It's time to visit another author from the upcoming anthology Masquerade: Oddly Suited. Let's hear from Chelsea Marie Ballard as she talks a little about her short story "Remedy."
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I’m just going to come right out and say it: there is no such thing as coincidences.
Masks are a prevalent theme in my recent writing. I’m working on my first series which focuses on the invisible masks people wear, the faces we show the world instead of our true one. So, when I saw the theme for the newest IWSG Anthology, I immediately knew I had to enter the contest. Also, it was YA romance. I mostly write young adult, but with a strong romance arc, so I figured I could make the leap.
It seemed almost too good to be true. A true alignment of the planets.
More than a simple coincidence.
But I wanted to do something different. Something lush and beautiful and brimming with angst. I had this idea of a girl with an opulent swan mask, something classic ‘Masquerade Ball’. I also had an itch to add a hierarchy, to add stakes for the young couple. Always tending to veer towards the dystopian, I made a new world, complete with self-made royalty and indentured servants.
A world where love was impossible, scoffed at and hated.
That’s when the bird idea popped into my head. A swan. A pigeon. A raven. Perfect allusions to the personalities lurking underneath. Plus, visually dynamic and fun to imagine.
The last hump was naming my short story. Masks puns are surprisingly difficult to think of. You’d think it would be easier. After agonizing over the title, my husband came up with the couple name for my love birds: Remedy. It was short, sweet, and a little on the nose, but it grew on me.
I hope you enjoy following Remy and Rudy as they attempt to remedy their fates in a harsh world with their boundless love.
Everything is against Remy and Rudy, but on the night of the Masquerade Ball, they must choose: each other or their lives?
Born with privilege in the Protected Lands means money, power, and ease. For Remy, it means forever being apart from Rudy. On the night of the Masquerade Ball, Remy must choose between duty and heart. Which will prove stronger?
He leaned in close, the laughter still sparkling in his eyes. “I asked if you were sure about this, my beautiful wanderer?”
Rudy pulled on one of the feathers woven into my chestnut hair. Brilliant white swan feathers that were twins to the ones fashioned onto my sweeping mask. Rudy tilted up his own pigeon mask as soon as we snuck out of the ball. Its gray feathers gleamed luminescent in the moonlight on top of his dark head.
The wind was a light breeze, careful in its caress. The lapels of his neglected jacket looked like wings as they swayed. My simple white dress twisted in the zephyr, the linen of my bell sleeves flapping.
While a welcome break from the stuffiness of the ballroom, the wind would carry our voices.
So as instead of an answer, I kissed him.
A light, sweet kiss. Like Rudy. Like my love for him. Nothing like the heated kisses we shared so many nights before when our bodies dared to burst into flame; dared to light up the darkness with our love.
No, this kiss was a chaste kiss, so light that anyone who happened to walk out the gilded golden doors would find two servants, drunk off stolen wine, stealing innocence.
Chelsea Marie Ballard Bio:
A student of all things, Chelsea has turned her passion for flowery prose, angsty television, and biology toward her writing. She enjoys rare vines, quirky people, and a good love/hate story. This gold-ranking gamer lives in Bucks County, PA with her family, anxious dog, and fat cat.