Tor.com content by

Lara Elena Donnelly

Fiction and Excerpts [3]
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Fiction and Excerpts [3]

Never Out of Date: The Past as Fantasy, and Our Fantasies of the Past

Victorians, Edwardians, the Great War, the Jazz Age, the Great Depression, the Greatest Generation… The past is always a time when Men were Men, a time when Good fought Evil and triumphed, a time when glamor was more glamorous. Just look at all those Greats: things were real back then, were bigger, better, nobler, more.

The reality, of course, is much more ambiguous. Masculinity takes many forms. Good and Evil are two ends of a spectrum with a lot of gray in between. It’s sometimes hard to tell, from where you stand, where on the spectrum you’ve planted your feet. Nostalgia can lend glamor to banality and even ugliness.

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Inventing a Theme: Brunching in the Pickle Palace

In this ongoing series, we ask SF/F authors to describe a specialty in their lives that has nothing (or very little) to do with writing. Join us as we discover what draws authors to their various hobbies, how they fit into their daily lives, and how and they inform the author’s literary identity!

I first encountered Sunshine Flagg in a weekly meet-up of women interested in tech, social media, and app development, while attempting to “network” as I “job hunted.” We bonded over Buffy the Vampire Slayer and homemade pickles.

Sunshine had just moved to Louisville from New York, where she’d worked as a baker, chef, and restaurateur. Her wheelhouse was Asian dishes (upon tasting her ramen, most people achieve enlightenment), but she’d done everything from cupcakes to molecular gastronomy, and gained my undying admiration when she mentioned she’d once baked a cake for the Dresden Dolls that was shaped like a giant pink octopus. Her latest project was bread and butter pickles.

[I hate bread and butter pickles.]

Amberlough: Chapter 4

Covert agent Cyril DePaul thinks he’s good at keeping secrets, especially from Aristide Makricosta. They suit each other: Aristide turns a blind eye to Cyril’s clandestine affairs, and Cyril keeps his lover’s moonlighting job as a smuggler under wraps.

Cyril participates on a mission that leads to disastrous results, leaving smoke from various political fires smoldering throughout the city. Shielding Aristide from the expected fallout isn’t easy, though, for he refuses to let anything—not the crooked city police or the mounting rage from radical conservatives—dictate his life.

Enter streetwise Cordelia Lehane, a top dancer at the Bumble Bee Cabaret and Aristide’s runner, who could be the key to Cyril’s plans—if she can be trusted. As the twinkling lights of nightclub marquees yield to the rising flames of a fascist revolution, these three will struggle to survive using whatever means—and people—necessary. Including each other.

Debut author Lara Elena Donnelly’s spy thriller Amberlough is available February 7th from Tor Books. Read chapter 4 below, or head back to the beginning with chapter one!

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Amberlough: Chapter 3

Covert agent Cyril DePaul thinks he’s good at keeping secrets, especially from Aristide Makricosta. They suit each other: Aristide turns a blind eye to Cyril’s clandestine affairs, and Cyril keeps his lover’s moonlighting job as a smuggler under wraps.

Cyril participates on a mission that leads to disastrous results, leaving smoke from various political fires smoldering throughout the city. Shielding Aristide from the expected fallout isn’t easy, though, for he refuses to let anything—not the crooked city police or the mounting rage from radical conservatives—dictate his life.

Enter streetwise Cordelia Lehane, a top dancer at the Bumble Bee Cabaret and Aristide’s runner, who could be the key to Cyril’s plans—if she can be trusted. As the twinkling lights of nightclub marquees yield to the rising flames of a fascist revolution, these three will struggle to survive using whatever means—and people—necessary. Including each other.

Debut author Lara Elena Donnelly’s spy thriller Amberlough is available February 7th from Tor Books. Read chapter 3 below, or head back to the beginning with chapter one!

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Amberlough: Chapters 1 and 2

Covert agent Cyril DePaul thinks he’s good at keeping secrets, especially from Aristide Makricosta. They suit each other: Aristide turns a blind eye to Cyril’s clandestine affairs, and Cyril keeps his lover’s moonlighting job as a smuggler under wraps.

Cyril participates on a mission that leads to disastrous results, leaving smoke from various political fires smoldering throughout the city. Shielding Aristide from the expected fallout isn’t easy, though, for he refuses to let anything—not the crooked city police or the mounting rage from radical conservatives—dictate his life.

Enter streetwise Cordelia Lehane, a top dancer at the Bumble Bee Cabaret and Aristide’s runner, who could be the key to Cyril’s plans—if she can be trusted. As the twinkling lights of nightclub marquees yield to the rising flames of a fascist revolution, these three will struggle to survive using whatever means—and people—necessary. Including each other.

Debut author Lara Elena Donnelly’s spy thriller Amberlough is available February 7th from Tor Books. Come back every Wednesday from now until the release date for additional chapters!

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Perfume: A Little Piece of Fiction to Wear Against Your Skin

In this ongoing series, we ask SF/F authors to describe a specialty in their lives that has nothing (or very little) to do with writing. Join us as we discover what draws authors to their various hobbies, how they fit into their daily lives, and how and they inform the author’s literary identity!

My dad has a story he used to tell about the Rose Lady. She was a regular customer at the upscale restaurant where he waited tables, and the whole staff could smell her coming from down the block. “She wore so much rose perfume,” he said. “It was like she’d showered in it. I think she’d burned out her nose and couldn’t smell it anymore.”

From this oft-repeated story, I got a sense that perfume was something tasteless and impolite. Something that you imposed on other people who weren’t entirely into the idea. This was reinforced by my mother’s perfume allergy, by the scent-free sanctuary at our U.U. fellowship, by my father’s disdain for the cloying, powdery Bath and Body Works lotion I insisted on wearing throughout high school.

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