Tag Archives: Fantasy

A Special Midway Post: My #DFQWBS Entry in Honor of Anna Meade

While my next post isn’t actually scheduled for another week, I just had to make a special midway post in honor of the lovely and amazing Anna Meade!

Who is Anna Meade, you ask?

*Scoff!*

Well, you may remember that a while back, I entered the Once Upon a Time: Unexpected Fairy Tales blog flash fiction challenge. That brilliant idea was launched by one Miss Anna Meade at Yearning for Wonderland, and her writer pal, Susi Holliday. These two darlings decided they loved everyone’s entries so much, they would throw us all into a beautiful book of unusual flash fairy tales available on Amazon.

So basically, Anna was one half of a pair who made a whole bunch of us very happy published people!

Then, as if that wasn’t enough, Anna managed to take over Facebook and the Twitterverse with her amazing social networking and promotion skills. She is a superstar at marketing others to the world, even building Nine Muse Press to support underrepresented authors, and all of this has come to make many of us feel extremely loved in about a million different ways. And here’s the fun part: we’re all over the world, and not a darn one of us has met her! Clearly, she’s got a heart the size of Texas!

Which leads me to the great news—Miss Anna is getting married in a little over a month (congratulations!), and to celebrate, Rebekah Postupak, Laura Jamez, and Miranda Kate decided to join forces and create the Dark Fairy Queen Writerly Bridal Shower: a flash fiction collection of wedding-themed stories in honor of Anna—also known as the Dark Fairy Queen—and her upcoming nuptials!

How cool is that?

In case I was unclear in anything above, I love Anna. She’s just my kind of funny, she sings, she calls me out on Twitter to go for a run (um…I’m not sure why this delights me, but it does), and she even featured my writing space on her blog with A Room of My Own. I also think she wants to steal my eldest cat, which leads right back to that whole Dark Fairy Queen business…

Anyway, I couldn’t very well not write something in honor of Anna, so the following is my mushy fantasy tale to add to the #DFQWBS collection. Did I mention seriously mushy? Because it totally is. Oh, and I should probably also mention that there was some commotion over Anna’s beautiful wedding shoes making her taller than her hubby… 😉

Hurray for Anna and Michael!

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Title: Love’s Truth

Author: Eva Rieder

Include in eBook: YES

Website: http://evarieder.com

Twitter: @evariederauthor

(Toast below.)

700 words

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Deep in the forest that lined the sea, they’d gathered to witness something beautiful.

From the east and the north came the Elven and Troll Kings, their alliance forged at the news of the betrothal, and their hollering clans hoisting their swords in honor of the bride-to-be. From the south came the Nymphs, who donned lavender and tulip-lined silk that rustled in the warm, sea-kissed breeze. On the rocks along the distant western shore, the Sirens’ song drew the Unicorns. They scratched their hooves and brought up the back of the crowd, uniting the circle that formed beneath the canopy of trees.

While all of these creatures had grown to love the bride, they watched the fellow, Michael, who waited for her at the altar—for it seemed to them that no human man could tame the mischievous beauty known as their Dark Faerie Queen.

A horn sounded, pulling the creatures from their thoughts and their eyes to the back.

The Dark Faerie Queen blushed, clutching a bundle of white roses to her chest. Her amber hair fell in waves around her face as she padded forward, and doves swept down from the trees to scoop up her beaded train and follow her to Michael’s side. There, the altar griffin licked regally at his front talons and rolled his gaze from the Queen to her handsome, yet shorter, lover.

“We are gathered to witness the most unusual of bonds ever known to the Fae, for the Dark Queen has chosen a human for her mate,” he purred.

Anna smiled. Most could see her sharp incisors peeking from behind her lips, but it was uncertain if the human Michael could detect them.

With a shake of his head, the griffin splayed his paws. “Are there any naysayers before we begin?”

“Aye!” Out from the trees slithered the Dragon Princess, the heiress of a dynasty stripped of power once the Dark Faerie took her throne.

“Oh dear,” Anna muttered.

The Princess curled around the Unicorns’ hooves with a flick of her tongue. “How do we know the Dark Queen hasn’t won the human with her Fae spell?”

Everyone gasped, for in the old tradition, if the love of a Queen and her mate wasn’t true, all rights would revert to lesser royalty—and in this case, the savage Dragon Princess.

The griffin tapped a talon against his chin. “What say you, Queen?”

Anna shifted back and forth in her wedding shoes, then frowned down into her lover’s face (for her Faerie Queen stature made her an inch taller than he). But when she began to protest, he interrupted.

“You’ve not a thing to worry about, darling, you or any of your kingdom, for I adore your darkness,” he said, his voice resounding over the creatures and beyond. He faced the Dragon Princess. “You, on the other hand…such a scaly, jealous thing.” He pointed, a ray of crystal shooting from his fingertip and forming a cell around the beast. It glittered bright enough for everyone to see, and clamped shut when Michael released a loud wail—a sound remarkably similar to that of a Faerie King.

The Dragon Princess recoiled. “You’re a Faerie!

At this point, Anna stared at her mate in great surprise. She realized for the first time that her lover was indeed much taller than her, and his eyes seemed to shimmer with the same light she’d seen in her kind. “Michael?”

He nodded. “I, too, am Fae royalty, a King from an alternate line. I sought you, Faerie Queen, for none in my realm are as exquisitely dark as you.”

The creatures of the woods gasped, then sighed.

The Dragon Princess rolled her eyes, and the griffin gave a loud chortle and flapped his wings.

King Michael drew up Anna’s hands and kissed them. “Can you love me even if I’m not human, my Queen?”

She tilted her head, the last of the sun’s rays glinting off her cascading hair. “Sweet Michael, even more.” She snuggled close. “Now we can be the Dark Faerie Couple!”

“Hurray!” the onlookers cried.

And thus the griffin commenced, wedding the Faerie Queen to her Faerie King to rule the darkness for all time.

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Wedding Toast: Dearest Anna and Michael—may you find great happiness and ever more love in your fairy tale! XO-Eva

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What is This Blog Thing About, Anyway?

Happy Labor Day, everyone.

My writer friend is getting ready to start his blog. He shared with me that his current holdup is picking a focused theme, which then started a great conversation about different blogs and what they’re all about. There are a variety of blog themes authors use—some focus on the craft or writerly tips; others focus on book reviews, movies, and the craft pieces contained within (point of view, setting, characterization, etc.); and still others follow the author’s journey as he or she progresses from the birth of an idea into the crafting of a full-length piece.

So while we threw around ideas, he asked what my blog was about. It got me thinking about why each of us starts a blog, and though I had an answer in my mind of what my blog was about, I wondered if my purpose or theme was as clear to others as it was to me.

I found my way to this blog because I wanted to finally publicly live my dream of being a writer. No longer would I just talk about it, or write on the occasion I had nothing else to do—it was time to take my writing seriously. I wanted to meet my goals and live my fantasy, and share that journey with those who cared to follow.

To me, living this fantasy is a mix of topics. It’s exploring the fantasy genre, since it’s the one I tend to write in most. It’s discussing the writing process, both successes and roadblocks. It’s examining writing techniques, skills, and strategies. It’s reviewing other great books in order to discover what makes those books so amazing to us as readers.

And sometimes it’s just about sharing life—a place full of passion and dreams waiting to be lived.

When I wrote my tagline, Live your fantasy…, I wanted to keep it broad so that my imagination could soar as widely as my hopes and dreams on this writing expedition of mine. Hopefully, I’ve conveyed that to you too, dear readers!

Writing is a journey. Some writers are further along on the path than others, and some of us are still bumbling our way through, discovering what it feels like to live the passion of putting thoughts to page. No matter what stage we’re at, all of us hold a wonderful connection that truly is a fantasy to live.

So on that note, thanks for sharing it with me. 🙂


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Professing My Love for Anne Bishop’s THE BLACK JEWELS TRILOGY

About two years ago, it occurred to me that I’d been writing a fantasy novel for a long while, and yet I’d somehow forgotten how to read fantasy. Sure, it was there in the back of my mind—a very young Eva devoured sci-fi and fantasy books, while the adult Eva had developed an addiction to urban fantasy vampire novels. Still, I’d ventured somewhat from the roots of the genre.

So, a friend of mine—a gal I often refer to as the Fantasy Queen—shared a few recommendations. I spent that summer reading many good books she’d pointed out, but none of them were as sensational as Anne Bishop’s The Black Jewels Trilogy.

Published yearly from 1998 to 2000, the trilogy follows the powerful young Jaenelle Angelline as she learns to wield her magic and eventually rule as Queen. The story travels through three worlds—essentially dimensions—introducing us to characters both living, dead, and in between. Across the levels is a definitive caste system, based on specific jewels that each character holds as his or her birthright power. While there is some ability to increase one’s strength, those born into the darker jewels hold the highest ranking in power and usually in society.

There are some conflicts in the jewel system of course, many of which have led a group of upper-level women to retaliate for the horrors wrought upon young girls of power—but to explain this further would give away far too much. Here’s what you really need to know: the trilogy contains a brilliant storyline rich with masterful themes of greed, love, power, domination, and a general hope to save humanity.

Perhaps the most beloved aspect of the series is the love story between Jaenelle and Daemon and the father-daughter relationship between Jaenelle and Saetan. While the former share a gripping, addictive chemistry, the latter display a charming familial bond; both of these relationships tend to carry you rapidly and enthusiastically through the books. However, for many fans—myself included—the end of the trilogy left several questions about the complexities of Daemon and Jaenelle’s relationship, as well as the entire jeweled family. In response to this, Bishop ended up crafting a more conclusive story that she published in a collection of trilogy-based short stories. It is clear through perusing the many fan blogs and reviews about the story that this last addition delighted most everyone.  (I myself read it on vacation, likely driving my friend insane as I stopped every other page to gush about the series, and about how amazing I found Bishop to be in writing it!)

If you’re aching for more thorough summaries, I would recommend those at the Bodice Rippers, Femme Fatales, and Fantasy blog. They devoted the entire month of March to Ms. Bishop, starting with the first book of the series, Daughter of the Blood. You can also find numerous websites focused on the trilogy thanks to a plethora of enamored fans, so a quick Google search will find you most anything you want to know…short of the awesomeness of reading the trilogy, of course. 🙂

After reading the series, I realized that not only was I thrilled to be writing fantasy, I was exhilarated to be writing in a genre with someone as gifted as Anne Bishop. Her talent is extraordinary, and I haven’t found myself so inspired in a while. If you haven’t already checked out The Black Jewels Trilogy, I highly recommend that you do—and I hope that you find the series as truly phenomenal as I did. I’m certain I will read it again myself…if not once, than two or three more times!

Happy reading, everyone!


Prom Fantasy

Tomorrow, my dear students will be attending our high school’s annual prom. They are abuzz with excitement, of course (or most of them are, anyway; we cannot forget those lucky ones hauled painfully along for the ride). For many adults, the event is one that brings back a slew of mixed memories. Ah, prom. Maybe it was a social scene we rejected, or an incident best left forgotten, but a lot of us can say we were there, awkward or not, and that it had some sort of meaning for us.

Whether we were the odd duck in the corner, watching everyone have fun; the girl who stressed all day over whether her dress looked just right, or if her nails were the wrong shade of pink; the boy who dragged his feet to pick up his not-so-spectacular date who he’d asked out on a dare; the popular kid who just went to hang with her friends because she was bored; the boy who went because his girlfriend finally said yes to the hotel room; or even the sassafras who couldn’t decide, taking two dates to prom—no, no, that wasn’t me, I swear <cough> ;)—there is some piece of the high school memory that we probably recall, and hopefully with smiles on our faces. It is a custom passed down through the generations, a celebration of what it means to be a teenager, and something that we hope they can enjoy as much as we did.

Prom itself is a fantasy, after all. For the girls, it’s often a preparatory process: dress, shoes, hair, nails, and maybe even a jewelry gift from a proud mother, beaming as she sees her daughter fancily dressed for the very first time. For the boys, it can be preparatory in clothes (though I have yet to hear a teenage boy share how excited he is to get dressed up for prom), but also in the pride of perhaps taking that special date on his arm, or even just going to hang with his pals. The corsage, the hotel room, the limo—all of it brings so much delight in a way that has usually never been felt before, an onslaught of glee, dancing, and teenage hormones churning about to music as they celebrate their youth. Inevitable drama will abound, but still the moment will live in each attendee’s memory…for at least a few years. Prom: the fantasy, the fun, and the dream for so many of our children.

So, as my students head out tomorrow night to enjoy their prom, I wish them a wonderful time. Be safe (in all ways, please), have fun, and enjoy your high school prom fantasy. It only happens once.

Or twice. 🙂

Now, for my adult readers—do you have any fun prom memories to share?


What is the Fantasy Genre?

Fan·ta·sy 

[fan-tuh-see, -zee]  noun, plural-sies, verb, -sied, -sy·ing. noun

  1. imagination, especially when extravagant or unrestrained.
  2. the forming of mental images, especially wondrous or strange fancies; imaginative conceptualizing.
  3. a mental image, especially when unreal or fantastic; vision: a nightmare fantasy.
  4. Psychology, an imagined or conjured up sequence fulfilling a psychological need; daydream.
  5. a hallucination.

“Fantasy.” Dictionary.com. 2012. http://www.dictionary.reference.com.

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The subject of fantasy has come up a few times with friends lately, and several of them mentioned that they were surprised to hear the genre was so broad. For many of us, the term fantasy brings about the idea of swords, spears, magic, and dragons—but the actual genre includes much more. Today I wanted to spend a little time discussing some of the different subgenres of fantasy. My list is by no means comprehensive; after all, new subgenres are created all the time, styles are blended, and different audiences start to rename each category. My hope is that this list will help clarify for anyone interested in the genre.

  • High Fantasy: This is what most of us probably first came to understand as fantasy. The characters (people or creatures) embark on some sort of quest in a completely fantastical world. There is often magic woven into the story, as well as some threat by an evil force. This is the traditional tale of the fight between good and evil, frequently involving the fate of the world. It is also commonly referred to as Epic Fantasy, which is a little bit inaccurate (see below). A classic example of High Fantasy is The Lord of the Rings, where the primary world is completely unknown to us and full of magical beings.
  • Epic Fantasy: This is fantasy involving an epic quest. Both High and Low Fantasy can be considered Epic Fantasy.
  • Heroic Fantasy: This is often deemed the same subgenre as High Fantasy, having a definitive hero who battles through a magical land.
  • Low Fantasy: This subgenre tends to be a bit broader, but there is still some element of magic. Low Fantasy oftentimes lacks the good versus evil of the High Fantasy subgenre; the magical creatures (elves, dwarves, dragons, etc.) tend to be absent, and there may be a gritty theme of modern times, such as drugs, violence, crime, or poverty. Low Fantasy and Epic Fantasy can be combined, however—the quest just takes place in a more rational world. I was reminded of The Dark is Rising series, by Susan Cooper. This is a good example of Low Fantasy (and also a really great series, if you haven’t checked it out yet).
  • Swords and Sorcery: A fantasy tale with…swords and sorcery! In many circles, this is the same as Heroic Fantasy.
  • Magical Realism: This is an interesting category of fantasy which seamlessly blends the real world with a magic world, as if their intertwining is not at all unusual. Gabriel García Márquez is a master of this subgenre, and an example is the beautiful “A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings.”
  • Romantic Fantasy: This is a fantasy tale with a romantic element. The fantasy is the backdrop and overarching component, while the romance takes place within the fantasy, rather than vice versa. My work-in-progress, Kyresa, falls into this category. 🙂
  • Historical Fantasy: This newer subgenre incorporates a fantasy twist on history or a retelling of historical classics, demonstrated well in Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. There are also similar subgenres, such as Prehistoric or Medieval Fantasies, which put fantasy elements into the respective time periods.
  • Erotic Fantasy: This category merges fantasy with erotica or erotic scenes. A particularly popular example of this, at the moment, is Fifty Shades of Grey—however the author herself describes it as Romantic Fantasy, not Erotic Fantasy. The lines get ever more blurry across the subgenres, as you can see…
  • Comic Fantasy: A blending of comedy and fantasy. Pieces in this style can also be parodies of other fantasy works.
  • Fairy Tale Fantasy: This is a folkloric style of fantasy involving classic fairy tales, sometimes in a retelling, such as Wicked. This is also closely related to Mythic Fiction, which incorporates myth, folklore, or fables.
  • Urban Fantasy: This is fantasy taking place in a modern or urban setting. Twilight, for example, takes fantastical creatures (vampires and werewolves) and places them in modern-day times. The Sookie Stackhouse series is another example. However, many Urban Fantasy pieces fall under the next two categories as well.
  • Dark Fantasy: Blending a little bit of horror with fantasy, this subgenre keeps the magical elements but merges them with a sense of looming terror. Dark fantasy can take on a gritty and violent side, or it can simply have a more ominous, tension-filled sensation embedded into the work. It’s often described as “gothic” fantasy.
  • Supernatural/Paranormal Fantasy: There seems to be a lot of debate over Paranormal versus Supernatural Fantasy. The term paranormal refers to things that defy scientific explanation—which, you guessed it, seems to describe just everything about fantasy—and yet this term is generally used to describe fantasy involving the more science-oriented end of the spectrum (i.e. ghosts, ESP, aliens) and is linked to fantasy that has a more spiritual or religious tone. Supernatural, on the other hand, refers to creatures not governed by the laws of nature (which would thus seem to account for werewolves, vampires, zombies, succubi, demons, fallen angels, etc.). Still, the term Paranormal Romance, for example, is a style of romance in which creatures like vampires and werewolves engage romantically in a modern world. Confused yet? Just to make it more complicated, Preternatural Fantasy is also thrown into the mix sometimes, which tends to be the description for subject matter outside of “natural.” Again, this leads right back to vampires, werewolves, and the like. This is why books in this category are commonly referred to simply as Urban, Dark, or the bigger, broader category title of Speculative Fiction, which encompasses elements of the fantasy, horror, and science fiction genres (as well as some others).
  • Contemporary Fantasy: Much like Urban Fantasy, Contemporary Fantasy creates magical or fantastical elements in a modern world. Harry Potter is an example of this subgenre.
  • Science Fantasy: This is a term applied to fantasy that has a strong blending with science fiction. Though The Hunger Games is also classified as Juvenile Fantasy, I would suggest it is a prime example of Science Fantasy. Other subgenres under this heading are Sword and Planet or Superhero fantasies.
  • Steampunk: This is a newer subgenre for fantasy taking place in an industrial era. Often times it is of the Victorian era, and it tends to have a gothic feel.
  • Juvenile/Young Adult Fantasy: Fantasy for children or young adults. These can encompass any of the other subgenres, but the writing is geared to a younger audience.

There are still several other subgenres of fantasy that I have not listed above that are specific to certain games, styles, audiences, and codes (Wuxia, Fantasy of Manners, Bangsian, etc.). The following links provide even more description of the varying subgenres, and I used both of them to help me concoct this list. Speculative Fiction Writer’s Toolkit contains some of those I didn’t describe in detail, while Worlds Without End, Sci-Fi, Fantasy, and Horror Subgenres has some very thorough descriptions of subgenres not only in fantasy, but in science fiction and horror, if you are interested. Be sure to check them out if you’d like more information!

The fantasy genre is constantly evolving, creating multiple niches for people to find, read, and cherish. Are you reading any of these specialized subgenres? I’d love to know more about what types of fantasy you’ve run across and are interested in, as well as about anyone reading in the lesser known subgenres. Please share your fantasy reading experiences in the comment section below, and thanks for contributing your interests!


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