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Posts Tagged ‘Library of Congress’

As 2012 draws to a close, I look back on a year filled with professional highs and lows.

pillywiggins My young adult novel, The Enchanted Skean, once represented by a successful New York literary agent found itself homeless when the agency closed. Due to family obligations, I couldn’t go to a science-fiction/fantasy convention I wanted to attend, and another con didn’t even acknowledge my desire to participate. My 2nd collection of speculative short stories, Owl Light, needed at least 2 more stories and I couldn’t seem to write the right tales. Plus, I had to wait my turn in the publishing schedule (not always easy to do when you’re anxious to see your work in print). A fantasy painting accepted for a magazine cover was not used when the editor left her position. Several stories I thought well-written were rejected from what seemed to me to be perfect markets. And I could go on.

But wait, before I cry in my tea, for every setback, there was something positive in my author-illustrator life.

My young adult novel, The Enchanted Skean, found a home with the wonderful folks at Mockingbird Lane Press, and is due to be published in early 2013. I was able to attend and participate on writer panels at the Library of Congress,  Balticon, and Darkover. And I had several unexpected book signing opportunities at the Bel Air Authors & Artists Holiday Sale and the Carroll County Farmer’s Market Authors’ Day. Ideas for the 2 tales I needed to write for Owl Light sprang into my head like nibble sprites, and my turn to be published by the excellent Cold Moon Press is rapidly drawing near. Though that one painting hasn’t made it to the cover of a magazine yet, 2 others were used for the covers of Bards & Sages Quarterly and Scifikuest. Perfect markets accepted and published several of my stories: Tales of the Talisman, Ocean Stories, and Zombies for a Cure. And I will go on!

Harford’s Heart Magazine featured one of my paintings as a cover and did a feature article on me as an illustrator. Bards & Sages accepted another painting for a 2013 cover. I had 2 ebooks published by Cold Moon Slivers and, yeah!, I got to do the cover art. I had the opportunity to appear as a guest on several blogs. The reviews for my 1st Cold Moon Press book, The Greener Forest, continue to be good. Broad Universe, a fabulous group that supports women who write speculative work, featured me 3 times on their Broadpod podcast, and once on Broadly Speaking. The beginning of an unpublished YA fantasy novel won the Silver Award from Maryland Writers Association. I felt honored to judge both a poetry competition and an art contest.

I’ve gotten to meet many readers and writers in 2012, both in-person and via Facebook, Goodreads, etc. And I was lucky enough to have a poem in the final issue of EMG-Zine, an online speculative magazine. Yes, I said final issue. Though the archives are supposed to remain available, EMG-Zine has closed its doors to new poems, stories, articles, and art work. The editor may be gaining time to work on her own creative endeavors, but readers and writers will surely miss this lovely publication.

And so, 2012 draws to a close. On this last day of the old year, I have an interview up on Highlighted Author- http://highlightedauthor.com/2012/12/welcome-vonnie-winslow-crist/ Thanks, Charlene A. Wilson for allowing me to finish 2012 on a high note. (Okay, that was a little punny.)  I look forward to 2013 with all of its ups and downs, unexpected curves, and joyous surprises. And may 2013 bring good things to each of you.

PS: Though I try to count my blessings accurately, I’m sure I’ve over-looked a publisher or 2 who has used my work. Thanks to them, too.

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A month ago, I spoke at the Library of Congress along with Katie Hartlove, editor at Cold Moon Press, and Michelle D. Sonnier, a fellow Cold Moon Press author. Wow, is the only word I have for the marvelous building, helpful staff, and receptive audience. For those who’ve never taken a tour of the building, I highly recommend it.

The title of our presentation was: Zombies & Angels & Boogeymen, Oh my! Though I’ve used all 3 characters in my stories, my area of presentation was Zombies. I did a bit of research to show that the idea of the re-animated dead is shared by many cultures. Here are a few of the tidbits I unearthed:

Africa: The word zombie comes from the Kongo zumbi or zombi [Matthews, p.641] which means an enslaved spirit.

Caribbean: Priests in the Haitian voodoo religion sometimes use a nerve toxin to simulate death for up to 2 days. Haitian lore says that people who are dug up after being buried can no longer think for themselves because of oxygen deprivation, and therefore become slaves to another’s will. Feeding a zombie salt will return it to the grave.

Wales: In the story of Branwen, dead warriors are put in a cauldron and returned to life. These re-animated dead warriors are then placed back into battle.

Ireland: The Well of Slaine is used by the Tuatha de Danaan to re-animate warriors who’ve died in the fight against the Fir Bolg. Though they can fight, these re-animated soldiers are unable to speak because they’ve seen what exists after death.

Iceland, Norway, etc.: Draugr (plural Draugar, pronounced: droo-GORE) are dead Vikings who not only drive mad anyone who comes near their grave, but crawl from their burial sites and visit the living. They are very strong, smell like decay, and sometimes have magical abilities like shape-shifting. (This is the zombie of my love story, “The Return of Gunnar Kettilson”).

Tibet: (Just stumbled on this info, so more research needs to be done). Ro-langs are ro (corpse) + langs (rise-up). They cannot speak, so they communicate by wagging their tongues. Lore says that they can’t bend either, which is why it’s best to have a low entranceway into your home — to keep out the ro-langs.

Where in the world do I find interesting tidbits like these? Many places, but some of my favorite research books: The Element Encyclopedia of Magical Creaturesby John & Caitlin Matthews, Encyclopedia of Things That Never Were: Creatures, Places, And People by Michael Page & Robert Ingpen, The Enchanted World series of books from Time-Life Books, and An Encyclopedia of Fairies: Hobgoblins, Brownies, Bogies, and other Supernatural Creatures by Katherine Briggs.

So have a great day, and remember to carry a bag of pretzels to feed to the re-animated dead in the case of a zombie attack (see Africa above).

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 2012 has started off with a bang! Tomorrow, I’ll be part of a Cold Moon Press presentation at the Library of Congress in Washington, DC at 12 noon. Besides reading an excerpt from my zombie love story, I’ll be discussing how to use traditional creatures/ characters from myths & folklore in creative writing. The public is invited if any of you are in the area and interested.

Again this year, my art work and writing are nominated in the Preditors & Editors Readers’ Poll (which closes at 12 midnight, Jan. 10, 2012). For those who’d like to read the story- Blood of the Swan (published in “While the Morning Stars Sing”); the nonfiction piece originally published in Little Patuxent ReviewFairies, Magic & Monsters; or the poem published this December in EMG-ZinePenelope for free until Jan. 20th, you can go to: http://vonniewinslowcrist.com/preds__eds_nominated_work

 Also nominated are my magazine cover for September 2011’s Aoife’s Kiss, the cover of my book The Greener Forest, and one of the illustrations from that book: Ningyo (reprinted here).

I just finished designing 2 logos for new imprints at Cold Moon Press – and they’ve been emailed to the editor for approval. (When approved & with the editor’s permission, I’ll give you a peek at them later.)

The end of 2011 featured a guest blog, Holiday Traditions for the Writer, on Tracy S. Morris’ website: http://tinyurl.com/holiday-traditions-VWC-blog and 2 interviews. The 1st is about being an illustrator: http://tinyurl.com/eraserburns-interview-vonnie   and the 2nd about being a fantasy writer: http://tinyurl.com/funzone-interview-vonnie

And for those interested in reading what I have to say about what goes into choosing a cover for a book, you can check out my guest blog at Morgen Bailey’s Writing Blog: http://wp.me/p18Ztn-1Fa

And now, I need to focus on completing several stories for my next book. Title and other details will be announced shortly. Till then, here’s a hint: Dusk, darkness, and owls are involved!

Here’s hoping that each of you has a healthy and prosperous 2012.

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