"Porcelain Skin" in Hardened Hearts

"Porcelain Skin" is that rare story that came together easily. When Unnerving editor Eddie Generous put out a call for an anthology of dark stories of difficult love, I was intrigued. Eddie was looking for not only stories of love between humans and other humans, but humans and monsters and even humans and objects.

I immediately thought of a music-box ballerina as a potential love interest, and having the music box be a portal to her world. But who would step through that portal? Whose life would be so compartmentalized that they had to literally keep their romantic love in a box?

My husband pointed out that the elderly are underrepresented in love stories, and something clicked. I thought of a beloved relative who passed away years ago, a kind and quiet woman who lived alone. Her little North Georgia mountain house was full of Faulkner novels, volumes of poetry by American female poets, and books about art and ballet. That kind relative died before we could converse as adults, so I know things about Ruth, the main character of "Porcelain Skin," that I can only wonder about for her. I hope that she knew how much her family loved her.

"Porcelain Skin" is a melancholy, sometimes dreamlike story of unspoken love. It keeps company with a vast variety of stories, from sexy to scary to sweet (and a few combinations thereof), from writers such as Tom Deady, Meg Elison, and Gwendolyn Kiste. You can find these 17 stories in Hardened Hearts, edited by Eddie Generous. This book is available as a paperback and as an Ebook.