My fantasy story "The Ice Tree" is in the second issue of Apparition Literary Magazine! A hero-in-her-own-mind amateur sorceress sends a village into chaos while trying to prove herself, and vows to undo an ancient curse to make up for the mess she's made. Things do not go well.
I initially wrote this story more than ten years ago, and very little of the original survived when I re-wrote it in 2014 at the Clarion Workshop. It again became a different monster based on workshop feedback, and it took me a lot of drafts to get it just right. In the Clarion version (which unfortunately will be housed forever in the Clarion archives at the UCSD library), I was responding to feedback from a classmate who said my language tended to be dull. I was trying, desperately, to write more lyrical and beautiful sentences. The result just sounded…kind of silly. So I doubled down on that, and the character of Mirella developed naturally from that "extra" tone. She's not a likable character—she's not meant to be—but I hope you enjoy her anyway. It's much easier to get away with this kind of a male character—I drew inspiration from Zap Brannigan, Gilderoy Lockhart, and Ash Williams, but Mirella is definitely her own brand of delusional egotist.
Here's a brief excerpt, a bit of backstory about how Mirella developed the magic she's now abusing:
Although spell-casting was a rare skill these days, there was nothing special about Mirella’s proclaimed title of “holder of an Izka stone.” The original Izka stones were massive, and had been split and scattered throughout the land. Mirella had discovered hers in the decorations on the wardrobe in her childhood bedroom when an unlikely coincidence of gestures had accidentally created a spell that transformed her bed into a rosebush, thorns and all. She’d pried the stone out of the wardrobe and messed around with it on her own for a while, but after she’d turned her sister’s hair to wax—a fine improvement, Mirella thought, but not what she had been going for—she took a two-week class with some old hag in an upstairs apartment to learn how to properly use it.
If you'd like to see the Pinterest board I made for the story, you can check it out here. And you can pick up a copy of the issue on Kindle at the link below, or read the story online at the Apparition Lit website.