Have you ever seen a mermaid? Do you know someone who has? Do you have a family legend or terrifying (or delightful tale) that involves a sea creature, a mermaid, or a magical creature relative to the mermaid? Or perhaps you know a real-life mermaid and/or you can hold your breath for a really long time under water? If any of these questions have sparked your imagination or memories send them to me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I may include them in my next book. Note: I am NOT looking for lengthy fiction submissions. This is a collection of facts and folklore, so your great grandmother’s Irish tale is a yes, but your own romantic short-story is a no. I’d love actual encounters with the merfolk–I know they are out there!!! This includes your first-hand account of the giant squid! And watch here for more details on the forthcoming new book on mermaids–a real print book!! If I pick your story you’ll be notified and receive a signed copy of the book when it comes out in the Spring of 2013.
A Kiss in the Dreamhouse
One of my favorite bands as a young, surly teen was Siouxsie and the Banshees, whose front-woman Siouxsie Sioux was a gothic chantress who howled like a mythological siren—luring you with her tales of travel and woe. So when I came upon Elliot O’Donnell’s book about banshees I simply had to dust off the old vinyl (for you youngins’ whose main experience with vinyl is the sheath you keep your iPod touch in, I am referring to a vinyl record) and paint on some heavy eyeliner so I could have a good ol’ fashion Banshee Bash.
Banshees are among the most feared creatures of the fairy kingdom, and this may be in part to the sympathies they invoke when you hear their wailing. You could easily be lured into the dark of night, hoping to help the pathetic creature who sounds as if she is in mourning. Some tales recount that banshees are the ghosts of women who have died in childbirth; others say they are the restless sprits of unrequited lovers.
Check out the story of The Malevolent Banshee available now as an e-book.
or on the nook:
And other weird things I’ve learned just in time for the holidays!
Seriously, though…I was reading A Kidnapped Santa Claus, this fantastic short story written by beloved Oz author L. Frank Baum way back in 1904. It takes place in Laughing Valley–Baum’s alternative to The North Pole–which happens to be surrounded by mountains where there happen to be cave dwelling demons, lurking and sulking and plotting to ruin Christmas. It is like How the Grinch Stole Christmas meets The Nightmare Before Christmas with a dose of The Wizard of Oz!
I was researching Baum to get handle on the many not-Oz books he wrote when I discovered that he was not only prolific, but he also had multiple prolific pseudonyms. Of seven known pen names, three of them were female. Edith Van Dyne wrote an entire series of Aunt Jane books. He also authored under the amazingly common names Laura Bancroff and Suzanne Metcalf. In addition to these feminine non de plumes he wrote under the far more manly names of Captain Hugh Fitzgerald, Floyd Akers, Schuyler Stunton, and John Estes Cooke.
If you’d like to read A Kidnapped Santa Claus, you can get it for free on my publishers website by following this link:
You will also find there a free download of The Christmas Troll, a collection of creepy Yuletide beasts that lurk in the night around this time of year…and I’ll be discussing this folkloric freakery on Coast to Coast with George Noory, this Friday the 23rd at 10pm PST. More on that later!
One of the books from the Magical Creatures collection I have been curating for Weiser Books shares this wonderful title: The Occult Power of Goats (And Other Welsh Tales of Goblins, Fairies, Gnomes and Elves). A wonderful collection of stories from the fairy kingdom by a collector himself: William Wirt Sikes
An American journalist, born in the 1830s, William Wirt Sikes lived in Wales at the end of his life (and died there). I like to picture him sharing a spot of tea with an old grandmother who shares with him a tale from her mother’s mother. Or perhaps smoking a pipe with an old farmer who’s seen with his own eyes some of the creatures who inhabit these pages and knows “for a fact” that the stories are true.
Remember too that in the rural parts of England and Wales, as well as Ireland, the people were not so removed from what now are thought to be mere stories. Though cynicism was setting in (you can detect notes of it throughout these works with the more clinical approach to “first-hand accounts”) many people lived their daily lives with a certain understanding and appreciation of the other realms. So these stories straddle the world of the invisible and the visible, the known and the unknown. Here you will find changelings, hobgoblins, pookas, dwarves, and fairies: night fairies, mountain fairies, water fairies… What’s a pooka, you say? You’ll have to buy the book to find out!
As we all roll out of bed on this post-Thanksgiving Monday morning, possibly still clutching our guts in regret of the pie-we-ate-that-lasted-too-long, we can have a nice snack from an entirely different table. Dive into the juicy tidbits on this wonderful site The Magical Buffet. Lots of fun things, but of course you know I am shamelessly linking directly to my interview with the founder Rebecca Elson.