‘Black-Eyed Peas on New Years’ Day: An Anthology of Hope’ Edited by Shannon Page.

Featuring in ‘Black-Eyed Peas on a New Year’s Day’, a new anthology of short stories, I bought two paper copies for my own use, and have been reading the collection carefully over several weeks, as so many of the stories merit closer study and reflection.

Starting the New Year with a dish of black-eyed peas is traditionally good luck. And ‘Black-Eyed Peas on a New Year’s Day‘ is a feel-good collection, mainly of fantasy offerings, carefully and colourfully written, with some real humdingers included to get the pulse racing. It’s very interesting to notice how a collection is put together, and how it, perhaps deliberately, perhaps unconsciously, reflects the genre preferences and tastes of the commissioning editor. That is obvious, but how often have I assumed, just because I like a story, that others will like it too?

We don’t all suit the same colours, wear the same clothes or think about the same things; and in variety is strength, so I have been nicely reminded that taste is very personal, and not to swerve around something unusual just because it hasn’t had much of a place in my usual library: this collection is refreshing, intriguing and very well written, and I do recommend it to anyone who would like to be thoughtfully entertained, or who, perhaps, is used to saying that fantasy holds no appeal for them. We may have been reading in the wrong places. Perhaps now is a good time to stretch our expectations and see how life colours up differently.

I’ve appreciated having this volume at my bedside because I find it cheering, inventive and involving. There are stories that excite and which I find genuinely charming – such rip-roaring imagination! – and which give me a glimpse of how I can write inventively too, when I allow my imagination and sense of humour to fly. Thank you to Shannon for such a warm, heart-felt project, colourful and invigorating in the early days of a cool Springtime. Delicious stories collected together make this a volume to cherish.

Thanks for reading.

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