Monday, June 30, 2014

Updating the Fairy Tale Timeline

I've spent the weekend updating the Fairy Tale Timeline on SurLaLune, a popular list for the internet apparently--it has a lot of direct linking from other sites, including Wikipedia. I realized I hadn't updated it for the past few years but as I looked at it, I wanted to add many more items.

Most of the items I have added the last few days are pop culture references since those are the ones most familiar to the general audience beyond regular SurLaLune readers. We all know how important film and tv are to fairy tale visibility, too. They bring fairy tales to a much wider audience.

I plan to add more images and entries but before I finalize the updates and consider the timeline "done" for a while, what important elements of fairy tale history would you like to see on the timeline?

What books do you consider seminal?

Theatre productions?

Other pop culture moments?

And please LOOK at the existing timeline before you post. Try not to make recommendations for items that already appear there. It confuses everyone else--including me--and I start thinking, "I thought that was already on there? Did I miss that?"

Post in the comments to the blog or email me directly. I have final editorial say, but I wanted to get some feedback from you readers in the know, too.

And thanks. SurLaLune is a kingdom of contributors!

Saturday, June 28, 2014

$1.99 Ebook: The Woodcutter by Kate Danley TODAY ONLY

The Woodcutter by Kate Danley is $1.99 today only in ebook format. This book has been on a sale before but usually sells for $3.99 so it is half off.

Book description:

Deep within the Wood, a young woman lies dead. Not a mark on her body. No trace of her murderer. Only her chipped glass slippers hint at her identity.

The Woodcutter, keeper of the peace between the Twelve Kingdoms of Man and the Realm of the Faerie, must find the maiden’s killer before others share her fate. Guided by the wind and aided by three charmed axes won from the River God, the Woodcutter begins his hunt, searching for clues in the whispering dominions of the enchanted unknown.

But quickly he finds that one murdered maiden is not the only nefarious mystery afoot: one of Odin’s hellhounds has escaped, a sinister mansion appears where it shouldn’t, a pixie dust drug trade runs rampant, and more young girls go missing. Looming in the shadows is the malevolent, power-hungry queen, and she will stop at nothing to destroy the Twelve Kingdoms and annihilate the Royal Fae…unless the Woodcutter can outmaneuver her and save the gentle souls of the Wood.

Blending magic, heart-pounding suspense, and a dash of folklore, The Woodcutter is an extraordinary retelling of the realm of fairy tales.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Art Deco Fairytales Calendar: Key Nielsen

Art Deco Fairytales 2015 Square 12x12 Flame Tree is available for preorder. Art Deco here means Kay Nielsen. Pronounced "Kigh," Kay Nielsen, for those in the know was an established fairy tale illustrator tapped by Disney for preliminary designs for Sleeping Beauty. Nielsen is one of my favorites, especially his Twelve Dancing Princesses and East of the Sun and West of the Moon illustrations.

This calendar has been produced the last few years and in my experience it sells out quickly and is hard to find through most of the usual sources. So grab it if you want it. And enjoy the pictures for several months before 2015!

East of the Sun and West of the Moon: Old Tales from the North (Calla Editions) and The Twelve Dancing Princesses and Other Fairy Tales (Calla Editions) have also been reprinted by Calla and are fine editions of Nielsen's work for an affordable price. I've gotten to handle original editions that are a little finer, but they sell for thousands of dollars, so these are an affordable substitute.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Bargain Ebook: The Ordinary Princess by M. M. Kaye

The Ordinary Princess by M. M. Kaye has been charming readers for several decades now. I received an alert today that the ebook price has dropped to $3.59 from $5.12. I own it in hardcover, but it's always nice to have a more portable electronic version. I also appreciate that the publisher managed to not pretty up Amy too much on the cover. Always nice when the cover reflects the actual book contents, yes?

Book description:

Along with Wit, Charm, Health, and Courage, Princess Amy of Phantasmorania receives a special fairy christening gift: Ordinariness. Unlike her six beautiful sisters, she has brown hair and freckles, and would rather have adventures than play the harp, embroider tapestries . . . or become a Queen. When her royal parents try to marry her off, Amy runs away and, because she's so ordinary, easily becomes the fourteenth assistant kitchen maid at a neighboring palace. And there . . . much to everyone's surprise . . . she meets a prince just as ordinary (and special) as she is!

Bargain Book: Faery Tale: One Woman's Search for Enchantment in a Modern World by Signe Pike

Faery Tale: One Woman's Search for Enchantment in a Modern World by Signe Pike is currently bargain priced for $6.00 for paperback format ($15 list price)--a lower price than the ebook price for the paper lovers out there. This book is featured in Mary McMyne's Fairy Tale Book Giveaway. But since only one person can win that copy, I wanted to share this one for those wanting an interesting read about the search for faerie/faery.

Book description:

One of Kirkus Reviews' Best Books of 2010

A skeptic's search for magic, one faery at a time.

In search of something to believe in again, Signe Pike left behind a career in Manhattan to undertake a magical journey-literally. In a sweeping tour through England, Ireland, Scotland, and beyond, she takes readers to dark glens and abandoned forests, ancient sacred sites, and local pubs, seeking those who might still believe in the mysterious beings we've relegated to the dusty corners of our childhood imaginations: faeries. But as Signe attempts to connect with the spirit world, she'll come to view herself and the world around her in a profoundly new way.

Engaging and full of heart, Faery Tale is more than a memoir-it's the story of rekindling that spark of belief that makes even the most skeptical among us feel like a kid again.

New Book: Never-ending Stories: Adaptation, Canonisation and Ideology in Children's Literature

Never-ending Stories: Adaptation, Canonisation and Ideology in Children's Literature (Ginkgo Series) by Sylvie Geerts (Editor), Sara Van den Bossche (Editor) is officially released in July, but it is already shipping from book retailers.

I can't find much about this book online--but the description is intriguing. I also found the original call for papers for the symposium that apparently inspired this publication. So this is a collection of papers edited by the symposium organizers. I would love to see a full table of contents and will share one if I find one!

Book description:

The roots of children’s literature are commonly known to lie in adaptation. The texts most frequently adapted for a child audience are either canonised literary works for adults or children’s books which have acquired a high status of their own. In both cases, the stories are adapted to fit the needs of new readers in other contexts. This volume frames adaptation in children’s literature against a broader socio-cultural background, focussing on the ideological implications of the process. Emphasising both diversity and evolution, it deals with oppositional forces and recent trends informing adaptation. At its core are issues of transmediality and new reader roles, adaptations' orientation towards the ideology associated with the pre-text, as well as canonisation of the pre-texts and of the adaptations themselves. The volume is characterised by a broad international and diachronic spread, with topics ranging from traditional Western fairy tale adaptations to retellings of South African oral stories and Persian myths. The evolution discernible in the cases presented neatly illustrates how the process of adaptation allows canonical texts to develop into never-ending stories.

SYLVIE GEERTS and SARA VAN DEN BOSSCHE are researchers in the Department of Literary Studies at Ghent University.

I found this listing for one fairy tale related article in the book, so I know there are some articles within that will interest SurLaLune readers:

Title: How immortal is Disney's Little Mermaid?

Other Titles: The Disneyfication of Andersen's 'The Little Mermaid'

Authors: Van Coillie, Jan

Issue Date: 2014

Publisher: Academia Press

Host Document: Never-ending Stories - Adaptation, Canonisation and Ideology in Children's Literature pages:127-142

Abstract: Focusing on Disney’s adaptation of Andersen’s fairytale The Little Mermaid, this study reveals some essential characteristics of the so-called ‘Disneyfication’. In order to do so, a comparative analysis is carried out, based on concepts from narratology. The analysis focuses on changes in the plot, characters, space, time and perspective. The central question is in how far these changes are due to the inevitable differences caused by the transfer from text to screen or to the interpretation of Disney as it is reflected in the typical characteristics of his feature films. The analysis makes clear how Disney changes the essence of Andersen’s story. Through these fundamental changes, the story is made to conform to Disney’s world vision and American animation design. More precisely, the adaptation reveals a different view on growing up, gender roles, the relation between adults and children and life’s final destiny.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

New Book: Thorn Jack: A Night and Nothing Novel (Night and Nothing Novels) by Katherine Harbour

Thorn Jack: A Night and Nothing Novel (Night and Nothing Novels) by Katherine Harbour is released this week. I have a review copy coming to me so I anticipate a Tam Lin reading binge sometime in my near future. Because I can't read one without rereading some others. Good news is that if we love the book, it's the start of a series.

The book is a retelling of Tam Lin. Which is always a catnip tale for me. I'm not sure how many times I reread Pamela Dean's Tam Lin while at university, long before I started SurLaLune. And according to Harbour, she loves some of the same Tam Lin retellings that I do. Too many of which are not yet available in ebook format either.

By Katherine Harbour from the Harper Voyager blog:

I began writing THORN JACK when I was seventeen—in the ‘80s, books about fairies were popular and I’d read the ballad ‘Tam Lin’ and other books inspired by it: Elizabeth Marie Pope’s The Perilous Gard, Diana Wynne Jones’s Fire and Hemlock, Pamela Dean’s Tam Lin. I was intrigued by the idea of a girl rescuing her lover from ancient creatures who wanted to sacrifice him for their own benefit. I’d also heard Fairport Convention’s eerie cover of the ballad. What inspired me to retell ‘Tam Lin’ as a modern story wasn’t just the romance between the mortal girl and the mysterious knight, but the idea that the faery queen truly loved Tam Lin—‘Out then spoke the Queen of Fairies, and an angry woman was she; “Shame betide her ill-faired face, and an ill death may she die, for she’s taken away the bonniest knight in all my company.”’ A sacrifice must be something of value for it to be effective. In THORN JACK, Reiko Fata, the faery queen, loves Jack, her knight.

The idea of setting ‘Tam Lin’ in a resort/college town that’s a getaway for theater and film people, the wealthy and the artsy, seemed a perfect way to mask the Fatas’ (faeries) beauty, eccentric style, and lavish parties (faery revels). At the ballad’s beginning, there’s a warning about the ruins of Carter Hall being haunted: ‘“O I forbid you maidens all, that wear gold in your hair, to come or go by Carter Hall, for young Tam Lin is there.”’ It reminded me of those abandoned mansions, like Wyndcliffe, in upstate New York. In Tam Lin, the heroine is compelled to explore Carter Hall. In THORN JACK, Finn Sullivan, the heroine, is drawn to the Fata-haunted mansions of Fair Hollow.

Book description:

Combining the sorcery of The Night Circus with the malefic suspense of A Secret History, Thorn Jack is a spectacular, modern retelling of the ancient Scottish ballad, Tam Lin—a beguiling fusion of love, fantasy, and myth that echoes the imaginative artistry of the works of Neil Gaiman, Cassandra Clare, and Melissa Marr.

In the wake of her older sister’s suicide, Finn Sullivan and her father move to a quaint town in upstate New York. Populated with socialites, hippies, and dramatic artists, every corner of this new place holds bright possibilities—and dark enigmas, including the devastatingly attractive Jack Fata, scion of one of the town’s most powerful families.

As she begins to settle in, Finn discovers that beneath its pretty, placid surface, the town and its denizens—especially the Fata family—wield an irresistible charm and dangerous power, a tempting and terrifying blend of good and evil, magic and mystery, that holds dangerous consequences for an innocent and curious girl like Finn.

To free herself and save her beloved Jack, Finn must confront the fearsome Fata family . . . a battle that will lead to shocking secrets about her sister’s death.

So what is your favorite version of Tam Lin?

Monday, June 23, 2014

New Book: The Girls at the Kingfisher Club: A Novel by Genevieve Valentine

The Girls at the Kingfisher Club: A Novel by Genevieve Valentine was released a few weeks ago. While it is on my new releases list--see Fairy Tale Influenced Fiction 2014 Part 1--I didn't notice it was released yet. Sidenote: I already have 2015 lists going at Listmania so do let me know if you are aware of ones I am not yet! The lists for 2014 and 2015 are growing!

But the book has some fans among SurLaLune readers already and they have let me know I shouldn't miss it. Both Veronica Schanoes and Heather Tomlinson have emailed me with high recommendations for the book. Frankly, that rarely happens. So we should probably all listen.

In addition to this novel, Valentine has had several fairy tale short fiction pieces published--see her bibliography on her site to see the list.

The premise of 12 Dancing Princesses set in a 1920s speakeasy is intriguing, to be sure. For me, I am even more fascinated by the popularity of 12 Dancing Princesses in novels this past decade. I'm not sure what caused that since most people in the "regular" world don't even know the tale. I really don't think Barbie did it, see Barbie in the 12 Dancing Princesses if you don't know of what I speak. Seriously, I think only Cinderella and Beauty and the Beast continue to outpace 12 Dancing. Sleeping Beauty and Snow White are probably neck and neck with it if you count the books for middle readers, not just YA and adult novels.

But hooray for everyone who embraces this tale that is so very mysterious in motivation and backstory. It has plenty scope for the creative muse, so I understand its appeal. After all, I researched it myself once upon a time for Twelve Dancing Princesses Tales From Around the World. I even dabbled with my own fictional retellings at one time and those will stay safely tucked away from the public eye. So I enjoy seeing where the tale takes other authors.

Does The Girls at the Kingfisher Club already have some other SurLaLune fans? Let me know!

Book description:

From award-winning author Genevieve Valentine, a "gorgeous and bewitching" (Scott Westerfeld) reimagining of the fairytale of the Twelve Dancing Princesses as flappers during the Roaring Twenties in Manhattan.

Jo, the firstborn, "The General" to her eleven sisters, is the only thing the Hamilton girls have in place of a mother. She is the one who taught them how to dance, the one who gives the signal each night, as they slip out of the confines of their father’s townhouse to await the cabs that will take them to the speakeasy. Together they elude their distant and controlling father, until the day he decides to marry them all off.

The girls, meanwhile, continue to dance, from Salon Renaud to the Swan and, finally, the Kingfisher, the club they come to call home. They dance until one night when they are caught in a raid, separated, and Jo is thrust face-to-face with someone from her past: a bootlegger named Tom whom she hasn’t seen in almost ten years. Suddenly Jo must weigh in the balance not only the demands of her father and eleven sisters, but those she must make of herself.

With The Girls at the Kingfisher Club, award-winning writer Genevieve Valentine takes her superb storytelling gifts to new heights, joining the leagues of such Jazz Age depicters as Amor Towles and Paula McClain, and penning a dazzling tale about love, sisterhood, and freedom.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Happy Summer Solstice! With Recommend Solstice Reading

Happy Summer Solstice! Of course, it always feels like summer is in full swing by the time of the solstice but it is a glorious day all the same. Even if a small part of me is sad to think the days will only shorten for the next six months.

The Summer Solstice by Ellen Jackson is a great book for reading about the Summer Solstice folklore and traditions from around the world. It is appropriate for the whole family, too.

Of course, it won't arrive in time for enjoying on this year's summer solstice. So you can also read online Sun Lore of All Ages by William Tyler Olcott from 1914.

Book description:

From ancient times to the present, people have found many ways to express their thankfulness for the sun's gift of warmth and light. THE SUMMER SOLSTICE depicts the mysterious rites of the Egyptians, the tales of fairies and selkies, the modern parades and baseball games--all part of the fun and folklore of this happy time.


The summer solstice is the longest day of the year, a time when the sun is at its highest point in the sky. The summer solstice marks the first official day of summer.