Welcome to the WordCrafter Once Upon an Ever After Book Blog Tour, where we’re launching Once Upon an Ever After: Modern Myths & Folklore with guest posts from contributing authors about their story inspirations, reviews and an interview the anthology and WordCrafter Press with me, Kaye Lynne Booth. So, stick with us by following the schedule below, to learn more about this mystical new anthology and its authors. Check back daily, as I’ll be adding the links as they go live.
Monday – August 22 – Opening Day Post – Writing to be Read – Intro. & Guest Post – Sarah Lyn Eaton
Tuesday – August 23 – Patty’s World – Review & Guest Post – Robbie Cheadle
Wednesday – August 24 – The Showers of Blessings – Guest Post – Olivia Merchiston
Thursday – August 25 –Roberta Writes – Interview w/ Kaye Lynne Booth
Friday – August 26 – Zigler’s News – Review & Guest Post – Lyndsay Elizabeth Gilbert
Saturday – August 27 – Closing Post – Writing to be Read – Guest Post – A.E. Lanier
For a chance to win a free digital copy of Once Upon an Ever After, just leave a comment to show you were here. Follow the tour and comment at each stop for more chances to win. Three copies will be given away in a random drawing. (Yep. I literally draw the names out of a hat.)
This anthology was by invitation only, which means I invited the authors because of specific stories, which caught my imagination. The result is a unique collaboration with a wonderful group of authors who have been an absolute pleasure to work with.
Today’s guest post is from contributing author Sarah Lyn Eaton, who wrote the story “Old Roots, New Soil”. Her story grabbed ahold of me and stuck in my head because of the imagery of the spooky old apple orchard her words created for me and because it involves a mysterious curse which is pretty cool. What more could you ask for in a modern day fairy tale?
I originally wrote the story that appears in this anthology for another submission call, looking for folk tales and modern fairy tales based on some kind of mirror imagery. My brain tends to jump outside of, but stay near to, the box and I began to consider what kind of folk magics my ancestors might have practiced, may have believed. The inspiration for this story was rather close to home.
I grew up in between Lake Ontario and Lake Erie. Generations of my family lived in the area and that’s where my roots are. Our family genealogy is a project my dad worked on when I was a kid, and now we do it together. Over the years I have sought out information on the history of the places our ancestors lived, how they developed and evolved. What were their industries? Their environmental impact?
This is similar to the way I layer a character and where they came from and what circumstances they find themselves in when the story opens, and where they need to get to.
On my father’s side of the family, we have mostly been on this soil since the Mayflower, if not those first 50 years of migration to the new world. And my mother’s side of the family has lines that go back that far. But she also has more recent migrations from Germany and Ireland. And one of the German names caught my eye, that of my great-great-great-great maternal grandmother Wilheminia Wernersbach.
In 1836, George Arth, 35, and Wilheminia Wernersbach, 37, emigrated from Germany with sons Adam, 7, Jacob, 3, and George, 3 months. The emigration card did not list a destination. I believe they were in Antwerp for some time before coming to America. When Wilhemenia brought her sons to America, George Arth was not with them. In 1850, when they are first on record in Pendleton, NY her son Adam, my great-great-great grandfather had his own family plot, right next to her own. In fact, she saved up money to buy a third plot on the other side, so that each son would have his own land, but they would still be together.
I thought about their story and let my brain wander. I wondered what it was like for this woman to bring her children to a new world, and then all the way to the other side of New York that was still being developed. What of this land did she find strange? What of her land might she have brought with her? What customs would have been a comfort to her? What guardians might she have called on to protect her family? How might they have made their living in a new place?
When you do a lot of genealogy and you can get beyond the lists of names and dates and you start to retain details, you start to notice family patterns emerging. Generational patterns that the people toiling every day, trying to get to the next one can’t see. And sometimes you can see how trauma gets passed down, and sometimes even transposed, like in the telephone game of passing messages down a line of people, to see what it becomes at the end.
How can you undo something you can’t understand? How do you combat a family legacy that was kept hidden from you? And what if you found yourself crossing an apple orchard, about to open the door to a dark part of your family’s past?
And that was the seed that formed the first breath of my story.
Sarah Lyn Eaton
Sarah Lyn Eaton is a queer pagan writer and burn survivor. She is a life-long Star Wars geek who spends her free time rock hunting, or venturing into the woods with her camera. Her stories have been published in the anthologies Brave New Worlds, Upon a Twice Time, Unburied: A Collection of Queer Dark Fiction, Of Fae and Fate: Lesser Known Fairy Tales Retold, On Fire, and Dystopia Utopia. In 2021, Sarah Lyn was awarded The Speculative Literature Foundation’s Working Class Writer Grant.
About Once Upon an Ever After
This unique and imaginative collection of eleven thought provoking fantasy stories will delight readers who enjoy stories of wishes gone awry.
What happens when…
A woman desires to carry on her family’s legacy, uncovering a long-buried curse?
A not so perfect witch casts a spell to defy age and preserve her relationship with her handsome shapeshifting familiar?
A time traveler longs to be the savior of knowledge lost?
An incompetent delivery boy becomes an unlikely savior of forgotten artifacts?
A magic mirror yearns for a different question?
A tiny story witch desires to share her stories with the world?
Spells are cast, unlikely alliances made, and wishes granted, sometimes with surprising outcomes. You’ll love this anthology of modern myths, lore, and fairy tales. Once you read these twisted tales, you’ll be sure to be careful what you wish for….
If you liked Gilded Glass, you’ll enjoy Once Upon an Ever After: Modern Myths & Fairy Tales, short stories with thought provoking themes, captivating characters and diverse cultures, from humorous to horrifying, from the legendary past to possible futures and back to the here and now.
Today is the last day of pre-order for this wonderful new anthology. Once Upon an Ever After goes live tomorrow. You can get your copy through your favorite book distributor with the Books2Read UBL here: https://books2read.com/u/mKdWGV
Book your WordCrafter Book Blog Tour today!
What they are saying on Amazon:
“This was a great coming of age fantasy story. I really enjoyed seeing these young characters struggle to survive in the aftermath of the massacre that leaves them only each other to depend on. Their journey drew me in and had me reading this entire book in one sitting, I’m looking forward to reading more books set in this fascinating world.”
In her Day #3 post for this tour on Robbie’s Inspiration, author Barbara Spencer talks about magical realism. I really loved her definition. She describes it, “Magical realism takes place in our world and follows its rules, except occasionally those rules are skewed.” I haven’t read a lot of magical realism, but what I have read have mostly were silly stories that were just kind of fun to read, with no real buy in because they were so ridiculous.
Not so with this skillfully crafted tale, which begins to lay a solid basis for the magical elements of the story. The Click of a Pebble had my buy in from the first pages and maintained it throughout the story. It was sweet and tragic, but there was nothing silly about it.
The Click of a Pebble is the tale of three children, Yost, Zande and TaTa, the only survivors of a massacre of their people. Ripped away from all they have ever known, they must stand together and go on, holding on to who they are in a place where things are new and different and try to fit in. They quickly learn that they dare not reveal their true origins, or risk falling prey to the same bigoted thinking that brought on the demise of their clan, because they are different, gifted. As they grow to know the family which welcomes them into their home, they begin to develop attachments with those around them and feel as if they belong. But, they are carinatae, children of Zues and what lies ahead for them is very different from the futures imagined by those who take them in.
Barbara Spencer has done a marvelous job of drawing the reader in and making her care about the characters, masterfully weaving historical detail into this wonderful coming of age fantasy. It touches on issues that ring true for many of us, at the same time portraying a time and culture in detail, with well developed characters readers will relate to. As the first book in her The Children of Zeus trilogy, Spencer does not tie everything up with a nice bow, but instead chooses the perfect point in the story to close off this chapter and leave the reader with a need to learn how all the loose ends will be resolved. I give it five quills.
In case you missed a blog stop along the way on The Click of a Pebble Book Blog Tour:
Day #1: Writing to be Read
Day #2: Patty’s World
Day #3: Robbie’s Inspiration
Day #4: This is my Truth Now
Get your copy of The Click of a Pebble today.
In April, Writing to be Read celebrates fantasy. That area of literature and visual media where fantastical elements become possible, and maybe even expected. Fantasy is as old as the fables and fairytales which birthed it centuries ago. In fantasy, anything is possible, and readers journey to worlds beyond their own imaginations, allowing effective escapes from reality, which is why it is such a popular genre.
Although in fantasy, anything may be possible, each story world must have its own set of rules which should never be broken. And it’s the author’s job to be sure those rules are clear for readers and ensure that they are never breached. To ensure this, authors go to great lengths, drawing up elaborate story bibles and creating maps of their worlds in order to keep everything straight.
There are many subgenres of fantasy, including dark fantasy, which carries readers into evil realms; high or epic fantasy, which ventures into magical worlds on the hero’s journey; low fantasy, which magical elements mingle in the real world; magical realism, which takes place in worlds similar to ours, but where magical elements are common place; urban fantasy, where legends come to life; sword and sorcery, with sword weilding heroes who thrive on gallentry; space fantasy, which takes place in the imaginative worlds in the far reaches of the universe; western fantasy, where magical or supernatural elements invade the landscapes of the old west; fantand superhero fiction, where protagonists use supernatural powers to manipulate the elements of the real world.
The hero’s journey originated with fantasy, and that is where writing instructors turn to provide examples of the way that journey progresses for their students. Bilbo Baggins’ hero’s journey in The Hobbit is exemplary, but it is only a prelude to the ultimate hero’s journey Frodo embarks upon in The Lord of the Rings trilogy. J.R.R. Tolkien paved the way for fantasy writers right up to those of present day.
Stick with me this month for a great line-up of fantasy reviews and interviews with authors of the fantasy genre. My “Chatting with the Pros” author guest is L. Deni Colter, and my supporting interview is with J.B. Garner. I’ll also be reviewing the X Marks the Spot anthology, edited by Lisa Mangum; Severed Wings, by Steven Elliot Altman; and Indomitable, by J.B.Garner. I do interviews on Mondays and reviews on Fridays, so drop in and find out what is happening on the fantasy scene.
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It pleases me to present a special Saturday interview with a man who has made huge contributions to literary communities world wide. He is the author of the recently released magical realism story collection, Katashi Tales, as well as the founder of Motivatinal Strips social media forum, which promotes the unification of authors and people across the globe. I am honored to have him as my author guest today. Please help me welcome Shiju Pallithazheth.
Kaye: You are not only an author, but a scholar, striving to improve yourself and others through the promotion of world literature. Can you share a little about your journey to becoming an author? When did you discover your love of literature? When did you know you wanted to be an author?
Shiju: To this context, I would like to narrate my favourite penned quote..
‘My friends used to play with toys in their childhood, while I was playing with tiny English alphabets made of plastic. We all grew up together. They became engineers, doctors, accountants etc. and I ended up being a writer.
Guess that quote narrates the answer.
Kaye: Is there anything unusual or unique about your writing process?
Shiju: Yes! I write fast lest I forget where I started… lol
Kaye: What do you feel is the single most important element in a story?
Shiju: Characters that fit aptly in a plot.
Kaye: What is the most unusual or unique thing you have done so far?
Shiju: I have unified writers from 105 countries for what they love doing. Guess that’s unique and interesting.
Kaye: You are the founder of Motivational Strips, a social media forum designed to celebrate humanity and world literature. What do you hope to achieve with this very selective group of authors?
Shiju: The readers are going berserk to identify quality reads as well as writers. The whole agenda of Motivational Strips is literary unification. It started as a crawling baby ten months back. It withstood will power and today it has daily visitors crossing 130 thousand. So that sums up to 4 million visitors a month.
Kaye: Why do they visit the forum ?
Shiju: They love the literary works of the writers, and feel it’s a safe and secure place to network. The forum has achieved commendable milestones within a short time. All credit goes to its members as well as administration. Today it has World Nations Writers Union as well as Union Hispanomundial De Escritores (UHE) as its associates. World Nation Writers Union had Late Dr Koffi Annan ( Former UN General Secretary) as its co president in the past. UHE has former Costa Rica President and Nobel Prize laureate Dr Oscar Arias Sanchez as its present Hon. President. The above mentioned merger speaks volumes on the mission of Motivational Strips. It has affiliated six other qualitative groups in Facebook for writers so that worldwide writers have variation and choice. So we are liberal on writers’ interest. In a nutshell, Motivational Strips keeps writers interest over its own. The forum has novice beginners to many literary icons and award winning authors. Many Nobel Prize Nominees interact and coach the writers for literary progress. It has more than 60K poems and articles penned by writers from more than 105 nations. Now, does that sound small?
Kaye: Motivational Strips honors and encourages those who have made a significant contribution to world literature. I received a Certificate of Honor, myself. What do you feel has been your own greatest contribution which you have made?
Shiju: I have been one among them, that’s the greatest contribution!
When you want to steer a mighty unification process in literature or any other creative fields, you have to know how to strengthen its roots. The leaders can’t stand away and ask the members to keep the roots firm. The ideal leader is one, who has a desire to learn and to teach relevance. Just like how an editor takes responsibility to edit a book to relevant material, a leader has to jointly interact to keep the basics right.
Kaye: Your collection of magical realism stories with life lessons, Katashi Tales, is coming out in April. What are some of the life lessons you hope to convey with these tales?
Shiju: Katashi Tales is all about morals. It has a storyline that will take the reader through a journey of magical realism. It ends with realities and values to cherish in life. It has varied forms of narration to keep away monotony, as well as expectations. The expectation level of the reader goes up as the chapters progress. The reason why the expectation level goes up is because of the way the stories have been placed. It gives exposure to the reader in meeting different characters and feeling the ambiance in unknown places. Many new places one has never heard of or read about in life will be revealed in the plot. The book speaks for itself. Each of the fifteen stories teaches a different lesson.
Kaye: The stories in Katashi Tales carry with them lessons or morals, similar to western folklore. Do the lessons just unfold as you write the stories, or do you craft the story to fit the lesson?
Shiju: No, it unfolds in unexpected twists and turns in the plot. The story line was never meant or designed with planned thoughts. The characters revealed themselves in my imagination. I felt as if my presence was in the plot, and witnessed them weaving great stories with tiny outlines. It was fun to write those fables. I experienced the feelings and ambiance of the cute characters in the jungle. They were dying to tell their stories. They are adorable innocent characters, that teach us humans, that they have great stories, principles, ethics and morals, as well.
As Katashi Tales is released worldwide, I’m glad to say that, today being second day of its release, the book is already in the No 2 position among best sellers in KOBO.
Kaye: What is the most challenging part for you of writing magical realism?
Shiju: Magical realism is an art in literature that needs great understanding of the readers’ expectation. I feel bringing reality to a fantasy script is the greatest challenge in writing.
Katashi Tales is a typical attempt of magical realism.
Kaye: You write in many genres. What is your favorite type of writing?
Shiju: I do not limit myself to any favourites. Moods and ambiance decide my choice for the season. But humility and interactions has taught me to be a greater learner. I enjoy writing for writers, as well readers. If you go through my posts in Motivational Strips, you will understand the fact, that my favourite is what the writers/readers desire syncs with.
Kaye: What do you enjoy doing when you are not writing?
Shiju: I love researching people’s behaviour, as well mine. Doing a comparison helps a lot in correction of oneself and adaptation to the public mass behavioural patterns.
Kaye: What do you consider to be your greatest accomplishment to date?
Shiju: I’m still learning, I feel that’s a great accomplishment in my life.
Kaye: What is the best piece of advice that was ever given to you?
Shiju: ‘Learn to see the good side of people rather than digging their faulty holes to bring out the trash.’ That was my late grandpa’s advice. I cherish it close to my heart.
Kaye: What is something most of your readers would never guess about you?
Shiju: I’m a busy corporate executive and do rob myself of sleep to promote writers in Motivational Strips, as well affiliates, because of my love for literature.
Kaye: What advice do you have for aspiring authors?
Shiju: Observe, interact and write. Mistakes are bound to happen as well as success. Take them both in positive spirit. Don’t sell your soul, you can sell your writings though.
I want to thank Shiju for sharing with us today. He’s a man who has done some impressive things for the literary world and the human world, as well, perhaps. Katashi Tales sounds like a wonderful book filled with delightful and meaningful stories. You can learn more about Shiju Pallithazheth or get your copy of Katashi Tales at the following links.
MOTIVATIONAL STRIPS: https://www.facebook.com/groups/252154565336217
KATASHI TALES KINDLE: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07QPVCNGC
KATASHI TALES PAPERBACK: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1094684120
BARNES & NOBLE: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/books/1131274084
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