Whenever I see Neil Gaiman, he asks me whether I've been writing. Most of the time, I mumble something about how I'm working on this project or that project, slowly, oh so slowly, but--my god!--dance just eats up all the time in the world and how will a story ever finish itself?
The answer is that it won't. Sometimes, this makes me feel guilty.
Sometimes, I throw myself into a chair (or, more likely, across a bed) and fling words on paper until the story is finished.
It's hard though. And since dance really does eat up all the time in my world, it's embarrassingly rare.
When Neil asks if you have a story that might fit into a book he is putting together, the answer is obviously yes, even if you are typing this out in a state of tipsiness and are not entirely sure whether or not you have such a story. The answer is still yes, even if you discover that the story you thought might fit is actually in a state of sad disrepair, an untouched and confusing first draft on a pile of papers festering at the bottom of a cardboard box. The answer remains yes all through the night and next day as you strip, cannibalize, and restring the story and discover, after many hours of labor, to your great surprise and delight, that it works.
So, I am ridiculously thrilled to say that a story of mine is in a fat, gorgeous book edited by Neil and Maria Dahvana Headley. Unnatural Creatures is a collection of sixteen stories about unlikely and impossible beasts. The other authors are ones who I admire like crazy, ones whose stories have made me cry, or made me happy, or given me terrible nightmares for weeks (see: E. Nesbit.) Sales of the book benefit 826 DC. The 826 organizations are amazing and magical, a force of marvelous good.
My story is called "The Manticore, the Mermaid, and Me." Neil and Maria gave me this title. It makes me think of an old movie from the 1960s that doesn't exist and this makes me very happy.