We're almost at year's end, and that means the last issue of the year is at hand. Below are the writers for that issue. Before I list them, please know that I will be providing new topics for 2017 very soon. All submissions for 2016 are closed. Here are the authors:
Editor's note: It's Krampusnacht, that special night when naughty children get what's coming to them from that long-tongued, beastly, and curly-horned companion to Saint Nicholas: Krampus. With his basket to carry bad children to Hell, his chains to bind them, and his switch, or ruten, children of the Alpines have something to dread. But if they are lucky, they will receive candy and small toys from Saint Nicholas on his feast day, Dec. 6.
In the last few years, Krampus has become quite a sensation in English speaking countries and beyond. Generally speaking, no matter where you live, you'll find that Krampusnacht is mostly celebrated with elaborate costumes and a lot of alcohol.
But beware: Krampus comes from old times, and you never know when or where you will meet him.
Today's story is a special treat for EC readers. I hope you enjoy it. I did. And, if you'd like to read more tales of Krampus, Here are links to World Weaver Press. The first link is for the latest book,He Sees You When He's Creepin': Tales of Krampus. The second is for the first book, Krampusnacht: Twelve Nights of Krampus. Both books are available in paperback and as ebooks. The links to WWP will show you how to buy from a variety of sources.
Enjoy Krampusnacht and Amanda's story! KW
I’ve always loved my Auntie Kay. She was by far my favorite aunt out of all the aunts that came to visit when I was a little girl. When my least favorite cousin, Maria, teased me and told me I needed to be nicer to everyone, Auntie Kay took the dirty rag she was dusting with and rubbed it in Maria’s face.
“You better be good for goodness’ sake,” Auntie Kay scolded. Maria ran off crying while Auntie Kay and I laughed.
I never liked the side of the family that cousin Maria was from. They dressed alike, sounded alike, and all of them had the same annoying laugh. It was horrible, and cousin Maria was the worst. She had to sleep in my room when they stayed during the holidays. Maria snored, and when she wasn’t snoring, she bored me to tears with stories of how wonderful everything she had was. I asked my mother politely if cousin Maria could sleep on the living room sofa, but I was told to be a good girl and put up with her for a of couple weeks. I wasn’t happy about it, and only Auntie Kay understood how I felt.
“I had a cousin like Maria when I was growing up,” Auntie Kay told me. “She was the biggest nuisance, and I couldn’t wait until she went back home. She grew up and turned out to be Maria’s mother, so I guess it runs in the family.” We laughed at the thought that the same people bothered us, and not everything about family gatherings was fun.
It was always the week before Christmas when all the aunts, uncles, and cousins descended on our house for the annual family reunion. My mother spent weeks in advance getting ready for the event. Even though she planned different activities for each day, every morning leading up to Christmas was the same. She had everyone go outside to sled in the deep snow that surrounded our house while she, along with some of the aunts from her side of the family, stayed inside with Auntie Kay and talked about Auntie Kay’s business. This was a busy time of year for Auntie Kay, and she needed some extra help from the aunts who had a special aptitude for the kind of work that Auntie Kay did.
I wanted to stay with them, but my mother made me go outside with the rest of the family.
“Your cousin Maria needs a girl her age to play with,” she always said. I had to grit my teeth and reluctantly drag my sled outside.
I would roll my eyes when cousin Maria told me how to build the perfect snowman or how I made snowballs wrong. When she took my sled because she thought it was faster than hers, I let her have it, so I didn’t have to sled with her anymore. I waited patiently for the moment I could sneak away from the group. I wanted to peek into the dining room window where Auntie Kay talked to my mother and the other aunts. One time, I saw them going over what looked like long lists written on yellow paper. Another time, it looked like they were doing some craft project with wood. I watched until Auntie Kay saw me and motioned me to go back and play with the rest of the family.
I was glad when those morning meetings were over and my mother called us back inside to warm up with some hot cocoa. Once Auntie Kay’s business talk was done for the day, she was able to spend time with me and also be there when cousin Maria was around.
When Maria told me that my hair looked weird and lumpy, Auntie Kay pointed out that my hairstyle was just like Auntie Kay’s and that our side of the family had a particular type of hair that was unique to us.
When cousin Maria said that my room was too messy for her and she would show me the correct way to clean it up, Auntie Kay told her how great geniuses didn’t have time to put things away neatly and that Maria should mind her own business.
When cousin Maria sang Christmas carols loudly after dinner and I sang along, Maria would stop to tell me I was singing off key because my mouth was too big. Auntie Kay said that my mouth was just the right size, and maybe if Maria sang a little quieter, she would be able to hear that I was singing on key.
Auntie Kay always made me feel special when she stood up for me like that. I felt like a part of her side of the family. My favorite times with her would be on a cold winter’s night before Christmas, when everyone else had gone to bed. The two of us would sit by the fire, and Auntie Kay would brush my long black hair that was like hers and so unlike cousin Maria’s blond hair. She would sing songs in a language I didn’t understand while she brushed. The songs had old words in them which made me think of ancient tangled woods that breathed like I did. When she was done, we would make cards together by the firelight with some of the strange words she spoke on them for me to remember her by. She also taught me a woodworking craft that went back generations in our family while she told stories of the land where she grew up, so far away and so long ago. I could feel her words changing me on the inside in a way that made me stronger, and I became very different from cousin Maria which was a very good thing.
I’m a grown woman now and still travel back to my childhood home for our annual family reunions. Cousin Maria and her side of the family moved far away to some northern city and no longer attend, which is fine with me. Auntie Kay is still there, but moves a little slower. I think the responsibility of the family business is wearing on her, although I still see the same old spark in her green eyes when we talk by the fire on a cold winter’s night after everyone has gone to bed.
I want to surprise her with a special card I made like the ones we used to make together so many years ago. A card that will let her know how much she has taught me through the years. Something to leave in her room for her to find on Christmas morning.
I slip the card inside the envelope and lick it, careful not to cut my long tongue on the edge. Long tongues run on the female side of my family, as do the horns, but the horns can vary in length. I have the shorter ones which can be hidden under the right hairstyle as Auntie Kay has taught me.
I address the envelope in my finest calligraphy: To Auntie K. Rampus - and place it on her pillow.
I have to get ready now. Some aunts from the Rampus side of the family will be meeting soon to help Auntie Kay. It’s a busy time of the year for us. Only special Rampus women, born with the long tongue, can go out to work on a cold winter’s night when the wind whispers the secrets of the naughty ones and the stars light the way to their rooms.
Cousin Maria is always the first stop on my list.
It’s funny how everyone assumes Krampus works alone and is a man.
Amanda's bio: "I am a science fiction/fantasy writer with stories published by Darkhouse Books (Stories from the World of Tomorrow)and World Weaver Press (Frozen Fairy Tales). I love all things
pop-culture--paint and write daily--read obsessively--and the interior of my mind looks like vintage fairy-tale-art."
He Sees You When He's Creepin': Tales of Krampus is out today, and I think both fairy tale and folklore fans will love it.
With twelve brand-new Krampus related stories, you'll see new sides to the horned and cloven hooved Santa sidekick. The first story, by Steven Grimm, "Villainess Ascending," mixes Cinderella, Krampus and Mother Holle to highly entertaining effect. And that's just the kickoff. A number of the stories have Krampus hard at work, while another bends his gender. There are even two origin stories.
The book abounds with humor, magic and occasional light horror. I hope you'll give it a read as well as an honest review. To learn more, visit World Weaver Press HERE: http://bit.ly/2f6bn5c.
CLOSED There's just enough time for an e-book giveaway before we get to full promotion of He Sees You When He's Creepin'.
Here's a description from World Weaver Press of The Falling of the Moon:
In the gloomy mountains of Shadowvale, Ascot Abberdorf is expected to marry a lugubrious Count and settle down to a quiet life terrorizing the villagers. Instead, armed with a book of fairy tales, her faithful bat-winged cat, and whatever silverware she can pinch, Ascot heads east, to the mysterious Daylands, where her book promises she can find True Love and Happily Ever After, if she only follows her heart.
Determined to win the hand of Prince Parvanel, Ascot storms the Kingdom of Albright. With the book’s guidance, she’s confident she’ll overcome any obstacles the imperious Queen Bettina Anna throws in her way, be they witches, evil stepmothers, or Big Bad Wolves.
Unfortunately, the book doesn’t cover reluctant princes, wolves who read Dostoyevsky instead of blowing down houses, or a guild of Godmothers whose motivations may not be as pure as three drops of blood on a sweep of snow. Most annoying of all is the captain of the guard who swears he’ll see the moon fall before she weds Prince Parvanel.
There are stories . . . and then there are stories, and if this parade of shifty shenanigans continues, Ascot might have to rewrite her own tale lest she end most Unhappily Ever After!
Here are Giveaway details:
1) You must be 18 or older to enter, but you may reside in any country.
2) You enter by commenting under this post. That's the only way to enter.
3) You MUST include a number between 400 and 1000 when you enter.
4) You can enter only once.
5) The contest begins right now and ends Nov. 15 at 11:59 p.m. Eastern Standard Time. The winner will be announced on Nov. 16. The winner will have 72 hours to contact me at email@example.com. If the winner doesn't contact me in 72 hours, a new winner will be chosen.
I have received some submissions for the last issue of the year, but it is distressing and time consuming to read submissions that do not, in any way, connect to the New Year.
I'm perplexed. I'm beginning to wonder if some source I know nothing about is giving bad info about EC.
Here is advice for all writers and poets: Never submit to a site without first very carefully reading the guidelines on the actual site. . (Do not rely solely on what a third party tells you about the publication.) Then read through the publication.
And understand, sending me an attachment as part of a submission is a bad idea. I will not open them. I've been burned.
What's more, sending me a work that has nothing to do with EC or fairy tales, because you think I might like them and pay you for it, is really bad. It suggests that I don't mean what I say, and that I have unlimited time. Neither is true.
Most importantly, understand that competition is always tough for publication on the internet or anywhere else. Including publication in EC. The rules I have may seem too detailed for you, but they exist for a reason. And there are tons of talented writers who do follow the rules. I call those people "published writers."
If you’ve ever read a fairy tale, you know pretty well how the story will go. A brave young hero sets out into the woods to seek fortune, or fame, or both, eventually finds an enchanted elm tree or an beehive at the bottom of the sea, where she also finds a handsome prince squashed in an enchanted honeycomb or transformed into a squirrel, so she kills the queen-bee or finds the golden acorn, frees the prince back to his own handsome self and, reader, she marries him. That old story.
But I do wonder whether, in the easy familiarity with these tales, we’ve forgotten the first part—the most important part in which the hero must walk by herself through the dark forest, pathless, uncharted, and lightless. I wonder if we’ve forgotten, in other words, that the hero must first confront and conquer a very real and very deep fear, and pass through the dark places of the woods.
Terri Windling and others have pointed out the importance of the dark forest not only to fairy tales, but to the whole creative process. And I found myself in the thick of it again, in amongst the shadows, as I worked on the two newest publications from Unsettling Wonder:The Museum of Shadows and Reflections,a collection of new fairy tales by Claire Dean, and our new issue on the theme of Changelings. It soon felt uncanny in the dark woods of creation and production, as if the topics of these works were unfolding around me.
Two projects of which I was and am deeply proud seemed, day after week after month, stalled and lethargic, bedeviled by setbacks and lacking momentum. It felt like two bouncing, healthy books had been changed, spirited away, for feeble, listless and lifeless things. At the same time, it seemed everywhere I turned, every time I sent an email about either of the projects, more bad news, another bereavement, another illness, someone’s life in unexpected upheaval. Each book was brought in to the world through a spider-web tangle of sad stories.
All the shadows and bogies of the modern worlds seemed to be swarming round me as I worked. I don’t mind admitting that a few times I nearly despaired of finishing these projects at all. And yet, in the end, in spite of—or perhaps, because of?—everything we all went to, here they are: bright and glittering, breathtakingly beautiful.
Does it sound too odd to say that I’ve come to think of these books as sisters? Not in a binary sense: elder-younger, bad-good, toads-diamonds. Not quite twins either, but more like children somehow born at the same moment, despite having different mothers—more like the two unsettling siblings who lie on the cover of Changelings, in Fedralita’s haunting illustration. Here we are, they seem to say, each of us distinct yet each of us rooted to the other, tangledand grown together so strong you cannot sunder us.
Dean’s fairy tales give a voice to the marginalized, ignored, and belittled; metamorphosis becomes, in these tales, not simple escape but direct, forceful engagement with the world. The writers and artists in Changelingsfind uncanny beauty ina topic which is still taboo, and would always be upsetting even if we could discuss it freely.
Both these books are filled and flowing with what Jane Yolen calls tough magic: the unrelenting, compassionate gaze of the fantastic on the mundane, the fairy-tale mirror that undoes the distortions of everyday life to show us our own faces, in all their glory and sadness, struggle and beauty. This, after all—the bright, sudden sight of truth refracted and reflected in and through us—is the first and greatest gift of a wonder tale.
I don't follow sports, but if I did, I'd follow baseball. I find it fairly easy to follow, and they have those cute uniforms.
Since my daughter moved to Chicago, she and her husband have become solid Cubs fans, so I know all about the Billy Goat Tavern curse, which you can read about here: http://bit.ly/2eY9GKK
And I actually watched the game last night when, in a truly exciting battle, the Cubs won! For the first time in 108 years.
So, how does all of this connect to fairy tales? First, there is a curse. Curses happen in folklore. In fact, that's essentially what the bad fairy does to Sleeping Beauty at her christening. And the Beast in "Beauty and the Beast" has been cursed by a fairy. There are many more fairy tale curses. You can read about some of them here: http://bit.ly/2eY6BtZ
But what about the Cinderella angle? In sports a Cinderella story means a team that is way behind in status or performance wins despite all expectations. But can the Cubs really be classified as a team that entered the World Series as a Cinderella team? According to Twitter, yes. Ditto in some sports writing. It should be noted, however, that the Cubs were clearly a strong team this year, and their presence at the World Series was no fluke.
I see the Chicago Cubs win as more of a Sleeping Beauty situation. After all, they "slept" as winners for a bit more than 100 years. True, there was no good fairy to ameliorate the curse, but I'm making the stretch here to show a connection, because that seventh game in the 2016 World Series was one beauty of a battle.