Tag Archives: Fae

Fae Contributor Interview: Shannon Phillips

Fae

It’s another Fae-tastic Friday 🙂

This week I’ve got an interview with Shannon Phillips as well as an excerpt from her story, A Fairy Midwife.

Shannon Phillips’ Interview

What was the inspiration for your Fae story?

Mine is actually a modern spin on a traditional Celtic fairy tale. In its original form, “The Fairy Midwife” centers on a woman who is (at first unwittingly) hired to serve as a midwife to a fairy mother. She gradually realizes that all is not as it seems, and the story can take several turns from there: in some versions she is dutiful and circumspect, and is paid with an apron-full of coal dust that turns to gold when she reaches her home. In other versions, she’s more curious and takes a dab of fairy ointment for herself. When the father realizes that she can now see through glamors, he plucks out her eyes as punishment!

Anyway, I was inspired by that old folktale, but I wanted to bring it forward into the modern world. When I started to think about how modern technology would change the fairies and their world, I started to picture the Greenbud birthing center, and Madon, and Tara. The story almost told itself from that point.

Was this your first foray into writing fairy stories? If no, why do you write fairy stories? What is it about them that appeals to you?

No, it’s definitely not my first fairy story. The first story I ever published was a fairy tale, and I’ve just kept writing them since. My novel, The Millennial Sword, is all about fairies in San Francisco. I love folklore and mythology–I grew up on it, especially Celtic literature. From Lady Wilde, George MacDonald, and Lloyd Alexander all the way back to the Táin Bó Cúailnge and the Mabinogion…I love it all. It’s what I read, so it’s what I write.

Can you tell us a bit about the specific type of fairy creature in your story? Is that your favourite type of fae?

They’re pretty much your basic Sidhe–human-looking, mostly, but immortal and removed from human morality. I do write that kind of fairy pretty often, but I also love kelpies, selkies, brownies, tomte, pookas…even your little flower-skirted faires with butterfly wings. Love ’em all.

Outside of your own writing, who is your favourite fairy character? (ie: Tinkerbell, Puck, etc.) What is it about them that makes them special?

Ack, what a dangerous question! I will say Queen Mab because she is the one I would least like to offend.

Do you believe in fairies?

I believe in them as metaphor. I think they are real in the way that all stories can be real: they tell us real things about ourselves and the world, even if they do not, in the narrowest sense, exist.

 

Excerpt from The Fairy Midwife by Shannon Phillips:

 

The next call came in the afternoon, so she didn’t have the grogginess of sleep-deprivation or even the Listerine to blame. There was just the same dark sedan, the silent little driver with thistle-white hair, and, at the clients’ address, a nondescript apartment that looked like it had been hastily staged for a realtor’s tour. It had a couch and a rug and a spray of pussy willows on the coffee table, and at least this time they’d put in a bed. But there were no hangers in the closet, no toothpaste in the bathroom, and the refrigerator light didn’t even turn on.

The mom was gorgeous, like she could have been a model, but everything she said sounded exactly like the croaking of a toad. The dad had to give the medical history, and it was, again, some complicated story that didn’t quite make any sense. Tara made a noncommittal noise and set about inflating the birthing ball.

The mom croaked louder as contractions intensified. Tara rubbed her back and coached her to breathe: fast-fast-deep, fast-fast-deep. They moved from the ball to the bed to the tub, and ended up delivering on a birthing stool. Tara guided the dad to catch the baby, and found herself getting misty-eyed as the mom gave deep, throaty trills of joy.

The dad tried to pay her in leaves. Oak leaves, brown and crackling, a whole stack of them, and a little bag of acorn caps as well. “No,” Tara said gently, “Madon will send you a bill.” But he insisted on pressing them into her hands.

“So,” she said finally, “I guess you guys are fairies?”

“You weren’t supposed to know,” he said.

FAE quote - marge simon 1

Available directly from the publisher:

Paperback $11.95
Ebook $6.99

Or find it online:

Goodreads
Amazon
Barnes & Noble (Paperback)
Barnes & Noble (Nook)
Kobo
Books-a-Million

Award Eligibility Schtuff

Vanity - Photograph by Rhonda Parrish

It’s that time of year. Where we share the work we did in the previous year which is eligible for awards. This is, for me, an awkward process that always feels a little vain, but I recognise that it is my job and it’s important, so I do it anyway 🙂

Besides, who knows, right?

I published a fair number of things last year, and I am happy to provide copies of it all to anyone who is eligible to nominate or vote for any of the major awards (including, because I am Canadian, the Prix Aurora Awards). If you’re interested in that email me at rhonda@jofigure.com 🙂

Being human, however, I do have a few favourites I would especially like to bring to your attention, and pieces with an asterisk are my favourite, favourite. I’m allowed to have those because I said :-p


Short Story


Seedpaper
(3,400 words)*

Published by Mythic Delirium in April 2014 and then again in the Mythic Delirium anthology which earned a starred review from Publishers Weekly this story was described as being fairy tale-esque, which made me happy.

…when you got down to the marrow of it, she was a storyteller. She created her own paper, beautiful stuff that was strung through with coloured fibers and peppered with seeds and blossoms. She wrote on it, her hand as elaborate as the paper and reminiscent of medieval scribes. She would often sew the pages together, creating books that she lined up, spines out, along her mantle. Sometimes though, she’d bury them by moonlight in her garden—

The Other Side of the Door (2,700 words)
Published by Kzine in January 2014. This is a ghost story I wrote while on vacation in Nova Scotia and it has been described as being haunting and heartbreaking. Two awesome things for a ghost story to be, right?

The boat was carried in on the back of the fog.
Growing up on the bay, Aric had seen boats slip through fog plenty of times, he’d even been on a few of them. They were nothing new or unusual for him, and yet—there was something about the shape in the mist, about this particular vessel. He leaned closer and pressed his forehead against the glass…

 


 

Poetry


Matches
(13 lines)*

Published by Ruminate Magazine in August 2014. This poem isn’t speculative, which is problematic for me since most of the poetry awards I know are speculative, but it is my favourite poem, maybe ever.

She liked their straight lines, / bright red tips. / The sulfur taste / on her tongue…

Hereditary Delusions (32 lines)
Published by Every Day Poets in February 2014. The speculative angle is subtle, but it’s there if you look for it 😉

I thought he’d come / from light years away, / that the dust was residue / from the Big Dipper…

 


 

Editing (Anthologies / Related Work)


Fae
(17 short stories about fairies)
Published by World Weaver Press in July 2014

“The Fae prove treacherous allies and noble foes in this wide-ranging anthology from Rhonda Parrish that stretches boundaries of folk tale and legend. These fairy stories are fully enmeshed in the struggles of today, with dangerous beings from under the hills taking stances against the exploitation of children and the oppression of women, yet offering bargains in exchange for their aid that those in desperate need had best think twice about accepting. There’s no Disney-esque flutter and glitter to be found here — but there are chills and thrills aplenty.” — Mike Allen, author of Unseaming and editor of Clockwork Phoenix

A is for Apocalypse (26 short stories about the apocalypse)
Published by Poise and Pen Publishing (me) in August 2014

“In A is for Apocalypse, the world ends in both fire and ice–and by asteroid, flood, virus, symphony, immortality, the hands of our vampire overlords, and crowdfunding. A stellar group of authors explores over two dozen of the bangs and whispers that might someday take us all out. Often bleak, sometimes hopeful, always thoughtful, if A is for Apocalypse is as prescient as it is entertaining, we’re in for quite a ride.” – Amanda C. Davis, author of The Lair of the Twelve Princesses

 


 

Editing (Fan Publication)


Niteblade Magazine

We published four issues last year (in March, June, September and December) all filled with fantasy and horror short stories, poems and art.

The haunted, wonderful stories and poems published by Niteblade are often unsettling and strange but always utterly fantastic. I look forward to every new issue and I am honored that my work has been a part of it.” – Brittany Warman

(I won’t pick a favourite favourite from my edited works)


 

This year I can nominate and vote only for the Prix Aurora Awards, World Fantasy and Dwarf Star awards (I think). I will be keeping my eyes out for blog posts like this one, listing peoples eligible work, but if you’re afraid I might miss something you’d like me to consider, please don’t hesitate to leave a comment or drop me a line.

Fae Contributor Interview: Sara Puls

Fae
Fae

Sara’s story in Fae, Ten Ways to Self-Sabotage, Only Some of Which Relate to Fairies, was one of three from the anthology honored with a Pushcart Prize nomination from editor-in-chief Eileen Weidbrauk. Sadly, the interview with Sara I’m about to share was conducted long before the nominations were announced so I didn’t ask her about it. Next time. Next time… For now, Sara has plenty to say, and an excerpt to share for Fae-tastic Friday 🙂

Sara Puls’ Interview

What was the inspiration for your Fae story?

My inspiration for writing this story was something pretty mundane–I had a bit of an ant problem at my house. Somehow, that got me thinking about a fairy infestation…

Was this your first foray into writing fairy stories?

I have written one other fairy story of sorts–about a lady that works as a “matchmaker” for the fairy creatures, where fairies are loosely defined as “creatures that exist because we believe in them. Because we talk about them and write about them and dream about them.” That story is available here.

Can you tell us a bit about the specific type of fairy creature in your story?

Well, my story actually contains about eleven types of fairies, including pixies! selkies! dryads! and trolls! The most prominently-featured fairy, however, is a “mermaid fairy,” who contributes to a bit of friction between the two main characters.

 

Excerpt From Ten Ways to Self-Sabotage, Only Some of Which Relate to Fairies by Sara Puls (417 words):

5. A List

As with people, there are many types of fairies:

A. Within the water fairy family, sirens and selkies and mermaids are the most common. At least, these are the ones Elly most often finds spit out through the faucet into her tub. They’re smaller than she would have guessed. And they have green wings that remind her of kelp.

B. The air fairies consist mostly of ill-tempered Tinker Bell types. They’re always whispering about what needs fixing around the house. And they act out something fierce when Elly and Lina crawl beneath the sheets. Elly learns quickly enough that it’s straight to the basement with them.

C. Fire fairies. The untrained eye sometimes mistakes fire fairies for lizards. They get along with no one, save the air fairies.

D. The earth fairies that frequent Elly’s bungalow most often are tree nymphs and trolls. She finds the tree nymphs tending the potted plants in the kitchen. The trolls sneak into the refrigerator to eat up all the rotten vegetables.

E. House Fairies. These fairies supposedly live only to help with household chores. Elly finds such a claim more than a little suspicious. She trusts these fairies less than most. Why would they want to help someone like her? What did she ever do to deserve it? It has to be a trick.

F. There are also goblin-like fairies that speak mostly Spanish and some Portuguese. These are called Duende. Elly has considered taking up the study of Spanish in order to understand their whispers. But she hasn’t found the energy.

G. The Moon fairies appear only during a full moon.

H. The soul catcher fairies. Whenever they’re around, Elly feels like something is eating at her from the inside out.

I. As a child, Elly had heard that fruit fairies help crops grow. This, she has learned, is true. But there is a limit to how much fruit one can eat.

J. Music fairies. These are Lina’s favorite. But Elly can’t stand it when they sing.

K. Finally there are the ice fairies. They think it’s funny to freeze the water in the pipes. Despite their name, Elly has learned that they do not limit their appearance to the winter months.

Lina likes lists. She tells Elly that making lists might help her take more control of her life. Two months into their relationship, Elly has made several lists. But she still hasn’t revealed how she rids the house of the fluttering, singing, sugar-smelling fey.

FAE quote - marge simon 1

Available directly from the publisher:

Paperback $11.95
Ebook $6.99

Or find it online:

Goodreads
Amazon
Barnes & Noble (Paperback)
Barnes & Noble (Nook)
Kobo
Books-a-Million

2014 Goals. How’d I Do?

So this is it. The time of year where I look back at the goals I set for 2014 and find out how well I did at reaching them. What’s usually most interesting about this time for me is seeing how my priorities have shifted over the course of the year, the number of things which were really important to me at the beginning of 2014 which I was happy to back burner (which is totally a verb) but the end.

Also, I have a rule. I may explain failures, but not excuse them. Who wants to read a whole blog post of self-justifications and excuses? Not me LoL

So. 2014 goals. How’d I do?

bold = success

tl;dr — Overall, it was a pretty freaking awesome year 🙂

~*~

Health

  • No drinking pop. Period.
  • Lose 20 lbs
  • Lower blood pressure (bonus points if I get to reduce my medication)
  • Run 5k

Didn’t do so awesomely here. Or well at all, really. I’m still drinking a lot of pop (diet pop, for better or for worse) and my weight has remained steady. Much, much too high, Diet Dr Pepperbut steady. I *was* making (very slow) progress on that 5k run thing before plantar fasciitis reared its ugly head but once it did I was less than enthusiastic about actively stretching to relieve it or exercising in a way which didn’t aggravate it so… pretty sure that counts as an excuse, not an explanation. The only thing I did manage here was to lower my blood pressure. Alas, I did not get to reduce my medication in the process so no bonus points for me. *pout*

~*~

School

  • This degree is taking a ridonkulously long time. I need to finish another course toward completing it this year. Bonus points if I manage two, but it’s important not to lose sight of the fact that this is honestly more of a hobby than anything and it must not negatively effect my work.

I didn’t find the time to finish even one course toward this degree. In fact as of last month I became inactive in my program, which is kinda crappy but I felt like my writing and editing took off to such an extent that it would be a bad choice for me to prioritize school over them at this point in time. So what I’m saying is, I’m okay with having failed to meet this goal. I think it was the right decision.

~*~

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Editing / Publishing

  • Complete Fae and promote the hell out of it.
  • Pursue other anthology ideas
    • I am really, really, really enjoying editing anthologies right now and I’d like to have at least one more under contract with a publisher by the end of 2014.
  • Increase promotion efforts for Metastasis
    • I need to come up with a way to set actual concrete goals for promotion. Not only for Fae and Metastasis, but everything I edit and/or publish. Oh hey!
  • Figure out a way to set concrete goals for promotion. Set concrete goals for promotion.
  • Hold a successful fundraiser for Niteblade
  • Produce a NaNoLJers anthology if interest exists
  • Publish and promote A is for Apocalypse
  • Solicit writers for B is for (haha not telling yet!) and begin that process
  • Continue to edit and publish Niteblade, keeping it something I can be very proud of.
  • Complete the edits on Grammy’s book

Wow. What a year it’s been under Editing / Publishing. Going to tackle all these one at a time…

This is the audience for the launch of Fae at WWC
Audience at Fae Launch at WWC

First, I did finish FAE and I promoted it to the best of my ability. That included getting over my anxiety about holding a physical launch party, and making sure I always had copies of the book on hand at every convention I went to (and I went to three) to sell. Some of these efforts were successful (the party at When Words Collide, for example) and some, like the postcards with discount codes I printed up for World Fantasy were abject failures. Live and learn, right?

I was also successful in pursuing other anthology ideas. My goal had been to have at least one more under contract with a publisher by the end of the year, but I smashed that to bits. I have two anthologies with signed contracts which I’m even now finalizing the tables of contents for and which will be published this year. They are SCARECROW and CORVIDAE. I also have a verbal agreement to begin reading submissions for a fourth anthology for World Weaver Press (tentatively entitled SIRENS: Sea and Sky) this year and publishing it next year.

I did not find any awesome ways to increase promotion efforts for METASTASIS, but even so it earned out all its production costs and began sending small (but emotionally meaningful) donations to support cancer research.

C.S. MacCath reading from her A is for Apocalypse story at WFC 2014
C.S. MacCath reading her A is for Apocalypse story at WFC 2014

I also didn’t come up with a way to set concrete goals for promotion, but I did get far better at tracking the results of promotions, so I’m going to call that a step in the right direction.

We held another successful fundraiser for Niteblade in 2014, raising $510 and (even better for my ego) collecting a whole lot of really nice things Niteblade authors had to say about it.

I didn’t produce a NaNoLJers anthology last year, but that is because there wasn’t much in the way of interest.

A IS FOR APOCALYPSE is awesome. I did, in fact, publish it and promoted it as well as I could. I think in some ways it suffered for being launched so close to FAE but despite that sales exceeded my expectations and it has been very well-received including having stories from it on people’s top five lists, end of the year reading recommendations and getting a handful of nice reviews here, there and everywhere.

Not only did I solicit writers for B IS FOR BROKEN I’m nearly finished editing those stories and I’ve settled on the themes for the next two alphabet anthologies and let the authors know about them so they can decide to sign up, or not, in a leisurely fashion.

Niteblade had a fantastic year with me at the helm and though I’m partly saddened that 2015 will be its last year, mostly it feels like the right thing to do. End on a high note and go out in style 🙂

I completed the edits on Grammy’s book. Added the whole new section she wanted appended to the back, got it formatted, published and shipped to her in time for her to give out copies at Christmas. So, basically, I rocked it 🙂

~*~

Writing

2014 is the year of the novel. It is because I say it is, damn it!

  • Complete the novel currently known as ‘Hollow’
    • By ‘complete’ I mean have that sucker ready to start querying agents about
  • Complete the first draft of at least two other novels
    • One of these may be one of my pen name projects
  • Self-publish the zombie poetry book and complete my other plans for it
  • Write 350 words a day, five days a week. So 1,750 words a week.
    • Yes. A week. It’s not huge, but I’ve got a lot of other stuff on this list, damn it! :-p
  • Bundle up and self-publish more of my reprints
  • Complete sekkrit collaborative project
  • Participate in NovPAD and/or April PAD
  • Anything with the word ‘NaNo’ in the title is optional
    • …except NaNoLJers. Set up prompts for odd-numbered MondaysMythic_Delirium_paperback_cover-1024x760

Well, despite my intentions 2014 turned into the year of the anthology, not the novel. Hollow is done. Mostly. I had to do a whole extra draft I hadn’t counted on, but now it only needs a final spit polish and it will be ready to start querying. It’s finding the time to do that polish that is turning into a tricky thing.

I also sold my Aphanasian novel, SHADOWS, to World Weaver Press. That required a lot of re-writing and I anticipate at least one, possibly two more passes before it’s ready for release. It’s scheduled to be released some time this year though, so we’ll have to wait and see when that comes to pass 🙂

I did self-publish my zombie poetry book, and a collection of funny zombie reprints. I didn’t find time to ‘complete my other plans’ for the zombie poetry book, but who knows, perhaps a miracle will happen and I’ll find a way to do that this year LOL Could happen…

Still not finished my sekkrit collaborative project with Marge Simon, but working on it. Still working on it. Kind of like the tortoise in that story…

I participated in NovPAD and April PAD. I was not super successful at either but… I got a few poems out of them. I also participated in NaNoWriMo, however in recognition of how busy I was I re-named it MicroWriMo and aimed for 10k words. I wrote just under 8k. Meh.

Also, I had prompts set up and scheduled for odd-number Mondays for NaNoLJers and then I did something very stupid and deleted them all. So, that was a big fail right there.

~*~

Reading

  • Read at least 50 books.
    • Have 25% be non-fiction

Ocean At The End Of The LaneAccording to Goodreads I read 63 books (I really ought to keep track of how many stories I read in slush LOL) 11 of which were non-fiction. So, I surpassed the main goal but fell short on the mini one. Of those books my favourites, in no particular order, were:

~*~

Misc

  • Create a publishing website (company name, etc. but only to publish my own projects.)
  • Participate in A Month of Letters
  • Do the Blogging from A to Z Challenge
  • Blog at least once a week
  • Shoot at least one roll of analog film per month
  • Finish the ship cross stitch I started *mumble* years ago
  • Complete the top of the quilt I’m doing in memory of my mother and post it on JoFigure
  • Attend at least two writing conventions

Photo stolen from Billie Milholland --> https://www.facebook.com/billie.milhollandSo… the good news about all the things I missed on this list is that they are all still on my radar, and aside from A Month of Letters I can do them anytime. I’m surprised I missed A Month of Letters this year, so surprised I had to go and check my blog archives to make sure I really had. Weird. I do write snail mail sporadically over the course of the year anyway but historically I’ve really gotten a lot out of A Month of Letters so I’ll have to work pretty hard at re-adding that next year.

Also, I went to three conventions. When Words Collide is my new all-time favourite convention ever. Plus I also attended my second World Fantasy and went to Pure Spec here in Edmonton. The highlight of Pure Spec, for me, was the Character Death Matches (I participated and got my butt kicked. Fun!)

~*~

And there you have it. My year in review or, more specifically, a look at the goals I set last year with an eye to seeing how successful I was.

On paper I wasn’t super successful, but as I mentioned at the start of this (very long) entry, it’s always interesting to see how my priorities shift and change over the year. While my health-based priorities remain the same and I really need to devote more time, energy and effort to them I’m perfectly good with the progress I made on my other goals. Writing a lot of novels got pushed back a bit in favour of editing a lot of anthologies, for example. I’m good with that, and very proud of the results.

I know a great number of my friends struggled through 2014 in ways that meant getting dressed each morning was a victory, but overall, 2014 was a very good year for me. How did it treat you? Did you accomplish most of the things you set out to do? Are you happy with what you managed?

I don’t know about you, but I can’t wait to see what 2015 has to offer. I’ll be making a new set of goals for myself and sharing them here in the near future. If you do the same please let me know, I like seeing the goals other people set for themselves, sometimes they help inspire mine 🙂

Fae Pushcart Nominations

 

FAE quote - tangent 1

Editor-in-Chief of World Weaver Press, Eileen Wiedbrauk, recently announced her Pushcart nominations for 2014. They were:

  • “From a Stone,” Eric Choi, Far Orbit
  • “Starship Down,” Tracy Canfield, Far Orbit
  • Queen of Lakes,” L.S. Johnson, Fae
  • “And Only The Eyes of Children,” Laura VanArendonk Baugh, Fae
  • “Ten Ways to Self-Sabotage, Only Some of Which Relate to Fairies,” Sara Puls, Fae
  • “The Wicked Child,” Elise Forier Edie, Krampusnacht

Congratulations and good luck to all the nominees, but an extra big yay for the authors whose stories were in Fae. I’m so stoked for L.S., Laura and Sara. Their stories are fabulous, and it’s awesome to see them receive a little extra recognition.

Congratulations, ladies, and good luck!

 

Fae Contributor Interview: Sidney Blaylock Jr.

For whatever reason out of the 17 stories included in Fae, only two were written by men. One of those dudes was Sidney Blaylock Jr. and it just so happens that for Fae-tastic Friday this week we’re going to hear from him 🙂

~*~

Sidney Blaylock Jr.’s Interview

Fae Cover

What was the inspiration for your Fae story?

Surprisingly enough, Faerie Knight started with an idea of gaining mystical powers from the names of full moons and using that power for the greater good. There are names for each of the full moons that vary depending on the source, but there were two constants: Hunter’s Moon and Harvest Moon. I wanted a character that received his power during the Hunter’s Moon and then lost it once the Hunter’s Moon was over. Tide played a huge role in the magical system, but I dialed that back in later drafters.

There was always a faerie element to the story—the original antagonist was a Redcap (a malevolent fae who dye their caps in their victim’s blood) along with two trolls. They had stolen a changeling for the Queen of the Fae. That story evolved after I rediscovered Spencer’s The Faerie Queene (which I had read excerpts from in a college class). Using Spencer’s work as inspiration, the story started to fall into place and it morphed into the story that is in Fae the moment I reimagined the Faerie Queen as a force for good in the world.

Was this your first foray into writing fairy stories?

No, I’ve written other things dealing with fairies. I’ve written another short-story about an elven gunslinger called Knight of the Wylde West (tentatively coming out in November of this year). I’ve also written the script for the first issue of a (projected) four issue comic book series entitled, Faerie Fire, which I liken to The Lord of the Rings meets Roger Zelanzny’s Amber series featuring warring factions of Elves for the throne of the Faerielands. I’m hoping to find an artist for this project in the sometime soon, so I safely say that I don’t think the Fae are done with me yet.

I like the element of magic and it is the mystical nature of faeriekind that appeals to me. I’ve always been interested in the fantastical and this has translated into a love of science fiction and fantasy. Writing about the faerie allows me to create characters, plots, and settings that are far from ordinary, or like in Faerie Knight, have the mystical and fantastical hidden in our mundane world. It’s that potential that makes faerie stories (or speculative fiction, for that matter) so appealing for me to write.

Can you tell us a bit about the specific type of fairy creature in your story?

So, my story is a little different in that my protagonist is essentially a “changeling.” He was abandoned by his birth parents due to his disability and taken in to the Seelie Court by the Queen. The antagonist (which I call a Samhain) is not technically a faerie either, but the idea of Halloween. I’ve made it a faerie and not a very pleasant one at that. His description (a pumpkin-head and a scythe) recalls the idea of the Halloween which was a harvest festival. However, I tried very hard to ground my characters in a setting using traditional faerie tropes: the Seelie Court, trolls, a magical system based on Glamour (illusion vs reality), and elements of the good/bad elements of being a “changeling..”

My favorite type of fae would be elves. I was lucky enough to find Dungeons and Dragons early in its life-cycle (when TSR still published the system). I loved the way that they portrayed elves: lithe, quick, preternaturally gifted and able to master whatever they set their mind to do. Slight in build, but strong in heart and character, the elves in the D&D universe (which I later discovered was an evolution of Tolkien’s elves from his works) were the model to which I aspired.

Outside of your own writing, who is your favourite fairy character? (ie: Tinkerbell, Puck, etc.)

If I may be allowed to expand my definition of fairy characters, I really like the way Legolas was presented in The Lord of the Rings movies—Orlando Bloom’s interpretation of the character is pretty much exactly how I envisioned elves when I was a child in the eighties. Not only was the fighting style of Legolas and the other elves impressive (able to switch from bow to blade and back to bow seamlessly and effortlessly), but the etherealness and otherworldliness shown in the movies makes me wish that I was twelve years old again. The barrel scene in The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug exemplifies the deadly grace of the elves while maintaining their aloofness and dashes of wry humor that makes them seem so alien.

Do you believe in fairies?

Not as creatures who are real. As a child, I loved mythology. I checked out any books on myths and legends that I could from my local library. It didn’t make any difference to me whether the myths were Greek/Roman, Norse, or even Egyptian—I pretty much read it all. However, I never believed those myths; my mind automatically categorized myths and legends as stories. When I read about faeries and the fae, my mind filed them into to the myths and legends category. So, to me, the Fae became stories that I can now draw upon as inspiration when I’m writing speculative fiction.

 

Excerpt from Faerie Knight by Sidney Blaylock Jr. (326 Words):

 

On any other day, he would not have dared draw Silverthorne in public, but this being Halloween. Thomas felt confident that the blade would simply seem like part of his costume. He was dressed in a flowing black coat that reached down to his ankles and wore a dark tri-cornered hat which gave him a decidedly seedy look. The long black cloth mask that covered his nose and mouth completed the costume and made him look thoroughly disreputable and menacing, as was his intent–his costume was that of a highwayman.

He stalked two trolls as they swaggered through the streets of suburbia. They had thick grayish skin and large unblinking eyes, like sharks. Their faces were thick and stone-like. They were not mortals in costumes, but fae, members of the Unseelie Court. Kids in costumes and their adult supervisors passed the trolls completely unaware.

Thomas followed the pair. He knew that his disguise and the fact it was Halloween would keep them from noticing him. He did have to be careful, however, as his fairy sight touched off a sense of unease in Fae. The last thing he wanted to do was spook these two. Thomas needed their leader.

“Hey, man, that’s a nice sword! Where’d you buy it?”

Thomas turned. A tall Chewbacca, escorting Princess Jasmine, pointed to Silverthorne.

He saluted Chewie with Silverthorne. “I made it myself. It’s one-of-a-kind.”

Chewbacca nodded. “I’ve got to get me one of those.”

Thomas turned back to the two trolls, but though his attention had only been diverted for a moment, they were nowhere in sight. He scanned the street, but he saw no Fae, only trick-or-treaters.

His heart sped. Too old and too slow, he berated himself. Lives depended on him and he just lost the trolls. They were his only lead to the fae that would probably try to abduct a child tonight and replace them with a changeling. He could not let that happen.

~*~

FAE quote - kate wolford

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Fae Contributor Interview: Adria Laycraft

I met Adria Laycraft through her Fae story which is really quite remarkable when you consider that she lives in Calgary (I live in Edmonton) and the Alberta speculative writing community is not ginormous. The thing is, though, until recently I’d pretty much exclusively stuck to the online writers community. I’m *so* glad that has changed, though, because Adria is one of my favourite people and without Fae I might not have met her, which is just one of the many, many reasons this book has a special place in my heart.

But enough about me. This week for Fae-tastic Friday it’s all about Adria. Enjoy her interview and an excerpt from her story, Water Sense:

~*~

Adria Laycraft’s Interview

Fae Cover

What was the inspiration for your Fae story?

I wanted to write about the lesser-known native people of the American southwest, and the Kawaiisu gave me the perfect history and setting for the story I had in mind (desert, water shortages, stories of the Otherworld, and belief in spirits).

Was this your first foray into writing fairy stories?

No.

What is it about them that appeals to you?

Stories of magic, fae, and all things Otherworld have fascinated me my entire life. What appeals to me is that sense of more going on than we are aware of. I always want to remind myself to look beyond my assumptions and limited vision.

Can you tell us a bit about the specific type of fairy creature in your story?

The Inipi are ghost spirits walking the Otherworld that can lure people to their death or make them crazy and sick. My research on the Kawaiisu revealed many stories about Inipi, along with some interesting ways to keep them away (some of which are used in the story).

Is that your favourite type of fae?

No, not my favourite because they were new to me. I only learned about them through my research for the story. Pixies are probably my favourite because they’re small and usually friendly.

Outside of your own writing, who is your favourite fairy character? (ie: Tinkerbell, Puck, etc.)

Oh, Legolas would have to top the list. I first read Lord of the Rings at age 8, and have reread it some fifteen times since.

What is it about them that makes them special?

Well, duh, it’s Legolas! What’s not to love? =D

Do you believe in fairies?

While I have no personal experience seeing the Little Folk, some very close and trustworthy people in my life have seen both fairies and ghosts, so who am I to disbelieve?

 

Excerpt from Water Sense by Adria Laycraft (333 words):

The handle slipped out of his sweaty hand. Everything went into slow motion as the bucket hit the ground and tipped. Tom reached for it, willing the water to stay put just like he’d seen Marie do. A useless effort, as always. He could not stop the dark stain spreading through the sand. In his frustration, he didn’t even hear Charlie coming.

The first blow knocked him off his feet. He scrambled up, not wanting to give Charlie a chance to get the boots to him, but the second punch took him down again. The kick followed fast, and Tom groaned as it hit a tender spot only just healing.

Tom’s hands curled into fists, catching up sand and rock from the dry valley floor. He hunched his shoulders, closing his eyes against the sight of the wasted water and the next blow.

It never came.

Tom opened one eye to risk a look. Charlie stared at something beyond, and Tom swiveled his head, fearing a wild cat come down out of the mountains. Instead, an old man dressed in rabbit furs stood staring back. At him.

“To find your value, you must understand who you really are.”

What? Tom looked back at Charlie, whose face had paled to a sickly shade. When Tom turned back to ask the old man what he meant, the hillside was empty.

Climbing cautiously to his feet, Tom eyed Charlie for clues as to what just happened. His guardian only grunted, pulled his smokes out of his jeans pocket, and lit one with shaking fingers. He puffed, drew, coughed a bit, and drew again.

“Next time you spill the water, you can go thirsty for the rest of the day.” His words seemed to hang on the air like the smoke he exhaled with them.

Tom licked his cracked lips. “I’ll get more,” he said. His throat burned, wanting to ask Charlie what he’d seen, what he’d heard, but he didn’t dare. One beating today was enough.

~*~

FAE quote - marge simon 1

Available direct from the publisher:

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Fae Contributor Interview: Amanda Block

It’s Friday, and you know what that means! Fae-tastic Fridays continue. This week I’m stoked to share contributor Amanda Block’s interview and an excerpt from her story, Antlers.

~*~

Amanda Block’s Interview

Fae Cover

What was the inspiration for your Fae story?

For some time, I had been mulling over three separate ideas: an original tale influenced by English folklore (I had ‘featuring stag?’ written in my notes), a story about someone being imprisoned in a garden, and an environmental fairy tale. When I realised they would fit together very neatly, the rest of Antlers quickly followed.

Was this your first foray into writing fairy stories? If no, why do you write fairy stories? What is it about them that appeals to you?

I would actually say that most of my writing is influenced by fairy tales. There are many, many reasons I like using them, at least as a starting point, but perhaps the principle one is this: I believe fairy tales are stories stripped down their purest and most basic form. Generally, there is no room for psychology or backstory, lengthy descriptions or character development – only plot. Philip Pullman, who recently reworked some of the world’s most famous stories in Grimm Tales for Young and Old, has said that a fairy tale is ‘made out of events’.*

As such, I find them a very useful writing tool. There are so many directions in which to take them: Snow White, for example, could be told from the mirror’s perspective, could be set in space, could evolve into an entirely different yarn about poison… But even if the fairy tale is turned upside down, or forgotten entirely in the development of the new fiction, I think at least beginning with a story structure that has been passed down hundreds of years, and that has survived countless retellings, can only serve to enhance and strengthen an original piece of writing.

Outside of your own writing, who is your favourite fairy character? What is it about them that makes them special?

I have always been fascinated by the eponymous hero of J.M. Barrie’s Peter Pan. First of all, and most obviously, he’s completely impossible: ‘the boy who wouldn’t grow up.’ But even aside from that, he’s a complex riddle of a character, who veers from heroic and carefree (‘I’m youth, I’m joy, I’m a little bird broken out of the egg!’) to tragic and morbid (‘to die would be an awfully big adventure’). I’m always surprised that Barrie’s play is only just over a century old – there is such a mythical quality to the idea of a boy blessed (and doomed?) with eternal youth.

Excerpt from Antlers by Amanda Block (445 Words):

(Death)

The garden is a crypt. Vines grasp at the walls, pulling themselves upwards, right towards the throats of the tallest trees, which bow forward to meet one another, branches clasping branches.

Inside, there is no breeze, and the air is thick with the musk of pollen and damp, dark earth. The birds that remain stand still in the shrubs, their songs low and mournful.

At the centre, lies the Lady. Under the netting of shadows, her skin seems to shine and shift, like moonlight upon water. The only colour is at her breast, opening up like a red flower thrust forward through time, blossoming around the arrow that has pierced her heart.

 
(Birth)

She was pulled from the dying Queen, strong and squalling, and they quickly shushed and rocked and coddled her. Her mother, quiet at last, gazed only once upon her girl, before her eyes rolled back in her head.

There was no time to be respectful, to even check, before they cut into the Queen’s belly and dug around for the other child. It was a small, sinewy creature slipping like entrails through their fingers; the wrong colour, too quiet. They stood back while the midwife snipped at the cord and then, at the sound of the rasping, rattling breaths, surged forward once more. The healthy girl child was snatched from the wet nurse and replaced by her brother. Her screams filled the chamber, but no one heard her.

 
(Growth)

The twins were both pale, raven-haired, he and she versions of the same doll, though everyone could tell them apart. The girl was her mother’s daughter, tumbling outside at dawn and only returning at dusk, covered in grass stains and chattering about the lark’s nest above the gatehouse or the frogspawn in the moat. The boy was weaker, more wary, preferring to play his own games with his own rules. Sometimes he watched his sister through the arrowslits in the castle walls. He knew of the moments that had passed between the beginning of her life and his, when she had tried to steal his birthright by pushing herself first from their mother’s womb. It angered him, as it angered him to see the servants slip her cake, or their father gift her with the private garden within the castle grounds, which had once belonged to their mother.

As the old King faded, his daughter bloomed, and his son wavered somewhere in between. The Prince hated that the people loved her, the rosy almost-queen, and by the time his father died, and the crown sat heavy upon his brow, there was nothing in the kingdom he loathed more than his own sister.

~*~

FAE quote - marge simon 1

Available direct from the publisher:

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*http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2013/aug/23/philip-pullman-dark-materials-children

Niteblade and Fae

Seasonal Special Banner - Fae Far Orbit

Normally I don’t post two blog posts on the same day, and I usually wouldn’t make a single post that included details about FAE being on sale and also the latest issue of Niteblade. But today isn’t just another day, so I’m doing exactly that.

First of all, if you didn’t see it, my other post for today is about Giftmas cards. Basically I’d like to send you one, so if you’d like to receive one you ought to sign up using this form right here.

Now, about Fae and Niteblade…

Fae is on sale, and it’s a good one. From now until the end of the year you can get a paperback copy of both Fae and  of Far Orbit for only $19.95. That’s two great anthologies from World Weaver Press for less than twenty bucks. If you’ve already bought one or the other of them, well, what can I say? Books make fantastic gifts, right? LOL Unfortunately these books can only be shipped within the United States, but I happen to know a lot of my friends and readers live there — it’s a pretty big place 😉

Annnnd, last but most assuredly not least — the latest issue of Niteblade came out today.

Cover_Dec2014_noissnIssue #30 (holy freaking hell, 30 issues!) is called Vampyrics and features a fang-tastically festive cover by Marge Simon. Our table of contents looks like this:

Abominable Snowman by Ada Hoffmann
Cold by Thomas Wood
Nameday by Anne Carly Abad
A Million Miles Away by Christian Riley
Vampyrics by John Philip Johnson
Bindings by Jamie Killen
The Art by Sandi Leibowitz
Three Little Words by Sealey Andrews
Ghost Engine Updates an Ad for Angry Spirits by Anne Carly Abad
Date of Death by Stone Showers

We’ve got monsters (traditional and otherwise), subtle horror, kinky fae-like critters, living nightmares and modernized hauntings. This is truly one of our strongest issues yet and with more ways to enjoy it than ever before.

You can check it out at the Niteblade Website. From there you’ll be able to read previews of every single piece we’re offering you, as we try to tempt you into purchasing a downloadable copy (.pdf, .ePub or .mobi) or sending us a donation. As soon as we reach $50 in sales and donations combined we will release the full issue on the website for everyone to read for free (but our downloadable copies are still the best way to experience Niteblade. No lie.)

Or

You can also check out this issue over at Smashwords. There, they will give you the first 20% of the issue for free, to make sure you like what you see before you take the $2.99 plunge and buy a copy –> Vampyrics at Smashwords. From Smashwords you can pick up copies of this issue in every freaking format conceivable. And yes. Your purchases still count toward eventually releasing the web version for free.

But wait! There’s more!

This issue of Niteblade is also available from Amazon and Kobo.

*Catches breath*

So. There’s that.

🙂

 

Fae Contributor Interview: Beth Cato

I took a short break from Fae-tastic Fridays because I was traveling and also rather too swamped with *things* to even pretend I could be organised. However, stuff has become far less frenetic of late and (most importantly) I’m back home with no plans of that changing anytime soon, so Fae-tastic Fridays are back! Interestingly enough, today’s interviewee is Beth Cato. That’s interesting because I spent a significant amount of time with Beth at World Fantasy this year (which was the trip I’d taken).

Anyway… around about the time of Fae’s launch I interviewed Beth about her contribution. Here is that interview as well as an excerpt from her story, The Cartography of Shattered Trees:

~*~

Beth Cato’s Interview

Fae Cover

What was the inspiration for your Fae story?

I wrote my story as part of a Codex Writers’ Halloween contest. I was provided two distinct prompts: a luopan, which is a Chinese magnetic compass used in Feng Shui, and lichtenberg figures, the scarring that results from a lightning strike. The luopan put me in mind of maps, and from there I thought–what if there was a map in fractal burns on someone? What would cause that?

Was this your first foray into writing fairy stories?

No, I’ve written and published a number of fairy poems and stories, including a steampunk-fae tale in “Stitched Wings” in Beneath Ceaseless Skies and a story in the forthcoming B is for Broken anthology. Fairies are such an important part of the fantasy genre, and there are common elements in fairy-like mythologies across the world. It’s something universal and accessible.

Note from Rhonda: I knew the answer to this question before I asked it. In truth, Beth’s story, “Stitched Wings” was definitely one of the things which inspired me to want to create this anthology in the first place. One of several things, to be fair, but a significant one.

Can you tell us a bit about the specific type of fairy creature in your story?

In the case of my story, that would be a major spoiler! I’ll withhold the name.

Is that your favourite type of fae?

No. My very favorite fae would be selkies. Back in my teens, I even collected seal figurines and plushes for a time!

Do you believe in fairies?

In a wistful way. I write about obscured magic because I want there to be something more, something we can’t quite see or comprehend. Along those same lines, when I’m driving and encounter a number of green traffic lights in a row, I thank the traffic gods. It’s not too much to hope that, in a bountiful garden, that glint of light in the corner of my eye might have something more to it. I hope I’ll always be childlike in that way. If I lose that, I’ll have nothing left to write.

Excerpt from The Cartography of Shattered Trees by Beth Cato (283 words):

Her fingers glanced her skin. The scars felt like divots, the fern-like spread of her burns in soft ripples. According to doctors, the Lichtenberg figures should have faded months before. Now those fractal burns had metamorphosed into something more.

Repulsed and fascinated, she followed the red route south to her navel. Did the map go where… it happened? Shuddering, she clenched her fist.

“I need to get ready for work,” she said aloud.

Yet she still stared at herself, mesmerized. Despite the burns, despite the horribleness, there was something beautiful about the map.

She reached into the darkness of her closet and pulled out her old portfolio. Disturbed feathers of dust were set adrift in the air. She propped a large pad of paper against the bathroom counter and, with glances at the mirror, began to sketch. Her head pounded as it had so often since the lightning strike, and she furrowed her brow as she struggled for focus.

The line veered, gouging at the paper. She flung the pencil away with a wordless scream.

Vivian used to draw, paint, exist for the muse that overflowed from her fingertips. She used to live.

Her therapist had told her that if she wanted to create art again, she would find a way, even with the lingering nerve damage. Such trite, arrogant advice from a man with an illegible signature.

She didn’t just want art again, she wanted her old life back. She wanted her innocence, for her body to be a clean slate, free of burns, free of the lingering memories of Andrew’s heavy hand dragging her down.

Vivian ached to feel whole again, to fill the emptiness that constantly echoed beneath her breast.

~*~

FAE quote - allen 2

 

Available direct from the publisher:

Paperback $11.95
Ebook $6.99

Or find it online:

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