Tag Archives: Kristina Wojtaszek

Six Reasons NOT to read Char

When Kristina Wojtaszek’s new novel, Char, came out I invited her to share a guest post on my blog, because writing is a team sport (I mean, among other reasons). I sent her a list of suggested blog topics, one of which was “Top Three Reasons To Read My Story/Book”. Kristina took that and turned it on its head, instead writing the top six reasons to not read her book. Because of course she did. That’s how she rolls 🙂

Six Reasons Not to Read My Novel Char, of the Fae of Fire and Stone Series.

by Kristina Wojtaszek


  1. You prefer characters to be fair skinned, blonde haired and blue eyed, who practice good manners and never question authority or the rules of their world. For the rest of you, I’d like to introduce Luna, an ebony skinned woman with deadly powers who questions the patriarchal leadership that threatens to dominate, and even obliterate, her ancient race.


  1. You can’t stand confident, intelligent female protagonists. While there’s a smidgeon of strong, heroic males coming to a lady’s rescue, most of my series focus on the relationships between women—strong women. Queens who defy; princesses that refuse their own humanity, let alone humility; wars waged by women; and entire mythos surrounding the Queen of the Wood, the very goddess that began the race of Fae in my series, are all at your fingertips in OPAL and CHAR, alongside interesting men who serve as fathers, lovers and betraying enemies.


  1. You expect perfection from the book’s heroine. Because a hero is destined to greatness from the glorious, rainbowed day of their birth, and every action performed by their great coming-up is made with ultimate wisdom, compassion, honor and skill (I might have gagged just a little). While my heroine is Fae, and thus not quite human, I think you’ll find her more human than most.  She screws up, and I mean big time.  In fact, she starts out in the beginning of the book labeled a “witch,” cast out by the very people who raised her, and cursed to live out her days in isolation so she can’t harm anyone else—not unlike the solitary confinement of a mass murderer, in fact.  Heck, even her mentor was a murdering, defunct queen whose bitterness caused her to shun her own child.  So how can I expect you to root for either of these characters?  Oh, but you will!  That is the promise of a tale worth telling.


  1. You like your fairy tale retellings to follow the well known, Disneyfied versions of classic tales. If so, please don’t even bother to pick up CHAR or OPAL, whose first inspirations came from the roots of the oldest versions of Snow White, Hansel and Gretel, and The Seven Ravens, among others, and whose twists and turns call into question the motives of witch and queen alike. Because in this series, the Seven Dwarfs have been replaced by the Seven, a circle of ancient and powerful Fae, and symbolism of animals often used in fairy tales has taken on a whole new meaning in the story of these shape-shifters.


  1. You like your fantasies set in a generic medieval time in which religion, and religious persecution, don’t exist. While I did use somewhat of a generic medieval era for this series, I did a lot of research on medieval times, reading such titles as Medieval English Nunneries by Eileen Power, and Raised to Rule: Educating Royalty at the Court of the Spanish Habsburgs by Martha K. Hoffman, among too many others to list. And though I’d still consider myself a novice, I know this much: religion was of utmost importance to just about everyone living in the middle ages.  Crusades were fought in the name of God, kings were said to be anointed by heaven, and those who fell from favor were often sentenced to death or torture based on accusations of heresy.  Religion, and religious persecution, plays a heavy role in my series, and while you won’t be able to wholly identify one race with Hinduism, Christianity, Judaism, Islam or another of our major religions, you can certainly pick up aspects of various faiths, and even parallels to historical religious persecutions in my books.  The Fae are believers in a Great Mother, which, while entirely imagined, has some ties to pagan beliefs of old.  And my editor once commented on how some of their sufferings reminded her of what the Jews went through, and I was proud to have had someone recognize that, though this is hardly their story, nor the story of any specific religious struggle.  It is a fantasy, after all.  But even fantasies need some element of reality to rein them in and align them with our own, searching souls.


  1. When you read the word Fae, you expect to find another race akin to Tolkien’s elves or some such tree-dwelling fairy-like creature with pointed ears, pure hearts, and unnatural beauty. If that’s the case, please read Tolkien, because he did it first, and he did it best, and I don’t believe in redoing the awesomeness that created its own trope. My Fae creatures are quite like humans, except their eyes are just a little too dark, and their various powers allow them to wear the skin of a snake, draw down a blizzard, or decipher the quiet mind of a plant.  I believe the only inherent truth about Fae is that, unlike humans, they are bound by nature.  So rather than taking all my influence from ancient Irish lore, I dove much more heavily into Native American mythology in the making of my Fae.  Because what human society dwelled more in the heart of nature than Native Americans?  So if you like the idea of surly old men who shape-shift into the disgruntled bears they take after, or sly, shadow-seeking women who prefer life in the shape of owl, amphibian or wolf to the domestic entrapment of men, you might just want to take a peek at my series.


Char Wraparound Cover

Fire is never tame—least of all the flames of our own kindling. Raised in isolation by the secretive Circle of Seven, Luna is one of the few powerful beings left in a world dominated by man. Versed in ancient fairy tales and the language of plants, Luna struggles to control her powers over fire. When Luna’s mentor dies in her arms, she is forced into a centuries-long struggle against the gravest enemy of all Fae-kind—the very enemy that left her orphaned. In order to save her people, Luna must rewrite their history by entering a door in the mountain and passing back through time. But when the lives of those she loves come under threat, her rage destroys a forest, and everything in it. Now called the Char Witch, she is cursed to live alone, her name and the name of her people forgotten. Until she hears a knock upon her long-sealed door. Interwoven with elements of Hansel and Gretel and The Seven Ravens, Char is the stand alone sequel to Opal, and second in the Fae of Fire and Stone trilogy.

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Scarecrow edited by Rhonda Parrish
Stuffed full of surprises!

“Rhonda Parrish has assembled a stellar collection that runs the gamut of Urban Fantasy to Weird Fiction. Easily the most consistently satisfying anthology I’ve read in years.”
— K.L. Young, Executive Editor, Strange Aeons Magazine

Hay-men, mommets, tattie bogles, kakashi, tao-tao—whether formed of straw or other materials, the tradition of scarecrows is pervasive in farming cultures around the world. The scarecrow serves as decoy, proxy, and effigy—human but not human. We create them in our image and ask them to protect our crops and by extension our very survival, but we refrain from giving them the things a creation might crave—souls, brains, free-will, love. In Scarecrow, fifteen authors of speculative fiction explore what such creatures might do to gain the things they need or, more dangerously, think they want.

Within these pages, ancient enemies join together to destroy a mad mommet, a scarecrow who is a crow protects solar fields and stores long-lost family secrets, a woman falls in love with a scarecrow, and another becomes one. Encounter scarecrows made of straw, imagination, memory, and robotics while being spirited to Oz, mythological Japan, other planets, and a neighbor’s back garden. After experiencing this book, you’ll never look at a hay-man the same.

Featuring all new work by Jane Yolen, Andrew Bud Adams, Laura Blackwood, Amanda Block, Scott Burtness, Amanda C. Davis, Megan Fennell, Kim Goldberg, Katherine Marzinsky, Craig Pay, Sara Puls, Holly Schofield, Virginia Carraway Stark, Laura VanArendonk Baugh, and Kristina Wojtaszek.

“With fifteen talented writers and a subject that is both evocative and memorable, Rhonda Parrish’s new anthology, Scarecrow, is no straw man. Like any good scarecrow, this anthology is truly outstanding in its field. Don’t be scared to pick this up and give it a read.”
— Steve Vernon, author of Tatterdemon

Available Now!

Amazon: (CA) (UK) (US)

Kobo: (CA) (US)

Direct From the Publisher: World Weaver Press

Changelings in World Mythology

I’m wrapping up Fae-tastic Fridays on my blog. Though I may occasionally share something more Fae-related here it won’t be on a regular basis… after one last series of awesome blog posts, that is. Some of the contributors to Fae have come together and written an awesome series of blog posts about changelings. Even better, they’ve given me permission to share them here, on my blog.

The first such post is this one, Changelings in World Mythology by Kristina Wojtaszek. As the title suggests, Kristina seeks to educate us about the various ways changelings have been represented around the world. Enjoy!

Changelings in World Mythology

by Kristina Wojtaszek

Europe is well known as the hub of fairy mythology, and the changeling myth is one popular native. But just as various animal species can adapt similar forms, myth often undergoes its own convergent evolution across cultures. It makes one wonder whether the changeling myth might have sprung up elsewhere. After all, fairies share many malicious kin around the globe. There are the Islamic djinn, the aziza of Africa, the mogwai of China and Native American jogah to name just a few. But while many types of specters are well versed in deceiving mortals, not all of them have specialized in the cruel art of kidnapping. And kidnapping is the very soul of the changeling myth, though it isn’t the only defining factor.

The shape-shifting kitsune from Japan, for example, may trick, possess, drown, interbreed with, and even kidnap humans. Similarly, Brazillian encantados may shift from the shape of a river dolphin to human form (often with a hat to cover their blowhole and/or bulbous forehead) to seduce and potentially kidnap men, women or children. Stories about them are vaguely reminiscent of selkies. However, while a selkie or kitsume may kidnap their human-born children and return with them to homes in another realm, and while an encantado may drag an unsuspecting victim into the depths of its inhuman, underwater world, they aren’t well known for sacrificing one of their own to take the place of the kidnapee. Even rarer is the example of these spirits leaving an object behind as a human replacement. This, it seems, is an important factor in the changeling myth; the changing of places and/or the presence of a “stock.”

A stock, or fetch, is an enchanted object (often little more than a piece of wood) left in place of the person kidnapped. As with all fairy enchantments, the glamour only lasts so long, and the supposed living person will soon reveal itself to be little more than a mundane object, or will grow ill and die (because it was never really alive). In the case of changing places, the replacement left is a living fairy. An old or sick fairy may be left, accounting for the sudden aging and illness of the changeling, or a perfectly healthy citizen of fairydom may be sacrificed, as we sometimes see with fairy infants taking the place of human babes. Regardless, after someone is taken, it always follows that someone or something is left. This is a theme that fits in well with the kind of fairy justice found in European folklore; there are rules for everything, but that doesn’t mean those rules are entirely fair, especially in regards to humans.

Now that we’ve narrowed the definition, we suddenly find that the cross cultural relations of changelings have drastically dwindled. Still, there are a few out there, and they are striking in resemblance to their European cousins. The aswangs are one such species. In Filipino folklore the aswangs are shape shifters that can take the form of an animal by night, but by day live as everyday villagers. While in animal form, they travel to other villages where they hunt fetuses, babies and small children, as well as corpses to eat. They can become thin enough to hide behind a single stalk of bamboo, and some say they have an insect-like proboscis for reaching children from a distance, or stripping the unborn from a mother’s womb. When they are finished with this gruesome task, they often leave behind plant matter or a tree trunk as a duplicate of the victim (or victim’s body in the case of cadavers). According to belief, if your neighbor is quite shy and reserved and often has blood shot eyes from being up all night, he or she could well be a blood thirsty aswang. Occasionally these suspected killers are even hunted down and put to death. While European fairy thieves don’t usually spend their lives in human form and are less likely to have the same nasty appetites, the similarity between plant matter or tree trunks and stocks of wood are too obvious to deny.

Another species held responsible for the death of young infants and the unborn haunts the Igbo people of eastern Nigeria. The ogbanje, or sometimes called abiku, are actually the spirits of children that have died (the term abiku can also refer to the spirit that caused the child’s death). Comparatively, it is not unusual in European fairy lore for fairies to be no more than ghosts, and some are even recognized as friends or relatives by humans who have been taken to (or have stumbled upon) the fairy realm. The African ogbanje are blamed for multiple stillbirths and a high rate of infant loss for a mother because they are believed to reincarnate themselves again and again. The only way to be released from the spirit’s hold is to destroy an object thought to tie it to the mortal world. This object, called an iyi-uwa, might be a rock or doll the child played with, a tooth or lock of hair, or even a scrap of the deceased child’s clothing. In some cases, a family offering serves for an iyi-uwa, which is given to the shaman responsible for releasing the spirit. While these spirits don’t leave a replacement for the life taken, the bodies of lost and stillborn infants can be viewed as stocks in that they are predestined to die, just as most of the sickly changelings of European myth are meant only to last a little while.

Another ghostly example of a changeling relative is the Chinese shui gui, which translates to “water ghost.” As the unhappy spirit of a person who drowned, these ghosts linger around waterways waiting for their next victim. But unlike kelpies and their kin, the shui gui doesn’t stop at murder, but goes on to possess their victim’s body. This, of course, creates a changeling; a human who looks the same as ever, but whose soul has been replaced by another’s. Meanwhile, the victim’s soul is now a shui gui trapped in the same watery location, ready to begin the cycle again. The idea of possession and “drifting souls” is quite common in Asian folklore, and occasionally bears striking similarities to European changelings.

In India we have an interesting example of human abduction in the form of nagas.   Believed to be more advanced than humans, nagas seemed to see us as less intelligent animals which they often stole away into their underground cities either for eating, torturing, or sometimes, interbreeding with. There were other such races of highly intelligent humanoids living below ground in both Indian and Chinese legend, and they are highly comparable with the ancient Egyptian gala. Gala were servants of Osiris, god of the underworld, sent forth to do his bidding. Part of this bidding was to abduct humans and bring them down into the land of the dead. Again we see a parallel between these and the European fairies who inhabit underground mounds and share many other traits with the dead. What is most interesting about the gala is that small depictions of these mythical creatures have been found in ancient Egyptian tombs with inscriptions on them instructing them to serve the person much as a slave would. It seems that in this case, humans turned the tables on the changeling myth, capturing beings from another realm to serve our own needs in the human afterlife.

Whether we define changelings by their deeds, their motives, or the counterparts they’ve left behind, it is clear that changelings have inhabited a much broader range than Europe alone. As is the motive behind much of mythology, it seems that our very human fears (namely of kidnapping, illness, altered personalities and death) have laid the groundwork for changeling mythology across the globe.


Kristina Wojtaszek grew up as a woodland sprite and mermaid, playing around the shores of Lake Michigan. At any given time she could be found with live snakes tangled in her hair and worn out shoes filled with sand. She earned a bachelor’s degree in Wildlife Management as an excuse to spend her days lost in the woods with a book in hand. She currently resides in the high desert country of Wyoming with her husband and two small children. She is fascinated by fairy tales and fantasy and her favorite haunts are libraries and cemeteries.


Paperback $11.95
Ebook $6.99

Scarecrow Table of Contents

Proposed Table of Contents for SCARECROW

Scarecrow Hangs by Jane Yolen
Kakashi and Crow by Megan Fennell
Only the Land Remembers by Amanda Block
Skin Map by Kim Goldberg
Waking from His Master’s Dream by Katherine Marzinsky
A Fist Full of Straw by Kristina Wojtaszek
Judge and Jury by Laura VanArendonk Baugh
The Straw Samurai by Andrew Bud Adams
Black Birds by Laura Blackwood
Edith and I by Virginia Carraway Stark
Scarecrow Progressions (Rubber Duck Remix) by Sara Puls
Truth About Crows by Craig Pay
The Roofnight by Amanda C. Davis
Two Steps Forward by Holly Schofield
If I Only Had an Autogenic Cognitive Decision Matrix by Scott Burtness


I love this lineup and I cannot wait to share it with the world 🙂

(Titles and such are subject to change right up until publication, of course)

Fae Contributor Interview: Kristina Wojtaszek

For the third of my Fae-tastic Fridays I’m going to share an interview I conducted with Fae contributor Kristina Wojtaszek. Enjoy!


Kristina WojtaszekKristina Wojtaszek’s Interview


What was the inspiration for your Fae story?

Solomon’s Friend is actually my own very personal story of raising a son with Asperger’s. All of Kadie’s doubts about herself as a mother are mine; all of Solly’s unique views of the world around him are my son’s (although not everything Solly does or says in the story are true to life). Hobby, the cantankerous, brash old hob that narrates much of the story, came from an often-ignored voice of my own– a well of common sense and courage that sparkles every now and again on a quiet, moonlit night, reminding me that I am making some of the right connections with my child, that I am loving him every moment of every day, and that there is still a bit of magic left in the world, especially in the curious and cautious mind of my child. And maybe even in me.

Was this your first foray into writing fairy stories?

That depends on how you define fairy or fae. There is a great variety of fairy-types across cultures, and many of those overlap easily with creatures that we might classify as something else altogether. I have a hard time deciphering the difference between fae and elves, myself, so if you consider the human-sized elfin spirits as creatures of fae, then yes, I’ve written of them, and even named them fae in my novella, Opal, and in the sequel to come. What intrigues me most about any type of fae is the idea that they can see and interact with elements of nature that we blatantly miss out on. Is it truly they that are strange, or are we humans even more bizarre in the way we have segregated ourselves so completely from the natural world we were born a part of? I like taking on a viewpoint that makes the world of nature more meaningful, more magical, than what we humans deem it to be.

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

The narrator of my story is a hob, which is a type of Brownie, or household spirit. There are many species of household spirits, some more menacing than others (like the hobgoblin or the boggart). According to myth, these household spirits are often quite involved in domestic upkeep, and prefer to go unseen and unacknowledged except for an occasional gift left out of a bit of food or milk. But if you try to seek them out and give them payment for their work, especially in the form of clothing, they take great offense and will disappear from the home forever.

They are also offended by laziness. My own hob takes great delight in licking dust from every surface and finding a multitude of crumbs in couch crevices and underneath car seats. I’d say he’s a bit more tolerant of accumulated filth than most house spirits, but his rules about gifts of clothing still stand.

Is that your favorite type of fae?

I couldn’t tell you what my favorite kind of fae would be. There are so many, and so many that blend into one another, that choosing one would be like picking out a single color of the sunset as my favorite. But I will say that I find the ones with ghost-like qualities the most intriguing. I think it’s pretty cool that many fairy creatures are thought to be spirits of those who have died, lingering between worlds.

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

Tom Thumb, if he can be counted as such, is my favorite fairy character. Who doesn’t love a little sprite-sized superhero who defeats giants and never waivers in his bravery? He rivals Peter Pan with his forever youth, and he’s even got an in with King Arthur and owes his very existence to Merlin– doesn’t get much cooler than that!

 Do you believe in fairies?

In some ways, it’s hard not to. I’m a woman of science, eternally fascinated by biology and the natural world, and any scientist knows that every fact you uncover leads to a hundred more questions. I can’t imagine a time when we know everything there is to know about the natural world, let alone other dimensions or other universes. Could there be another life form a dimension away that has tapped into our world and made an invisible presence we haven’t yet discovered, but that people have noticed now and again from odd appearances throughout the centuries? Could there be a species of insect left undiscovered in a remote patch of rainforest with unheard of intelligence, or some other striking resemblance to mankind? I’m not one to say anything’s impossible.

And now for the excerpt. You’re welcome 🙂

From Solomon’s Friend by Kristina Wojtaszek (507 words):


Tell you the truth, I didn’t feel much of a need to make myself scarce when I saw what I saw in Solomon’s eyes. He’s a special one, that little guy. Call it a syndrome or part of a spectrum or whatever you will, but there’s another facet to his innocence; a kind of clarity of mind you humans don’t often have. And it was obvious right away, just in the way he looked at me, like there was nothing in the world to be surprised about, finding a hairy little dude inside his geode. Truth be told, I knew I’d been sent here for a reason, and the moment he split my world open, I was faithfully his.

That being said, I should probably get a few things off my overgrown chest here and now, because you’re a wonderful mamacita and all, but you’ve got some things wrong about your kid. Like when Solly seems to assign life to every day objects. That’s actually my fault (mostly). Remember that time he propped his dirty sock up on the end table and said it was “watching him” play Mario?

I saw that look on your face, your forehead all creased up, and I just want you to know, he didn’t actually think the sock was alive. Thing is, I’d kind of made a sleeping bag out of that sock. The little dude knew I was in there, peeking out through the hole where his big toe had worn through but Solomon is smart enough not to mention the little “troll” living in his sock; he knows the meaning of your looks, too, and he knew how much worse that would sound than to say the sock itself was alive.

And come on! If he’d glued a couple of google eyes to the sock, you wouldn’t have thought it was all that crazy, now would you? Kid just wants a friend, is all. Even though you can’t see me, and a lot of times (mostly so he doesn’t get in deep shit) I stay outta sight, he knows when I’m around. So give the kid a break– it isn’t about the sock, ok?

And man is he smart, but you have to take the time to understand his logic. Like just the other day. I was up on his ceiling fan making a regular banquet out of all the dust up there (don’t judge, you eat what you like, I’ll eat what I like!) when you yelled at him for licking the soap off his hands and sent him to his room. So there I was with a nice five o’ clock of sweet, gray fuzz, and I hear Solly down below me start whispering to himself (by the way, he does that when he’s figuring something out, so don’t mess with that, alright?) So he says, real softly, “I ate it because you said there are germs inside my body, duh!”

Duh, mamacita! How else is he supposed to kill those nasty germs that live inside him?



Fae Cover

Available direct from the publisher:

Paperback $14.95
Ebook $6.99

Or find it online:

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Fae Cover Reveal Announcement

FAE cover mysteryWorld Weaver Press and I are going to host an official cover reveal for Fae on May 21st. In addition to showing off our fantastic cover, we’ll also be hosting a giveaway of several copies (through Goodreads).

About Fae:

Meet Robin Goodfellow as you’ve never seen him before, watch damsels in distress rescue themselves, get swept away with the selkies and enjoy tales of hobs, green men, pixies and phookas. One thing is for certain, these are not your grandmother’s fairy tales.

Fairies have been both mischievous and malignant creatures throughout history. They’ve dwelt in forests, collected teeth or crafted shoes. Fae is full of stories that honor that rich history while exploring new and interesting takes on the fair folk from castles to computer technologies and modern midwifing, the Old World to Indianapolis.

Fae covers a vast swath of the fairy story spectrum, making the old new and exploring lush settings with beautiful prose and complex characters. Enjoy the familiar feeling of a good old-fashioned fairy tale alongside urban fantasy and horror with a fae twist.

With an introduction by Sara Cleto and Brittany Warman, and all new stories from Sidney Blaylock Jr., Amanda Block, Kari Castor, Beth Cato, Liz Colter, Rhonda Eikamp, Lor Graham, Alexis A. Hunter, L.S. Johnson, Jon Arthur Kitson, Adria Laycraft, Lauren Liebowitz, Christine Morgan, Shannon Phillips, Sara Puls, Laura VanArendonk Baugh, and Kristina Wojtaszek.

If you’d like to participate in the official reveal, please leave a comment to this blog post before May 17th (short notice, I know) and I’ll send you all the information you need by the 19th. Otherwise, just be sure and check back here on the 21st for the official unveiling of the cover and information about how you can enter to win a copy for yourself!

ETA: A friend asked me to explain a bit about what ‘hosting the reveal’ meant, for those people who aren’t familiar with the jargon. Basically, right before the day of the official reveal I will send out a copy of the cover image, a description of the book, links for the Goodreads giveaway, excerpts and all that sort of fun stuff to everyone who signs up to host the reveal. Then, on the day of the reveal all the hosts will post a blog entry with the cover image and whatever other bits of the book information they want to share.

People who don’t have a blog don’t need to sign up, but they can absolutely help still by spreading the word on social media, voting for the book in polls and entering to win the giveaway.

Fae Table of Contents

Silver Pixie CA OrnamentIt’s been quite a journey since World Weaver Press and I first announced that I’d be editing an anthology of fairy stories. Fae has grown from a vague idea to a solid manuscript over the past few months and become even more amazing than I’d hoped. We have seventeen fantastic stories that are going to blow you away.

Allow me to share the table of contents from my forthcoming anthology, Fae:

Rosie Red Jacket by Christine Morgan
The Queen of Lakes by L.S. Johnson
Ten Ways to Self-Sabotage, Only Some of Which Relate to Fairies by Sara Puls
Antlers by Amanda Block
Only Make-Believe by Lauren Liebowitz
F.C.U. by Jon Arthur Kitson
Water Sense by Adria Laycraft
The Cartography of Shattered Trees by Beth Cato
Possession by Rhonda Eikamp
And Only The Eyes of Children by Laura VanArendonk Baugh
Seven Years Fleeting by Lor Graham
The Last King by Liz Colter
Faerie Knight by Sidney Blaylock, Jr.
Solomon’s Friend by Kristina Wojtaszek
A Fairfolk Promise by Alexis A. Hunter
The Fairy Midwife by Shannon Phillips
The Price by Kari Castor

These stories run the gamut from high-tech to old-fashioned and will sweep you away to settings as varied as modern day Indianapolis, the American civil war and mystical medieval kingdoms. They have, as I requested in my call for submissions, lush settings, beautiful prose and complex characters, and come this summer, if you’re a fan of fairies and folklore, you are going to fall in love with this book.