A Fey Tale: End at the Beginning

As we settle into this new year, I’d like to welcome author Karen J. Carlisle to the Web Journal to tell us about her latest novel A Fey Tale. Karen and I have appeared together on the pages of a handful of anthologies, plus, even though she’s in Australia, the rise of virtual cons has allowed us to meet and get to know each other at some events. She is a talented author and a great person. Please welcome, Karen J. Carlisle.


David asked me to do an ‘Introduction to Aunt Enid’ for my post. At the time, I didn’t know his post would be last official stop on my blog tour. So I thought: why not end at the beginning?

Of Origin stories and Inspirations.

It’s fitting in a way. A Fey Tale is the second book in The Aunt Enid Mysteries. In book one, Aunt Enid: Protector Extraordinaire, we meet (Great) Aunt Enid for the first time, through the eyes of her great niece, Sally who finds herself plunged into a hidden world of magic and fantastical creatures. Enid Turner is ‘your average seventy-something year old. She loves to cook, is a regular at bingo and spends hours in her garden, talking to her army of garden gnomes and fussing over the colour of her hydrangeas…

In book two, Aunt Enid is back, but something’s different, but with the same premise: daemons, fairies, and magic are all real.

This time, there’s a deal with fairies to solve a mystery and prevent a war… and it’s up to Aunt Enid and the Protectors, with a little help from the self-appointed Fairy Hunter, to solve the mystery, return the kidnapped heir and save the humans from Otherworldly retribution. It’s now a race to save the Earth from becoming a battleground for a magical war.

A Fey Tale is a prequel, set one hundred years before the first. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle is visiting Adelaide for a lecture tour. Enid Turner – and friends – are invited to a picnic in his honour, only to be caught in a web of treachery and betrayal from the Otherworlds.

In this tale of beginnings, we meet past Protectors, Olive and Sylvia, and discover the origin stories of other characters and a little more about Enid herself – such as: why she doesn’t drive and why she took up crochet.

This series really began with childhood memories and new memories of my adopted home of Adelaide, South Australia. I melded them into a fantasy world, blurring the familiar with the speculative:

When I was a child (less than eight years old) we owned a purple Wolseley car. We called it the Purple People Eater. It broke an axle going down the steep hill where we lived. I can still smell the massive metal stove my own Great Aunt Enid used when we made lemon butter. It had a multitude of doors and stove tops. It seemed to fill the entire wall. She had hydrangeas at the base of the wooden stairs of her old Queenslander house.

Many times we stayed at my grandmother’s house in Nambour. There was a huge frangipani tree in the front yard, and chokoes and persimmons out the back. There were large rooms with wooden floors and long wispy curtains.  These were happy memories of a less complicated era, embedded in darker memories of my childhood.

My grandmother had spunk, kindness, and a sense of humour. She was my hero. And still is. These women of a certain age deserved to honoured. Together, they inspired Great Aunt Enid – a beacon of light and strength in my fantasy world.

But, I only know one side of the family. Of my father’s side I know next to nothing – no relatives, no history. I’ve often wondered: what hidden truths I would discover?

In book one, Sally embodied my fearful curiosity as she discovered the truth of her mysterious great aunt and her own destiny.

In A Fey Tale, we travel back in time, in the wake of the Great War and Spanish Flu, to (almost) the beginning of Enid’s story. We discover past relationships and how they shaped her. We meet creatures from the Otherworlds desperate to prevent their own Great War – and other creatures determined to encourage it. As a Protector, it was, is, and always will be Enid’s duty to defend our world. And duty always has a cost.

As always, there will be tea and scones with lashings of Enid’s award-winning lemon butter.

But this is not the end for Enid. There’s more books planned. There are many more Otherworlds and legendary creatures to endanger our world. I already have plans for book three. But first, I need a lighter project. Next on the ‘to-be-written list’ is book two of The Department of Curiosities. Aunt Enid’s third mystery currently scheduled after that.

Get your copy of A Fey Tale at book blog special price

To visit other stops on the book blog tour, visit: https://karenjcarlisle.com/2021/12/17/a-fey-tale-book-blog-tour-schedule/

BIO

Karen J Carlisle is a writer and illustrator of steampunk, Victorian mysteries and fantasy. She was short-listed in Australian Literature Review’s 2013 Murder/Mystery Short Story Competition. She is currently writing the second book in her cosy fantasy mystery series, set in Adelaide. Her short stories have featured in the 2016 Adelaide Fringe exhibition, ‘A Trail of Tales’, ‘Where’s Holmes?’ and ‘Deadsteam’ anthologies.

Social Media

Prisoners of the Wailing Tower

Today, I welcome Deby Fredericks to my blog to introduce her high fantasy novella series, Minstrels of Skaythe. She’s just released the latest installment, Prisoners of the Wailing Tower. I have edited two of Deby’s novels and read several other works she’s written. I always enjoy them. With that, I’ll turn it over to Deby.


What if the forces of light did not prevail against darkness?

That question is the basis for my high fantasy novella series, Minstrels of Skaythe. The evil mage Dar-Gothull has reshaped everything in his own terrible image. Skaythe is an upside-down world, where merciless strength is “good” and caring about others is “bad.”

In creating this setting, I wanted to challenge some of the standard assumptions in fantasy. Our great legends tell us that freedom from tyranny can only be won in battle. Or that some sort of “chosen one” will lead an army to rescue the people. And that every problem must be solved at the point of a sword or gun.

Personally, I question that warfare makes anything better. So, I set out to explore ways that people of good conscience might resist a despot without resorting to violence. My heroes travel as minstrels. Music and dance, juggling and puppetry are their weapons. Rather than fighting to overthrow Dar-Gothull’s regime, they try to comfort the suffering of the people. For this crime they are branded as renegades and hunted throughout the land.

In the second novella, Dancer in the Grove of Ghosts, Tisha explains some of their philosophy. “Always is an illusion. It is a lie the powerful tell – to themselves and to the world. It saves them from admitting that their way has not always been, and that one day their cruelty will have an answer.”

These novellas are my answer.


About Prisoners of the Wailing Tower:

Alemin only wanted to help an innocent. Instead, he was caught by the dreaded hunter-guards. Now he finds himself flung into the Larder, where the very walls are steeped in nightmares and his fellow inmates are vicious killers. Worse, Warden Ar-Lizelle seems intent on tracking down his friends, the Minstrels, who have devoted their lives to undermining Skaythe’s tyrannical regime.

On the outside, the renegade mage Lorrah receives a premonition of Alemin’s plight. She’s desperate to save a man she cares for, but the Larder is commanded by someone she has hated for years and can’t bear to face: her cruel sister, Ar-Lizelle. Luckily, Lorrah is not alone. She has help from the fierce women warriors of Badger Squad. Yet even their combined forces might not be enough to get Alemin free from Dar-Gothull’s Larder!


Where you can get Prisoners of the Wailing Tower:


About Deby Fredericks:

Deby Fredericks has been a writer all her life, but thought of it as just a fun hobby until the late 1990s. She made her first sale, a children’s poem, in 2000.  

Fredericks has six fantasy novels out through two small presses. More recently, she self-publishes her fantasy novellas and novelettes, bringing her to 14 books in all. Her latest is The Minstrels of Skaythe. Her short work has been published in Andromeda Spaceways and selected anthologies.

In addition, she writes for children as Lucy D. Ford. Her children’s stories and poems have appeared in magazines such as Boys’ Life, Babybug, Ladybug, and a few anthologies. In the past, she served as Regional Advisor for the Inland Northwest Region of the Society of  Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, International  (SCBWI).

Elizabeth Guizzetti’s Top Seven Fairy Films

Today, I’d like to welcome a very special guest to the Web Journal. Elizabeth Guizzetti is author of the story “Under the Roses” in Wee Folk and Wise: A Faerie Anthology edited by Deby Fredericks. weefolka I’ve long been a fan of stories about the fae and a few years ago, I was even on a panel at CopperCon in Phoenix which asked whether vampires or the fae are scarier. Our conclusion was the fae, because you always know where you stand with vampires. With the fae, things aren’t always so clear!

Wee Folk and Wise: A Faerie Anthology is available on Amazon. You can find out more about Elizabeth at her home page: elizabethguizzetti.com

Elizabeth shares seven of her favorite films about fairies, many of which I’ve seen and highly recommend. Those I haven’t seen I’ll be checking out. And, as you can see, the fairies in her list aren’t always sweet and innocent.


Though fairy tales are everywhere now, both in rewritten and classic form, I have loved fairy stories since I was a little girl. In conjunction with the release of Wee Folk and Wise, I want to share my top seven movies that star fairies, pixies, brownies and the like.

Maleficent (2014)
Explore the untold story of Disney’s most iconic villain in the classic Sleeping Beauty. In an unforgiving mood after a neighboring kingdom threatens her forest, Maleficent (Angelina Jolie) places an irrevocable curse on the king’s newborn daughter, the Princess Aurora. But as the child grows, Maleficent finds herself becoming fond of the girl. And as the conflict between the two realms intensifies, Maleficent realizes that Aurora (Elle Fanning) may hold the key to peace in the land.

Why I love it: A remake of the Disney classic, Sleeping Beauty, Maleficent is a fairy betrayed by her first love. This took the basic story and turned it into a completely different movie.

In revenge, she curses the king’s infant daughter Aurora. She soon discovers the other three fairies charged with watching Aurora are negligent. After rescuing the child during her toddler years, Maleficent changes one of the creepiest love stories, it is a mother figure/child love story.

By far, this is the best Disney movie I’ve seen. The acting is great. This movie has amazing actors starting with Angelina Jolie and Elle Fanning. They fit each role perfectly The amazing musical score sets the right mood in every scene.

Willow (1986)
A reluctant farmer (Warwick Davis) dreams of learning magic. When his children find a baby in the river, he sets off on a quest to protect the baby from an evil queen.

Why I love it: I must have seen this film at least a dozen times when I was a child and a dozen more as an adult. (It played at the dollar theater near my childhood home) This movie has everything: dwarves, brownies, heroes, evil queen, the greatest swordsman that ever lived and a defiant princess. Great directing by Ron Howard, awesome acting by the whole cast, including Warwick Davis, Val Kilmer, and Joanne Whalley, an enchanting and exciting plot, excellent special effects, and plenty of humor and action.

Pan’s Labyrinth (2006)
In Spain of 1944, the bookish young stepdaughter Ofelia of a sadistic army officer escapes into an eerie but captivating fantasy world.

Why I love it: It mixes the gritty real world with a dark fantasy world. No matter where Ofelia is, every scene is staged beautifully. There is graphic violence in the real world which is scarier than the dark fantasy that Ofelia enters. The characters feel so real. The costuming feels rich and the special effects feel lifelike.

I am a fan of director Guillemor del Toro and have enjoyed every one he has made. This film was so special to him, he gave up his entire salary to see this film made including back end points.

Legend (1985)
A young man must stop the Lord of Darkness from both destroying daylight and marrying the woman he loves.

Why I love it: Fauns! Fairies! Goblins! Unicorns! Tim Curry! Tom Cruise plays Jack a boy of the forest, Mia Sara plays a young beautiful princess who loves him. The story is not just about innocent true love, it has an innocence about it. It is a true fairy tale with a fight between good and evil. And it has a solid fairy character: Oona is not to be messed with. She has more power than anyone knows and a quick wit. “You look like mourners at your own funerals.”

The Hallow (2015)
A family who moved into a remote mill house in Ireland finds themselves in a fight for survival with creatures living in the woods

Why I love it: This horror movie is a creature feature of the best kind. The filmmakers are careful to not use the word “fairy” but they used the changeling legends.

These fairies steal babies and replace them with their own. They can’t touch iron. Joseph Mawie and Bojana Novakovich move into a new house with their infant. A local farmer tries to warn them against walking in the near by wood and taking down the iron bars that cover their windows. Other than not listening to someone who basically seems crazy, they are smart about their growing problem. Every scene builds upon the suspense, until the viewer is holding their breath.

Labyrinth (1986)
Babysitting infant brother Toby on a Saturday night isn’t young Sarah’s (Jennifer Connelly) idea of fun. Frustrated by his crying, she secretly wishes the Goblins from her favorite book, Labyrinth, will carry Toby away. When her fantasy comes true, a distraught Sarah must enter a maze of illusion to bring Toby back from a kingdom inhabited by mystical creatures and governed by the wicked Goblin King (David Bowie).

Why I love it: Awesome puppetry. David Bowie in all his glory. Okay while its about goblins, more than fairies, there are lots of different types of fantastical creatures that Sarah runs into while in the maze. They do show fairies as annoyance, like mosquitos. Talking worms, monsters, dwarves, and as a girl with younger siblings, I identified with Sarah.

The Secret of Roan Inish (1996)
10-year-old Fiona is sent to live with her grandparents in a small fishing village in Donegal, Ireland. She soon learns the local legend that an ancestor of hers married a Selkie – a seal who can turn into a human. Years earlier, her baby brother washed out to sea in a cradle shaped like a boat; someone in the family believes the boy is being raised by the seals.

Why I love it: It was a sweet family film in a beautiful setting. Though it is a very different movie than The Hallow, like The Hallow, it took a myth seriously which is why I loved it. Jeni Courtney who plays the lead is a sweet girl, but she has an inner strength that moves her adult relatives to action.

Those are my top seven fairy films. What are some of your favorites?