Actually, don't panic. Daniel and Mei Lin are on the case. Or, they would be--if he was gone--but he's actually still here, taking a small vacation; sipping tea, 'chasing' around with Daniel, and all of the things a lost Prince of the Dreaming does.
This ramble is for anyone who has read or who was interested in reading the Dreamer series of short stories and novellas and who has gone looking for them (or looking for more) and found them missing from my published shelf. The history on the Dreamer series is this: Long ago, in a place far, far afield, I and another character met a faerie prince wandering the streets in search of the finest teas. He was also on assignment. I thought this was an interesting thing for a faerie prince to be doing, so began to stalk him from the shadows and observe his activities. As it turned out, he was working for a mysterious organization of humans, whose mission is to monitor the activities of supernatural beings in the world and to decide when and if action needs to be taken against them (say, if a dark faerie were planning world domination by letting in things from the Night side of the Dreaming).
“This mirror will continue to generate darkness, which in turn will continue to raise the dead, until the mortal realm is overtaken by an army.”
-Prince of the Night Realm
To do that, this organization employs the skills and insights of other supernatural individuals, who were previously caught in the act of being supernatural. Individuals such as Stuart (no, that is not his real name; his fae name is quite complicated and so has been abbreviated by his human supervisors).
Now, originally, I thought this would be a fun and light aside to work on between some of my denser pieces (epic and dark fantasy novels written in literary style with heaps of world and character development, all of them 100,000+ in length). The first incarnation of A Bit(e) of Discretion turned out at around 14,000. I submitted it to a short story magazine. They loved it--but it was too long. I tightened it to around 10,000. Loved it still...still too long. Clearly, I was not cut out for this short story thing. Still, I was having fun with the quick exercise of letting Stuart and his friends have a chillaxing adventure and exchange witty banter. It was my comic relief, my time on the beach with a manga and some rose-infused lemonade. Yes, the essence of the Dreamer stories is to be as light, quirky, and 'romantic' as one would expect a manga about a lost, tea-obsessed faerie prince and his jaded vamp partner to be.
“Just give us a mixed bag of whatever’s cheapest.”
When I started publishing, I decided to not change anything. I was three into the series. They were fun, they were light, they were short(ish). At the time, shorts and episodic publications were a thing anyway, so I figured, no issue. People read Stuart, Daniel, and Mei Lin and most of the time were liking them. Great. No issues.
Except. They wanted more. They wanted more backstory, more premise, more orientation, more explanation...more of the stuff that goes into novels. Okay, now what? People have started to notice that there's way more to Stuart's story. But...they're meant to be short pieces. They're supposed to be light pieces. Everybody. Panic.
Or don't. I'm a novelist by nature. I shall do this. I shall novelize all five of the Dreamer stories, plus the four that were never published. And they shall be categorized cozy urban fantasy mysteries. Except, that's not a category. We'll have to work on that. Regardless, readers of Stuart, Daniel, and Mei Lin can expect to find fantasy in an urban setting, cozy romance, light mystery, heavy snark, plenty of absurdity, mild profanity, some sensuality, lots of action, LGBTQ characters, magic, monsters, and general mayhem. This will probably start in winter of this year; new novels(same stories), new covers(and they will be full of shine), new titles (possibly).
On that note, I leave you with a bit(e) from one of the previously published Dreamer stories. Thanks for reading! Thoughts and considerations welcome.
Excerpt from Dreamer No. 5: Man's Best Fiend
“Yes,” Daniel answered readily.
And Stuart said, “That is what we were assigned to do.”
“So, I ran,” Dante told them, as if it were a simple equation.
Simple, though it may have been, it had a flaw, one which Stuart felt inclined to point out. “You stopped.”
Dante looked to the floor of the corner he had been lurking in. In that moment it became apparent that a wolf could look sheepish.
“I thought you said this wasn’t your mess, Dante,” Daniel said to him.
The accusation brought the werewolf’s head up again, ears flattening. “It ain’t.”
“You’ll understand if I say bullshit.”
A growl preceded the werewolf’s response. “Look, I’ve got a hot mess on my hands all right, but it’s got nothin’ to do with those zombies. I mean, they ain’t zombies because of me.”
“No?” Daniel challenged. “Then who?”
A form morphed fluidly out of the shadows just then, an exceedingly fair face peeking through the layers hovering behind Daniel and around the mirror, as if out from beneath a cowl of black silk. Some of the layers revealed themselves to be great lengths of night-colored hair while the rest unfurled as robes and moth wings dusted in deep tones of blue and violet. Dark lips smiled very slightly.
“Oh,” Daniel said to the dark faerie. “It’s you.”
“Yes,” the Night Prince said in a voice meant to charm mortals to their deaths. And then he plucked open the lantern frame, pursed his lips and blew out the flame, adding flatly. “It’s me.”