Human Tales, by Jennifer BrozekHuman Tales was released today! My short story, Bloody Spindle, is the lead tale in the anthology. Having a lead story has been a goal of mine for years, and the pride I feel in reaching that goal requires me to share a secret.

This tale was a purge. Because there’s a lot of the old Ivan in old Ramplestiltskin.

He sees himself as ugly, crooked, deformed … and oh so much smarter than you, my dear. He is weak and twisted, but he knows secret things you could never, ever guess. He knows how much he deserves and he hates the world for not delivering it all, steaming in a silver tureen, the moment he stamps his faerie foot. Most importantly, while he thinks himself a romantic … it’s not you he loves, my love. It’s all the things he imagines you’ll do.

The first draft of this story was some of the most painful writing I’ve ever done. When I realized what was happening, why this terrible, passive-aggressive character was so easy to write … my cheeks were flushed and my stomach hurt, but I knew for a fact that I’d better get it down while I could. It wasn’t fun writing, and hell, it wasn’t good writing – first draft and all that -but it was a character I knew inside and out. He danced onto the page straight out of the shadow I’ve cast for too many years.

Now before I get a lot of sympathy or hate mail, let’s be clear: I wouldn’t be writing this post today if I hadn’t changed since then. I wouldn’t have been able to write the story if my pride in who I’ve become didn’t outweigh the shame of who I used to be.

I know, now, my strengths and weaknesses; I know now how much I needed the self-confidence I’ve gained in all areas of my life. It was rough going, though; coming back to edit, returning again and again to the bitterness of a little, twisted thing who sought power and pity alike.

I like to think it’s some of my best writing to date. But I know for a fact that it’s some of my best work.

You can order Human Tales from Amazon or Dark Quest Books. If you do, I’d love to know what you think.