Novels

Praise for The Weary God of Ancient Travelers:

"Brimming with suspense and carefully controlled darkness, the sounds and smells of Greece waft from every page as Stilling moves back and forth from Lydia's past life to her present with a dexterity and skill commensurate with Audrey Niffenegger." - Damian McNicholl, author of A Son Called Gabriel and The Moment of Truth

"A suspenseful read that follows a woman with no memory except for her arrival in Santorini with a man she’s drawn to trust. How can she trust this mysterious man if she doesn’t even remember his name? She navigates her own mind in search of her past and identity which is a journey derailed by memories of a life that wasn’t hers. Jessica Stilling sets the story among a backdrop of stunning scenes of Greece described as being almost visceral with a unique compilation of romance, mystery, and self-inspection. The Weary God of Ancient Travelers is considered compelling as the story weaves between her past life to her present one and set upon descriptions of Greece that come to life off the page." 

-- San Francisco Book Review

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The Weary God of Ancient Travelers

ISBN: 978-1941072950

Amnesia, star crossed lovers, a beauitful Greek island... and then there are Nazis!

Who is Lydia Warren? That's what she'd like to know. An amnesiac, she vaguely remembers arriving in Santorini with this one-armed man she instinctive trusts but cannot recall his name. She guides us through the fog that is her mind, and her odyssey towards understanding that is even further complicated by memories of a life not her own from before she was born. As she travels through Greece she meets an 80 year antique dealer with a few secrets of his own, a past life psychic with her own agenda, a UN investigator with a heart of gold and discovers that the love of her life has been right in front of her all along.

"5 Stars" - Whispering Stories Book Reviews

 

"The blend of romance, the compelling-almost visceral-descriptions of Greece, mystery, and the psychological self-inspection all work together to create an absolutely compelling piece worthy of high recommendation." - D. Donovan, Midwest Book Review

 

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Coming Soon! Between Before and After

Out November 2022

Indie movie director Sebastian Foster has found his niche making movies based on the award-winning novels written by his estranged mother. However his latest film, based loosely on the tragic death of his sister as a child, opens up old wounds best left under bandages. Told in two concurrent timelines, now and when Sebastian was a teen, some twenty years ago in the mid-1990s, this story of learning unknown truths unwinds in the streets of Paris, where he has returned to to make his picture.

 

 

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Book I: The Seidr Sagas: The Rise of Runes and Shields
ISBN: 1955065500

Witchcraft need not be evil.
Twins Freyja and Bjorn live in a time when Viking magic, called the Seidr, is deemed witchcraft and forbidden. When their home is attacked by men sent from the tyrannical local earl, who accuses their mother of a murder she did not commit, the twins are forced to flee into the night and onto an adventure to not only prove their mother's innocence but also set to rights the ills created by the misuse of the Seidr.
Along the way, they both make new friends, reunite with lost allies, visit hidden worlds, and learn the true ways of the Seidr, until they find themselves caught in the middle of the never ending war of the Fire and Frost Giants. Bjorn must learn the ways of magic and Freyja the life of the shield maidens if they are to survive.

'Stephen creates a story propelled by battles and political and social savvy alike as each twin comes into his and her own powers, yet remains firmly connected to family....Stephen captures the rise of powers and magic in this world. The result is a story fueled by passion and energy that will attract and delight young adult fantasy readers with its special brand of coming-of-age and magical transformations. Libraries looking for strong beginnings to series presentations will find The ise of Runes and Shields a powerful introduction to a broken world that requires fixing on many new levels." -- The Midwest Book Review

 

 

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Just So Many Places 
ISBN: 1648904157

Marissa and Calypso have been outsiders before. As an interracial lesbian couple from very different social classes, they’ve already experienced the odd stare. When the couple arrives on a sheep farm, tucked away in the jagged mountains of Iceland, they plan to forget all their baggage and look to the future.

Marissa, an academic on sabbatical, focuses on taking care of the sheep while attempting to work on her book on Norse mythology. Calypso, an attorney, who works on civil rights cases in New York City, attempts to help her clients while in the middle of nowhere in Scandinavia—quite a feat for any social justice warrior. The added distractions of Marissa’s son Xander, who drops in on them with his entitled college friends in tow, and the constant interruptions from Marissa’s wealthy and connected ex-husband, threaten their peace. As her civil rights cases gain notice in New York City, Calypso starts to feel left out, living so far away.

Two young girls enter Marissa and Calypso’s lives, complicating the solid ecosystem they’ve created in their hideaway. Tavy grew up in the same inner-city poverty that Calypso came from, and with Calypso’s help, she has the talent and intelligence to lift herself up, even when an unplanned pregnancy threatens her future. When Asta Sollilja, an Icelandic teenager with a reputation, finds herself in trouble, she relies on the kindness of the American outsiders to keep her safe.

Just So Many Places captures the majesty and isolation of Iceland. It explores the enduring connections that come with unstoppable love and a sense of history as notions of race and class structures threaten to divide instead of connect. Marissa and Calypso must decide if staying in Iceland is for them or whether they can do more good by going home and rejoining the world where they feel most at home.

 

 

The Pan Chronicles: Young Adult Series:

Into the Fairy Forest is the first novel in the Chronicles of Pan series. Here we meet Philippa "Pippa" Gardener, a 15 year old girl who is whisked away to the Fairy Forest shortly after moving to Upstate New York from California after the death of her mother. Pippa meets satyrs and fairies, wood nymphs and fairy Queens including Queen Mab and The Lady of the Lake. The Chronicles of Pan uses Celtic mythology to explore parallel worlds and as Pippa becomes more and more attached to the Fairy World she not only learns that she is a part of it but that the boy she has fallen in love with is more magical than even the magical creatures in the Fairy Forest had once thought. 

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Into the Fairy Forest 
Book I of The Pan Chronicles

ISBN- 13 978-1941072585

Pippa is a typical teenager, if you don't consider her inability to operate a cell phone. But then a-typical things start to happen. First her mother dies in a mysterious fire, then a fire seems to come after her. After the ground tries to eat her friend, she runs right into the arms of the most beautiful boy she has ever seen, Pan ... Then things get really strange.

When Pan opens a whole new world up to Pippa, she finds herself attending fairy weddings, running with satyrs, and battling a mad centaur. She also learns there are many secrets being kept, some about her and her family, and worse, they are kept from her. But, all she really wants is to find her way back into Pan's embrace.

 

 

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Rise of the Hidden Prince
Book II of The Pan Chronicles

ISBN-194107281X

With her feet planted squarely in both her home world and the fairy world, Pippa Gardner has an assignment: Find the long-lost son of Queen Mab. Her quest is thwarted by various natural disasters such as geysers, earthquakes, and teenage hormones. With the help of both her human and non-human friends, finding the lost Eros is the easy part. What to do with him is a whole other question, one that might be beyond Pippa's control. Meanwhile, the fairy world is preparing for the fight against the long-foretold coming of Ruinae, a malevolent entity which will end both worlds as we know them. While all plan, not all plan to fight on the same side.

 

 

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Silence and Ruptured Waters
Book III of The Pan Chronicles

ISBN-955065128

So far Pippa Gardiner has lost her mother in a fire, fallen in love with a Pan from another reality, the Fairy world, discovered her father was a former Pan, developed a close friendship with a satyr, and discovered she has a half-brother who just happens to the Prince of the Fairies. And that's all been within the last year. Now that her brother seems determined to release the apocalyptic creature known as Ruinae, Pippa has to brace herself for even more shocking revelations as she tries to save both of her worlds from the Ruinae's followers. Most notably, the Squalus, a malevolent being who uses the oceans to wreak havoc.

 

 

Betwixt and Between

ISBN-13 978-1935439844

Betwixt and Between is told through three separate but intersecting stories that all deal with the death of a child in some way. There is the story of Claire, a modern mother living in the real world whose son, Preston, has just been killed. It follows her as she mourns and tries to remember him, as friends reach out to her and in her greif she ever starts speaking to another killer of children who is in jail. All the while Claire is surrounded by the events connected to her son’s murder investigation. There is Preston, Claire’s son, in Neverland, where he is also dealing with the fact that he’s dead. Preston meets an enigmatic and somewhat tragic Peter Pan, who befriends him, becoming closer to Preston than he is to most of the other Lost Boys, as he teaches Preston about the mysteries of Neverland. In Neverland there are fairies and mermaids, Indians and of course pirates. I wanted to use these familiar tropes from the story to explore what it means to lose a child and so all these figures are people who have died who are somehow connected to the loss of a child. The mermaids, for example, are mother’s who have died in childbirth, the pirates are child abusers and other bad guys, who are sectioned off away from the bulk of Neverland in a dark place that is a kind of punishment for them. Peter tells Preston never to go there, but of course he does, and things happen there as well. There is also the story of Mrs. Darling, living in Victorian London, where her neighbor is the author J.M. Barrie, as she waits for her daughter Winifred to wake up from a coma. While Mrs. Darling is waiting for her daughter to wake up, Winifred is in Neverland, just visiting. There, she meets Peter Pan, who changes her name to Wendy and falls in love with her. It is through his falling in love with Wendy and then losing her, that causes Peter to grow up, making him the sadder, more enigmatic figure Preston meets a century later.

"Stilling’s take on this familiar tale is provocative and poignant, rich with emotion and powerfully described, laced with profound contemplation about dying too soon and growing up too quickly."

- Publisher's Weekly review of Betwixt and Between

"At turns happy and unbearably sad, Betwixt and Between is a beautifully realized re-imagining of a classic story that will enchant readers as the original did. "

- Booklist starred review of Betwixt and Between

 

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Nod

 

“And so Cain was cast out and of Eden. He went west, to the land of Nod, east of Eden.” Nod is never mentioned again in the Bible. Where is it? What are the people like? Whatever became of Cain? Now we have the story of the people of Nod, as told through the eyes of Lailah, the woman who would eventually become Cain’s wife. The story of Cain and Able is brought alive and the aftermath examined in a way never before told. But more than that we get the story of a primitive people examining the world around them.

"Nod is a compelling retelling of a Biblical land that only receives casual mention in the early part of the Bible, but here receives embellishment and a perspective that is compelling, unusual, and hard to put down." - The Midwest Book Review

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The Beekeeper's Daughter

The Beekeeper's Daughter is a novel that explores the theme of women struggling with mental illness through the lens of the life of the American feminist poet and novelist Sylvia Plath. Stilling follows Plath's last months in London, England as she struggles to navigate single motherhood, the end of her abusive marriage to the poet Ted Hughes and her floundering writing career all while struggling to keep her head above water. The Beekeeper's Daughter also explores the lives of three other women in this braided narrative. Lorelei Bauer is a modern women struggling with a terrible loss as she comes to terms with the secrets she learns about her mother's past life. This novel also follows Esther Greenwood, the protagonist from Plath's The Bell Jar in a "found" manuscript that speaks to Lorelei.

"An elegantly-crafted and brave tale of the struggle of the artist against betrayal, madness, and myth. Haunted throughout by the legacy of Sylvia Plath, The Beekeeper's Daughter mingles fact and fiction, past and present, into a story that you won't want to put down." -- Danny Goldberg, author of Serving the Servant: Remembering Kurt Cobain

"Stilling's insightful connections, imagry-rich prose, and compassionate explorations of her characters will stay with you long after this novel ends." -- Kate Angus, Author of So Late to the Party