From The Stories of Old – A Fairy Tale Anthology

Welcome back, dear friends!

As most of you know, I’m a die-hard fairy tale fan. I’ve devoured tons and tons of fairy tale retellings and dreamed about charming princes, dragons and brave maidens (or knights 😉 ).

Today I have a special treat for all fairy tale lovers like me! A new publication of fairy tale retelling short stories called ‘From the Stories of Old’ written by authors of the Just-Us League.

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Intrigued? Here’s the blurb…

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“In this international collection, new life is given to fairy tales, both classic and obscure.

Mythical creatures put the fairy in Fairy Tale. Mermaids, selkies, and ocean guardians experience the best and worst of humanity; sisters encounter an unusually friendly bear; a brave bride meets a silly goose; and a spinner of gold sets the record straight.

Urban fantasies modernize classics: a Frenchman learns the truth about magic, his past, and his girlfriend; a girl sets out to find love but receives a curse; and today’s naughty list makes Old Saint Nick not-so-jolly.

New worlds bring a fresh sense of wonder! In the future, a young woman fights for her people and herself; a bastard son finds acceptance in a world ruled by women; and a farmer’s wits win the heart of a frosty king.

Discover unexpected twists on old favorites, and fall in love with new tales and worlds to explore!”

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The JL Anthology is scheduled to be published on December 7th 2016.

And today, I’m really excited to have with me, author Louise Ross, part of the Just-Us League.

Louise Ross is a writer from the Kansas City Missouri area. When she is not sewing or working, she writes in a silent corner and dreams of what it would be like to live in a fantasy setting. She has a blog at https://83louross.wordpress.com/tag/90-days/.

Krisna: Welcome, Louise! It’s a pleasure to have you with us today. 

Louise: Thank you, Krisna. I’m very happy to be here.

Krisna: So tell us a little more about the JL Fairy Tale Anthology.

The JL Anthology is a collection of fairy tale retellings. All the authors in this edition come from an online writing community that I belong to. We support each other by critiquing, editing, and encouraging each other’s writings. One of the things the group has enjoyed doing is entering themed contests. We’ve had good success in these contests and chose to assemble an anthology around a group-chosen theme. I wanted to write about superheros, but fairy tale retellings are fun too.

Krisna: That’s really exciting. What’s your story in this Anthology about and what inspired it?

Louise: When I learned the theme would be fairy tale retelling, my need to different kicked in. It’s this little voice in my head that says I shouldn’t do things the same way everyone else has done. I should be different. I’m a writer after all. I should have more than one idea. A challenge. Make the contest a challenge.

*laughs* Lesson: it’s not always smart to listen to my inner voices. So I wanted to pick a fairy tale that was not a traditional tale. I knew I did not want to pick a princess-type story because I was never the princess sort of child. When I thought back on the stories that had the biggest impact on me, it was the scary stories: the Girl with the Green Ribbon, Goosebumps, Bloody Bones. I wanted to write something along that line, and when I thought of fairy tales that would work well with a darker theme, one of the first was The Struwwelpeter.

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The Struwwelpeter is not a story or collection of stories told a lot, or at least many of my friends did not know about it. It is actually a set of poems about children who do naughty things and are punished. The very first poem in the collection is about receiving gifts at Christmas if a child is good. I decided to take that opening poem, make it into the unifying theme, get rid of some of the poems that did not fit in my setting, and try to make the poems fit today’s society better.

Krisna: Ooh! So you picked a scary fairy tale! What was the hardest part of writing this story?

Louise: The hardest part was making the naughty scenarios fit today’s society. Some of the poems are ones that are not inherently “bad” behavior. The Struwwelpeter, for instance, is named that because of a poem about a child Peter who fails to take care of his own hygiene. His hair is crazy and he has dirt under his nails. Another story is about a boy who walks out of his house in a rain storm and is carried away by the wind. I had a hard time placing these situations in the context of Santa Claus and Krampus.

In my story, I left Peter with poor hygiene but speculated on why he might let himself get so dirty, and the boy with the umbrella simply wanders off instead of staying with his mother.

Krisna: An anthology is essentially group work. Tell us a little more about your experience in working on this Anthology with fellow writers.

Louise: Working on this anthology has been fun, a learning experience, and very fulfilling. It has been fun because there is an energy that builds when a whole team is working toward a common goal. That energy gathers speed when the group shows success toward that goal.

As the other stories came in and feedback happened, the closer the end goal approached. I started out calm and now that we are within a month of publishing, it’s hard not to jump up and shoved the cover proofs at everyone.

I have never been involved in the publishing process. Seeing the time and planning placed in this anthology has given me a new perspective on the process behind the scenes. Also, it is fulfilling to see a project like this come together and so quickly. The League is very dedicated and hard-working. It gives me a sense of pride and accomplishment to be a part of this.

Krisna: Outside the anthology, what are you working on currently?

Louise: Outside of the anthology, I am working on a few projects. My novel Distilled is in editing and revision at the moment. Distilled is the story of Nik, an alchemist, who is being hunted by mercenaries. A waitress desperate to help her brother escape the local gang becomes the key to Nik’s survival.

I’m also working on a story about four brothers. I like to think of it as Little Women featuring cyborg men.

Krisna: Interesting! Tell us more…

Louise: The story is in the third act and will be completed shortly in draft form. I am also drafting a non-fantasy piece set in southern Missouri post-civil war. A sheriff is trying his best to restore peace to his town, but an angry hog farmer, some escaped convicts, confederate sympathizers, and the skirmishes with the Indians force the sheriff to place his life and beliefs between a prisoner and the bushwhackers breaking him out of prison. This story is at the midway mark and has taught me how much I enjoy writing fantasy; way less research.

Krisna: Thank you so much, Louise, for stopping by. I’m looking forward to the JL Anthology. 

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Check out The Struwwelpeter and all the other fantastical tales in the Just-Us League Anthology vol. 1 due out December 7th, 2016!

 

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Ask the Author: Lesa Mckee

Dear friends,

For Ask the Author this month, I’m very happy to have with us Ms. Lesa Mckee.

Lesa grew up at her Grandmother’s knee, listening to the French folk-tales her animated Grandma Ida shared. A love of stories was born and her imagination took off!

She’s now living her dream as a Christian Indie writer of feel-good fiction, including a short story series of far-out space cats, titled ‘Operation Space Cats’. These purrific feline adventures are filled with faith, friendship & fun!

Krisna: It’s a pleasure to have you with us, Lesa. *shakes hands* 

Lesa: Thanks, Krisna! I’m very happy to be here.

Krisna: Every author has something inside that makes them take the pen (or laptop) and start giving life to the stories in their minds. Why do you write? 

LesaFor me, writing is an escape. At times it’s relaxing while other times I’m on the edge of my seat bursting with excitement, and sometimes I’m filled with laughter. I enjoy spending time in other worlds I’ve created.

Krisna: It’s so wonderful to live the lives of our characters while we write them, isn’t it? I confess, it’s one of the reasons I write too. What is the hardest thing about writing? 

Lesa: The hardest thing about writing for me is I have lots of wrist & hand pain.  I use dragon speech recognition software, but I find writing by ‘talking’ out a story is very hindering to the flow, and it slows me down a lot. Still, I’m grateful to be able to continue my writing, no matter how I have to do it. Also, at 46 I’m starting out pretty late in life, but my passion for writing is what counts!

Krisna: I’m so sorry to hear about your wrists and hands, Lesa. But I really admire your dedication and passion for writing. You’re absolutely right. That is what really counts!

 What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

Lesa: Three things- And these are things I’ve done.

1) I’d tell them to get connected. Other writers are your best friends. No one can relate to your writing, and your writing journey more than your fellow writers. Join writing groups on social media like facebook and goodreads. Admit you’re a newbie and ask for advice.

2) Write, but don’t write aimlessly. Invest in some good books on writing, take a seminar, and follow good blogs on writing. You have the desire to write, now do all you can to learn your craft. All workman must study their craft to show themselves approved.

3) Join a critique group, at least one. You want to get as many eyes on your work as possible. Make sure to critique others too. This is a one of the best ways to learn how to write. Really, it works.

Krisna: Thanks a lot for those fantastic points, Lesa. You’re right. I’ve found a lot of motivation and support from my author friends in my critique group. One of the mistakes that many newbies make is to try to do it all alone. But honest feedback and encouragement from other writers really helps in making our story much better. And in the end, we want to give a high-quality gripping novel to our readers.

So speaking of feedback, What are your thoughts on good/bad reviews?

Lesa: Good reviews- Love ‘em. Bad reviews- Hate ‘em.:)

Krisna: *laughs*

Lesa: But really, what’s my take on them? Either appreciate them, learn from them, or ignore them … and keep writing!

Krisna:  That’s really good advice. Instead of getting demotivated by negative reviews, we take an honest look at our novel. If the feedback of the reviewer is true, we learn from it and change. If it’s not, we ignore and keep writing.

*glances at clock* We have time for one last question. I really loved the stories in your book Operation Space Cats, The Rescue Mission. What’s the tagline of your story?

Lesa: My tag-line is on the back cover, placed just before the blurb. ‘Furry crew to the rescue’.

Krisna: Ha ha! I love the image it brings to my mind. Thank you so much for being with us today, Lesa, and for your insights and tips. I wish you all the very best in your writing career.

Lesa: It was my pleasure, Krisna!

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CONNECT WITH LESA MCKEE:

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You can connect with Lesa through her website, blog, Facebook, Twitter, Amazon and Pinterest.