Tuesday, March 06, 2007


ISABO KELLY is the award-winning author of numerous science fiction, fantasy and paranormal romance novels, short stories and novellas. After finishing her Ph.D. in Zoology in Ireland, she buckled down to concentrate on writing. Isabo currently lives in New York City with her brilliant Irish husband and her mad dog Eddie Monster. You can visit Isabo at her website www.isabokelly.com or email her at isabo (at) isabokelly.com. She loves hearing from readers.

Kelly's contribution to SUM3 is “The Last Guardian”, which mixes unrequited love and demonic threats into a suspenseful fantasy adventure.

When I first heard about the Zircon Short Story Awards, I got so excited. I’ve been writing speculative romance for years and publishing since 1999. But it’s nearly impossible to find a home for short stories, and I love writing them. There’s something so satisfying about being able to finish writing an entire story, beginning to end, in a day or two. Lot less daunting than a full length novel!

Then in a matter of two months, I was invited by a small web-newsletter to submit a short story for publication (any genre—yay!), and I read that my favorite speculative romance newsletter was hosting a short story contest. Yay again! So I decided to think of a story to submit to the Zircons.

As a side note, I wrote a story for that other newsletter, too. The newsletter is now defunct (very sad), but the story is up on my website. It’s called Kellyn’s Sacrifice—a fantasy romance. And a related novella, The Heron’s Call, was just released by Samhain Publishing (http://samhainpublishing.com/).

When I started mulling over ideas for the Zircons, the first thing that came to mind was the opening scene of The Last Guardian. I could practically feel the exhaustion and fear running through Neeka’s body as she stumbled through the dark forest trying to escape…something. I had to figure out the something later. But I did know she was running toward the only man she thought could help her. And that man just happened to be in love with her. At that point, I figured I had a decent idea, so I started writing.

I’m a real write by the seat-of-my-pants kind of author. All I need is an opening and I’m away. I figure the rest out as I go. The “something” chasing Neeka came to me as I was writing the opening scene for the first time. But I was a third of the way through the story before I realized why she was being chased. And even then, I had a few…things I needed to clarify. Eventually, with multiple edits, the story came together. In a week, I had my submission ready. All I needed was a title.

At this point, I have to give a special thanks to my friend Dr. Claire Cave. She was kind enough to read this story for me and help me with a title. The Last Guardian was her suggestion and it worked perfectly. So many thanks Claire!

I wanted the Zircons to be successful and continue for years to come, and I knew they’d need plenty of submissions for this to happen. I wrote my story with the intention really of supporting a wonderful contest. I never expected to final. When I won, I got so excited I had to do a happy dance with my dog.

Speculative Romance is my genre. It’s what I write and what I read. And I love it. I particularly love stories that take risks and cross genres in unusual ways. So I was honored to be included in the SUM3 collection with so many excellent examples of cross-genre writing. Roll on Speculative Romance!

Isabo Kelly

SUM3 at Amazon

SUM3 at Fictionwise

SUM3 Website Extravaganza

1 comment:

Meankitty Says... said...

I still remember the final editor's comment about Isabo's story too -- something along the lines of "We can't publish a story that long at this time, but I'm sure she'll have no trouble placing it elsewhere. It's an excellent piece of writing."

I was *thrilled* it was still available when we put the anthology together!