The kiss of the Emperor is poison, and only his destined consort may bear it. Sickened by her attempt, Erianthe decides she is not the one. Or is she?
If you ever wondered what it would be like if I wrote a fairy tale in the traditional style, "Bitter Apples" is your answer. I got this one from a dream so vivid it clogged my head all the way to work, and on my first break in the morning I put it down in one sitting. I can still see the cubicle in the corner of my eye, remembering myself writing it... so intense was the experience of translating it from head to keyboard.
At the time I tried to sell it there weren't a lot of markets for this kind of thing; straight fantasy or sword and sorcery were more common. So I never placed it anywhere. My most memorable rejection involved being told I was supporting the patriarchy by writing stories oppressive to women. I spent the next few days reading and re-reading the piece, wondering what I'd missed. (The answer, I think, was "that market will probably never buy anything from you.")
- The Emperor
"Bitter Apples" is available for purchase as a stand-alone e-book, and is also included in the collection Blades and Bitter Apples.