It’s Friday, and around here that usually means it’s Fractured Friday but we’re going to skip that this week because I have several bits of interesting Magical Menagerie-related news to share.
We’re going to have a Facebook party on Tuesday to celebrate CORVIDAE and SCARECROW. You can join myself, my publisher and several of our contributors while we hang out, talk about the anthologies and also all things corvid and scarecrow. It will be super fun and casual… oh, and there will be giveaways as well 🙂 The party is scheduled for 5 – 8pm Mountain Time and Facebook will happily convert that to your own time zone. I hope to ‘see’ you there!
Also, Kate Wolford from Enchanted Conversation is giving away three e-books. You may have heard of them, their titles are FAE, CORVIDAE and SCARECROW. It’s super easy to enter (you just have to guess a number) but entries close on September 26th so be sure and get yours in before it’s too late — Three E-Book Giveaway.
Oh, and the image at the top of this blog post? I nicked it from Kate, so thank you Kate!
Finally, Edmonton writer and blogger Hal J. Friesen is interviewing some of the contributors to Corvidae and Scarecrow. He interviewed Laura VanArendonk Baugh at the beginning of the month about her stories and animal training and then just today he shared his interview with Kat Otis about her story (which re-imagines WWII with magical creatures like corvids, frost giants and sea serpents added into the mix) and also about flying.
Check out the interviews and the giveaway and I hope to see you at our Facebook party on Tuesday! 🙂
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 Kat Otis 🙂
Interview with Kat Otis
Please share a short excerpt from your story/stories:
Humans were never meant to fly.
That thought consumed Morgaine as she stared out the Mosquito’s windscreen at the thickly-falling snow. If humans knew what was good for them, they would be content to fight over earth and leave air to the corvidae, water to the leviathans, and frost to the giants. Unfortunately, humans had never been very good at sharing – among themselves or with the other great species of the world.
Was there one corvid characteristic you wanted to highlight more than others? Do you think you were successful? The characteristic I wanted to highlight the most was corvid intelligence. When I was trying to decide what kind of corvid to write about, I started by browsing bird websites and quickly fell into a research pit of corvid videos where they showed amazing levels of intelligence and tool use. Obviously the only proper response was to elevate the corvidae as a group to be as sentient as humans and… um… leviathans and frost giants. I sure hope I was successful, as the story makes very little sense without it!
If you were a covid, what would you build your nest out of? If I had to live in a nest, it would be a giant bean bag. Actually, sophmore year of college my roommate and I put a bean bag in a corner of our tiny dorm room, for an oft-visiting friend of ours, and called it her nest. So… I guess I sort of already have built a nest out of a bean bag 😉
What’s your favourite ‘shiny’ thing? Shiny new ideas, of course! For example, I was just working on my latest shiny new idea, a steampunk piece with exploding airships, and- OH NEW SHINY NEW IDEA GOTTA GO LATERS!
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?) Oh, ye spoiled ones of fixed addresses! In just the last seven years, I’ve lived in twelve places, four time zones, and two countries. I’ve lived at latitudes ranging from 34.2 to 51.7 N, longitudes ranging from 0.1 to 118.1 W, and altitudes ranging from 115 to 2,080 feet. Or, as they say on Facebook, “it’s complicated.” My location has probably only affected my story in the most general ways – I have yet to live somewhere that it doesn’t snow.
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?) Well, I started with World War Two spy pigeons, because, hello, SPY PIGEONS! Who of course immediately morphed into corvidae for the purposes of this anthology. Then I added a pinch of recent personal tragedy, a dash of additional historical research, and a pound of advice on how to crash airplanes from the family pilots. Voila!
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?) Definitely the ravens of the Tower of London. What other birds have the power to topple an entire empire just by deciding to up stakes (up coops?) and move? But after that, I’ll give you magpies, who are pretty awesome.
Kat Otis lives a peripatetic life with a pair of cats who enjoy riding in the car as long as there’s no country music involved. Her fiction has appeared in Orson Scott Card’s Intergalactic Medicine Show, Daily Science Fiction and Penumbra eMag. She can be found online at www.katotis.com or on Twitter as @kat_otis.
I mean, I could have started this post with some text, maybe an explanation about what you were going to see but seriously? Were you going to notice? No. Because as soon as you looked at this page this cover would have captured your attention and once you’ve seen it, what additional explanation is needed? Still, there is protocol to follow… 😉
This is the cover for my latest anthology, coming out July 7th!
Associated with life and death, disease and luck, corvids have long captured mankind’s attention, showing up in mythology as the companions or manifestations of deities, and starring in stories from Aesop to Poe and beyond.
In Corvidae birds are born of blood and pain, trickster ravens live up to their names, magpies take human form, blue jays battle evil forces, and choughs become prisoners of war. These stories will take you to the Great War, research facilities, frozen mountaintops, steam-powered worlds, remote forest homes, and deep into fairy tales. One thing is for certain, after reading this anthology, you’ll never look the same way at the corvid outside your window.
Featuring works by Jane Yolen, Mike Allen, C.S.E. Cooney, M.L.D. Curelas, Tim Deal, Megan Engelhardt, Megan Fennell, Adria Laycraft, Kat Otis, Michael S. Pack, Sara Puls, Michael M. Rader, Mark Rapacz, Angela Slatter, Laura VanArendonk Baugh, and Leslie Van Zwol.
“A creepy, crazy kaleidoscope of corvids,Corvidae is what happens when you bring together ingenious writers and sagacious subjects. It’s nothing short of a thrill ride when this anthology takes flight.”
— Susan G. Friedman, Ph. D., Utah State University; behaviorworks.org.
A Murder of Crows by Jane Yolen Whistles and Trills by Kat Otis The Valravn by Megan Fennell A Mischief of Seven by Leslie Van Zwol Visiting Hours by Michael S. Pack The Rookery of Sainte-Mere Eglise by Tim Deal The Cruelest Team Will Win by Mike Allen What Is Owed by C.S.E. Cooney Raven No More by Adria Laycraft The Tell-Tale Heart of Existence by Michael M. Rader Sanctuary by Laura VanArendonk Baugh Knife Collection, Blood Museum, Birds (Scarecrow Remix) by Sara Puls Flying the Coop by M. L. D. Curelas Postcards from the Abyss by Jane Yolen Bazyli Conjures a Blackbird by Mark Rapacz Seven for a Secret by Megan Engelhardt Flight by Angela Slatter
You are going to love this book.
(Titles and such are subject to change right up until the day of publication of course)