Undiscovered gems of genre fiction are not so rare after all, and theyre a lot easier to deal with for me when they come packed together in a nice collection like this.... If youre looking to add another story to that tower at your bedside, then Invisible Pleasures the kind you experience reading, which says something about this book is a great way to top it off. Rick Kleffel, The Agony Column
. . . this is an excellent collection by one of the best writers of fantasy that I have ever encountered. Sam Tomaino, SF Revu.com
I read all of them all the way through, which regular readers will know is unusual for me with short fiction. If you are prepared to accept the mix of styles . . . then you should find this book entertaining. Cheryl Morgan, Emerald City
Zambreno writes psychologically astute historical fiction, as well as sensitive fantasy, but dont underestimate her twisted sense of humor. Those looking for an anthology of unusual and varied subjects should read Invisible Pleasures for its own merits . . . and not just because Jane Yolen said so. Elizabeth Allen, Tangent Online
Mary Frances Zambrenos stories of powerful, intuitive women have engaged readers young and old for over twenty years. Known primarily for her young adult novels (Journeyman Wizard, A Plague of Sorcerers), you will find that her tales for adults are equally Fast-moving, expertly written, and altogether charming.* Her first collection, Invisible Pleasures is a gathering of the best of her adult and young adult short fiction with four new stories for her fans.
Queens, healers, witches, adventurers, students, young girls and others are the focus of these tales. Zambrenos protagonists are always pushed to the limit, finding their individual strength and resolve though adversity. Whether they occupy the authors home of Chicago or the worlds of fairie, their journeys take place in a hostile world, whose threats are conquered by clear thinking, intellect and courage.
At their heart, Zambrenos stories are puzzles whose clever resolutions surprise and amaze the readers who have grown to love them. With a deft hand she misdirects, teaches and astounds in stories that flow as easily as water. American Fantasy is proud to publish this collection which we are sure will become one of your favorites.
A 500 copy hardcover first edition with an introduction by Jane Yolen.
WHY INVISIBLE PLEASURES?
Well, the title is taken from Robert Browning's "THE LABORATORY: ANCIEN RÉGIME " Which I provide here for your enjoyment:
1 Now that I, tying thy glass mask tightly,
2 May gaze thro' these faint smokes curling whitely,
3 As thou pliest thy trade in this devil's-smithy--
4 Which is the poison to poison her, prithee?
5 He is with her, and they know that I know
6 Where they are, what they do: they believe my tears flow
7 While they laugh, laugh at me, at me fled to the drear
8 Empty church, to pray God in, for them!--I am here.
9 Grind away, moisten and mash up thy paste,
10 Pound at thy powder,--I am not in haste!
11 Better sit thus and observe thy strange things,
12 Than go where men wait me and dance at the King's.
13 That in the mortar--you call it a gum?
14 Ah, the brave tree whence such gold oozings come!
15 And yonder soft phial, the exquisite blue,
16 Sure to taste sweetly,--is that poison too?
17 Had I but all of them, thee and thy treasures,
18 What a wild crowd of invisible pleasures!
19 To carry pure death in an earring, a casket,
20 A signet, a fan-mount, a filigree basket!
21 Soon, at the King's, a mere lozenge to give
22 And Pauline should have just thirty minutes to live!
23 But to light a pastile, and Elise, with her head
24 And her breast and her arms and her hands, should drop dead!
25 Quick--is it finished? The colour's too grim!
26 Why not soft like the phial's, enticing and dim?
27 Let it brighten her drink, let her turn it and stir,
28 And try it and taste, ere she fix and prefer!
29 What a drop! She's not little, no minion like me--
30 That's why she ensnared him: this never will free
31 The soul from those masculine eyes,--say, "no!"
32 To that pulse's magnificent come-and-go.
33 For only last night, as they whispered, I brought
34 My own eyes to bear on her so, that I thought
35 Could I keep them one half minute fixed, she would fall,
36 Shrivelled; she fell not; yet this does it all!
37 Not that I bid you spare her the pain!
38 Let death be felt and the proof remain;
39 Brand, burn up, bite into its grace--
40 He is sure to remember her dying face!
41 Is it done? Take my mask off! Nay, be not morose;
42 It kills her, and this prevents seeing it close:
43 The delicate droplet, my whole fortune's fee--
44 If it hurts her, beside, can it ever hurt me?
45 Now, take all my jewels, gorge gold to your fill,
46 You may kiss me, old man, on my mouth if you will!
47 But brush this dust off me, lest horror it brings
48 Ere I know it--next moment I dance at the King's!