Elisa Feliz's wonderful pinup for my "Archetypes: A Christmas Crime" short story.As you may have seen in my earlier post about Womanthology, I'm now officially a comic book author. In case you're wondering, I am indeed doing an embarrassing happy dance right now. It's best that you don't see it.
I did two pieces. One of them, "Ladybird" was co-written with the wonderful Rachel Pandich with art by the amazing, Eisner-award-winning artist, Janet Lee (Return of the Dapper Men). It's based on the Triangle Shirtwaist Fire and I'm incredibly proud of it. Check out my video interview with Janet at NYCC for Newsarama to see some of the art.
Me at the Comikaze Expo "Womanthology" panel in front of Janet Lee's art for "Ladybird."
The second one (which I actually wrote first) is "Archetypes," with art by the fantastic Elisa Feliz. That one is about a woman who dreams in archetypes and solves crimes. Weirdly enough, I wrote it on a plane back from New Orleans. Neither of these are exactly what you'd call "fluffy, happy" stories. In fact, when I was lucky enough to get comic legend Jim Lee to critique them, he said, "Wow, you're really dark!"
Me at the Comikaze Expo "Womanthology" panel in front of Elisa Feliz's art for "Archetypes."Anyway, we were recently asked to contribute a holiday piece based on our work for Womanthology supporters. Now that we're allowed to share it with everyone, here is mine. This one is a short story based on "Archetypes." Elisa Feliz did the pinup above to go with it. Give it a read and let me know what you think!
Stay tuned for information about "Womanthology" signings at Emerald Knights, Meltdown and others, and pre-order your copy here. xoxo
"Archetypes: A Christmas Crime"
The white trim on his suit glowed in the black light. Wait, that seemed odd. What would Santa be doing in a club? Well, it was Los Angeles. The Beverly Hills mall had a shirtless “Hunky Santa” every year, so I guess it's not that weird. Right, back to the dream. As he moved through the throbbing, surging crowd of dancers, the pack on his back seemed to be weighing him down. Scene change. A sneering Santa moving around a Christmas tree. He laid down his empty sack in front of the fireplace and eased himself down on the couch to eat the cookies that were left out for him. Empty sack, huh? Oh god...
Suddenly, it was like someone was ringing the damn jingle bells from his sleigh in her ear. Stupid phone.
“Hello? This had better be good, Prince Charming. I was dreaming.”
“Ha! I knew you still dreamed about me as the Prince.”
“Oh shut up. You're married now and I have a crime to report. I think.”
She turned to look at the picture of him next to her bed. You don't dream about Prince archetypes very often. Stupid her for letting this one go. She didn't know how this whole dreaming thing worked back then, but you'd think she would have been smart enough to hold onto him.
“Alright cop. Here's the deal. I dreamed about Santa...”
He snorted. “Really? But he's...
“I know. He's not an archetype. But he is a symbol. I guess it makes sense. I don't know. This stupid gift didn't come with instructions. Also, if this particular Santa shows up in my house, I'm converting.”
She heard laughter on the other line. “From what to what, pretty lady?”
He loved teasing her. Princes might be good guys and end up as cops, but they certainly mess with your head. “Couldn't tell what he had in his sack, but it was heavy. He moved through a club with it, then ended up in a house in front of a fire with an empty one.”
“So what am I looking for here? A guy in a Santa suit who likes dance music, cookies and milk?”
She sighed. “The Santa symbol means comfort. Presents. Once a year...they leave things at your house...hmm. Any reports of a missing person?”
“If this is the usual scenario, we'll get one tomorrow. Grandpa got drunk and kidnapped his grandson. Someone killed someone else and dumped them in the chimney. Definitely someone close to them or they wouldn't have let them in. I suppose it's too easy to assume this is a mall Santa?” he said.
“Yeah, well, it's rarely that literal. Good luck with that though.”
“Listen, what are you doing for Christmas? Come have dinner with my wife and I. I can't stand the idea of you being alone.”
Her heart skipped. She was never going to tell him his wife was the Evil Queen. Sure, she knew exactly what that woman had done to take her Prince away, but he was happy. He might be a flirt, but you could see the love in his eyes when he spoke about her. She'd let him have that a little longer.
“I have plans.” She didn't. “Have a Merry Christmas though. Goodnight Prince Charming.” She hung up and rolled back up in her blanket. Yeah, let him have a few more weeks of peace. Something big was coming. She felt a dream coming on...