The second Beside Press preview I have to share is Maiden, Mother, Crone, which is upcoming from the publisher, but I do not have a specific date for this one. This anthology is a collection of short fiction by trans women and trans feminine writers collected by poet and author Gwen Benaway. As an anthology it is the first by trans femme authors to explore the realms of magic, supernatural beings, and alternate universes. Trans femme characters become the focus of these stories and inhabit the magical worlds of fantastic places.
Fantasy was always a safe space for Gwen Benaway and was something that helped her to transition into the strong woman she is now. She wanted this collection to showcase the powerful trans femmes whose lives she felt connected with the journeys of the mystical heroines she had always loved. Fantasy gives writers the freedom to create whatever they want and through this book trans femmes can be anything and can do anything. The first story in the book, “Mountain God” is by Benaway and focuses on a magic user named Aoyas, who has been pushed into doing battle when she has always hoped to do magic in the capital city. She is currently traveling with an ax fighter named Rais, who suffers from terrible dreams. Each night she comforts him and holds him as the terrors pass. They had met each other by chance in a tavern and had fallen for each other rather quickly. The two find themselves drawn into fights and having to protect each other in battle. Their love though shines through the story no matter what judgement or adversity they face.
In “Forest’s Edge,” by Audrey Vest a woman named Denya must venture into the world of fairy in order to bring her wife, Bren back to her and their daughter. Bren had almost died giving birth to their daughter, but has instead been lost away from her family. Their daughter has grown sick and while Denya was given a potion after her birth to feed her she cannot save her alone. The story ties into the tales of fairy deals and how one can be lost to the fairies, but Denya does all she can to return her wife to their home and family. Author Gwynception’s story “Potions and Practices” introduces Violet, a character who is an Outlier. This identification is curious as it means she does not truly belong in the world. The stories throughout include so many different variations on fantasy that regardless of the element of the genre that you enjoy most you would be able to find something to enjoy in this collection. You can find out more about Maiden, Mother, Crone on the Beside Press website.