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  • Preorder Glass and Feathers Ebook Now!

    Hello friends! "Cinderella’s Hearth" is taking a break this week because Kate and I have an exciting announcement: Preorders for the Glass and Feathers ebook are live on Amazon! For us at The Fairy Tale Magazine, this is another “This. Is. Happening!” moment. The Enchanted Press is a tiny indie press, and Glass and Feathers is our first publication. It’s also my debut novel. If you’ve been around FTM for a while, you’ve probably heard a wee bit about Glass and Feathers. And perhaps you’d read it when it came out as a serial last year. If you have, we’d be so grateful if you’d leave review on Goodreads or Amazon, or honestly, both if you’d be willing! Reviews make a huge difference in helping other readers choose their next read. If you’re new to FTM, Glass and Feathers is a continuation of the traditional "Cinderella" tale, in which the girl with the glass slippers, now married to her prince, finds she does not fit with the grand people of the palace. And even her famous shoes cannot help her—the glass slippers no longer fit. Here’s a taste: “Do you think princesses know how to bake?” He was silent, his brow furrowed. “I can churn butter too,” I continued, and the tightness began to ease. “And milk a cow and spin and knit.” I turned my face toward him a little more, looking down so as not to frighten him. “Do you see the freckles on my cheeks?” They had faded in those months at the palace, but they never completely disappeared. Jack nodded. “Princesses keep their skin pale by staying out of the sun.” I chanced a look at his face. “Who would want me as a princess?” “You are,” he insisted, his voice still soft. He put a hand to my cheek, wiping away a tear I didn’t even know was there. “Maybe you are a sparrow princess. The sparrows will come for you one day. You’ll see.” He warmed to his story. “They will give you a cloak all made of feathers, and a crown of berries.” “What will my gown be made of?” I asked. “Leaves,” he answered. “Green leaves.” If you’re an ebook fan, we hope you’ll check out the Amazon page to preorder. If you prefer print, Amazon preorders are coming very, very soon, BUT if you’re interested in a signed paperback that comes with some lovely book swag, you can sign up for my newsletter at lissasloan.com to find out how to buy it straight from me! Thank you for coming on this journey with us! Lissa Lissa Sloan is the author of Glass and Feathers, a dark continuation of the traditional "Cinderella" tale. Her fairy tale poems and short stories have appeared in The Fairy Tale Magazine, Niteblade Magazine, Corvid Queen, and anthologies from World Weaver Press. Visit Lissa online at lissasloan.com, or connect on Facebook, Instagram, @lissa_sloan, or Twitter, @LissaSloan.

  • Throwback Thursday: Poison Apple, By Marsheila Rockwell

    Editor’s note: Just when I thought I’d seen everyone possible permutation on “Snow White,” Marsheila came along with this dark yet strangely lighthearted take on the old classic. I think you’ll see why I was delighted by this story back in 2021. Enjoy. (KW) The witch checked her basket one last time before approaching the cottage in the woods. The apple on top was plumper, redder, and shinier than all the others, making even her mouth water. She pulled the gingham back over the fruit as she reached the cottage door and knocked timidly, settling into her guise. A young girl soon opened the door. She had corpse-pale skin, moondark hair, and lips like clotted blood, features no mirror would ever call fair. “Yes?” “Hello, dearie! I am selling these lovely apples, the finest—” the witch began, her voice crackling with illusory age as she uncovered her wares. The girl’s eyes lit up with hunger. “I’ll take the whole basket!” the girl interrupted, disappearing back inside for a moment and returning with a small pouch. “This should be more than enough to cover it,” she said, flashing the neck open to show a sparkle of diamonds. “Why, yes, but—” the witch began again, flustered, but the girl snatched the basket away and shoved the pouch into her hands in its place. “No time, grandmother. Be careful in the woods. There are wolves about.” And with that, the girl slammed the cottage door and was gone. The witch stared at the closed door, flummoxed. This was not how she had envisioned her encounter with her runaway stepdaughter taking place. Still, if it got the job done…. She pressed her ear to the door to listen. There. The crunch of teeth biting into the flesh of an enchanted apple. Perfect. The witch turned and headed back into the woods, smiling as she tucked the pouch into her bodice. Soon she would be the ailing king’s only heir. And his darling daughter had just paid for—and hastened—what would be a very lavish funeral, indeed. *** The girl watched from behind a curtained window while her stepmother disappeared amongst the trees. Had the old bat really thought she wouldn’t be recognized, or that her peddler’s disguise would hide her true identity from one who knew her so well? One to whom she had taught the same tricks of illusion, once upon a time? She had tasted the flavor of the other woman’s magic immediately, and spit out the bite of fruit the moment the witch was out of earshot. This wasn’t the first time the witch had tried to kill her, and it wouldn’t be the last, and one of these days, the girl would fail to soften the huntsman’s heart or detect the hint of poison, and then what? She’d be dead, and all for a kingdom that hated her because she was not, and had no desire to be, her mother. The girl eyed the basket of apples on the low table, topped by the one she’d bitten into, its flesh already browning. It did seem a shame to let her all her stepmother’s effort go to waste…. *** That night, when the girl’s companions returned home from the mines, carrying bags of uncut gemstones and hunks of golden ore to add to the hoard already stored in their ever-expanding root cellar, she served them vegetable soup, acorn flour bread with goat butter, and mugs of that same goat’s milk. She watched them eat, longing as always for the taste of red meat, but the brothers were strict vegetarians. The one whose snoring kept her up most nights sloshed soup out of his bowl with every spoonful. The one who thought himself a jester regaled the stupid one with poorly-told jokes they all knew by heart, and acted offended when one or another of his brothers would blurt out the punchline prematurely. The sullen one glared at the one with social anxiety for some imagined slight, making the anxious one cry snotty tears into his mug. The one who was always sick coughed something wet and sticky onto the butter dish. While the girl hurried to clean it up, the one who fancied himself a healer prescribed a concoction of common herbs she knew would be fatal in that particular combination. She said nothing. When they were finished with their supper, the girl served them each a bowl of freshly made applesauce, still warm from her cauldron. She watched as they wolfed down the dessert, and obliged with a smile when they asked for more. A smile that only widened when the first one paled, the second one began to sweat, the third one clutched his stomach in pain, the fourth one began to foam at the mouth, the fifth one began to seize, the sixth one vomited into his bowl, and the seventh one, finally, began to scream. *** The witch returned to the cottage a few days later, expecting to find the girl’s companions mourning over her lifeless body. Instead, the cottage door stood open, the sickly-sweet smell of death reaching her from across the clearing. She approached cautiously, then stood at the threshold, peering inside the silent abode. As her eyes adjusted, she could see upended chairs, scattered bowls, and bodies. Seven corpses lay about the table, innards bared with whatever had been near to hand—pickaxes, butter knives, their own black-nailed fingers—to try and remove the poison burning through them. To no avail. The witch also noted the open cellar door and a trail of spilled gold and gems. It led toward a back door, and the horse and wagon she knew without looking would no longer be hitched there. She had wanted the girl gone, to eliminate any claim the child might have to the witch’s throne. And gone she was, fled with all the riches she would ever need, someplace where the witch would have no reason to follow. She smiled. It seemed the girl had been a better student than she let on and the crafty apple hadn’t fallen far from the cunning tree. Their rivalry hadn’t ended how she’d imagined, but the witch would take it. Whatever got the job done. Bio: Marsheila (Marcy) Rockwell is a Rhysling Award-nominated poet and the author of twelve books and dozens of poems and short stories. A disabled pediatric cancer and mental health awareness advocate and reconnecting Chippewa/Métis, she lives in the desert with her family, buried under books. Find out more here: www.marsheila rockwell.com. *** Image: “The Poisoned Apple,” by Wanda Gag, 1938.

  • Review by Kelly Jarvis: The Warm Hands of Ghosts by Katherine Arden

    In The Warm Hands of Ghosts, Katherine Arden has gifted readers a stunning story about life and love set against the backdrop of World War I. The narrative relays the daily struggles of Laura Iven, a field nurse who has returned home to Halifax, Canada after being wounded by shrapnel, and her little brother Freddie, a young man with an artistic temperament who is serving in the trenches. Although Laura receives word of her brother’s death in a battlefield explosion, she is also confronted with otherworldly messages that let her know he is still alive, and she crosses the Atlantic to find the answers she needs. The chapters alternate between Laura’s search and her brother’s experiences as he is trapped beneath a pillbox with an injured German soldier who becomes his only connection to the world of the living. Although set in a harsh, real-world environment, Arden’s text is rich with supernatural elements. The trenches and the forbidden zone between the warring armies is haunted by the ghosts of fallen soldiers, and rumors of bands of defectors who live among the rubble abound. Perhaps most interesting is the legend of a fiddler who hosts soldiers in his strange hotel, offering them wine which brings them the peace of oblivion in exchange for their stories. The Iven siblings must confront the costs of living in a world of death, destruction, and pain if they hope to escape from the fiddler with the memory of their own identities. In addition to being a haunting and beautifully written novel, The Warm Hands of Ghosts is a well-researched depiction of the horrors of World War I. In her author’s note, Arden says “World War I deserves our attention. The hectic, violent years from 1915-1918 set the stage for the rest of the tumultuous twentieth century and laid the groundwork for the modern world.” Arden skillfully captures the reality of trench warfare and its aftermath, likening it to the apocalyptic imagination of the Laura and Freddie’s parents who prepared their children for the end of days. The prose is peppered with poetry from Milton, Dante, and Tennyson, and the close juxtaposition of beauty and horror, death and life, will leave readers spellbound. Throughout it all is an enduring sense of hope and an appreciation for the love that makes human life worth living. I loved every word of this book and highly recommend it! You can find it here. Thank you to NetGalley for a free copy of the book in exchange for a fair review. Kelly Jarvis works as the Assistant Editor for The Fairy Tale Magazine. Her poetry has been featured or is forthcoming in Blue Heron Review, Mermaids Monthly, Eternal Haunted Summer, Forget Me Not Press, A Moon of One’s Own, The Magic of Us, and Corvid Queen. Her short fiction has appeared in The Chamber Magazine and the World Weaver Press Anthology Mothers of Enchantment: New Tales of Fairy Godmothers. She can be found at https://kellyjarviswriter.com/

  • Cinderella’s Hearth: Fairy Tale Birthday Cards

    "Cinderella’s Hearth” isn’t just about food and home keeping. It’s also about making life more enchanting and less humdrum. And I’ve got something absolutely lovely for your next birthday card purchase. It’s the “Book Birthday Cards” set from Bas Bleu, a delightful catalog of wonders squarely aimed at book lovers. My family and I have been buying things from there for years. My sister Amy hit the jackpot when she sent me the pink fairy tale card. (She did not, however, but the card set from Bas Bleu. She found it months ago at Whole Foods and saved it for my birthday. So perhaps you can still find it there.) It’s the most lovely rose pink and no picture can do justice to how pretty it is. The “bookness” of it really comes through. It actually looks like a real book cover. The images are crisp and clear and the gold touches on it are stunning. There is a true fairy tale sense to it—the designer clearly leaned into the fairy tale inspiration. There are three other cards in the set: A jungle themed one (green), a classic stories one (black) and an all-purpose red themed one. All are clearly designed as books and are blank inside. The set is impressive, and I promise that the $20 price for four is well worth it! I had been dithering over buying the set when I saw them in the Bas Bleu catalog over Christmas, but repetitive stress injuries to my hand made it unlikely that I’d ever write in them, so I passed. Receiving the pink one in the mail made my birthday extra special. Thanks Amy! ❤️ Kate Wolford is the publisher of The Enchanted Press and The Fairy Tale Magazine. On March 26, The Enchanted Press will publish its first novel, Glass and Feathers.

  • Important Announcement: Fairy Godparents Club Membership Deadline

    In order to deliver a full year of Fairy Godparents Club benefits to every member, and for organizational purposes, membership will close at 11:59 PM on March 17. Coub membership is only $20 for the year! We will officially meet four times this year: March 18, June 17, Oct. 21 and Dec. 16. These meetings will be about celebrating our achievements and sharing our own poetry, prose and art (or a favorite by someone else). I hope to slip in a couple of unofficial fun meetings into the mix as well. And there will always be a giveaway that those who attend the official meetings can enter! (We’ve already done the free reiki course for members this year, but I’m hoping to offer another extra as well. Stay tuned.) To join,  you can email me at katewolford1@gmail.com, and request membership. That is the official email for the site, and for our PayPal account. For bookkeeping and tax purposes we can only accept money through PayPal. If you haven’t signed up yet, please do. This club is a major fundraiser for us. And, I’m currently working on the February insider info email that only Fairy Godparents Club members receive! Yours in Enchantment, 🪄Kate🧚 Image from Pixabay

  • Throwback Thursday: Windy Season, by Eve Morton

    On the first day of Windy Season, Mina woke at dawn. The house was already filled with life. Her mother boiled water in the kitchen, the hiss of steam matching the clattering of the wind against her window pane. Her brothers whispered in the room beside hers, the walls thin as the skin over their bones. "When the North Wind wakes, He carries a large sword," Vincent said, reciting the chant her family had spoken for years. "He cuts down the trees so the seeds will spread and circle the globe, making new life and forms." "Then the West Wind carries a large spoon to stir the waves," Samuel added, his voice reedy like the wind through the chimney. "He scoops up the pearls, the fish, the whales, and sweeps what we need onto the shore, to eat and rejoice." "Then the South Wind swallows the land whole. He kicks up dust and makes a fuss so we can see our better selves." "While the East Wind listens close for the ghosts of last year's sadness, and He gives them back to the land. So it can start again." "So it can start again," Vincent echoed. Mina repeated the final line for herself, "So it can start again." Then she let out a long breath, like she knew each of her brothers was doing, pretending to be the wind. Mina listened as her brothers scrambled into the kitchen, greeted their mother, and began breakfast. Though Windy Season would last another three months, allowing the dirt, crops, and landscape to change all around them, the first day was special. And while Mina had longed for this moment, she was also afraid. After breakfast and a reading from their grimoire, the family would gather the ashes of the dead. Last year, it was their dog, Sanders. The year before that, there had been no dead, only dried flower petals used as a substitute in order to say Thank You to the spirits for keeping them hale and fit. A different year, there was another dog, Mackenzie. Before that, a stray cat, a calf, and a fox that her father had accidentally killed. Then Mina's memory became fuzzy, like sand grains or snow squalls against a window. This year it was her father in the clay vessel on their mantelpiece. It was he, Jordan Sullivan, who would be released into the wind the first day of Windy Season, so he could begin his long travel to the land of the dead with the help of the four cardinal directions. Like all the deceased in their village, man or animal alike, Jordan had been cremated shortly after death. That had been six months ago, when a flu gripped his chest and not let go. The death midwife, a woman named Bea, delivered the ashes to them and stayed for a celebratory dinner, where they spoke about Jordan Sullivan's life. Though long ago now, Mina was still sure she could smell the venison, cooked potatoes and other root vegetables, and the flowery scent of the death midwife in the air. Mina had been silent during that dinner, only speaking a handful of words about her father--good man, I loved him--and her mother had been saddened. "You are the oldest," she chastised once the death midwife was gone and the ashes of her father remained on the mantelpiece, waiting for Windy Season. "You need to set an example." Mina had taken her lashings and apologized. But she'd also remained quiet, aloof, in the background, a shadow for the following six months. No more. Now that Windy Season had truly begun, she believed she could sing her father into absolution, leading him to his first stop on the journey of the dead. "Well," her mother said, once Mina had joined them at the table. "Look who finally showed up." Mina ate in silence. Her brothers sang their song, and though it moved their mother to tears, she didn't ask them to stop. Once the dishes were cleaned, they gathered their Windy Season gear: goggles, bandanas, and long clothing though the heat of the day would grow. The wind whipped against the house, clattering the windows, and making the chimney scream out. Mina grabbed her father's ashes. When her mother challenged her, she simply said, "Please." "If you're sure, then." Her mother held the door open, her knuckles white against the fierce winds. "Hurry. We do not have much time." The four of them assembled on their front lawn. Trees bent in all directions; all grasses were flattened; and beyond their hands, nothing was visible. Mina licked a finger to check directions, but it was soon caked with dust. Her bandana stood up straight, as if attacked from all sides. She didn't know what direction her father was to begin. "Hurry!" her mother cried. "He cannot wait another year." Mina surveyed the vast horizon. There was no sense of direction, no opening her father could ride to his final resting place. Nothing to see or hold onto. Vincent began to sing. Samuel followed. Their voices warbled, but not with sadness. Their words were plucked by the wind, steering the directions according to the song. When her mother joined in, the directions grew stronger. Mina sang too, the wind following all their voices in tune. At the final verse, Mina opened her father's ashes. They exploded like sparks on a lit fuse, like fireworks from another time period, distant and foreign. The wind took the ashes and held a body in place. A man, a shadow. Perfect. Then he was gone. Her family cried, tears mixing with dirt and making mud on their cheeks. They sobbed for their lost father, their husband, a man named Jordan Sullivan, who was now part of the earth, ready to fly towards his rightful place in the land of the dead. "So it can start again," Mina said. "So it can start again," the wind echoed back. Eve Morton is a writer living in Ontario, Canada. She teaches university and college classes on media studies, academic writing, and genre literature, among other topics. Her poetry book, Karma Machine, was released in late 2020. Find more info on authormorton.wordpress.com. Illustration: Amanda Bergloff Twitter @AmandaBergloff Instagram: amandabergloff

  • Review by Kelly Jarvis: Enchant cards from The Carterhaugh School of Folklore and the Fantastic

    Holding a deck of Enchant cards is like holding magic in the palm of your hand. Produced to accompany The Carterhaugh School of Folklore and the Fantastic’s class Enchant, a five-week course on fairy tales and folklore with a touch of science, the cards can be enjoyed by anyone with an interest in the enchantment of fairy tales. Dr. Sara Cleto and Dr. Brittany Warman, the founders and creators of The Carterhaugh School of Folklore and the Fantastic, have put together the perfect deck of fairy tale themed cards to guide their students through the highs and lows of everyday life. Enchant cards are beautifully crafted of smooth, silky card stock that slides across your fingers. Each card has a soft lilac hue and a shiny silver edge that immediately transport your mind to a sacred space of contemplation. When you pull a card from the deck and flip it over, you will see the name of a fairy tale character along with a short description of how the character functions in their tale, advice for emulating the character’s best qualities, and a question that helps you ponder how tale’s deepest meanings may resonate with your life. For example, the Cinderella card first explains how Cinderella has spent her life being good and sacrificing her own desires to fulfill the needs of others before asking readers “What one wish can you give yourself today?” The descriptions found on each card will inspire you to rethink fairy tale narratives and discover everyday magic in the world around you. The deck of Enchant cards features characters from many well-known fairy tales like “Little Red Riding Hood,” “Rapunzel,” and “Beauty and the Beast,” but you will also find characters from more obscure tales like “Tatterhood,” “The Crane Wife,” and “Fitcher’s Bird.” The cards also feature characters easily forgotten like the 13th fairy from “Sleeping Beauty,” and antagonists like Baba Yaga and Mother Gothel. The deck will help you ponder old tales through new lenses, discover new stories, and understand the depth of characters who have often been painted as simple villains. Those familiar with Tarot may shuffle the cards and pull one to guide them through the joys and challenges of the day, while others may simply allow the cards to stimulate deep thought about the folklore that shapes and reflects their lives. Writers and visual artists can use the cards as inspiration for formal projects or informal drafting, and creative souls can pair the cards with the Enchant: Journal, a workbook designed to help readers come up with “marvelous, strange, and wonderful ideas.” I love sifting through my deck of Enchant cards as I think about my favorite fairy tales. I plan to use the cards to help me to teach my fairy tales classes and inspire me to write new fairy tales of my own. A deck of Enchant cards holds endless possibilities, and they are a must for everyone looking to enchant their everyday lives with fairy tale magic. You can find the Enchant: Journal here. You can learn more about The Carterhaugh School of Folklore and the Fantastic by joining their FREE Everyday Magic Challenge here. And, you can sign up for The Carterhaugh School of Folklore and the Fantastic's Enchant 2024 class here. Thank you to my Fairy Godmother, Kate Wolford, for gifting me a deck of Enchant cards! Kelly Jarvis works as the Assistant Editor for The Fairy Tale Magazine. Her poetry has been featured or is forthcoming in Blue Heron Review, Mermaids Monthly, Eternal Haunted Summer, Forget Me Not Press, A Moon of One’s Own, The Magic of Us, and Corvid Queen. Her short fiction has appeared in The Chamber Magazine and the World Weaver Press Anthology Mothers of Enchantment: New Tales of Fairy Godmothers. She can be found at https://kellyjarviswriter.com/

  • Glass and Feathers Page

    Hello Enchanted Friends: Today I’m preempting Cinderella’s Hearth to tell you about the special page we now have for Glass and Feathers. The book is by Lissa Sloan, and, as it happens, she did the page here on the site. You see, I used to be good at dealing with blogging platforms, but the jokes about older people not understanding the internet are real. The older I get, the more the internet vexes me. Thankfully, Lissa and her daughter Molly rode to my rescue and made a lovely page. It has all of the current information on the book, and as we get closer to its publication date, March 26, new information will be added. The image below tells you what the book is about. Check it out! Glass and Feathers is a coming of age fantasy romance that we know you’ll love. The Enchanted Press is delighted to be publishing it. We hope all of you will buy a copy. And, if you are one of the lucky people who received the book in serial form last year, please leave a review at Goodreads! It’s one of the most important things you can do to support the book and to support FTM. Stay Enchanted, Kate

  • Throwback Thursday: Hero Worship, by Alethea Kontis

    Editor’s note: This unusual and thought-provoking take on “Little Red Riding Hood” proves that even commonly retold fairy tales can surprise you. It’s by Alethea Kontis, who is both very successful and talented. I’m proud of the level of talent this zine continues to attract, all of these years later. This was originally published in 2011. (KW) To: Mister Jack Woodcutter From: Miss Sonya Vasili Dear Mister Woodcutter, My grandmother bade me pen this letter. She says that when someone saves your life, especially a legend such as yourself, the least you can do is write them a proper thank you note. We also mention you in our prayers to the gods every night. Sorry if that sounds a little creepy, but if it weren't for you, Baba Vasili and I wouldn't have any more prayers--or any more nights, for that matter. "Thank You" doesn't seem a big enough phrase to fit all the meaning I need it to, but as I haven't been able to think of another, more appropriate gesture in the last few weeks, Baba Vasili handed me the quill and parchment, and here I am. Please forgive as well my utter lack of eloquence, as this is a tradition to which I am not yet accustomed. And lest this silly little note (if it even finds you on your Grand Wanderings) finish without saying: THANK YOU. Thank you, Mister Jack Woodcutter, again and again. Thank you for my life. All the best, Sonya "Red" Vasili *** To: Jack Woodcutter From: S. Vasili Jack, I hope this letter finds you as successfully as my previous pitiful note, but even if it doesn't, that's all right. The writing of it alone is enough. I can close my eyes and imagine you're right there in the settee listening to me, the only person in the world who believes me. Yes, Baba Vasili was there, but she is tired of listening. She doesn't want to hear about the nightmares (I see the wolf's teeth, I feel the brush of his fur, I smell his breath, and I scream for you). She is tired of me jumping at shadows in the forest. The other girls at school have started calling me "Little Red," as if I am just another silly baby telling tales. Baba Vasili will not tell the tale because she does not believe in spreading evil out into the universe, so no one believes me. No one will listen. No one will stand beside me. I am alone. I have no one. No one but you. And I don't even have you, as you gallivant off on your adventures. But I will write to you often and share my pain. I know you won't mind. It eases my heart a little. I wonder if you dream of the wolf, if he haunts your head with his darkness as he haunts mine. I wonder if you dream of me. Sonya (Red) *** Jack-- I miss you. Does that sound stupid? We met during one of the worst moments of my entire life, but I miss you. You shone like the sun, did you know that? Such a bright light against the darkness of the wolf. Against my darkness. But of course you know. Everyone knows of your beauty, your confidence, your ability to bear impossible burdens, perform impossible tasks, and beat unbeatable foes. The bards sing your praises from mountain to ocean side. I'm sure you never sleep in a cold bed. You must think of me sometimes, the in-between moments before sleeping and waking. Do you see me, my wide eyes, my long auburn hair, my pale arms desperately reaching for you as I did in that moment? So very innocent and frightened and powerless in your strong embrace. Most days, I sit on this hillside and pluck the petals of daisy after daisy. (You love me every time.) I see your eyes in the cloudless sky and your hair in the sunshine. Your chest is the tree trunk supporting me as I lean back against it. I inhale and the breeze is your breath, and in those moments we are together and I know--I know, with all my heart and mind and soul--that you can feel me too. I miss you, Jack. I miss you. And I love you. --Red *** My Dearest Jack, A troubadour came through town last night, singing for his supper. Once his belly was full of Baba Vasili's rabbit stew, he indulged me with hours upon hours of The Adventures o the Illustrious Jack Woodcutter. I never tire of hearing the trials and triumphs of my one true love, however great or small, for I know that one day those songs will hearken your return to my pale young arms and pining heart. But as the evening drew to a close (and the singer was so far into his cups that I was forced to tie him to the chair), he related to me a silly, bawdy shanty about The Great and Powerful Jack running afoul of a basket of poisoned pastries. I cannot apologize enough, for I know those pastries could only have been mine. (Did you recognize the basket from that fateful night so long ago? I shed blood, sweat and tears over that basket then; I thought it only fitting to do so again, for you.) I can only think that the messenger crossed paths with a vengeful fairy, or that some of the ingredients spoiled in this unnatural autumn heat we've been having. You know that I certainly never meant to harm you in any way! However, in the event that you had taken a turn for the worse, I would have sensed it immediately and been fast by your side to nurse you back to health. You never need call, my Jack, for my heart knows you. I believe in your absence that I am developing the ability to sense when you are in real danger. (Obviously, had the pastries been a real threat, I would have known about them long before that soused balladeer.) The gods brought us together, Jack. We are a matched set, cut from the same cloth. Who am I to deny the gods? I only hope they see you safely home soon, my dearest. I will be waiting. As always. Ever Your Girl, ~Red *** Beloved, This will be my last missive to you. The pain cuts me deeply, and soon I will return to the nightmare mouth of the wolf, where I was always meant to be. There is no world without you. There is no me without you. And soon, there will be no world at all. Forgive the stains on the page, red as my hair, but the quill grows heavy in my hand, heavy as my stone heart. The beats are slower now, and the breaths are faint. My soul is crying out to yours, growing ever blacker with the night. You will hear it and come to me soon, my love. Look to the stars--they will guide you to me. Perhaps you are already here, with your ax at the door. I only hope it is not too late. ----R---- *** To: Mister Jack Woodcutter From: Anastazia Yaga Vasili My dear Mister Woodcutter, Sir, it pains me to bring such news to you, after the incredible good deed you did my granddaughter and me so long ago, but in the event that any--or all--of Sonya's letters have found you on your travels, I thought you would want to know. Red is safe. It was I who dragged her back from the jaws of death this time, but the eyes and ears and hands of the enemy were her own. Its teeth were the penknife I keep in the writing desk. It was I who encouraged my granddaughter's correspondence to you, so it is only fitting that I must bear the burden of its outcome. You and I only saved Sonya's body from the wolf that night--the part we could see and touch and feel. Her mind, I fear, never recovered from that darkness, and I did not recognize the signs until it was almost too late. Our little Red is recovering in the care of my spinster sister, high in the remote reaches of the white mountains. Perhaps you might have heard of it in your wanderings. Cinderella's blind and mutilated stepsisters convalesce there. So, too, do the young girl with the donkey's tail on her forehead, and the one who spits snakes and toads when she speaks. I believe Red is in the best hands possible. If my sister cannot save her from the wolf, no one can. As much as I hate to burden you with this information, I thought it best that you should know. You are a great man, sir, and you once did my family a kindness that will never be forgotten. May your road be straight and your skies be blue. May the gods lift you to their breasts and find you worthy enough to be rid of your burdens. Many blessings to you. Your servant, Baba Vasili *** To: Miss Sonya Vasili, c/o Baba Yaga's Traveling Home for Unfortunate Young Women with Magical Maladies Dear Red, Get well soon. ~Jack *** Bio, from 2011: Alethea Kontis is the New York Times bestselling co-author of Sherrilyn Kenyon's Dark-Hunter Companion, as well as the AlphaOops series of picture books. Her debut YA fairy tale novel Enchanted, was released from Harcourt Books in 2012. Update: In 2024, Alethea continues to be a successful, award-winning, and well regarded writer. Learn more about her work here. *** Image by Jean Jacques Henner.

  • Review by Lissa Sloan: Wendy, Darling by A. C. Wise

    Wendy Darling clung to Neverland through it all. Her memories were the only things that allowed her to cope with her brothers forgetting, their parents not believing her, even the years in Saint Bernadette’s asylum, where Michael and John sent her when she refused to deny what happened. When she finally learned to hide the truth, Wendy kept her secret close. She didn’t confide in her husband. She didn’t warn her daughter about boys like Peter. She didn’t protect her. Unlike her mother, Jane does not choose to follow the boy who flies in her window. Instead, she is taken without her consent, flown to Neverland, and kept compliant with a drink that makes her forget who she is, her parents, even her name. But Wendy’s logical, curious daughter resists coercion and confusion, knowing that if there was a way in to this alien place, there must be a way out. Back in London, Wendy steps out her open window, heading for the second star to the right. For seeing her own daughter in her place, she must admit that in all the years of clinging to her memories, there was something she had forgotten. Neverland had a horrible truth she had denied. And now, to save her daughter, Wendy must face it at last. Wendy, Darling is author A.C. Wise’s dark continuation of J.M. Barrie’s Peter Pan. Through the eyes of its girls and women, Neverland is a very different place, one of shadowy secrets and threats too harmful to remember. Wendy is a complex character, struggling to understand her experience and the damage she’s caused by denying the pain of knowing what she knew. But she is determined to make amends and expose the whole truth, no matter the cost. In devastating, intensely personal prose, Wise stitches an accurate portrayal of trauma and its aftermath into a story of healing and found family. Tender, visceral, and fierce, Wendy, Darling is breathtaking. You can find it here. *Lissa loved Wendy, Darling so much she is giving away a FREE copy! Just join her mailing list at lissasloan.com to enter! Lissa Sloan is the author of Glass and Feathers, a dark continuation of the traditional Cinderella tale. Her fairy tale poems and short stories appear in The Fairy Tale Magazine, Niteblade Magazine, Corvid Queen, and anthologies from World Weaver Press. Glass and Feathers appeared as a serial in The Fairy Tale Magazine last spring. Print and ebook release from The Enchanted Press will be March 26, 2024. Visit Lissa online at lissasloan.com, or connect on Facebook, Instagram, @lissa_sloan, or Twitter, @LissaSloan.

  • Cinderella’s Hearth: Lissa Sloan Says, Give Market Wagon a Try!

    I love homegrown food. And I really love being the one doing the growing. Or the idea of it anyway. If you ask me which TV show I’d like to model my life after, I would tell you about a charming 70s sitcom from the UK. In Good Neighbors, or The Good Life, as it’s called in the UK, Tom and Barbara Good (played by Richard Briers and Felicity Kendal) have had it with the rat race of modern life, but love their suburban house and neighbors. So they go all in for self sufficiency. They grow their own food, keep a goat, pigs, and chickens, and ingeniously use methane to power their home. Tom and Barbara may have green thumbs, but their tiny farm runs on good humor and sheer determination. In my Cinderella continuation novel, however, I gave my girl in the glass slippers a unique gift. The narrator of Glass and Feathers works magic with her hands in the earth, bringing plants to life with her touch. And though her stepmother forbids her to use her gift, she takes a savage pride in doing it anyway. I would like to say I am magically powerful like my narrator, or hard-working like the Goods, but sadly, I am neither. I love to plan my garden, and even plant it. But it’s all about the weather, really. I’ll even weed when it’s cool. Unfortunately, though, I struggle to get outside when it’s the littlest bit hot. I like going to farmer’s markets, too, but these days I’m even more of a homebody than I used to be. So now local farmer’s markets come to me. Market Wagon is an online farmer’s market bringing local providers together and delivering to customers. Every week I check the website to see what’s available from the farms in my area. I usually buy produce and sometimes dairy products, but there is also meat, prepared food, spices, tea, even candles and soap. I make my order by the end of the day on Tuesday and set out the reusable tote from the week before on Wednesday night. On Thursday, the delivery driver exchanges my empty tote for a full one containing my order. I can subscribe to items I want every week, like my favorite spinach or apples, but there’s no obligation to order every week. This time of year, there’s less in the way of produce, but there are always lots of things to choose from. So have a look and see if Market Wagon operates in your area. If you can’t be delivered to the ball in a pumpkin carriage, maybe the pumpkin can at least be delivered to you! Lissa Sloan is the author of Glass and Feathers, a Cinderella continuation novel that is already getting praise on Goodreads! Check it out.

  • Review by Kelly Jarvis: Geek Witch and the Treacherous Tome of Deadly Danger by Rebecca Buchanan

    Geek Witch and the Treacherous Tome of Deadly Danger by Rebecca Buchanan is a delightful new urban fantasy novelette. The story’s narrator, Ermentrude Wainwright, is the middle-aged proprietor of a games, comics, and sundry adventures shop, and the action opens in the middle of one of her role-play campaigns. As the players roll a twenty-sided opal die that will determine their in-game fate, readers begin to realize that the urban landscape the characters occupy is every bit as magical as the games they play. Outside of the games, Ermentrude lives in a world that has witnessed the destruction of cities by occult magic. She uses sigils and potions to ward her store and home from dangers, but when she is accused of practicing malefic magic (a type of occult magic that carries a negative intent) she finds herself in trouble. Ermentrude falls under suspicion because she is in possession of a rare Change Your Destiny book that contains dangerous spells once used to destroy Chicago. When intruders break into her home to steal the book, she must navigate a complicated world filled with secrets to keep the book out of the wrong hands. Geek Witch and the Treacherous Tome of Deadly Danger has a splendid cast of characters, but none is more inspirational than Ermentrude. It is not often that magical quests are completed by single, overweight, middle-aged protagonists, and Buchanan’s creation makes a wonderful addition to the fantasy genre! Although an endearing group of misfits helps out along the way, it is the narrator herself who manages to save the day, telling herself ”Okay, Ermentrude. Time to be the hero of the story.” I loved every word of this entertaining novelette! The plot offers the perfect blend of adventure and humor, and the twists and turns kept me smiling. I devoured the story in one sitting, but lingered over the insightful descriptions of what constitutes magic in both the fantasy and everyday worlds. If you love stories with enchantment, dragons, quests, old bookshops, clock towers, and lovable characters, then Geek Witch and the Treacherous Tome of Deadly Danger is for you! Although the tale wraps up with a satisfying ending, I hope there will be more Ermentrude adventures to come! You can find the book here. Kelly Jarvis works as the Assistant Editor for The Fairy Tale Magazine. Her poetry has been featured or is forthcoming in Blue Heron Review, Mermaids Monthly, Eternal Haunted Summer, Forget Me Not Press, A Moon of One’s Own, The Magic of Us, and Corvid Queen. Her short fiction has appeared in The Chamber Magazine and the World Weaver Press Anthology Mothers of Enchantment: New Tales of Fairy Godmothers. She can be found at https://kellyjarviswriter.com/

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