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Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Behind the Mask

Behind the Mask
by Kelly Link, Carrie Vaughn, Seanan McGuire, Cat Rambo, Lavie Tidhar and others



Behind the Mask is a multi-author collection with stories by award-winning authors Kelly Link, Cat Rambo, Carrie Vaughn, Seanan McGuire, Lavie Tidhar, Sarah Pinsker, Keith Rosson, Kate Marshall, Chris Large and others. It is partially, a prose nod to the comic world—the bombast, the larger-than-life, the save-the-worlds and the calls-to-adventure. But it’s also a spotlight on the more intimate side of the genre. The hopes and dreams of our cape-clad heroes. The regrets and longings of our cowled villains. That poignant, solitary view of the world that can only be experienced from behind the mask.



Behind the Mask is a multi-author collection with stories by award-winning authors Kelly Link, Cat Rambo, Carrie Vaughn, Seanan McGuire, Lavie Tidhar, Sarah Pinsker, Keith Rosson, Kate Marshall, Chris Large and others. It is partially, a prose nod to the comic world—the bombast, the larger-than-life, the save-the-worlds and the calls-to-adventure. But it’s also a spotlight on the more intimate side of the genre. The hopes and dreams of our cape-clad heroes. The regrets and longings of our cowled villains. That poignant, solitary view of the world that can only be experienced from behind the mask.


EXCERPT from “As I Fall Asleep” by Aimee Odgen

Seventy-eight. Seventy-nine. Eighty—

Cerebrelle came back to herself all at once.

It took her a moment to remember where she was. Shattered glassware and smashed computer parts: a laboratory. Poison Dart's lair? Yes. She remembered the mission now, locked onto the situation at hand before it could slip away again. She ran a quick self-assessment before moving on. Damage? Yes. Her wrist had been badly wrenched. Her vision telescoped inward, and she could see millions of red blood cells flooding into the injured region. No fractured bones, no ligaments stretched or torn.

She let her awareness expand back out to her whole body and flexed the injured wrist once—nothing serious. She looked left, then right, and her eyes fell on the perpetrator of her injuries. She flinched.

Badger Girl's broken body lay across a cracked black laboratory bench to Cerebrelle's left. Cerebrelle closed her eyes and turned away from the too-still face. Should she even think of her as Badger Girl anymore? She doubted the Protectors let you keep your call sign once you took to defending the secret lair of the Coalition's favorite mad scientist. Besides, Badger Girl hadn't even suited up in her black-and-red uniform. She was dressed civilian-style in a denim jacket and t-shirt; only her motorcycle boots would have passed super-heroic muster. Cerebrelle's sidekick—gone rogue.

Cerebrelle squared her shoulders and turned back to Badger Girl. There would be time to deal with the fallout of her sidekick's betrayal later. But for now, she had work to do, and she had to do it fast. Badger Girl had always been more than a physical match for Cerebrelle. Of course, a solid punch wasn't everything—you had to know where it was going to strike, too—but it still meant Cerebrelle had a limited timeframe to work. She pulled Badger Girl down from the bench, leaving a smear of red on the broken computer screen where the younger woman's head had been resting. She'd seen a lot of Badger Girl's blood over the years, but this time, she turned her eyes downward to avoid it.

Cerebrelle grimaced as she cinched Badger Girl's hands behind her back with a frayed length of electrical cord and knotted it twice for good measure. As she twisted the cord tight, she could feel the rough edges of broken bones grinding together. She pulled back, but too late: she was spiraling down the black hole of Badger Girl's injuries. Her mind contracted down to count leukocytes and chase platelets through capillary beds, then just as suddenly it was rocketing outwards, assigning numbers to stars never before seen from Earth, let alone from deep underground in Poison Dart's hideout. She triangulated distances, chased the highest prime number. –Three hundred and twenty, three hundred and twenty-one, three hundred and twenty-two—She counted the hairs on Craig's head . . .

Craig? Who the hell was Craig?

No time to worry about that now. Cerebrelle rubbed her eyes and dark sparks flew behind her eyelids. Badger Girl would heal; that was what Badger Girl did, after all. And Cerebrelle had work to do. Her gifts were mental, not physical. But it didn't take a powerhouse like Badger Girl or Red Comet to wreak havoc on some helpless technology.

Helpless only until Poison Dart's henchmen showed up, though. Cerebrelle glanced over her shoulder and took in the three access points to the room: door, upper right. Door, lower right. Ceiling duct. Imaginary laser fire trajectories arced through her mind, weaving a perfect spider web . . . or a complex manifold. She blinked and the web folded in on itself, resolving into a Klein bottle.

No. Not now. She lifted a boot and brought it down hard onto an exposed hard drive. Plastic shrieked, wires ripped, the plastic carnations decorating the adjacent desk flew through the air, and suddenly Cerebrelle was translating the complete works of Neruda into Farsi.

—I love you without knowing how, or when, or from where. A thousand and twelve, a thousand and thirteen, a thousand and fourteen—

Wires frayed into a tangle of neurons. Glassware shattered into elaborate constellations. Cerebrelle panted as she stared at her dark, fragmented reflection in the remains of a busted flat screen and tried not to let her heart beat in time with the nearest pulsar star, tried not to count the sodium ions scurrying between action potentials in her brain. Her mask was crooked. She pushed it back into place with a shaking hand. Bring it back. Close it all out. There's a job to do. Four thousand three hundred and two. Four thousand three hundred and three—


AUTHOR Bio and Links:

Featured author bio:

Aimee Ogden is a former biologist, science teacher, and software tester. Now she writes stories about sad astronauts and angry princesses. Her poems and short stories have appeared in Asimov's, Fantasy & Science Fiction, Daily Science Fiction,, Persistent Visions, and The Sockdolager.


1.Did you always want to be an author?

I've wanted to be an author for as long as I remember; I even still have bits of the epic fantasy I wrote in high school still saved on my hard drive. It's fun to be able to go back and see how much my work has changed and grown since then (as it should--thirteen years is a long time to practice!)

2.Tell us about the publication of your first story.

My first short story publication was in the wonderful Sockdolager--a science fiction story about an astronaut striving for more than what's offered by the oppressive society she lives in. I've been lucky enough to sell to them twice more since then and I hope lightning strikes a fourth time someday too.

3.Besides yourself, who is your favorite author in the genre in which you write?

Do I have to pick just one?! In short fiction I love the work of Arkady Martine and Cassandra Khaw, who both do things with language that simply blows me away. Novel-wise there's N.K. Jemisin, Seth J. Dickinson, Catherynne Valente, and Robert Bennett are writing the kinds of stories that I visit in my head over and over again long after I've left the page.

4.What's the best part of being an author? The worse?

The best part of being an author is definitely hearing that your work meant something to someone else. Knowing that the weird things that take shape in your head make sense outside of it too--that's such an incredible feeling.

The worst thing is definitely the uncertainty: of having stories out on submission, of whether an accepted story will be well received, of what's going to happen today when you sit down at the keyboard and start typing.

5.What projects are you working on now?

Too many projects! I'm waiting on reader feedback on my first novella, a polyamorous space opera based (very) loosely on Much Ado About Nothing, and outlining another novella that's a secondary world fantasy. There's also a languishing novel draft to get back to and a thousand short story ideas clamoring for attention...

All other author bios:

Kelly Link is the author of four short story collections: Get in Trouble, a finalist for the 2016 Pulitzer Prize in Fiction, Pretty Monsters, Magic for Beginners, and Stranger Things Happen. She lives with her husband and daughter in Northampton, Massachusetts.

Seanan McGuire lives and writes in the Pacific Northwest, in a large, creaky house with a questionable past.  She shares her home with two enormous blue cats, a querulous calico, the world’s most hostile iguana, and an assortment of other oddities, including more horror movies than any one person has any business owning.  It is her life goal to write for the X-Men, and she gets a little closer every day.

Seanan is the author of the October Daye and InCryptid urban fantasy series, both from DAW Books, and the Newsflesh and Parasitology trilogies, both from Orbit (published under the name “Mira Grant”).  She writes a distressing amount of short fiction, and has released three collections set in her superhero universe, starring Velma “Velveteen” Martinez and her allies.  Seanan usually needs a nap.  Keep up with her at, or on Twitter at @seananmcguire.

Carrie Vaughn is best known for her New York Times bestselling series of novels about a werewolf named Kitty, who hosts a talk radio show for the supernaturally disadvantaged, the fourteenth installment of which is Kitty Saves the World.  She's written several other contemporary fantasy and young adult novels, as well as upwards of 80 short stories.  She's a contributor to the Wild Cards series of shared world superhero books edited by George R.
R. Martin and a graduate of the Odyssey Fantasy Writing Workshop.  An Air Force brat, she survived her nomadic childhood and managed to put down roots in Boulder, Colorado.  Visit her at

Cat Rambo lives, writes, and teaches atop a hill in the Pacific Northwest. Her 200+ fiction publications include stories in Asimov’s, Clarkesworld Magazine, and The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction. She is an Endeavour, Nebula, and World Fantasy Award nominee. Her second novel, Hearts of Tabat, appears in early 2017 from Wordfire Press. She is the current President of the Fantasy and Science Fiction Writers of America. For more about her, as well as links to her fiction, see

Lavie Tidhar is the author of the Jerwood Fiction Uncovered Prize winning and Premio Roma nominee A Man Lies Dreaming (2014), the World Fantasy Award winning Osama (2011) and of the critically-acclaimed The Violent Century (2013). His latest novel is Central Station (2016). He is the author of many other novels, novellas and short stories

Kate Marshall lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband and several small agents of chaos disguised as a dog, cat, and child. She works as a cover designer and video game writer. Her fiction has appeared in Beneath Ceaseless Skies, Crossed Genres, and other venues, and her YA survival thriller I Am Still Alive is forthcoming from Viking. You can find her online at

Chris Large writes regularly for Aurealis Magazine and has had fiction published in Australian speculative fiction magazines and anthologies. He's a single parent who enjoys writing stories for middle-graders and young adults, and about family life in all its forms. He lives in Tasmania, a small island at the bottom of Australia, where everyone rides Kangaroos and says 'G'day mate!' to utter strangers.

Stuart Suffel's body of work includes stories published by Jurassic London, Evil Girlfriend Media, Enchanted Conversation: A Fairy Tale Magazine, Kraxon Magazine, and Aurora Wolf among others.  He exists in Ireland, lives in the Twilight Zone, and will work for Chocolate Sambuca Ice cream. Twitter: @suffelstuart

Michael Milne is a writer and teacher originally from Canada, who lived in Korea and China, and is now in Switzerland. Not being from anywhere anymore really helps when writing science fiction. His work has been published in The Sockdolager, Imminent Quarterly, and anthologies on Meerkat Press and Gray Whisper.

Adam R. Shannon is a career firefighter/paramedic, as well as a fiction writer, hiker, and cook. His work has been shortlisted for an Aeon award and appeared in Morpheus Tales and the SFFWorld anthology You Are Here: Tales of Cryptographic Wonders. He and his wife live in Virginia, where they care for an affable German Shepherd, occasional foster dogs, a free-range toad, and a colony of snails who live in an old apothecary jar. His website and blog are at

Jennifer Pullen received her doctorate from Ohio University and her MFA from Eastern Washington University. She originally hails from Washington State. Her fiction and poetry have appeared or are upcoming in journals including: Going Down Swinging (AU), Cleaver, Off the Coast, Phantom Drift Limited, and Clockhouse

Stephanie Lai is a Chinese-Australian writer and occasional translator. She has published long meandering thinkpieces in Peril Magazine, the Toast, the Lifted Brow and Overland. Of recent, her short fiction has appeared in the Review of Australian Fiction, Cranky Ladies of History, and the In Your Face Anthology. Despite loathing time travel, her defence of Dr Who companion Perpugilliam Brown can be found in Companion Piece (2015). She is an amateur infrastructure nerd and a professional climate change adaptation educator (she's helping you survive our oncoming climate change dystopia). You can find her on twitter @yiduiqie, at, or talking about pop culture and drop bears at

Nathan Crowder is a Seattle-based fan of little known musicians, unpopular candy, and just happens to write fantasy, horror, and superheroes. His other works include the fantasy novel Ink Calls to Ink, short fiction in anthologies such as Selfies from the End of the World, and Cthulhurotica, and his numerous Cobalt City superhero stories and novels. He is still processing the death of David Bowie.

Sarah Pinsker is the author of the 2015 Nebula Award winning novelette "Our Lady of the Open Road." Her novelette "In Joy, Knowing the Abyss Behind" was the 2014 Sturgeon Award winner and a 2013 Nebula finalist. Her fiction has been published in magazines including Asimov's, Strange Horizons, Lightspeed, Fantasy & Science Fiction, and Uncanny, among others, and numerous anthologies. Her stories have been translated into Chinese, French, Spanish, Italian, and Galician. She is also a singer/songwriter with three albums on various independent labels and a fourth forthcoming. She lives in Baltimore, Maryland with her wife and dog. She can be found online at and

Keith Frady writes weird short stories in a cluttered apartment in Atlanta. His work has appeared in Love Hurts: A Speculative Fiction Anthology, Literally Stories, The Yellow Chair Review, and The Breakroom Stories.

Ziggy Schutz is a young queer writer living on the west coast of Canada. She's been a fan of superheroes almost as long as she's been writing, so she's very excited this is the form her first published work took. When not writing, she can often be found stage managing local musicals and mouthing the words to all the songs. Ziggy can be found at @ziggytschutz, where she's probably ranting about representation in fiction.

Matt Mikalatos is the author of four novels, the most recent of which is Capeville: Death of the Black Vulture, a YA superhero novel. You can connect with him online at or

Patrick Flanagan - For security reasons, Patrick Flanagan writes from one of several undisclosed locations; either—
1) A Top Secret-classified government laboratory which studies genetic aberrations and unexplained phenomena;
2) A sophisticated compound hidden in plain sight behind an electromagnetic cloaking shield;
3) A decaying Victorian mansion, long plagued by reports of terrifying paranormal activity; or
4) The subterranean ruins of a once-proud empire which ruled the Earth before recorded history, and whose inbred descendants linger on in clans of cannibalistic rabble
—all of which are conveniently accessible from exits 106 or 108 of the Garden State Parkway. Our intelligence reports that his paranoid ravings have been previously documented by Grand Mal Press, Evil Jester Press, and Sam's Dot Publishing. In our assessment he should be taken seriously, but not literally. (Note: Do NOT make any sudden movements within a 50' radius.)

Keith Rosson is the author of the novels THE MERCY OF THE TIDE (2017, Meerkat) and SMOKE CITY (2018, Meerkat). His short fiction has appeared in Cream City Review, PANK, Redivider, December, and more. An advocate of both public libraries and non-ironic adulation of the cassette tape, he can be found at



NOTE: THE PUBLISHER IS OFFERING A SPECIAL CONTEST – ONE COPY OF THE BOOK (CHOICE OF Epub or Mobi) WILL BE GIVEN AWAY TO A RANDOMLY DRAWN COMMENTER AT EVERY STOP (Drawing will be held 5 days after the stop’s date and is separate from the rafflecopter drawing – to enter, the entrant must leave a comment at the stop).  Thanks!


The authors will be awarding a $20 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Goddess Fish Promotions said...

Thanks for hosting!

Unknown said...

Congrats on the tour and thanks for the chance to win :)

Victoria Alexander said...

I'm looking forward to checking this out! :)

Bernie Wallace said...

What was your favorite book growing up? Thanks for the giveaway. I hope that I win. Bernie W BWallace1980(at)hotmail(d0t)com