The Spring Dance has begun!

The Spring Dance is here, live and kicking and ready to be read.

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Magic, mystery, mirth and murder fill these tales that are fresh as daisies and old as the hills.

Foxes and firebirds, deer and dancers, trolls and travellers, and lots of princesses tell their stories to entertain you as the nights draw in, the fire crackles in the grate, and the wolves howl in the forest.

You can get it here for a mere 99p/c

Amazon UK

Amazon US

And while you’re about it, don’t forget to download Tales from the Northlands. It’s absolutely free for the next three days.

Amazon UK

Amazon US

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Spring is coming

I think it’s fair to say that everyone enjoys folk tales and fairy stories. They are the stories that endure, passed on from one generation to the next as long as story-telling continues to enthrall an audience. You have probably noticed that I enjoy writing this kind of story, and I have collected twenty-two of them into The Spring Dance. It’s ready to go, and I’ll publish it on Wednesday of next week.

As a bonus, Tales from the Northlands will be free for three days from next Wednesday, so you can fire up your kindle with stories for next to nothing.

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More stories on the way

By popular demand—well, a couple of people said it might be a nice idea—I am preparing a collection of fairy stories, new folk tales, and retellings of some old ones. I don’t have much time at the moment, so the checking through is taking forever. This is (probably) what the cover will look like. Sorry, I don’t know how to scale down from mega giant size.

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There will no doubt be free review copies when it’s ready. That might not be until after we’ve moved though.

 

An uncosy folk tale and an uncosy shopping expedition

My two short stories with Alfie Dog Fiction are published today. ‘Dragon Market’ is a straightforward fantasy story—’A Kid for Two Farthings’ meets Jurassic Park. ‘Quinn, Sorcha, and the Firesticks is a folk tale of my own invention—Hansel and Gretel with a touch of ‘Taxi Driver’. Get the picture?

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Here they are:

http://alfiedog.com/fiction/stories/jane-dougherty/

Go forth and purchase. They cost hardly anything.

More Valentine’s Day reading

In the self-congratulatory Grá mo Chroí spree of the last week, lots of things have gone out the window. I don’t count housework or even real work. One of the important things that didn’t get done was posting my reviews of Harriet Goodchild’s short stories.
They are just as much a Valentine’s Day read as Grá mo Chroí and very much in the same broad style. Although they are set in a fantasy world that seems to me to be more vibrant than our own, Harriet’s stories are very firmly rooted in the world of Scottish folk ballads. I can’t recommend them highly enough.
Have just been to get the links and find both these volumes are absolutely FREE! You’d have to be mad not to get your copy now!

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I was lucky enough to be offered an ARC of these stories, and there is only one word to describe them: beautiful. In the purest of pure story-telling tradition, Harriet Goodchild has filled a fantasy world of her own creation with the light and landscape of the hills of the northlands. The word images recur like the refrain of a ballad, and some of them are miniature gems of poetry.
The world is a northern Europe, could be the Scottish Highlands, Ireland, or Scandinavia, and the time is the time of stories, with echoes of the Bronze Age, the Viking conquests, and the early Middle Ages. Don’t try and pinpoint anything exactly, this is fantasy, fairy tale, and song.
The language is the language of poetry, using words to paint images that are so vivid the reader feels the wind, sees the glitter of starlight and the waves rolling on the strand. There is a great sense of the movement of the natural world here, the sun, the stars, the seasons turning, the cycles of life.
The stories treat the great themes: love in all its forms, loss, and longing; and because there is great love there is also intense hatred. Every one of these tales is beautifully crafted like an early illumination. The characters are kings and courtiers, fishermen and fishwives, those who live by the sea, on the sea, and in the sea. And the best thing of all is that this world of sea and starlight is a glimpse of the world of Harriet Goodchild’s first novel, which is promised for later this spring. The best, as they say, is yet to come.

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The two stories contained in this volume are set in the same world as Tales from the Later Lands. The setting is the more hushed and refined atmosphere of an urban aristocracy. There are still gardens and roses, but the tone is set by Allocco and his distance, his reserve, and his dignity. Taccola, the girl chosen to be his new wife is a child, unknowing and unformed except to obey, which she does, to begin with, and life is peaceful and full of roses. As happens in the happiest of arranged marriages, love unfolds pale and pure as the thornless, scentless roses Allocco offers his young bride. But Taccola is young and she has never been allowed to find out for herself the difference between love and desire.
What happens when the two become confused leads to the second story. Years later when Allocco is dead, we return to a more mature, but equally melancholy Taccola, learning this time what it feels like to be the mother of an estranged son who enters her life as a young man, when she never thought to see him again. Roses and gardens again, and stories and quiet. These two stories are perfection.

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