Athena’s Daughters, Day 8: A Blog Hop, Jean Marie Ward Story Preview, & the Rewards Rundown

Day 8, and we are now over 20K! In addition to all our other stretch goals, we will be releasing a limited hardcover run of the Athena’s Daughters anthology!
I wanted to give you another story excerpt from Athena’s Daughters, this time by the fabulous Jean Marie Ward. Jean writes fiction, nonfiction and everything in between. Her first novel, written with the late Teri Smith, finaled in two categories of the 2008 Indie Book Awards. Her short stories appear in numerous anthologies, including the award-winning Hellebore and Rue, and The Modern Fae’s Guide to Surviving Humanity. Her short story “Lord Bai’s Discovery” was shortlisted for the Washington Science Fiction Association’s Small Press Award. You can find her online at JeanMarieWard.com or on Twitter. A preview of her A.D. story, “The Gap In The Fence,” is here:

The corners of the fairy’s eyes crinkled, like he was hiding a smile under his beard, but it didn’t last. “Nothing like that. I’m sorry. I can’t stop anybody from dying. There’re some things you just can’t fix.”

“Then what can you do? There’s got to be something.”

Gurt and all the birds seemed to gasp at once. Even the leaves seemed to hold their breath. The man’s bushy eyebrows lifted.

“What do you want of me?”

His voice sounded different somehow. It was still slow and gravelly, but there was something sharp and cold underneath the words that brought back all my fear. Me and my big mouth—Mom always said it would get me in trouble.
He waited for me to say something, staring at me from under his eyebrows with eyes as hard as his voice. “What do you want of me?”

A cloud passed overhead, shadowing his face. Gurt ogled us with big saucer eyes. Her head turned from side to side to keep us both in view.

What I wanted was for him to save my best friend’s dog from dying, but he said he couldn’t. At least I thought he did. I wanted to be smarter, so I’d know what he meant and what I was supposed to say. But this might be my only chance. My head whirled with all the bad things about to happen—Willy dragged away from the people who loved him when he was sick and hurting, Shari waking up to find out her mom… I couldn’t finish the thought any more than I could face her and tell her what her mom was going to do.

“What. Do. You. Want?”

The breeze roared into a wind. My hair skinned away from my face. Branches as big as my whole body shook. The grass bowed flat. The fairy hadn’t moved, but he seemed to have grown until he was too big to see without lifting my head. I almost peed my pants, but I knew if I broke and ran, he’d be on me in a second. Then I’d be dead. There was only one thing to do…

I also wanted to link you to many of the fabulous blogs and anthology-related posts of my fellow authors! Gail Martin was kind enough to put together a comprehensive list on her own blog, Disquieting Visions, and shared it with us last night. The LinkyTools nodule at the bottom of this post is where you can find more story previews, blog posts, our Goodreads community and much, much more!

Last, but not least, an updated Rewards Rundown. Contributors at the $5 level and up are now getting:

-a digital copy of the “Athena’s Daughters” anthology, now also featuring stories by E.J. Lawrence, Tera Fulbright, Tricia Barr, and Jennifer Brozek
-an email from one of our authors, personally thanking you for your contribution

-a digital copy of two Danielle Ackley McPhail novels (The Halfling’s Court and Yesterday’s Dreams)
-a digital copy of Gail Z. Martin’s short story bundle including “Vanities,” “Buttons,” and “Steer a Pale Course”
-a digital download of Maggie Allen’s album Last Call, recorded with her band Naked Singularity
-a digital copy of Cynthia Ward’s short story “Gabriella”
-a digital copy of Sherwood Smith’s novel Crown Duel

-an anthology cover upgrade, created exclusively for our book by artist Tietjen Alvarez
-a digital download of Jean Marie Ward‘s short story bundle “Four For More”
-a digital download of the audiobook of Danielle Ackley McPhail’s collection of short stories, Flash in the Can.
-a digital download of Gail Z. Martin’s Jonmarc Vahanian short story bundle, including “Raiders’ Curse”, “Caves of the Dead”, and “Storm Surge,”
-a digital download of Janine K. Spendlove’s novel War of the Seasons, Book 1: The Human

-a digital download of Tera Fulbright‘s short story “Fires Within the Blank Page.”
-a free digital download of Ginger Breo‘s illustration of the goddess Athena. (Backers who purchase print copies of the book will additionally receive a free 5×7 print of Ginger’s art.)
-a free digital download of the audiobook for Janine K. Spendlove’s novel War of the Seasons, Book 1: The Human

-a limited hard cover run of Athena’s Daughters using the commissioned cover art by Tietjen Alvarez (this edition will be limited to a print run of 200 books! Act fast!)

In the pipeline are the following stretch goals:

At the $22,000 level, another story will be added to the anthology! Author Diana Peterfreund is the author of nine books for adults and teens about awesome young women doing awesome things: from breaking down the gender barriers of an all-male secret society to saving the world from killer unicorns. Her latest book, Across a Star-Swept Sea, is a gender-flipped take on the Scarlet Pimpernel set in a post-apocalyptic future. Her critically acclaimed short stories have appeared on the Locus Recommended Reading List and in the Best Science Fiction and Fantasy of the Year, Vol.5.

At the $24,000 mark, we will produce a companion anthology, “Apollo’s Daughters.” This book will also feature strong female characters, but with a slight twist. The authors will be some of the best male SF/F writers in the business, including Michael A. Stackpole, Aaron Allston, Bryan Young and Aaron Rosenberg!

Are any of these awesome things relevant to your interests? To paraphrase Liz Lemon, do you now feel like high fiving a million angels? Back us or share about the project here.

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