and/or illegible entries will not be accepted. In case of dispute with respect to online entries, entries will be declared made by the authorized account holder of the e-mail address submitted at the time of entry. “Authorized account holder” is defined as the natural person who is assigned to an e-mail address by an Internet Access Provider, on-line service provider, or other organization (e.g., business, educational institution, etc.) that is responsible for assigning e-mail addresses for the domain associated with the submitted e-mail address. Entries become property of Sponsor and will not be returned. Automated entries are prohibited, and any use of such automated devices will cause disqualification. Sponsor and its advertising and promotions agencies are not responsible for lost, late, illegible, misdirected or stolen entries or transmissions, or problems of any kind whether mechanical, human or electronic.

  1. Random Drawing: A random drawing will be held from all eligible, correctly completed entries received on a timely basis, on or about Monday, August 28, 2017, by Tom Doherty Associates, LLC, whose decisions concerning all matters related to this sweepstakes are final.
  2. Notice to Winners: Winner will be notified by e-mail. Winner may be required to sign and return an affidavit of eligibility and publicity/liability release within fifteen (15) days of notification attempt or prize may be awarded to alternate winner. Return of any prize notification as undeliverable will result in disqualification and alternate winner will be selected. If a winner is a minor in his/her jurisdiction of residence, prize will be awarded to minor’s parent or legal guardian, who must follow all prize claim procedures specified herein and sign and return all required documents.
  3. Prize: One (1) Grand Prize winner(s) will receive Flying by Carrie Jones, Enhanced by Carrie Jones, The Rains by Gregg Hurwitz, Last Chance by Gregg Hurwitz, Ferocious by Paula Stokes, Vicarious by Paula Stokes, Firebrand by A.J. Hartley, Steeplejack by A.J. Hartley, Roar by Cora Carmack, Vassa in the Night by Sarah Porter, When I Cast Your Shadow by Sarah Porter, Seeker by Veronica Rossi, Riders by Veronica Rossi, The Dark Intercept by Julia Keller. Approximate Retail Value (“ARV”) of the Prize: $231.86.

    Approximate retail value of all prizes: $231.86.

  1. Odds of winning depend upon the number of eligible entries received. If any prize is won by a minor, it will be awarded in the name of minor’s parent or legal guardian. Each entrant selected as a potential winner must comply with all terms and conditions set forth in these Official Rules, and winning is contingent upon fulfilling all such requirements. Sponsor makes no warranties with regard to the prize. Prize is not transferable. No substitutions of prize allowed by winner, but Sponsor reserves the right to substitute a prize of equal or greater value. Prize is not redeemable by winner for cash value. All taxes, fees and surcharges on prize are the sole responsibility of winner.
  2. Eligibility: Only open to residents of 50 United States and the District of Columbia, age 13 and older at the time of entry. Void in Puerto Rico and where otherwise prohibited by law. Employees, and members of their families, of Sponsor, its parent, subsidiaries, and affiliates are not eligible to enter. This promotion is intended for viewing in the United States only and shall only be construed and evaluated according to United States law. You are not authorized to participate in the sweepstakes if you are not located within the United States.
  3. General: Sponsor and its representatives are not responsible for technical, hardware, software or telephone malfunctions of any kind, lost or unavailable network connections, or failed, incorrect, incomplete, inaccurate, garbled or delayed electronic communications caused by the sender, or by any of the equipment or programming associated with or utilized in this sweepstakes which may limit the ability to play or participate, or by any human error which may occur in the processing of the entries in this sweepstakes. If for any reason, (including infection by computer virus, bugs, tampering, unauthorized intervention, fraud, technical failures, or any other cause beyond the control of Sponsor, which corrupts or affects the administration, security, fairness, integrity, or proper conduct of this sweepstakes), the Sweepstakes is not capable of being conducted as described in these rules, Sponsor shall have the right, at its sole discretion, to cancel, terminate, modify or suspend the sweepstakes. Limit one prize per person or household. By accepting prize, the winner grants to Sponsor the right to use his/her name, likeness, hometown, biographical information, in advertising and promotion, including on the Site, without further compensation or permission, except where prohibited by law. By participating in the sweepstakes, entrant and winner release Sponsor, its parent, subsidiaries, affiliates, subsidiaries, suppliers, and agents, from any and all liability for any loss, harm, damages, cost or expense, including without limitation property damages, personal injury and/or death, arising out of participation in this sweepstakes or the acceptance, use or misuse of the prize. Sponsor may prohibit an entrant from participating in the sweepstakes or winning a prize if, in its sole discretion, it determines that said entrant is attempting to undermine the legitimate operation of the Sweepstakes by cheating, hacking, deception, or other unfair playing practices (including the use of automated quick entry programs) or intending to annoy, abuse, threaten or harass any other entrants or Sponsor representatives. All legal responsibilities of a minor under these Official Rules will be assumed by the minor’s parent/legal guardian.


  1. Use of Data: Sponsor will be collecting personal data about entrants who enter online, in accordance with its privacy policy. Please review the Sponsor’s privacy policy at By participating in the sweepstakes, entrants hereby agree to Sponsor’s collection and usage of their personal information and acknowledge that they have read and accepted Sponsor’s privacy policy.
  2. Winner List: For winner information, available after Friday, August 25, 2017, send by Monday, August 28, 2017 a stamped, self-addressed envelope to Winner Information, Tor Teen Back to School Sweepstakes, c/o Tom Doherty Associates, LLC, 175 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10010.
  3. Sponsor:
    Tom Doherty Associates, LLC, 175 Fifth Avenue, New York NY 10010.


Behind the Bookshelf: Susan Chang

Poster Placeholder of - 72Have you ever wondered what the daily life of an editor truly looks like? Senior Editor Susan Chang shares a typical day in the office, working on books for our Tor Teen and Starscape imprints. Enjoy this look behind the bookshelves at Tor!

Thursday, July 6th
8:15 a.m.
This is a short week and I have a lot to get done before I leave for my next conference—Readercon in Quincy, Massachusetts—next Wednesday. So I get to my desk super early. I have two main goals for today: 1) prepare the acquisition paperwork for two projects I want to acquire and get it to Robert (administrative manager and assistant to Publisher Tom Doherty) this afternoon so that he can distribute the info to our acquisition committee; and 2) edit the second draft of a manuscript I received from the author about a month ago. I’m going to be seeing him at Readercon so I want to make sure I have some cogent notes for him by then.

First, breakfast. I devour my sandwich while browsing Gothamist. Oh good, no train derailments this week. For a change.

Placeholder of  -758:30 a.m.
Answer emails. I’m always trying to get to “in-box zero” but sadly, have forty-nine messages in my “Urgent To Do” in-box. I delegate some tasks to Zohra, our department’s assistant and marketing coordinator and to Becca, our summer intern; email back and forth with our art director about a cover sketch; accept a meeting invite from our marketing director; answer an author’s email asking about sales figures; and decline three manuscript submissions I read over the long weekend. I usually try to give agents some indication of what didn’t work for me—whether it’s the writing or the premise or whatever.

Place holder  of - 929:37 a.m.
I get to work on the second draft manuscript I’m editing. My usual process is to start by outlining the book (this is after I’ve already read through it once without making any notes). I write down the chapter number, the pages that the chapter covers, the number of pages in the chapter, and the main action or story points in the chapter. I do this so that I can get a sense of the structure and large, global issues such as pacing, momentum, characterization, etc. As thoughts, questions, solutions, and suggestions occur to me, I write those down as well. Outlining by hand helps things “percolate” in my brain and subconscious. Later I’ll type up my outline and notes, creating the basis of my editorial letter to the author.

10:47 a.m.
I’ve outlined about half the manuscript. Over the years, I’ve discovered that I’m most productive when I spend ninety minutes to two hours on any editorial task before shifting gears. I decide to finish the outline tomorrow. Time for a bathroom break. I love working in the Flatiron Building—except for the bathroom situation. There’s a women’s room (with two stalls) only on every other floor.

10:51 a.m.
I read and answer more emails. I see that our production manager has emailed me the production estimates that I asked him for yesterday, so now I can run P&Ls (profit and loss projections) for the two projects I’m hoping to acquire.

11:15 a.m.
I run the P&Ls by entering data into an Excel template that allows us to estimate the profitability of a potential acquisition. These data include things like: retail price; estimated first year sales; royalties; production costs for paper, printing, and binding, etc. One book easily meets our target contribution to overhead so I feel good about that one. The other doesn’t quite make it, but it’s very close. I’ll review the P&Ls with my boss, Kathleen Doherty, Publisher of the Children’s and Young Adult Division of Tor, after lunch.

11:43 a.m.
More emails. I skim through the industry newsletters I subscribe to, including Publishers Lunch and the PW Daily newsletter. On PW Daily I click on a link to an article about the author of the Voynich manuscript. I bookmark it to read when I have time. I’ve always been fascinated by the mystery of the Voynich manuscript. Hmmm…I wonder if there’s a book there? I start thinking about lunch.

11:55 a.m.
I email our art director asking him which covers will be ready to show at our Spring 2018 launch meeting next week. This is a key seasonal meeting at which editors present their titles to the marketing and sales departments, and it’s always a good thing to show covers.

Image Placeholder of - 2712:05 p.m.
I run across the street for a stereotypical sad desk salad.

12:20 p.m.
I eat lunch at my desk while looking at cute animal pictures on on Reddit’s r/aww board. Watch kitten Tupperware party gif. So adorable!!!

12:44 p.m.
Finish eating and do a few personal chores.

1:02 p.m.
Get back to my acquisition paperwork. I still have to review the P&Ls with my boss. Meanwhile, I put the finishing touches on my acquisition forms, which I started drafting last week. These are forms that editors use to present a compelling argument to the acquisition committee about why we should make an offer for a book.

This is where an editor translates their nebulous emotions and instincts about a book (OMG, I love love love this book!) into cold hard facts. Specifically: acquisition pitch (why do we need to publish this book); author information (who is the author and how can they help us sell this book); selling points (what are some sales handles we can use to sell this book); “comp” titles (what are some previously published books that we can compare this book to and how many copies did they sell)? Because that’s our goal: to sell books.

1:34 p.m.
One of my lovely authors, Sarah Porter, is here to drop off some artwork we’ll be raffling off to promote her latest YA novel, When I Cast Your Shadow. We chat before I take her downstairs to give the paintings to publicist Lauren Jackson, who is going to use them to pitch features at various online magazines.

2:21 p.m.
Soon after Sarah leaves, Lauren emails both of us the fantastic news that When I Cast Your Shadow has received its second starred review. Hooray! The pub date is not until September 12 but we’re starting to get reviews from trade journals such as Kirkus Reviews, School Library Journal, Booklist, Publishers Weekly. This gives librarians and booksellers time to place orders for the books. We’ve gotten two stars out of the three reviews we’ve seen so far. I run to Kathleen’s office to tell her the good news and also take the opportunity to show her the P&Ls for the two projects I’m hoping to acquire. She approves them for the meeting.

2:24 p.m.
Reread the starred review. (A few times.)

2:26 p.m.
Back to work on my acquisition paperwork.

Image Place holder  of - 652:49 p.m.
Done! I email the completed acquisition packets to Robert, who checks them over to make sure everything is there before forwarding the material to the committee (our publishers, associate publishers, and marketing director)—including the founder of Tor/Forge, all-around great man, Tom Doherty. The committee will review the material before the meeting on Monday afternoon. I’ll be asked to present to the group when it’s my turn. For now, I can run out and get coffee!

3:02 p.m.
Catch myself reading the starred review yet again. It’s such a good one! Yay! I email back and forth about it with Sarah and her agent. Will probably forego the coffee since it’s now after 3:00. My two big tasks for the day have mostly been accomplished, so I can veg out for a bit. Right?

image-322023:08 p.m.
Uh-oh. Remember that my go-to photographer, fellow editor Ali Fisher, isn’t here today and I wanted some pictures to illustrate this article. She’s the only person I trust to take a not-too-terrible picture of me. So I research how to take a selfie. Take one. Feel stupidly self-conscious. I think this may be my first ever selfie.

3:14 p.m.
Take another selfie. Ick. Delete it immediately. Back to work. Arrgh! Now I have forty-nine messages in my “Urgent To Do” in-box. But I will get to in-box zero one day! I manage to delete some emails, archive others, and figure out my priority tasks for tomorrow. Write them down in my bullet journal.

3:42 p.m.
Robert comes to tell me that I need to find another comp title for the middle grade project I hope to acquire; I only gave him one and they need two or three. Ugh. Fine. Back to the trenches. A viable comp title is one that has sold a realistic number of copies. Not too many. Not too few. I feel like Goldilocks.

4:03 p.m.
Finally find a good comp title and give it to Robert.

4:09 p.m.
More emails. Check to see if there are any “Urgent To Do” tasks I want to do enough so that I can do it and get the number down.

4:16 p.m.
Yes! Have managed to get the number down to forty-one. Time for a bathroom break.

4:26 p.m.
Decide to work on writing this newsletter piece until it’s time to go home. I’ve been typing this into a draft Gmail window intermittently throughout the day but will now go back and revise and edit. After my afternoon r/aww break.

4:33 p.m.

4:36 p.m.
GACK! Suddenly remember that I have to renew my passport so that I can go to Bouchercon (World Mystery Convention) in October. It’s in Toronto this year. Find online passport renewal form and start filling it out.

5:07 p.m.
Place completed passport application and required material into envelope, ready to mail out tomorrow.

5:10 p.m.
Time to call it a day. Shutting down.

image-322035:12 p.m.
Oops, more emails. Really shutting down…NOW.

I hope you’ve all enjoyed this little glimpse into A Day in the Life of an Editor. Thank you for reading!


$2.99 eBook Sale: Vassa in the Night

Vassa in the Night by Sarah PorterPick up the ebook edition of Vassa in the Night by Sarah Porter, on sale for only $2.99. This offer will only last for a limited time, so order your copy today!

About Vassa in the Night: Step into the enchanted kingdom of Brooklyn, where magic – and danger – lurks around every corner…

When Vassa’s stepsister sends her out to buy lightbulbs in the middle of the night, she knows it could easily become a suicide mission. Babs Yagg, the owner of the local convenience store, has a policy of beheading shoplifters—and sometimes innocent shoppers as well.

But Vassa has a bit of luck hidden in her pocket, a gift from her dead mother. Erg is a tough-talking wooden doll with sticky fingers, a bottomless stomach, and ferocious cunning. With Erg’s help, Vassa just might be able to break the witch’s curse and free her Brooklyn neighborhood. But Babs won’t be playing fair….

Order Your Copy

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Sneak Peek: When I Cast Your Shadow by Sarah Porter

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A teenage girl calls her beloved older brother back from the grave, with disastrous consequences….

Haunted by her dead brother, unable to let him go, Ruby must figure out whether his nightly appearances in her dreams are the answer to her prayers—or a nightmare come true.

He’s always been jealous of his dashing older brother. Now Everett must do everything he can to save his twin sister Ruby from his clutches.

Charming, handsome, and manipulative, Dash has run afoul of some very powerful forces in the Land of the Dead. His only bargaining chips are Ruby and Everett. At stake is the very survival of the Bohnacker family, bodies and souls….

When I Cast Your Shadow will become available September 12th. Please enjoy this excerpt.


There it is again: in the middle of the black river a pale arm sweeps up and then curves down with a splash. Someone is swimming out there and I know with all my heart who it must be. “Dashiell?” I say, but my voice clings in the nearby air. He doesn’t hear me.

I’ve been here before, I think. Only once or twice, and never for longer than it took to catch the first glimpse of his back, wandering far away from me along the shore. It’s always so dark here, the river so viscous and slow, its surface shoving in jellied wrinkles at the stones. But this time nothing happens to pull me away from this place and I see him again and again: the broad line of his shoulders parting the water, his face like a blurry moon.

“Dashiell!” I call. “It’s me, it’s your Ruby-Ru! Please come back.”

And thank God, he must hear me now, because he laughs—I’d know that laugh anywhere—and rolls onto his back. I can see the pale arch of his bare chest, his streaming arms. He’s still far away but the sound waves must have shifted somehow, because I can hear every tiny stir of his feet in the water.

“You shouldn’t be swimming out there, should you, Dash? That water doesn’t look healthy.” I know there’s something I have to explain to him, that it’s urgent, but I can’t think of the right way to put it. “Dash, I think you don’t understand? This is a really unusual opportunity for you. I mean, people don’t just get chances to come back to life? And if you keep taking so many risks, it might seem like you don’t appreciate it.”

The shape of his body shifts into an arrowhead; he’s traveling away from me. My throat thickens at the sight.

“If you want me to get a second chance, Ruby Slippers, then you’re going to have to come to me. Swim out here and we’ll discuss it.”

That water looks so sickening though somber and gluey. “No! Dash, please come back here. Please don’t do anything crazy. I don’t think you understand how much we’ve missed you. And now—you have this chance, and you won’t even listen to me!”

How can I find the words for what’s happening to him? Dashiell died, that much I’m sure of, and now by some wild, sweet, improbable fluke he can have one more try at being alive—if he’ll only care enough to take it. I don’t know how I know that, but the truth of it is diamond-hard and sharp inside my chest. Out of all the people in the world who’ve ever died and been mourned, of course Dashiell would be the one who gets such an incredible opportunity. But how do I make him take it seriously?

“It wasn’t fair, Dash. The way you died. It was a mistake and it wasn’t fair to anyone, and maybe that’s why—”

“Oh, pah, Ruby-Ru. You can’t still be such a child, can you, that you’d suppose fairness could come crawling into a place like this? Swim out to me, and I can explain things to you without shouting.”

No one is shouting. He’s so far in the distance that I can barely make out the disturbance of his rising arms, but we can hear each other perfectly. I can feel him smiling at me across the water, and I don’t know why I’m so afraid, why my heart tumbles featherlight inside me.

“Why can’t you come to me? You don’t know what it’s been like, Dash. Without you. It’s like—everything I thought was solid is hollowed out.”

Everyone in our family is afraid of everything; I can feel Dash thinking that. I can feel him thinking that I’m just like our father, a man who was always cowering away from his own son, looking at his brilliant face with hunted eyes. Because the fire that was in Dash could burn anything, everything. But that never frightened me, and I won’t let Dash think it scares me now.

“If you really want me back,” Dash says, “you’re going to have to prove it, Miss Slippers. Come get me.”

With Dashiell you always have to prove everything, again and again, and nothing you can do is ever enough. You can’t just tell him you love him, because he’ll smile and play with your hair and say how absurd you are for thinking that words could be enough to make it true. I look at the black swirls inches from my feet, frilled with light shining from no moon.

“If I swim out there, then do you promise you’ll come home with me?”

The water coils with anticipation; it could be the grease exuded from daydreams gone bad. I take a step forward and it sucks at my shoes.

“Oh, Ru-Ru, of course I do. Come for me now, and I’ll follow you back like a little lost lamb. If you’d only been paying attention, you’d know that I’ve always been truthful with you.”

I always paid attention to him; how can he not know that? Whenever I saw him I’d concentrate as hard as I could, trying to memorize the exact shapes the sunlight made on his face, every nuance of his voice, because I always knew that someday we might lose him for good. The water is up past my ankles now, and my shadow on its surface looks like a hole. Waiting to take me in.

“You won’t believe the view out here, Ru-Ru. It’s distance like you’ve never seen it before! That much black, that much emptiness. Ah, the night sky when I was alive was positively middling by comparison.”

Something skids beneath my foot and I stumble in, thigh-deep now. That water will ruin my dress but I’m not about to take it off, not when Dashiell might see me. Besides, I can’t imagine what could be hidden under that slick surface: things shimmying and almost alive.

“Ah, and here we go. I knew I could count on you, sweetest Ru. But you should consider how severely our father would forbid you from doing any such thing. He’d say you should leave me where I am, and good riddance. You wouldn’t want to do anything he’d disapprove of, would you, Ruby Slippers?”

“Dad misses you, too,” I say. “He just pretends not to. Dashiell, we all want you to come home, so much. And I’m—” I’m coming for you, because I have to. Because you won’t give me any other choice, but it’s cruel of you to make me do this. I can’t say that, though. The water is at my throat now and I stumble forward, flailing. I can hear Dashiell’s harsh laugh. I know I have to kick—I’m usually an okay swimmer, even if I don’t look like I should be—but at first I can’t get my feet up to the surface.

“I can see our Earth!” Dashiell calls. “Still very far away, but it appears to be flying closer at precipitous speed. Do you realize, Ru-Ru, that everything I’m seeing now is coming from you? Left to our own devices, the dead can’t envision for beans.”

I’ve got the best rhythm going that I can, though I have to tug my arms free of the water at every stroke. I can’t tell if I’ve just left the shore, or if I’ve been swimming for hours. “Dash? I can’t see you anymore. Where—”

“Not so much farther now, Ruby-Ru. You’re doing just fine.”

All I see are the dark folds and my own hands struggling against them. But Dash’s voice still rings in both my ears; he could be inches away to either side, or right behind me.

“Dash? Wherever I go I keep thinking I’m about to see you, or that I’ve just missed you somehow. Like, that you got off the train one second before I got on, and I missed you in the crowd? Because it was so, so wrong what happened to you. You were going to be okay. You were clean.”

“Ah, but technically I’m much cleaner since I’ve been dead, Ru-Ru. There’s no clean like sloughing off your body completely, is there? If you bring me back now, I’ll be sullied again by the whole sticky mess of carnality, blood and guts and hunger and desire. If clean is what you want for me, you might reconsider. Death works better for that than shampoo.”

“But don’t you miss us?” I can’t tell if I’m moving forward anymore. I could be twisting in place, surrounded by night-colored walls. God, I’m going to sink before I find him. “Don’t you miss me?

Then I smack into something warm and slippery. Bare skin. I flush and try to jerk away, but Dashiell is there, his wavy strawberry-gold hair bright against the dimness. He’s gripping me hard by my wrists and smiling. And he’s completely naked.

“Poor little Ruby-Ru,” Dashiell lilts. His face is silvery-gold, as gorgeous as ever, but with something sickly in the way it shines. “You’ve been so brave, but you don’t grasp the consequences of your actions, do you? I’m sorry for what you’ll have to go through, now. I don’t suppose there’s anything I can say that will make this easier for you.”

And then I’m jolted out of myself, and I watch while Dashiell slides his hands to my shoulders. I watch while he shoves my head under the surface. The thrust catches me in the middle of an inhalation and water floods my throat before I know what’s happening. I feel the cold pouring into my lungs, and at the same time I observe it all from a distance: a dumpy sixteen-year-old girl kicking desperately below me.

I’m not really struggling that hard, though, and as I watch myself I know why: I don’t want to hurt him. Not my adored brother, not when he’s finally been returned to me. Not when he’s been through so much pain already.

“Ruby Slippers,” Dashiell muses while he drowns me. “She slipped under the rug, she disappeared from view. Oh, where have you gone, Ruby-Ru, Ruby-Ru?”

My dark blond hair boils on the surface. I can see my own fingers starting to go limp, wet white commas drifting on the black sea.

“Dashiell,” I say. “Dashiell, I love you so much! How could you do this to me?”

I don’t know if he’ll hear me. I don’t know if I have a voice anymore, or a face, or a heart. The girl I was is bobbing below the surface. Dashiell jiggles me up and down experimentally, checking to make sure I’m dead.

“How could I do this? Ah, Ru, what kind of a question is that?” Dashiell tips his head and smiles, thinking it over. “I did it because there’s no place like home.”

I’m awake, I’m awake, and those are not horrible black waves sticking to me but my drenched sheets. I’m awake and breath is heaving into my lungs. This is my pretty robin’s-egg blue bedroom in our pretty brownstone on Carroll Street, and Dashiell was buried almost two months ago, and even if I dream about him every single night it doesn’t change the fact that I stood on the sweating September grass and dropped dirt on his coffin while my knees buckled.

This dream felt different, though, and not only because it was so terrible. It was somehow much deeper than my usual nightmare: the recurring one where Dashiell sits on my bed holding a syringe, and I know that if he shoots up again he’ll die. In that dream I always know that we’re getting a miraculous chance to change what happened, because the way he died was just too stupid and senseless and he was way too young and talented and amazing. Then he smiles at me and shoves the syringe into his arm while I beg, Not this time, Dash, not again.

I’ve been waking up every morning gasping and sobbing, my hands thrashing at the air as I try to grab him, stop him, before it’s too late.

That nightmare is bad enough, but this was so much worse.

Because it felt like I had dreamed my way into a more powerful part of my mind. Because during the dream I completely believed it was real, and bringing Dash back to life was an actual possibility, and now I’m shivering from the memory of how an idea so absolutely insane felt so true. Because, no matter how bad my dreams get, Dashiell’s never murdered me in one of them before. And because I’m sick with myself: it’s awful of me, disloyal, to even dream about Dashiell doing anything so cruel.

I’m still clutching my blankets, trying to forget the sensation of those gummy waves closing around my head, so I don’t notice right away that my door is open.

Everett is standing there watching me. My twin. Darker hair and a big sloppy mouth instead of my small one, but basically the same degree of podgy, unattractive, and socially hopeless. We were IVF babies, meaning our parents really wanted one of us—they paid a whole heap of money to get one of us—but then after three years of doctors and hormone shots it turned out to be a twofer and they were stuck with more than they’d planned on. Considering that their first child six years earlier was Dashiell, so beautiful and enchanting from the moment he was born, it’s impossible to imagine that we didn’t come as a disappointment.

The strain proved to be too much for their marriage, though they were never tactless enough to tell us so in so many words. But one time when she was visiting New York I overheard our mother tell our dad that she’d felt stifled by living with him, or maybe with us. She even told me to my face once that we’d clarified her feelings for her, and helped her realize what she really wanted out of life, and somehow she expected me not to recognize what that meant: Not you, Ruby. Not you and your brother.

Or maybe she knew I’d get it, and she didn’t care that much. She’s one of those people who treats just being honest as an excuse for being hurtful.

Now she contrives to be so very far away, and having such a fabulous life, that no one could reasonably expect her to remember we exist. And she usually doesn’t.

“I heard you scream,” Everett says. “It was Dash again?”

“Dash,” I say. “Yeah. But it’s getting worse, Ever.”

“Every night? And I still haven’t dreamed about him once? It’s like he doesn’t even care about seeing me again. He only wants to talk to you.”

Suddenly I know I can’t tell Everett what Dashiell did to me. Maybe I know now that what happened wasn’t connected to reality, but what if Ever blames Dash anyway? “You don’t want these dreams. They’re horrible.”

“I do want them, though. I mean, I want something. Because—I know it’s not rational—but every night? Don’t you start to wonder sometimes if that’s really him? Like, if he’s trying to get a message to you?”

“Ever, these are dreams. As in, they are not real. As in, I’m talking to something in my head, but it is not actually Dashiell. I think it’s important for us to be clear about that?” I stare at him. “I can’t believe you’re making me say this.”

“Do you believe that?” Everett asks. “I mean, believe it for real? You’re not just trying to talk yourself into it?”

“I have to believe it! Ever, don’t—thinking like this will make us both go crazy!”

If I let myself believe in Dash’s dream-visit, if I imagine that his spirit truly came to me last night, then I would also have to believe in my own dream-murder. That’s a line I can’t cross. The real Dashiell wasn’t an easy person to deal with, and I’m not pretending he was, but he wouldn’t have done that.

Everybody else has always been way too ready to believe the worst about Dash, so that means it’s up to me to remember him the way he really was. To fight for his memory.

He seemed like he loved me, at least a little. Like, in direct proportion to how lovable I actually am. It wasn’t his fault that he got all the looks and glamour and charisma, so there was hardly any left over for Ever and me. It wasn’t Dashiell’s fault that he was the one who everybody wanted either to be or to sleep with. So since he was just inherently way more lovable than I am, it was natural that I loved him more than he was ever going to love me back. I didn’t have any problem with that then, and I don’t now.

It made sense. Everything made sense except the part where he OD’d six months after he kicked heroin.

Everett is still watching me. “It was just a dream, Ever,” I say again, and my voice comes out rough. “You’re supposed to be so realistic, remember? Superstitious stuff like this is totally beneath you. You are the last person who should start believing in ghosts. Right?”

“Fine,” he says, and turns his back on me. “At least I don’t read my stupid horoscope.” I get up and shut the door, just a little too hard.

I’m still mad at Everett for saying those things, actually, especially since he’s made it his job to be skeptical and detached all the time. So why did he have to let me down and start believing in something so utterly berserk—our dead brother coming to me in a dream, seriously?—and right at the moment when I have to pour all my strength into convincing myself there’s no way it could be true?

Dash wouldn’t hurt me. Not on purpose. Not like that. It’s a ridiculous idea.

When I’m showered and dressed, I pull on the cherry-red, patent leather Doc Martens Dashiell bought me the last time I saw him, just three days before he died. Ruby slippers for you, my sweet Ruby-Ru.

And I do it to remind myself of just how wonderful he really was.

Copyright © 2017 by Sarah Porter

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New Releases: 9/20/16

Here’s what went on sale today!

Deadlands: Thunder Moon Rising by Jeffrey Mariotte

Deadlands: Thunder Moon Rising by Jeffrey MariotteFear is abroad in the Deadlands as a string of brutal killings and cattle mutilations trouble a frontier town in the Arizona Territory, nestled in the forbidding shadow of the rugged Thunder Mountains. A mule train is massacred, homes and ranches are attacked, and men and women are stalked and butchered by bestial killers who seem to be neither human nor animal, meanwhile a ruthless land baron tries to buy up all the surrounding territory-and possibly bring about an apocalypse.

Death’s End by Cixin Liu

Death’s End by Cixin LiuWith The Three-Body Problem, English-speaking readers got their first chance to experience the multiple-award-winning and bestselling Three-Body Trilogy by China’s most beloved science fiction author, Cixin Liu. Three-Body was released to great acclaim including coverage in The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal. It was also named a finalist for the Nebula Award, making it the first translated novel to be nominated for a major SF award since Italo Calvino’s Invisible Cities in 1976. Now this epic trilogy concludes with Death’s End.

The Family Plot by Cherie Priest

The Family Plot by Cherie PriestChuck Dutton built Music City Salvage with patience and expertise, stripping historic properties and reselling their bones. Inventory is running low, so he’s thrilled when Augusta Withrow appears in his office offering salvage rights to her entire property. This could be a gold mine, so he assigns his daughter Dahlia to personally oversee the project.

The crew finds a handful of surprises right away. Firstly, the place is in unexpectedly good shape. And then there’s the cemetery, about thirty fallen and overgrown graves dating to the early 1900s, Augusta insists that the cemetery is just a fake, a Halloween prank, so the city gives the go-ahead, the bulldozer revs up, and it turns up human remains. Augusta says she doesn’t know whose body it is or how many others might be present and refuses to answer any more questions. Then she stops answering the phone.

Metaltown by Kristen Simmons

Metaltown by Kristen SimmonsThe rules of Metaltown are simple: Work hard, keep your head down, and watch your back. You look out for number one, and no one knows that better than Ty. She’s been surviving on the factory line as long as she can remember. But now Ty has Colin. She’s no longer alone; it’s the two of them against the world. That’s something even a town this brutal can’t take away from her. Until it does.

Lena’s future depends on her family’s factory, a beast that demands a ruthless master, and Lena is prepared to be as ruthless as it takes if it means finally proving herself to her father. But when a chance encounter with Colin, a dreamer despite his circumstances, exposes Lena to the consequences of her actions, she’ll risk everything to do what’s right.

Red Tide by Marc Turner

Red Tide by Marc TurnerThe Augerans are coming. And their ships are sailing in on a red tide.

The Rubyholt Isles are a shattered nation of pirate-infested islands and treacherous waterways shielding the seaboards of Erin Elal and the Sabian League, a region even dragons fear to trespass.

The Augerans beseech the Warlord of the Isles, seeking passage for their invasion fleet through Rubyholt territory. But they are sailing into troubled waters. Their enemies have sent agents to sabotage the negotiations, and to destroy the Augeran fleet by any means necessary.

Vassa in the Night by Sarah Porter

Vassa in the Night by Sarah PorterIn the enchanted kingdom of Brooklyn, the fashionable people put on cute shoes, go to parties in warehouses, drink on rooftops at sunset, and tell themselves they’ve arrived. A whole lot of Brooklyn is like that now—but not Vassa’s working-class neighborhood.

In Vassa’s neighborhood, where she lives with her stepmother and bickering stepsisters, one might stumble onto magic, but stumbling out again could become an issue. Babs Yagg, the owner of the local convenience store, has a policy of beheading shoplifters—and sometimes innocent shoppers as well. So when Vassa’s stepsister sends her out for light bulbs in the middle of night, she knows it could easily become a suicide mission.


The Warren by Brian Evenson

The Warren by Brian EvensonX doesn’t have a name. He thought he had one—or many—but that might be the result of the failing memories of the personalities imprinted within him. Or maybe he really is called X.

He’s also not as human as he believes himself to be.

But when he discovers the existence of another—above ground, outside the protection of the Warren—X must learn what it means to be human, or face the destruction of their two species.


Nightwise by R. S. Belcher

Nightwise by R. S. BelcherR.S. Belcher, the acclaimed author of The Six-Gun Tarot and The Shotgun Arcana launches a gritty new urban fantasy series set in today’s seedy occult underworld in Nightwise.

In the more shadowy corners of the world, frequented by angels and demons and everything in-between, Laytham Ballard is a legend. It’s said he raised the dead at the age of ten, stole the Philosopher’s Stone in Vegas back in 1999, and survived the bloodsucking kiss of the Mosquito Queen. Wise in the hidden ways of the night, he’s also a cynical bastard who stopped thinking of himself as the good guy a long time ago.

Vienna by William S. Kirby

Vienna by William S. KirbyJustine is an A-list fashion model on a photo shoot in Europe. Adored by half the world, she can have whomever she wants, but she’s never met anyone like the strange English girl whose bed she wakes up in one morning.

Vienna is an autistic savant, adrift in a world of overwhelming patterns and connections only she can see. Socially awkward and inexperienced, she’s never been with anyone before, let alone a glamorous supermodel enmeshed in a web of secrets and intrigue.


Arpeggio of Blue Steel Vol. 8 by Ark Performance

NTR: Netsuzou Trap Vol. 1 by Kodama Naoko

Tomodachi x Monster Vol. 3 by Yoshihiko Inui


What Is a Changeling, Really?

Vassa in the Night by Sarah PorterAnd now, a few unsettling words from Sarah Porter, the author of Vassa in the Night.

The baby wakes everyone with an ungodly yowl in the depths of the night. Its head looks distended, its eyes bulbous and glowering. Surely it didn’t appear so grotesque when you sang it to sleep? And that cry: it hardly sounds human at all.

Conversely, the baby is so silent that you rush to its side, terrified that it might have died while you dreamed. It gawps at you with an expression morose and wooden. Its tiny limbs feel dry, airy, and rotten. But those eyes, bulging, pale, at once vacant and horribly knowing: they never leave your face, not while you change its diaper and tuck it in again, not while you croon at it, Sleep tight, my poppet, all is peaceful, all is well, and back out of the nursery. You can barely force yourself to switch off the light.

Feed it, and it will suck so ravenously that you will thrust it away in sudden dread, sure that it means to drain your blood once it has finished your milk.

What is this thing that lies in your cradle? Is it truly your own sweet child?

Anyone familiar with the ways of the world will tell you, Why, no. Your child has been stolen by the faeries. They have left you this hideous effigy in its place.

The folklorist Charles G. Leland wrote that the faeries who steal children are personified fevers, the spirits of pox and typhus and cholera that snatched so many infants in the days before antibiotics. There are other connections between faeries and the land of the dead: one is the well-known rule that eating anything in either Faerie or Hades will trap you there forever. Catherynne Valente called the law permitting human-stealing “the Persephone clause” in her Fairyland books. And the medieval English poem Sir Orfeo, a retelling of the myth of Orpheus and Eurydice, makes the association even more explicit. In it, the harpist has to rescue his wife not from the underworld but from the faerie king, who holds his court in the midst of a field of butchered, but still living, bodies: people wrongly believed to be dead when they were actually transported to his realm.

Take another look, then, at that monstrous, babyish lump staring at you with such resentment. Are you sure it’s even there? Are you sure you aren’t remembering your lost child, however imperfectly; that your longing has not made this projected memory appear as something solid and alive? The changeling’s distorted features are a bit too much like the warped and uncertain faces that those we love wear in dreams: He didn’t look anything like you, but I knew it was you anyway. And could anything living, truly living and present in the room with you, be quite so hungry? Only ghosts, monsters, or memories consume so much of us.

One traditional way to get rid of a changeling is to subject it to sadistic abuse. In theory, its otherworldly parents will be so appalled that they will remove it from your custody, and return your rightful child. I wouldn’t count on it, personally.

The other method is to make the changeling laugh. Brew coffee in an eggshell, say; the creature will betray its real nature by cackling in surprise, and once exposed, protocol demands that it go.

That’s what the stories say. In practice, your changeling might stay right where it is, and keep on laughing at you. The one you mourn was taken, like Eurydice was taken, and like her will not be returning. What laughs in the cradle is your own swollen, relentless, and insatiable grief; that is what the faeries leave behind.

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