Happy Labor Day. No, I’m not actually working today. I do occasionally take a day off. And this year, I really need it. Because Wednesday is a very big day.

My daughter starts kindergarten.

I’m not sure I’m ready for this. I mean, how did five years fly by so fast? And while I look forward to the days when I don’t hear the word “Mommmmyyyyy” shouted from every corner of the house demanding my assistance, I will miss the closeness that comes from being perceived as the source of everything fixable in the world. One day, she won’t come to me to kiss her boo boos or to help her dress her dollies or to snuggle together on the couch. One day, she won’t curl up in my lap in a full-body hug and beg me not to go to work (even though this is bittersweet and breaks my heart every time). One day, she won’t whisper in my ear on a daily basis, “I love you so much, Mommy.”

Oh, I’ll always be her mom, and she’ll always be my child. She’ll still need me, but in different ways. And she’ll learn to fix her own problems, as she should. This is the natural course of things. I’ve always known that.

But the first day of kindergarten drives that reality home. I’m ready, but I’m not. I suppose this is the nature of parenting. A constant tug between attachment and independence. For her and for me.

And I will lovingly teach her to be independent. I will accept the stages as they come.

But what if parents don’t accept those stages. What if they were given the opportunity to make sure their child stayed just that—a child—permanently? And what would that do to the child?

Coolhunting ebook cover rebrand web 284That’s the idea behind Kristine Kathryn Rusch’s award-winning novella Coolhunting, which has an awesome new cover thanks to custom art by Philcold of Dreamstime. (Fun irony: He used his daughter as a model for this cover.)

Here’s the synopsis of this Locus Award finalist, and winner of the Science Fiction Age Reader’s Choice Award:

Steffie makes her living as a coolhunter—someone who discovers an interesting look and makes it fashion, often overnight. She’s escaped her stifling upbringing, but her sister KD has not. KD, genetically altered to remain a child, asks Steffie to help her run away from home, and Steffie just might try.

A Locus Award finalist, and winner of the Science Fiction Age Reader’s Choice Award, Charles de Lint of The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction said of Coolhunting: “This is a fascinating and thought-provoking novella and perfectly exemplifies one of the reasons I enjoy Rusch’s writing as much as I do. Her stories often unfold with a breezy, entertaining flow, leading one to expect something fuzzy and warm. Except at its heart, her fiction has a deep emotional edge that, while it might seem at odds with the storytelling style, turns out to be perfectly suited to it, paying off her readers with rich dividends.”

This novella will stick with you, I guarantee it.

But for now, I’ve got to run. I need to go pick up a long list of school supplies before Nola’s first day of school.

Allyson Longueira is publisher of WMG Publishing. She is an award-winning writer, editor and designer.