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I may or may not have mentioned this sometime this year… A short story of mine – a retelling of Fitcher’s Bird – was accepted for the fourth Clarion Call Anthology. It will be published at the end of this month and I thought you’d like to know everything I can share about this book.

A tale told through the ages is a living thing- A creature of words that grows and adapts through the years to tackle each era and its challenges.
In this fourth volume of The Clarion Call, twenty-seven authors capture and retell the stories of our shared past – the fables we are told as children, the lore that continues to guide us through adulthood.
Within this collection of liberty-themed folklore, fables, and fairytales, these short stories: 
Grow beyond the bounds of their first tellers, gaining in wisdom and power;
Break free from the borders of their homelands, crossing deserts, forests, mountains, and seas; 
Evolve to challenge the mores and moods of this age—
While maintaining the timeless and enduring charm, insight, and guidance that made them classics.
These wild and wandering creatures rally here today in a Fairytale Riot.

Featuring stories by:
Marie Anderson
Allen Baird
Andrew Bundy
Alexandra Faye Carcich
Christine Cassello
Christa Conklin
Jackie Ferris
Justin Fowler
Lynne Lumsden Green
Justine Johnston Hemmestad
Blake Jessop
Keturah Lamb
G. R. Lyons
Lela Markham
Skian McGuire
DonnaRae Menard
Cameron Metrejean
Genesis Mickel
Jakob Morris
John M. Olsen
Karen Over
Robina Rader
Cara Schulz
Billie Holladay Skelley
Ronel Janse van Vuuren
N. B. Williams
Patricia Worth

Available for pre-order on Amazon.

Sounds awesome, right?

I got the chance to read the eBook this week, and wow!

Here’s my review. (I can’t share it on Goodreads, unfortunately, because of those pesky rules about not reviewing anything you wrote or were a part of creating, but this is my blog full of my opinions, so I think it’s okay to share it here and get you excited to read it 🙂 )

I won’t add a star rating (that would be too close to an actual review), only my thoughts on each story.

The Gingerbread House by Karen Over

A retelling of Hansel and Gretel.

I enjoyed the use of a dark witch and a light witch switching from good to bad, and Greta finding herself in the middle as a grey witch. (So to speak.)

There’s a bit too much exposition in the middle (you know, the part from ending up at the witch’s house to burning her in her own oven), but it’s still a good story.

The last line is particularly great:

“Then, if they were lucky, they would know their own monsters.”

The Emperor’s New Contract by Allen Baird

A retelling of the Emperor’s New Clothes.

A clever story where the elements of the modern obsession with contracts, ownership laws, always being in the know and controlling ones’ environment is poked fun at. It’s also rather dark, seeing as those who speak the truth get locked up for their candidness while the blind in power continues to feed their addiction to power and control.

Ashley by Lynne Lumsden Green

A retelling of Cinderella.

Ashley has serious OCD; people around her who’d rather give into her whims than truly help her, though they do say she should be more flexible; she’s rather self-centred and vain… And then she changes into a thoughtful person after insta-falling in love with the prince, though she still likes cleaning.

Which is the point of the story. So many people don’t really help those closest to them, they’d rather throw money (or medication) at a problem. Modern media shows that you have to instantly fall in love and be this perfect couple or there’s something wrong with you. And let’s not go into the obsession everyone has with their appearance (just like Ashley did in the beginning of the tale).

I love the twist that the prince is a mysophobe (afraid of germs, etc.) and that his Cinderella (Ashley) is obsessed with cleaning everything around her.

My favourite line:

“I don’t know how the Court is going to cope with a princess who prefers to be usefully engaged… with luck, you’ll start a new fashion.”

All That Glitters by Robina Rader

A retelling of Rumpelstiltskin.

This story turns the original tale on its head – in a very funny (laugh out loud) way. It’s a short tale that gets to the point: people often only hear what they want to.

Fait Accompli by NB Williams

A Beauty and the Beast retelling.

I love the use of the three Fates from Grecian mythology in this story.

Rose defies Society and runs off with the man she’d fallen in love with. Though they’d only exchanged letters and she’s never met him in person…

I like the backdrop of Victorian England and its suffocating rules and mores coupled with “exotic” Egypt.

What did bother me, though, was that at the beginning of their journey it is stated that they wouldn’t marry, yet she refers to him as her husband throughout the story…

It throws the whole original tale on its head (that beauty is found within) and rather looks at other things people hide with flattery, gifts and grand speeches. Also the danger posed by trusting someone you’d only exchanged letters with is examined (very important in any era).

This tale has lots of vivid imagery.

The Piper’s Last Song by Keturah Lamb

A retelling of the Pied Piper of Hamelin.

This is a rather dark tale about politics and religion, how people turn a blind eye to those in need just to stay safe from those in charge who torture those who are not like them, and one man’s choice to challenge the status quo and do what’s right instead of what’s easy.

The Bremen Town Musicians by John M Olsen

A retelling of the Bremen Town Musicians.

Action packed, filled with the original message from the story that even when you’re old you’re not useless, with a happy ending for the new friends.

Tears on the Sword by Catulle Mendès, translated by Patricia Worth

The tale of a knight vanquishing an evil tyrant.

Meadowland by Justine Johnston Hemmestad

A retelling of the Persephone myth.

The story is taken from its origins of Persephone being abducted to her going willingly with Hades. The themes include overbearing, overprotective mothers who do not allow their children to try anything and the consequences thereof.

I like the way Hades’ sudden appearance is described.

Kat, The Jailer, and Jack by Christa Conklin

No idea what was supposed to happen in this story or what the original was…

Necromancer: Deal with the Dark Gods by Jakob Morris

A retelling of Rumpelstiltskin.

Has all the lessons of the original tale, but filled with a fantastic fantasy world.

The Road by Christine Cassello

A retelling of Jack and Jill in the form of a poem, adding consequences of a modern world (warning signs, fines).

The Crowning Temptation by Justin Fowler

A retelling of Snow White.

Modern setting, usual storyline, lots of tech.

An Investment Returns by Lela Markham

A retelling of Beauty and the Beast.

A nice story set in the middle of winter in Alaska.

The Katydid and the Katydidn’t by Genesis Mickel

A fun rhyming piece reminiscent of Roald Dahl about two siblings: one who didn’t mind working for what she needed and the other who refused to lift a finger.

Not sure which retelling it is, though it feels familiar.

The Fairy Mothers by DonnaRae Menard

Beautiful prose that slips into poetry about fairies and how one wasn’t like the others but found her place in the end.

No idea what the original tale was, though.

A Tale of Two Boots by Jackie Ferris

A Cinderella retelling. Or maybe Puss in Boots? I found both in this story.

This has a great twist, lots of commentary about unnecessary bloodshed weaved through the tale, and a message of hope at the end. A very vivid tale.

“Age rests on experience, Charlie, not numbers.” Love this line.

“Hope is the limitation of life. We cannot live beyond what we hope for.”

Frogs by Marie Anderson

A retelling of the Princess and the Frog.

Very humorous. Touches on aspects of the typical lives of Millennials. With a great twist ending.

The Big Bad Elephant by Andrew Bundy

A retelling of Little Red Riding Hood.

This is one of the funniest stories I’ve read in a while. Check out these lines:

“It’s the Order of Evil Fairy Tale Animals.”

“I have a family to take care of and this creepy blond chick who doesn’t understand the meaning of a restraining order…” He suddenly shouted to someone: “I see you out there!”

And it gets better. Great characters and world-building too.

Artie the Millennial by Alexandra Faye Carcich

A retelling of the Arthurian legends.

“He liked the idea that greatness was owed him without hard work or sacrifice.” Describes so many people…

“He had considered shaving his head and growing a beard to look like a Viking.” Well, that explains a lot.

A good story where the hero learns a lot about himself and life.

Prince Perfect by Keturah Lamb

This one takes on different fairy tale princesses, have them saved by this perfect prince in search of a bride, leaving them to fend for themselves. And, of course, no one is perfect. Except the prince.

“I meet so many princesses. So many girls cursed, waiting for a prince to rescue them. So many supposed damsels in distress. But they are all the same. All are too content. Most of them can do better or escape. Most choose not to, waiting.”

Doesn’t that sum up what’s wrong with most fairy tales perfectly?

The Turtle and the Rabbit by Cameron Metrejean

A retelling of the Tortoise and the Hare.

Love the way the rabbit isn’t an idiot in this one. Great lesson.

Sonic Sam of Boston by Billie Holladay Skelley

A retelling of the Pied Piper of Hamlin.

“I will use high frequency ultrasonic sound waves to create an acoustically hostile environment for the rats.” Awesome, right?

Love the image of the rats swimming to a new home.

“How could they live without their phones and TVs?” Brilliant plot twist.

Great story.

The Red Shoes by Cara Shulz

Brilliant. Just brilliant. And those shoes…!

Godiva by Blake Jessop

I enjoyed the double story line and different timelines. A great story.

Vision in Action by GR Lyons

I can’t remember the exact original tale, but I do remember that it was a great one with invaluable lessons. And the author kept those lessons firmly in mind when writing this story.

Red is a well-rounded character and one comes to care for him. A great story to end the book with.

The Inn by Ronel Janse van Vuuren

A retelling of Fitcher’s Bird. With lots of fae, folklore creatures, the Big Bad Wolf and a battle to conclude it all. Fun Urban Fantasy. (Yes, this one’s mine.)

So what are you waiting for? Go add this to your Goodreads TBR and get the book.

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