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Posts Tagged ‘Tales of the Talisman’

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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J.R.R. Tolkien wrote: “Little by little, one travels far.”

I believe Tolkien got it right, whether you think about a real trip, or one of life’s journeys. As for me, I’ve been on an interesting journey lately — embracing my love of myth, legend, and folklore, and pursuing publication opportunities in those genres.

Besides my “Fairy Stories, Magic, and Monsters” essay in the forthcoming “Make Believe” issue of  The Little Patuxent Review, I have 2 poems, “Harpers Ferry” & “Venus,” due out in the Maryland Writers’ Association anthology, Life in Me Like Grass on Fire. Both incorporate myth.

Paper Crow magazine just accepted my poem based on a fairytale villian, “A wolf is kept fed by his feet.” My story which features the Daughter of Winter called “On a Midwinter’s Eve,” was just accepted by Tales of the Talisman. And the anthology, In the Garden of the Crow, accepted, “Kingdom Across the River,” a poem of mine that is filled with nursery rhyme and fairytale references.

As part of the process of promoting my collection of fantasy stories, The Greener Forest, I’m attending SynDCon in Rockville, MD on Sat., April 2. And I just attended Mythic Faire a couple of weeks ago where I not only sold a few books, but I got to meet British folklore expert and author of 150 books, John Matthews.

And yes, my geekiness was on full display as I asked a pleasant John Matthews to sign 5 of his nonfiction books for me. I could have lugged along several more, but the volumes were so heavy I risked injury if I loaded them in my backpack. John seems to have happily written about folklore and myth for decades. Me? I’ve just recently gotten brave enough to listen to my heart, and pursue my passion for writing and painting work rooted in myth, legend, folklore, and fairytales.

Finally, I’m taking those little steps with the hope of journeying far, and I encourage each of you, writer or not, to find your passion and pursue it. Deepak Chopra writes: “Listen to our heart, your heart knows.” I believe he’s right.

For those who’d like a peek at the opening poem of The Greener Forest, you can visit poet, editor, educator & mom, Laura Shovan’s March 25th Poetry Friday blog:  http://authoramok.blogspot.com/2011/03/poetry-friday-make-believe.html  Thanks Laura for featuring my poem, and for your kind words about my book.

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mermaid Reincarnation is defined as the “rebirth of the soul in successive bodies” (Standard College Dictionary).  But rather than the rebirth of a soul, I’d like to discuss the rebirth of an idea in successive bodies!  By now, some of you are scratching your head and wondering what in the world I’m talking about.  Let me explain.

Often, I begin writing with an idea like: “there’s a real mermaid not far from a jetty off of Ocean City’s shore.”  Hmm.  I decide I spot the mermaid while walking along the beach.  When I see her, I admire her beauty and allure.  Then, I worry about what would happen if my sons came under her spell.  Would they follow her into the water, perhaps to their deaths?  I write a poem about that dark mermaid moment called Ocean Lure.

Next, I decide to write a story about a woman under an umbrella on the beach who watches her husband and children playing in the ocean.  She both admires and fears the deep water, warned by her own mother that the sea will take someone she loves.  On the day written about in Pacific, the woman’s children return to her from the water.  In an uneasy ending, from the safety of the sand, the family watches dolphins leaping from the water like question marks.

Next, I consider swimming in the ocean and write the poem, Water: “Water is the mirror we sink into/ slip to the other side of…” where we “dream of the drowned/ whose bones rock on the bottom/ wear away to sand./ Sand that catches in clothing,/ hides between skinfolds,/ and comes with us/ when we come out of water.”

Another poem follows called Sea Children.  It is written as a series of cinquain (a 5-lined form of poem) that undulates down the page concluding with: “high tide/ cold, hungry green/ swashing the sunbathers/ shivering, we flee its sharp teeth/ sharkwave.// water/ salty moonchild/ rushing from birth to death/ our blood answers when she beckons/ Mother!”  Full poem was printed by SeaStories, and can be read on my website: http://vonniewinslowcrist.com

Finally, filled with appropriate amounts of wonder, magic, and darkness — I consider how I’d feel if a merman came on shore to carry away my daughter.  Horrified was my initial response, but what if going with the merman was for the best?  What are the circumstances that would make if the right choice for a daughter to go with the merman to the bottom of the ocean?  And that’s where I began when I started to write story, Sideshow by the Sea, published in Volume 5 Issue 3 of “Tales of the Talisman” http://www.talesofthetalisman.com and later as an eShort.

That first idea of something beautiful and seductive lurking in the Atlantic has been reincarnated in several bodies.  Whether the idea wore the skin of a free-verse poem, a poem written as a series of cinquain, a short story with a touch of magic, or an urban fantasy — it was still the same idea.  And I suspect, I’ll reincarnate that idea again.

But I am not alone.  If you examine the stories and verse of many authors and poets, there are certain ideas and themes that they repeat in their work.  And by discovering what ideas and themes a writer returns to again and again, a reader can better understand the person behind writing.

Update: Pacific was revised and re-titled, Shoreside, and appears in my book, The Greener Forest. Updated versions of both the poem, Ocean Lure, and the story, Sideshow by the Sea, appear in my book Owl Light.

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