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DEAR READER, Thank you so much for taking a chance on this new publication. I’ve spent countless hours working to get it ready for you, and it has been a work of passion. I also have to thank every person who contributed to this issue when I had nothing to show but a dream My favorite genre is fantasy, and an intense love of storytelling. and that was the initial inspiration for Curiositales Magazine. I think you’ll notice that throughout this first issue. While I hope future volumes will cover a wide variety of literary topics, for July I started with what I knew and wanted more of: magic. This month, I had the great pleasure of interviewing Sarah Henning and Bree Barton. They are bringing their own version of magic and storytelling to life in their debut novels coming out later this month. I got to listen in as they talked about the magic in their novels. Through these conversations I came to a deeper understanding that everyone has their own brand of magic,-- from that influenced by ancient humans to the magic hidden deep within us all. I hope you find your magic and your unique way of making the world a better place.
FROM THE EDITOR
Gillian St. Clair
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The Witchâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Turn to Talk Interview with Sarah Henning
Giving Back: Girls Write Now
Ask Ashley: Monthly advice column
Diversity in Media: It Matters
Fur Shoes and Glass Slippers a history
The Power of Stories Interview with Bree Barton
10 Bookstagram Learn about your favorite influencers
Velvet Bookmark a tutorial
On Monday She Travelled to India Short Story
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Bookcon 2018 Photos from the event
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Curiositales is a monthly digital magazine. We also engage readers with a free newsletter. For your regular dose of everything bookish subscribe at www.curiositales.com COVER author / Sarah Henning COPYRIGHT Copyright ÂŠ 2018 by Curiositales Magazine All rights reserved. This magazine or any portion thereof may not be reproduced or used in any manner whatsoever without the express written permission of the publisher except for the use of brief quotations in a review.
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THE WITCH’S TURN TO TALK There’s that whole idea of a villain being a hero in their own story.
Interview by Gillian St. Clair Written by Rebekah Yahoves
or most of us, “The Little Mermaid” invokes images of a beautiful tail, a perfect body, and a crush that drove daddy’s little girl to shed her scales and wobble wide-eyed into the arms of her uptown prince. It is hard for us to imagine a villain more heinous than Ursula, who swallows the shivering remains of lovesick merfolks who traded their lives for the promise of a realized wish. Yet in Sea Witch, this summer’s must-read fantasy prequel by Sarah Henning, the villain’s story gets heartwrenching attention that will make you read (or watch) The Little Mermaid with fresh perspective.
Sarah Henning spoke about her experience creating The Little Mermaid’s fascinating prequel. A warm, humble Kansas native, Sarah laughs with the confidence of a woman who loves the playfulness and purpose of her work. When asked if she was more into Disney or Grimm, she said, “I think I’m naturally a Disney girl. I’m pretty optimistic, but this story is very much set on the original horror fiction tale which is not Disney at all. If you read it, it’s a very different story than what Disney took out of it.” Of course the anti-Disney version she is referring to is the 1837 story written by Hans Christian Andersen. Unlike Ursula in the Disney movie, the sea witch in Henning’s story is not quite as evil as you might expect. “She’s not Ursula. She’s actually more of a neutral character. Sort of a character who’s there to ask the little mermaid, ‘Do you really want to do this? Do you really want to leave your family and your friends and everything for a boy that doesn’t know your name?’ She’s kind of cautionary.” Henning wanted to explore the tragedy and danger that materializes when a powerful woman is required to suppress her natural talents and not live up to her capabilities. That is why she chose to base her story off of Andersen’s anti-hero before she was the little mermaid’s archenemy. In Henning’s book, Evie, a misunderstood sixteen-year-old girl, lives in a seaside
village in an alternate Denmark. She is mourning the loss of her best friend Anna and carrying a dark secret that floods her with guilt when she develops a friendship with Prince Nik who is also lamenting Anna’s demise. However, it is Nik’s cousin Iker (pronounced ee-care) who secures the heart of young Evie. When Nik is rescued by a beautiful stranger who bears an uncanny likeness to Anna, Evie begins to hope again as she discovers the opportunity to be the heroine of true love. When she uses the intensity of her power to help forge a happy ending, she realizes, too late, the reality of her compromise, and of her new friend’s identity. Part of the reason Henning chose to write a retelling/prequel of The Little Mermaid is because of her interest in delving deeper into the motives of villains. “There’s that whole idea of a villain being a hero in their own story,” Henning said. “And I really think that the goal with this book was that you would be able to understand the sea witch.” This concept is one that can be strange to think about, but also intriguing. “Everyone thinks they are being a hero,” Henning said, “and they’re not just bad to be bad.” While some of the backstory between Ursula and King Triton is “hinted at in the Disney film, it is never really explored.” Because of that, Henning said, “I kind of wanted to play with that and see where it went.”
Henning said that she was eager to chronicle the tale of an infamous villain who was really a hero in her own heart in the way that Wicked elaborates on the witches in The Wizard of Oz. While Henning hasn’t seen the Broadway smash Wicked, she disclosed that she has read Gregory Maguire’s books, which she thinks are “really great.” When asked what question she wishes someone would ask her, she chose to discuss the way she incorporated a very interesting language into her book. “All of the spells in the book are in Old Norse,” Henning said. “Old Norse is a dead language, but it’s related to current languages. I kind of wanted to use it to set apart the spells. It worked with the location because this is an alternate Denmark in the 1860s when Hans Christian Andersen would have been alive. I thought that using Old Norse would kind of lend itself well to the location but also add a bit of extra magic.”
some help from one of her own Twitter followers. Specifically, someone who is Swedish. “I was desperately trying to figure out if I was using the right kind of boat because there were like, eight different words for boat,” Henning said. “So I messaged her and I was like, ‘I’m sorry if this is a weird question, I don’t know how close Swedish is to Old Norse, but if I send you some Old Norse words can you tell me if I’m doing this right?’ And she happily got back to me and I was like ‘Perfect, thank you, you’re going in in the back [of my book.]’” Henning also enlisted the help of Adrienne Young, author of Sky in the Deep after meeting at a writing retreat. “As we were just getting to know each other we found out we both used the same Old Norse dictionary because she has Old Norse in her book,” Henning said. “I call her my ‘Old Norse Sister’ even though our books are completely different. It was kind of funny that we had both gravitated towards the same material.”
But adding that magic was no easy task. “Using a sort of dead language is kind of difficult,” Henning said. “There’s a dictionary that I downloaded online from a scholThere is also a salute to Henning’s perar, a free dictionary, that I would use to try sonal history in Sea Witch and it comes to create spells.” in the form of a character’s name. “I have journalism and Spanish degrees. I studied Unfortunately, it was not that simple. Henabroad in Spain, and actually my editor ning had to do more research even afstudied abroad in Spain too, and so one ter turning in the book. “I would go back of the kind of weird things to come out of and forth talking to editors about what it that is that one of the princes is named should actually say and trying to figure it ‘Iker’ which is a Basque name,” Henning out – because none of us know, you know? said. “My editor and I kind of geeked out It’s not like any of us are experts at Old about our time in Spain and so that’s my Norse.” Luckily, Henning managed to find little nod to Spain. Because the Basque are
a whaling community as well, so it wouldn’t be that outlandish that there’d be some royal blood from Spain in my kind of fake Denmark, because they were trading communities.” Sea Witch explores the Danish countryside, the romantic longings of a teenager’s heart, and the highs and lows of friendship in the tender years of youth. Henning confessed that she poured some of herself into the story when writing Evie’s friendship with Nik; her friendships with boys as a young woman was often platonic. Henning said that she identifies with teens’ needs to be heard, to see justice in the world, and their fear of being misunderstood. Henning intimated that this fear was ferociously conspicuous in people of all ages when she was a young journalist writing interviews.
to be an author since she was a child. Although she has had other careers before this one, she never gave up on her dream. When asked how she stayed focused on her goal of being a novelist, she talked about the power of childhood dreams. “I think that the dreams that we have as kids don’t actually die,” Henning said. “It’s more that they go on the backburner and you can’t escape them. Ever since I was a little kid I wanted to write books.” And Henning is not exaggerating. She recalled that, as a young girl, she used to staple pages of hand-sewn pictures together before she could speak in order to create “books.”
Unfortunately, as we get older, it can be difficult to not lose sight of our dreams. “We are told to go on one path, to go to college, do all of our extracurriculars, and not to make waves. But I have a threeyear-old, and she will go to bed at night “Being misunderstood was important and talk about how she can be anything because I spent my entire career commu- she wants to be. She wants to be Dory the nicating with people,” she said. “There was Fish when she grows up. There’s a point a lot of anxiety among different people I where, to be a successful adult, you forget interviewed because they wanted to make that you are your own human being and if sure they were being understood propyou speak out, people might listen to you erly.” if you have something to say. People don’t give teens enough credit. They’re really “I say this as I’m being interviewed, but smart and interested in the world, and there is no fear like being put into an inthey see us for what we are as adults.” terview and saying that’s not exactly what you meant. We want people to understand Henning did not start off as an author. She us, and my goal was that you would under- built a career in journalism and worked for stand the sea witch.” The Palm Beach Post, The Kansas City Star Speaking of goals, Henning has wanted
and The Associated Press as a writer/editor in sports before pursuing her dream.
Part of what kept her from pursuing a career as an author was the unpredictability. “It became apparent to me, probably around age twelve, that the life of a novelist is not a structured ‘you get paid every two weeks’ type of life.” After a while, though, she could not stay away. “I could never escape the fact that I always wanted to write books,” Henning said. “So when I graduated and started my first job, my husband and I moved across the country, and I started writing books again. I hadn’t really done it since I was a teenager.” We discussed how her hiatus from creative writing changed her style once she returned to it, and she reflected that it brought her back to the page with a deeper perspective. She said, “I think this a very different book than what I would have written ten years ago. One hundred percent. Totally different. And I do have a better understanding of how to write a book and how to structure a plot and characterization.” “I think this book in particular is a look at friendship and some varying degrees of relationships, and it’s also a look at grief. And I don’t think I understood grief as much as I do today. I have a better understanding of how that feels and how to get that across on the page. And I think my understanding of what a fantasy is much better than it was ten years ago. I think as you grow, your perspective changes, and that changes what you produce as an artist no matter what you do” Being a parent has also affected the way Sarah Henning writes.
“I was writing this book right after having my second child, and there is a lot in this book about what happens when you suppress the natural talents someone has, and I was thinking about my daughter a lot. I explored it much differently at this stage in life than I would have ten years ago, or even in high school, when I was initially trying to figure out how to write books.” Two years after Henning began writing novels again, she found her first agent and began writing adult thrillers. After taking maternity leave, she reconsidered her genre. “I was home with a little baby and I was like, I don’t want to write murder right now.” Although Sea Witch is not a crime story, there are hints of inspiration from the genre. “It was a different book when I started it, and it was funny because the thriller element that originally got me my [first] agent came through by the time we finished the book.” And what a book it is! Sea Witch is being praised by critics for its carefully cultivated dialogue, characterization, and plot points. It is also getting attention for its depth and refinement. PopSugar named it one of this year’s “10 Exciting YA Book Releases,” and Publisher’s Weekly says that “readers...will be rewarded with richly woven threads of fairy tale allusions and a surprise ending.” The novel will be released on July 31, and you can preorder it right here.
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Sarah shares her favorite bookish goodies. 1. RUBY SLIPPERS BOOKMARK — I don’t own this one yet but I’ve had my eye on it. I’m proud to be from Kansas and if you’re from Kansas you celebrate The Wizard of Oz 2. THE END BOOKENDS — I keep mine on the shelf with all my signed copies! 3. BOOKS SCENTS CANDLE — I have one inspired by my friend Amy Reichert’s debut from a few years ago, The Coincidence of Coconut Cake. 4. “READ” SIGN — I have a hand-carved “read” sign that I bought at a local shop a few years ago. I’m not sure the artist makes them anymore but I love mine. 5. A REAPER AT THE GATES BY SABAA TAHIR — I always try to hold off on devouring Sabaa’s latest until I’m on summer vacation. But waiting has been agony— I love Elias with all my heart! This one will be hitting the mountains with me soon. 6. BICYCLE BOOK BAG — Like my read sign, my favorite book bag was purchased at a local store (#shopsmall, people!) but I’ve shared something similar. 7. DESIGNWORKS INK STANDARD ISSUE NOTEBOOK — I love my notebooks and this is my latest one. It’s extra great because it has both a bookmark and the ability to stay open without breaking the spine. 8. BIG, LINED POST-ITS — When I’m trying to beat out a plot, I really love writing it out on 4x6 lined Post-Its. I know that it seems archaic, but sometimes you just need to turn away from the computer and get it down by hand. I’ll typically write a scene per Post-It and then arrange them how they need to go to figure out the beats. 9. FOR EVERYONE BY JASON REYNOLDS — I will probably carry this book with me until the end of time. It’s such an uplifting quick read. 10. THE RAVEN BOOKSTORE MUG — My local indie bookstore recently started selling the most awesome coffee mugs. I always use mine when I’m writing in the mornings before the kids get up.
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ASK ASHLEY A column designed to be a safe space for asking questions and receiving answers. BY ASHLEY OLAFSEN
Hi everyone! This column is a designed as a space for you, reader, to ask questions. Your questions can be about anything - I’m happy to talk about any challenges you’re facing, book related or not. It is my hope that this column becomes a place you feel comfortable sharing your thoughts when you feel uncertain about something.
WHO ARE YOU, TO BE RUNNING THIS COLUMN? My name is Ashley, and I’ve spent what feels like my entire life reading and writing. I grew up reading because it was fun and because it was so easy to fall in love with characters and stories. I loved how powerful it felt, too-- to envision myself as a character I particularly liked... like Hermione in Harry Potter, or Natalie in The School Story. When I was in high school though, reading became even more empowering as I realized that I could read to expand my knowledge on whatever I wanted! While I grew up reading books that helped me to dream big, in high school I learned that I could read books that would give me the skills and knowledge necessary to turn those younger dreams into action.
On the other hand, I write because I feel like I have to. I have BiPolar Disorder II, and sometimes there’s a lot of thoughts swirling around in my head. When I write though, I transfer the thoughts out of my head and onto paper...it frees up my mind and feels deeply relieving. Creative, too.
learned the weight that words carry, and the impact that they can have.
I also like the challenge of it; It’s so fun, getting to create something beautiful and work through the points that are tough. I like the trust in oneself that writing requires too.
I have also published two books, both of which I felt a compelling sense of urgency to write. I wrote Survival of the Prettiest as a survival guide for young girls, all about body image and popularity and mental health. I am so proud of it, and feel so lucky to have spent so much time engaging in the creative battle of writing a book.
“The pen is mightier than the sword” Writing is how I can convey meaningful messages. When I was 15 years old, I grew frustrated that all of my friends and I were struggling with body image, mental health issues, and abusive relationships. So, I decided to do something. Naturally, I turned to reading and writing; I read as much as I possibly could on the subject of self-esteem. With the information I learned from reading, I was devastated, angry, and ultimately determined to make a change. Relying on my skills of writing content and speaking, I co-founded an organization called MOVE: Motivate. Overcome. Value. Empower. Today, I am 21 years old and have delivered over 70 MOVE workshops and directed 5 summer programs - all for middle and high school aged girls. Writing has helped me spread my message, and through that I have
“I have rediscovered my voice. And I would like to share it with you” - Myself, on the back cover of Survival of the Prettiest
WHAT’S NEXT? I will do my absolute best to answer your questions as truthfully and kindly as possible. I am not a dismissive person; I promise to take you and your thoughts seriously, and I really want to. What questions do you have? :) Let me know, send an email to ashley@curiositales. com. I’m excited to hear from you! Yours, Ashley
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DIVERSITY IN MEDIA The importance of diversity and representation in media lies simply in the fact that we live in a diverse world. And all of the different kinds of people around the world deserve to see themselves in media. This world we live in is one filled with all kinds of people. People from all over the world, who worship different gods, who love different people... Fact: the world is diverse and media should reflect that diversity. Media is one of the most powerful tools in society today. The media people consume influences them, whether it is literature,
BY KAVYA THE BIBLIOPHILE
television, or movies. When that media only shows a fraction of what the world truly looks like, it leaves a lasting impact on the people who consume it. And the marginalized communities who often get cut out of media feel the negative effects of that exclusion. Media has the ability to act as both a window and a mirror for people. One show can represent every aspect of you and give the comfort and absolute joy that comes with being represented, acting as a mirror. Another can act as a window and show you the experience of someone completely different from you, which ultimately gives you an enriching experience.
enriching experience. Diversity in media provides a positive experience for all people and gives everyone the chance to see themselves on the screen in front of them. Everyone deserves that same opportunity. But a more complex discussion exists around the importance of representation in media. First of all, it is important to note that there is a difference between these terms diversity and representation. When stripped down, diversity literally means variety. Representation, on the other hand, is the portrayal of something. For example, if you read a book with a character of color, but there is no discussion about that character’s ethnicity or culture, that would be considered diversity. Representation would be including a discussion about that character’s experiences being of color, or discussion about their culture, etc.
Let’s look at this way. Having a gay couple in a movie is great. That’s certainly incorporating diversity in your work. But representation would be discussing the experiences of that couple, and the experiences of the members of that relationship. Going above and beyond to truly represent members of the LGBTQIAP+ is so much more authentic and will resonate so deeply with viewers from the community. Everyone definitely does deserve to see themselves in media. But everyone also deserves to share their experiences and to have their stories heard. And obviously everyone’s experiences are different. The experience of one disabled person is not the same as another disabled person’s experience. Diverse people are not a monolith - no one group of people ever is.
But that’s the beauty of representation. It allows us to share the different experiences and stories of people from the same marginalized community. Representative So as previously mentioned, it is relatively media allows us to have issue books that simple to grasp why media should have a deal with the #BlackLivesMatter movevariety of people, or, in other words, be ment, while also having an adorable, diverse. But representation is much more light-hearted romance where two black complex. teens fall in love. At the base level, the importance of representation goes back to my previous statement - everyone deserves to see themselves in media. Creating a diverse movie is certainly a step in the right direction, but there is something so much more authentic about representing different groups of people in that movie.
No two people are ever the same. Whether in terms of personality, appearance, or any other characteristics including marginalized identities of people. Media is a powerful tool, but media that represents all kinds of people is an unstoppable tool.
There is something utterly unique about the unadulterated joy that comes with seeing yourself in media for the first time when that has been lacking in your life for years, a feeling that cannot be explained unless you experience it yourself. Coming back full circle to overarching discussion of the importance of diversity and representation in media, the fact of the matter is that diverse media is realistic media. Diverse media accurately reflects the world we live in. So, why is diversity and representation in media important? We need diverse media so that our media is realistic, and we need representative media so that all people can open a book and see a character they resonate with on all levels. Every child should have the ability to turn on the T.V. and see a character that looks like them. Every teen should be able to watch a movie and see characters that are going through the same struggles as them. Every person should have the same access to the power of media, and diverse and representative media is a huge step in that direction.
Kav is a 16-year old booktuber, writer, and co-host of Book Bound Society who loves media, books, and social justice. They are frequently active on Twitter and YouTube talking about a combination of book-related and social justice-related topics. They enjoy fawning over James Carstairs, playing with Representative media allows all viewers to their pets, consuming too much caffeine, and find characters they see themselves in and interacting with members of the book comit allows all people to see their story on the munity. You can often find them active here: screen in front of them. https://www.youtube.com/c/xreadingsolacex What matters to you? Email email@example.com for your It Matters piece to be considered.
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FUR SHOES AND GLASS SLIPPERS We all know the story of Cinderella. She’s the one who gets a gown and glass slippers from her fairy godmother. No, wait. The shoes are made of fur and she’s gifted them by a tree. Or maybe the gown’s from her dead mother who is also a tree? She goes to a ball. She goes to three balls. Her stepsisters cut off parts of their feet… or maybe they just don’t get to marry a prince, which is totally on the same consequence level. And hey, what about the talking mice? Turns out Cinderella isn’t actually the
BY EMMA SAVANT
whole story. It’s just one of many, many stories, all classified under the Aarne– Thompson–Uther (ATU) folktale type 510A. Yes, fairy tales have their very own classification systems, and they are awesome. There are two major indices used by people who study fairy tales and folklore: the Aarne–Thompson Tale Type Index (first published in 1910 and cataloged by AT or AaTh numbers) and the Aarne–Thompson–Uther classification system (developed in 2004 and cataloged by ATU numbers). Both classification systems group fairy tales and folk tales into a tree that con-
tains an astounding number of categories, sub-categories, and specific stories that recur over and over in the body of folklore. For example, if you were to drill down from a primary category, you may find a sequence that narrows down from “Tales of Magic” to “Supernatural or Enchanted Wife (Husband) or Other Relative” to “Brother or Sister” to type 451: “The Nurse looking for her Brothers.” Examples of type 451 include, among others, the English tale “The Six Swans” and the Norwegian tale “The Twelve Wild Ducks.” These fairy tales and folk tales have evolved over time. Most arose from an oral tradition, which means they were passed down from person to person long before they were ever written down. As you may know from playing a game of Telephone, stories change in the retelling--which is part of why there can be so many variations on a single story! Some fairy tales started off as true accounts of things that actually happened, some were simply invented to entertain, and still others stories were intentionally developed as morality tales that came with a lesson, like “Don’t wander into the woods alone” or “Obey your parents or bad things will happen to you.” And by bad, they meant bad. After all, most fairy tales in the oral tradition were much, much darker than the Disney interpretations we’re familiar with today. These stories weren’t intended for children--they were intended for everybody, and could be just as frightening and explicit as any of our R-rated films today. Themes of incest, cannibalism, murder,
and abuse are rampant in the earliest fairy tales, and many of the tellers didn’t shy away from sexual situations or bodily functions. (Research the earliest versions of Little Red Riding Hood at your own risk.) Perhaps most interestingly, the majority of our most well-known fairy tales went down many evolutionary paths, which explains why Cinderella might wear glass slippers in one story and fur shoes in another, or why Beauty (of Beauty and the Beast) might have a ton of siblings or none at all, depending on the tale. The ATU classifies the core stories regardless of their superficial details: Consequently, Cinderella, no matter her wardrobe choices or magical benefactors, is always a Persecuted Heroine (type 510A). These fairy tales are easier to study and classify than they were a few hundred years ago, thanks to anthropologists and authors who began compiling existing tales and writing new ones in the 16th and 17th centuries. Collectively, these individuals accumulated an incredible number of folk tales. Brothers Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm compiled over 200 stories, Andrew Lang collected enough fairy tales to fill 25 books, and Joseph Jacobs published multiple collections of fairy tales gathered from English, Celtic, and Indian sources--and these are just a sample. Other authors contributed to this large body of work by writing original fairy tales, many intended especially for children. Hans Christian Andersen, the Danish author, wrote a remarkable 3,381
being released every year. These retellings are set in diverse environments, from the fairy tales, many of which feature strong Christian themes and morals. Other writ- magical world of Ella Enchanted by Gail ers include Marie-Catherine d’Aulnoy, who Carson Levine to the scifi universe of The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer. Some coined the term contes de fées (“fairy retellings are obvious nods to the stories tales”), and Charles Perrault, who based that inspired them, while others are more many of his works on existing tales and whose version of Cendrillon (or Cinderel- removed, borrowing only a few elements la) is among the most widely known today. or the core of the plot from the earlier stories. No matter the setting, though, most of these retellings include key fairy Together, these collections capture a tale elements that fit into the ATU classifivaluable cross-section of the stories humans have been telling one another for as cation system. long as we’ve had the capacity to underIf you’d like to learn more about the ATU, stand narrative. Collections assembled check out the Multilingual Folk Tale Datain different centuries and decades show base. There, you can find not only a list of the evolution of stories as they were passed from storyteller to storyteller over the ATU classifications, but also examples of stories that fall within each type. To generations, while the ATU helps us see find other fairy tale retellings, check out how stories have changed and stayed the this Goodreads list. same. These days, fairy tales are still evolving, and we’re still basing our new stories on the old ones. The genre of fairy tale retellings is robust, with new books and movies Emma Savant lives with her husband and cat in a small town in Oregon, where she spends way too much time watching Star Trek and eating nachos. She loves fairy tales and once took an archery class in the hopes of becoming more Narnian. If you want to be the first to know when Emma’s next book is coming out, please sign up for her newsletter.
Read a preview of Emmaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s book on Page 156
pen Book Chocolates is a marriage between two passions: literature and
chocolate. Food can be a powerful instrument in storytelling, from the Muscat grapes MercĂŠdĂ¨s
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arriving Fall 2018
If you find the need, if there’s something that you’re aching for, maybe that’s the thing – you fill it.
THE POWER OF STORIES
H Interview by Gillian St. Clair Written by Kelsey Herston
ave you ever wished you could read a book that was essentially a combination of Graceling by Kristin Cashore, The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood and Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen? Or maybe you’ve never imagined a book that amazing could be real. Whatever the case, I have some great news. This book does exist, and was written by author Bree Barton.
Besides the fact that writing and dancing bring her joy, she has also found they help Barton’s book Heart of Thorns will debut with her depression, something she has on July 31, 2018 from Katherine Tegen/ dealt with since her first major depresHarperCollins. The book follows Mia sive episode at the age of eleven. And she Rose, a seventeen-year-old girl who has is not alone. Barton says the class attracts chosen to spend her life hunting women like the ones who killed her mother. These girls who are creative and thoughtful, women aren’t like most humans; they are many of whom struggle with anxiety and other mental health challenges. demons with dark magic who are able to kill without leaving a single scratch. But Every class lasts six weeks and involves a things change when Mia discovers she, lot of writing prompts and a lot of danctoo, has this forbidden magic. Barton’s debut will be the first book in what Harp- ing. “It’s such a funny hybrid,” Barton says, “but it’s been great to build this little er is calling “a fierce feminist fantasy” community of girls and women.” trilogy—something Bree is very happy with. Building a community through stories is something that Barton strongly believes “I’m just baffled by people’s fear of the in. “Stories are such a great way to conword ‘feminism,’” she says. “I’ve had to nect with other people and to deepen our educate a couple of my family members who say, ‘Oh, I believe in women’s rights, own empathy,” she says, which is why she has chosen to use her author platform but I wouldn’t call myself a feminist.’ To which I say, ‘That’s what being a feminist to talk about what is important to her. This includes breaking the stigma around means!’” mental health. When hearing Barton discuss the book, Barton points out that many creative peothis comes as no surprise. In it, the feple deal with some form of mental illness, male body has evolved in response to all the ways women are treated poorly. “The and she’s had many people reach out to her and thank her for reminding them magic in the world of HoT comes from they are not alone. “We need to be talking systematic abuses,” Barton says. “Women’s bodies have evolved to create a more about mental illness,” she says. “People are hungry for it.” equitable balance of power.” Along with being an author, Barton is also a ghostwriter and a dance teacher. Last year she created a free dance/writing class for teen girls called Rock ‘n’ Write. “It’s so fun,” she says. “It was a dream I’ve wanted to realize for a long time: merging my two favorite things.”
Writing is not her only method of telling stories. During her teens and twenties, Barton was an actor. She still makes videos on YouTube, which gives her a chance to showcase what she calls her “bonedeep silliness.” Barton recognizes the importance of nurturing creativity in a variety of ways. She tries to take a craft class
every year: photography, collaging, fused glass and taxidermy, to name a few. She doesn’t always do well in these classes— her taxidermied bird has more holes than a swatch of cheesecloth—but she always has fun. For years she felt stymied by her own chosen profession: all she did was write and edit, both for her day job and her own creative pursuits. After a while, she thought, “I miss taking dancing classes.” When she started dancing again, movement came back into her life. “Then I went through a particularly bad bout of writer’s block and thought, I need to be creative in ways that aren’t solely about words.” That’s when she started seeking out craft classes. Barton believes that oftentimes, we silo ourselves. Unfortunately, school tends to reinforce this. “Do we really expect seventeen-yearolds to know what they’re doing for the rest of their lives?” Barton says. “I still don’t entirely know what I’m doing with mine!” This is something that has been on her mind recently since Cat—Barton’s eighteen-year-old sister and the reason she writes YA—starts college in August. “I think we put such immense pressure on young men and women at this age. Even the ones who think they know exactly what they want to do with their life might realize years later that they missed out on exploring all the possibilities. I was absolutely sure at eighteen that I wanted to be an actor, and my life has taken so many turns since then.”
Barton is happy her sister is not rushing into anything just yet. Instead, Cat will be exploring a variety of classes to figure out what speaks to her soul and what doesn’t, rather than allowing her school to force her into a cookie-cutter shape. Figuring out what you love to do and what you are good at—and finding the places those two things overlap—can take some time and exploring. Finding a way to use what you love as a means to contribute to the world can seem like an even more daunting task, especially if you are shy or have anxiety, depression, or another form of mental illness. For those who relate, Barton recommends you figure out what stokes the fire inside you. Once you figure that out, you can find ways to create it yourself. She says this because she knows how much her younger self would have benefited from something like Rock ‘n’ Write. “I was so unhappy and scared at fourteen,” she says. “People weren’t talking about mental illness when I was in high school. So if I’d had a kooky adult woman be like, ‘We’re going to get together once a week to dance and write’—I mean, in all fairness, I probably would have raised a skeptical eyebrow. But then I’d have gone and stumbled upon this amazing community of girls and women. It might have changed my life.” Barton is quick to clarify that it’s not like a dance/writing class would have been some kind of magical elixir. “I don’t believe in cures and elixirs,” Barton says, “which I tell my girls, too. You certainly
can’t think your way out of depression by ‘living in abundance’ or eating nightshades. I also tell them that there is nothing wrong with you if you have mental illness. For me it’s been about finding ways to live with depression, to survive and thrive and craft a life that makes me happy. Medication has helped. Therapy has helped. Dancing has definitely helped. And I think, if I’d found these things at fourteen instead of twenty-eight, I would have spent less time depressed and alone, struggling to get out of bed.” That is why she believes it is important to discover what it is you need before you can provide that for others. “If you find the need, if there’s something you’re aching for, maybe that’s your clue,” Barton says. “The thing you want more of might be the exact need you were made to fill.” Of course that doesn’t mean doing the thing you were made to do will be easy. Barton says there have been many moments on the road to publication where she thought she had “arrived,” only to feel like she was then catapulted right back to the beginning. Which is something that, unfortunately, doesn’t get easier. “I am awful with rejection,” Barton says, “and it’s not like I’ve removed rejection from my life. In some ways, every tier is just more rejection that hurts even worse.” Writing, and in particular, publishing, can be a long, arduous process. She describes it as graduating from one tier of waiting to another tier of waiting. She says, “Every
single time I think, ‘Yes! I’ve arrived!’ Only to realize, ‘Oh wait, I have to wait another six months to get rejected in exciting new ways.’” Barton says that, as time goes on, “it feels like you get higher highs and lower lows. It’s such a rough scenario to be thrown into when you already struggle with depression—or any kind of mental illness, really. It’s basically like: you’re going to feel awesome . . . and then you’re going to feel like shit. Lather, rinse, repeat.” All of that being said, Barton does believe it’s worth it. “I’ve wanted to have a book on the shelf with my name on it since I was eight years old. Despite all the highs and lows, I feel wildly lucky to be here—and incredibly grateful.” She recently enjoyed a terrific high when Heart of Thorns was chosen for a popular YA book subscription box in the UK. Barton signed five thousand tip-ins, which will be bound into the finished copy, a special limited edition with sprayed pages. Signing her name five thousand times took her about twelve hours. “That might not sound like fun,” she says, “but honestly, doing those tip-ins was one of the best parts of this whole process. I loved it. And my signature was so good by the end!” Barton is clearly passionate about writing. She says it helps her process what is going on in the world. “I sure hope it helps other people, too,” she says,” because I’m a horrible activist. I almost had a panic attack at the women’s march. I’m such an introvert,
and I feel guilty—I know I should be doing more. But at least writing a story feels like a way of sending a message of solidarity to other introverts. Honestly, I think we need stories now more than ever.” Even though writers have a talent for putting thoughts into words, sometimes they find themselves unable to accurately express what they’re going through, especially when they’re working with mental illness. This is something Barton discussed in one of her monthly newsletters, which you can subscribe to here. In it she wrote about how depression can affect her ability to write. Despite having gone to a magical writing workshop filled with amazing women who shared great stories and ideas with one another, none of that mattered when she came home. Why? Because depression is not always logical. “My depression is quiet on social media; it knows it won’t be welcome there,” she wrote. “So it takes up residence in my mind. It says: Stay in bed. You do not have what it takes to face this day.” But staying in bed only brings guilt for doing nothing. On this particular night Barton wrote about, she did get out of bed. She launched the next session of Rock ‘n’ Write, where she and ten young women did the two things she said “have saved me more times than I can count. They continue to save me, even today.” Stories can be powerful and genuinely impact the lives of those who read them. This is something Barton fiercely believes. In another newsletter, she wrote about having a folder on her computer with the title
“Stories Save.” It included writing-related tidbits she had saved over the years: works in progress, story ideas, even story rejections. “At my lowest lows this month, on the days I was able to find my way back to the words, a light switched on in a dark room.” Stories are powerful. “They enlighten, enrage, baffle, heal, and goad us on to being better artists, better listeners, better humans. That’s the story I want to believe in,” Barton wrote. “The story of us.” If you would like to read one of Barton’s stories, check out her novel Heart of Thorns, which is already receiving great reviews. It will debut on July 31, but you can preorder it on Amazon right now. You can also visit her website at breebarton.com, or come say hi at one of the fourteen stops on her U.S. book tour.
Share Your Shelf with Bree Barton
Bree shares her favorite bookish items, memories, and experiences. 1. MAGIC MUG. I bought this mug at the Museum of Icelandic Sorcery & Witchcraft, so it is quite literally magic, with a black witchy symbol inked onto the ivory. I’m not usually superstitious, but I am about this mug: I drink tea out of it every morning. When the museum owner sold it to me, he walked to the back room, opened a secret drawer, and handed me a small leather grimoire bound in brown twine. Inside was the same dark symbol and indecipherable Icelandic. Fun fact: this museum is known for the infamous “Necropants.” Google it. You are in for a (horrific) treat.
4. EGGS, POTATOES, AND SWISS CHARD. My power breakfast! It feels like clean fuel for my brain, and on a good day I can work 4-5 hours straight afterwards. Would I prefer to eat a blackberry pastry? OF COURSE I WOULD. But if I eat a pastry, I crash after an hour.
5. DANCE MIX. I’m a big fan of impromptu dance parties, and one thing that really helps when I feel blocked is to move my body. Current booty-shaking faves are Janelle Monáe, Meghan Trainor, Selena Gomez—and Hamilton, of course. Dancing has been incredibly 2. EARBUDS. I like working at cafés. healing when I’m in the midst of a bad When I’m in the zone, nothing distracts depression; it also shakes the dust off me. For the times I have trouble switching my creativity. I created Rock ‘n’ Write, into the zone, earbuds can save the day. a free dance-and-writing class for teen Sometimes I pop them in my ears and girls, to merge my two great loves. then forget to actually plug them into my laptop. But if I’m that oblivious, it usually 6. I WAS EIGHT THE FIRST TIME I means I’ve hit my stride! met a famous author. I don’t remember who she was or what she wrote, 3. Journals. I was recently part of a “Jubut I remember her telling me, “Write venilia” event hosted by Nova Ren Suma what you know!” There are pieces of where nine women and I read excerpts my real-life experience in every story, from our childhood diaries. We laughed sure. But the great thing about fanso hard we cried. Then we legit cried. tasy is: you get to write what you don’t There’s something so wonderful—and know, too. Thanks, Author-I-Can’tpowerful—about witnessing our younger Remember, for making me a rebel. selves putting words on a page. One of the coolest things was that we could still hear our distinct voices, even back then.
9. FINLEY FERGUS FITZGERALD III. Aka, my dog. My writer friends are al7. DESKS. I can’t stand them. How do ways posting pictures of their adorable people work at desks? I have horrific dogs sprawled out on the sofa beside posture while writing: I look like a troll them while they write. That is not my dog. or some other stooped woodland creature. When I’m in the zone, I can go hours Finley is an abysmal couch buddy: if I sit down beside him, he will get up and move without realizing I am coiled up like a snail on the hardwood floor. I try to force to the other couch. But he’s very cute, and myself to sit on sofas, but I still slouch, so I’ve found that rubbing his butt is an excellent way to curry favor/procrastinate I end up propping myself up on a lot of pillows. You can tell where I’ve been writ- on my writing. ing in the house on any given day because 10. YOUTUBE! Back before I was a solithere are usually five to eight pillows tary writer shaped like a snail, I used to stacked up like Stonehenge. do improvisational comedy. I miss the 8. I ONCE GHOSTWROTE A BOOK for a sense of wildness I felt being on stage, the exhilaration—and terror—of not knowwoman who wanted a modern-day Cinderella story with steamy 50-Shades-of- ing what would happen next. My improv teachers have given me some of the very Grey-inspired love scenes—that offered practical financial advice to women. True best lessons in storytelling. Something people may not know about me is that, story. though my book can get pretty dark, I’m a total goofball. My YouTube videos give me a place to be silly . . . and to dress Finley up in costumes he hates. #WorthIt.
FINLEY AND THE MAGIC MUG
BOOKISHBRONTE WHAT IS THE HARDEST PART OF THE CREATIVE PROCESS?
When an idea that looks great in your head doesn’t work in practise, that’s always really frustrating and ends up with a bit of a sulk. It’s always really disheartening when you see direct copies of your photos that you have worked really hard on, that’s a bit of a blow. WHAT INSPIRES YOUR BOOKSTAGRAM?
get inspired by a lot of the images I see on Pinterest (when I’m not on Instagram, that’s where you’ll find me!) I also get inspired a lot by fairytales, as well as the actual book covers themselves. I love doing recreations of book covers at the moment!
Maggie Stiefvater. I picked up her The Wolves of Mercy Falls series when I was a pre-teen and got completely hooked. The rest is history!
I think it would be really cool to sit down with any of the female author’s from the 1800s who had to have their work published under male pseudonyms. I’d love to tell them how far female author’s had come, and how influential their work still is.
DESCRIBE YOUR BOOKSTAGRAM FEED
Whimsical and fun. My favourite photos I do are whimsical type photos, but I love to throw a more ‘fun’ looking one in there every so often to cater for all different types of followers.
WHAT BOOK CAN YOU READ OVER AND OVER? There’s two that I could read over and over; The Summer that Melted Everything by Tiffany McDaniel and Beasts of Extraordinary Circumstance by Ruth Emmie Lang (trust me when I say the blurb does not do this book justice!)
“He’s more myself than I am. Whatever our souls are made of, his and mine are the same.” Wuthering Heights
NOVELSCRIPT WHAT IS THE HARDEST PART OF THE CREATIVE PROCESS?
Still enjoying what you create a week after it’s “finished.” IF YOU COULD SIT DOWN TO DINNER WITH ONE AUTHOR, WHO WOULD IT BE?
R. L. Stine, surely.
WHAT INSPIRES YOUR BOOKSTAGRAM?
My bulletjournal, actually. Wordsmith Bibliophile Coffee addict Fantasy author
HOW DID YOU ORIGINALLY GET INTO BOOKSTAGRAM AND BLOGGING?
By accident. I found out about it through a blog post featuring diverse booktubers to know? I wanted to know what Booktube was and here I am.
DESCRIBE YOUR BOOKSTAGRAM FEED
A cry for help, hahaha. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE BOOKISH PRODUCT?
Candles. And bookish teas. I’m in love with Riddle’s Tea Shoppe.
WHAT’S NEXT IN YOUR TBR? Rain of Ash by Gwen Mitchell. I’m really excited about it, I love her world building. WHAT BOOK CAN YOU READ OVER AND OVER? Ella Enchanted. I’ve read it more times than any other book I own.
“Always.” It’s so powerful how one word shook a generation. Also, if you don’t know what book that’s from, I need a drink right now.
STARFALLINGPAGES WHAT IS THE HARDEST PART OF THE CREATIVE PROCESS?
The hardest part is actually coming up with an idea for the photo AND the caption. Sometimes I need hours to write the right caption that will maybe speak to a lot of my followers so that they will interact with me (which is one of the most beautiful parts about bookstagram by the way!) WHAT INSPIRES YOUR BOOKSTAGRAM?
y feed is inspired by other bookstagrammers or lifestyle accounts! I love to try something new and I’m currently very happy with my outdoor feed. I also use Pinterest when I have no inspiration at all, it’s a great platform for photography inspiration.
My favourite bookish products are definitely bookish candles or bookmarks. Although the most bookish candles are actually too beautiful to burn them.
A friend of mine had a bookstagram and I was just fascinated by the idea of blogging about books and photographing them! That’s when I decided to start my own bookstagram, to try my luck with Instagram and blogging and it was honestly the best decision of my life!
DESCRIBE YOUR BOOKSTAGRAM FEED
I would describe my bookstagram feed as colorful, diversified (at least I try!) and cheerful; there is nearly not a photo on my feed right now where I don’t smile like crazy :D
WHAT AUTHOR OR BOOK GAVE YOU YOUR LOVE OF READING? I think it was Kerstin Gier with her book Ruby Red. It was my first “real” book and I totally fell in love with this series and with reading in general.
“Don’t let the hard days win.” It’s just a beautiful reminder that we should never give up and that better days will come and the hard ones will eventually go.
WANDERLOST.SOUL WHAT IS THE HARDEST PART OF THE CREATIVE PROCESS?
When you get this random photo idea and you get so excited by it but once you actually try to take photos with said idea, it doesn’t turn out the way you planned. This has happened to me way too many times than I could count but I think that’s the beauty of it all—you get to learn how to be patient and innovative along the way.
WHAT INSPIRES YOUR BOOKSTAGRAM?
here are a lot of things that inspire me on an everyday basis. There’s something about the way the sunlight hits my room at an angle, or when I look at my feet and somehow I manage to try and balance a book between them.
I get inspiration everywhere.
Angie Thomas wrote the creative masterpiece that is The Hate U Give. If given the chance to sit down with her, I would thank her for opening my eyes to the harsh realities of our world and society, for creating characters who are extremely relatable, and for making me feel so many emotions at once.
WHAT’S NEXT IN YOUR TBR ? Ooh, this is definitely one of the hardest questions to answer because I have so many. But I think the one book that I would die to own and read would be Circe by Madeline Miller. I am a sucker for mythology, especially Greek and it doesn’t help that I’ve been hearing nothing but great things about this book. Plus, it has a gorgeous cover—perfect for bookish photos.
WHAT BOOK GAVE YOU YOUR LOVE OF READING? The Hunger Games trilogy and The Shadowhunter Chronicles—I swear, when people ask me this exact question, both of these are my default answers. I was not the biggestfan of reading when I was younger; a lot of people started reading Harry Potter and Narnia at a young age, but it just wasn’t happening. It only so happened that both of these series were picked up for movie franchises and by then (around 2012), everyone was raving about them and so I had to pick them up. Let’s just say that the rest is history.
“One must always be careful of books and what is inside them, for words have the power to change us.”
THEBOOKWORM OFNOTREDAME WHAT IS THE HARDEST PART OF THE CREATIVE PROCESS?
Definitely getting inspired and coming up with new ideas! It can be so hard to be unique on Instagram and having to be inspired all the time can be quite hard as well. Sometimes I face a huge slump when it comes to taking pictures and it always makes me so sad, even though I know it’ll always go away.
WHAT INSPIRES YOUR BOOKSTAGRAM?
tend to get inspired by ever y t h ing around me, including Paris, the city I live in, but also Pinterest and the other accounts I follow in Instagram.
I always adored the book The Hunchback of Notre-Dame by Victor Hugo and as Notre-Dame is my favourite monument in the world, I thought it’ll make sense to be called after it! (I am always around it.)
I could do that”. So I created my account to post pictures I wanted to see online, but quickly disappeared. A year after, I came back because I said during an interview that I had a bookstagram account and just thought that it could be a nice and fun thing to do during my free time. That’s when I truly started my bookstagram account and I never left! I started my blog a few months after, but again really started it later on, mostly because I wanted to talk about important things and also because I think that it’s nice to have it next to my Instagram account to be able to write real reading wrap-ups.
HOW DID YOU ORIGINALLY GET INTO BOOKSTAGRAM? It is important to know that I have been obsessed with booktube since I was 13 or 14, and always wanted to try. However, I was very worried about people’s judgement towards my appearance and accent (I am French but always talk in English on my social media). I started to follow some bookstagram accounts over the year, and one day I just thought, “Hey,
IF YOU COULD SIT DOWN TO DINNER WITH ONE AUTHOR, WHO WOULD IT BE? Right now, all I want is to meet V.E. Schwab. I already met her briefly twice at a book fair this year but I would love to be able to really talk with her for a while as she may be my favourite author of all time. She is a huge inspiration in my daily life (I can’t thank her enough for talking about anxiety online) and the author I would dream to become (but never will be).
“We live and breathe words.” As I can’t have a tattoo for medical reason, I have this quote engrave in my watch to always have it with me.
READSFORKEEPS WHAT IS THE HARDEST PART OF THE CREATIVE PROCESS?
Balancing my time for work, studies, and bookstagramming. There are days when I get exhausted and ran out of photos, captions and time to write a book review so what I do is I usually plan my TBR pile and take photos during the weekends or whenever I have a day off.
WHAT INSPIRES YOUR BOOKSTAGRAM?
o be honest, I’m an amateur when it comes to bookstagramming. I must say I’m very fond of latte art, bright backgrounds, and coffee shops. I think both are what inspires my feed.
I do love collecting bookmarks and right now I have 40 of them.
WHAT’S NEXT IN YOUR TBR ? How To Walk Away by Katherine Center WHAT BOOK CAN YOU READ OVER AND OVER? Harry Potter and the Half-blood Prince. It’s my favorite out of the seven books! It always brings me to tears!
It started when I was in the middle of moving jobs so while at home I had lots of spare time which I used for reading and I’d post them everytime I finish. My friends would often comment on it and ask book suggestions and that’s when it hit me, why not start an account that’s mainly for the books I read? From there, I discovered how big the book community is on Instagram. It’s fascinating.
WHAT BOOK GAVE YOU YOUR LOVE OF READING? As cliche as it sounds, it’s J.K Rowling’s The Harry Potter series. It will always have a place in my heart. Always. IF YOU COULD SIT DOWN TO DINNER WITH ONE AUTHOR, WHO WOULD IT BE? Aside from JK Rowling, it’s Khaled Hosseini. His books have brought great inspiration to my life.
“We are only as strong as we are united, as weak as we are divided.” J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
IAMMISSMISTAKE WHAT IS THE HARDEST PART OF THE CREATIVE PROCESS?
Finding time. In my case, I do a lot of stuff, I work, study... therefore being able to find time to explore my ideas and execute them is very hard.
WHAT INSPIRES YOUR BOOKSTAGRAM?
think the best and shortest answer I could say is: anything colorful! I love everything that is colorful and bright. I love bringing magic and life to my pics.
To books, music, life and love.
I wanted to open an account for the past two years but I never found time neither the moment for it. And then, last June 2017, after I quit what was my current job at that time in order to move to New York, I decided to jump into Bookstagram!
WHATâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;S NEXT IN YOUR TBR ? The Wicked Deep by Shea Ernshaw WHAT BOOK CAN YOU READ OVER AND OVER? The Gema Doyle Trilogy!
WHAT BOOK GAVE YOU YOUR LOVE OF READING?
One Spanish author called Laura Gallego García and her book series ‘Memorias de Idhún’, and the most important ones to me, The Gemma Doyle Trilogy by Libba Bray (huge fan).
“despite knowing they won’t be here for long they still choose to live their brightest lives” (rupi kaur)
TUTORIAL: These velvet ribbon bookmarks are so simple, but the finished result is gorgeous. You wonâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t be able to make just one! I made mine to match my favorite genre, classic English Literature.
BY JOY HUDGINS
These would make great gifts to any special reader in your life.
DIY Ribbon Bookmark Supplies: 1 inch width velvet ribbon (9 inches per bookmark)
Hello there! I recently joined a book club to connect with some lovely ladies in our new town. When I stumbled accross these velvet ribbon bookmarks featured in Country Living Magazine, I felt inspired to get crafty! These ribbon bookmarks will make beautiful handmade gifts for my book loving friends and family. Plus, I have shelves full of velvet ribbonâ&#x20AC;Śhow did I not make these sooner?! I used buttons, pendants, and velvet from my shop, as well as a broken earring from my jewelry box. You could also purchase any charms and pendants that fit your style or recycle broken jewelry pieces!
1 inch (25mm) Ribbon crimp ends (this listing includes split rings) 6mm split rings Pendants or recycled broken jewelry Pliers Jump Ring Pliers (if using double jump rings) A measuring tape Pinking shears (for cutting velvet)
HOW TO MAKE RIBBON BOOKMARKS
BY ALFIANBRAND PHOTOGRAPHER KAM STUDIO
HOW TO MAKE RIBBON BOOKMARKS: First, measure and cut your ribbon to nine inches (or whatever width you prefer to fit your favorite book!) Next, Carefully insert the velvet ribbon into the end crimp pieces so it is straight and pushed all the way into the opening. Use your pliers to carefully clamp the crimp end down onto the ribbon on both sides, as well as the center to fully close the clamp. Use split ring pliers to open the jump rings, and attach the pendants to each end of the bookmark, sliding the pendant around the jump ring until attached (just like a tiny keyring). You can use broken jewelry pieces, cool vintage key charms, or any pendant you love! I used a blue and white floral pendant on one end, and a vintage style pearl shank button on the other.
And Voila! I love quick projects like this that are simple to make, but look so pretty and detailed. These would make great gifts to any special reader in your life. I can’t wait to show off my “book bling” at the next book club! If you decide to create some ribbon bookmarks of your own, I would love to see what you create!
ABOUT JOY: I enjoy a good cup of tea, and getting my hands dirty in the garden. At heart, I am an introvert, though I try my best not to show it. I have a bit of an obsession with haberdashery. When we were stationed in Alabama, I discovered a filing cabinet full of vintage sewing patterns, and a trunk full of ribbon in an antique warehouse. That turned into an Etsy shop, JoyfullyTreasured, that offers vintage and inspired sewing and craft supplies. Find out more at joyfullytreasured.com
Every month weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ll hold giveaways on social media. Follow us @curiositales to make sure you get notified when itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s time to enter.
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On Monday She Travelled to India short story by Alanah Andrews
I fell in love through the lens of her letters. I slowly gained strength from the magic in the ink. It wasn’t always this way. When Helena dropped that first letter into my lap I almost tore it into a thousand pieces. Thankfully, the thought of attempting to tear up anything – even paper – seemed like an insurmountable feat of strength at the time and so I begrudgingly slipped it into the drawer beside my bed and continued my usual routine. 1) Stare at the ceiling for a while. 2) Roll on my side and watch the little glowing digits that monitored my vital signs. 3) Roll back onto my back and stare at the ceiling again. You get the picture.
For two-and-a-half days I used up the last traces of my willpower in order to ignore that letter. Eventually, though, the growing feeling of curiosity got the better of me and I casually drew the curtains closed around my bed and retrieved the envelope from the drawer. It was white and blank and extremely ordinary. There was nothing to signal the wonders which I later discovered lay inside. Just two words on the front, written in flowing blue script. ‘To William.’ It pains me to remember how long it took my weakened hands to break open the seal that first time. The letter quivered as I shakily slid it out of the envelope. ‘Dear William,’ she had written in that precise handwriting, ‘On Wednesday I travelled to Italy.’ At first I hated her and her privileged life. The intensity of the anger I felt burning in my belly surprised me, and I became acutely aware of how long it had been since I had felt hate, or anger, or curiosity. How long it had been since I last felt alive.
When I finally decided to read the rest of the letter, that feeling transformed into something quite different. I devoured her description of the little white houses dotted along the bay. I swam with her in the warm, translucent water and felt the peculiar silky sensation of the sea as it enveloped my body. I read that first letter three times, and for an hour of my life I forgot that I was sick. I forgot that I spent the majority of my life in a ward at the hospital. I forgot about all the awful things that had happened to me as I explored Rome and Venice and Naples with her. Always with her. At the bottom of the letter she had signed off with ‘Until next time, Hope.’ Hope. The irony is not lost on me that I should be pulled from the depths of despair by a girl named Hope. For eighteen months she has described to me in acute detail all of the exotic places she has travelled to. Each carefully constructed sentence flows flawlessly into the next, so that her letters become both a work of art and a thrilling read. The words on each page melt quickly away and I find myself eagerly accompanying her on each adventure. In Spain we swam together in a sea of adjectives. In Africa we rode elephants in the sweltering heat. For eighteen months I have been slowly, but surely, falling in love. Hope is seventeen years old – a year older than me, although I try to forget this. Sometimes I fantasize about getting better and finally meeting her. We would get married somewhere exotic like Hawaii or Bali. The simple ceremony would take
place on a secluded beach, and we would kick off our shoes so we could feel the roughness of the sand on the soles of our bare feet. I can recite each of the twenty-three letters she has written to me, word for word. Certain phrases I return to regularly, turning them over in my mind and prodding them this way and that. Testing them for their truth. ‘Travel is food for the soul’, she wrote in her second letter. I disagree. I don’t believe in a soul. But I don’t bother arguing with her. I would much rather hear more about her adventures. ‘Tell me more about Paris’, I would reply eagerly. ‘Did the eyes of the Mona Lisa really look like they were following you?’ I don’t describe the hospital, and she doesn’t ask. What would I say? There are four beds in a big room. I keep my curtains shut. I know better than to make friends with people who are going to disappear. There are two regulars in the ward with me. Roger and Ellen. Sometimes they leave for days, even weeks at a time, but inevitably return. We make eye contact at times, and Ellen has even tried to speak to me.
I roll over and ignore her. What is the point? We’ll either get better (in which case we will have nothing common), or we won’t. Building friendships leads to disappointment.
tired. She doesn’t push the matter. I have no desire to meet her in person. Meeting her would certainly break the spell. The magic lies in the thrilling union of paper and ink.
Sometimes I hate the things Hope writes. The ignorant words of the well. ‘You are alive, William. Right now, you are alive. Be thankful for this.’ When I first read that sentence I felt all of my suppressed rage boiling to the surface. She doesn’t understand -- can’t understand -- what it’s like. Nothing is normal anymore. I don’t go to school. I don’t have any friends. My mum’s eyes glisten every time she looks at me. Even the nurses -- even Helena -- can’t hide the occasional flash of pity on their faces as I vomit after an especially taxing treatment. There is no point wishing, no point hoping -- it just gives you a longer way to fall.
You see, there is a vast difference between knowing that someone is sick and seeing someone who is sick. She will be imagining a Hollywood version of a teen fighting cancer. Have you ever googled ‘teenager with cancer’? They are smiling. Every single one of them. Their bald heads look beautiful and powerful. They have strength, they refuse to give up, even at the end. They give inspirational talks. They are on the covers of magazines. This is what Hope expects to see. The sanitised version. The socially appropriate attitude when you are sick. The desire to get well.
Every now and then she offers to visit me, a quick stop off between flights. I quickly dissuade her. I tell her that I’m busy that week, that I’m heading home, that I have a strenuous round of chemo to get through, that I’m
She doesn’t smell the harsh antiseptic odour which pervades the ward. Hear the pathetic muffled sounds of a girl crying in the middle of the night. She doesn’t see the pain which is an ever lingering presence behind those smiles. She doesn’t feel the bottomless pit which threatens to engulf us all. No, there is no possible way that she will ever be meeting me. Not like this. Nevertheless, with each letter that arrives I can imperceptibly feel myself healing. Growing stronger. First, my mind, and then – slowly – my body as well. I long for her responses, and wait impatiently as the days stretch into weeks.
weeks. Sometimes I am gripped with a sense of overwhelming panic that she isn’t going to reply. That I have received her last letter. That she has finally given up on me. In these moments of terror I re-read all of her old letters. I see her fiery red hair flow out behind her as we swim together. She turns to me and her emerald eyes sparkle happily with unsuppressed delight. And then, in the month of June, my nightmare became reality. For days… weeks… four weeks… six weeks… no letters arrived. Each time that Helena checked on me I would feel a surge of anticipation, but no more letters came. I was strong enough by now to spend most of my time in the small garden outside the ward. There was a secluded spot amongst the lilies where I would sit and daydream for hours. The loneliness I felt was amplified by the departure of the regulars in my ward around the same time. There was a party for Roger, so I know he was heading home. Ellen left more quietly, and I found myself hoping that she had simply been moved to a different ward, but I wasn’t so confident. In the third letter-less week, a new patient joined the ward. Josie. She would lie in bed for hours, listlessly. She looked so forlorn that I even broke my rule and tried to introduce myself, but she ignored me. I felt like I was staring into a mirror from eighteen months ago. It was a Friday when the letter finally arrived. I ripped it open without hesitation, wondering why she had taken so long to respond.
The first thing I noticed was the unusual length of the letter. Usually she would write four or five pages. This one wasn’t even half a page long. I began to read. ‘Dear William’, it started as usual, ‘On Monday, I am travelling to India.’ Something was different, although it took me a moment to pinpoint what it was. And then I realised. This was the first time that she had informed me of her travel plans before she had left. Usually she would write about her experiences when she was already in some far-off country. ‘I will be gone for a long time. Before I leave - It is time to meet.’ No, no, no. A thousand times no. But there was no return address on the envelope this time, no way of denying the inevitable. I was stronger now, though. The nurses even said I might head home soon. If there was a time to meet me, now was as good as any. I glanced through my inadequate pile of clothes as Helena re-entered the ward. ‘Hello William, there is someone here to see you.’ I felt myself go cold, wondering how she could possibly be here already. I had only just received the letter and, I thought irra-
tionally, I hadn’t had time to change yet. Ignoring my protests, Helena wheeled in a hospital bed which she proceeded to sidle up close to mine. The end was elevated slightly, so the occupant was half sitting up. The girl on the bed looked familiar but I couldn’t quite place it at first. Her face and arms were covered with tubes. With some shock and slight irritation, I realised it was Ellen, the girl who used to be across the room from me. Ellen, the one who disappeared abruptly. But I didn’t want to speak with Ellen, I was waiting for Hope. I was about to say this, when Helena left abruptly, and I was left awkwardly sitting next to a girl I hardly knew. At least it didn’t matter that I hadn’t changed, I thought. I looked more closely at her. She was thinner than I had ever seen her. I realised with some distress that she was clearly on the brink of death. I had the impulse to get away. Get far away. But I stayed sitting still on the hospital bed. Eventually she opened her eyes. ‘Hi William.’ Her voice was wispy and distant. Her eyes held mine for a couple of seconds, before closing tiredly. I could tell that she had been pumped full of drugs to ease the pain. ‘Hi Ellen.’ When I said her name she forced her eyelids open again. She tried to smile, but failed, instead giving me a lopsided grimace. ‘I just wanted to say goodbye.’ ‘Oh.’ I wished there was something more I
could say, but the truth was I hardly knew the girl. I felt embarrassed that she wanted to say goodbye to me when I couldn’t tell you the first thing about her. ‘Goodbye, Ellen.’ On a whim, hardly knowing why I did it, I reached out and held her hand. It was pale and cold, and so thin. My skin crawled and I had the impulse to wrench my hand away again, but I persisted. She didn’t open her eyes again. After a few minutes Helena returned and wheeled her away. With sudden certainty, I knew it would be the last time I saw her. I recommenced my vigil. ‘On Monday, I am travelling to India,’ she had said. But Monday came and went, and although I made sure I wore my best clothes, Hope didn’t come. I sought solace in re-reading her old letters. ‘Death is just another adventure.’ Another statement I disagreed with. I had dreamed about death more than once. It was cold and hollow and black. Some adventure. Nevertheless, for Ellen’s sake, I found myself wishing that Hope was right. On Wednesday, Helena finally informed me that I had another visitor. My heart soared. Hope hadn’t gone to India on Monday after all, she was here to see me before I left. And there she was, walking into my room her fiery red hair cascading to her waist as I had imagined so many times before. But something was wrong. As Helena left, I found myself staring dumbly at the woman who was standing beside my bed. And woman she was, not a seventeen year old girl - the lines on her face showed that she must have been at least 40, if not 50.
The silence dragged out, but I couldn’t seem to figure out what I was supposed to say. I felt like I was missing a key part of the puzzle. Eventually she cleared her throat and spoke in a quiet voice. I had a sense that she had been crying.
I tried to sort this out in my brain, when I realised that the woman beside me had started speaking again, in a painfully quiet way.
‘Hi William, you don’t know me. I’m Ellen’s mum.’
The woman started regretfully repeating herself, and one part of the puzzle fell into place with an inaudible click.
This was the last thing I expected to hear. Hope’s mum, I would have accepted, but Ellen’s? The woman placed a large cardboard box on the table next to my bed and I studied her face. I could see the resemblance now that I was looking for it. The edges of her mouth had the same upturned corners. ‘She wanted me to give you these.’ Still in a state of numbness, I peered into the box. There was a large journal or album of some sort, some books, and a couple of photos. The top photo showed a girl, maybe fourteen or fifteen at the beach. She was smiling at something beyond the camera, but her red hair and emerald green eyes left no mistake. It was her. It was Hope. And somehow, in some as yet unexplained twist, it was also Ellen. I tried to sort this out in twist, it was also Ellen.
‘Sorry?’ I interjected.
‘I’m so sorry, William. I was just telling you about Ellen. That on Monday- on Monday-’ It had started to make sense. The letters. Ellen. Hope. I met her emerald eyes as I interrupted her. ‘It’s okay, I already know.’ I explained. ‘On Monday she travelled to India.’ The woman seemed confused, at first. And then a slight smile tugged at her lips. ‘Yes,’ she replied softly, ‘I suppose she did.’ As she left I found that my face was wet with tears, although I hadn’t noticed I was crying. And what was I crying for? For Ellen? For myself and my ignorance?
I recovered the folder from the box, hoping for some clarity. On the inside cover, in a black pen was written, ‘Keep Hope alive.’ Inside, there were pockets filled with scores, no, hundreds of letters. For a moment I thought Hope – Ellen, I corrected myself – must have been writing to several different people. Dragging them out of their wells of despair with descriptions of far-away lands. But no, the handwriting was different, and some were dated three, four, five years ago. Dear Ellen, said one, On Thursday I travelled to Africa.
description in her mind. My goal was to ignite that thing that I knew could never be totally lost, but which could be buried so deeply that you didn’t know how to reach it without the help of others. I drew from the experiences written about in the other letters. Had they ever been to these places? I wondered. Or were these all second-hand tales from the sick and dying?
And then it all fell into place, and I realised why I was crying. I was crying for the hope I had lost eighteen months ago and then inexplicably found in a series of letters. I was crying for a girl named Hope who didn’t exist and existed in every single one of these letters at the same time.
‘Dear Josie’, the letter began. ‘On Monday I travelled to India…
After a while my gaze drifted to the dispirited girl across the ward from me. I thought of the words in the front of the folder. Keep Hope alive. I knew what I had to do. I spent hours on that first letter, carecarefully selecting fully selecting each each wordword to paint to a vivid description paint a vivid in her mind. My goal was to ignite that thing that I knew could never be totally lost, but which could be buried so deeply that you didn’t know how to reach it without the help of others. I drew from the experiences written about in the other letters. Had they ever been to these places? I wondered. Or were these all secondhand tales from the sick and dying? Eventually, I was finished, and I slipped
Eventually, I was finished, and I slipped the letter to Helena the next time she checked up on me. Her smile was radiant.
Alanah Andrews a teacher, writer and dreamer. She predominantly writes speculative fiction, and has published a book of twisted tales called ‘Beyond.’ You can follow her journey at www.alanahandrews.com or www.facebook.com/alanahandrewsauthor
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short story by Claerie Kavanaugh
As the chime of the doorbell rippled through the house, Maria jerked her head and yanked the curling iron through a section of her hair.
“Shit!” She yanked the toothbrush from her mouth, flinging it to the countertop. It slid into the sink and left a gooey trail of white paste along the once gleaming marble.
“Ow! Crap!” she yelped around her toothbrush.
Maria dashed into her room and ripped the plastic wrap off of the shimmering dress. She had worked every weekend Crash! Blinking, she looked down. The at Kruger Groceries to afford it. She unburning iron had slipped from her hand zipped the back and pulled the ensemble and clattered to the floor. on. The thin spaghetti straps settled perfectly over her tanned shoulders, and the Maria bent to pick it up. As she stood, she V-shaped top that morphed into a lacey glanced toward the mirror. Only half of her bodice accentuated her every curve. thick, stick-straight hair had been exposed to the searing heat of the iron. She brought “Ree,” yelled her Dad from downstairs. her hand up to stroke one of the tips, but “Sam’s in the cold out there. Get the door; snatched it away the moment they touched you two are going to be late.” the steaming, wire-like strands. Wonderful. Not only did she have a halffinished hair-do, it felt like it had been flambéed by a torch.
“Ib’m a wittle buzy ‘ere.” Maria shouted through a mouthful of fabric in various shades of violet. She maneuvered the dress down around her waist and smoothed out the creases, then tore back toward the bathroom, throwing a fleeting glance toward the ticking clock on the wall as she sprinted through the hall.
Maria’s frown deepened when she flicked part of her hair behind her shoulder. An angry, red welt began to rise on her neck. She reached across to touch the pads of her fingers to it. It hissed when they made 6:28 P.M. What the hell? We said at 7! contact. Wrenching her hand away, she bit down on the flesh of her “Really, Sam?” Maria growled. lip, swallowing a stream of curses. She skidded to a stop in front of the vanity and began flinging the contents out of The chime of the the drawers until the bathroom tile was bell reverberated in her ears again.
no longer visible. “Izzy,” Maria shouted. “Where’s the burn cream?” “What?” Her older sister’s voice echoed through the hallway as the soft creak of her chair wheels made their way to the Jack-and-Jill bathroom. “Ree, what are you talking about? I didn’t…. Whoa.” Maria’s head snapped up as her sister stifled a snicker. “Your hair.” “I know.” Maria huffed and rolled her eyes. “Just get in here and help me, will you?” Isabel giggled. “It looks like a crustacean crawled in it.” “Not. A. Word.” Isabel wheeled into the bathroom and positioned herself behind her sister. Maria watched her calmly open another drawer and pull out a handful of hair clips and bobby pins before setting to work on her hair. She flinched when her sister’s fingers grazed the pulsing burn on her neck. “Dang, Ree, how hot was that curling iron?” “Too hot,” Maria mumbled as she tossed yet another unidentifiable item to the floor. She slammed her palms on the counter.
“No, Isabel,” Maria’s eyes flashed as she glared at the older girl’s reflection. “I had to put up with Mr. Kruger’s bad breath and horrible temper for weeks for this. I’m not—” Isabel’s hand brushed against the welt as she twisted Maria’s hair. “That hurts! I’m not going to let it get ruined before Sam even sees it.” “All right, all right!” Isabel held up her hands in surrender before returning to fix her sister’s hair. “Don’t worry, I’ll find you some cream and a bandage when we’re done here.”
Ten minutes later, Isabel snapped the final scrunchie in place. Maria marveled at how quickly her long black hair had been transformed from a disheveled, hopeless disaster into a simple but elegant bun. She reached up to run her fingers over the top of the shiny surface, gasping at its soft texture. “H-How did you do that?” she asked, beaming at her sister’s reflection in the mirror. Isabel smirked and patted Maria’s shoulder. “Magic.” Maria smiled before turning and wrapping her arms around her. “Thank you... Hermione.” Her sister laughed and pecked her forehead. “Anytime, Ree,” she hummed before pulling away. “Now, why don’t I go find that medicine while you finish getting dressed?” Maria scrunched her brow. “What? But … I am dressed.” She frowned when her sister’s only response was an arched eyebrow and an amused twitch of her lips. “Are you sure about that?” Maria followed
her sister’s hand as she gestured to her legs. “Because, the last time I checked, you were headed to prom, not the carnival.” With a devilish wink, she disappeared from the room. Maria glanced down. Her cheeks flamed and her face contorted in wide-eyed horror. The bottoms of her pajama pants peaked out from beneath her dress. “Oh, my, God!” She scrambled out of them. Her sister reappeared with the necessary supplies just as the doorbell sounded again. Maria barely gave Isabel time to pat a smooth coat of cream on her burn and loosen just enough of her hair to cover the bandage before flying toward the stairs that led to the foyer. “Thanks, Izzy,” she called. “You’re the best!” “I know!” Her sister laughed. “Just don’t slide down the banister to get to the door on time. Sam isn’t going anywhere and the last thing you need tonight is another broken leg.” Maria hiked up the fabric of her tulle skirts and sprinted down the stairs. Heels in one hand, her bare feet slapped against the tile and she skidded to a stop just before slamming face first into the door. She braced her hands on her knees and took two seconds to catch her breath before reaching for the brass handle and twisting it. The door swung open and a crisp spring breeze floated into the house.
Maria blushed as she let the smooth ribbon slide over her wrist before linking “Only because you’re thirty minutes early.” arms with her girlfriend. “Perfect.” Maria smirked and put on her best British accent. “Besides, royalty is never late.” Sam grinned and dipped her head. “Now,
let’s go make history.” “Impending royalty,” Sam corrected. Then she bit her lip, green eyes widening as she ducked her head slightly. “And maybe I just couldn’t wait to see you.” Claerie Kavanaugh is an author, sensitivity reader and freelance editor specializing in Maria’s heart drummed in her chest as YA and MG fantasy, sci-fi and contemporary Sam stepped over the threshold, she barely works. She has a passion for helping authors had to move in for a kiss. reach their fullest potential while keeping their authentic voice and vision intact. “You look beautiful,” Maria breathed, combing back a strand of her light blonde Weekly writing advice and flash fiction can hair, newly highlighted in a dark, seducbe found at: claeriekavanaughblog.wordtive red. She let her hand trail down Sam’s press.com/, check out her editing services cheek then stepped back, marveling at her claeriekeditor.wixsite.com/claeriekediting midnight black sweetheart neckline, com- and connect with her on Twitter plemented by a glittering silver and gold @claeriekauthor. skirt that glittered in the pale moonlight streaming through the still open door. “I never thought I’d see Samantha Jacobs in a dress.” Sam smirked and snaked her arm around Maria’s waist. “What? It’s Prom. And you still wear it better.” A zap of adrenaline warmed every one of Maria’s nerve-endings as Sam’s lips crashed against hers. She twined her fingers in Sam’s luscious locks, responding in kind and pressing against her until they were both panting and breathless. When Maria pulled back, Sam held out a corsage made of fresh lavender and violets.
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Check out this free preview of Glimmers of Glass by Emma Savant.
Olivia Feye needed a faerie godmother. Too bad she was one. Hidden in the city of Portland, Oregon, is a shimmering world of magic—one faerie Olivia Feye doesn’t want to touch with a ten-foot wand. She’d rather study biology, or garden, or floss her teeth, or do literally anything except pay attention to the Glimmering world and her internship at Portland’s premier faerie godparent agency. But when her supervisor is hospitalized after a flying pumpkin carriage accident, Olivia is thrust into the middle of a case. And this one won’t be easy: Her client is Elle, a barista whose plans don’t include an enchanted prom or Prince Charming. The reward for a happily-ever-after is enough gold pieces to get Olivia out of the Glimmering world forever. But as she comes face-to-face with the complexities of faerie godmothering, she’s forced to wonder: How much is she willing to sacrifice for her own happy ending?
CHAPTER ONE The door burst open and hit the wall like a gunshot. I jumped, and the stack of papers I’d been holding fluttered to the polished wood floor. Imogen posed in the doorway, her hands outstretched against the elaborately carved frame. “Tabitha is in the hospital.” My boss, Lorinda, stepped out of her office, a large conch shell pressed to her ear and her hand cupped over its opening. She uncovered it long enough to say, “Barb, let me call you back,” then waved Imogen into the room. The two Junior Godmothers, pale-haired Aster and freckled Maybelle, stared from around the edges of their cubicles. Seth, the office’s newest Faerie Godfather, looked up from his desk in the corner. A Senior Faerie Godmother, Rosemary, rolled out of her office on a wheeled chair.
Imogen’s eyes moved past Lorinda and scanned the room. She locked her gaze on me where I knelt, gathering the papers I’d dropped, then turned her attention back to my boss. “Flying accident,” she said. “Some drunk idiot in a pumpkin carriage plowed into her magic carpet. Broke her arm and who knows what else, and knocked her fifty feet out of the air. Luckily a wizard was nearby and floated her up before she fell past the invisibility barrier and into traffic. Otherwise she’d have been run over and we’d have had a hell of a time tracking down all the Humdrums who needed memory erases.” Lorinda pursed her lips at the hell. “Someone ought to outlaw those carriages,” Lorinda said. “They’re impossible to control.” “Only in Portland would they be a thing,”
Imogen said. “Freaking organic everything.” She craned her neck and called across the room to me, “She’s going to be out for months. They said they can patch her up, but it’s going to take time.” Lorinda turned to me, too. The look in her eyes made my shoulders lock up with tension. She was trying to figure out what to do with me. I never liked it when people tried to decide what to do with me. “You’ll have to reassign her case,” I said, clambering to my feet. “Or drop it. We hadn’t started on this next one.”
his daughter’s matchmaker after discovering the girl had already secretly married a kid from Ohio. Lorinda had been counting on that job bringing in a good chunk of gold. The cases for royalty always did. With that gone, she’d been pinching the budget until it cried to make the year’s numbers line up. Unfortunately, her next words were even worse than her daily rant about the Goblin King. She pointed at me with her seashell. “How many cases have you shadowed now?” The pit of my stomach filled with a bad, bad feeling.
Tabitha, my supervisor, was a Senior Faerie Godmother, and I was her intern. Her now-useless intern. That thought didn’t bother me as much as it should have. This was a freak accident, and even my dad couldn’t throw too big a tantrum if I got laid off for something so crazy.
“Four,” I said carefully. “But I didn’t do much. Just watched and kept records.”
I tried to arrange my features into a properly mournful expression. I felt genuinely bad for Tabitha, of course. But the thought of getting out of this job and into something that might actually be useful later in life made an uncontrollable hope bubble up inside me.
I clutched the papers tightly to my chest. “Hold on,” I said. “I don’t think that’s a good idea.”
But Lorinda’s narrowed eyes didn’t exactly say laid off. “We can’t afford that,” she said at last. She ran a hand across her chin and up her cheek, then blew out a giant sigh and said, “We’re already coming in under projections, thanks to the Goblin King.” The Goblin King had just dropped us as
“That’ll have to be good enough,” Lorinda said. “The job’s yours. Get the paperwork started.” She nodded once at me as though that wrapped it all up.
“It’s the only one I have,” Lorinda said. She headed back to her office, her pale purple suit making her look like a chubby sprig of lilac. She stopped in the doorway and turned. “I can’t hire anyone else on such short notice. You’re the best we’ve got.” She really was desperate. No one in their right mind would pass this job off to a lowly intern, let alone to me. I wasn’t here because of my sterling qualifications or enthusiasm for the noble
calling of faerie godmothering. Nope: I’d gotten the job because my dad was on the Grand Council of Magical Beings for the City of Portland and, as if being on the Council wasn’t enough, he was a voting member of the Greater Pacific Northwest Magical Alliance, too. My dad was a big deal. Whatever he said, went, and that applied even if it was the complete opposite of what I’d planned for my junior year of high school. I wanted to work in botany and conservation, not godmothering. I wanted to go to a nice Humdrum college, study nice Humdrum plants, and settle down to a nice, normal life—one where I wasn’t the daughter of Reginald and Marigold Feye or the poster child for the bright future of the Glimmering community. That didn’t seem like too much to ask, especially given my dad’s constant reminders that most Humdrums would kill to be part of my world. Fine, I always thought. Let them have it. I’d trade any day. I rubbed the spot between my eyes, pushing my glasses down and staring across the room. The view was just as clear without the glasses, but it was made busy by the shimmers of magic everywhere. Lorinda, back in her office, glimmered enough through the doorway to make it look like some kind of interdimensional anomaly was happening in there. Aster, crossing the room to the printer, carried a mist of soft pearl sparkles with her. And Imogen, standing right in front of me, pulsed warm and gold. I shoved the glasses up, and the haze around her body disappeared. “Congrats,” she said mildly.
I gaped at her, lost for words, then spun on my heel and marched back to my cubicle. She followed and perched atop my desk next to a potted fern.
“I know you’re freaking out,” she said. “I’m not ‘freaking out,’” I began. She held up a hand to cut me off. “I know you’re freaking out,” she repeated. “Like, completely freaking out, and I can tell because your hair just got even frizzier than usual and you’re breathing like you just got asked to fight a dragon or something.” “How is this not a dragon?” I hissed, leaning forward in my chair. “Is she crazy? I’m an intern. A really unenthusiastic intern.” “And Lorinda’s desperate,” Imogen said. “Woman, it’s your lucky day. You should be doing cartwheels. I would be, if it were me.” I could think of a hundred things I’d rather be doing than cartwheels. Throwing up, for one. Hexing my boss, for another. But if I had to choose, the absolute top of the list would be flat-out cursing the idiot who’d thought drinking, driving, and incapacitating Tabitha was a good idea. I fingered the magic wand that held my frizzy bun together on the back of my head, wishing the intoxicated moron were here right now. I’d show him just what kind of impressive spells I’d learned in my five months at Wishes Fulfilled, Inc. I might not be experienced enough to handle Tabitha’s next case on my own, but
I sure as spitting was experienced enough to turn that guy into a newt. Imogen put her hand over mine and moved it away from my glorified hair stick. “Slow down there, tiger,” she said. “Let’s think about this like grownups.” “I’m not a grownup,” I said. “That’s the point. Is this even legal?” Imogen raised one perfectly arched eyebrow at me and shook her head like I was the biggest lost cause she’d ever seen.
As my little brother Daniel had once put it, living as Glimmers in a Humdrum world that glorified the lives of “fairy tale” characters was the equivalent of Humdrums living in a world where a whole thrilling mythology had sprung up around lawyers and administrative assistants, with children’s cartoons being made about “that one time they met that pressing deadline!” or “what happened when the doctor treated his patient for a routine sprained ankle!”
In this case, the story would be “how that one intern totally screwed over her com“Do you have any idea what I would give pany and ruined her reputation by having for a chance like the one you just got?” she absolutely no idea what she was doing!” said. I could practically feel her jealousy. The animated musical was going to be stellar. “You want to transfer?” I said. “The job’s yours.” Imogen sighed, then hopped off my desk, grabbed my arm, and dragged me back Imogen rolled her eyes. She worked down out of my cubicle to the window across the hall as an Assistant Junior Proctor in the room. It looked down on the street the Department of Tests & Quests, which below and the park across the street. And was adjacent to the Department of Godthere, right in front of us, where we could parenting Services in both location and see it every time we came to work, left purpose. I was an Assistant Junior Godwork, or got up to stretch our legs, was mother. Our jobs were similar, the main the Oracle’s Fountain. A car drove by, the difference being that her job was the love driver totally unaware of the magic leakof her life while mine was the bane of my ing out of the fountain. existence. “Think about it,” Imogen said in an unI was technically in training to be a Faerie dertone. She shook my arm gently, like Godparent. Proctors like Imogen were the she was trying to wake me up. “You pull other guys from fairy tales—the ones who this off, and you get rewarded by the Oradressed up as old beggar ladies or birds cle.” with broken wings to test Heroes’ moral character, then rewarded them with all She wasn’t playing fair. Everyone wanted sorts of faerie presents if they showed to be rewarded by the Oracle. The myscompassion or bravery or whatever suterious being who lived in the Oracle’s per-trait they were being tested for. Both Fountain was one of the arbiters of our jobs had been around since the dawn of world, second only to the elusive Faerie time, and both jobs, I thought, sucked.
Queen. The Oracle only emerged from the Fountain on rare occasions, but she communicated through the water and her attendant sprites to applaud and bless the efforts of anyone who worked to improve the Glimmering world. She paid us godmothers extra, since we brought more and truer love into the world and helped Heroes, Heroines, and other Archetypes find resolutions to their Stories.
was completely unfair of Imogen to bring that up just now.
I worked in one of the only fields in the entire world that let us interact with the Oracle on a regular basis. I’d seen the moment four times now from this window, once for each case Tabitha had completed with me as her assistant. Tabitha had gotten the right princess married to the right wizard, helped a Heroine reach the end of her Quest in one piece, taught a Hero how to handle a forest witch who was getting a little too big for her britches, and made sure a pair of young faeries in love found each other just as the moon waxed full.
“Think about it,” she said.
And after each case, as the clock struck twelve, when the sky was still and the city fell silent, Tabitha stood before the Oracle and waited for judgment. Each time, the Oracle had been pleased, and the Fountain’s water had filled with a generous heap of golden coins. These coins kept Wishes Fulfilled running, and Tabitha’s portion paid her bills, but they were more than that: They were validation, a sign that she—that we—had done well. Of course I had pictured myself standing there in her place, waiting for the Oracle to tell me I had made the world a better place and done something that really mattered. Even an aspiring biologist like me couldn’t help those daydreams. But it
I pressed my fingertips to the space between my forehead, just a smidgen above the bridge of the glasses that let me pretend this wasn’t my reality. A stress headache began to swirl behind my eyes. “Imogen,” I said.
I already was. My mind filled with the image of me, standing in front of the Oracle, watching as glinting gold began to surface through the dark blue water in an undeniable message that I had succeeded. It would be proof that, just once, I’d done something on my own—proof that I deserved to be part of this world. I didn’t want to be part of this world. I wanted to study conservation in Africa or research plants in the Amazon rainforest, far away from godmothers and spells and the Council. But knowing I could belong if I wanted to? “I guess a trial period couldn’t hurt,” I said. “Yes!” Imogen shouted, her voice breaking through the hush in the room. I stared out the window and sighed deeply as a sinking feeling began to gather in my stomach. I was going to regret this.
THE LITTLE MERMAID
BEAUTY AND THE BEAST
Emma Savant writes fairy tale retellings. She loves them, truly-madly-deeply. Her current book-baby is the Portland Glimmers series, which is all about Olivia Feye, apathetic faerie godmother extraordinaire. Emma lives with her husband and cat in a small town in Oregon, where she spends way too much time watching Star Trek and eating nachos. She loves fairy tales and once took an archery class in the hopes of becoming more Narnian. If you want to be the first to know when Emmaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s next book is coming out, please sign up for her newsletter. Buy the series on Amazon.
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uly Word of the Day
peculiar susceptibility to a pleasurable or painful impression (as from praise or a slight) — often used in plural
subtly deceptive reasoning or argumentation
laborious or intensive study; also : the product of such study — usually used in plural
18TH: INGENUE a naive girl or young woman
a devious trick used especially for an underhand purpose
20TH: ANENT about, concerning
21ST: PRETERNATURAL existing outside of nature
24TH: IRRUPT to rush in forcibly or violently
25TH: BLOVIATE to speak or write verbosely and windily
the material or significant part of a grievance or complaint
something that appeals to popular or lowbrow taste and is often of poor quality
28TH: QUERULOUS habitually complaining
29TH: BIRD-DOG to watch closely
30TH: PLANGENT having a loud reverberating sound
eccentrically silly, giddy, or inane : ditzy
22ND: MAUDLIN weakly and effusively sentimental EXPAND YOUR VOCABULARY! TAG US IN YOUR POSTS @CURIOSITALES definitions sourced from Merriam-Webster
ugust word of the Day
all at once
of or relating to rogues or rascals; also : of, relating to, suggesting, or being a type of fiction dealing with the episodic adven-
to hold spellbound : charm
tures of a usually roguish protagonist
marked by or given to vehement insistent
a : equipment, trappings; specifically : a soldier’s outfit usually not including clothes and weapons — usually used in plural b : an accessory item of clothing or equipment — usually used in plural
5TH: COALESCE to grow together
a space that intervenes between things; especially : one between closely spaced things
10TH: VOCIFEROUS outcry
composed, performed, or uttered on the spur of the moment : impromptu
12TH: DISPORT divert, amuse
13TH: CONVERSANT having knowledge or experience
a small household ornament or decorative object : trinket
EXPAND YOUR VOCABULARY! TAG US IN YOUR POSTS @CURIOSITALES definitions sourced from Merriam-Webster
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he Lello Bookstore, or Livraria Lello, is located in Porto, Portugal. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s one of the oldest bookstores in the country and is renowned worldwide for its famed red staircase. Founded in 1869, the Lello is still a functioning bookstore today. Because of its cultural significance, Lello is now part of a special protection zone, keeping it safe for generations to come. Whatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s more, the bookstore is said to have inspired J.K. Rowling while she was writing Harry Potter. Because of its popularity, the bookstore now charges a nominal entrance fee (three euro)- a small price to pay for such an enchanting experience.
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