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Book: The Greener Forest by Vonnie Winslow Crist

Book: The Greener Forest by Vonnie Winslow Crist

categories: Book, Faerie, Urban Fantasy, Short Stories, Dragons, Zombies, Fairies, Goblins, Mermaids, Giants, Angels, Myth, Fantasy

Vonnie Winslow Crist

Author Vonnie Winslow Cristabout this book: "The Greener Forest" is a collection of fantasy stories with a sprinkling of poems and illustrations.

In each of the book's 13 tales, a creature from Faerie invades the work-a-day world. A dragon lives in a pond in a suburban neighborhood. A zombie returns to the home of his widow to complete some unfinished business. Gremlers destroy the electric wiring in a car. A half-elf woman finds a bewitched toad in her garden. A beekeeper carves angels that turn into real angels. A ningyo dives into the ocean to save a drowning child and finds herself longing to abandon her land-bound family. A magical garden shop owner hands out fairy justice to a would-be robber. Helped by the trees, a giant meets the girl of his dreams at the zoo. A Mud disguised as a scarecrow tries to save the woman he loves. Lilly Greenspun makes more than applehead dolls in her cottage on Bee Tree Hill Lane. Spriggans wreak havoc at an amusement park. A young woman saves a baby bird, and with the help of a Brown Man discovers the faeryfolk that live near her. And a hunter mistakenly shoots a swan maiden, then becomes entangled in her plans to eliminate a vicious bully.

"The Greener Forest" also contains over 2 dozen of my fantastical drawings and 8 speculative poems which link the stories and reinforce the tree and forest images. The tiny acorn sprite drawing and my quote in the beginning of the book serve as the best introduction: "The world is full of mystery and magic. We just need to look, listen, and believe that wondrous things are still possible."

Though written for grown-ups, "The Greener Forest" is Young Adult appropriate, and should appeal to readers of fantasy, urban fantasy, and YA fiction. I've always enjoyed telling tales about dragons, goblins, dwarves, and other faeryfolk who live side-by-side with the human world, so this book was a natural for me. As to where the title came from – I was wandering in a very green wooded area on the grounds of Drum Castle in Scotland when I said out loud to no one in particular, "This must be what the greener forest of the elves looks like." So when I was pulling together the collection, I knew I had my title.

The cover was tricky to do. I wanted to give the illusion that this volume was the journal of a seeker of fairies, dragons, and gnomes. I decided to make it look like a photo of a forest filled with tree and earth spirits, along with an oak leaf, four-leaf clover, and feather were taped to an old piece of parchment covered with field sketches of Fair Folk. The cover art shows just a smidgen of the myth and folklore research I did. I used an oak leaf because as the old saying goes: "Faeryfolk live in old oaks." I used a feather because feathers can be gifts from fairies or angels. And I used a clover because it's not only lucky, but supposedly protection against evil fay.

I learned a lot from writing, compiling, and illustrating "The Greener Forest." First, a good editor is a valuable asset, and when she gives suggestions, a writer should consider making some of those changes without argument. Second, it takes longer than you think it will to get from completed manuscript to published book – especially if you're doing illustrations and your own cover art. Lastly, getting the word out to readers about your book is difficult when it's published by a small press publisher. So remember, bloggers, reviewers, fellow writers, and promotional sites are allies in the up hill battle to reach readers with your book – so treat them nicely!

To my readers, thanks for buying my books. And please let me know what you think. What did you enjoy about "The Greener Forest?" What sort of story would you like to read in my next collection? And what Faerie creature would you like to see featured in the future in my writing or art?

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