Monthly Archives: December 2018

Dec 30

The story behind The Wood and the Wildfolk

By admin | Uncategorized

There are eight stories in The Wood and the Wildfolk:

  • The Wood and the Wildfolk
  • Melia, Guardian of the Wood
  • Teresina, the Dragon
  • Kelly, the Gremlin
  • Silverspring, the Elf
  • Idris, the Rainbow Sprite
  • The Maple Tree Fairy
  • Teresina and the Iron Mine

These stories introduce some of the wildfolk who inhabit the wide wild wood. Most of the stories have no particular inspiration and are just spinoffs from my imagination. Melia is, in Greek mythology, an ash tree nymph. It was fitting for a tree nymph to be the guardian of the wide wild wood.

I have a soft spot for Silverspring, who was born into a clan of stone carvers and who would prefer to be a wood carver. Eventually, she and her father reach a compromise, but I suspect, after the story’s ending, that Silverspring will be adopted into the wood carver clan.

According to Wikipedia, a gremlin is “a folkloric mischievous creature that causes malfunctions in aircraft or other machinery.” My gremlin, Kelly, comes from a family that lives in aviation hangers for small aircraft. Poor Kelly is afraid of heights, however, so his family sent him off to find a new home. Since lawnmower blades resemble propeller blades, Kelly decides that the tool shed in the Wide Wild Wood is just the place for him.

Kelly is named after the famous artist, Frank Kelly Freas. Kelly Freas was a well-known science fiction cover artist who designed the crew patch for Skylab 1. He pictured himself as a gremlin, and was the inspiration for my gremlin Kelly.


Dec 07

The Story Behind Fairies and Fireflies

By admin | Uncategorized

The stories in the Fairies and Fireflies collection:

  • Sunflower (a reprint of the story from Dragons and Dreams)
  • Pussy Willow
  • Firefly
  • Honey Bees
  • The Littlest Firefly
  • Urusk
  • Urusk and the Fairy

In Dragons and Dreams, there’s a story called Sunflower about a lonely Butterfly Fairy who wanted a pet. She used her magic to make a kitten out of a sunflower, but it turned out that the kitten was huge compared to the tiny Butterfly Fairy. Ultimately, she found a lonely little human girl and gave the sunflower kitten to her.

I got a note back from an early reader who asked whether the Butterfly Fairy ever got herself a proper kitten, so I wrote Pussy Willow, where Butterfly Fairy uses a pussy willow to make a kitten just the right size for her. When Willow got into some trouble with some fireflies and Butterfly Fairy rescued her, both of them made new friends. Urisk, which means “brownie” in Scots Gaelic, seemed like he’d make another good resident of the Wide Wild Field. Lois McMaster Bujold, an excellent author of science fiction and fantasy, always asks herself, “What is the worst thing I could do to this character?” Since brownies do most of their work at night when everybody is asleep, I thought of a brownie who was afraid of the dark. To get around this, he makes friends with a firefly. When I finished writing Urisk’s stories, it turned out that I had another collection of bedtime stories.

The Littlest Firefly was another teaching story written for my daughter. Even in preschool, she felt different from the other children and was bullied or ostracized for being different. The Littlest Firefly is about a firefly who never flashes light in time with any of the other firefly communities. The story is about being true to yourself and trust that somewhere out there is a tribe where you can fit in and still be your real self.