The Next Big Thing (is Fairy Tales)

Once upon a time, there was a small village where it was always nighttime, even at the height of day. All manner of persons inhabited the land, and many types of monsters, too; pensive zombies, curious ghosts, and a few nightmare creatures we'd rather not mention.

They even had their own evil wizard.

Because it was always nighttime, even at the height of day, the villagers found themselves nursing a very strange fear. Whereas you or I might be afraid of the dark, the people of this village were afraid of the light.

Welcome to the village of Brightsbane.

I have always, always, always loved fairy tales. I don't suppose I'm unique in that respect. But I think a lot of people eventually grow out of them, whereas I seem to keep growing into them. The older I get, the more I love a good magic spell, a sinister potion, and a cranky, ill-fated witch. 

A decade ago, I wanted to write books that adults and critics and the landed gentry would take seriously (or as seriously as my style will allow--I haven't seen Apocalypticon win any Pulitzers yet). Now, though, as I forge ahead through my thirties, it seems all I want to write are fairy tales.

Enter The Brightsbane Compendium.

This is my next big project. The Compendium will be part one of a two-part set. This first part will be a collection of fairy tales from the dark land of Brightsbane, where children and ghouls and all sorts of magics live in not-quite-perfect harmony. In the Compendium, the stories will be passed on from a village elder to a brave young girl who's been selected for a very important mission; venture out of Brightsbane and find the people who stole the light. In order to complete her mission, she'll need the knowledge of Brightsbane's past; its people, its monsters, and its secrets. These are the tales we'll be told in The Brightsbane Compendium.

The second Brightsbane book will be a continuation of the Compendium story. It will be a fairy tale novel tentatively called The Search for Dimsdeath in which our young heroine ventures beyond the borders of Brightsbane and uses the lessons she learned in the elder's fairy tales to seek out the stealers of the sun. 

In my head, the Brightsbane tales are a mixture of Tim Burton, Edward Gorey, and the Brothers Grimm. And there's a little Clayton Smith thrown in there, too.

I've already written the first Brightsbane tale, a story of two recently hanged thieves called "Two Former Rogues." It's been published in the Dapper Press Lounge, where you can read it for free through the end of October. Just click the button below to be taken to the Lounge. (You'll need the password, of course, but it's easy to get that. Just head to and fill out the form.)

I sincerely hope you enjoy it. And keep an eye out for other tales from The Brightsbane Compendium as they become available. A few of them are sure to peek their heads up here and there over the next several months.

Clayton SmithComment