The Golden Door: 14 Stories of Wisdom, Justice, and Love

The Golden Door is a collection of stories showing the impact on people when they’re treated as “the other,” whether they’re immigrants to a country, a group of targeted within their own country, or something else besides. The title refers to Emma Lazarus’s welcoming words inscribed on the plaque on Statue of Liberty, “I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

Tales of mistreatment of “the other” abound in historical or religious writings from around the world and through all time. But there are also plenty of examples of people helping each other, caring for one another, learning about each other. Sometimes in big ways, sometimes in small—but they all add up.

All proceeds will be donated to Doctors Without Borders and the ACLU.

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The Stories

In Adrianne Aron’s “The Envelope Trick,” an immigrant learns the very system that’s helping him in his new country is also hurting him.

A woman and her young daughter escape death in their home country, only to find themselves separated at the U.S. border in Steve Carr’s “Needle in a Haystack.”

During the Cuban Missile Crisis, a young boy who dreams of emigrating to the U.S. to study at MIT comes across a pair of Soviet officers, and learns there’s more at stake than he’d ever dreamed in Tonya D. Price’s “Spy in the Sky.”

In Lesley L. Smith’s “Ke’s Symphony,” a family of aliens, refugees who escaped a disaster on their own world, is welcomed with both friendship and fear on the planet that took them in.

The president of the United States wishes for peace in “The Un-American President,” by Jason Dias. Sometimes integrity is doing the right thing because everyone is watching.

A little girl leaves her war-torn home with her parents, and learns that life is built on small kindnesses in Bonnie Elizabeth’s “A Used Pair of Shoes.”

Hedi Framm Anton’s “La Despedida” shows two sides of a story of farewell. A young girl lives with her grandmother in Honduras; they wait for a check from her mother, who works in San Francisco, so they can pay the fee the gang members demand every month.

Below the pristine mountains of Portugal’s countryside, a war rages on in Rei Rosenquist’s “Friends.” Thrown together in a dismal war camp, imported refugees share nothing but their suffering. No common culture. No common tongue. But friendship can spring up even in the toughest of times.

An American temporarily loses his sight in an accident in Beirut in Bob Sojka’s “Transient Pains.” While recovering, he tells his nurse stories about growing up in an immigrant family in Chicago in the 1950s, where stereotyped animosities arose among people of different origins.

In Adrianne Aron’s “Like a Snake,” an American is surprised to learn that the man she meets in a poor rural village that doesn’t even have electricity has two sons going to Mission High School in San Francisco. But is it really a surprise?

Jamie Ferguson’s “Something in Common” takes place in a small town in western Pennsylvania in 1910 where a young woman discovers she and a recent immigrant from Austria-Hungary have more in common than she’d realized.

A wealthy actress in Hollywood in the 1920s takes on a pair of immigrant faeries as indentured servants in DeAnna Knippling’s “Myrna and the Thirteen-Year Witch,” but she didn’t realize just how high the cost would be to keep them safe.

In Rob Vagle’s “Dispatch from the Other Side,” a young man who was separated from his family while trying to claim asylum in America follows the instructions on a postcard sent by his long-lost mother, and discovers things about his family he’d never expected to find.

A young woman, who moved from Afghanistan to California with her brother, has to make an important decision in David Stier’s “The Path.” Her choice will change both of their lives, forever.

Inspiration for the title “The Golden Door”

The title for this collection comes from the sonnet “The New Colossus,” which was written by Emma Lazarus in 1883 to raise money for the construction of a pedestal for the Statue of Liberty.

Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,

With conquering limbs astride from land to land;

Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand

A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame

Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name

MOTHER OF EXILES. From her beacon-hand

Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command

The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.

“Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she

With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor,

Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,

The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.

Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,

I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”


—“The New Colossus,” by Emma Lazarus

New release: Entangled by Midsummer!

Jamie Ferguson’s contemporary fantasy novel, Entangled by Midsummer, is now available!


 
 
Bound by betrayal, entangled in enchantment.

Mark is living a selkie’s worst nightmare: the enchanted skin that lets him turn into a seal has been stolen by his wily human lover. Now he’s trapped on land, slowly losing his mind as his chances to return to the sea slip away.

His only hope? A faery woman named Merenna.

But Merenna has her own problems. She’s hiding in the mortal world to escape the most dangerous lord of Faerie—a man whose ambitions would make her his bride and his pawn. Now his minions have caught up to her, and Mark finds himself entangled in the deadly power games of faeries.

It will take every bit of skill, cunning, and luck Mark and Merenna possess just to stay ahead of their pursuers. The net of intrigue closes in around them as Midsummer approaches—a time when vast forces align, sinister plans come to fruition, and destiny itself can be rewritten.

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Excerpt

It must have been years, maybe even decades, since anyone else had been up in the attic of Katy’s house on the Oregon coast—which made it the perfect place for Mark to hide the thing that mattered more to him than anything else in the world—his sealskin.

Mark pulled himself up off the last rung of the rickety ladder that led from the second story of the little Victorian. He was happy to be on the much more reliable attic floor. Dust sparkled in the beam of sunlight that shone through the tiny window in the gable. He wiped his hands on his jeans and tried not to sneeze.

The airy space was filled with a random assortment of things: dried flowers, a large collection of umbrellas, rolled-up rugs, piles of clothes and blankets, a child’s high chair, a wooden trunk. Everything was covered with a layer of dust. The dust was so thick he couldn’t clearly make out his previous footprints on the floor, even though he’d walked across it less than a month before.

Mark had had a fun few weeks with Katy since he’d met her at the end of May, but it was only a few days until Midsummer, and he was ready to move on. He wanted to get up to the aquarium in Seattle by July, and there were a lot of seaside spots to visit along the way.

Besides, sooner or later she’d get too attached, and there was no way he could possibly tell her he was a selkie.

The old pine boards creaked as he walked across the attic. His flip-flops made soft smacking sounds on the wood floor, and dust rose up from his footsteps like little puffs of smoke. A seagull cawed outside, its cry muffled by the thick walls. The faint sound of the waves on the other side of the cliff was familiar and comforting.

He itched to spend a few days in his seal form. He hadn’t worn it since the day he’d met Katy. And it had been far too long since he’d felt the sea’s embrace.

It had all started in Newport at the Oregon Coast Aquarium. He had been in the pinniped enclosure discussing the usual topics with the seals, things like whether or not the water temperature was to their liking, what kinds of fish were they being fed, where they’d hid the toy a kid had dropped in their pen the other day. Mark hated that he couldn’t free them, hated that his cousins had to stay penned up, but he knew if he did help them escape, other seals would only be captured in their stead. So he spent time every year visiting aquariums along the western coast to make sure the seals and sea lions were being treated well.

Then Katy had come up to him. She’d said she was a botanist doing research with the aquarium, and that she liked to look at the seals—but Mark knew women, and he knew why she had really stopped. She had the red curls of a temptress, wore a blue sweater that was tight in just the right places, and her smile promised fun. She’d been easy to charm—as they always were.

He’d spent that night at her house, and hid his sealskin in her attic the next day. He’d only planned to stay a few days, but had found Katy to be quite fun. If it hadn’t been for the itch of the sea, he might have stayed even longer.

Mark reached the pile of blankets and coats and sweaters he’d hidden his skin in. It was about the size of a down comforter, and weighed quite a bit more than any blanket. He smiled as he knelt down and began to rummage through them, the musty scent of old fabric tickling his nose. It was going to feel so good to be back in the water. Swimming in his human form just wasn’t the same.

He pulled the last blanket aside, the plaid wool rough against his skin.

The bare wooden floor stared back at him.

No sealskin.

He must have missed it. He pressed his lips together. He went through the pile again, pulling every piece out one by one and placing it on the floor.

But his sealskin wasn’t there.

Mark sat back on his heels, chills running down his back.

He took a deep breath, stood up, and looked around. There must be another stack of blankets. The attic was filled to the gills with crap. He must have put it somewhere else. He must have.

Except he knew he hadn’t. It was part of him. He always knew exactly where he’d hidden it. He’d put it right here, in the northwest corner of the attic, in the pile with the green argyle sweater on top.

Mark stood as still as if he were frozen, all the old tales coming back to him about female selkies having their skins stolen, and then being forced to marry human men and never return to the sea.

That couldn’t be him.

That wouldn’t be him.

He must have moved it. Or perhaps he’d put it behind a box, or under the umbrellas, and had merely forgotten.

He searched the next pile, then the next, throwing winter coats, faded dresses made of taffeta and lace, and multi-colored afghans aside. Clouds of dust filled the air and tickled the back of his throat. He ripped open box after box, threw the umbrellas across the room, shook out every blanket. He tossed the contents of the old trunk onto the floor. He scoured the room, moving faster and faster, leaving a trail of clutter in his wake. He smacked his head on the low beams, but barely noticed. He pulled down the dried flowers and herbs that hung from the rafters, unrolled the old rugs, flung aside shirts, dresses, shoes, went through every bag and box and stack and pile.

Where was it? It was his!

It was him.

And without it, he could never return to the sea.

Finally, he fell to his hands and knees on the pine floor, his face wet with tears. His breath came in huge gasps, and his T-shirt clung to his sweat-drenched body.

He knelt there, his head hanging down, until his breathing slowed. Empty cardboard boxes, rumpled newspapers, and old clothing littered the room. He pushed himself to his feet, wiped his face on his shirt, and walked back across the room to the attic hatch. Dried leaves crunched under his flip-flops. He climbed down the ladder, lifted the folding steps back up toward the ceiling, and pressed the door shut. A few stray pieces of paper had fallen through the hole, so he picked them up and put them in the recycling bin in the kitchen. He grabbed his packed duffle bag up from next to the front door, put his things back in the bedroom closet, and waited for Katy to come home.

That evening over dinner, he said, “I’ve lost something in the house. A kind of coat.”

Katy smiled, and said, “I know.”

Find Jamie

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Find Entangled by Midsummer

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Interview: Jamie Ferguson on “Entangled by Midsummer”

Entangled by Midsummer combines faeries, magic, and ambition in a world where bargains are enforced by magic, love—or the semblance thereof—can be created by a spell, and the consequence of failure is deadly.

Entangled by Midsummer is available for a limited time in The Realm of Faerie bundle.

Enter the Realm of Faerie, a world of beauty, danger, and enchantment. But remember the legends if you want to make it back home again…

Excerpt

Merenna stared out at the ocean and watched the waves roll toward the shore, their never-ending rumble constant and soothing. Giant logs of driftwood lay scattered on the beach, brought inland by the winter storms, and here and there black chunks of basalt jutted out of the sand. Even in mid-June the Oregon coast was fierce and beautiful and wild, and was an unlikely place to find a faery.


Or at least that’s what Merenna hoped, since she very much wanted to not be found. She rested a finger on the sapphire pendant she always wore, a gift from her grandmother many years ago.


It was around three in the afternoon and the restaurant didn’t open until five, so she and Cù had the patio to themselves. A few tiny clouds dotted the summer sky, and a pair of seagulls flew overhead, cawing to one another. The lemon geraniums in the big clay pots scattered around the tables filled the afternoon with their sweet fragrance, and a steady stream of bees buzzed to and fro as they harvested pollen from the flowers.


Merenna tucked a stray lock of hair back under her straw sun hat, leaned back in her chair, and squinted at the horizon. The other day she’d walked barefoot along the beach, and the water had been so icy it had taken her breath away.


She shifted her weight and accidentally kicked the leg of the cedar table. The umbrella wobbled but stayed upright, which was a relief. It had taken her forever to figure out how to open it. There were so many, many things to learn here in the Land of Men. She’d been here for almost two months, and was finally beginning to feel comfortable among humankind, but there was always something new to learn.


Cù glanced up at her from his spot in the shade underneath the table. His face looked as if someone had run a wide, white paintbrush across his black fur, starting on his left ear and continuing across his muzzle. The skin around the eye on the white side of his face was black as night, as if someone had outlined his eye with kohl. Five years ago he’d shown up at her door one morning, a happy little puppy with a coat of black-and-white fuzz. She didn’t know where he’d come from, nor why, but since the moment she saw him look up at her, his white-tipped tail wagging, they’d been inseparable.


Merenna reached down and rubbed the top of Cù’s head, his fur soft against her skin. His tail thumped briefly, the long hairs on the tip moving as gently as feathers ruffled by a soft breeze.


It felt strange to spend so much time away from her people, and it would feel especially strange to not be among them to celebrate the summer solstice, which was only a few days away. Merenna could feel its presence, almost as though the solstice were a living entity prowling about just out of sight. This year she’d celebrate Midsummer on her own. All the years of parties and feasts and dancing, courtship and gossip, festivals and rituals, were now locked securely in the past.


She could always go back, of course.


If she chose to.


Merenna settled herself firmly into her chair and adjusted her straw hat.

—from Entangled by Midsummer by Jamie Ferguson

The Interview

You’re writing about the fae. What is it about the fae that draws you in to tell stories about them?

The faeries I write about are from a land that’s mystical, magical, and very, very old. I love creating tales about people and worlds that are similar to ours in many ways, but which also contain magic, wonders—and dangers—different from anything we face in our world, and which are often mysterious and sometimes (to us humans, at least) inexplicable. I like creating worlds and characters that feel vivid, magical, and real. I love thinking about what it would be like to be one of the fae, growing up and living in a world so similar to ours, and yet so different.

What would it be like to live in a world where unicorns, kelpies, and mermaids were real? Where you knew if you walked through a forest you might come across a satyr, or a dryad, or some other magical creature that you had never heard of before? What if naiads lived in every pond, lake, and river? Imagine being able to traverse great distances—or even walk between worlds—by following a pathway (a straight track)!

Writing about this type of world is really fun because there’s always something new, exciting, magical—and often unexpected!—around every corner.

In general, you seem drawn to mythology in a very practical way. Your characters, even the ones who don’t know anything about magic, seem to take magic—or whatever other strange rules occur in your settings—in stride. Why is that?

I’m generally a pragmatist. When something odd happens in my life I might have a moment of shock, panic, or whatever, and then think: okay…now what? So I write characters who, when faced with unexpected magical events, deal with them in this way.

This is usually a good approach in my real life, but it’s entirely possible that if I myself were faced with a strange and magical situation like those I put my characters into, I might not be quite as calm and practical. 🙂

What do you feel like the heart of your book is? Romance? Adventure? Mystery?

The story has elements of romance, adventure, and mystery, but at least to me it doesn’t feel like any of those are the “heart.” I feel like the heart of the book is about doing what matters—which is obviously not a genre 🙂 but that’s what feels like the right answer here.

Who’s your most favoritest character in Entangled by Midsummer? Who’s your least? Is anyone based on a real person (that you’re willing to reveal!)?

My favoritest character is Cù, the faery dog, of course! 🙂 I wrote the first part of this novel at a writing workshop on the Oregon coast in 2012. (The assignment was to write a short story, but as often happens to me in these workshops, I wrote the first chapter of a novel. Oops.) Initially Cù was a little different, more like the black dogs of folklore from the British Isles. Less than a year later we adopted our border collie Jasper, and mysteriously Cù’s appearance changed until he looked an awful lot like Jasper…fluffy, cute, black and white, and interested in chasing squirrels Cù is the only character based on someone real.

My other favorite character is Laran. Up until I wrote his first scene, I’d struggled with creating villains who were “bad” but also felt genuine and real. Laran’s character was so easy and fun to write that he made me think about my villains differently. My “bad guys” usually end up as mostly bad, not truly evil. Writing Laran made me realize that instead of trying to force them to fit into a mold, I should embrace their complexity.

I don’t seem to have a least favorite character. Each one of them feels like they’re important and play an important part in the story, so it’s hard to think of a least favorite. It’s more that some play smaller or larger parts.

What are your plans for other stories set in this world? Will they be about the same characters?

I have grand plans for this world! Although I should actually say “this universe,” as in Entangled by Midsummer there are multiple worlds that are accessible by the straight tracks (paths) that run between them. My immediate goal is to continue to write short stories in this universe, partly to work out some of the background, and partly because I’ve really enjoyed the short stories I’ve written in this universe so far. I have a series of 4-5 books planned, and am about a third of the way through the first book. There’s also another story about the Lady of Winter, who Laran mentions at one point, that I think will be a standalone novella.

The only one of my short stories (so far) that includes any of the same characters is “The Faery’s Choice,” which is in the anthology The Faerie Summer. A much younger version of Táinar, one of Laran’s liegemen in Entangled by Midsummer, appears in this story. Some of the characters in the planned 4-5 book series have already appeared in a few short stories. Including the same characters in multiple stories is a great way to tie all the stories together, plus it’s fun to explore some of the characters in more detail.

If you could take a research trip anywhere in the world (no, you can’t go to Faerie) for this series, where would you go next?

Ireland and Scotland. I don’t have anywhere specific in mind, but I’m sure there are many places in both countries that would be wonderful places to do research. I’d like to visit henges, forts, and temples, and see whatever is left of the buildings people built thousands of years ago. I’d like to stand on the land next to the sea, smell the salt air, and imagine what it would have felt like to live in a time when people believed in the Tuatha Dé Danann, or the Aos Sí.

What’s the best piece of research you did for this book that you didn’t have a chance to use?

I learned a lot about the black dogs of folklore from the British Isles. Most of what I learned turned out to not be a good fit for Cù’s character, but I’m using some of this research for a dog in one of the novels in the 4-5 book series. We’ll see what this ends up being in the final draft, but the current version incorporates the idea that these dogs are associated with crossroads and ancient pathways.

What books did you read as a young adult or adult that you feel you drew most on for Entangled by Midsummer?

I’ve actually been thinking about this recently, trying to remember what my main influences were so that I can go back and reread them. The list I’ve come up with so far includes Tom Deitz’ David Sullivan series and Julian May’s Saga of Pliocene Exile. I was also influenced by a number of books about King Arthur and Merlin that had magical/mystical elements, like The Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley, and Mary Stewart’s Merlin Trilogy. I’m sure there are a lot of other books I’m forgetting. I’m putting together a list of books that I know and/or suspect influenced me, and am adding them to a shelf on Goodreads.

What else do you have coming out recently, or soon?

My short story “Goblin Road Trip” just came out in the second issue of Amazing Monster Tales. I co-edit this series, but I still need to get my stories past my co-editor (DeAnna Knippling, who is also my interviewer!). 🙂 Another story of mine, “A Different Turn,” came out recently in Crossroads Hotel, the 20th issue of the Uncollected Anthology.

What are you working on now, and what’s fun about what you’re writing?

I’m currently focusing on two projects. The first is a historical fantasy which starts in Pompeii in—surprise!—A.D. 79…right before Vesuvius erupted. I don’t yet know if this is a novel or a series…but I do know that it is really, really fun to write! This is one of those stories that practically writes itself. I’ve got the whole thing worked out in my head, and now just need time to type it up. My plan is to finish the first draft over the next few weeks, then let it sit for a while so I can do some historical research, and make sure I’ve got the facts as accurate as I can make them.

The other project is a cozy witch series set in Colorado. Like Entangled by Midsummer, this idea came out of a short story assignment at a writing workshop…and again, what I wrote turned out to be the first chapter in a novel. I’m not doing any more writing on this project until I finish the first draft of the historical fantasy, but I am allowing myself to make notes. I now have a lot of notes! 🙂 This project is fun in part because it’s set in Boulder, the town I live in, and I’m really enjoying incorporating elements of places I know.

About Jamie

Jamie focuses on getting into the minds and hearts of her characters, whether she’s writing about a saloon girl in the American West, a man who discovers the barista he’s in love with is a naiad, or a ghost who haunts the house she was killed in—even though that house no longer exists. Jamie lives in Colorado, and spends her free time in a futile quest to wear out her two border collies since she hasn’t given in and gotten them their own herd of sheep.

Find Jamie

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Find The Realm of Faerie bundle!

This bundle is available for a limited time at StoryBundle.com/Fantasy.

Bundle buyers have a chance to donate a portion of the purchase price to the charities Mighty Writers and Girls Write Now!

Interview: Midwinter Fae authors – Part 4

Midwinter Fae, the second volume in the anthology series A Procession of Faeries, brings you nineteen tales of magic, beauty, wonder…and sometimes danger, as the Fae can be unpredictable, and follow their own rules.

Midwinter Fae is available for a limited time in The Realm of Faerie bundle.

Enter the Realm of Faerie, a world of beauty, danger, and enchantment. But remember the legends if you want to make it back home again…

The Interview

Part 4 of the Midwinter Fae author interview includes:

  • Jamie Ferguson, author of “The Kiss of the Horned God”
  • Marcelle Dubé, author of “Midwinter Run”
  • Dayle A. Dermatis, author of “The Madness of Survival”

What do you enjoy about weaving elements from mythology, legends, and folklore in your own writing?

Jamie Ferguson
I love reading stories that incorporate elements from mythology, legends, and folklore…so I enjoy writing the kinds of stories I want to read. 🙂 It’s really fun to take something from mythology, or a traditional fairy tale, and put my own twist on it.

Marcelle Dubé
I like incorporating stories from myth, legend or folklore into my own French-Canadian traditions, just to see what will happen. I especially like exploring how “modern” humans would react if they encountered these creatures from myth. I love hearing the echoes of these stories rolling down the centuries.

Dayle A. Dermatis
Mythology, legends, and folklore are based on fundamental truths, stories, and energy from time immemorial. We each interpret them in different ways, but the fact that the same stories appear in wildly different cultures at roughly the same time, when those people had no known contact with one another, has to give you pause and make you think.

As a writer, I walk the line between telling lies/making stuff up and searching for the universal truths and connections between people. Exploring myths and legends allows me to do both.

What do you find most interesting about the mythology/folklore associated with Midwinter?

Jamie Ferguson
We lived in West Germany and the Netherlands when I was a kid, and would go to Christmas markets (Christkindlmärkte) every year. It felt like a magical time, walking around in the cold, with lights sparkling, decorations hanging, and enjoying festive food and drink while admiring all of the fun and beautiful things for sale. Our family also incorporated some of the traditions of where we lived, like that of leaving out our shoes the evening of December 5th for Saint Nicholas (aka our parents) to put little gifts in.

Midwinter feels like a magical time to me, which I think is mostly because of the festive, sparkling, exciting feeling I always had at this time of year when I was growing up. It’s probably also because in northern Europe, our days were short. My sisters and I would wait for the school bus in the dark and come home in the dark, so the increase in the amount of daylight was a very tangible thing for us.

Midwinter is a turning point, where the days begin to lengthen. Imagine what it must have been like for the ancients to celebrate the arrival of the winter solstice at one of the henges or monuments which were built to align with the solar cycle. That yearly reminder that winter would (eventually) end, and that you wouldn’t run out of food or fuel, must have been exciting—and comforting.

To me, the most interesting parts of the mythology around Midwinter deal with the risk that winter might not end after all—the battle between the Holly and Oak kings, the robin and the wren, the Horned God dying and then being reborn at Midwinter. We now know that winter will always end, but imagine how mystical and magical this must have seemed to people thousands of years ago?

Marcelle Dubé
The idea of a time of year where the veil between the world of the living and that of the dead thins is fascinating. I really like the idea of the two worlds crossing over. Of the various stories that come to us from folklore and mythology, I really like the one about the Wild Hunt, in which a spectral leader rides at the head of a host of faerie, or spirits, or men mounted on wild horses, accompanied by black hounds with red, rolling eyes, to the sound of howling, pounding hooves and fierce winds.

It’s thrilling. Terrifying. But wouldn’t you want to see it for yourself?

Nobody’s sure what they’re chasing—is it a beast? A man? The spirits of the dead? Does it matter? All we know is to hide when we hear them coming—hide and hope they don’t come after us.

So, knowing all this, what kind of woman would deliberately taunt the Wild Hunt into helping her? A desperate one.

Dayle A. Dermatis
Turning of the Wheel, from dark to light. We’ve lost the focus on seasons, and are expected to work the same jobs no matter what. But autumn will always be harvest, and winter will always be about family, hearth, and home, and the time to work on indoor projects.

Mythology and fairy tales often incorporate aspects from the locale in which they originated. For example, selkies appear in folktales from the Northern Isles of Scotland, the Faroe Islands, and Iceland. Is there an area of the world that you particularly enjoy including in your writing, whether from a mythological aspect, a geographical one, or both?

Jamie Ferguson
There are two main areas that I really enjoy incorporating in my writing: Celtic mythology and folklore, and what I’ll loosely refer to as Mediterranean geography and mythology.

I’ve loved Celtic mythology since I was a kid, and still love reading stories that include elements of it, so it’s not surprising that I also enjoy incorporating this in my own writing. The more research I’ve done on Celtic mythology and folklore for my own stories, the more I realize how many interesting variants there are that I either don’t know much about, or never heard of before. For example, Cù, the faery dog in my novel Entangled by Midsummer, is very loosely based off the mythological Cù-sìth, which I vaguely remembered from different stories I’d read over the years. In researching Cù-sìth for my story I came across the folklore of the black dog, and after one look at that Wikipedia entry I realized just how many different tales and legends there are, and how much they can vary from place to place. I now feel like I’ve barely scratched the surface, and have lots more to learn about Celtic mythology—and a lot more stories to write!

I also enjoy writing stories set in the ancient Mediterranean. I’ve written one short story set on the Aeolian Islands around 1500 BC, and am currently working on a novel that begins in Pompeii—in A.D. 79, of course, right before Vesuvius erupted. 🙂 The appeal includes the geography, climate, food, etc. of the Mediterranean as well as some of the mythology. I also find some of the cultural aspects and the way civilization progressed and changed over time to be really interesting. I’ve also found it fun to write about people who left little or no written records.

Marcelle Dubé
I love the Scandinavian countries and their myths, in particular, myths about trolls. The harshness of the climate juxtaposed against the beauty of the landscape. The hardiness of the inhabitants. The risk of encountering a troll on a lonely path. I imported trolls from Norway to North America in “Troll Country,” in which our intrepid heroine must face the troll who murdered her father when she was a child.

Norway, Sweden, even Iceland… they are similar to Northern Canada, where I live. I guess it’s not much of a stretch to imagine how creatures from the Old World would fare in the New World.

Dayle A. Dermatis
I’ve been interested (okay, obsessed) with Wales since I was a wee lass. The Taran Wanderer series, the Welsh-based books in The Dark is Rising sequence, and possibly others I’ve forgotten, sparked my desire for more. I studied in Chester, England, in college, and visited north Wales; and then I had the opportunity to live in south Wales for four years.

I find all of the British Isles magical in many ways, so that area ends up in my writing quite a bit!

Is there something from a legend, fairy or folk tale, or myth that you haven’t yet used in your writing, but would like to?

Jamie Ferguson
Yes—it’s a long, long list. 🙂

One area I’m really interested in researching and using in my writing is Slovakia. All of my great-grandparents on my mother’s side emigrated from eastern Slovakia in the early 1900s, and not much of the history or folklore made it to my generation. I’d like to learn more, and incorporate this in a story or two at some point.

Marcelle Dubé
There’s an old French-Canadian folk tale called La Chasse-galerie, or The Flying Canoe in English. Some say it’s actually a variation on the The Wild Hunt. The French-Canadian version features a few lumberjacks stuck in camp on New Year’s Eve. They know that back home, there is feasting and dancing, and they miss their loved ones.

They decide to make a pact with the devil to get them home for the night. No slouch, the devil agrees. He produces a magical canoe that will fly them the hundred miles home in no time at all. They must give over their crucifixes and crosses and swear not to speak the name of God on the journey or touch any cross on the church steeples they pass, or they will forfeit their souls.

There are so many ways this can go wrong. But it has French-Canadian lumberjacks, the devil and the risk of losing your immortal soul… that’s hard to resist…

Dayle A. Dermatis
I like taking different culture’s tales and comparing them. I have a note in my idea file about African bug gods and “Beauty and the Beast,” although I don’t yet know where it’s going, exactly.

Another is Hans Christian Andersen’s “The Snow Queen.” All of his stories are uncomfortably religious for me, but the fact that the Snow Queen has snowflake bees makes this tale a story I want to explore in a deeper level.

Question for Jamie Ferguson:
In your stories, you play around a lot with the idea that there are opposing forces or opposing characters that represent opposing forces at work in ways that drag other people’s lives around with them. Where do you think that idea comes from? Here, the “opponents,” although not necessarily enemies, are pretty clear cut, but you have other stories where the opposition is much more subtle, and the “defeat” of one force by the other is more of a rebalancing. Do tell!

It’s funny how obvious this kind of thing is after a story is written, but it’s not at all obvious during the actual writing. 🙂 Years ago I realized there is a general theme that consistently pops up in my writing: my characters are confronted with a situation where they can choose to do the right thing—or not. But I also add in complications so it’s not simple. For example, if you knew with complete certainty that helping someone was the right thing to do, would you choose to help them if success meant you yourself would be completely and utterly alone for all eternity? My theory is that this type of thing shows up over and over in my stories because I find the concept of choice so intriguing—and so important.

I hadn’t thought about this as opposing forces, but that’s a good way to put it. In “The Kiss of the Horned God” the “opponents” are representations of summer and winter, and “defeat” is a temporary thing as the battle between the two occurs every Midwinter and Midsummer. In other stories I’ve written it’s more clearly about good versus evil, or right versus wrong, to either a lesser or greater degree depending on the tale I’m telling.

I’ve accepted that this type of thing is going to show up in my writing whether or not I plan it. 🙂

Question for Jamie Ferguson:
In this story, you imply that this isn’t the first time the events of the story have played out. Did you have any other characters in mind for the previous times that these two powerful forces met?

“The Kiss of the Horned God” is set at Midwinter, where there’s a conflict between winter and summer, holly and oak, darkness and light. I didn’t think through the specifics of what might have happened in this world in previous Midwinters, but I did set up this story so that something different happens every year. I also implied that something similar happens every Midsummer…so I’ll just have to write another story set in this world to find out more myself!

Question for Marcelle Dubé:

I already have another story in this world.

In “Midwinter Run” Annalise mentions the time her parents went to Montreal to see the opening of the Great Victoria Bridge. The building of the bridge was crucial to the Fey, who had been trapped on the island of Montreal since they were first tricked into coming there. To say much more about how the Fey came to Canada would spoil too much, but I do tell their story in “Skywalkers.”

Question for Dayle A. Dermatis:
In “The Madness of Survival,” Eva was taken by the Fae when she was a child. Now grown, Eva, and others like her who escaped from Faerie, work to keep other human children from being stolen. What inspired you to not only incorporate motorcycles into this story, but to also include hints that perhaps there’s a little more to the motorcycles than it might appear?

The first niggle of an idea came from the fact that there are Hell’s Angels groups that accompany abused children to their hearings and make a presence in the courtroom. The child is afraid of her abuser, but can look at these burly, confident men to protect them from their abusers and give her the strength to confront them. I love the idea of the “bad” Hell’s Angels doing such kind work.

I think the idea of these broken people who’ve been kidnapped into Faerie and then booted out, and nobody believes them, and they band together, is really compelling. They were screwed up, and yet they can rise above that enough to save other children from the same fate.

My husband and I have traveled a good chunk of the world on a motorcycle. Mercedes Lackey played with the idea of bespelled motorcycles in two of her series, an idea I’ve always loved. That’s where I got the Magical Motorcycle theme for Uncollected Anthology, where this story first appeared.

As for the motorcycles in my story, could they be bespelled fae creatures that accompanied the human survivors when they came home? Maybe…

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Jamie Ferguson

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Marcelle Dubé

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Dayle A. Dermatis

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Spotlight: “Midwinter Fae” edited by Jamie Ferguson

Dance with the Fae on the shortest day of the year!

On the day of the shortened sun
A battle between two kings has begun.
The old year dies, and the Oak King rules
We celebrate with logs of Yule!
But the Holly King is defeated, not dead
To Caer Arianrhod he heads.
Until Midsummer, when they battle again
And the Holly King will once again reign…

Midwinter Fae, the second volume in the anthology series A Procession of Faeries, brings you nineteen tales of magic, beauty, wonder…and sometimes danger, as the Fae can be unpredictable, and follow their own rules.

Midwinter Fae is available for a limited time in The Realm of Faerie bundle.

Enter the Realm of Faerie, a world of beauty, danger, and enchantment. But remember the legends if you want to make it back home again…

The Faerie Folk come when the veil between the worlds is thin, spinning their sticky-sweet glamour and stealing children away in “The Madness of Survival,” by Dayle A. Dermatis. The only thing standing in their way: a motorcycle gang made up of broken, lost people who managed to escape from the Faerie Realm after their own abductions.

Part human, part fox, Todd is the grandson of Renart, the king of foxes in Diana Benedict’s “Summerland’s Paladin.” He escapes the deadly wrath of his step-brothers, only to find himself in Faerie on the eve of Midwinter. The queen offers him two choices: find a way to keep winter from tightening its grip on the faerie kingdom, or return to the land he came from and face death at the hands of his brothers. But winter is not the only enemy Todd faces in Summerland.

In Leah Cutter’s “The Ice Skating Fairy,” Cindy is stuck on the sidelines with a broken leg, instead of figure skating in the mid-winter jubilee put on by the best teen figure skaters in the state of Washington. Then a fairy appears next to her…and invites Cindy to her own ice skating practice later that evening.

Addie pays quick cash for cursed objects in Leslie Claire Walker’s “Treasure.” That’s how she makes the innocent safeand how she atones every single day for the terrible bargain she made as a young, abused girl on the street. She never speaks of the vile price she paid for freedom or the crime she committeduntil the victim strolls through the door of her shop carrying the worst curse of all.

In “Winternight,” by Eric Kent Edstrom, Two Starside thieves set out to steal coin for their Winternight feast. But when one is framed for murder, they find themselves in deep trouble with the city’s most feared crime boss.

Fairy magic is rich, beautiful, and filled with the threat of danger in Ron Collins’ “First Rays of New Sun.” Unable to return to the mortal world herself, Katazarra is commanded by her fae lord to entice a human man so that he, too, will be trapped in the land of Fairy and stay beyond the Winterfest celebration. But the man knows something that Katazarra doesn’t…or perhaps it’s something she knows, but doesn’t want to remember.

The biggest festival in Stratford, North Carolina approaches in Rei Rosenquist’s “At the Heart of Trickery”: a Midwinter celebration of Shakespeare’s Midsummer Night’s Dream. In the midst of the excitement, the magical powers around town swell. And Chandraa transwoman witch in hidingonce again finds it impossible to hide. And then a friendly stranger appears at Chandra’s window, reaches out…and offers the ability to travel to a whole new world.

Once a warrior of the Seelie Court, Rose now exists as a changeling in a twisted human body devoid of magic in Karen L. Abrahamson’s “A Squalor of Chickens.” Only on midwinter day can she taste magic again, in the form of a single spell that allows her to reconnect the ice-cold Earth with the sun’s life-giving warmth. Her one power is the single most important oneushering in Spring. But then she’s offered the chance to have a real life of her own…

In DeAnna Knippling’s “By Winter’s Forbidden Rite,” a desperate mother summons the spirits as her infant son’s last hope…but what if she’s wrong? A group of women hold a seance on a dark and snowy winter’s night, hoping to summon forth wisdom from beyond the grave in order to save a sickly child. But what is the real nature of the spirit that answers the summons? And will they have to call forth something even worse to save them from what their seance brings?

Brea is the daughter of a fisherman and a sea-wild woman who carried magic in her blood in Anthea Sharp’s “Passage.” Brea’s father is dead, her village banished her, and she barely managed to escape the brigands who robbed her. Now she lives alone in the Realm of Faerie, until the winter day when she follows the taste of the rowan berry and finds herself being chased by the Wild Hunt. But fate has more in store for Brea than a simple existence as one of the fey folk, and when she runs afoul of the Dark Queen, she must embark on an adventure that will change her future…forever.

In the deep cold of a midwinter night, Annalise races through a frozen wilderness to bring her injured father to help in Marcelle Dubé’s “Midwinter Run.” But when she stumbles across a pixie on the frozen river, she will have to face a band of angry Fey who blame her for the pixie’s death. If she leaves, she risks the wrath of the Fey—but if she stays to explain, she risks her father’s life.

In Deb Logan’s “Faery Unpredictable,” Claire Murray, a real live faery princess, is spending her first midwinter holiday with her many-times-removed grandfather, the King of Faery. When her boyfriend Roddy, the Prince of Winter, is accused of stealing the Wyrd Stone, a magical artifact that governs the turning of the seasons, Claire must discover the real culprit before the all important celebration of the Festival of Alban Arthan. Can she clear Roddy’s name before he’s banished from Faery forever?

Samuel Lee spent the past few years creeped out by the strange man who lived next door in T. Thorn Coyle’s “The Stars of Neverwhere.” His mother didn’t understand, but she hadn’t seen the man slide through the shimmering air, his skin as white as moonlight on birch bark, and his chin and cheekbones sharp as knives. And then all the neighborhood cats disappeared. 

After finding out she didn’t get her dream job at the arboretum, Holly takes her normal path home through the city park in Jamie Ferguson’s “The Kiss of the Horned God.” Holly is so upset she doesn’t pay attention to where she’s going, and is startled when she notices the pathand the lights of the cityhave vanished.

Kristine Kathryn Rusch’s “Destiny” follows the Shapeshifter Solanda. The Black King wants her to use her special abilities on a job that will change the Fey forever. But Solanda wants to change the life of one child. Can she do both? Or should she do nothing at all?

The Holly vs Oak exhibition fight looks to be the event of the winter, until someone attempts to poison the Holly King in Rebecca M. Senese’s “Holly vs Oak.” Who is trying to kill him and threaten the peace between the normal world and the Nether Realm?

In Stefon Mears’ “A Last Meal for the Holly King,” after Steve’s wife dies he heads for their cabin in the Oregon wilderness, not intending to come back. There’s no point in going on without Jess. He comes across an old man with scraggly, snow-white hair and a sprig of holly tucked in just above his right ear. Steve offers the old man a meal, but what he receives in return surprises him.

What’s a girl to do when her duties as bridesmaid suddenly require her to wear a wedding dress, too? In Brigid Collins’ “Bride Thief,” the bride’s odd family tradition is meant to confuse evil spirits who seek to steal brides away on their special day. Chelsea might think it cute if she weren’t still nursing her wounded pride after her own disaster of an attempted wedding. But Jennifer’s been there for her as she put the pieces back together, so the least Chelsea can do is put on a stupid dress. Besides, it’s not like a real evil spirit is going to steal her away. Right?

On the Boar Islands in the cold North, Eithni awaits Winter Solstice with equal parts pride and fear in “The Giving Year,” by Alexandra Brandt. Eithni, chosen to enter the chamber of the gods, prepares to leave her human community forever. On the other side of the Stone Door, Sable stands guard in anticipation of a successful solstice, when the veil between worlds will lift…and when Sable’s liege, a lightlord of the fae, will claim the human woman who willingly steps across into the Summer realm. But everything changes when Eithni breaks the rules.

Midwinter Fae is available for a limited time in The Realm of Faerie bundle.

Enter the Realm of Faerie, a world of beauty, danger, and enchantment. But remember the legends if you want to make it back home again…

Spotlight: “Entangled by Midsummer” by Jamie Ferguson

Mark, a selkie, is trapped on land after his sealskin is stolen by his human lover in Entangled by Midsummer. He turns to a faery woman named Merenna for help. But Merenna has her own problems—she left Faerie to escape a dangerous man whose ambitions would make her his bride and his pawn, and his liegemen have found her. The net of intrigue closes in around Mark and Merenna as Midsummer approaches—a time when vast forces align, sinister plans come to fruition, and destiny itself can be rewritten.

Entangled by Midsummer is available for a limited time in The Realm of Faerie bundle.

Enter the Realm of Faerie, a world of beauty, danger, and enchantment. But remember the legends if you want to make it back home again…

Excerpt

Laran stared at her for a minute, and then bowed his head and walked off toward the wine barrels, the solidity of the steps of his booted feet at odds with his presumed lack of sobriety. Merenna clasped her necklace so tightly her fingers ached, and held her breath as Laran eased through the drunken crowd with the grace of a dancer.

As soon as he was out of sight, she hurried away from the bonfire, Cù close by her side. They ran down the grass-covered hill, leapt across a tiny brook, and entered the dark of the forest. The air smelled of leaves, damp earth, and smoke from the festival fires. The branches and leaves of the tall trees formed a canopy that blocked out most of the light from the stars.

Merenna moved as quickly as she dared. She could feel the energy from the nearby track, but couldn’t see it. She glanced down at Cù. His bits of white fur seemed to almost glow in the darkness. It felt like Laran was right behind her, as if his breath were on the back of her neck. Cù’s footsteps were silent, but she kept stepping on tiny twigs on the forest floor, her feet making crunching sounds as she made her way between the trees. If Laran was following them, he would surely hear her! Where was the track?

And then there it was.

The silvery line curved out of the sky and down to the earth in front of her, like a path made of stardust. She’d been on straight tracks before, but never for very far, and never alone. The light emanating from the track was much brighter than she recalled. The glow before had been faint, like glimpsing the flame of a candle through a thick curtain. The light tonight was almost bright enough to read by.

There was a rustle in the woods behind her. Merenna whipped around, but could see nothing in the dim light. Was it Laran? Had he found her?

She turned back toward the track and set her shoulders. She didn’t know exactly where it would take her, and she didn’t care. Anywhere it led would be somewhere Laran was not. And there was no way he would be able to find her.

Merenna and Cù leapt on the track together and began to run.

— from Entangled by Midsummer by Jamie Ferguson

About Jamie

Jamie focuses on getting into the minds and hearts of her characters, whether she’s writing about a saloon girl in the American West, a man who discovers the barista he’s in love with is a naiad, or a ghost who haunts the house she was killed in—even though that house no longer exists. Jamie has edited over a dozen anthologies, co-edits the anthology series Amazing Monster Tales with DeAnna Knippling, and is a member of The Uncollected Anthology, an urban and contemporary fantasy author collective. She lives in Colorado, and spends her free time in a futile quest to wear out her two border collies, since she hasn’t given in and gotten them their own herd of sheep. Yet.

Find Jamie

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