Saturday, September 24, 2016

Guest Author: Fairy Tales and Fairies and Fae (Oh, My) by Henry Herz

Fairy Tales and Fairies and Fae (Oh, My)


Fairy tales are commonly defined as children's short stories featuring fantasy creatures and magical enchantments. Wikipedia artfully states, “The characters and motifs of fairy tales are simple and archetypal: princesses and goose-girls; youngest sons and gallant princes; ogres, giants, dragons, and trolls; wicked stepmothers and false heroes; fairy godmothers and other magical helpers, often talking horses, or foxes, or birds; glass mountains; and prohibitions and breaking of prohibitions.” The fairy tale is such a ubiquitous literary form, that it even has more than one classification system*.

Thomas Keightley indicated that the word 'fairy' derived from the Old French faerie, denoting enchantment. Fae is not related to the Germanic fey, or fated to die. Some authors don't distinguish between Fae and fairies. Other authors define Fae as any inhabitants of Faërie, be they large or small, good or evil. For them, Fae is the broader term encompassing not only fairies, but elves, dwarves, ogres, imps, and all other fantasy creatures. They consider fairies to be Fae who are diminutive and often ethereal, magic-wielding, and/or winged. 



Fairy Islands from Elves and Fairies by Ida Rentoul Outhwaite, 1916

Fairies of either flavor have been flitting about literature for centuries. Consider Morgan le Fay in Le Morte d'Arthur, Edmund Spenser's The Faerie Queene, Oberon and Titania in Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream, Tinker Bell in J.M. Barrie's Peter Pan, Holly Short in Eoin Colfer's Artemis Fowl, all the way up to Bloom in Doreen Cronin's eponymously titled picture book and Mabel and the Queen of Dreams (inspired by Queen Mab in Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet).





C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien, and others established fantasy as the subgenre of speculative fiction that employs magical elements set in an alternative world. Tolkien wrote in his essay “On Fairy-Stories” that fairy tales are distinct from traveller's tales (e.g., Gulliver's Travels), science fiction, beast tales (e.g., Aesop's Fables), and dream stories (e.g., Alice in Wonderland). He felt that fairies themselves were not an integral part of the definition of fairy tales. Rather, fairy tales were stories about the adventures of men and fantastic creatures in Faërie, a marvel-filled magical otherworld. By that definition, The Lord of the Rings is a fairy tale.



By John Bauer from The Boy and the Trolls, 1915
Urban fantasy** is a subgenre of fantasy set in an urban setting, typically in contemporary times. This setting violates Tolkien's definition of a fairy tale, since the story takes place in the “real” world, rather than in Faërie. Thus, Mabel and the Queen of Dreams, though featuring a fairy, is an urban fantasy rather than a fairy tale, or as Tolkien preferred, Märchen (wonder tale).

Regardless of subgenre, I hope readers will find in my story what Tolkien posited for Märchen generally. “Far more powerful and poignant is the effect [of joy] in a serious tale of Faërie. In such stories, when the sudden turn comes, we get a piercing glimpse of joy, and heart's desire, that for a moment passes outside the frame, rends indeed the very web of story, and lets a gleam come through.”


*Two major fairy tale classification systems are Aarne-Thompson and Vladimir Propp's Morphology of the Folk Tale.


**Some notable urban fantasy includes the Kate Daniels series by Ilona Andrews, Modern Faerie Tales series by Holly Black, Dresden Files series by Jim Butcher, Weather Warden series by Rachel Caine, Mortal Instruments series by Cassandra Clare, Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman, The Southern Vampire Mysteries series by Charlaine Harris, The Hollows series by Kim Harrison, The Iron Druid Chronicles by Kevin Hearne, Feral series by Cynthia Leitich Smith, The Wicked Lovely series by Melissa Marr, October Daye series by Seanan McGuire, Marla Mason series by Tim Pratt, Simon Canderous series by Anton Stout, and Borderlands series by Terri Windling.


About Henry Herz:


Henry Herz writes fantasy and science fiction for children. He is represented by Deborah Warren of East/West Literary Agency. He and his sons wrote MONSTER GOOSE NURSERY RHYMES (Pelican, 2015), WHEN YOU GIVE AN IMP A PENNY (Pelican, 2016), MABEL AND THE QUEEN OF DREAMS (Schiffer, 2016), LITTLE RED CUTTLEFISH (Pelican, 2016), and DINOSAUR PIRATES (Sterling, 2017).

Henry and his sons have also indie-published four children's books. NIMPENTOAD reached #1 in Kindle Best Sellers large print sci-fi & fantasy, and was featured in Young Entrepreneur, Wired GeekDad, and CNN. BEYOND THE PALE featured short stories by award-winning and New York Times bestselling authors Saladin Ahmed, Peter S. Beagle, Heather Brewer, Jim Butcher, Rachel Caine, Kami Garcia, Nancy Holder, Gillian Philip & Jane Yolen, and reached #2 in Amazon Science Fiction & Fantasy > Fantasy > Anthologies.

Read more HERE

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Recommended Read: Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins




Anna and the French Kiss 
by Stephanie Perkins


Amazon Ratings - 70%

About the book:

Anna was looking forward to her senior year in Atlanta, where she has a great job, a loyal best friend, and a crush on the verge of becoming more.  So she's less than thrilled about being shipped off to boarding school in Paris-until she meets Etienne St. Clair. Smart, charming, beautiful, Etienne has it all . . . including a serious girlfriend.

But in the City of Light, wishes have a way of coming true.  Will a year of romantic near-misses end with their long-awaited French kiss?

Stephanie Perkins keeps the romantic tension crackling and the attraction high in a debut guaranteed to make toes tingle and hearts melt.


Book Review (originally posted on April 2013)

It's definitely 5-star for Anna and the French Kiss! Loved this book... SO. MUCH. I initially thought it was a bit teen-ish, that the story is superficial with the teen love being the center of the story. Glad that it was more than that. 

Anna Oliphant believes she's living a perfect life in Atlanta. She has Bridge, the coolest best friend ever and recently, she met the guy of her dreams, Toph. They're almost in a relationship but the romance was cut short because Anna's father, the award-winning novelist, wanted to flaunt his wealth by shipping her off to one of the best boarding schools in Paris. Instead of getting excited, Anna hated it. She doesn't want to leave her old school, not interested in meeting new friends and the fact that she will leave her 3 y.o. brother ... oh she hates her father!


On her first night in Paris, she met Meredith. She seemed cool but when she started talking about her other friends, she didn't think she'd fit with them. She still felt alone and miserable until she met Etienne St. Clair, an English/American guy with an attractive English and French accent. She's falling in love with Etienne but she can't let him know as he's already taken. 

Oh, Etienne St. Clair. Eh-t-yen.... Eh-t-yen. . . You'd go completely gaga over him. Beautiful boy, sweet, charming and the way the author describes the accent - perfect! I also love that this is a French-themed book. I immensely enjoyed the part where Etienne tours Anna in Paris. The story is basically about Anna and Etienne's teen-ish love but what sets it apart with any other books I've read in the past is that the book also focuses on friendship and family. The author provided background stories for each of the character. It was nice to know them all. I read the other day that there is a companion book for Anna and the French Kiss - definitely looking forward to reading that too! I highly recommend this book and I'm sure your money is well-spent on this one.

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Saturday, September 17, 2016

Recommended Reads (Free Kindle Download): Far Horizons by Kate Hewitt





Far Horizons
Book One of The Emigrants Trilogy
by Kate Hewitt



Amazon Ratings: 5-star 43%

About the book:

The Highlands of Scotland, 1819: On the eve of his departure for the New World, Allan MacDougall asks his beloved Harriet to wait for his return, when he will be established and able to marry her. When his father discovers his intent he insists it is dishonourable, and so Allan must free Harriet from her promise even as he vows to remain faithful himself. Through years of hardship, heartache, tragedy, and betrayal, Allan and Harriet cling to the love that first brought them together--yet it is the treacherous doubts of their own hearts that could prove to be their undoing, and drive them farther apart than ever. 

Far Horizons is a sweeping saga of that will take you from the Highlands of Scotland to the untamed Canadian wilderness and the bustling streets of Boston. Based on actual events, it celebrates the strength of a promise and the enduring power of love. Written by USA Today bestselling author Kate Hewitt, and Book One of The Emigrants Trilogy.

Book Review (originally posted on June 2012)

Far Horizons is the first book to The Emigrants Trilogy. The book is about the love story of Allan MacDougal and Harriet Campbell. The premise of the story is based on true events while all other are just tales the author wove to make it more appealing for the readers. Allan and Harriet (ancestors of the author) got engaged just hours before Allan's family sailed from Scotland to Canada to start a new life. Allan's father, Sandy MacDougal thought it was dishonorable for Allan to ask Harriet to wait for him so Sandy insisted that Allan set Harriet free. Allan then returned Harriet's letters when he's already at the port waiting for their ship to Canada. This made Harriet feel Allan is not sure of his feelings for her. What would you do if your significant other went away, promised to return and marry you but you received nothing from him/her for years. No calls, no letters, nothing that would assure you that someone is still keeping the promise he/she made the last time you talked? 

If you are in an LDR (long distance romance) situation, this book is totally relatable. I've been in that situation decades ago and it was that hard. It was hard to wait for someone who's oceans away. It was even harder for Allan and Harriet because they were just not oceans away, imagine LDR without phones? Letters can only be sent through a ship that sails for months. Letters are delivered and can only be picked-up in ports? Reading this book made my heart ache, every page is truly heart breaking especially the first quarter of the story.  I loved how the author described Scotland and Canada in 1819. The settings of the story surely enticed me to finish the book quickly.

Far Horizons is a great historical romance novel, I look forward to reading the second book. Highly recommended for book readers looking for a great series to start.

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