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!

Scarecrow Contributor Interview: Laura VanArendonk Baugh

Scarecrow Blog Tour

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 Laura VanArendonk Baugh. Laura is one of my favourite short story writers and I’ve been honoured to include her work in Fae, Corvidae and Scarecrow.

Interview with Laura VanArendonk Baugh

Please share a short excerpt from your story:

“He’s right,” said Frank. “It’s all over, but you’re worse now than during the trial. What’s wrong with you?”

Everett wasn’t looking at them. “Those birds,” he said. “They’re watching me.”

The others turned to a wire drooping beneath the weight of a dozen crows. Most wore university ID tags. None were looking at the table. “Really, man? Come on, Everett.”

He shook his head. “They’re watching me. All the time. My apartment, out here, everywhere. And there’s more of them all the time.” He swallowed, his eyes still on the birds. “They’re gathering.”

Frank turned to look at them. “Not much of a gathering. Or a murder, I guess it is.”

“Flock,” snapped Everett. “Only poets call them a murder.”

Still, thought Jun, the term had to come from somewhere.

“But they’re flocking around me, more and more.”

Jeremy snorted. “If this is a joke, dude, you can drop it. We get it. You do a good crazy act.”

“I’m not joking, man!” Everett’s eyes looked as if he’d had his espresso as a tall. “They’ve started to bring things.”

“What do you mean, bring things?”

“Scissors, needles, clips.” Everett dropped his voice, embarrassed to speak but needing to confide. “Weapons.”

Jeremy looked as if he wanted to laugh but was afraid to. “Weapons, man? Seriously?”

“They use tools!” Everett jabbed a finger toward the crows. “You know what they can do, how they think — they use effin’ tools!” He slammed his hand down on the table, making a spoon jump to the ground, and screamed.

Even Jun jerked back from the table as Everett leapt up, clutching his hand to his chest. Jeremy and Frank looked at each other and then at Everett, inexplicably cradling his hand and swearing. But then Everett turned on them and shoved his hand at them. “See? See what I mean?”

A tiny drop of red blood marked the exit point of the fishhook, barbed and glistening and snaked neatly through the flesh of Everett’s palm.

Frank boggled. “Why was there a fishhook on the table? How does that even happen?”

“The crows put it there!” Everett snatched up the flatware from the table and hurled it, piece by piece, at the birds on the wire. They exploded into the air, screeching annoyance. “Get away from me! You freaking monsters! Keep away!”

If you were a scarecrow, what would you look like? What would you be stuffed with? I can tell you I’d definitely not look like those “country kitsch” hyper-trite things with big eyes and dopey grins that are so popular in the faux-country crowd. Those are some of the most annoying inanimate objects…!

...like this

…like this

Nor would I be a gruesome over-the-top Arkham escapee. Hm. I’d probably have a fairly classic silhouette, all denim and flannel, and I’d really like a pumpkin head, and I’d look very appropriate in the slanting autumn sun, and then you’d notice that the pumpkin eyes seemed to follow you as you passed, just a little….

What is it about scarecrows that inspired you to write about them? My scarecrow story grew directly out of the backstory of my corvid story. It seemed plausible that a crow cognition lab would have a scarecrow mascot – why not? – and that provided not only an interesting visual for an important bit of history but a bookended resolution, full of vengeance and fury and righteous comeuppance.

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?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. 🙂

Elemental-5252-web

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.

 

Scarecrow edited by Rhonda Parrish

Amazon: (CA) (UK) (US)
Kobo: (CA) (US)
Direct From the Publisher: World Weaver Press

Scarecrow Blog Tour

Scarecrow Contributor Interview: Andrew Bud Adams

Scarecrow Blog Tour

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 Andrew Bud Adams. Andrew’s Scarecrow story has been a favourite with more than one reviewer, and for good reason 🙂

Interview with Andrew Bud Adams

Please share a short excerpt from your story/stories:

A rustling in the tall yellow stalks woke Okamiko. She heard it all around her, but when she opened her eyes she saw only the blue sky framed in grain. Her first thought was animals–regular animals who couldn’t talk–because she was used to sharing her bed with them; but the rustling was too rhythmic. She sat up, using Take to stand.

The rustling stopped. Surrounding her were four workers,  but now that they stared at her, she saw they weren’t from any of the familiar villages. They had red faces with long, curved beaks, and their scaly red hands gripped bundles of grain. The rest of their bodies were covered in sleek black feathers, except for their feet, which were red and taloned like their hands. They wore colorful jackets, divided skirts, and conical hats like people, but were short, almost as short as Okamiko, as if they were children.

They stared a moment longer, appraising her, too, and then went back to gathering stalks.

She watched them wide-eyed, afraid to move, afraid the work was a trick and they were crow-people who had spied her lying as if dead and come to peck out her eyes. The thought made her squint and look away, but she didn’t move. They kept harvesting around her, and it was only when she was several yards in their wake that she stood taller and her expression changed. She cocked her head like a puppy, more curious than frightened, and yelped, “What are you doing?”

They didn’t stop. One looked back at her, that curved red beak swiveling like a bloody sickle. She saw herself in its big round eye, saw how naked and plain she must look to them, but that only increased her curiosity, because they were not angry nor afraid.

“Who are you?” she asked.

There’s a Japanese God who is represented as a scarecrow. It is all-knowing but cannot move. If you could know any one thing, what would it be? In that situation? Definitely telekinesis.

Would it be worth learning the answer if you were forever stuck in one place afterward? Well I wouldn’t be stuck, would I? Telekinesis! I’d float myself around in the lotus position.

If you were a scarecrow, what would you look like? What would you be stuffed with? I’d look like an owl. I’d be stuffed with crows.

Do you think you’d make a good scarecrow? Why? As an owl? Actually, I think I’d make a much better letter carrier for the wizarding world…though I hear they have to work Sundays.

What is it about scarecrows that inspired you to write about them? As soon as a scarecrow comes to life I see it as part of the golem tradition, like Frankenstein’s monster. It may be heroic, it may be dangerous, but either way it’s tragic and misunderstood, forever stuck between two worlds. Like Pinocchio. I’m very drawn to that theme – living in the world but not of the world, discovering a creator’s design, etc. For this particular story, I took inspiration from the Japanese folk tale “The Tengu’s Magic Cloak,” which, instead of a scarecrow, features a straw cloak of invisibility. I couldn’t resist the chance to reverse that trope in a retelling – for my scarecrow to render the invisible, visible. You’ll see what I mean!

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 🙂

Andrew Bud Adams was raised by spider-men and turtle ninjas and ronin rabbits, who are now helping raise his own children. “The Straw Samurai,” inspired by them and the Japanese folk tale “The Tengu’s Magic Cloak,” is one of his first published retellings. When not wandering between fantasy villages or teaching college writing, he can be found on Twitter @andrewbudadams.

Scarecrow edited by Rhonda Parrish

Amazon: (CA) (UK) (US)
Kobo: (CA) (US)
Direct From the Publisher: World Weaver Press

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

Scarecrow Blog Tour

Scarecrow Contributor Interview: Katherine Marzinsky

Scarecrow Blog Tour

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 Katherine Marzinsky. Katherine created one of my favourite scarecrows, Strel.

Interview with Katherine Marzinsky

Please share a short excerpt from your story/stories:

“So,” Rosa began, her voice the temperature of the water on the bedside tray, “you’re still wandering around with that stupid straw-man of yours?”

“Yes,” Vicente replied with equal coldness, studying the IV line running into his wrist.  “He’s my hermano de tinta.  Why wouldn’t I be?”

“I’m just a little surprised.”  Rosa crossed one leg over the other.  “I thought you’d have scrapped him and run off with some new, half-baked story by now.”  She met Vicente’s eyes.  “After all, that’s what you did with us, your real brother and sister.”

Vicente looked away.

“… I wasn’t ready to handle all that nonsense.”

“We’re nonsense?”  Rosa’s eyes widened.  “Your family is nonsense?  And just what do you think that damn scarecrow is?”

“I needed time for myself.”

“All you ever think about is yourself.”  Rosa uncrossed her legs and braced her palms against her thighs.  “Mamá and Papá didn’t raise us to act that way.  Do you know how ashamed they’d be if they knew how you abandoned us?  Abandoned your life and their memory?  Luis is almost a teenager now, and he doesn’t remember anything except Mamá’s coffin and you walking away.”

“Shut up.”  Vicente knotted his fists around the bed sheets and squeezed until his veins bulged like worms.  “You don’t have any idea what you’re talking about.  You don’t know me; you never knew me.”

“Who does then?”

Feeling the pain rising from the IV needle on the back of his hand, Vicente let go of the sheets.  He closed his eyes for a moment, and then shrugged the best he could in his cocoon of linens, gauze, and plastic tubing.

“Strel’s the only one.  Not like you’d ever ask him though.”

“That’s bullshit, Vicente.  Your scarecrow can’t even talk.”

“Maybe you just don’t know how to listen.”

There’s a Japanese God who is represented as a scarecrow. It is all-knowing but cannot move. If you could know any one thing, what would it be?Would it be worth learning the answer if you were forever stuck in one place afterward? I tend to be an extremely anxious person; I worry constantly about everything, and if there’s nothing to worry about, my brain will create something to worry about.  With that in mind, if I could know any one thing it would be the secret to perfect mental peace.  If I was forever stuck in one place afterward, then I’d be okay with that.  I would much rather be peaceful in one spot than a fearful and restless wanderer.

If you were a scarecrow, what would you look like? What would you be stuffed with? For starters, I would be much thinner, and I would definitely want some kind of animal skull as a head.  I originally envisioned Strel, the scarecrow in my story, with a deer skull as his head, so I’ll go with that.  A ram skull might be pretty cool too, though.  As for my stuffing, I would love to be stuffed with crumpled up pages ripped from literature and art textbooks.  That way, I’d always know that I was beautiful on the inside, even if my outside got tangled in thorns and covered in bird droppings.

Do you think you’d make a good scarecrow? Why? Honestly, I probably wouldn’t make a good scarecrow.  I can’t stand the heat, and most crops are grown in the hotter months.  I could also see myself stressing about all kinds of potential catastrophes, like a plague of locusts, or a wild fire, or a devastating storm, or falling over and being unable to get back up… I’m sure the crows would learn pretty fast how to take advantage of my distraction.

What is it about scarecrows that inspired you to write about them? I think my affinity for scarecrows began after playing “The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask” when I was a kid.  The antagonist in that game is a creature called the Skull Kid, and although I don’t think he actually is a scarecrow, he certainly looks like one.  The combination of creepiness and vulnerability that his character, and scarecrows in general, represents has continued to fascinate me to this day.

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 have lived my entire life in a rural area of New Jersey, a place with more farms than city streets. (Believe it or not, Jersey does have areas like that.)  This may have helped foster my general interest in scarecrows, but it certainly didn’t inspire the setting for my story.  “Waking From His Master’s Dream” takes place in Cielotriste, a fictional city in a fictional Latin American country.  I have a Venezuelan friend and it was his descriptions of Caracas that inspired Cielotriste.

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?The main characters in my story started off as minor characters in a larger, novel-sized piece set in the same universe (which still remains unfinished after six years).  Somewhere along the way, I became very attached to this particular group of characters, and I knew they deserved more than bit parts in another’s story.  Vicente describes his scarecrow and fictional creation, Strel, as his “hermano de tinta,” meaning “ink brother;” he created him in response to some very difficult situations and emotions.  I think Vicente is my hermano de tinta.  He represents a lot of very personal things to me, and writing about him has been almost therapeutic.

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?Sorry, Magnus, but crows are my favorite corvid, mostly because they’re the corvids with which I am most familiar.  Crows are very plentiful where I live, and they’re always a joy to watch.  I had never even seen in magpie in real life until I took a trip to Norway in 2012.

 

Katherine Marzinsky is a writer and student currently residing in New Jersey. She attends Kean University, where she is working toward an undergraduate degree with a major in English and a minor in Spanish. Her previous work has appeared in “Asimov’s Science Fiction Magazine,” “A Cappella Zoo,” “Cease, Cows,” and “The Inanimates I” story anthology.

Scarecrow edited by Rhonda Parrish

Amazon: (CA) (UK) (US)
Kobo: (CA) (US)
Direct From the Publisher: World Weaver Press

Scarecrow Contributor Interview: Holly Schofield

Scarecrow Blog Tour

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 Holly Schofield. I met Holly when we were on a panel together at When Words Collide, and I’ve shared a table of contents with her in Tesseracts 17 but this was the first time I got to work with her directly 🙂

Interview with Holly Schofield

Please share a short excerpt from your story:

I pictured the scene as a crow might see it: the scarecrow high-stepping under the moon, tails flapping, twisting like the hepcat he would become. NBC’s Palmolive Hour alive with sweet jazz, the hopeful scent of ripening tomatoes, and the moonlight playing among the carrot fronds. The scarecrow tap dancing madly to “California, Here I Come” as it blared out the window of the farmhouse he was never, ever invited into. 

What is it about scarecrows that inspired you to write about them? Scarecrows held no appeal for me at all, the dusty, frumpy old things. That is, until I read Rhonda’s suggestion of a _steampunk_ scarecrow. Then I was off and running, like a mouse across a cornfield.

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 come from a province filled with thousand-acre farms and not a scarecrow to be seen.

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?I had read Rhonda’s blog suggesting steampunk scarecrows immediately after I had randomly read about dance marathons during the Depression. The two ideas synched together like dance partners fox-trotting across the floor.

Holly Schofield’s work has appeared in many publications including Lightspeed, Crossed Genres, and Tesseracts. For more of her work, see http://hollyschofield.wordpress.com/

Scarecrow edited by Rhonda Parrish

Amazon: (CA) (UK) (US)
Kobo: (CA) (US)
Direct From the Publisher: World Weaver Press

Scarecrow Contributor Interview: Virginia Carraway Stark

Scarecrow Blog Tour

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 Virginia Carraway Stark. A writer so dedicated that even being hit by a car barely slows her productivity!

Interview with Virginia Carraway Stark

Please share a short excerpt from your story/stories:

“Edith watched them and fed them her scraps.  She no longer had the eyes of a young mother.  She had aged along with the year and she watched the pigs with the same canny appraisal that the magpies and crows had watched us plant our seeds that spring.  She was the crone now and barren. We must prepare for the maiden of spring together, we must make the path rich and clear for her young, bare feet when she awoke in the growing light of spring.

The next day she brought the kitchen knife with her.  It was long and sharp.  The blade curved inward from being repeatedly being sharpened year after year.  It was the same one she had cut the gourd’s free from their vines with.”

There’s a Japanese God who is represented as a scarecrow. It is all-knowing but cannot move. If you could know any one thing, what would it be? This is a difficult question for me because I don’t know who I would be getting the answer from and I don’t really believe that many questions have definitive, finite answers, so a lot of this would be down to the source. I guess I don’t really believe in answers being just handed to you. Answers are found by searching and otherwise you risk the answers of oracles that could make sense in a thousand different ways. If I can’t find an answer for myself I question whether or not I would be able to understand the answer. Knowledge does not bestow wisdom.

Would it be worth learning the answer if you were forever stuck in one place afterward? And from this, perhaps you can see why I am so cautious to choose a question to have answered. ‘Free’ knowledge so often comes with a price. I wouldn’t want to sacrifice my freedom of movement and I can’t think of any question or answer worth getting for such knowledge.

If you were a scarecrow, what would you look like? What would you be stuffed with? If I were a scarecrow I would like to a dressed in my grandmother’s gardening clothes and wearing her sunhat. I would be smiling, but sadly and somberly because fundamentally I have been reduced to the role of being a passive observer and I would be stranded from helping or changing the course of things. I would want to be smiling so that the people who saw me would smile back and know that someone cares about them. I would likely be stuffed with corn husks, or I would hope I would be. They smell lovely and are soft but firm.

Do you think you’d make a good scarecrow? Why? I think I would be alright as a scarecrow but I think a lot of things would make me sad, in particular frost and winter and not being able to run or swim. I would enjoy watching the trees and the garden and unfortunately for the crops, I would love watching the birds. That would be big failing in a scarecrow and it pushes me more into the direction of: No, not scarecrow material.

What is it about scarecrows that inspired you to write about them? Scarecrows fall into a similar category to dolls, they look like us but they don’t have souls or life of their own. This makes them eerie and because they are stationary, they also see no end of things. They are witnesses to more of our lives than we might be comfortable with and at the same time they have nothing to do but sit and ponder what they have seen. Who know what conclusions or attachments they might make. In Edith and I the scarecrow is drawn to Edith because she is his goddess. She comes and goes as she pleases and she decrees when it is time for the harvest and time for the sacrifices to nature. Like many ‘goddesses’ she doesn’t realize the sort of attention and devotion that she has created and she is left vulnerable to being courted or stalked.

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 Northern British Columbia and I feel that the connection to the weather and the intensity of the seasons makes autumn a poignant time of year. I think that if you were a scarecrow it would be a frightening and intense time, all the more so for how long and deep the freezes 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?) My grandmother inspired my poem. She loved the garden and I learned so much from helping her in the garden when I was little. She always treated her scarecrow with such dignity and respect that I wanted to show the story from her scarecrow’s perspective as I imagined it. I always thought that he would be in love with her. After all, she was his mother and would be the only woman who dressed him and cared for him when he was injured. If he was damaged or knocked over she would mend or repair him or put him back up on his post. That’s a strange but romantic relationship.

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 the blue jay. I had a stellar jay land on my hand and eat from it and I’ve been enchanted by them ever since. I’ve also had a lot of interactions with magpies and crows and ravens. I like the crows the best because they will often have voices and speak to me. Maybe if more magpies were willing to have a conversation they would be my favorite.

 

Virginia

Virginia Carraway Stark started her writing career with three successful screenplays and went on to write speculative fiction as well as writing plays and for various blogs. She has written for several anthologies and three novels as well. Her novel, ‘Dalton’s Daughter’ is available now through Amazon and Starklight Press. ‘Detachment’s Daughter’ and ‘Carnival Fun’ are coming later this year. You can find her on Twitter @tweetsbyvc, on Facebook https://Facebook.com/virginiacarrawaystark and on the web: www.virginiastark.com

 

Scarecrow edited by Rhonda Parrish

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Direct From the Publisher: World Weaver Press

Scarecrow Blog Tour

Scarecrow Contributor Interview: Jane Yolen

Scarecrow Blog Tour

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 the amazing Jane Yolen. I was honoured to include poems by Jane in both Corvidae and Scarecrow and you can check out her Corvidae contributor interview here.

Interview with Jane Yolen


There’s a Japanese God who is represented as a scarecrow. It is all-knowing but cannot move. If you could know any one thing, what would it be? 
All the poems of Emily Dickinson so I could tell myself one a day while hanging on my pole. 1800 poems, 1800 days.

If you were a scarecrow, what would you look like? What would you be stuffed with? Skinnier than now, stuffed with leaves from old books.

Do you think you’d make a good scarecrow? Why? No—I have little patience.

What is it about scarecrows that inspired you to write about them? Crows.

You have work in both anthologies, which came first? The corvid or the scarecrow? Corvid first.

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 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?Sorry—but it’s crows for me. Though I love the look of magpies strutting across my Scottish lawn.

JaneJane Yolen, often called “the Hans Christian Andersen of America”(Newsweek) is the author of well over 350 books, including OWL MOON, THE DEVIL’S ARITHMETIC, and HOW DO DINOSAURS SAY GOODNIGHT. Her books and stories have won an assortment of awards–two Nebulas, a World Fantasy Award, a Caldecott, the Golden Kite Award, three Mythopoeic awards, two Christopher Medals, a nomination for the National Book Award, and the Jewish Book Award, among many others. She has been nominated three times for the Pushcart Prize in Poetry. She is also the winner (for body of work) of the World Fantasy Assn. Lifetime Achievement Award, Science Fiction Poetry Association Grand Master Award, Catholic Library’s Regina Medal, Kerlan Medal from the University of Minnesota, the du Grummond Medal from Un. of Southern Missisippi, the Smith College Alumnae Medal, and New England Pubic Radio Arts and Humanities Award . Six colleges and universities have given her honorary doctorates. Her website is: www.janeyolen.com

Scarecrow edited by Rhonda Parrish

Amazon: (CA) (UK) (US)
Kobo: (CA) (US)
Direct From the Publisher: World Weaver Press

Tangent Online 2015 Recommended Reading List

Scarecrow edited by Rhonda Parrish

I keep forgetting to share this so the news is a little less than fresh right now, but it’s still fabulous. Every year Tangent Online puts together a recommended reading list and Corvidae and Scarecrow are all over the 2015 list. You can see the entire list by clicking here (there is a rather long essay at the top of the page, the listings come right after it). The tl;dr version, however, is that there are 13 Corvidae stories and 11 Scarecrow stories on the list. Whoot!

Corvidae & Scarecrow stories on the Tangent Online 2015 Recommended Reading List:

“Raven No More” by Adria Laycraft (Corvidae)
“Bazyli Conjures a Blackbird” by Mark Rapacz (Corvidae)
“Black Birds” by Laura Blackwood (Scarecrow)

One Star:
“Visiting Hours” by Michael S. Pack (Corvidae)
“The Rookery of Sainte-Mère-Église” by Tim Deal (Corvidae)
“The Cruelest Team Will Win” by Mike Allen (Corvidae)
“Knife Collection, Blood Museum, Birds” by Sara Pul (Corvidae)
“Flying the Coop” by M.L.D. Curelas (Corvidae)
“Seven for a Secret” by Megan Engelhardt (Corvidae)
“The Roofnight” by Amanda C. Davis (Scarecrow)
“A Fist Full of Straw” by Kristina Wojtaszek (Scarecrow)
“Scarecrow Progressions (Rubber Duck Remix)” by Sara Puls (Scarecrow)
“Truth About Crows” by Craig Pay (Scarecrow)

Two Stars
“Whistles & Trills” by Kate Otis (Corvidae)
“The Valravn” by Megan Fennell (Corvidae)
“A Mischief of Seven” by Leslie Van Zwol (Corvidae)
“The Straw Samurai” by Andrew Bud Adams (Scarecrow)
“Edith and I” by Virginia Carraway Stark (Scarecrow)

Three Stars
“Sanctuary” by Laura VanArendonk Baugh (Corvidae)
“Flight” by Angela Slatter (Corvidae)
“Only the Land Remembers” by Amanda Block (Scarecrow)
”If I Only Had an Autogenic Cognitive Decision Matrix” by Scott Burtness (Scarecrow)
“Judge & Jury” by Laura VanArendonk Baugh (Scarecrow)
“Kakashi & Crow” by Megan Fennell (Scarecrow)

And I’m just going to go ahead and say that even the stories from Corvidae and Scarecrow which didn’t make this list are definitely recommended reading. Because they are all awesome 🙂

Cover for CORVIDAE. Design by Eileen Wiedbrauk

Related: Fae rocks the 2014 Tangent Online Recommended Reading List

 

Contributor Interview – Megan Fennell

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 Megan Fennell. Megan is one of only three authors to have work in both Corvidae and Scarecrow and her Scarecrow contribution contains some of my favourite characters in fiction. Like, all fiction, not just fiction I’ve edited.

Interview with Megan Fennell

Please share a short excerpt from your stories:
From ‘The Valravn’ (in Corvidae):

“You spoke of Heidelberg,” I said. “What is that?”

I didn’t think his expression could grow any brighter, but somehow it did, making his eyes sparkle. “Why, it’s a castle, little frauline. The most glorious castle that I’ve seen in all of my travels. The peaks of the roof tickle the belly of the clouds. You can spy them with a day’s journey yet before you. Have you never seen a castle?”

I shook my head, stung by a curiosity that overcame any embarrassment at my lack of knowledge. I was not about to admit to him that I hadn’t seen further than the edges of the great forest. My mind constructed fantastic lands in my dreams and my desire to hear of the places Rikard had seen gnawed at me as real as hunger.

“If you’re under our roof and eating our food, I think we deserve at least a story or two out of you,” I said primly, my mother’s voice issuing from my mouth. My cheeks burned again and I unpicked a knot from my mending while Rikard laughed.

“And so you shall have them, little lady of the pines,” he said. “A story… Hmm. A story about castles? Or about the sea? I’d wager my cloak you’ve never made it as far as the coast.” He studied me, toying with the feathers in his hat as they dried and giving the matter more contemplation that I thought it warranted. “Yet here you sit, perfectly unmoved in the heart of this terrible storm. Perhaps I have a more discerning audience than I thought. Perhaps I’ve found someone worthy of hearing the secrets of the Valravn.”

From ‘Kakashi & Crow’ (in Scarecrow):

We parked the car just off one of the streets that funnelled out onto the bridge and started out on foot from there. Kakashi had turned tense and silent, his sickle tucked under his jacket. The gravel crunched under our boots as we went off the path and started down the slope to get ourselves beneath the bridge.

“I can feel him,” Kakashi murmured, “He’s here.”

“Told you, didn’t I?” I said. I could feel the presence of the rogue buzzing against my nerves too, like the whine of power lines in high wind. “Are you scared?”

The shadow of the bridge fell over us and it felt suddenly colder.

“No, Johnny,” Kakashi said, “I am not. Are you?”

I shook my head, stuffing my hands into the pockets of my jacket, turning the stolen lighter over and over in my nervous fingers. “Nah.”

We trudged a little further. The hairs on the back of my neck were standing on end and goosebumps rushed down my arms. Kakashi slid the sickle out from under his jacket.

“Were you lying a little just now?” I asked.

“Perhaps,” he said.

I grinned. “Perhaps me too.”

What is it about corvids that inspired you to write about them? Since I was young, I’ve always loved the brash, clever nature of corvids. They tend to be far more ‘chatty’ than most other birds with a far less musical song, to many peoples’ annoyance. I adore that most individual species of corvids have such rich mythological backgrounds as well; folks have been fascinated by these noisy, ballsy critters long before the likes of us!

Was there one corvid characteristic you wanted to highlight more than others? Their trickster nature. In most mythology, it seems like corvid-characters tend to lie and laugh their way through life at the expense of all those around them. They have a touch of Loki about them, and I adore that.

Do you think you were successful? I hope so! The main corvid I have in play is, after all, a bard.

If you were a corvid, what would you build your nest out of? Something nice and cozy. I’m a comfort-driven creature. I’ve seen magpies swoop in to steal dog fur for their nests when somebody’s outside getting brushed – seems like a good strategy to me!

What’s your favourite ‘shiny’ thing? Hoo-boy, I adore shiny things! I have far too many sequined things in my closet and have had glittery makeup forcibly removed from my possession for my own good. The phrase ‘That might be a little too sparkly’ has yet to pass my lips!

There’s a Japanese God who is represented as a scarecrow. It is all-knowing but cannot move. If you could know any one thing, what would it be? Seriously, why didn’t they just fly the One Ring to Mordor on the eagles….?

Would it be worth learning the answer if you were forever stuck in one place afterward? Absolutely not! I’m too much of a fan of travel for that.

If you were a scarecrow, what would you look like? What would you be stuffed with? Something fireproof… mwuahaha, now I’m invincible!! Maybe with a bit of weight to it so I don’t blow away in the wind. Hard to maintain your dignity through that.

Do you think you’d make a good scarecrow? Nah… I’m not very good at sitting still, and my dance moves aren’t as good as Dorothy’s scarecrow either. I could make a damn good Wacky Waving Inflatable Tube-Man though!

What is it about scarecrows that inspired you to write about them? I was honestly more interested in the dynamic between a scarecrow and a crow, and the type of polar-opposite characters that could manage to work with each other. Johnny Crow was born first, and Kakashi followed as his natural counterpart.

Since you have work in both anthologies, which came first? The corvid or the scarecrow? I wrote my scarecrow story first… But it’s told from the perspective of a corvid character, so that question remains up for debate.

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 writing in from Lethbridge, Alberta, where mischiefs of magpies and murders of crows rule the coolies!

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?) ‘Kakashi & Crow’ was helped along by my shameless love of buddy cop movies and a long-held interest in both Native American and Japanese folklore. Fusion platter! As for ‘The Valravn’, I stumbled across this legend while brainstorming for ideas and was instantly won over. It had that terrific Grimm’s fairy tales ‘wow, did they really just go there in a kid’s story?!’ feel.

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?) Don’t get your feathers all ruffled! Magpies are absolutely my favourite. And I can prove it too, because I have two of them tattooed on my back. Going with the old magpie-counting rhyme, that ensures I always have ‘two for joy’ with me at all times.
Megan Fennell is a court clerk, cat owner, and writer of strange tales, currently living and working in Lethbridge, Alberta. Although loving magpies to the point of having two of them tattooed on her, it was the Danish myth of the Valravn that held her corvid-like attention span for this anthology. Her stories can also be found in Wrestling with Gods: Tesseracts 18Tesseracts 17OnSpec Magazine, and the charity anthology Help: Twelve Tales of Healing.

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Cover for CORVIDAE. Design by Eileen Wiedbrauk

Available Direct from the Publisher:
World Weaver Press

Or Find it Online:
Amazon
Goodreads
Kobo

Scarecrow edited by Rhonda Parrish

Available Direct from the Publisher:
World Weaver Press

Or Find it Online:
Amazon
Goodreads
Kobo