Showing posts from March, 2017

Animal Bridegroom Stories on Jezebel

Kelly Faircloth, a writer for Jezebel--one of the rare sites that takes fairy tales and their power to compel culture seriously--has a story on animal bridegrooms posted today. Here you go:
Faircloth not only digs into Maria Tatar's new book about animal bridegrooms (more on that in another post), but investigates her topic using academic sources--rare in journalism. It's highly readable and offers food for thought and potential research sources, as well as some great art.
Animal bridegroom stories have a major ick factor, which is why Hollywood cleans them up. But they tell ugly, harsh truths about family life and the lot of women in marriage. It's always encouraging to see popular websites digging deeply into truth in fairy tales.
Of course, the monster hit that the live action Beauty and the Beast has proved to be means we'll be seeing stories about fairy tales for awhile. I haven't seen the movie. Have you?
Check out Faircloth's stor…

The Steadfast Tin Soldier Issue Table of Contents

At last, I am delighted to present "The Steadfast Tin Soldier Issue" of Enchanted Conversation. These eight wonderful works explore love, sacrifice, pain, and a lot of fire.  "The Steadfast Tin Soldier" is a sad story, and many of these works are as well, but they also celebrate what it's like to have life, even as "things" like a paper ballerina and a tin soldier.

There's also eye-catching art by Amanda Bergloff, about whom you'll be reading more here at EC. But first, enjoy the unique image she made just for this issue, on this page.

Here we go:

John Soldier, Kiyomi Appleton Gaines

The Spoon's Perspective, Alicia Cole

Unburnished, Rhonda Eikamp

Recycled, Erin Wyble Newcomb

Steadfast, Rebecca Buchanan

The Steadfast Cadet, Luisa Kay Reyes

Life Review 
Happily Ever Afterlife, Jude Tulli

Father Knows Best, Kathy Guttosch

Editor's note: If you enjoyed this issue, stop by HERE: The giveaway ends April 27.

John Soldier, By Kiyomi Appleton Gaines

The following contains a personal record relating to experiments performed by an unnamed scientist believed to have been in the employ of the British army at the time of the Crimean War.  This journal was discovered among records of the 18-- theater disaster in a private collection and was donated to the university library on condition of anonymity.  The other documents mentioned in this text have not been located.  Attempts made to discover the historic location of the Godwin or Goodwin Street Laboratory have thusfar been unsuccessful.
3 April 18-- Godwin Street Laboratory The experiment was as successful as I'd hoped.  The soldier has regained consciousness and is able to sit and stand, with assistance, and to feed and dress himself.   I've shown him how to affix and remove the prosthetic.  The amputation site is healing well, with no sign of the previous infection.  The prosthetic, iron coated with a tin alloy - of my own design - is sturdy and I believe will meet the present …

The Spoon's Perspective, By Alicia Cole

Yes, I birthed them all. Every bright soldier, every one. You can't say the lame one turned to salt after all. 
The paper dancer? Not made of the sternest stuff.
I would have advised him if he'd asked, but who asks their mother once they're grown and a soldier besides?  I was always inside him,
but easy to ignore.  Flimsy thing, that dancer. 
I wished she'd stayed to mourn instead of following.  I would have liked to know her better.  But that's why her spangle blackened, I say. 
She chided herself.  He?  A perfect heart, and me still with him. 
He should have chosen a milk maid instead, someone else well made of tin. It would have been interesting to talk to her mother,
us both stepping back, watching the good sparks fly.

Alicia Cole lives and writes in Huntsville, AL.  She's the editor of Priestess & Hierophant Press, and a visual artist.  You can find her at and

Unburnished, By Rhonda Eikamp

The demon is coming for me. He's here, in fact. You, beautiful over there in your castle, with your hair all gold coils and sweaters so soft they look like clouds – you know nothing of demons. At least not my kind. When I stand on my balcony smoking (which is prohibited, even out there, the super'd give me hell if he saw), I see you living your enchanted life, in your castle that must cost three times what my little box does, and I know you're too light for demons. There's a gulf between us, more than that created by the chain-link fence down there, the thoughtless gentrification that built these places so close to one another. A gulf of experience, I suppose, and yet every time I see you across this divide I fall in love over and over, with the large airy rooms of your soul. Sometimes when you're on your balcony your golden head has turned my way and I think you see me too. The dark, unburnished figure I cut, that someone once called noble, always at attention at l…

Recycled Materials, By Erin Wyble Newcomb

Yesterday, I was news Print, one sheet of black and white lines Marching like soldiers in file with my sisters. That’s the way the story goes. Today, I am yesterday’s news, Folded and smudged by fingers and Sliced by scissors. The first snip nearly shocked me into tomorrow. Carefully I took on new form: Good news or bad news, doll. Mine is a storied, recycled life. Today, I am a paper ballerina, outlined Gracefully with rows of unreadable print Distorted out of shape. That’s the way the story grows. Yesterday, I was news not fit to be Prima ballerina. I wasn’t born this way, with a Silver spoon smooth on my pulpy tongue. Yesterday, I longed for Tin: shining and malleable. But I don’t need a Metal to tell me I look good on Paper. That old spoon might not have a Leg, but he stands fast. What’s his story? I wonder What’s my story? Yesterday a spoon, today a soldier, and Tomorrow? Who knows, my heart? The story goes and grows and never gets reduced In the telling.
Yesterday, I got read, Never knowing my sisters would …

Steadfast, By Rebecca Buchanan

he is watching me through the window across the street
ratty ribbons and dull medals hang from his dirty green jacket the crutch buys him sympathetic coins
i can hear the mad rattle as he shakes his little tin cup demanding that i see him
my smile is for the girls as i lead them across the bright floor which smells of warm wood and lemon dancing to the soft swells of bizet they make silly faces and giggle at their reflections
trapped between window and mirror
he is watching me

Rebecca Buchanan is the editor of the Pagan literary zine, Eternal Haunted Summer. She has been published in a wide variety of venues, and would like to reincarnate as a library cat.
Altered image by Nika Goltz.

The Steadfast Cadet, By Luisa Kay Reyes

Once upon a time in an old southern college town, there was a strapping young man who attended the local military institute.  Tall, handsome, and broad of shoulders, the cadet was also known for his honesty and integrity.  So much so, that his nickname at the institute was “Steadfast.”  He was very studious and taking a full load of difficult courses, one of which was physics.  One day, as the new semester began, his professor told him that there were now two sections of physics.  The main one which all the military cadets took and then another section which included some of the young ladies from the women’s college nearby.  The section with the students from the women’s college was actually more advanced and the professor was wanting to make sure some of the cadets signed up for it. Steadfast hesitated since he already had a full load of coursework,  but the professor assured him that he wouldn’t regret it.  Especially since one of the young ladies in the class was also a ballerina. …

Life Review; Happily Ever Afterlife, By Jude Tulli

I never asked to carry a gun I always wanted to be a ballerina I was as drafted as you
I spun round on one leg in the womb I lost my right leg in a battle we won
To stay paper thin I took apples for bread Or maybe I never had two
Or skipped meals to pliéinstead
It's all the same now, isn't it? Some would ask why
Survive the inside of a fish...
Torture yourself for a wish? To be burned alive on a whim?
You'll burn out; a spinster in slippers too tattered to spin Not me; the answer descends from above
So what if, in a way, they were right? I got one long last look at my love
This encore is love at first sight

Jude Tulli lives in the Sonoran Desert with his beloved wife Trish and a small pride of housecats. For quick links to his other works published with EC (including the recent Krampus anthology), his novelette Faegotten and more, you can visit him on Goodreads.

Altered image by Shigeru Hatsuyama.

Father Knows Best, By Kathy Guttosch

Perhaps I should've listened to my papa, but sometimes he just goes on and on.
And you have to watch for those Black moods of his. The last time I argued I was tired of pirouetting, he whisked me straight into this cardboard prison and appointed wax swans my guard. Told me to keep quiet, or else.
So when I saw the soldier-- that earnest, odd fellow with the steadfast gaze-- I knew he'd be my rescuer. As the old tin spoon, he might've stirred Last week's frikadeller; now he stirred my heart. I reached toward him, caught him. Owned him. He wore his red and blue with such pride that I hardly noticed his one leg.
But my father did.
Oh...he warned the resolute soldier away from me-- warned him that very night. Pops caught him peeping at me, no less. Told him to keep his guns to himself. Or else. But the soldier said not a word in his defense--chagrined, I guess. And I began to wonder if he was my savior after all if he couldn't stand up to the old man. Of course my friends never heard any of Father…