Monday, October 20, 2014

Krampusnacht: Twelve Nights of Krampus Coming Nov. 11

Krampusnacht: Twelve Nights of Krampus will be published Nov. 11.

For bad children, a lump of coal from Santa is positively light punishment when Krampus is ready and waiting to beat them with a stick, wrap them in chains, and drag them down to hell--all with St. Nick's encouragement and approval.


Krampusnacht holds within its pages twelve tales of Krampus triumphant, usurped, befriended, and much more. From evil children (and adults) who get their due, to those who pull one over on the ancient "Christmas Devil." From historic Europe, to the North Pole, to present day American suburbia, these all new stories embark on a revitalization of the Krampus tradition.


Whether you choose to read Krampusnacht over twelve dark and scary nights or devour it in one nacht of joy and terror, these stories are sure to add chills and magic to any winter's reading.


Some more details are below. Keep checking. Lots more info is coming!


Edited by Kate Wolford


“Prodigious” by Elizabeth Twist

“The Wicked Child” by Elise Forier Edie

“Marching Krampus” by Jill Corddry

“Peppermint Sticks” by Colleen H. Robbins

“Ring, Little Bell, Ring” by Caren Gussoff

“A Visit” by Lissa Sloan

“Santa Claus and the Little Girl Who Loved to Sing and Dance” by Patrick Evans

“Between the Eye”s by Guy Burtenshaw

“Nothing to Dread” by Jeff Provine

“Raw Recruits” by Mark Mills

“The God Killer” by Cheresse Burke

“Krampus Carol” by Scott Farrell

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Italy: The Birthplace of Modern Fairy Tale Telling, By Christina Ruth Johnson, Vintage Fairy Tale Sleuth

When we think of countries that are birthplaces of fairy tales, we automatically think of France and Germany--at least, these are the first that come to my mind, thanks mainly to Perrault and the Grimm brothers. We may think of England, too, as the place tales about actual fairies abound. Next, our minds might travel east to Russia or even farther into the lands of the Arabian Nights. Or perhaps we go north to Denmark, remembering Hans Christian Andersen.

One place to which my mind never traveled, until my research took me there, was Italy. I have since learned that traveling to Italy (literarily speaking) is a must for fairy tale lovers!

A most extraordinary collection of tales was published in Italy between 1634 and 1636--written by Giambattista Basile (published posthumously). The original title was Lo cunto de li cunti overo lo trattenemiento de peccerille--“The Tale of Tales, or Entertainment for Little Ones.” The title by which we know the work today, however, is Il Pentamerone, a phrase from the dedication page of the first edition that appeared as a subtitle in the 1674 edition by Pompeo Sarnelli (another Italian writer of fairy tales). (Oxford Companion to Fairy Tales)

From "Two Cakes," illustrated by George Cruikshank
Giambattista Basile was born near Naples in 1575 to a middle class family. He worked as a soldier, a government official, a courtier in Mantua, and a governor of various small states in Italy (Encyclopedia Britannica). When he died in 1632, he held the title of count (OCFT). Basile was well regarded as a poet while he lived, “and during his career he became fascinated with the folklore, customs, literature, music, and dialect of the Neapolitan people. He began serious study of things Neapolitan and began to collect fairy tales and folktales, setting them down in a lively Neapolitan style with much local flavour and all the ornament and flamboyance of his influential contemporary Giambattista Marino” (EB). 
"The Serpent," illustrated by by Warwick Goble
Basile’s arguably most famous work, Il Pentamerone, was the first literary compilation of nothing but fairy tales to be published in Europe, paving the way for later publications by the Grimms and others that we know and love today. Linguist and historian Nancy Canepa writes, “Lo cunto constituted a culmination of the interest in popular culture and folk traditions that permeated the Renaissance, when isolated fairy tales had started to be included in novella collections” (OCFT). Il Pentamerone, however, was written in the complicated Neapolitan dialect and parodied both earlier canonical works by Italian authors, such as Boccaccio, as well as contemporary Neapolitan culture (OCFT).

"Seven Doves" and more, by Cruikshank
Like Boccaccio’s Decameron, Basile’s Il Pentamerone is composed of a frame narrative with 49 interior tales--the frame narrative is its own tale, raising the total number to 50. Many stories we readily recognize today appear in this anthology, some in their earliest known literary forms: “Cinderella,” “Sleeping Beauty,” “Rapunzel,” “Snow White and Rose Red,” “Beauty and the Beast,” and “Puss in Boots.”

"The Three Enchanted Princes, illustrated by Goble
 Canepa remarks that Basile’s versions of these stories are “often bawdier and crueller” than their later, better-known retellings. For example, the heroine of “La gatta Cennerentola” (“The Cinderella Cat”) actually kills her stepmother and actively helps orchestrate her own happily-ever-after. In general, Il Pentamerone’s heroines are surprisingly active and clever agents in their own fates. (OCFT) Petrosinella (the earliest incarnation of Rapunzel) coordinates her escape from her tower, essentially giving orders to the prince.

You can read a selection of stories from The Tale of Tales on the Surlalune website, as well as view more of the gorgeous illustrations by Warwick Goble and George Cruikshank here: You may also try your hand at reading the original Neapolitan here (full text):

I for one love reading such different versions of tales we think we know so well! Which Pentamerone tale is your favorite? Join Enchanted Conversation and let us know!

“Giambattista Basile.” Encyclopedia Britannica. Accessed 17 August 2014. [OE]
Heidi Anne Heiner, ed. “Il Pentamerone.” Surlalune Fairy Tales.
Nancy Canepa. “Giambattista Basile.” The Oxford Companion to Fairy Tales: The Western fairy tale tradition from medieval to modern, 41-43. Edited by Jack Zipes. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000. [OCFT]
Nancy Canepa. “Pentamerone.” The Oxford Companion to Fairy Tales: The Western fairy tale tradition from medieval to modern, 377-378. Edited by Jack Zipes. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000. [OCFT] 

Christina Ruth Johnson recently received her Masters in Art History with a focus on the ancient Mediterranean and a side interest in the 18th and 19th centuries. Her other great love is fantasy literature from ancient times to present day.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

500 New Fairy Tales and the First Black Cinderella, By Nora Stasio

Keke Palmer as Cinderella
I've got two bits of news for you today--both very different, both very intriguing. 

The first one isn't a new story, but one that, I think, didn't get enough coverage when it broke. Historian Erika Eichenseer discovered three books packed with a total of 500 fairy tales in Bavaria, Germany in the Spring of 2012. And you've probably never heard most of these before. 

In the 1860s, Franz Xaver Von Schönwerth, also a historian, traveled throughout the Bavarian region on Oberpfalz, Germany, gathering information on the local people's customs, traditions, myths, and folk tales. He published three volumes of the fairy tales he had gathered, but his works were never as popular as those by the Grimm Brothers, and he had been largely forgotten by modern society, until Eichenseer's discovery. The books were locked away in an archive in Regensburg, Germany for approximately 150 years. 

The Grimm brothers were known for putting their own spin on the stories they recorded, inserting their own voice into the narration. Von Schönwerth was more concerned about preserving history, making it a point to transcribe the tales exactly as he was told them. These stories are many generations old, and most are unique to Bavaria and are not well known in other parts of the world, which is why you've probably never heard them. 

For instance:Hhave you heard the one about the princess who turned herself into a lake to hide from a witch? The witch drinks up the lake and then the princess cuts her way out of the witch's stomach. A thousand points to you if you already know that one, but it's new to me. Eichenseer certainly unearthed a long-lost treasure when she discovered these books. 

My question is, why haven't we heard more about this since this 2012? I'm sure fairy tale fanatics like ourselves would love to read these ancient tales. Eichenseer did publish a collection of them - in German, of course, but an English version should be released next year. Let's cross our fingers!

Or, here's a thought: Instead of relentlessly rehashing the same seven world-famous fairy tales, maybe Hollywood can adapt one of these for their next big budget film. Why do I have a feeling that will never happen...?

Anyway, if you're intrigued, you can read one such tale, The Turnip Princess, here: 

Now for a more recent story.

On September 9th, Keke Palmer became the first African American to portray Cinderella on the Broadway stage. She took over for Carly Rae Jepsen, the Canadian pop idol who had the role for seven months. I'm referring, of course, to the 2013 revival of Rodgers and Hammerstein's adaptation of the fairy tale, which has been getting a lot of good press since opening.
Keke Palmer was in the news earlier this year for breaking new ground in a different medium. At 20 years old, she became the youngest-ever TV talk show host, with "Just Keke" premiering on BET channel in June. 

You may remember Keke from her 'breakout role' in Akeelah and the Bee in 2006. She released a solo album in 2007 and starred in a Nickelodeon sitcom, True Jackson, VP, from 2008 to 2011.

I must say, this news about Cinderella was a surprise to me. Has there really never before been an African-American Cinderella? Apparently, on Broadway, there hasn't. 

I remember when I was quite young, it was 1997, and ABC produced a TV adaptation of the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical with wildly popular (at the time) R&B singer, Brandy, in the title role. My friends and I recorded it (on a vhs tape!) and watched it over and over again. We didn't care what color Cinderella's skin was, we were thoroughly enchanted by her. 

If you've seen that ABC special, you'll remember that Whitney Houston played the Fairy Godmother, and she tore the house down as usual with several solo numbers. Paolo Montalban, a Filipino-American, played the Prince, and Whoopi Goldberg was his Queen mother. Bernadette Peters played the Wicked Stepmother. One of her daughters was played by a white actress (Veanne Cox) and the other, a black actress (Natalie Desselle-Reid). 

What a wonderfully diverse cast, right? This special was well-received and quite successful for ABC. I guess that's why I'm surprised a Broadway production has never taken a similar route until now. I don't see any reason why not. Nevertheless, congratulations to Miss Palmer--for going down in history twice in the same year!

Please share your thoughts on these happenings in the comments section below!

Nora, by Nora Stasio
Bio: Nora writes, "I have been a lover of creative writing and fairy tales for basically my entire life! I recently graduated Cum Laude from Rutgers where I completed a minor in English, with a focus in Creative Writing and Shakespeare (I majored in Psychology)."

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

And They Lived, By Sabrina Zbasnik

And They Lived isn't just a twist on some classic fairy tales. It gives power back to the powerless in the classic stories. Women are no longer the victims and their story doesn't end with true love's kiss. For only 99 cents, you get nine short stories about women fighting for survival in a world that doesn't care about them.

"Red" is no longer a little girl being preyed upon by the wolf, but an assassin sent on a complicated job to rescue her grandmother. Except the job's not what it appears to be.

"Before Midnight"--Ella Cinder (an arson turned thief) defies her agency's orders and attends the ball to seduce her mark, a man who only calls himself Prince Charming.

"The Tower"--Sometimes things are put in an impenetrable tower hidden deep in a forest for a reason.

"Hollow"--A female warlord travels to the end of the world to cement her power, but finds she's been sacrificing herself instead.

"Darkness Shall Not Be Breached" is a small story to remind people it's not nice to go traipsing uninvited into anyone's garden, no matter how many legs they may have.

"Destiny" gives the only logical answer a King can have when prophesied his first born will kill him.

"Insomnia" and "Fifth Horseman" are two pieces of microfiction poking at the dark side of humanity.

I'm giving away five free copies of the eBook. You can enter by following the link below.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Puss in Boots, By Aliza Faber

By Walter Crane
Editor's note: No, EC is not running new monthly writing contests. In my zeal finish up the contests, I neglected to publish Aliza's wonderful story. Here it is, and you'll be glad to read it! 
There was once a rich marquis who had quite a lot to leave his first two sons in the manner of titles and privileges but naught to leave his youngest but riches and obligations. Despite this, in his life, the marquis had loved his youngest son most and doted upon him regularly. Once he was dead, the two older brothers made the younger one's life miserable, considering him a good for nothing spoiled brat who had not deserved their father's love. They taunted him, reminding him that at the end of the day, their father had not seen him fit to rule over anything but a talking cat shod in leather boots. The youngest brother spent as much time as possible away from the castle, taking refuge in long walks by the riverside with only his cat for company. 

One day, he happened upon a beautiful miller's daughter alongside the river and fell madly in love. After some time of walking to the mill whenever he could and watching her, he finally plucked up the courage to talk to her. Slowly they began to spend more time together and she fell in love with him as well. 

"Marry me,” the miller's daughter said one afternoon after realizing the marquis's son wouldn’t offer on his own.

"I can't,” the boy replied.

"Why not? Don't you love me?”

"Of course I do. But marriage is complicated.” Before she could ask what he meant, the boy left, calling to the cat to follow. 

“What got your fur all tied in a knot?” the cat asked as they returned to the castle. 

“She wants me to marry her, Puss!” the boy cried unhappily, “but my brothers will never allow me to wed a commoner. Just last night I heard them speaking of marrying me off to the daughter of a nearby earl. What am I to do?”

“I have taken a liking to that mill, where there is an abundance of mice for me to catch, and I am getting tired of my fancy boots, so I will help you. Never fear, young master. You will soon be happily married to the love of your life.” the cat replied, removing his hat and bowing mockingly low.

“What’s the catch?” the young master asked, knowing his cat was more devious than he appeared.

“Nothing at all, master. Just be warned that you can not have everything in life. If you are rich in happiness, you will be poor in gold and comforts.”

“All of that does not matter to me. I will gladly live as a pauper for the rest of my days for the chance to be happy,” the boy cried at once.

“Very well,” said Puss, “now you must only do exactly as I say.”

The cat told his master to return to the castle without him. The boy watched the cat walk away in his signature boots into the distance, wondering if it was wise to entrust his fate to the creature’s paws. 

The wise old cat immediately set to work. First he went to a warren where he knew there were many rabbits and spent quite a few hours trying to catch one. When he finally managed he decided that next time he did such a thing, he would remember to bring a sack with him. He then made his way to the earl’s household and told him he had a gift for his daughter from the marquis’s son, who wished for her hand in marriage. 

“Your hopefully to be fiancé thought this would be a fitting gift for such a fine and noble lady such as yourself,” the cat said, taking the girl’s hand and kissing it with his furry lips.

The cat excused himself and came back a moment later holding the bloody carcass of the rabbit which he had hidden in the gardens.

The earl’s daughter shrieked and swore she would never marry the marquis’s son, not even if he was the richest and most handsome man in the entire land. The cat quickly made his escape back to the marquis’s castle.

“The first part is done. Now we must make you disappear,” said the cat to his master.

“How do we do that?” asked the boy.

“Leave that up to me,” Puss said, and for the next few weeks he returned to his normal activity of lazing around putting on shows for the ladies in the castle.

One day, the two older brothers went for a ride besides the river in order to inspect their lands. The cat immediately went to the youngest brother and said, “If you follow my advice, you shall be free from your brothers as you are already free from your engagement. All you must do is go to the riverside to a spot that I will show you and bring a change of clothes and leave the rest to me.”

The boy naturally did as he was told. 

When the brothers came near, the cat told the boy to change into his spare clothes and hide. He then placed the clothes the boy had been wearing in a spot by the river and jumped out right on time to meet the two brothers. 

“Oh, the horror! Your brother, he has drowned, my lords. He was washing in the river but the tide was too strong, he got pulled over the waterfall; there was nothing I could do! If you had come but a moment sooner, something might have been done, but now he is lost forever. See, his clothes are still here, right where he placed them before he jumped into his fate,” Puss cried sorrowfully, and he was so convincing the brothers fell to the ground and lamented their brother’s death, grieving over his short life and how unjustly they had treated him. They searched past the falls for a body, but none was found, so the grief-stricken brothers returned to the castle clutching the boy’s clothes, which was all that remained of him to bury.

Once they had gone, the cat went to fetch the youngest brother from his hiding place, where he had neither seen nor heard any of what had transpired. 

“Am I free of my brothers?” he asked Puss.

“As free as they are of you,” the cat replied, “now all that remains is to convince the miller to accept you as his son.”

So off they set off to complete the final part of Puss’s ploy. 

When they came to a split in the road, the boy began heading right towards the mill. 

“Wait,” said Puss, “do not be too hasty. Her father will never agree to wed you if he realizes you have not a coin to your name and have not worked a day in your life.”

“I must at least try. You cannot expect me to give up now!”

“I don’t, master. All I ask of you is patience.”

The confused boy followed the cat down the left path. 

When they entered a nearby village, Puss led the way to Potter Lane and entered the first shop. 

“Good man,” said Puss, startling the poor potter, “if you do not explain to my friend here how you make your pots, I will chop you into small pieces and eat you for my dinner.”

The potter immediately complied, believing that if a cat was speaking, it would not waste its words on lies. The boy listened carefully and then they left.

Next Puss chose a pottery stall with some very impressive looking pieces.

“Pick one,” he told the boy, who promptly pointed at an interesting looking jug.

Then he jumped onto the counted and said to the astonished potter, “if you do not give me that jug I will chop you into small pieces and eat you for my dinner.”

The potter didn’t think twice, but handed over the jug.

Next they went to Tailor Road and Puss used the same threat to procure simple clothes for the boy.

Only then did they make their way towards the mill. They stopped only once, so that Puss could throw his boots into the river alongside the marquis’s son’s clothes. 

The miller’s daughter was out fetching water. The boy ran towards her and clasped her hands in his. 

“Will you marry me?” he asked.

“I thought marriage was complicated,” she replied.

“The complications have been fixed. I will go ask your father for you hand this moment. If you still want me, that is,” the boy said, suddenly wondering if running off so abruptly had been such a good idea.

“Of course I do,” the girl smiled. 

Puss, walking on all fours, meowed and rubbed himself against the girl’s legs. 

“Kind sir,” the boy began, “I have come to ask for your daughter’s hand in marriage.”

The miller looked him up and down, “and what do you have to offer me in return, boy?”

“I do not have a coin to my name, but I am a hard worker and will be willing to learn the miller’s trade from you. Also, I am a practiced potter and will be able to shape pots to sell once I can get the right instruments.”

The boy presented the miller with the jug and explained to him how it had been made using wheels and kilns. The miller admired the piece until at last he was slightly convinced. Just then, the cat walked in, holding a dead mouse between its teeth.

“Is that cat yours?” the miller asked, realizing how useful such an animal would be in the mice-infested mill.

“It is, sir,” the boy replied, grinning at the cat, who winked at him in return.

“Very well. You may marry my daughter if she wishes to accept you as her husband.”

“I do father,” the girl replied. 

The two were married within in the month. The boy didn’t even need to worry about proving his skill as a potter, since the miller died mysteriously a few weeks later. By then the boy had learned not to question good fortune that came his way. The deceased miller had no other children, so his daughter and her new husband inherited everything in his possession. As Puss had foreseen, they lived happily ever after but worked hard and were as poor as could be. Puss also lived pretty happily on the mice in the mill, but he did not speak again while his master still lived.

There was once a poor miller who had nothing to leave his three sons upon his death but a mill, a donkey, and a cat.

Bio: Aliza is fairy tale obsessed nineteen year old. She has already been published on EC, and she is trying to introduce herself and others to more fairy tales at

Monday, September 22, 2014

Fairy Tale Book Review, By Brita Long--The Books of Jim C. Hines

Everyone knows the tales of sleeping princesses and magical kisses, fairy godmothers and happily ever after. Each princess is rescued by her prince, and the fairy tale ends with a big white wedding.
But as Jim C. Hines writes, “The tales lie.”

In his Princesses quartet, Danielle, Talia, and Snow are better-known as Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, and Snow White. But while Danielle really did marry her prince, Talia and Snow are exiles from their own royal kingdoms, working as secret spies and undercover bodyguards to the Queen, Danielle’s new mother-in-law. Aside from her courtly duties, Danielle teams up with the other princesses in service to the Queen.

In battle, the three princesses each exhibit their own unique talent, one that reflects upon their classical fairy tale origins. Danielle fights with a glass sword, a magical reincarnation of her mother. Talia’s fairy gifts from her christening give her extraordinary fighting abilities. Snow practices magic using her stepmother’s mirrors. 

In The Stepsister Scheme, the three princesses team up to save Danielle’s husband from her stepsisters-turned-kidnappers. In The Mermaid’s Madness, the princesses investigate the undine (mermaid) princess Lirea, who has succumbed to madness after the murder of her own prince, at her own hand. In Red Hood’s Revenge, the princesses find themselves back in Talia’s homeland, where she uncovers the true plot behind her curse. Finally, in The Snow Queen’s Shadow, a demon-controlled Snow returns to her kingdom, where Danielle and Talia struggle to save Snow from herself. 

While much of the individual scenes throughout this quartet involve witty banter that left me in giggles or endearing proclamations of love that resulted in audible sighs, the overall mood of these books is a dark one. Hines draws upon some of the more twisted elements of the brother’s Grimm’s “Cinderella” and the Italian “Sun, Moon, and Talia,” including the rape and subsequent pregnancy of Talia/Sleeping Beauty. Yet Hines weaves together multiple fairy tales to make them all his own, as exemplified by Snow’s character arc, an unusual cross of “Snow White” and “Snow Queen.”

As in many fairy tales, “true love’s kiss” is a recurring plot element, but not always in the usual way. Snow receives a curse-breaking kiss from an unexpected character. A curse on Danielle ends when she is lightly scratched by her magical glass sword, a “kiss” from her mother. 

It might sound cliché, but I laughed, I cried. And in regards to the final novel’s conclusion, I ugly-cried with heaving sobs. Hines might not have written the happily ever after I desperately craved, but his heartbreaking ending honored the characters and the world he created. 

I recommend this series for anyone who loves strong female protagonists, anyone drawn to detailed world-building, anyone interested in exciting, action-filled plots. Have you read other fairy tales like this? If you have already read this quartet, what do you recommend I read next? Share your thoughts in the comments!

Brita Long
Brita Long is a francophile feminist living out her own fairy tale with her husband in Ohio. You can find her online at, where she writes about her faith, books, and her life as a southern belle in the Midwest.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Changes in Book Reviews: Goodbye Lissa, Hello Brita!

Lisa Sloan, who has written many a post and story here, is moving on from her work as a book reviewer here at EC, as her writing career is taking flight! It's not at all surprising that she is finding success. Her work is terrific. Just check out her work by looking for her name in the labels here on EC. You won't be disappointed. Lissa will be sorely missed, but I think we'll still be seeing a bit of her here. She's been a big supporter of Enchanted Conversation for a long time!

The good news is that Brita Long has joined the team. You'll be reading her first review in the next few days. Here's her bio:

"Brita Long is a francophile feminist living out her own fairy tale with her husband in Ohio. You can find her online at, where she writes about her faith, books, and her life as a southern belle in the Midwest."

Welcome Brita!
Brita Long

Thursday, September 18, 2014

The Geography of the Future in Beyond Fate, By Amalia Dillon (And a Giveaway!)

Editor's note: Amalia's Fate of the Gods series is different from what is usually promoted here on EC, but since it's being published by World Weaver Press, I thought readers would enjoy learning about Amalia's third book in the series. WWP is doing a giveaway of four of her books. Look above to see more about entering.

So much of Fate of the Gods takes place in the past, drawing from historical events and myths, but Beyond Fate gave me the unique and really fun opportunity to predict the landscape of the future. And not just what kind of Jetson’s tech was available for Eve’s apartment (who can resist the lure of the irising door?), but the political and geographical landscape, two hundred years from now.

There are a number of factors which contributed to my major remodel of the Western nations we know and love, but the most important was the shift in climate. When the deserts are expanding and swallowing up the formerly rich farmlands, and farming methods reveal themselves as less than sustainable in a world where more than just one town, county, state, or country depends upon the food being grown in a region, it only made sense that some nations might shatter, and others rise. And as the climate shifts and the North warms (which we’ve already begun to see), previously frozen or inaccessible land will become all the more valuable. Which means that countries like Canada and the Scandinavia nations are likely to become incredibly powerful and wealthy.

I decided to keep a lot of the same major players we know today – Russia, for instance, didn’t go anywhere. India and China are alive and well in the East, even if their borders wouldn’t be recognizable to us today. But I made two big changes to the landscape of the West. First, I divided the United States into three new nations: The United East (primarily consisting of the East Coast, but also stretching into the Great Lakes), The Free West (the West Coast and Pacific Northwest, likely including Colorado), and The Republic of Texas (what’s left of the south and Midwest). And second, I united Scandinavia and Canada and renamed them The North Country, or, to those living outside their greatest of nations, The Scandinavian Union and Canadian North.

Since Scandinavia today already maintains a loose union of reciprocity for member nations, it seemed probable to me that those ties would only strengthen, and as for uniting with Canada... well, I won’t pretend that there aren’t other forces at work. Forces which may or may not be named Adam.

And if you want to learn how and why, and just what Adam is up to in the future, Beyond Fate is ready and waiting to answer your questions!

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

The Tree Hugger, By Heidi Garrett

I appreciate the opportunity to join in the Enchanted Conversation. Both Kate Wolford’s blog and her book, Beyond the Glass Slipper, are invaluable resources for the fairy tale aficionado, as well as for those who are simply curious about the enduring and universal appeal of fairy tale. (Editor's note: Thanks Heidi!) I’m especially delighted to be here introducing The Tree Hugger. Set in the future, it’s a dystopian retelling of Hans Christian Andersen’s “The Dryad.” In the original tale, a country dryad longs to visit the great city of Paris. No harm in that. There are attractions and flirtations along the way but no love relationship to speak of, and it doesn’t have a happy ending. I protest on both counts and altered the tale accordingly.

In The Tree Hugger, the love relationship between Magnolia and Graham is born of friendship and companionability. In spite of Magnolia’s silent and solitary nature, Graham intuitively grasps and responds to her personality and needs. As time goes on, the roots of their caring for one another extend deep into the earth itself. They truly become a partnership of equals, one of the happiest endings I can think of.

Another popular fairy tale element played with in The Tree Hugger is the loss of the mother. While Magnolia’s mother hasn’t died, she’s absent from her daughter’s life. It’s grandmother who steps in to fill the role of mother replacement/fairy godmother. Although she doesn’t provide her granddaughter with a ball gown or glass slippers, she does provide her with an inner road map which guides Magnolia to the truth of who she is and bolsters her courage as she makes her journey to herself.

The Tree Hugger is the third novella in the Once Upon a Time Today collection.

Heidi Garrett was born in Texas, and now she lives in Eastern Washington State with her husband. Garrett is the author of the contemporary fairy tale novella collection, Once Upon a Time Today. In these stand-alone retellings of popular and obscure fairy tales, adult characters navigate the deep woods of the modern landscape to find their Happily Ever Afters. She’s also the author of the Daughter of Light series, a fantasy about a young half-faerie, half-mortal searching for her place in the Whole.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Twelve Dancing Unicorns

I'm back! You'll be seeing lots of new posts on EC in the next few weeks as I catch up on things after my really awful accident with my finger. It feels much better.

Today, I'm writing about Twelve Dancing Unicorns, by Alissa Heyman. It's a picture book and is illustrated by Justin Gerard. As regular readers know, EC is geared toward ages 13 and up, so picture books are very seldom featured. But the title to the book intrigued me, so I read it, and I'm glad I did.

The story is a charming one, based, of course, on "The Twelve Dancing Princesses." But in Heyman's story, the dozen princesses are unicorns, who are chained by a king and gawked at by the populace. The king is puzzled and disturbed when he finds that his unicorns are breaking their chains.

Naturally, he decrees that whomever can discover the secrets of the unchained unicorns will win a great prize. A little girl, our heroine, steps forth and takes on the challenge. The king is skeptical.

What happens next includes a magic cloak, an underground kingdom, fairies, jewels growing on trees, and a happily ever after for the unicorns and the little girl. The story is enchanting and perfect for the very young reader. It's easy to identify with the little girl's love of the unicorns and her desire to help them. The message that we shouldn't cage up wild things is very clear, but not delivered in a preachy way.

The illustrations are very much in the same vein as popular animation and illustration today. It's notably dreamy and soft--sort of bathed in gold. Little girls will love the look of this book and so will grown ups.

If you're looking for a great new picture book with a fairy tale theme, you'll want to buy Twelve Dancing Unicorns. It's a keeper.