Mundania Press and editors Danielle Ackley-McPhail, L. Jagi Lamplighter, Lee C. Hillman, and Jeffrey Lyman are proud to announce the release of the award-winning Bad-Ass Faeries anthologies on three major ebook venues: Amazon Kindle, MobiPocket and All Romance Books.
Please do check out the series and recommend it to your friends with an interest in great urban fantasy, faerie fiction, and wicked-fun reading, all in a convenient electronic format.
I have included the links here for those interested:
Bad-Ass Faeries 2: Just Plain Bad
Bad-Ass Faeries 3: In All Their Glory
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Also, for those hoping to submit to Bad-Ass Faeries 4, the deadline of July 1 is fast approaching. For details visit www.badassfaeries.com/submissions.htm.
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Been on hiatus a bit due to pending book projects, but we are back with an Insight by Bram Stoker Award-Winning author John Passarella. John has not only written an award-winning novel series, but is also the author of various tie-in novels in the Buffy, Angel, and Supernatural franchises. Enjoy!
A few years ago Danielle and I attended a group book signing (at a Borders Books in Delaware, around the holidays, as I recall) and we started talking in between signing books for store patrons. She mentioned the Bad-Ass Faeries book and said she was looking for submissions for the second volume in the series. I thought the book and the series sounded cool and I thought I would have fun writing within the anthology’s guidelines. I don’t write a lot of short stories. I tend to write novel-length tales (and my short stories tend to verge toward novelette length most of the time), but on those rare occasions when I do write for a themed anthology, it’s because I think the project would be enjoyable, something that appeals to me personally.
Since Danielle had already received a number of stories for the second anthology, I asked her if she had any particular area where she needed a story. She told me she needed a faerie bouncer. With that prompt, I began work on “Twilight Crossing” which appears in Bad-Ass Faeries 2: Just Plain Bad. I started with a faerie bouncer in a tough bar on the outskirts of town, but rather than have random troublemakers enter stage left and cause traditional problems for my bouncer, I decided to turn my bouncer’s life upside down.
When the story opens, he knows he is unnaturally competent at his job, but has no idea of his faerie heritage, until a stranger is drawn to his location. And hot on the heels of this stranger are three assassins who have already killed the stranger once – or so they believed. As they attempt to solve this mystery and complete their deadly assignment, the hidden backgrounds of the bouncer and the stranger are slowly revealed.
I told Danielle after I completed the story that the unfolding background of the two main characters had grown so prominent in my mind that I was tempted to write a follow-up story – or perhaps an entire novel. (My writer-brain naturally gravitating toward the novel form!) Someday, if it fits the theme of a future Bad-Ass Faeries volume, I may continue the story that began and blossomed in “Twilight Crossing.”
Bram Stoker Award-Winning Author of Supernatural: Night Terror (SEPT 2011)
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> Have you been interested in faeries and fairytales for a long time? Or did you investigate this field just for this project?
Now this is a very interesting question, because I actually have a
love of faerie stories that dates way back to Hans Christian Anderson and the Brothers Grimm. I've always been fond of the macabre and I like stories with a twist, I also love the darker side of fiction compared to the bright shiny sparkle side that seems to be stalking the monster genre at the moment. So when I heard about this project through Neal Levin (who I work with a lot) it just seemed to be a perfect time to experiment with a story for it.
> If the first, how did you become interested in fairytales?
I have my parents to thank (or blame) for the various fictional likes. They introduced me to a fantastic world of stories and tales, such as the Brothers Grimm from a very early age. I presume a lot of that stuck with me and it trickles through into my writing now. My
favourite Fairy Tale has to be Little Red Ridinghood though. Though in many of the versions I like, the wolf eats everyone!
> The fairytale world is vast. How did you decide which of the myriad of entities you would write about?
One day I sat down and looked at a few winter scenes, I'd just been
watching a particular show on the various early explorers. They were
talking about chillblains and frost bite...suddenly I had this idea
for a winter based fae that could bring forth these little creatures
that bit off your fingers and toes. I knew it had to be bad ass and
fairy based, so I coupled that with my love for special operations. I had also been playing several of the Splinter Cell games at the time. So it just seemed to me that having a Fae...as in a non-winged
not-cute but very profesional Unseelie type of Fae for this, would be perfect.
> How did you become interest in writing?
I've always loved telling stories, even at a very early age. I would
read a lot, I would try and write even then. My folks got me the old
D&D box set (red box) at 10, so that snowballed all the creativity and I began to tell stories using that...then I would write them down (badly I think) into a novel style format (hey I was only 10 at the time though) and over time...I invested more time into the craft.
> How long have you been writing?
I've been writing professionally since around 2000 when I met Neal
Levin via his Dark Quest RPG company. A fantastic professional
relationship grew from that point on and Neal is basically my main guy when it comes to stories. We bounce ideas like rain and he takes my British English and does magical things with it. So magical that it formed part of Bad Ass Faeries 3 with the story Snow and Iron.
> How do you feel about bad-ass faeries? Are you bothered by the move away from cutesie? Or is it an idea whose time has come?
I love it, the further we move away from cute faeries and sparkling
vampires, muscle-werewolves, the better. Monsters are meant to be
monsters, not something you fawn over. Sure you can fawn some over
Dracula or Jareth the Goblin King though, that's allowed. What I'm
sort of driving at is that I like the shift away from the safe into
the realm of the dangerous. More books like Bad Ass Faeries 1,2 and 3 are needed. I'm going to try and get a story into 4...I have a few
> Where can interested readers find out about you and your work?
I suppose the best place for people to look now is my Amazon Author
page, not fully up to date since it only has a smattering of the
things that I've worked on.
It has my bio though and here's the link: http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B004GHB750
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A special treat, this week’s Insight is by Faith and the Muse’s own Monica Richards, this multi-talented woman shares a bit about how the process went for her. Check out her website for more of her achievements at www.monicarichards.com. (NEXT WEEK: INTERVIEW WITH A BAD-ASS - Darren W. Pearce.)
I was sent an email about doing a story for Bad-Ass Faeries, and the idea was fascinating. I'm known mainly as a musician/artist - but my fans know I write as well. Given that I prevail in the goth/pagan/fantasy world, writing about bad-ass fairies sounded like a great idea! I write poetry mainly, but I do love writing tales.
In all honesty, my story writing is a bit… unusual. From what I have been told lately, I actually write what is known as 'micro-fiction'! I will tell a tale in about a paragraph or two, no dialogue except the barest minimum, often no character names. Just a set-up, a story and then… done!
My first attempt at a story for the first BAF book was about two paragraphs long. Danielle was very sweet, and asked that I add some dialogue, characters, you know - make it an actual story? Given that I was to do the cover story, which had been created by the amazing Amy Brown, I took a good hard look at her work and started over. The illustration gave me the idea of the warring factions of fairies, and driving by the slow destruction of my wild foothills as the virus of suburbia spread upon them more and more each day brought on the idea for my second try. The idea of characterization, dialogue - was quite a challenge to me. But as I dug in, it took a life of its own. In the end, I was so happy to contribute and honored that my story was published!
It has given me the courage to continue broaden my horizons!
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• Have you been interested in faeries and fairytales for a long time? Or did you investigate this field just for this project?
I've been interested in faeries and fairy creatures for as long as I can remember. I had some great influences; Jim Henson's creatures and movies like "The Dark Crystal" and "Labyrinth", creatures in Nintendo games, and Steven Spielberg movies were huge sources of inspiration. I used to imagine whole worlds of fantasy creatures even out of ordinary household objects when I was a kid.
• If the first, how did you become interested in fairytales?
Mostly through books and movies, I got a copy of a book called "Fifty Famous Fairy Tales" when I was a kid and I read it so many times the book fell apart! And of course, through lots and lots of movies. Jim Henson Studios and Ray Harryhausen films were my favorite things to watch. When "The Storyteller", "Fraggle Rock", and "Amazing Stories" came out those also got me heavily into creature design and concepts.
• How long have you been practicing your art?
When I was a toddler, I remember a "activity board" toy that had a spinning color wheel that I was obsessed with and that led to using massive amounts of crayon on walls, my first "art project." I've been doing art ever since. I've always loved drawing and creating creatures and as a kid I used to make "paper doll" toys of monsters, dragons, and other creatures and would write stories and role-playing around those creatures. I'm still a big kid at heart when it comes to artwork.
• How do you feel about bad-ass faeries? Are you bothered by the move away from cutesy? Or is it an idea whose time has come?
I remember a quote from Labyrinth, "Ow... it bit me! Well, what did you expect Faeries to do?" I've always seen faeries as mischievous and out of human control, and I think the idea of bad-ass faeries can be summed up in one word...PEFECT. The concept is perfect. Faeries are not "cute"... they are not something to play with, nor are they always friendly... they can even be deadly.
• In your esteemed position, is something a faery if it does not have wings?
Yes... faeries come in all shapes, sizes, colors... and types. They do not have to have wings. Some of them have appendages to drag you down into the murky water. Some of them have spikes, some disguise themselves as other creatures or even objects.
• Where can interested readers find out about you and your work?
They can go to my website, www.artdragon.net to see my artwork, or friend me on Facebook! I am constantly adding new pics of creations, artwork, even sculpture on Facebook.
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AWARD-WINNING FAERIE SERIES TAKES HOME THE PRIZE
CINCINNATI, OH Mundania Press (www.mundania.com) and editors Danielle Ackley-McPhail, L. Jagi Lamplighter, Lee C. Hillman, and Jeffrey Lyman are proud to announce that Bad-Ass Faeries 3: In All Their Glory, the third installment in the award-winning Bad-Ass Faeries anthology series, has received the 2011 EPIC Award for Best Anthology.
The volume includes twenty-one stories of military/conflict-themed faerie fiction by D.C. Wilson, Hildy Silverman, Chris Pisano & Brian Koscienski, Trisha Wooldridge & Christy Tohara, Lee C. Hillman, Robert E. Waters, Bernie Mojzes, C.J. Henderson, James Daniel Ross, Darren W. Pearce & Neal Levin, Jeffrey Lyman, L. Jagi Lamplighter, Kelly A. Harmon, Jason Franks, Patrick Thomas, David Lee Summers, David Sherman, Elaine Corvidae, James Chambers, John L. French, and Danielle Ackley-McPhail.
The Bad-Ass Faeries series came out of a desire to take faerie mythology back to its darker roots, when all was not goodness and light, but more mischief and mayhem. These faeries more closely resemble those of the ancient legends still passed down today in many parts of the world that haven’t lost touch with magic. A big part of faerie legends were the fae as warriors, an aspect which is represented in this latest volume.
“Book one, Bad-Ass Faeries, was a finalist for the 2007 Dream Realms Award, and book two, Just Plain Bad, won the 2009 EPPIE Award for Best Anthology,” says senior editor, Danielle Ackley-McPhail. “We are thrilled to have continued this trend with In All Their Glory.”
The timing of the award is quite advantageous as the editors have just recently begun work on the fourth book in the series: It’s Elemental. For submission details visit www.badassfaeries.com/submissions.htm.
Interested parties can find out more about the series at www.badassfaeries.com or http://badassfaeries.livejournal.com.
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Switching things up for a change, this week's Insight is actually by one of our artists, and actually the person who planted the seed of the Bad-Ass Faeries series in my thoughts with her sketches of warrior faeries, which is how we met. Ruth Lampi has gone one and grown tremendously as an artist since those early sketches, and we like to think the series has as well. (NEXT WEEK'S INSIGHT: Christina Yoder)
I adored Faeries as a child. I loved them. I always clapped loudest to save Tinkerbell, and was very careful never to utter the deathly words that might accidentally slay a fairy. I read all the fairytale collections in the library, and came across the biggest artistic influences of my childhood; the book Faeries, by Brian Froud and Alan Lee, and The film The Dark Crystal. I learned how to tell a troll maid that her tail was dragging, and how to tell a changeling, and was more than half convinced I was one. When I got older, working past Unicorns, leaving Peter Pan and falling in with Robin Hood, and then going Dragon mad, I forgot faeries. They were always there, of course. I didn't stop talking to trees or ravens, or seeing civilizations in root systems and half melted snowbanks. Not for awhile, anyway. But faeries as a group were half forgotten in a haze of nauseating glitter and Trapper Keepers and plastic winged toys. I was a grown up. But I still saw life and mystery in patches of moss on stone walls, and in the lines of a dead tree.
What changed my views of fairies again was a live butterfly exhibit at a museum. I loved the wild serrated shapes of wings, the fact that those were all tiny scales, that butterflies patterns were wild and tribal. I began to think of fairies not as pastel creatures wafting through impossibly rounded and cushioned landscapes, and instead as wild thriving beings who had to survive harsh conditions, who had real civilizations and tribes, and allies and enemies. What tools and weapons would they use? How would they differ, from culture to culture across the world? What if they could feel much more than one emotion at a time, like the poor Victorian Tinkerbell? I began drawing.
I met Danielle at a Fantasy Convention. I am stunned to realize I don't remember which one <<DAM: It was Albacon>>, only that it was probably Balticon or Philcon, and must have been 2004. She was kind enough to look over my youthful portfolio, and hired me to do the illustrations for her chapbook Children of Morpheus. I learned a lot through that experience, pushed myself and my art, and got better as an artist. There was a signing at Aphrodite's Dove, a lovely metaphysical shop that sadly is no more. There Danielle did a reading, and I got to bring in my prints, my Badass Faeries series. Kristin, the store owner, Danielle and I got to talking about faeries and old fairy tales, and questioning why faeries had been sugar and glitter dipped, and how exciting stories about really badass faeries would be. The anthology was born there, just an idea ephemeral and new, to become something bigger then we imagined.
To see what Ruth is working on now visit: www.worldofshandor.com.
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This week’s Insight is from one of our writing duo’s, Jason Franks and Steve Mangold. Not only did they pull off a bad-ass story for us, but they did it with each of them on opposite sides of the world. Leave them a comment and you could win a free ecopy of Shadowcutting. (Next Week’s Insight: Ruth Lampi)
JF: When my friend Carlen Lavigne showed me the guidelines for Bad-Ass Faeries 2 and suggested that the book might be up my alley, I looked them over, had a think about it, and decided that I just didn't have a loose idea that would fit. I had this in-progress novel that was many drafts in called FAERIE APOCALYPSE, but that was all the Faerie I had in me at the time. I shrugged it off and forgot about it...
... except I didn't. A story started percolating up, one that would hang off the novel but which would function independently, and suddenly I wanted to write it. Problem was, there was only one week til the deadline and there was no way I could pull off a finished piece in that time. So I enlisted Steve Mangold to help out.
Steve had read a draft of the novel, so he knew context of 'Shadowcutting' even though the story was located well away from the main action of the book. I knew from his commentary that he would get where I was going without me having to fill him in, and I know that he had the same taste for bloody magic and butchered little people that I did.
SM: I had wanted to co-write something with Jason for awhile. So when the opportunity arose, I jumped at it. Like Jason said, I read FAERIE APOCALYPSE already, so I knew the context and ground rules of the world we’d be dealing with. I liked the concept and basic outline Jason had come up with for “Shadowcutting” It seemed like a unique way to approach the “Bad Ass Faerie” theme.
The only question in my mind was if co-writing prose was going to work. I hadn’t co-written much prose in the past and Jason had not done so at all. To me, the most exciting part of writing the story was seeing if we could create a cohesive story with consistent tone.
JF: I had a skeleton outline of the way things would unfold, but we more or less worked it out scene-to-scene. In the end, we decided to tag team it over email. I wrote the first scene. Steve did an editing pass over what I had written and my scene and went away and wrote the next piece. I did the next one, Steve did the one after that. Occasionally one of us would write a couple of scenes back-to-back, and we did divided up the larger scenes, but that was pretty much the way it happened. Steve lives in Florida and I’m in Australia, so the time difference for once was helpful; letting us work on the story around the clock.
Once we had a complete, but very raw draft we were somewhere near 11,000 words, if I remember correctly. We passed it back and forth, each doing a complete draft, cutting it down and cleaning it up as we went. I think that in the end this resulted in a fairly uniform prose style and once you get down to the actual prose, I’m no longer sure what was Steve’s work and what was my own.
SM: I’m not sure either. It kind of blends together in my recollection. There are scenes and characters you say I came up with, but I swear you created. DB and Doc in particular.
You got the first crack at writing DB. I liked DB, he is the closest we have to the “traditional faerie” that people might conjure in their heads. He was really fun to work on. I liked that there is almost a hint of desperation to DB that his cleverness hides.
I did the first draft of the Leprechaun hunt. They seemed like a deceptively easy type of Faerie to hunt. That was the most fun for me. Action scenes are my least favorite to write, but the Leprechauns shenanigans pretty much wrote themselves.
I don’t remember there being an excessive amount of editing needed to make the prose style uniform. A lot of it was editing the dialect, I specifically remember “pavement” being changed to bitumen. I must admit, I did not know what bitumen meant beforehand.
JF: The demontrice and the vamps were mine, and so was Keneally, but DB and the Doc were definitely yours. I might have said “Ok, in the next scene, Theo goes to get patched up by an occult doctor”, but you were the first to sink your keyboard into him. Likewise, DB--I think I wrote the second part of that scene, where Theo checks out the mystical weapons, but you were the first to write and name the weapons dealer. What does DB stand for, anyway? You never did tell me.
The leprechaun massacre is still the incident in the story I refer to when I describe it to someone. I’m pretty sure we hold the record for dead leprechauns. We should apply to the Guinness Book of Records.
I think we divided the assault on the campus into fourths, roughly, and I wrote the concluding passage.
You’re right, we didn’t spend a lot of effort trying to make the prose style seem uniform--I think, because we had to cut so much material, that it just sort of worked out. I don’t recall arguing with you about any particular plot points or prose, which still surprises me.
SM: I don’t recall any arguing either. I don’t remember any scuffling over edits either. That only proves what nice guys we are when writing about decapitations.
I don’t remember how he got the name DB. I listen to a lot of radio shows from the 40’s and 50’s, that name sounds pretty old time radio show to me. I know I didn’t want a predictable faerie name for him.
I remember the writing of the campus scene going like that too. Theo’s disintegration was fun. He’s not the most unpleasant character I’ve ever worked on, but he was one of the most fun to see fall apart.
JF: Which, I guess, brings us to the actual premise of the story. There has been some kind of an apocalyptic event in the Faerie world, and many of its refugees have headed for the mortal world. These refugees are preyed upon by bounty hunters like Theo, who make a quasi-legal living from eliminating the more dangerous of them. Theo’s an Old Skool warrior; descended from a long line monster hunters who believe that killing ‘godless frips’ is their Christian duty... but the old ways aren’t so effective against the newer kinds of monsters and he’s losing business to his more current rivals, like the sorcerer Keneally.
Grudgingly, Theo realizes that he needs to upgrade his arsenal, so he trades in his heirloom glaive for a fancy new Shadowcutting blade, exported from the disintegrating Realms by the black market weapons dealer DB. The new weapon makes a big difference to Theo’s effectiveness as a monster hunter, but ownership of the blade has some side-effects that DB has neglected to mention.
SM: Faerie always manage to omit precious details when they make a deal don’t they?
The world in the story has some reflection on what occurred in the Post Soviet Eastern Bloc. First, in the flood of weapons into the black market, along with those willing to take sell said weapons. Secondly, in the idea of refugees fleeing their homeland. Theo is a bigot and a xenophobe, and the influx of Faerie into “his world” just gives him something to focus his hate upon.
I’m glad the Bad-Ass Faerie opportunity came along. I had a lot of fun writing this with you. It was surprisingly natural to co-write the prose together. Going back over it definitely is giving me the drive to collaborate on something again.
JF: It was a blast, Steve!
SM: I’m sure our next collaboration will be full of arguing, backstabbing, allegations of misdeeds, and a general bloodletting.
JF: I look forward to it.
ABOUT THE AUTHORS: Steven Mangold co-runs the small press comics imprint Blue Rose Studios. He has published various mini-comics including; NEIGHBOR RELATIONS, NATURE'S CALL, and ANOTHER DAY. His prose and comics work has been published in ROBOTS ARE PEOPLE, TOO; ONE MORE BULLET; and the upcoming Sketch South compilation. He currently resides in central Florida with his wife, two cats, and a dying robot dog. http://www.bluerosestudios.net/
Jason Franks is the author of the graphic novels McBLACK and THE SIXSMITHS. His fiction, in comics and prose, has appeared in a variety of places, including ASSASSIN'S CANON, DEATHLINGS, TANGO and, of course, BAD-ASS FAERIES. Franks is also the editor of the KAGEMONO horror anthology series. He lives in Melbourne, Australia. http://www.jasonfranks.com
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Sorry…the faeries were elusive for another week thanks to the curse of the winter crude. But we are back this week and ready to go with an Insight from bestselling author David Sherman (Starfist and Demontech series), who contributed to BAF3: In All Their Glory. Leave a pithy comment for a chance to win a free ecopy of The Price of Friendship. (Next Week’s Insight: Jason Franks and Steven Mangold)
I wanted to use a fey creature outside the norm, just as I use odd fey characters in my DemonTech novels and stories. My research turned up the Nix, a Germanic being. Now what could I do with a shape-changer equally at home on land and in the water? Moreover, one whose kind is historically at war with mankind?
I couldn't do anything with it. "The Price of Friendship" is a story without an original plan, it simply grew.
An image of the fresh-water Nix, not fully transformed into his piscine shape, heading into the ocean came to me. And questions as well. Where was he going? What was he going to do once he got there? Why? And how would the salt sea affect him?
I'll 'fess up, I knew up front where the Nix was going and what he was going to do when he got there. But how and why? Those were things he had to tell me, because I didn't know. The Nix told me, a bit at a time. And his story, the why and wherefore of his mission, slowly came to light.
"The Price of Friendship" couldn't be told in a straight linear manner, it had to go back and forth between now and then. Piece by piece, bit by bit to show what the Nix was doing - and why.
There are unanswered questions in the story. The biggest of which is why did the man, a traditional enemy of nixies, go to the aid of the nixie family in the first place? That action was what set the story off to begin with.
The question is unanswered because it doesn't have an answer. "The Price of Friendship" is the Nix's story, not the man's, his motives don't matter. It's enough to know that he did what he did.
Short fiction. My, my, my. "The Price of Friendship" is my third published short story, and only the second one deliberately written as a short. That's after 31 novels at last count. Novels are big, they have room to explain as much or as little as the author wants. Short stories are different, they require that some things get left out. A very different discipline. But I'm learning. Since "The Price of Friendship" I've written another short story, two novelettes, and a novella.
David Sherman, http://novelier.com/
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