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Posts Tagged ‘Mermaids’

mermaid My story collection, Owl Light, includes several reprinted tales along with brand new stories. In order for a reader to read the reprinted stories in their original versions, he or she would have to hunt for, locate, then purchase various anthologies and magazines.

One of the reprinted tales, “By the Sea,” was an L. Ron Hubbard Writers of the Future Honorable Award Winner,  released as an eShort (no longer available) as well as being included in Tales of the Talisman. It was also voted one of the Top Ten SF/F Short Stories in the P&E Reader’s Poll. Though it has been updated, the storyline and mermaid theme remain the same. I thought readers might like to read 2 brief reviews of “By the Sea.”

Author Robin Bayne: “I really enjoyed this lovely tale. The story was short but conveyed an interesting world and characters you could care about.”

Editor/author WH Stevens: “”Ms. Crist’s story, “By the Sea,” will take you to a land of seaside delights and carnival excitement. Bordering on a dreamy current of fantasy and reality, the story of Dusana, the 17 year old sideshow mermaid will keep your attention for a fast, easy read. The characters, so real you can see them, the sights of the neon lights and the sound of the calliope will transport you to Dusana’s world where she dreams of being a normal person. And the poetic, smooth language will engage you and seep into you like the ocean itself. The charm of the merfolk, candied apples and sideshow barkers will draw you to a touching and unexpected conclusion. Welcome to the fantasy world of Vonnie Crist. This is her moment and it is a fine one, indeed.”

Like mermaids, boardwalks, and sideshow? Buy Owl Light, then turn to “By the Sea.” (And if you’re a fan of shape-changing sea creatures, the next tale in the book features a selkie).

 

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The Demon and the Author: An Interview by L.C. Hu

“Earl of Hell Glasya-Labolas, aka Obed Brandt, is head of security at the Midnight Carnival. In the spirit of the upcoming observance of All Hallow’s Eve, he has agreed to interview Re-Vamp and Midnight Carnival author L.C. Hu. He gratefully acknowledges Vonnie Winslow Crist for playing host to them.

tumblr_mqxmcbfdjR1scakoko1_500 OB: Good evening, LC. Thank you for joining me. We at the carnival know you as our Ringmaster, in a way, and we’re all curious to know more about what’s behind all those shadows.

LC: Oh, I’m only half the Ringmaster, if that, so don’t give me more credit than is due. But thank you for having me! And I suppose I could let you have a peek.

OB: Much obliged. So, what would draw you to the carnival, as a patron? What kinds of things would you most want to see or experience?

LC: Hmm. The sideshows, I suppose, though part of the carnival’s power, as you know, is to draw people in no matter what their interest. But the sideshows would be what caught my attention. The firebreathing, the tattooed lady, that kind of thing. Part of the draw of those shows are the hopes you’ll catch a glimpse of something really odd, and I think at the Midnight Carnival, you’d see that.

OB: Could you be convinced to stay there?

LC: Oh, probably not, I’m a bit of a coward, heh.

mc_cover OB: Speaking completely hypothetically, of course… if you were to make a deal with a devil, what would you want from the bargain? What would you be willing to do or give up in exchange?

LC: I… I don’t think there’s much that could get me to make a deal with a devil, even one as handsome as yourself. I’m too much of a control freak. I suppose the one exception would be if something threatened one of the people I loved; I should be willing to give up quite a bit to help them. But even that would have to be pretty drastic, as I also feel that some bad situations are just to be endured and learnt from.

OB: Let’s say you did decide to settle in at the carnival. What job would you want? Why do you think that would be a good fit for you?

LC: Ha honestly, I think I’d be fit to maybe sell slushies or do admin work for the Ringmaster. I’m not much of a carnie. Maybe I could take tickets, like Carver does.

OB: You seem very comfortable with horror, and with horror-influenced writing. What draws you to that? What do you like most about it? Least?

LC: I enjoy the tension and release of being afraid and then understanding. I suppose that’s why much of my favorite horror is resolved–not just unfathomable evil (with a few exceptions). There’s an element of mystery to a lot of horror that I’m drawn to. I like puzzling over a story, trying to figure it out, to find out motivations and outcomes. The thrill of the scary moments, and the relief of the resolution. My least favorite thing about horror is that there’s a lot of it that brutalizes or objectifies women, or takes pleasure in the fear of women. We’re 50% of the population, but we get more than 50% of the fictional brutality. Although, sadly, that fact is probably reflected in reality, I wish that fiction could give us more of something else. I also really, really am not into super-sexualized violence against women, and that happens a lot in horror, too.

OB: In the carnival you deal with a wide range of supernatural creatures. What species do you most easily identify with? Which is the hardest for you to relate to?

LC: Oh, werewolves have always been my fictional “spirit animal” of sorts. I can relate to that uncontrollable anger, the beast within as it were, and the struggle to control the animal inside. Hardest to relate to… I suppose the mermaids. That’s just a species I’ve never been super aware of, so I don’t know all the mythology behind the species.

OB: Anything you’d like to add?

LC: Only that Halloween seems like the holiday made for the Midnight Carnival, but that’s the last place I’d want to be on Halloween. You and yours have made it a wonderful, terrible place to be.

OB: Thank you again, LC. A pleasure, as always.

Thanks to Liz Neering for writing Obed Brandt!”

L.C. Hu co-edited and contributed to the anthology Re-Vamp and The Midnight Carnival: One Night Only. To learn more about The Midnight Carnival: One Night Only, available this Halloween, visit maddocsoflit.com or find L.C. Hu at elsiewho.wordpress.com!

The Wicked, Weird and Whimsical Words Halloween Blog Tour runs every other day October 23-October 31. Join us all five days for Halloween fun! Be sure to say hello on any post to be entered in a giveaway at the end of the tour!

Thanks to L.C. Hu for her guest post. Be sure and visit the other blog sites for fun Halloween-themed posts (including my guest posts). Coming up on Whimsical Words between now and All Hallow’s Eve: speculative authors Trisha Wooldridge, Elizabeth Black, and Gail Z. Martin.

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I recently guest blogged at Coffee Time Romance on the theme: “Books that Warm the Heart.” First, thanks to Tarah Scott for inviting me. When I responded to her call for books that were heart warming, I wasn’t sure she’d welcome a book with stories that feature fairies, zombies, angels, mermaids, spriggans, goblins, and other faeryfolk. But her willingness to include a fantasy short story collection warmed my heart!

I’m sharing a portion of the guest post on Whimsical Words for my readers to enjoy:

“From the cover blurb, you might not think that The Greener Forest will warm your heart, but you’d be wrong. Perhaps it’s because this collection of fantasy tales is Young Adult friendly, but each story has the happiest ending possible considering the circumstances the main character finds him or herself in.

Whether it’s a scarecrow, a giant, a hunter looking for a healer, a dragon, a half-elf wife married to a human, or a mermaid called by the sea when she swims away from shore and her family to save a drowning boy, love plays a role in bringing two very different people together. And as the holiday spirit surrounds us, who couldn’t use a little love in their life?”

And so for you writers out there — when it comes to blogging, think in unexpected ways. I bet your book, your writing process, and your life are filled with lots of ideas for guest blogs. And readers — thanks for following Whimsical Words. Please let me know what you think about my blog and my books.

To read the full guest post: http://www.coffeetimeromance.com/CoffeeThoughts/the-greener-forest-a-book-that-warms-the-heart/

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The Next Big Thing Blog Hop is a chance for authors around the world to tell you what they’re working on. The author answers 10 questions about their next book, and tags the person who first tagged them, plus at least 5 other authors. So, I was very happy when I was tagged by Jennifer Allis Provost: http://www.jenniferallisprovost.blogspot.com/2012/10/the-next-big-thing-blog-hop.html So here goes…

 What is the working title of your book? Owl Light. I stumbled across the word while reading, and instantly fell in love with the idea of a group of tales united by their connection to the dusky time of owls. Of course, coming from a background in art and creative writing, I had to toss in a few theme-appropriate poems and illustrations.

Where did the idea come from for the book? Each of the stories had their own beginning place. Often a scrap of folklore or fabulously strange news article inspired me. The mermaid story began with an article about a girl born with sirenomelia or Mermaid’s Syndrome. There’s a Day of the Dead story which includes lots of traditions that are used today – but it’s set in the far future on a distant world. And there’s a different take on the Rumplestiltskin fairytale. The remaining stories feature a clockwork owl, a selkie, a trow and his faithful buggane, ghosts, a future-seeing margay, the Daughter of Winter, an ancient sea giant, and other magical folks.

What genre does your book fall under? Speculative – which means that each tale is either fantasy or science fiction, though I did add in a couple of ghost stories. A little darker in tone than my 2011 collection, The Greener Forest, Owl Light is still Young Adult appropriate.

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition? Since there are a dozen tales, there are lots of characters to cast. There are a couple of characters Johnny Depp would be perfect for. I can see Cate Blanchett, Dakota Fanning, Jennifer Lawrence, Jada Pinkett Smith, and Cicely Tyson in some of the female roles. And Nathan Fillion, Alan Rickman, Elijah Wood, Christopher Walken, and Warwick Davis in some of the male roles.

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book? Owl Light dares the reader to step into a world where owls wake from slumber, shadows appear where shadows ought not be, dreams change to nightmares, and dawn is more distant than you know.

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency? Owl Light will be published by Cold Moon Press. But because CMP is a small publisher, as the author/illustrator, I have to take a lot of responsibility for promoting the book.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript? Some of the stories were written a year or 2 ago, and some last week. I think a collection of stories begins to come together before an author realizes she’s writing a book. Then, once she’s determined to pull a book together using her short fiction, the author focuses and writes additional tales that complete the overall concept of the collection.

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre? Perhaps a collection of stories from Charles de Lint or Neil Gaiman or Andre Norton would have a similar vibe. Of course, these writers are so amazing, I can only dream of reaching their level of skill.

Who or What inspired you to write this book? Owls and moonlight! As I write in the beginning of the book: “In Owl Light, that darksome time when creatures of the shadows move amongst us, how easy it is to believe in the mysterious and magical.”

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest? Several of the stories have won awards, including a Writers of the Future Honorable Mention. I’m the book’s cover artist, and in the print version, there are over a dozen black & white illos of mythic creatures that populate the stories. And I did lots of research on owls to add in accurate details about these amazing nocturnal birds.

And now, on to some wonderful writers and their Next Big Thing (I’ll post direct links as soon as I get them):

Douglas Cobb- http://douglascobb.wordpress.com/2012/10/23/the-next-big-thing-blog-hop-article-douglas-r-cobb/

Laura Shovanhttp://authoramok.blogspot.com/2012/10/the-next-big-thing.html

Dianne Gardnerhttp://dragontargeseries.blogspot.com/p/next-big-think-blog-hop.html

Christine Stewarthttp://www.therealwriter.com/my-weblog/2012/10/the-next-big-thing-blog-hop.html

Fernando WordPimp Quijanohttp://thewordpimpspits.blogspot.com

Craig Alan Loewen- www.literary-equine.livejournal.com

Tami Coxhttps://www.facebook.com/spiritsofgettysburg?fref=ts  (Scroll down to Oct. 13 entry)

Thanks for stopping by. Feel free to make comments and ask questions.

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I’ve been taking time out from writing to do some drawing & painting. I finished a fantasy watercolor painted in various pinks, blues, and purples called Poet’s Moon, then sent a bit of it off to an editor for cover art consideration. That bit will be the cover of the February 2012 Scifaikuest.

I drew a pen & ink, faeriefolk-infested maze for BSFAN, Balticon’s souvenir book to promote my book from Cold Moon Press: The Greener Forest. (I’ve received positive feedback from a number of attendees on the maze). I painted a sweet little fairy, “Crocus,” for an ad in the next Faerie Magazine. Plus, she’ll be matted & framed for an upcoming art exhibit – I’ll have to let you know after it’s published what folks think.

I painted 2 gouaches “on spec” for the cover of an upcoming speculative fiction anthology: Rush of Wings. (Hmm, I’m not sure if that’s the true plural for more than 1 gouache — that strange child of watercolor & acrylic paints). One painting, “Rush of Wings,” was declined, and I’ve since sent it out to another editor for another project. The other, “The Golden Egg,” is still being held by the RoW editor. Both speculative paintings just sold from an art exhibit I have at Bel Air Barnes & Noble (MD) for June 1-30, 2011.

Two other paintings have also just sold “off the wall” of my local Barnes & Noble: “Mermaid & Friends,” the cover art for my eShort Sideshow by the Sea, (soon to be included in my new book) and “Three Dwarves,” a watercolor used as cover art by the now defunct Lite – Baltimore’s Literary Magazine. For those interested, you can see the mermaid painting and also, “Acorn Sprite,” a small painting that another buyer has expressed interest in purchasing when the B&N show ends — at the art-gifts on this blog: https://vonniewinslowcrist.wordpress.com/art-gifts/

 I sent the 2 gouaches (mentioned in paragraph #2) plus a watercolor called “Strawberry Dragon” off to my local Society of Book Writers & Illustrators annual Jack Reid Scholarship for free tuition to their July conference. And, gulp, I won the illustrator’s scholarship, so my $195 tuition is being waived!

So what does this “sudden” artwork success mean? Should I stop writing and devote myself to illustration? I think not! I believe these positive responses to my artwork tell me the hours, days, weeks — actually years — that I’ve spent painting and studying art are being acknowledged. Practice has helped me to get better.

I’ll continue to practice my painting and my writing this summer. Hopefully, I’ll have good news in both disciplines. But most importantly, I hope to grow and improve so I can bring my readers better stories and more powerful art in the future. And I encourage all of you to practice whatever it is that you enjoy doing — and I bet you’ll see an improvement in your skill-level, too!

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 At November’s FaeryCon, I had the honor of meeting and chatting briefly with illustrator extraordinaire, Michael Hague. An admirer of his work for many years, I’d brought along 2 books with hopes for an autograph. Not only did he sign, The Little Mermaid, but he sketched in ballpoint pen a wonderful mermaid and fish on the first pages of the book. His sketching style, quiet manner, and kind smile reminded me of Pop (my grandfather) who used to spend countless hours drawing with me when I was a child. I must admit to being a little misty-eyed when I thanked Michael and turned to leave.

“Wait, isn’t that Tolkien’s World?” Michael asked pointing at the unsigned book I held.

 “Yes,” I responded, and began to explain I didn’t want to take too much of his time since there were other fans waiting in line for autographs. Michael waved his hand in the air, then proceeded to sketch a roaring dragon’s head opposite his painting of “Smaug the Magnificent” from The Hobbit.

 Born in the Year of the Dragon, those legendary creatures remain my favorite fabulous beastie. And in 2010, not only did I manage to place my dragon story, “Weathermaker,” in Dragon’s Lure: Legends of a New Age and became the proud owner of a Michael Hague dragon sketch – but I just learned that a recent review of Dragon’s Lure features a paragraph about “Weathermaker.”

So thanks to BSC Review and their book reviewer. For those who’d like to take a peek at the review: http://tinyurl.com/review-of-dragons-lure (Paragraph #4 focuses on “Weathermaker”)

 And now, to begin a dragon sketch of my own!

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The chilliness of late autumn has settled over Wood’s Edge. Juncoes & squirrels haunt the birdfeeders. And just a few days ago, I spent another wonderful Thanksgiving with family. This time of year causes me to think about the things I’m most grateful for. The blessings in my life are many, and family and dear friends are near the top of that list. What, you may ask, does that have to do with my writing? More than you may realize!

One of the reoccurring themes in my fiction is family. Sometimes, it’s a traditional family like the parents, children, and mother-in-law in my mermaid story, “Pacific,” due to appear in Shelter of Daylight from Sam’s Dot Publishing and my forthcoming book from Cold Moon Press: The Greener Forest. Sometimes, it’s a family of both blood relations and friends like the Chaloupek Brothers’ Amazing Oddities performers in “Sideshow by the Sea.”  And sometimes, it’s a patchwork family the protagonist builds through the course of a story.

Whether in fiction or real life, most people need security, a sense of belonging, and love. In “Blood of the Swan,” (another story set to appear in The Greener Forest) the main character, Jorund, is a member of a family and a village community. Yet while on his quest for a healer, Jorund finds he’s ready for a different kind of belonging and love. In my science-fiction adventure, “Assassins,” Flynn has abandoned the security of his mother and the family business. When he finally finds someone he wants to love and protect, he struggles to return home.

Home and all that word represents – that’s the key. Whether it’s Frank Baum’s Dorothy building a family of a scarecrow, tin man, lion, and wizard who still longs for Auntie Em and the farm, or Tolkien’s Frodo building a Fellowship who still longs for The Shire – the characters of a story can teach us about family, friendship, and that there’s no place like home.

And so, this November & December, I wish you a holiday season filled with family, whether traditional, non-traditional, or a combination of the two. May you feel secure and loved, and may you take a few minutes away from the football games and dinner table to read a good story or two.

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