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Posts Tagged ‘faeryfolk’

I’ve finally written a back cover blurb for, Owl Light, my upcoming collection of speculative tales. (Audible sigh of relief!)

I readily admit, I hate to write cover blurbs.  I’m never certain which 5 to 10 word summery per story will make readers want to pick up my book. Not to mention which tales to summarize. I also know many review and interview sites will use the cover blurb to introduce me and  to publicize the book. And I know the blurb needs to be brief (but not too brief).

 So how do I go about writing a blurb? In the case of Owl Light, I wrote a phrase about each tale in the collection. Then, I picked the 7 story descriptions I liked the best. After rearranging a couple of the phrases so they didn’t all start with “A,” I added an introductory sentence which  both mentions the book’s name and gives a 7 word summary of the entire collection.

Next, I wrote a concluding paragraph that invites readers into the world of Owl Light, making sure to mention the book’s name. This is important, since I want readers to remember the title. By the way, the very last sentence of the blurb is a bit of a challenge to readers in the form of a warning.

Though not written specifically for the Young Adult market, Owl Light is YA-friendly. I don’t mention that in the blurb, but my choice of language and the tone of the paragraphs implies PG or PG-13 content.

Did I write a successful cover blurb? Only time will tell! My editor needs to approve it, and my readers will have to let me know if it “works” for them. The blurb is printed below. Does it make you want to read Owl Light?

“In Owl Light, mystery and magic are close at hand. A deer hunter encounters the Daughter of Winter. Ghosts join a holiday celebration. A clockwork owl is the key to preventing murder. A gravedigger unearths a vengeful trow. To save the woman he loves, a dwarf strikes a bargain with faeryfolk. A sideshow attraction wishes to be normal with unexpected results. And an anthropologist must choose between her modern world and an ancient culture.

These stories and more dare the reader to step into Owl Light, where early stars flicker, owls wake from slumber, and shadows appear where shadows ought not be. But be warned, Owl Light dims to darkness, dreams change to nightmares, and dawn is more distant than you know.”

Cold Moon Press is hoping to have Owl Light available by Halloween 2012 – which is most appropriate since one of the tales is a Day of the Dead story (or actually, a Night of the Dead story).

Update: Owl Light is now available from Amazon.

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 Hooray! The 2011 issue of The Gunpowder Review arrived in 2 large boxes on my doorstep today. I opened the first box, heart thumping, and examined the newest edition of the women’s literary magazine that I’ve edited for the last 3 years.

I think the front and back covers look stunning. Front butterfly photo is from Katie Hartlove. Back cover photos are from Jean Voxakis, Danuta Kosk-Kosicka, Patti Kinlock, Kristin Stephens Crist, and Robin Bayne. And the poems, prose, photography, and artwork on the inside of the magazine are just as wonderful. I feel priviledged to publish the work of so many creative women, and look forward to hosting a publication reading on November 13th at 1 PM at the Bel Air, Maryland, Barnes & Noble. The public is not only invited, but encouraged to attend – so if you’re in the area, why not stop by?

 And the weather was so balmy today, that husband, Sandy the Black-Mouthed Cur, and I took a hike on the North Central Railroad Trail. We walked beneath deciduous trees that had few leaves remaining on their branches, over bridges spanning a creek that had enough momentum to turn many a mill wheel in the olden days, and beside farmland, woodland, and flood plain. Though there were exposed roots aplenty, fern gullies, and mossy rocks – I didn’t spy any Fairyfolk. Still, I believe that they were there peering at us from rabbit holes and birds’ nests.

There was a feeling of timelessness in the names of the tiny roads we crossed. I must research the history of the NCR Trail and the little towns we walked through. History holds so many secrets and endless inspiration for writers. I’ve used a bit of personal history to YA Urban Fantasy already, and I’ll surely use more.

So hurrah for hikes on sunny days, history, creative women, and the arrival of The Gunpowder Review 2011. Now, back to typing…

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 The saying goes: Faeryfolk live in old oaks. And I love faeryfolk. Maybe it’s because I adore oak trees and made tea party place-settings from acorn tops when I was little. Maybe it’s because I wove huge daisy chains and danced every chance I got in mushroom rings. But ever since I was old enough to hold a book, I’ve been fascinated with fairy and folktales and the creatures who populate those stories. And though I adore the butterfly-winged fairies that sail the breezes and ride mouseback to great celebrations in the deepest parts of the forest, I like lesser-known and darker members of Faerie, too.

Trolls are one of my favorites. The under-the-bridge troll of The Three Billy Goats Gruff is fearsome indeed, but the trolls of the northern woods of Scandinavia are often viewed as nature-helpers. These trolls are responsible for tending plants and animals. I decided to make the trolls in the fourth tale in my children’s book, Leprechaun Cake & Other Tales, non-threatening. In fact, they’re comical in appearance and quite fond of snow, unicorns, and playing chess.

Another one of my faeryfolk favorites are stray-sod pixies. Stray-sods have grass growing from their backs. They settle in a meadow or other grassy spot and wait for the unwary pedestrian to step upon them. As soon as a person steps on its back, a stray-sod twists, turns, and confuses the careless hiker. Stray-sods are one of the faeryfolk I’ve included in a novel-in-progress I’m working on.

I’ve included a kelpie in a poem. A kelpie is a waterhorse who waits in moving water for a foolish or curious person. Climb onto a kelpie’s back and you’re likely to be at least dunked if not drowned and eaten. But there’s also something touching about a horse with a shaggy forelock partially hiding its wide set eyes poised at the edge of a stream begging to be petted. Perhaps the kelpie is truly lonely and not just hungry.

And what of the swan-maidens of Celtic tales? Healers and were-creatures of great beauty and shyness, I’ve often wondered under what circumstances would they be bold and vengeful. That bit of speculation resulted in my short story, Blood of the Swan, due to appear in a soon-to-be-printed anthology.

Even goblins make appearances in my writing. I have several varieties of the much-hated goblin race in my looking-for-a-publisher YA novel, The Enchanted Skean. Though there seems to be little to love about them, the main character, Beck, wonders if the goblins also have names and families. And spriggans, rude and obnoxious cousins of goblinkind, appear in one of my short stories currently “out” awaiting a publisher’s decision to accept or reject.

Mermaids are sometimes portrayed as sirens luring men to their death. I played against that type in my eShort, Sideshow by the Sea. Still, I didn’t discard the death-by-merfolk idea all together. Though the protagonist, Dusana, is a sweet girl – the mermen in the story carry knives with sharp, curving blades.

So as spring arrives, sit under an oak, read a fairytale, and look for the lesser-known faeryfolk. Perhaps they’re peering at you from behind a shrub, dangling from a branch above your head, or skulking in your cellar way. Just beware, all fairies are tricksy!

Learn more about Vonnie’s writing at www.vonniewinslowcrist.com

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