Friday, October 01, 2010

Sin Eating and Psychopompery

Ooh, I like that word: psychopompery.  I think I just made it up.  Maybe?

Anyway, I'm pretty darn excited about this newest anthology, THE MAMMOTH BOOK OF PARANORMAL ROMANCE 2.  Whew!  That title is a mouthful.  It's an anthology of 24 short stories.  I've been a fan of the Mammoth Books for a while, and longingly desired to be a part of one, so when the editor, Trisha Telep emailed me about being in one of them, I jumped.

I used to think I'd never write short stories, and then I started doing some Nocturne Bites, which clock in around 10K words, and found it was kinda fun, and a little freeing, to work in that short format.  Now in the Mammoth Book, I think I ended with about 8K words in my story.  Normally, that would be a single scene for me in my single title books.  Heh.  But I admit, I love the short format.


My story in this book is "The Sin Eater's Promise", and I've had the sin eater character (Desdenova Fleetwood) in my brain for years, and just hadn't found the right story for her until now.  Sin eaters fascinate me.  They are sort of religious magicians.  Through the process of consuming food or drink, they can 'eat' the sins of the deceased or dying.  The process I find most interesting is where the sin eater places a piece of white bread upon the chest of the deceased (we can hope, on a plate), sprinkles a little salt on it, then eats the bread.  Voila!  Sins are gone through some magical process we can only believe in fiction and fairy-tales.  Yet, sin eaters actually exist.  They were actually excommunicated by the Catholic Church.  I won't go into a lengthy description, but you can click over to Wikipedia to learn more.  One of the questions I explore in the story is: If you had the power to take away sin, would you have a right to take away that sin?

It sounds like a heavy story, but it's actually a sweet romance, pairing my sin eater heroine with a soul bringer (aka psychopomp; the dude who carries souls either to Heaven or Hell).  And heck, there's 24 authors in all in this anthology, so I can't wait to read it myself!

Here's a blurb: Sin eater, Desdenova Fleetwood dreamed of falling in love—but knew it could never happen to her. When the mysterious soul bringer, Blackthorn Regis, demands she give up her livelihood, the two question their very reason for living—and loving.


To celebrate the release of this anthology, I'll give away a copy of ANGEL SLAYER (where the soul bringer hero, Blackthorn Regis, first appeared), to one commenter!


Michele

24 comments:

Linda Henderson said...

I love the Mammoth Books, I've gotten acquainted with a lot of new to me authors in them.

buddyt said...

I enjoy anthologies every now and again. I find they often introduce me to new writers.

Thanks for the giveaway and please enter me if it is open worldwide.

Carol T

buddytho {at} gmaail DOTCOM

Betina Krahn said...

Wow, Michele, what a concept! I have to get a copy of one of these Mammoth books!

I know in the Appalachians (waaaay back in the hills) people used to speak of sin-eaters. I sort of thought it was a way of dealing with the fact that in the old country there were priests to absolve people of their sins at the end of life-- but there weren't priests in those isolated, backwater areas, so people. . . improvised.

Interesting notion: if you have the power, do you have the right? I'll be thinking on that all day!

Sell a million!

Pamk said...

I think I have this one in my tbr pile need to dig it out. Very different type of paranormal book there.
scrtsbpal at yahoo dot com

Helen Brenna said...

Fun concept, Michele. Writing paranormals, in general, must be freeing. Don't you think? You're not bound by the constraints of our contemporary world.

Michele Hauf said...

It is freeing, Helen. But also more complicated, because you need to keep your 'world' straight. I think no matter what we write, it can be what we make it. :-)

cait045 said...

I love when authors write short stories that are apart of series. I like getting other characters POV or their back stories.

usignolc(at)yahooDOTcom

Cindy Gerard said...

Cool concept Michele - and I'm intrigued by the short format. I've only written 2 novella and I kind of enjoyed the shorter format. I have a 5K short story to write very soon for the Thriller 3 collection and I'm worried about such a short amount of space but I'm also looking forward to it.
Any tips on writing the short format would be greatly appreciated:O)

Congrats on the release!!

Cindy Gerard said...

ps - could I have possibly said 'short format' one more time in my comment? gah

Michele Hauf said...

Ha! Well, you've had practice Cindy, with the Deadly Promises antho out right now. But that shorter stuff, or rather 'short format' (because we needed to say that again) is a toughy. Just focus on one problem. That's it. None of that secondary stuff, and keep the character count low!

Kathleen Eagle said...

Hey, Michele, you reminded me of a the old Rod Serling show, "Night Gallery," which wasn't as popular ar "Twilight Zone" but both were superb. I took the Wiki link you have there, and sure enough, there it was.

The episode was called "The Sins of the Father," and it was the first I'd heard of a sin eater. Richard Thomas (remember "The Waltons"?) played the son of a recently deceased sin eater. It's one of those stories that stays with you. Typical Serling twist in the end. Terrific.

donnas said...

Congrats on the release. These are some of my favorite anthologies. I have found a lot of great new authors from them.

krisgils33 said...

love the mammoth books, and the sin eater thing is awesome. can't wait!

Cindy Gerard said...

Great advice. thanks, Michele. I can do that!

Sheree said...

Congrats on your release!

Anthologies are one of the sources for new-to-me authors so I really like them.

ironss[at]gmail.com

Michele Hauf said...

Interesting, Kathy! I know there's a movie about it too, The Order, with Heath Ledger. Not sure if he played the sin eater or a priest. I tried to find it when I was writing this, but alas.

chey said...

Congrats on the anthology!

Minna said...

Congrats on the release! Sadly, I haven't managed to get one single Mammoth book to my hands yet.

lois greiman said...

Love the cover. Love the concept. Go Michele!!

I have a story in the Mammoth Book of Scottish Romance coming soon. Fun.

catslady said...

I am fairly new to the paranormal genre but what I've read so far I've enjoyed and this sounds like a fascinating/thrilling read!

KylieBrant said...

Really intriguing premise, Michelle. Off to learn more about sin eaters...

Paula R said...

Hi Michelle, your story sounds great. As I was reading, I couldn't help but think of the character in The Green Mile. Would he be classified as a sineater? Hmm. I have seen these books floating around the book store. I might have to pick this one up.

Peace and love,
Paula R.

Dina said...

congrats on your release, I like to read anthologies.

Michele Hauf said...

Paula, I haven't seen the Green Mile, but now I'm intrigued!