Not One Story Sale, But Three, or, The Best Possible Way to Begin a New Year

So, I’ve been sitting on some awesome news — like the best news — for a few months now, but today I finally get to share it with all of you: this fall/winter, The Book Smugglers will be publishing my Cinderella Noir series, a trilogy of hardboiled detective stories and fairy tale retellings. The official announcement gives the description below, which is so much better than anything I could have written. (Trying to describe your own work, I’ve discovered, is a rather horrifying endeavor.)


You guys. YOU GUYS. There are no words to adequately express my excitement. Actually, there are many words to express my excitement, and I’m going to subject you to a lot of them, but if you prefer a briefer, blurrier, and less colorized version of my glee:

photo 3photo 2-2

I originally came up with the idea for the first story, “The Case of the Litttle Bloody Slipper,” on one of my many long bus trips back home from SFSU. It was really only just an image, but my mind lit up with possibilities and I plotted in my notebook like a fiend for the three hours it took me to get home. But then I just couldn’t write it; I never even got past the second page. So I gave up and moved on (distractibility may or may not be something I’ve struggled with as a writer), though I never quite forgot it.

When I went to Clarion West in 2012, I knew I’d have to write a story a week and was determined to finish my Cinderella noir story there. I may be a terrible story-hopper, but by God, if I have an actual deadline given by someone else, I will complete it. And I did, though I must say that I saw basically nothing but my room the first week I was in Seattle. (Point of interest: that room was dubbed the Smothering Room by other students. I consider myself lucky to have escaped it alive.)

“The Case of the Little Bloody Slipper” was actually my favorite story I wrote at Clarion West, and I was determined to get it published . . . but there were some obstacles. A high word count can often work against you, and the genre itself becomes a little questionable when you take the literal magic out of a fairy tale and replace it with gats, gaspers, and gams. Not to mention that fairy tale retellings aren’t the easiest sell, anyway. So I was trying to be realistic about my chances, while utterly failing to do so.

Then last year, The Book Smugglers announced that they were looking to publish original fiction for the first time, specifically subversive fairy tales. Being honest, I was completely unfamiliar with The Book Smugglers back then, but I checked out their website and I liked what I saw, so I put on my game face and said, “Let’s twist this*,” and submitted “The Case of the Little Bloody Slipper.”

Well, they passed on the story, at least for 2014. Which, I could hardly blame them once I saw their lineup. The Book Smugglers published some seriously awesome stories over the last few months — one of them actually tied for my favorite story of the whole year. (And I just found out that story is getting a sequel, which, awesome.)

But. BUT. Ana and Thea said they really liked my story and were interested in buying it and two more sequels to publish in 2015. Which is, like, a hugely big deal. Cause selling your work at all is basically the best thing to ever happen, especially when you’re a relatively new writer like me. But to have people say, “Yeah, this is awesome. Can you send us more?” That’s like leveling up. That’s like taking on the scary boss with the six arms and the seriously unacceptable amount of sharp teeth and kicking its ass.

“The Case of the Little Bloody Slipper” will be available at The Book Smugglers in October 2015. The subsequent sequels will appear in November and December. In the meantime, I’ll be here, writing, with the occasional break for reading, eating, and a fair bit of happy dancing.

*I will never stop using this Psych reference, ever. It just makes me smile.

9 thoughts on “Not One Story Sale, But Three, or, The Best Possible Way to Begin a New Year

  1. Triple congratulations! I thoroughly look forward to your fairy tale noir series.

    Although I should probably multiply that to 3 million congratulations, because when I read the title, I didn’t realise that two of the stories weren’t just sold, but fucking COMMISSIONED. Fuck, I didn’t even know that happened for relatively new authors.

    • Thank you! And . . . yeah, that was kind of a Moment. I may or may not have cried. Which was obviously terrible, since I was at Dragon Con at the time, dressed up as a time-traveling Vulcan, and Spock isn’t Saavik, so tears were kind of unacceptable. Luckily, I’ve never been real dedicated to the performance part of cosplay. 🙂

  2. Pingback: Smugglers’ Stash & News | The Book Smugglers

  3. Hi Carlie,
    My name is Thao Le and I’m a literary agent at the Sandra Dijkstra Literary Agency. I represent adult Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Horror and YA (of all genres). I LOVE the Cinderella Noir premise! I’ve read a few of your stuff (I really enjoyed “Such Lovely Teeth, Such Big Teeth”, love the twist on Little Red Riding Hood!). As you can tell I am a HUGE fan of fairytale retellings. I rep Katherine Harbour whose THORN JACK series is a retelling of Tam Lin, pubbed by Harper Voyager, and recently sold a steampunk Peter Pan retelling by Wendy Spinale to Scholastic). If you have any novel length works I’d love to take a look! Do feel free to shoot me an email at More info about me and my agency is available here:
    All best,
    Thao Le

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