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Posts Tagged ‘fairy tales’

I want to talk for a moment about one of my favorite e-zines, Enchanted Coversation. Enchanted Conversation is dedicated to fairy tales, something I adore almost as much as I adore dragons. Four issues a year are devoted to new approaches and analysis of traditional fairy tales. They also have a blog which delivers flash fiction by some of their regular contributors.

On Monday last, Enchanted Conversation presented a fun flash fiction about dragons and their hoards. I couldn’t resist sharing, so here’s a link to that. Enjoy! Afterward, I hope you’ll take a look at everything Enchanted Conversation has to offer.


Wyrmflight: A Hoard of Dragon Lore — $4.99 e-book or $17.99 trade paperback. Available at Amazon or Draft2Digital.

 

 

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One of my big finds in 2016 was Enchanted Conversation: A Fairy Tale Magazine. It’s part small press, part blog, part art catalog, and all-around fantasy paradise.

Editor Kate Wolford does an amazing job of collecting contemporary short stories for her bi-monthly electronic magazine. There’s a theme list, with each issue always based on a traditional fairy tale. Those of you who write should definitely take a look at her submission guidelines. I always enjoy the stories and look forward to new issues.

Once or twice a week, her blog highlights classic 20th Century artists whose work shaped the popular image of fairy tales. This is something I especially enjoy, because the visual aspect has been a key driver of the genre. These days, we might think of fairy tales and music, since Disney’s approach of doing fairy tale musicals has become dominant. However, it’s the artists of 100 years ago who really brought fairy tales into the form we most think of. I enjoy seeing the less common images Wolford discovers.

Although the emphasis isn’t specifically on dragons, they do often turn up in fairy tales. So if you enjoy traditional folk stories and fairy lore, take a look at Enchanted Conversations. I know you’ll enjoy what you find there.

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That’s right, my anthology Wee Folk and Wise is now in stores. We’ve even got a review — and a great one, too. So what will you find in these pages? A world of enchantment!

All over the world, fairy tales are told. There are big fairies and little fairies. Ugly fairies and pretty fairies. Wise fairies and silly fairies. Sweet fairies and scary fairies. Twenty authors share their own fantastic fairy tales in this magical collection. What kind of fairy will you meet here?

The twenty-two authors contributed a spectrum of stories. Lillian Csernica and James Penha offer retellings of international fairy tales. C. F. Bentley takes us to the stars. Jean Martin, Manny Frishberg and Edd Vick draw us into the past. Beth Cooley, Kara Race-Moore and Samuel Poots bring the urban/contemporary vibe. Cinthia Ward and Elizabeth Guizzetti make us shiver with terror. Philip Thorogood slaps us with the parody stick. And that’s only half of it!

If you like fairy stories, this anthology is perfect for you. Check us out. Tell your friends. Wee Folk and Wise is available at fine electronic bookstores near you.

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And cymbals crash as the door flies open. Ta-da! Aunt Ursula’s Atlas is here.

So I’m super-excited, in my stoic way. After years of searching out markets for my retro fantasy short stories, I’ve taken the leap to self-publish a collection. It’s a little bit scary, but mostly fun, to bring out a book on my own initiative.

 

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Cover illustration by Margaret Organ-Kean.

On a high shelf, in a hidden library,
There is a book of unknown wonders.

Open its pages. Explore mysterious lands.
See for yourself what lies within
Aunt Ursula’s Atlas.

So what’s inside?

Dragons, of course! And a unicorn. Some witches. A dryad. A dwarf. Thrilling adventures and hard lessons to learn. All this for $3.99.

Eleven short stories for middle grades — that is, grades 4 to 6. Half are in the fairy tale style you might remember from my podcast, The Dragon King. The others are an assortment of fantasy styles.

Where can you get this wondrous-ness?

Right now, it’s available only as an e-book. Trade paperback is in the works. It’s in Apple, Kindle and Epub formats, through a variety of outlets. I hope you’ll follow your favorite link and give it a try.

General purchase hub (links to Apple, Nook, Kobo, 24 Symbols, Inktera). Others soon to be available include Page Foundry, Scribd and Tolino.

And, of course, Amazon.

Not exactly a purchase link, but here’s Goodreads as well.

One last thing

Reviews! If you do buy the book, I sure could use some reviews. I’ll be contacting a few friends about specific publicity, but any one of you could add it to wish lists, mark it to-be-read, and otherwise help spread the joy.

Thanks for being so awesome!

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This anthology caught my eye with its juxtaposition of modern (Steampunk) with ancient (folk tales). Traditional stories have a way of drawing new authors and artists to re-create and re-examine, so it’s no surprise an editor would give them a Steampunk twist. The combination could have been almost too cute, but these stories worked for me.

Of particular interest is David Lee Summers’ “The Steam-Powered Dragon,” which adapts one of the less known Grim Brothers stories, “The Devil and His Grandmother.” Summers brings the deserting soldiers to life with gently pointed humor, and succeeds in convincing us that even a steam-powered monstrosity can still love its Grandma.

I also enjoyed “From the Horse’s Mouth,” by Bernie Mojzes, which is based on “The Goose Girl,” and “The Clockwork Nightingale” by Jean-Marie Ward, inspired by Andersen’s “The Nightingale.”

If you like a good fairy tale and a swashbuckling Steampunk good time, you’ll enjoy Gaslight & Grimm.

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I’m bringing you a blast from the past today, a rare example of Victorian children’s writing that has survived to the modern day. Edith Nesbit was British, born in 1858, and a life-long rebel. She married a socialist writer and was involved in the political causes of the day, including women’s suffrage and worker rights. She was a shocking figure who smoked in public, wore her hair short, and generally showed disdain for Victorian social conventions.

Nesbit began selling poetry at age 15 and continued all her life. It’s a mark of her strong personality that she wrote under her own name rather than her husband’s, which would have been Mrs. Hubert Bland. Yet it’s also telling that she chose to conceal her gender by using her initial, E. Nesbit. Even today, some of our greatest women writers, like C. J. Cherryh and J. K. Rowling, do the same thing.

Amid the constant scramble of writing to keep her family fed, Edith Nesbit made a pioneering contribution to children’s literature. In 1890 there was very little writing specifically for children, and that was mostly sermonizing about how to live a proper British life. Nesbit combined fantasy — fairy tales were big in Victorian literature — with more realistic elements of child behavior and modern life. She referred to real places, such as Crystal Palace, and her child characters were often naughty before their basic goodness won out.

The Book of Dragons is a collection of Nesbit’s short stories, all combining kids, magic, and dragons. Remember that this is Victorian literature. There’s a lot of passive voice. Characters are either good or evil, and not much suspense about the outcomes. All the dragons have just one goal: to eat everyone in the world. Yet Nesbit has great verve, humor, and invention. In many ways, her stories reads like precursors to Roald Dahl and the Oz series of her contemporary, L. Frank Baum.

Of the eight short stories collected here, “The Island of the Nine Whirlpools” is a favorite. A loyal queen is sent to visit a witch by her husband, a stern and unloving enchanter/king. The queen asks to get a baby, sort of like ordering draperies for the palace, but makes a small omission and receives a girl instead of a boy. The king is irate and basically never forgives the queen. The tale strikes me as a poignant comment on women’s lives in the Victorian Era, when men owned everything and women and children struggled to be heard.

Although popular in her time, Nesbit is no longer well known. Her works do survive in “classics” editions by Dell Yearling, or you might find her in a used book store near you. If you like Baum or Dahl, they’ll be worth the hunt.

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Greetings, mortals. It is I, Cazarluun the Majestic, Guardian of Venge Hill and Defender of the Light. As a true dragon*, I shall enlighten you on the nature of the constellations.

Mortals have given various names to those figures drawn by the stars. They are a hobjob, frankly, of humans, animals and fantastic beasts, all tossed upward with no rhyme or reason. Allow me to explain that there is, in fact, a solemn story written in the heavens.

Let us begin with what you call “Cepheus,” a supposed king among humans. Look carefully at the shape, flat on one end and pointed on the other. You will see, as we dragons do, that this is The Egg, and it lies at the center of our most sacred legend.

Near The Egg is a longer, twisting shape called “Draco” by humans. In this case, you’re very close. Mother Dragon is her name, and she keeps watch to protect her precious egg against any who would harm it.

Beyond The Egg is what you call “Cygnus the Swan.” To us this is The Heron, Mother Dragon’s trusted companion. Finally, you have dubbed another extended constellation as “Hydra.” In fact, this is Father Dragon, hunting food for his beloved mate.

As the story tells, many animals had heard that Mother Dragon was guarding a great treasure. They thought it was gold or a talisman of power. In fact, it was far more precious — it was The Egg. Mother Dragon did her best to drive them away, but there were too many of them. She grew exhausted by her efforts. The Heron flew to find Father Dragon, who returned just in time to stop the greedy animals from stealing The Egg.

Be grateful, mortals, that I have shared such wisdom with you. 

* Cazarluun is another dragon character who appears in Lucy D. Ford’s forthcoming short story collection.

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