Rhonda Parrish on Mrs. Claus
If you look up Santa Claus the top Google result is Wikipedia (because of course it is). Now, we all know that Wikipedia is a good place to begin research and a terrible place to end it, but it’s perfect for the point I want to make, so stay with me.
In the opening section of the Wikipedia page for Santa Claus it talks about all the various names he’s known by and then moves on to explain how he’s known for bringing gifts to good children on Christmas Eve. From there it speaks of how the myth of Santa Claus began with a merging of a Greek bishop named Saint Nicholas, the Dutch figure of Sinterklaas and Britain’s Father Christmas. Further, it talks about how he also has a lot in common with the Pagan god Wodan. The second paragraph about Santa talks about his physical appearance and how that has changed over the years. There is a final paragraph which offers more details about how Santa classifies kids as ‘naughty’ or ‘nice’, says ho ho ho a lot and lives with elves who make toys which he delivers with a magical sleigh and eight flying reindeer.
The opening section of Mrs. Claus’ Wikipedia page, however, is a single paragraph. It says she’s also known to go by ‘Mother Christmas,’ is the wife of Santa Claus (also known as Father Christmas), mentions she’s been referred to as Mary, Jessica, Layla and Martha and then includes one other sentence. That sentence?
“She is known for making cookies with the elves, caring for the reindeer, and preparing toys with her husband.”
I discovered all this after watching an advertisement, of all things. In 2016, Marks & Spencer had a holiday ad all about Mrs. Claus. It showed her as a woman with a life independent of Santa. Like her husband, she helped children, but she did it with a totally different style than him. No reindeer or sleighs for her. No way. This Mrs. Claus rode a snowmobile and flew a helicopter!
I adored that portrayal of Mrs. Claus and it made me realise that I hadn’t seen many portrayals of her at all and those I had were usually a rotund woman dressed like Granny (of Tweetie Bird & Granny fame). Then I started Googling and my disappointment grew.
I wanted to read stories about Mrs. Claus. Not tales where she merely makes cookies with the elves, cares for the reindeer and prepares toys with her husband, but stories where she is the star. Stories where she has agency, and personality and—like the Mrs. Claus from the Marks & Spencer ad—secrets from Santa. I had a difficult time finding those stories and so I decided to compile an anthology full of them. It’s sort of like the anthologist version of the famous quote by Toni Morrison, “If there’s a book that you want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it.”
This is that anthology. I’m excited about the myriad ways it portrays Mrs. Claus—a hero, a villain, a homebody, a spacefarer, an ass kicker, a motivator. It lets her step into the spotlight (sometimes alongside her husband, sometimes alone) and really begin to be more than just Santa’s companion.
You may not approve of all the interpretations of Mrs. Claus contained within these pages, but I hope you’ll find one or two (or more!) that really speak to you.
When you think of Mrs. Claus, do you imagine a quiet North Pole homebody who finds complete fulfillment in baking cookies, petting reindeer and crafting toys alongside elves? How about a magic-wielding ice goddess, or a tough-as-nails Valkyrie? Or maybe an ancient fae of dubious intentions, or a well-meaning witch? Could Mrs. Claus be a cigar-smoking Latina, or a crash-landed alien? Within these pages Mrs. Claus is a hero, a villain, a mother, a spacefarer, a monster hunter, and more. The only thing she decidedly is not, is a sidekick.
It’s Mrs. Claus’ turn to shine and she is stepping out of Santa’s shadow and into the spotlight in these fourteen spectacular stories that make her the star! Featuring original short stories by Laura VanArendonk Baugh, C.B. Calsing, DJ Tyrer, Jennifer Lee Rossman, Kristen Lee, Randi Perrin, Michael Leonberger, Andrew Wilson, Ross Van Dusen, MLD Curelas, Maren Matthias, Anne Luebke, Jeff Kuykendall, and Hayley Stone.
MRS. CLAUS: NOT THE FAIRY TALE THEY SAY is out now in ebook and paperback!
See what others are saying about this fun holiday anthology:
“Parrish delivers comfort, joy, and more than a little Christmas spice in this adorable anthology that explores the woman behind the Christmas mythos in various guises, drawing on mythological influences that span the globe.”
“I never would have guessed that Mrs. Claus could be interpreted in so many different ways or that she could be frightening in one plot and sympathetic in the next…I’d heartily recommend Mrs. Claus to anyone who loves modern spins on traditional fairy tales.”
"What a delightful anthology that blends myth, magic and folklore with a healthy dose of reality. Each story is a good length for the busy holiday season."
About the Anthologist
Rhonda Parrish is driven by the desire to do All The Things. She was the founder and editor-in-chief of Niteblade Magazine, is an Assistant Editor at World Weaver Press, and is the editor of several anthologies including, most recently, Equus and D is for Dinosaur. In addition, Rhonda is a writer whose work has been included or is forthcoming in dozens of publications including Tesseracts 17: Speculating Canada from Coast to Coast, Imaginarium: The Best Canadian Speculative Writing (2012 & 2015), and Mythic Delirium. Her website, updated weekly, is at rhondaparrish.com.
More Holiday Books
For today's Small Press Week post, we're recommending books by other small presses. Browse below to find a new favorite, and to learn about other small presses you might not have heard about before!
Sarena Ulibarri, Editor-in-Chief Recommends:
K. Bird Lincoln, author of Dream Eater Recommends:
Rhonda Parrish, Assistant Editor recommends:
Small Press Week: SPWzoom
Today's topic for Small Press Week is: "#SPWzoom: Zoom in to provide excerpts, close-up photos, and anecdotes about your new books." So we asked some of our authors for anecdotes related to their World Weaver Press books. See what they they told us below!
Kristina Wojtaszek, author of Opal and Char
A.E. Decker, author of The Moonfall Mayhem series
K. Bird Lincoln, author of Dream Eater
Black Pearl Dreaming (Portland Hafu #2)
Last time my family made the yearly trek to Tokyo to see my husband’s family, I gathered some experiences and photos to help me write this book—wherein Dream Eater’s heroine, Koi Pierce, goes to Japan with her father in hopes of helping him with his dementia and to get a handle on what it means to be a dream-eating Baku.
My husband’s uncle was from this small, Aomori town where Jesus’ Tomb is located. I kid you not. This is a real thing. While I couldn’t make it to Aomori this time, I did talk to his family about it.
I also got a lot of shots of Japanese traditional storage houses called Kura. While there’s only one scene in Black Pearl Dreaming that ended up featuring a Kura, I embarrassed my husband almost daily by stalking them in his parents’ neighborhood and taking lots of pictures!
This book’s first draft was sent off to my lovely editor last month. Whoot!
Last Dream of Her Mortal Soul (Portland Hafu #3)
Koi Pierce comes back to Portland to handle attacks on the local Kind in this book. It’s been at least six years since I’ve lived in Portland! I remember all the wonderful cafes and pastry shops, however, I had to do a bunch of Google Map and Satellite research to remind myself about the layout of downtown Portland and some of the parks and landmarks where Koi will have to finally make some hard decisions about how far she’s willing to go to protect the people she loves.
One of the places is the Witch’s Castle at Forest Park. Way back at the start of Portland’s history a guy shot his son-in-law, got hanged, and his wife—who he blamed for his crime—lived there for years. Or that’s only a story and it’s the ruins of a public restroom built in the 1900s. Either way, it’s a great hike!
Small Press Week: All Our 2017 Titles
World Weaver Press, is participating in Small Press Week, an initiative helmed by Upper Rubber Boot Books to promote small press publishing. The topic for today says: "Every Tuesday is #newreleasetuesday, but this Tuesday is for featuring all of your current 2017 releases, no matter when their release date." We published nine new books in 2017, and you can see the whole list below!
Beside each book, you'll find an excerpt. These excerpts are different from the ones available on each book's official page, so please give them a read. Maybe you'll even find a new favorite or a good holiday gift.
Covalent bonds, edited by Trysh Thompson
Forget the old stereotypes: geeks are sexy.
Solomon's Bell by Michelle Lowery Combs
Ginn thinks she has problems at home until she magically lands herself in 16th century Prague.
Dream Eater by K. Bird Lincoln
Koi Pierce dreams other people's dreams.
Shattered Fates by Rebecca Roland
Sometimes unlikely alliances are the only way to succeed.
Bite Somebody Else by Sara Dobie Bauer
Immortality is being a horrible influence on your best friends. Forever.
Equus, edited by Rhonda Parrish
There’s always something magical about horses, isn’t there?
Vanity in Dust by Cheryl Low
Forever young, endlessly indulged. What could go wrong?
SonofaWitch!, edited by Trysh Thompson
Six humorous contemporary fantasy stories of magic spells gone wrong.
Mrs. Claus: Not the Fairy Tale They Say, edited by Rhonda Parrish
Mrs. Claus is stepping out of Santa’s shadow and into the spotlight.
September 2017 Query Stats
This was the first time we limited the genre we were looking for in World Weaver Press submissions— for the September 2017 submission window, we asked for only speculative romance. We define "speculative" broadly (see more on what that term means to us here), and encouraged writers to send us their adult and new adult paranormal romance, as well as science fiction romance, fantasy romance, alternate history romance, etc. And that's mostly what we got. Alas, some writers will never read the guidelines, or will take their chances at being the exception.
In any case, we received several projects our romance editors are excited about, though it may be a while before we make final decisions about what will be on our upcoming publication list. Our editors have gotten pickier over time, after all, and our commitments to the series we've started publishing leave only a few open slots in our schedule each year.
For the submission statistics below, we're only reporting genre, audience, and length, as well as how many full or partial requests our editors sent. Some of our past submission statistics lists have included the gender of authors, but we do not ask for that information, and do not presume to guess.
Speculative Romance: 9
Urban Fantasy: 8
Paranormal Romance: 10
Science Fiction: 8
Adult: 40 (Speculative Romance--9; Paranormal Romance--7; Science Fiction--5; Urban Fantasy--5; Speculative--Other--5; Non-Speculative--5; Fantasy--4)
New Adult: 13 (Fantasy--3; Science Fiction--3; Paranormal Romance--2; Urban Fantasy--2; Speculative--Other--2; Non-Speculative--1)
Young Adult: 7 (Fantasy--4; Urban Fantasy--1; Paranormal Romance--1; Speculative--Other--1)
Children: 1 (Speculative--Other)
Partial Requests: 0
Full Requests: 4
Revise & Resubmit: 1 (so far)
In case you're wondering if a Revise and Resubmit is worth it, two of our 2016 publications were R&Rs: Campaign 2100: Game of Scorpions by Larry Hodges, and Bite Somebody by Sara Dobie Bauer. Campaign 2100 received high praise from science fiction authors such as Mike Resnick and Robert J. Sawyer. Bite Somebody was blurbed by Christopher Moore, and won the 2017 Imadjinn Award for Best Paranormal Romance Novel.
Just puttin' that out there.
We haven't yet decided when we'll be open for queries again, but it will probably be sometime in 2018. Subscribe to our newsletter or watch our social media for updates about our next submission window.
In the meantime, we have several short story anthologies that either are open for submissions, or will be open soon, ranging from science fiction to fairy tale to alternate history. Check out those guidelines here: https://www.worldweaverpress.com/submit-anthologies.html For some insight on how anthology submissions differ from general queries, check out our posts on the submission statistics for Fae, Covalent Bonds, Sirens, and Equus.
Previous Query Statistics Blogs:
February 2017: www.worldweaverpress.com/blog/february-2017-submissions-statistics
February 2015: http://www.worldweaverpress.com/blog/february-2015-query-stats
June 2015: http://www.worldweaverpress.com/blog/june-2015-query-stats
February 2014: http://www.worldweaverpress.com/blog/february-query-stats
June 2014: http://www.worldweaverpress.com/blog/june-2014-query-stats
World Weaver Press
Publishing fantasy, paranormal, and science fiction.