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Guest Blog by Rajan Khanna, author of Falling Sky - November 5, 2014


Please welcome Rajan Khanna to The Qwillery as part of the 2014 Debut Author Challenge Guest Blogs. Falling Sky was published on October 7th by Pyr. You may read an interview with Rajan here.



Guest Blog by Rajan Khanna, author of Falling Sky - November 5, 2014




Creating a Post-Apocalyptic World

Creating a post-apocalyptic world has its pros and cons. Setting a work in the future gives you the freedom of taking the world down a specific path without fear of contradiction. At the same time it has to work off of established rules. It's unlikely that you can have working electricity, for example, unless you can explain why. If society has collapsed and the infrastructure to support power plants has gone with it, you'll be hard pressed to explain how people can have working light bulbs and appliances. It becomes a careful balancing act between what is and what might be.

The first, most essential piece, is to define the apocalyptic event. When I was growing up the flavor du jour was a post-nuclear world with radiation and mutants as popularized in the Mad Max movies or the Fallout games. As the fear of nuclear war has faded, that flavor has changed. Today we're more likely to see worlds that result from pandemics, as current events shape our fears.

Part of the original concept that sparked the world of Falling Sky was that I wanted the ground to be dangerous. I wanted it to be avoided if at all possible. Radiation could have worked, I suppose, but a disease felt more fitting to me. Disease not only threatened the survivors, it created more threats. The pandemic I created regressed the infected into animal-like creatures – savage, bestial, and always hungry. Unlike zombies, these are living, breathing creatures – fast moving, with the ability to breed and spread all on their own. The disease is now doubly-threatening – it destroys its victims’ identities while turning them into violent and dangerous creatures with the ability to infect others.

The disease, of course, raised its own world-building issues – how would it be transmitted, what was its mechanism, how could it affect so much of the population? Airborne transmission would have been too much. I needed something that was dangerous but which could be avoided. As with some of the best fictional ideas, I pulled from the real world, from real diseases. Like HIV or Ebola, I decided that my virus would be transmitted through bodily fluids. Unlike those diseases, however, to make it truly earth-shattering, I decided it needed to be able to survive for long periods of time. HIV can’t really survive if exposed to air. My disease can, for minutes even. So if a drop of blood from an infected individual flew through the air and into your mouth, well, you’re done. If that blood hit your forehead and then dripped into your eye, same story. I’m not a microbiologist, so I don’t know the exact likelihood of such a virus, but it seemed within the realm of possibility.

So it became a world where survival takes a variety of forms. On a general level, people go about their lives covered as much as possible. Exposed skin means the risk of an open wound that can be infected. Eyes and mouths need to be covered. So people wear hats and scarves and masks and goggles. They minimize contact with other people. They fear physical intimacy. Because the disease can take days to fully express itself, it’s difficult to tell who’s infected and who isn’t. Humanity then faces extinction on two fronts – from the disease itself, and from the lack of reproduction that it inspires.

The other major method of survival is to stay off of the ground. That’s where the Ferals, the infected, live. So you have a group of survivors who live on airships or in floating cities. Places where the Ferals can’t get. Of course making that work involved some world-building as well.

It was easy to envision a world in the near future where fuel costs had become so prohibitive that other methods of transport had to be relied upon. We’re practically there now. Modern airships are being tested as we speak, for cargo, passenger transport, and even surveillance. In my world of the future, airships became the predominant means of transportation, taking up the role of planes and ships, if not outright replacing them. When the apocalypse happened, people flocked to these vehicles to take themselves to safety.

Airships still require fuel, of course, but here the speculative nature of the world came into play. These airships are designed for biofuels and rely partly on solar power. Helium would be a problem, but hydrogen, flammable thought it is, is much more easily produced. It wasn’t hard to imagine a world where these ships could continue to fly for generations.

Of course food doesn’t grow in the sky. Neither do any other supplies, so to make this kind of system work, you would need people to go down to the ground, to forage for supplies and food and whatever they could find from the old world. The economy would become one of barter, with people trading for what they need. Ben, my main character, became one of those foragers, someone who spent most of his time in the sky, but made a living by going down to the ground to pick among the remains of the past.

In the end, it all came together for me. The world came alive. A dangerous world full of scared, isolated people, forced to interact to continue to survive. Of course in a world like that, there would be those who would take advantage of those conditions to take more for themselves. But there would also be those, like Miranda, another of my characters, who would try to build something for the future. Who would organize to help heal the world in whatever way she could.

All of these considerations went into the creation of Falling Sky. I’m proud of what came out, and feel that it’s rich enough for me to base future stories in the world. I hope that readers find the world compelling enough to visit it along with me.





Falling Sky
Pyr, October 7, 2014
Trade Paperback and eBook, 260 pages
Cover Artist: Chris McGrath

Guest Blog by Rajan Khanna, author of Falling Sky - November 5, 2014
Ben Gold lives in dangerous times. Two generations ago, a virulent disease turned the population of most of North America into little more than beasts called Ferals. Some of those who survived took to the air, scratching out a living on airships and dirigibles soaring over the dangerous ground.

Ben has his own airship, a family heirloom, and has signed up to help a group of scientists looking for a cure. But that's not as easy as it sounds, especially with a power-hungry air city looking to raid any nearby settlements. To make matters worse, his airship, the only home he's ever known, is stolen. Ben must try to survive on the ground while trying to get his ship back.

This brings him to Gastown, a city in the air recently conquered by belligerent and expansionist pirates. When events turn deadly, Ben must decide what really matters-whether to risk it all on a desperate chance for a better future or to truly remain on his own.





About Rajan

Guest Blog by Rajan Khanna, author of Falling Sky - November 5, 2014
Photo by Ellen B. Wright
Rajan Khanna is a graduate of the 2008 Clarion West Writers Workshop and a member of a New York-based writing group called Altered Fluid. His fiction has appeared or is forthcoming in Beneath Ceaseless Skies, Shimmer magazine, GUD, and several anthologies, and has received Honorable Mention in the Year’s Best Fantasy & Horror and the Year’s Best Science Fiction. He writes for Tor.com and LitReactor.com and his podcast narrations have appeared on sites such as Wired.com, Lightspeed magazine, Escape Pod, Podcastle, and Beneath Ceaseless Skies. Rajan also writes about wine, beer, and spirits at FermentedAdventures.com. He currently lives in New York.



Website  ~  Twitter @rajanyk




Guest Blog by Alis Franklin - What would the Norse Gods think of all the modern stories about them? - November 4, 2014


Please welcome Alis Franklin to The Qwillery as part of the 2014 Debut Author Challenge Guest Blogs. Liesmith was published on October 7th by Hydra.



Guest Blog by Alis Franklin - What would the Norse Gods think of all the modern stories about them? - November 4, 2014




What would the Norse Gods think of all the modern stories about them?

Here’s a weird thing to think about: in the age of the Vikings, between around 800 CE and 1000 CE, the population of the whole of Europe is estimated to’ve been in the vicinity of 30 to 50 million people. In comparison, a little over a thousand years later, in 2012 CE, an estimated 76 million people in the US took themselves off to a cinema to watch the old Viking gods Thor and Loki battle it out in Marvel’s The Avengers.

Or, to put it another way: today, something like twice the entire population of medieval Eu-rope knows who “Thor” and “Loki” are, in one country alone.

Another data point: in 1999, a Japanese woman by the name of Sakura Kinoshita wrote a manga about Loki. Known in English as Mythical Detective Loki Ragnarok, it was later made into a TV show. Japan, for the record, is about five thousand miles (by plane), give or take, away from the ancestral home of the Vikings. There’s no evidence the Vikings ever got so far east during their era.

One more: in 1983, approximately one thousand years and ten thousand miles away from Viking lands, yours truly was born in an Australian hospital named after the Norse god of death and wisdom, Odin.

Thirty years later, and these are the things I think of whenever I hear anyone wax poetic on the notion that the old gods are dying. Sure, some of the details of their stories have… evolved over the centuries. But, changes or no, these stories are now told and retold in more ways and more places than ever before in history; in movies, TV shows, novels, video games, and song.

Sometimes, I wonder what Thor and Odin and Loki would think of what we’ve made of them.

Or maybe that’s the wrong question. Because the thing about the Old Norse religion is that it never actually died out. The Vikings officially converted to Christianity over a period of a few hundred years around 1000 CE, but the gods hung around. In modern days, their worship has been revived and has practitioners both in Scandinavia and elsewhere, including places like the United States and Australia. It’s probably a bit of stretch to say there are numerically more people now who believe in Thor and Odin than did a thousand years ago (Loki, on the other hand, who wasn’t actively worshipped in the Viking age now most certainly is), but they definitely do exist and that means that writing about the Norse deities is “borrowing” entities considered sacred in a living religious tradition.

This is something I thought of when I was doing my own modern adaptation as part of Liesmith. The Odin and (in particular) the Loki who appear in that story are very definitely fictionalized versions of their mythological selves. They’re both based on the Old Norse sa-gas, sure. Based on, but… different. And if maybe Odin is a little darker, and if maybe Loki is a little lighter… well. Maybe there are some spoilers there for the book I won’t get into. But, needless to say, I took some artistic license at points, if for no other reason than the sagas saying nothing about giant anthropomorphized archaeopteryxes.

But fictionalized mythology—that is, using sacred figures in secular entertainment—isn’t exactly new. Milton did it with Satan in Paradise Lost. On the other end of the scale, Morgan Freeman played God, literally, in Bruce Almighty, following on from Alanis Morissette who’d done the same in Dogma. Nor is this a trend constrained to Western literary traditions: about 75 years before Milton, in 16th century China, Wú Chéng'ēn wrote the novel Xī Yóu Jì—better known as Journey to the West in, er, the West—featuring versions of Buddhist re-ligious figures like the bodhisattva of compassion, Guanyin.

For the record, Xī Yóu Jì is one of my favorite tales, mostly care of my childhood exposure to it via a Japanese adaptation that used to run, dubbed (badly), on Australian TV under the name of Monkey. I’m hardly alone in my fangirling, and the story remains hugely popular in Asia; walk into just about any shop selling Chinese-language films and I’d bet money there’s at least one poster up depicting a recent adaptation.

There’s just something about retelling myths that humans seem incapable of letting go of.

So this is what we did with the old gods, Vikings and demons and buddhas alike; we turned them into pop culture sensations. And maybe the worship looks a little different—where once people sacrificed animals in Thor’s name, now they sacrifice time and the price of a movie ticket—but… maybe that doesn’t matter.

The old gods live on, bigger and brighter and more loved than ever.





Liesmith
Wyrd 1
Hydra, October 7, 2014
eBook, 308 pages

Guest Blog by Alis Franklin - What would the Norse Gods think of all the modern stories about them? - November 4, 2014
At the intersection of the magical and the mundane, Alis Franklin’s thrilling debut novel reimagines mythology for a modern world—where gods and mortals walk side by side.

Working in low-level IT support for a company that’s the toast of the tech world, Sigmund Sussman finds himself content, if not particularly inspired. As compensation for telling people to restart their computer a few times a day, Sigmund earns enough disposable income to gorge on comics and has plenty of free time to devote to his gaming group.

Then in walks the new guy with the unpronounceable last name who immediately becomes IT’s most popular team member. Lain Laufeyjarson is charming and good-looking, with a story for any occasion; shy, awkward Sigmund is none of those things, which is why he finds it odd when Lain flirts with him. But Lain seems cool, even if he’s a little different—though Sigmund never suspects just how different he could be. After all, who would expect a Norse god to be doing server reboots?

As Sigmund gets to know his mysterious new boyfriend, fate—in the form of an ancient force known as the Wyrd—begins to reveal the threads that weave their lives together. Sigmund doesn’t have the first clue where this adventure will take him, but as Lain says, only fools mess with the Wyrd. Why? Because the Wyrd messes back.





About Alis

Guest Blog by Alis Franklin - What would the Norse Gods think of all the modern stories about them? - November 4, 2014
Alis Franklin is a thirtysomething Australian author of queer urban fantasy. She likes cooking, video games, Norse mythology, and feathered dinosaurs. She’s never seen a live drop bear, but stays away from tall trees, just in case.











Website  ~ Twitter @lokabrenna  ~  Google+
Instagram  ~  Pinterest  ~  Tumblr


Guest Blog by Arianne 'Tex' Thompson: "You Got Western in my Fantasy!" - September 13, 2014


Please welcome Arianne 'Tex' Thompson to The Qwillery as part of the 2014 Debut Author Challenge Guest Blogs. One Night in Sixes will published on July 29th by Solaris Books.



Guest Blog by Arianne 'Tex' Thompson:




"You Got Western in my Fantasy!"


Nonsense – it was already there.


This year, I had an egregiously good time at ArmadilloCon in Austin, Texas. One of the panels I participated in was called Space Westerns - moderated by the unrelentingly excellent Bill Crider. At one point, he asked us a question: how should we define a Western?


Well, it's set in the American West, for one thing. (Except when it's Australian, like Quigley Down Under, or Canadian, like the Trail of the Yukon series, or African, like The Jackals - and let's not even get into all those Zapata Westerns in Mexico.)


And there's cowboys, of course. You can't have a Western without a hefty helping of square-jawed gunslingers. (Disregarding Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman; Little Big Man; and Zane Grey's Riders of the Purple Sage, naturally.)


But it's about the time period, more than anything – the frontier and the closing of the West in the 19th century. (Provided we don't count Justified, Once Upon a Time in Mexico, or any of the Leatherstocking Tales.)


In seriousness, though, I believe the question is worth asking: what is the essence of a Western? Of all genres, it's the one that seems most bound to a particular place and time – and yet it's constantly spilling over into other places and times, and even other genres. We've got spy Westerns (Wild Wild West), thriller Westerns (No Country for Old Men), comedy Westerns (Blazing Saddles), kids' Westerns (Rango), and absolutely every flavor of supernatural sci-fi and fantasy Western imaginable.


So there must be more to it than the big hats and six-guns – something behind the tropes and props that keeps us coming back to Sheriff Woody, even in the age of Buzz Lightyear. Certainly there must be a reason why the 19th century American West is so much more firmly cemented in our imaginations than, say, the antebellum South, or colonial New England. But what is it?


Well, here is a thought. Whether we're talking about the marshal versus the outlaws, the lone man braving the wilderness, or the coming of the railroad, the Western has an uncanny knack for tapping into some of our oldest fears. Watch yourself, it seems to say. Look sharp and step lightly – because you're on your own out here.


And let me tell you something – that is EXACTLY the feeling I get from all my favorite fantasy. Now there's a genre that's short on prerequisites! No maps, dates, or genre checklists needed here: the only requirement for fantasy is that it takes place outside the world as we know it. Maybe we're leaving the Shire behind to venture into the big, wide world. Maybe strange creatures are stepping out of the shadows of midtown Manhattan – or maybe we're the ones stepping out of the wardrobe and into Narnia. Regardless, our only guarantee in this part of the bookstore is that we're not in Kansas anymore.


Which, if you ask me, makes it a perfect complement for the Western. At the end of the day, the Western ultimately centers on the conflict between the world you know and the world you don't – and fantasy is the world you don't.


And if that's true, then maybe these two genres share more DNA than we thought – in fact, maybe they have a common ancestor. Think about Beowulf. Think about the Danes huddled together in their mead hall, desperately hoping to survive the night... and think about the dark, wild world outside the fire's light. Enter the hero, the stranger, the gunslinger who will fight the monsters in defense of humanity and civilization – leaving behind ordinary people who know they won't see a man of his caliber again. It's a hell of a story, isn't it? Hardly surprising that we've been telling it for literally thousands of years.


So maybe it's time we stopped thinking of Firefly and The Dark Tower and all the rest as cross-genre novelties and gave them their proper acknowledgement: as stories told with two facets of an idea that's as old and potent as we are.





One Night in Sixes
Children of the Drought One
Solaris, July 29, 2014
Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 464 pages

Guest Blog by Arianne 'Tex' Thompson:
The border town called Sixes is quiet in the heat of the day. Still, Appaloosa Elim has heard the stories about what wakes at sunset: gunslingers and shapeshifters and ancient animal gods whose human faces never outlast the daylight.

And the daylight is running out. Elim's so-called 'partner' - that lily-white lordling Sil Halfwick – has disappeared inside the old adobe walls, hell-bent on making a name for himself among Sixes' notorious black-market traders. Elim, whose worldly station is written in the bastard browns and whites of his cow-spotted face, doesn't dare show up home without him.

If he ever wants to go home again, he'd better find his missing partner fast. But if he's caught out after dark, Elim risks succumbing to the old and sinister truth in his own flesh - and discovering just how far he'll go to survive the night.





About Tex

Guest Blog by Arianne 'Tex' Thompson:
Arianne "Tex" Thompson is home-grown Texas success story. After earning a bachelor’s degree in history from UT Dallas and a master’s degree in literature from the University of Dallas, she went on to become a community college professor, teaching the fundamentals of English to adults writing below the eighth-grade level. Now a master teacher for academic tutoring and test prep services, as well as the managing editor for the DFW Writers Conference, Tex is a regular feature at high schools, writing conferences, and genre conventions alike.

With her first book, a ‘rural fantasy’ novel called One Night in Sixes, Tex joins the growing ranks of Solaris authors committed to exciting, innovative and inclusive science fiction and fantasy.  Find her online at www.thetexfiles.com and on Twitter as @tex_maam!


Guest Blog by Stephanie Feldman, author of The Angel of Losses - August 18, 2014


Please welcome Stephanie Feldman to The Qwillery as part of the 2014 Debut Author Challenge Guest Blogs. The Angel of Losses was published on July 29th by Ecco.



Guest Blog by Stephanie Feldman, author of The Angel of Losses - August 18, 2014




I don't have a lot in common with Marjorie, the young literature scholar who narrates The Angel of Losses, but there is this: we're both obsessive researchers. Early in the book, she describes her summer in the university library:

“My back ached and my ribs were tender from hugging the books so close. I wasn’t burdened, though. I was driven. Obsessed. If I found one useful sentence, one fact, in four hundred pages, I felt triumphant, like I had pulled a rare fossil from the desert.”

       She's describing me, as well, as I prepared to write this book. The early phase of a writing project is my favorite: I become a collector of possibilities, with no editing, no paring down, no choices that require discarding a great detail or line of dialogue or image.
       When I began researching my story, I was looking for Wandering Jews. I had fallen in love with the legendary immortal--sometimes sinister, sometimes tragic--I had discovered in gothic novels, but I didn't want to employ the anti-Semitic tradition that bore him. (His name doesn’t indicate faith; “Jew” signals rejection of Christ, and being “Other.”) So I decided to take him in what would be, ironically, a new direction: I would make him Jewish.
       I found many similar figures: Benjamin of Tudela, the Spanish Jew who documented his travels across Europe and the Orient in the eleventh-century; the prophet Elijah, who appears anonymously to help good people in need in folklore; and Rabbi Akiba, the second-century political leader and mystic who, according to legend, attempted to enter paradise, which is forbidden to mortals.
       I learned that mystics like Akiba practiced angel magic--using names and formulas to command angels. So I began reading whatever I could find about Jewish angels. I was prepared to continue my furious note-taking and photocopying; I worked as if I were Marjorie, writing a dissertation instead of a novel.
       Except here's the thing about Jewish angels: there is no canon. No scholar ever systematized the variety of claims about angels in the Bible, rabbinical texts, and folklore from the far reaches of the globe. Instead, there is an abundance of competing thought.
       Some sources claim that angels are perfect expressions of God’s intentions; others that they can misbehave. Some grant them human personalities; others insist they embody forces, like creation or pestilence. Some say each person has two guardian angels, while others give us four. Some say the first angels numbered 70, one for each nation on earth. Some say angels are made of half fire and half water.
       At first, I was frustrated—how could I create a character that honors such a wildly diverse tradition? But the big, messy nature of the subject was actually a gift. I didn’t need to serve the Angel; instead, the Angel served me, my characters, and their journeys.
       Yode’a, the Angel of Losses himself is referenced in a letter from the 18th-century Eastern-European rabbi Nachman of Bratslav. It is believed that the rabbi invented him.
       And with that—an evocative name, a concept, and no history to attend to—I was done with my angel research. I created him anew, using a few stray “facts” I’d picked up before abandoning my reading. My angel isn’t a cosmic force, but a personality with his own intentions. He has perfect knowledge of the universe, except for one thing: he doesn’t know when the Messiah will return, when God will redeem the fallen world.
       After the book went to press, someone contacted me. She had seen the title, and she knew about Rabbi Nachman’s—my—angel. Apparently there’s more about him, all in Hebrew, a language I don’t read.
       A part of me is curious, but mostly I’m content with not knowing. Not knowing is what allowed me to write this book.





The Angel of Losses
Ecco, July 29, 2014
Hardcover and eBook, 288 pages

Guest Blog by Stephanie Feldman, author of The Angel of Losses - August 18, 2014
The Tiger's Wife meets The History of Love in this inventive, lushly imagined debut novel that explores the intersections of family secrets, Jewish myths, the legacy of war and history, and the bonds between sisters

When Eli Burke dies, he leaves behind a mysterious notebook full of stories about a miracle worker named the White Rebbe and the enigmatic Angel of Losses, both protectors of things gone astray and guardians of the lost letter of the alphabet, which completes the secret name of God.

Years later, when Eli's granddaughter Marjorie stumbles upon his notebook, everything she thought she knew about her grandfather—and her family—comes undone. To learn the truth about Eli's origins and unlock the secrets he kept, Marjorie embarks on an odyssey that takes her deep into the past, from the medieval Holy Land to eighteenth-century Venice and Nazi-occupied Lithuania. What she finds leads her back to present-day New York City and her estranged sister, Holly, whom she must save from the consequences of Eli's past.

Interweaving history, theology, and both real and imagined Jewish folktales, The Angel of Losses is a family story of what lasts, and of what we can—and cannot—escape.





About Stephanie

Guest Blog by Stephanie Feldman, author of The Angel of Losses - August 18, 2014
Stephanie Feldman is a graduate of Barnard College. She lives outside Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, with her husband and her daughter. For more on her writing and inspiration, visit her at: http://stephaniefeldman.com/.









Website  ~  Facebook  ~  Twitter @sbfeldman  ~  Pinterest

Guest Blog by Sharona Muir: My Invisible Beasts and the Changing Climate of Ideas - August 15, 2014


Please welcome Sharona Muir to The Qwillery as part of the 2014 Debut Author Challenge Interviews. Invisible Beasts was published on July 15, 2014 by Bellevue Literary Press.



Guest Blog by Sharona Muir: My Invisible Beasts and the Changing Climate of Ideas - August 15, 2014




Sharona Muir: My Invisible Beasts and the Changing Climate of Ideas

In 2009, in The Economist’s science section, a reviewer of Frans de Waal’s latest book wrote, “Every day the world seems more like Aesop’s ‘Fables.’” The book was The Age of Empathy and, as in Our Inner Ape, de Waal argued that traits long considered exclusively human were part of the evolutionary makeup of many animals—his point being, as usual, that human nature must be studied in the context of primate evolution. That same year, in the PMLA, a column titled “Why Animals Now?” led a cluster of articles. Literary scholars were studying beasts: the puppy in The Great Gatsby, Jack London’s wolves. A colleague sent me the issue and I began playing catch-up. I’d been waiting, as they say, all my life for these new ideas now carried on the wind. I read the 2002 reissue of Janine Benyus’ Biomimcry: Innovation Inspired by Nature. My father, an inventor, had studied snake fangs to make hypodermic needles; now this method had a name, and a professional stance of regard for nonhuman ways. In 2006, Martha Nussbaum, the Chicago polymath, redefined justice for animals in Frontiers of Justice. In 2007, Paul Churchland, a neuroscientist, stated in Neurophilosophy At Work that the brain’s structure did not suggest that consciousness was tied to language—blowing away an old tenet of human exceptionalism. 2007 also saw the publication of the English translation of Jacques Derrida’s book, The Animal That Therefore I Am, which starts with the great deconstructionist exiting the bathroom shower while his pet cat stares at him.

As I read, my narrator, Sophie, took shape; her voice distilled the main ideas I’d learned. In the epigraph of Invisible Beasts: Animal life is mindful, and the mind’s life is animal. In the introduction: Human beings are the most invisible beasts, because we do not see ourselves as beasts. But it took the mojo of E.O. Wilson’s Anthill to crystallize my stack of fables into a meaningful literary form. Sure, it’s a novel, it reads like fiction. But if “novel” is its genus, “bestiary” is its species. And what’s that?

Long before science existed, the bestiary did. Catalogues of beasts with curious lore, bestiaries gave us the unicorn and the phoenix. Their compilers were ancient naturalists, or monks in wildest, darkest Europe. Treasure troves of enchanting imagery, moral lessons, and religious wisdom, traditional bestiaries described how snakes stun prey with their dazzling beauty, wolves eat the wind and whelp during thunderstorms, and the halcyon calms the stormy sea. What these books did not do was concern themselves with scientific accuracy. So, to a modern reader, their beasts are too heavily symbolic, too human-centered, as if carved into the rich frame of a mirror. But in Invisible Beasts, the biological facts in each fable show the faces of other realities, other species, their different ways, and the necessity of knowing them—and ourselves—as animals among animals.

The happiest moment of this novel’s writing was when, with biology on my mind and a good dog by my side, Plato’s antique symposium suddenly revealed something quite unexpected about love. My novel tells any reader who enjoys its flights of fancy or wisdom: Go learn a little from your fellow beasts. For the climate of ideas is changing.





Invisible Beasts
Bellevue Literary Press, July 15, 2014
Trade Paperback and eBook, 256 pages

Guest Blog by Sharona Muir: My Invisible Beasts and the Changing Climate of Ideas - August 15, 2014
Sophie is an amateur naturalist with a rare genetic gift: the ability to see a marvelous kingdom of invisible, sentient creatures that share a vital relationship with humankind. To record her observations, Sophie creates a personal bestiary and, as she relates the strange abilities of these endangered beings, her tales become extraordinary meditations on love, sex, evolution, extinction, truth, and self-knowledge.

In the tradition of E.O. Wilson’s Anthill, Invisible Beasts is inspiring, philosophical, and richly detailed fiction grounded by scientific fact and a profound insight into nature. The fantastic creations within its pages—an ancient animal that uses natural cold fusion for energy, a species of vampire bat that can hear when their human host is lying, a continent-sized sponge living under the ice of Antarctica—illuminate the role that all living creatures play in the environment and remind us of what we stand to lose if we fail to recognize our entwined destinies.





About Sharona

Guest Blog by Sharona Muir: My Invisible Beasts and the Changing Climate of Ideas - August 15, 2014
Photograph by Tom Muir
Sharona Muir’s writing has appeared in Granta, Orion magazine, Virginia Quarterly Review, The Paris Review, and elsewhere. She is a Professor of Creative Writing and English at Bowling Green State University in Ohio. Invisible Beasts is her first novel.
















Guest Blog by Thomas Sweterlitsch, author of Tomorrow and Tomorrow - August 11, 2014


Please welcome Thomas Sweterlitsch to The Qwillery as part of the 2014 Debut Author Challenge Guest Blogs. Tomorrow and Tomorrow was published on July 10th by Putnam Adult.



Guest Blog by Thomas Sweterlitsch, author of Tomorrow and Tomorrow - August 11, 2014




       Two of the most important influences on my writing, and on my novel Tomorrow and Tomorrow in particular, are Marvel’s New X-Men by Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely, and Black Hole by Charles Burns. Please, sci-fi readers, hunt down these works and devour them! If you Google these artists and titles, hundreds if not thousands of internet pages devoted to them will fill your screen—so, I’ll skip my take on them. Rather, I want to pay homage to where influences like these exist before they become influences—most often they are waiting for you on the shelves of those very special “brick and mortar” stores that are threatened daily by e-commerce. In my case, there are two places in particular that have introduced me to important influences on my writing, and they are both at the top of dizzying sets of stairs.

       The stairway leading to The Phantom of the Attic is a straight concrete shaft climbing at a precipitous angle—if you stand at the bottom and look straight up, you can just make out the top landing. You have to climb to get to the Phantom of the Attic, but the stairwell is decorated with posters you can read on your way—and once at the top, the space opens into a vast display of toys and t-shirts, collectibles, an entire wall of graphic novels, another entire wall of the weekly new releases. The best part of Phantom of the Attic, though, is the staff—yes, Phantom has enough items to spend hours browsing alone if you want to, but the staff is intelligent and helpful. If you felt like it, you could walk up to the front counter and strike up a conversation (like I did), saying you’re interested in science fiction but aren’t sure where to start reading. They’ll chat with you, they’ll lead you to a few things…and before you know it, you’re at home having your mind eviscerated by New X-Men #114. Phantom sells comics—but it also builds community, supporting local creators like Tom Scioli and Christopher Moeller while serving as a gathering space on new release Wednesdays, when the store is packed by comics fans and creators alike. I love the climb down those stairs, cradling a brown paper bag full of comics—not every comic will be an instant classic, but trips to Phantom are always a jolt to the imagination.

       Copacetic Comics is on the 3rd floor of a building shared with Lili Coffee Shop on the ground floor and Mind Cure Records sandwiched in-between—and, like Phantom, you have to climb to get there. The stairs leading up are a vertical corkscrew with steps of varying widths winding ever higher in what sometimes seems like a never-ending gyre. There are posters along the walls here, too, that you can read on your way. Copacetic is a cozy store packed floor to ceiling, corner to corner, with graphic novels and comics—not just your run-of-the-mill superhero graphic novels, either, but a specially curated selection of the most intense, literate, artful creations from small and independent presses, foreign imports, and handmade creators. Copacetic is a store you can lose yourself in—everything you touch will be a unique find—but the true treasure of Copacetic is the owner, Bill Boichel. Boichel is a mastermind of comics, encyclopedic in his knowledge of underground and indie artists and writers, and passionate about the medium—a typical conversation with Boichel will leave you with scores of new books to read and connections to track down. I picked up Black Hole on his recommendation and found it one of the most humane and sensitive uses of science fiction storytelling I had ever read—and a standard I try to hold my own writing up to. Through Boichel’s direct recommendation I found Burns and Jodorowsky, Theo Ellsworth, and local creators like Ed Piskor, Jim Rugg and Frank Santoro, artists you can sometimes find haunting his store.

       As a writer, the most important thing you can do (other than writing) is to fill your head with stories—reading novels and short stories, especially, but also watching movies and television, playing video games and reading comics. I’ve found plenty of books and authors to read by browsing the internet—and purchasing algorithms on the mega-sites will get you close to the good stuff, but my intellectual life and the fabric of my city would be threadbare without stores like Phantom and Copacetic. What are some other great stores in other cities? What are the stores you visit to find your influences before they’ve become your influences?





Tomorrow and Tomorrow
Putnam Adult, July 10, 2014
Hardcover and eBook, 352 pages

Guest Blog by Thomas Sweterlitsch, author of Tomorrow and Tomorrow - August 11, 2014
"Simultaneously trippy and hardboiled, Tomorrow and Tomorrow is a rich, absorbing, relentlessly inventive mindfuck, a smart, dark noir… Sweterlisch's debut is a wild mashup of Raymond Chandler, Philip K. Dick and William S. Burroughs, and, like their work, utterly visionary."—Stewart O’Nan author of The Odds

Leading the next wave of cyberpunk in the tradition of William Gibson and Jonathan Lethem, Thomas Sweterlitsch is a bold new voice in literary science fiction.

A decade has passed since the city of Pittsburgh was reduced to ash.

While the rest of the world has moved on, losing itself in the noise of a media-glutted future, survivor John Dominic Blaxton remains obsessed with the past. Grieving for his wife and unborn child who perished in the blast, Dominic relives his lost life by immersing in the Archive—a fully interactive digital reconstruction of Pittsburgh, accessible to anyone who wants to visit the places they remember and the people they loved.

Dominic investigates deaths recorded in the Archive to help close cases long since grown cold, but when he discovers glitches in the code surrounding a crime scene—the body of a beautiful woman abandoned in a muddy park that he’s convinced someone tried to delete from the Archive—his cycle of grief is shattered.

With nothing left to lose, Dominic tracks the murder through a web of deceit that takes him from the darkest corners of the Archive to the ruins of the city itself, leading him into the heart of a nightmare more horrific than anything he could have imagined.




About Thomas

Guest Blog by Thomas Sweterlitsch, author of Tomorrow and Tomorrow - August 11, 2014
Thomas Sweterlitsch lives in Pittsburgh with his wife and daughter. He worked for twelve years at the Carnegie Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped. Tomorrow and Tomorrow is his first novel.


Website  ~  Facebook

Twitter @LetterSwitch


Guest Blog by Katherine Harbour ~ The Importance of Names—or not—in Fairy Tales ~ July 25, 2014


Please welcome Katherine Harbour to The Qwillery as part of the 2014 Debut Author Challenge Guest Blogs. Thorn Jack was published on June 24th by Harper Voyager.



Guest Blog by Katherine Harbour ~ The Importance of Names—or not—in Fairy Tales ~ July 25, 2014




The Importance of Names—or not—in Fairy Tales

In early cultures, to name something was to give it power. To offer your name was to give someone power over you. Otherworldly beings were known by polite euphemisms only, to avoid speaking their names and being overheard by them.

In the most famous fairy tales, euphemisms are bestowed upon the innocent girl, the adventuring hero, and a whole cast of archetypes—the virgin, the soldier, the trickster, the devil, the wizard, the beast. Heroines such as the Little Mermaid, Little Red Riding Hood, and Sleeping Beauty/Briar Rose are known for their physical traits or virtues. ‘Snow White’ describes the heroine’s skin and purity. Cinderella/Ashputtle is to be found near the hearth. Rapunzel is named for the vegetable her starving father attempts to steal from the witch who eventually imprisons her. As for the heroes, with some exceptions, they’re often only referred to as princes, brothers, or huntsmen. The few real names among them are accompanied by descriptions—the spoiled prince in ‘Prince Darling’; Sweetheart Roland, the lover who saves his girl from her evil stepmother; Faithful Henry, who, in ‘The Frog Prince,’ is the enchanted prince’s loyal servant; and Iron John, the cruel wild man who assists the young hero of the tale. Villains are also mostly nameless, referred to only as witches, fairies, dwarves, stepmothers, and wicked kings. While Bluebeard and the Snow Queen carry titles which describe their physical attributes and their infamy, bad fairies such as Rumpelstiltskin and Eisenkopf are creatures who conceal their names or are known by them. Baba Yaga of Russian folklore is one of the few witches given a name among the many who torment fairy tale protagonists.

There seems to be a secret history threaded through these old stories, as each character plays out the destiny assigned to him/her, and must never stray from it. Whether cast with a name or a role, the lost princess will be eternally pure; the huntsman/soldier will always be brave; and the witch/bad fairy will forever haunt the ancient forests of fairy tales.





Thorn Jack: A Night and Nothing Novel
Thorn Jack Trilogy 1
Harper Voyager, June 24, 2014
Hardcover and eBook, 352 pages

Guest Blog by Katherine Harbour ~ The Importance of Names—or not—in Fairy Tales ~ July 25, 2014
A spectacular, modern retelling of the ancient Scottish ballad of Tam Lin—a beguiling fusion of love, fantasy, and myth vividly imagined and steeped in gothic atmosphere.

Their creed is "Mischief, Malevolence, and Mayhem."

Serafina Sullivan, named for angels and a brave Irish prince, is haunted by dreams of her older sister, Lily Rose, a sprite, ethereal beauty who unexpectedly took her own life. A year has passed since Lily's death, and now eighteen-year-old Finn and her college-professor father have moved back to Fair Hollow, her father's pretty little hometown alongside the Hudson River. Populated with socialites, hippies, and famous dramatic artists, every corner of this quaint, bohemian community holds bright possibilities—and dark enigmas, including the alluring Jack Fata, scion of the town's most powerful family.

Jack's smoldering looks and air of secrecy draw Finn into a dangerous romance . . . and plunge her into an eerie world of shadow and light ruled by the beautiful and fearsome Reiko Fata. Exciting and monstrous, the Fata family and its circle of strange, aristocratic denizens wield irresistible charm and glamorous power— a tempting and terrifying blend of good and evil, magic and mystery, that holds perilous consequences for a curious girl like Finn.

As she becomes more deeply entwined with Jack, Finn discovers that their lives and those of the ones she loves, including her best friends Christie Hart and Sylvie Whitethorn, are in peril. But an unexpected ally may help her protect them: her beloved sister, Lily Rose. Within the pages of the journal that Lily left behind are clues Finn must decipher to unlock the secret of the Fatas.

Yet the wrathful and deadly Reiko has diabolical plans of her own for Finn, as well as powerful allies. To save herself and to free her beloved Jack from the Fatas, Finn must stand up against the head of the family and her clever minions, including the vicious, frightening Caliban—a battle that will reveal shocking secrets about Lily Rose's death and about Finn herself . . .

Evocative and spellbinding, rich with legend, myth, and folklore, filled with heroes and villains, ghosts and selkies, changelings and fairies, witches and demons, Thorn Jack is a modern fairy tale and a story of true love, set in a familiar world, where nothing is as it seems.





About Katherine

Guest Blog by Katherine Harbour ~ The Importance of Names—or not—in Fairy Tales ~ July 25, 2014
Katherine Harbour was born in Albany, NY, where she attended the Junior College of Albany and wrote while holding down jobs as a pizza maker, video store clerk, and hotel maid. She went, briefly, to art college in Minneapolis, and sold her oil paintings of otherworldly figures in small galleries and at outdoor shows. She now lives in Sarasota, FL, where she works as a bookseller and dreams of autumn and winter in her stories.


Website  ~   Facebook  ~  Twitter @katharbour

Goodreads  ~  Blog





Guest Blog by Auralee Wallace - I Think my Two-Year Old is an Alpha Hero - July 14, 2014


Please welcome Auralee Wallace to The Qwillery as part of the 2014 Debut Author Challenge Guest Blogs. Sidekick was published on June 1st by Escape Publishing.



Guest Blog by Auralee Wallace - I Think my Two-Year Old is an Alpha Hero - July 14, 2014




I Think my Two-Year Old is an Alpha Hero

My debut novel, Sidekick, is a bit of an odd duck. Whenever someone asks me the genre, I usually stumble around a bit before describing it as a comedic Superhero Romance. One of the problems I had in creating this genre mash-up was trying to come up with an appropriate romantic counterpart to my fledging crime-fighter. I did think about crafting an alpha hero because women really seem to dig alpha heroes, but I found I just couldn’t do it. For the longest time, I couldn’t figure out why, and then it hit me. My two-year old is an alpha hero. And here’s the proof:
  1. He throws spectacular temper tantrums. Harlequin (my beneficent publisher) defines an alpha hero as, “A hero in a position of power and used to getting his own way.” The implication here, of course, is that our hero will get a bit testy if his power is questioned. This sounds exactly like my little boy! He’s adorable and I love him to bits, but let’s face it, toddlers are very unreasonable. Getting him dressed in the morning can take up to half an hour. Oftentimes if I choose the wrong socks, pants, or hold firm to my stance that he cannot wear his pyjamas to the park, well, there is hell is pay.
  2. He growls a lot. Have you ever noticed how much alpha heroes growl, bark, snarl, and roar in romance novels? Well, when my son was born one of his vocal cords was paralyzed, so he couldn’t cry loudly. Instead, he made a sound that my husband thought resembled that of a baby dragon (not that we’ve ever had the privilege of hearing one.) Even though, his full vocal prowess has returned, my little boy never did give up his growling. If one of his sisters reaches for a tasty morsel on his plate, he growls. If I move to put sunscreen on him, he growls. Bedtime? Lots of growling. I would say his various growls make up at least half of his vocabulary.
  3. He’s jealous. There are times my boy shows absolutely no interest in me. He has broken my heart many a time by rebuking my entreaties for hugs. But I tell ya, if one of his siblings or my husband so much as makes a move to show me any kind of physical affection, he’s there. In fact, he has been known to pull hair, bite, and pinch to force his way in between me and a would-be hugger. Alpha hero behavior, no doubt.
  4. He’s cocky...and the women love it. Yup, just like all those bare-chested men on the covers of so many novels, my little boy just inherently knows women love the look of him. He gives them the smile in restaurants, he struts for them in the aisles of grocery stores, and if they’re really lucky, he might even give them a chubby fisted bye-bye when we leave the building – that gets them every time.
  5. Finally, he is a good boy underneath it all. I’ve been told that part of the appeal of the alpha hero is that underneath the gruff exterior a good person awaits. I don’t think I need to explain how this is just like my two-year old. This is true of every two-year old, regardless of gender, ever.
So despite all my love for my little alpha, I just can’t abide by these types of shenanigans for my superhero’s hero. Truth be told, toddlers are a lot of work, and my girl Bremy St. James is really busy saving the world. So, please, if you’re interested, check out my adorkable BETA hero in Sidekick, and feel free to let me know if he needs to do more growling.





Sidekick
Escape Publishing, June 1, 2014
eBook, 249 pages

Guest Blog by Auralee Wallace - I Think my Two-Year Old is an Alpha Hero - July 14, 2014
Heroes meets Bridget Jones in this brilliant, hilarious debut novel about a girl who just wants to save the world...

Bremy St James, daughter of billionaire Atticus St James, has been cut off from the family fortune and is struggling to survive in a world that no longer holds its breath every time she buys a new outfit. To make matters worse, her twin sister is keeping secrets, loan sharks are circling, and the man of her dreams — a newspaper reporter — is on assignment to bring down everyone with the last name St James.

Things are certainly looking bleak for the down-and-out socialite until a good deed throws her into the path of the city’s top crime-fighter, Dark Ryder. Suddenly, Bremy has a new goal: apprentice to a superhero, and start her own crime-fighting career.

Ryder has no need for a sidekick, but it turns out the city needs Bremy’s help. Atticus St James is planning the crime of the century, and Bremy may be the only one able to get close enough to her father to stop him.

Now all she needs to do is figure out this superhero thing in less than a month, keep her identity secret from the man who could very well be The One, and save the city from total annihilation.

Well, no one ever said being a superhero would be easy...





About Auralee
(from the author's blog)

Guest Blog by Auralee Wallace - I Think my Two-Year Old is an Alpha Hero - July 14, 2014
Auralee Wallace is an author of humorous commercial women’s fiction and occasional guest blogger at Penny Dreadful Books and Reviews http://pennydreadfulbooks.me/. She is a member of the RWA, and her debut novel, Sidekick, a superhero urban fantasy, placed as a finalist in the Virginia Fool for Love Contest, The TARA Contest and The Catherine. Sidekick has been picked up by Harlequin’s Escape Publishing and is due for release June 1st, 2014. Auralee has a Master’s degree in English literature and worked in the publishing industry for a number of years before teaching at the college level. Her latest project, Camp Murder, a cozy mystery with an edge, combines the traditional elements of a good whodunit with a little romance, a little danger, and a lot of fun. When this semi-natural blonde mother of three children and three rescue cats isn’t writing or playing soccer, she can be found watching soap operas with lurid fascination and warring with a family of peregrine falcons for the rights to her backyard.

Blog  ~  Twitter @AuraleeWallace  ~  Goodreads  ~  Facebook


Guest Blog by Rjurik Davidson - On Creating Wonderful Worlds - May 24, 2014


Please welcome Rjurik Davidson to The Qwillery as part of the 2014 Debut Author Challenge Guest Blogs. Unwrapped Sky was published on April 15, 2014 by Tor. You may read the 2014 DAC interview with Rjurik here.



Guest Blog by Rjurik Davidson - On Creating Wonderful Worlds - May 24, 2014




On Creating Wonderful Worlds
by Rjurik Davidson

As a writer, I’m best known for Caeli-Amur, the city in my novel, Unwrapped Sky, which seems to have captured the imagination of some readers. As a result, I’m often asked about world building. How does one go about building a wonderful world?
       Questions about world building tend to boil down into this one: how does one go about creating an original world, one that is fascinating and wonderful? For a SF writer, this question is of critical importance, because we’re always searching for what is known as the ‘sense of wonder.’ It’s part of the contract you enter into with the SF reader. They want their mind expanded; they want the thrill of the new and unexpected; they want what we don’t have in this mundane world of ours.
       This question is not far from the unfairly maligned, ‘Where do you get your ideas from?’ Many writers respond to this with a groan, or in Harlan Ellison’s case, ‘From a story factory in Schenectady.’ But it’s actually a legitimate inquiry. The question is one about process: How do you go about constructing a story? What is your creative method?
       For me, world building is a process of combination. Let’s take Caeli-Amur as an example. In that city, I have combined several elements that are not usually united. The city has a classical feel, derived from ancient Greece and Rome. There is a ruined forum. There are mythical creatures: Minotaurs and Sirens. That’s all easily imaginable, but it’s not yet a wonderful city. Let’s give it a twist. Let’s combine it with something we usually wouldn’t think of: it’s also an industrial city, something like Turin in the 1920s. There are steam trams running along the streets, workers in overalls toiling in a factory quarter.
       Just by combining these two elements, cribbed from the real world, we create interesting contrasts. The imagination can go in several directions: ancient Minotaurs outlined against smoky factories; Sirens riding on steamboats. As simple as that, we have the sense of wonder. It’s not bad, but it’s not really rich yet.
       So Caeli-Amur has several more elements combined with these first two. What if these classical creatures came from a fallen classical world? So far so good, but let’s make it unexpected. What if that world was one of more-advanced technology, a kind of utopia? Here we’re blending in science fiction elements into what we already have. So we have lost technology, which no one understands anymore. Now we have a third unexpected dimension, and history to go along with the city.
       It’s important not to fill in all the blank areas though. World building should not be an encyclopedic process. You must give the reader a chance to fill in the empty spots with their imagination. There’s nothing scarier, for example, than a monster only half-described. There must be some information offered, so the reader has something to hold on to. But don’t describe it all. The reader will fill in the blanks from their own unconscious. They will provide what is scariest to them. This is an affect you can’t get anywhere near. Let them scare themselves. This is true of all world building. Combine unexpected elements, but leave space for the reader to fill in the blanks.
       Let’s try some now: the Vietnam war in which magic is real; China in the 1920s with a steampunk aesthetic; a bureaucratic society like the Soviet Union but set in a future alien world. Three combinations. Perhaps they have promise, perhaps not.
       What combinations interest you the most?





Unwrapped Sky

Unwrapped Sky
Tor Books, April 15, 2014
Hardcover and eBook, 432 pages

Guest Blog by Rjurik Davidson - On Creating Wonderful Worlds - May 24, 2014
A hundred years ago, the Minotaurs saved Caeli-Amur from conquest. Now, three very different people may hold the keys to the city's survival.

Once, it is said, gods used magic to create reality, with powers that defied explanation. But the magic—or science, if one believes those who try to master the dangers of thaumaturgy—now seems more like a dream. Industrial workers for House Technis, farmers for House Arbor, and fisher folk of House Marin eke out a living and hope for a better future. But the philosopher-assassin Kata plots a betrayal that will cost the lives of godlike Minotaurs; the ambitious bureaucrat Boris Autec rises through the ranks as his private life turns to ashes; and the idealistic seditionist Maximilian hatches a mad plot to unlock the vaunted secrets of the Great Library of Caeli-Enas, drowned in the fabled city at the bottom of the sea, its strangeness visible from the skies above.

In a novel of startling originality and riveting suspense, these three people, reflecting all the hopes and dreams of the ancient city, risk everything for a future that they can create only by throwing off the shackles of tradition and superstition, as their destinies collide at ground zero of a conflagration that will transform the world . . . or destroy it.

Unwrapped Sky is a stunningly original debut by Rjurik Davidson, a young master of the New Weird.



Nighttime in Caeli-Amur
A Tor.Com Original
Tor Books, January 15, 2014
eBook, 32 pages

Guest Blog by Rjurik Davidson - On Creating Wonderful Worlds - May 24, 2014
Caeli-Amur is a city-state where magic and technology are interchangeable; where minotaurs and sirens are real; where philosopher-assassins and seditionists are not the most dangerous elements in a city alive with threat. During the day, the ordinary citizens do what they must to get along. But at night, the spirit of the ancient city comes alive, to haunt the old places.

“Nighttime in Caeli-Amur” is not about minotaurs or sirens, but about a family whose lives in this place are fated in the ways of families everywhere . . . only not quite the same.





About Rjurik

Guest Blog by Rjurik Davidson - On Creating Wonderful Worlds - May 24, 2014
Photo by Leena Kärkkäinen
Rjurik Davidson has been an Associate Editor of Overland magazine, as well as a writer of short stories, essays, screenplays and reviews. His fiction has been published in Postscripts, Years Best Australian Science Fiction and Fantasy, Volumes One, Two and Four, Australian Dark Fantasy and Horror 2006, SciFiction, Aurealis, Borderlands and elsewhere. PS Publishing published a collection of short stories, The Library of Forgotten Books, in 2010. He has been short-listed and won a number of awards.

Website  ~  Blog  ~  Twitter @RjurikDavidson



Guest Blog by Rajan Khanna, author of Falling Sky - November 5, 2014Guest Blog by Alis Franklin - What would the Norse Gods think of all the modern stories about them? - November 4, 2014Guest Blog by Arianne 'Tex' Thompson: "You Got Western in my Fantasy!" - September 13, 2014Guest Blog by Stephanie Feldman, author of The Angel of Losses - August 18, 2014Guest Blog by Sharona Muir: My Invisible Beasts and the Changing Climate of Ideas - August 15, 2014Guest Blog by Thomas Sweterlitsch, author of Tomorrow and Tomorrow - August 11, 2014Guest Blog by Bishop O'Connell: Why an “American” fairy tale? and Giveaway - August 6, 2014Guest Blog by Katherine Harbour ~ The Importance of Names—or not—in Fairy Tales ~ July 25, 2014Guest Blog by Auralee Wallace - I Think my Two-Year Old is an Alpha Hero - July 14, 2014Guest Blog by Rjurik Davidson - On Creating Wonderful Worlds - May 24, 2014

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