The Royce family has been a plague on the small, Southern town of Lewis for generations. Caleb has heard rumors about the family his whole life, just like he's heard the rumors about a monstrous creature known as Catfish John living in the swamp. When the Royce house burns down, Caleb's father—Lewis's sheriff—takes in the sole survivor, a young girl named Cere. Caleb quickly learns the truth about Archie Royce and the terrible fate he had planned for his daughter. After a woman is brutally murdered, Cere begins to suspect that not all of her family perished in the fire, and she and Caleb set out to stop her father's dark vision from coming to pass. Years later, Caleb is the Sheriff of Lewis, and the monsters of his childhood return. Now Caleb must fight to protect those he loves from Archie Royce's legacy, and his best hope may be a legend he's almost managed to convince himself never existed—Catfish John.
"Even though Catfish Lullaby has its share of monsters, darkness, and characters fighting to save the world," A.C. says, "at its heart, it's a story about family. Caleb lost several people in his life early on, and he's terrified of losing the rest of the people he loves. As an adult, the very concept of family frightens him, even as he craves that closeness and connection. For Cere, her journey is about overcoming the family she was born into and protecting the family she chooses.
"In-between family and fighting monsters, Catfish Lullaby is also a novella about the power of stories—how legends are born, how they are passed down through the generations, and how they can shape a person's worldview for good or for ill."
Catfish Lullaby will be released in March of 2018. Cover illustration by Sishir Bommakanti.
A.C. Wise is a transplanted Canadian, born and raised in the suburbs of Montreal, and currently living in the suburbs of Philadelphia. Her short fiction has appeared in publications such as Clarkesworld, Tor.com, The Dark, Liminial Stories, and The Year's Best Dark Fantasy and Horror 2017, among others. She has two collections of short fiction published by Lethe Press, The Ultra Fabulous Glitter Squadron Saves the World Again and The Kissing Booth Girl and Other Stories, which was a finalist for the Lambda Literary Award. In addition to her fiction, she publishes semi-regular Women to Read and Non-Binary Authors to Read columns on her blog and contributes a monthly short fiction review column to Apex Magazine. Find her online at www.acwise.net and on twitter as @ac_wise.
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