Magical Menageries Colouring Book

Unicorn in an autumn forestI’m currently open to submissions of speculative stories about all things equine for Equus, the latest title in my Magical Menageries series. If you’re interested in submitting check out the call for submissions here, or find out what happens after you submit here.

But this is not about that 🙂

Not only is Equus the fifth title in my Magical Menageries series, it’s also meant to be the final book in that series. With the series coming to a close I wanted to come up with a way to mark and celebrate it because it is one hell of a collection.

So I’m going to produce a Magical Menageries colouring book!

The idea is that I will give it away as swag at conventions or sell it at the cost of shipping from my website for those who won’t be at the same conventions that I am. The only problem is I am *so* not an artist.

Which means I need to hire some.

I will be asking each participating artist to provide me with one colouring page to represent each book in the Magical Menageries collection, so five in all. Those books are:

  • Fae — fairies, forests, fairies, green men, fairies… you get the idea. Mostly fairies… but not so much of the Tinkerbell variety.
  • Corvidae — Magpies and ravens and jays, oh my!
  • Scarecrow — D’oh! I should have saved the Wizard of Oz reference for this description. Because yes. Scarecrows.
  • Sirens — Sirens from both the sea (mermaid type) and sky (winged type)
  • Equus — Horses, unicorns, Pegasus, centaurs…

If you’re not familiar with the books and find yourself stuck for subject matter I will be happy to provide a sample story to help inspire you.

I’m looking for colouring pages however you define that. It might be something as complex and detailed as this:

Detailed zentangle mermaid for coloring page

something simpler, like this:

Coloring page The magic bird

Or even this:

Outlined illustration of an adorable fairy

I want a mixture of styles and detail levels and will be asking for the nonexclusive use to the images (which means you’ll be free to sell or use them elsewhere too).

I will offer a token payment per image (starting around $5-10) plus contributor copies.

If you are interested in contributing to the colouring book please contact me at rhonda.l.parrish@gmail.com with a sample of your work or a link to your portfolio and a note about your expected rate of payment.

I’d like to have all the artists lined up by January so I’ll be open to receiving emails about this until December 15th, 2016.

Thank you!

SIRENS -- cover by Jonathan C. Parrish

Win a SIRENS ARC

SIRENS -- cover by Jonathan C. Parrish

Sirens are beautiful, dangerous, and musical, whether they come from the sea or the sky. Greek sirens were described as part-bird, part-woman, and Roman sirens more like mermaids, but both had a voice that could captivate and destroy the strongest man. The pages of this book contain the stories of the Sirens of old, but also allow for modern re-imaginings, plucking the sirens out of their natural elements and placing them at a high school football game, or in wartime London, or even into outer space.

Featuring stories by Kelly Sandoval, Amanda Kespohl, L.S. Johnson, Pat Flewwelling, Gabriel F. Cuellar, Randall G. Arnold, Micheal Leonberger, V. F. LeSann, Tamsin Showbrook, Simon Kewin, Cat McDonald, Sandra Wickham, K.T. Ivanrest, Adam L. Bealby, Eliza Chan, and Tabitha Lord, these siren songs will both exemplify and defy your expectations.

Did you know that you can win a copy of Sirens? An advance copy, even. That’s right, you can be one of the first people to get to read this beauty 🙂 All you have to do is enter this draw from Goodreads and your name will be tossed into the hat for a chance at a free copy shipped right to your doorstep 🙂

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Sirens by Rhonda Parrish

Sirens

by Rhonda Parrish

Giveaway ends May 17, 2016.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.


Unfortunately because of the prohibitive cost of shipping books internationally that giveaway has to be limited to people in the USA and Canada. However, one of the awesome things about electronic book files is that you don’t have to pay to ship them all over the world. I can’t offer you an electronic ARC of Sirens as a prize (because reasons) but I can offer you an awesome and related prize.

One lucky entrant will win a Magical Menageries collection which will include electronic copies (.ePub or .Mobi) of:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good luck!

Corvidae Contributor Interview: Laura VanArendonk Baugh

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Over the coming weeks I’d like to share interviews that Magnus and I conducted with the contributors to Corvidae and Scarecrow. This week we’ll talk with Laura VanArendonk Baugh. I really probably should have combined this with Laura’s interview for Scarecrow but, uh, well I didn’t. So there you go 😉

Interview with Laura VanArendonk Baugh

What is it about corvids that inspired you to write about them? Corvids are kind of underappreciated. That is, lots of people like them, but they like them for their gothic reputation and associations, like Poe’s poem. Don’t get me wrong, I like gothic associations! but corvids are more than that. (I’m also a big fan of bats and all their vampiric trappings, but bats are also cool for more than just their Transylvanian relatives. Build a bat house!)

Was there one corvid characteristic you wanted to highlight more than others? So here’s the thing – my story features a corvid cognition researcher and a trainer, and yet nothing in it remotely stretches the truth of corvid capability. As far as cognition and behavior goes, the story is pretty boring. So when truth is more impressive than fiction, they must be pretty clever birds.

My day job is in animal behavior, so it was fun to get to write a nerdy behavior story where that stuff was actually plot-relevant. And in fact this story was directly inspired by a friend’s impressive research in counting (in dogs), so I enjoyed that!

Do you think you were successful? I hope so. In the sequel story, in Scarecrow, a character mentions that humans only respect and conserve those bits of nature which fascinate or impress them. As a professional I can tell you that all animals are much more clever than you think – you just don’t generally get a chance to see them in action. If we thought of them as sentient and smart, it would change how we do a lot of things, from industrial farming to environmental conservation.

As you may know, one of Edmonton’s local Twitter personalities is Magnus E. Magpie who haunts Twitter as @YEGMagpie. I invited him to read an advance copy of Corvidae and Scarecrow and offer a short cawmentary on each story from a magpie’s point of view, which he did. When he was finished I asked if there was anything he’d like to ask the contributors. The italicized portions are mine because Magnus didn’t ask straight-forward questions on account of he’s a magpie 🙂 Laura’s answers may sound familiar on account of that Scarecrow contributor interview thing, but it’s too late for me to change that 😉

Mr. Yegpie: I also would sure love to know where they got their ideas from! I caught several familiar references from existing books and mythology and fairy tales; I like seeing people riff off stuff. (What inspired your story/poem?At a training and behavior conference, a training friend (the always-amazing Ken Ramirez) shared some of his research on what I’ll describe simply as counting in dogs. As we sat at the faculty table for dinner the next night, I told him he’d given me an idea for a story. This story ended up being only partly related to that first idea, but that’s how ideas work, right?

Mr. Yegpie: I think I would like to know what people’s favourite corvid is though; and if it isn’t a magpie, WHYEVER NOT?!? (If they come back with some guff about crows using tools, PLEASE LET ME KNOW AND I WILL SEND THEM A COPY OF MY ROGERS BILL. Pffft, crows.) (What is your favourite corvid?Okay, after all my guff about people liking corvids only for their gothic associations…. I confess to liking ravens in particular just because of Edgar Allan Poe’s classic poem. I mean, come on. Vincent Price, enormous black birds, despair, what’s not to love?

But magpies can be very striking, visually. I wish we had magpies locally to admire.

I guessed, but I had to Google to confirm – a Rogers bill is for wireless and internet, so Mr. Yegpie uses a smart phone for all his tweeting! Clever bird. 🙂

 

Laura was born at a very early age and never looked back. She overcame childhood deficiencies of having been born without teeth or developed motor skills, and by the time she matured into a recognizable adult she had become a behavior analyst, an internationally-recognized animal trainer, a costumer/cosplayer, a dark chocolate addict, and a Pushcart Prize-nominated author with a following for her folklore-based stories and speculative fiction. Find her at www.LauraVanArendonkBaugh.com.

Cover for CORVIDAE. Design by Eileen Wiedbrauk

Available Direct from the Publisher:
World Weaver Press

Or Find it Online:
Amazon
Goodreads
Kobo

Corvidae Contributor Interview: Megan Engelhardt

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Over the coming weeks I’d like to share interviews that I conducted with the contributors to Corvidae and Scarecrow. This week we’ll talk with Megan Engelhardt. I’ve had the pleasure of working with Megan before, but she and her sister also have the rather dubious honour of being the first people I ever took a selfie with ;0)

Interview with Megan Engelhardt

Please share a short excerpt from your story:

A feather is mounted on the wall in Zinnia’s study. It is just over two feet long. The feather is iridescent blue with hints of green, yellow and even a little red revealed in just the right light. It is very soft to touch. I remember how soft.

It is on her wall, Zinnia says, to remind us of our great failure, of the time we were neither quick enough nor clever enough. It is the reason we will never again work for hire. It is the reason why even now, years later, we pay our respects to every magpie that crosses our paths.

We owe it to them. We owe them our lives.

What is it about corvids that inspired you to write about them? They’re so smart — almost creepily so.

Was there one corvid characteristic you wanted to highlight more than others? That intelligence, and their adaptability, as well. Corvids are birds that get the job done, whatever the job happens to be.

If you were a corvid, what would you build your nest out of? Judging from my kitchen junk drawer, my nest would be built of bits of ribbon, slips of paper inscribed with things that I’m supposed to remember, Sharpie pens and small toys I’ve taken away from my children.

 

Despite being terrorized by chickens as a child, Megan Engelhardt still enjoys and respects birds — from a distance. She lives in northeastern Ohio with her husband and two sons and can be found online at megengelhardt.wordpress.com or on Twitter @MadMerryMeg.

 

Cover for CORVIDAE. Design by Eileen Wiedbrauk

Available Direct from the Publisher:
World Weaver Press

Or Find it Online:
Amazon
Goodreads
Kobo

Corvidae Contributor Interview: Mike Allen

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Over the coming weeks I’d like to share interviews that Magnus and I conducted with the contributors to Corvidae and Scarecrow. This week we’ll talk with Mike Allen.

Interview with Mike Allen

Please share a short excerpt from your story:

A spider with a leg span wider than my outstretched hand squeezed out from the space behind the light switch, and spread its wings.

I froze, my finger still on the toggle. Behind me the dust-draped ceiling fan hummed to life, the light bulb beneath it flicking on to paint the monster with my shadow.

The marks on its body formed a single staring eye above a screaming mouth.

What is it about corvids that inspired you to write about them? In this case a little bird approached me, heh, heh, and asked me to consider creating a corvid story that didn’t involve crows, ravens or magpies. I was intrigued with the idea of writing about a bluejay, because I have a thing for blue, and the more I read about these birds, the more inspiration I found. I had already written two short stories (“The Hiker’s Tale,” “Follow the Wounded One,” published) and a whole novel (unpublished) that take place in a world where certain special people have spirit animal forms possessed of immense power. I didn’t start out intending to set “The Cruelest Team Will Win” in that universe, but the elements just snapped into place unbidden.

Was there one corvid characteristic you wanted to highlight more than others? 
In the case of the bluejay, the ability the bird has to smash open acorns with a single peck of its beak.

If you were a corvid, what would you build your nest out of? The scalps of my enemies.

What’s your favourite ‘shiny’ thing? For me, there’s nothing shinier than a wickedly good story.

As you may know, one of Edmonton’s local Twitter personalities is Magnus E. Magpie who haunts Twitter as @YEGMagpie. I invited him to read an advance copy of Corvidae and Scarecrow and offer a short cawmentary on each story from a magpie’s point of view, which he did. When he was finished I asked if there was anything he’d like to ask the contributors. The italicized portions are mine because Magnus didn’t ask straight-forward questions on account of he’s a magpie 🙂

Mr. Yegpie: It would be cool to know where all these stories came from, I mean geographically – like I think I could tell who was from Edmonton and who was from Vancouver! (Where do you live, and did that affect your story/poem at all?I live in the Appalachians, and though “The Cruelest Team Will Win” isn’t explicitly set there, all the other stories in the series most definitely are.

Mr. Yegpie: I also would sure love to know where they got their ideas from! I caught several familiar references from existing books and mythology and fairy tales; I like seeing people riff off stuff. (What inspired your story/poem?At its heart, my fear of flying spiders.

Mr. Yegpie: I think I would like to know what people’s favourite corvid is though; and if it isn’t a magpie, WHYEVER NOT?!? (If they come back with some guff about crows using tools, PLEASE LET ME KNOW AND I WILL SEND THEM A COPY OF MY ROGERS BILL. Pffft, crows.) (What is your favourite corvid?I’m a raven man, myself.

 

Mike Allen edits the digital journal Mythic Delirium and the critically-acclaimed Clockwork Phoenix anthology series. He’s a three-time winner of the Rhysling Award for poetry; his short story “The Button Bin” was a Nebula Award finalist. His newest poetry collection, Hungry Constellations, offers a 20-year retrospective on his career, while his first collection of horror stories, Unseaming, debuted in October to starred reviews from Publishers Weekly and Library Journal. By day he’s the arts columnist for the daily newspaper in Roanoke, Virginia, where he lives with his wife and frequent project co-editor Anita Allen, as well as a dog named Loki and two sister-felines, Persephone and Pandora.

 

Cover for CORVIDAE. Design by Eileen Wiedbrauk

Available Direct from the Publisher:
World Weaver Press

Or Find it Online:
Amazon
Goodreads
Kobo

Corvidae Contributor Interview: M.L.D. Curelas

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Over the coming weeks I’d like to share interviews that Magnus and I conducted with the contributors to Corvidae and Scarecrow. This week we’ll talk with M.L.D. Curelas whose story allowed me to check off the ‘Steampunk corvid story’ on my TOC wishlist for this anthology 🙂

Interview with M.L.D. Curelas

Please share a short excerpt from your story:

“Right.” Hanna leaned forward and adjusted the knob of the gaslight lamp, brightening the alcove where they sat. “Let me see her up close.”

He lowered the bird to the table, and she hesitated, then stepped down, wings held aloft for balance, croaking irritably.

Jenny was mostly black and white, with streaks of blue on her wings and tail–a magpie. One of her legs was artificial, brass, by the look of it, with miniscule gears and cogs serving as joints. One eye was also clockwork. It click-clacked and a telescopic lens protruded from the socket.

What is it about corvids that inspired you to write about them? They’re so intelligent! Recommended reading for everyone: In the Company of Crows and Ravens. And I love Charles de Lint’s stories that focus on the Crow Girls and Lucius the Raven.

Was there one corvid characteristic you wanted to highlight more than others? I wanted to have the magpie muttering and participating in the conversations. I remember a few years ago hearing people talking in my backyard. It sounded almost like a cocktail party! I went outside and it was a magpie, having a conversation with herself.

Do you think you were successful? I think so. Jenny has opinions!

If you were a covid, what would you build your nest out of? Goat hair.

What’s your favourite ‘shiny’ thing? New books.

As you may know, one of Edmonton’s local Twitter personalities is Magnus E. Magpie who haunts Twitter as @YEGMagpie. I invited him to read an advance copy of Corvidae and Scarecrow and offer a short cawmentary on each story from a magpie’s point of view, which he did. When he was finished I asked if there was anything he’d like to ask the contributors. The italicized portions are mine because Magnus didn’t ask straight-forward questions on account of he’s a magpie 🙂

Mr. Yegpie: I also would sure love to know where they got their ideas from! I caught several familiar references from existing books and mythology and fairy tales; I like seeing people riff off stuff. (What inspired your story/poem?Calgary, not too far from you!

Mr. Yegpie: I also would sure love to know where they got their ideas from! I caught several familiar references from existing books and mythology and fairy tales; I like seeing people riff off stuff. (What inspired your story/poem?Corvids are known for their attraction to shiny things. It seemed that a magpie would be a good thief. Crows will often help wolves locate carcasses, so the magpie’s partner had to be a wolf.

Mr. Yegpie: I think I would like to know what people’s favourite corvid is though; and if it isn’t a magpie, WHYEVER NOT?!? (If they come back with some guff about crows using tools, PLEASE LET ME KNOW AND I WILL SEND THEM A COPY OF MY ROGERS BILL. Pffft, crows.) (What is your favourite corvid?Obviously, magpies.

 

M. L. D. Curelas lives in Calgary, Canada, with two humans and a varying number of guinea pigs. Raised on a diet of Victorian fiction and Stephen King, it’s unsurprising that she now writes and edits fantasy and science fiction. Her most recent short fiction, an Old West set steampunk story, can be found in the anthology Kisses by Clockwork. She is also the owner of Tyche Books, a Canadian small-press which publishes science fiction and fantasy.

 

Cover for CORVIDAE. Design by Eileen Wiedbrauk

Available Direct from the Publisher:
World Weaver Press

Or Find it Online:
Amazon
Goodreads
Kobo

Corvidae Contributor Interview: Michael M. Rader

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Over the coming weeks I’d like to share interviews that Magnus and I conducted with the contributors to Corvidae and Scarecrow. This week we’ll talk with Michael M. Rader.

Interview with Michael M. Rader

Please share a short excerpt from your story:

“He worked late on Tuesdays, perhaps rushing to meet some unknown deadline on Wednesday. His motivation doesn’t matter, his location matters, the solitude of the university matters. I padded softly through the darkened, echoing brick hallways of the animal sciences building. It was cold. This antiquated edifice is incapable of capturing heat; every wisp of warmth seeps through the crumbling mortar into the crisp October evening. I heard creaks and rumblings and voices and footsteps ricocheting through the building, but I knew we would be isolated in the ornithology wing, which is cast so, so very far away from the civilized lands of the grant-laden Primatologists and Herpetologists. I crept slowly down the hall, so very slowly, the minute hand of the steadily ticking clock in the old man’s office moved faster than my feet. In time, I noticed my heart joined the clock tick in synchronization, the clock and I had fused in purpose; it conspired with me to steal the old man’s time. This was a good omen, a sign my cause was pure and just. Time is reasonable, time is order and I am an orderly, reasonable woman.”

What is it about corvids that inspired you to write about them? I read a lot about animal behavior, and I’m particularly interested in animals that use tools and exhibit higher intelligence like mirror self-recognition. Naturally, most of these animals are great apes, but there are two fascinating outliers: cephalopods and corvidae. Cephalopods have giant brains, so that’s maybe less surprising. However, the phrase “bird brain” exists for a reason. Birds have physically small brains, and anyone who has spent a lot of time with your average bird is not going to be terribly impressed with their intelligence. Except for corvidae. Ravens can use tools, Eurasian Magpies can recognize themselves in mirrors (the only non-mammal capable of doing that), and crows can recognize faces and communicate descriptions. No other family of bird can do that. They’re not just weirdos in the animal kingdom, they’re weirdos in their own class. I guess I just have a soft spot for that.

Was there one corvid characteristic you wanted to highlight more than others? Definitely the concept of the corvidae family’s higher intelligence, and also how some members of their family (blue jays) aren’t quite as impressive. 

Do you think you were successful? I set out to tell a story about intelligence, how it differs from sense, and how just being in the right bird family (or academic setting) doesn’t make you intelligent, practical, sensical or sane. I believe the characters in my story, and the corvidae they study, really highlight that  characteristic.

If you were a corvid, what would you build your nest out of? Memory foam for comfort, pages from Discworld novels for entertainment and strips of political manifestos just to be edgy.

What’s your favourite ‘shiny’ thing?  Love? No, that’s far too sappy. I’ll go with bits of broken glass instead.

As you may know, one of Edmonton’s local Twitter personalities is Magnus E. Magpie who haunts Twitter as @YEGMagpie. I invited him to read an advance copy of Corvidae and Scarecrow and offer a short cawmentary on each story from a magpie’s point of view, which he did. When he was finished I asked if there was anything he’d like to ask the contributors. The italicized portions are mine because Magnus didn’t ask straight-forward questions on account of he’s a magpie 🙂

Mr. Yegpie: It would be cool to know where all these stories came from, I mean geographically – like I think I could tell who was from Edmonton and who was from Vancouver! (Where do you live, and did that affect your story/poem at all?I’m from Colorado, right on at the foot of the rocky mountains. You’ll be happy to know we have the same sort of Magpies here as in Edmonton, although perhaps less handsome and sophisticated.  I believe my location did affect my story a fair bit since I based my descriptions on local flora and fauna, and the university in my story is very heavily based on my own.

 Mr. Yegpie: I also would sure love to know where they got their ideas from! I caught several familiar references from existing books and mythology and fairy tales; I like seeing people riff off stuff. (What inspired your story/poem?My story was stolen very blatantly from a story called The Tell-Tale Heart by some guy named Edgar Allan Poe. Fortunately he’s dead and can’t do much about it. Well, he could haunt me, but I’d be far more flattered than frightened if he did so.

More personally, I wrote this while struggling through a very difficult project at my university that ended up delaying my graduation by a year, so more than a few of my feelings and frustrations inspired this story. My professor is still very much alive, though, and I wish him no ill will.

Mr. Yegpie: I think I would like to know what people’s favourite corvid is though; and if it isn’t a magpie, WHYEVER NOT?!? (If they come back with some guff about crows using tools, PLEASE LET ME KNOW AND I WILL SEND THEM A COPY OF MY ROGERS BILL. Pffft, crows.) (What is your favourite corvid?While I did write about blue jays in my story, it was only to highlight how silly and stupid they are in comparison to the far superior members of their family: crows, ravens and magpies. While this may sound ingratiating, I do think magpies win out over the other corvids since they can recognize themselves in mirrors on top of being able to use tools. That’s gorilla level intelligence there, and we humans will likely be subservient to your kind in a century or so.

 

Michael M. Rader lives in Colorado with his wife and two children where he does dad things, engineers electrical things and writes spooky things.

Cover for CORVIDAE. Design by Eileen Wiedbrauk

Available Direct from the Publisher:
World Weaver Press

Or Find it Online:
Amazon
Goodreads
Kobo

Magical Menageries on Sale!

Short Fic Sale

World Weaver Press is celebrating short fiction by putting all their short fiction on sale. That means, for a limited time, you can pick up any of my Magical Menageries for 25% off the paperback price or $0.99 for the ebook. If you haven’t read all of these titles, now is the perfect time to change that. I mean seriously–less than a buck. That’s pretty tough to beat 🙂

World Weaver Press’ Short Fiction Sale

Corvidae Contributor Interview: Michael S. Pack

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Over the coming weeks I’d like to share interviews that Magnus and I conducted with the contributors to Corvidae and Scarecrow. This week we’ll talk with Michael S. Pack. In addition to having a story in Corvidae, Michael also had a story in Metastasis — the anthology I edited to benefit cancer research.

Interview with Michael S. Pack

Please share a short excerpt from your story:

That morning, Chris hadn’t woken up. The nurses mumbled answers that dodged the only question that still mattered. Later, a doctor would stop by on rounds to explain what Lorraine already knew. A machine alarmed. She turned to look, but it was routine. Some drug run its course. A bag that needed flushing. A kink in the IV line. Nothing that could make a difference. A nurse came and went.

When she turned back to the window, she almost fell out of her chair in shock. A large black raven perched on the stone ledge. It cocked its head such that one black eye stared through the glass. Its beak, a hard, black finger length, opened as it quorked a sound that made Lorraine think of water drops. It could see her through the glass, but it showed no fear. It quorked again. As suddenly as it had appeared, it launched into flight. The great pinions of its wings beat the air.

The bird was gone, and she was alone again with her dying son. 

What is it about corvids that inspired you to write about them? Ravens have interesting ambiguity when they appear in myths and folklore. They can represent wisdom, but also destruction. They can be messengers of the gods or forerunners of war—or both. They create, but they also play the role of the trickster. The uncanny intelligence of ravens has led people around the world to imbue them with supernal, almost mystical, cunning. And, in many myths the raven literally exists in a state of ambiguity: a part of our “real” world as well as a part of the spirit world. 

Was there one corvid characteristic you wanted to highlight more than others? The sound of their wings in flight.

If you were a corvid, what would you build your nest out of? Twigs. I’m all for tradition.

What’s your favourite ‘shiny’ thing? Firefly. 😉

As you may know, one of Edmonton’s local Twitter personalities is Magnus E. Magpie who haunts Twitter as @YEGMagpie. I invited him to read an advance copy of Corvidae and Scarecrow and offer a short cawmentary on each story from a magpie’s point of view, which he did. When he was finished I asked if there was anything he’d like to ask the contributors. The italicized portions are mine because Magnus didn’t ask straight-forward questions on account of he’s a magpie 🙂

Mr. Yegpie: It would be cool to know where all these stories came from, I mean geographically – like I think I could tell who was from Edmonton and who was from Vancouver! (Where do you live, and did that affect your story/poem at all?I live on the north coast of British Columbia, and ravens are abundant here. There’s one that hangs out around our house who likes to talk to the cats. Not sure what he says. Location mattered in one other way as well. The hospital in the story is loosely inspired by St. Paul’s Hospital in Vancouver.

Mr. Yegpie: I also would sure love to know where they got their ideas from! I caught several familiar references from existing books and mythology and fairy tales; I like seeing people riff off stuff. (What inspired your story/poem?A few years back, I saw the aurora borealis for the first time. The image stayed with me, and I ended up reading some on myths around the northern lights. The thread of myth where ravens use the lights as a gateway to the spirit world resonated with me. That I first saw the aurora while my son was recovering from a lung transplant has some obvious implications for my story.

Mr. Yegpie: I think I would like to know what people’s favourite corvid is though; and if it isn’t a magpie, WHYEVER NOT?!? (If they come back with some guff about crows using tools, PLEASE LET ME KNOW AND I WILL SEND THEM A COPY OF MY ROGERS BILL. Pffft, crows.) (What is your favourite corvid?I’ve met ravens and crows, whiskey jacks and jays of all kinds, but never a magpie. I couldn’t do a magpie proper justice in a story. I would have to say I favour ravens.

 

Michael S. Pack was born in the Deep Southern US, but he fled to Canada after an encounter with a particularly fierce mosquito swarm. His short stories have appeared in several anthologies, most recently Missing Monarchs (Fox Spirit 2014) and Fractured: Tales of the Canadian Post-Apocalypse (Exile Editions 2014). He is currently working on an epic fantasy novel. He sometimes posts on twitter @Michael_Pack and on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/M.Pack.Author

Cover for CORVIDAE. Design by Eileen Wiedbrauk

Available Direct from the Publisher:
World Weaver Press

Or Find it Online:
Amazon
Goodreads
Kobo

Corvidae Contributor Interview: Adria Laycraft

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Over the coming weeks I’d like to share interviews that I (and Magnus) conducted with the contributors to Corvidae and Scarecrow. This week we’ll talk with Adria Laycraft. I met Adria through Fae, and my friendship and professional working relationship with her are one of the best things to have come out of that anthology.

Interview with Adria Laycraft

Please share a short excerpt from your story:

“It was a stone crow that saved me,” she said, remembering that awful final night. “I hit him with it, in the head. He thought it was a raven when he gave it as a gift.” The idea struck her as funny, and she laughed. Raven laughed too, tossing his head back and pointing his beak at the sky.

What is it about corvids that inspired you to write about them? I love birds in general, but corvids hold a special place in my heart for their intelligence and tenacity. I think they appear in so many mythologies and legends because they are worthy of it!

Was there one corvid characteristic you wanted to highlight more than others? I wanted a modern riff off old myths, highlighting Raven’s trickster ways, his laziness, and the fact he is seen as Creator in so many West Coast stories.

If you were a corvid, what would you build your nest out of? The feathers of my foe. Mwhahahaha…

What’s your favourite ‘shiny’ thing? As many are aware, I collect crystals and minerals. They are my ‘shiny’ treasures, my precious.

As you may know, one of Edmonton’s local Twitter personalities is Magnus E. Magpie who haunts Twitter as @YEGMagpie. I invited him to read an advance copy of Corvidae and Scarecrow and offer a short cawmentary on each story from a magpie’s point of view, which he did. When he was finished I asked if there was anything he’d like to ask the contributors. The italicized portions are mine because Magnus didn’t ask straight-forward questions on account of he’s a magpie 🙂

Mr. Yegpie: It would be cool to know where all these stories came from, I mean geographically – like I think I could tell who was from Edmonton and who was from Vancouver! (Where do you live, and did that affect your story/poem at all?I live in Calgary, but my heart lies on the West Coast of Vancouver Island where my story is set, in the village of Ucluelet.

Mr. Yegpie: I also would sure love to know where they got their ideas from! I caught several familiar references from existing books and mythology and fairy tales; I like seeing people riff off stuff. (What inspired your story/poem?My story was inspired by various Raven stories of the Pacific Northwest people, especially the Nuu-chah-nulth.

Mr. Yegpie: I think I would like to know what people’s favourite corvid is though; and if it isn’t a magpie, WHYEVER NOT?!? (If they come back with some guff about crows using tools, PLEASE LET ME KNOW AND I WILL SEND THEM A COPY OF MY ROGERS BILL. Pffft, crows.) (What is your favourite corvid?It’s hard to choose between my beloved magpie friends, the noisy but entertaining jays, the wonderful crow girls I’ve met, and the magnificent raven characters I’ve known. Mr. Yegpie, we are all family, I cannot choose a favourite!

 

Adria Laycraft reading from her story, Water Sense, at the Fae launch at WWC 2014

Adria has stories in IGMS, the Third Flatiron Anthology Abbreviated Epics, FAE, OnSpec Magazine, Tesseracts Sixteen, James Gunn’s Ad Astra, Neo-opsis Magazine, and Hypersonic Tales, among others. She is a graduate of the Odyssey Writers Workshop and a member of the Imaginative Fiction Writers Association (IFWA). Adria is also an award-nominated editor. For more details visit adrialaycraft.com.

Cover for CORVIDAE. Design by Eileen Wiedbrauk

Available Direct from the Publisher:
World Weaver Press

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Corvidae Contributor Interview: Leslie Van Zwol

CORVIDAE blog tour banner

Over the coming weeks I’d like to share interviews that I (and Magnus) conducted with the contributors to Corvidae and Scarecrow. This week we’ll talk with Leslie Van Zwol. Leslie is only beginning to build up a publication history but trust me when I say you really wanna keep your eye on her writing career because she is going places. And I’m not just saying that because she’s my friend, though I’m proud to call her such 🙂

Interview with Leslie Van Zwol

Please share a short excerpt from your story:

Suddenly the sound of hundreds of wings beating in unison is behind me. I have a brief surge of courage before I decide courage is a bad idea and dive into a juniper bush, holding my breath and hoping this camouflage isn’t as pathetic as it seems. The streetlights flicker and go dark. Shadows race past me converging into a solitary point as he materializes on the sidewalk. I watch the Nachtkrapp rise out of the darkness, his death-black sockets burning through the juniper bush.

He is at least three times my size. Matte feathers draping around him like a thick woollen cloak; he cocks his ebony skull to the side watching me as I free myself from the bush.

A sharp curved beak blends flawlessly into the coal-coloured bone like some macabre embellishment from the Devil’s wardrobe. He reaches one of his four bony talons towards me. “One for sorrow… six for gold.” His voice hisses like burning bark.

What is it about corvids that inspired you to write about them? Corvids are too smart for their own good, and their high intelligence often comes out in mischievous ways – this is what I love about them. You often see a group of corvids picking on a lone dog, a bird of prey, a human, or even a wolf. They just don’t care about anything. They lack the natural fear you see in most species. They are the embodiment of the ‘idle hands’ warning – too smart, too cunning, too bored!

Was there one corvid characteristic you wanted to highlight more than others? I wanted to highlight their faults and their talents. Corvids are notoriously resourceful and fearless, but they are not very physically strong. I really wanted to show how they use their skillset to get around their weaknesses – not much slows a corvid down.

Do you think you were successful? I think I did a good job… well I hope so.

If you were a covid, what would you build your nest out of? Anything I could find, but I would lean towards the side of ‘things that did not stink’. No garbage. I would use mint gum as an adhesive, and find the prettiest accessories and add some bling around the edges.

What’s your favourite ‘shiny’ thing? I am a fan of sequins and glitter, but I don’t like them in high concentration, more like a tasteful sprinkle. I am most assuredly not a corvid.

As you may know, one of Edmonton’s local Twitter personalities is Magnus E. Magpie who haunts Twitter as @YEGMagpie. I invited him to read an advance copy of Corvidae and Scarecrow and offer a short cawmentary on each story from a magpie’s point of view, which he did. When he was finished I asked if there was anything he’d like to ask the contributors. The italicized portions are mine because Magnus didn’t ask straight-forward questions on account of he’s a magpie 🙂

Mr. Yegpie: It would be cool to know where all these stories came from, I mean geographically – like I think I could tell who was from Edmonton and who was from Vancouver! (Where do you live, and did that affect your story/poem at all?Well first off, the story came from my vivid imagination. Which, is currently located in southern Alberta. More specifically Lethbridge.

Mr. Yegpie: I also would sure love to know where they got their ideas from! I caught several familiar references from existing books and mythology and fairy tales; I like seeing people riff off stuff. (What inspired your story/poem?How my story was inspired: I really wanted to highlight what a magpie would be if he was a person. His flaws (oh, so many flaws) and strengths. That preliminary idea grew into my grubby, fast-talking, bear-poking, adaptable, shiny-collecting detective. I also wanted to use the traditional magpie poem in a murder/mystery/fantasy setting. Mash those ideas together, blend for 3-5 minutes, then bake for an hour on 350 degrees and you have ‘A Mischief of Seven’.

Mr. Yegpie: I think I would like to know what people’s favourite corvid is though; and if it isn’t a magpie, WHYEVER NOT?!? (If they come back with some guff about crows using tools, PLEASE LET ME KNOW AND I WILL SEND THEM A COPY OF MY ROGERS BILL. Pffft, crows.) (What is your favourite corvid?My favorite corvid is a magpie. Although, I have this strange image of the corvids of the world uniting and taking over the Earth…. Just saying.

Leslie Van Zwol is an avid genre writer who enjoys adding a dash of grit to mystical worlds. She spends her days working for justice to support her nighttime writing habit, and is always on the lookout for her next adventure or inspiration. She also attributes the accuracy of this story to the noisy magpies that were constantly squawking outside of her window during the writing process. (Although the crows continually voiced their objection to the subject matter.)

Cover for CORVIDAE. Design by Eileen Wiedbrauk

Available Direct from the Publisher:
World Weaver Press

Or Find it Online:
Amazon
Goodreads
Kobo