Monday, December 3, 2018

Blog Tour Guest Post ft. Giveaway—A Dreadful Fairy Book Written by Jon Etter

Publisher’s Synopsis: Shade the sprite is dreadful at being the perfect fairy. After her treehouse burns to the ground, Shade embarks on a quest, albeit with rather questionable companions, to find a place her outré self can finally fit in—a place of companionship and comfort and, most importantly, positively filled with books. When fantastic ruffians, swindlers, and a pack of ruthless Unseelie hunters threaten to halt her at every turn, can Shade survive the dreadful journey and find a destination she can truly call home?

Ages 9-12 | Publisher: Amberjack Publishing | November 20, 2018 | ISBN-13: 978-1948705141

Fairy Tales and How They Influenced A Dreadful Fairy Book
Looking back on my childhood, I’ve come to believe myself the product of the most wonderful and benevolent negligence. At age six, my parents started letting me watch Monty Python’s Flying Circus with them, thus making me constitutionally unable to take much of anything seriously. I don’t remember a single time when the good librarians at Forrest Public Library questioned a single book I ever checked out, even when a parent was nowhere in sight and my choices were all but guaranteed to cause nightmares.  And my first grade art teacher, having confirmed that my drawing was indeed a guillotine (complete with basket filled with severed heads), replied with a nod and nonplussed “Okay” rather than referring me to the school psychologist (if we even had one back then).

My Grandma Ruth, however, is probably the one we have to blame for A Dreadful Fairy Book. Whenever I spent the day at her house, she would read to me. Sometimes it was Edgar Allan Poe (“You share a birthday with him, so you should know his work,” she explained to me at age 5 before kindly terrorizing me with “The Raven” and “The Tell-Tale Heart”), but more often than not it was with fairy tales. Not the sanitized, Disney-fied, tasteless pap that passed for fairy tales in the early ‘80s. The good, old, savory stuff. Tales of tricksters and shapeshifters, blessings and curses, bewitchments and bafflements, schemes and thefts and adductions and patricide, matricide, infanticide, and just about every other –cide you could think of. In the stories that she read to me, Little Red Riding
 Hood and Grandma ended up in the wolf’s belly (later to be cut out of it) instead of a cozy little closet, helpful little birds were sweet enough to peck the eyes out of Cinderella’s wicked stepsisters, and Jack killed more than just one giantand in more inventive and gruesome ways than chopping down a beanstalk.

As I grew older, stories on Grandma’s lap fell by the wayside but the fairy stories remained, thanks to that perennial corrupter of young imaginations: the local library. There lurking in the 398s of the Dewey Decimal system were the elves, dwarves, kobolds, grindylows, pixies, redcaps, and other fairy folk, lovingly compiled by folklorists like Katharine Briggs, ready to snatch up a curious reader like an untended baby from its crib. These were some of my most regular companions as I grew up there in those wonderfully musty stacks.

And so when I decided in the spring of 2016 to write a fairy book to amuse my children (and, to be honest, myself), I went back to the source. I pillaged the shelves of my local library and hopped into the first fairy circle I could find, careful to consume no food nor drink and to accept no gifts to guarantee my safe return. There were all my old friends and many new ones I had never met before—cowlugsskrikers, and the fearsome nuckelavee to name but a few—all of whom seemed ready for a romp. Sure, some of them got a bit deconstructed and fractured and made just plain silly along the way (fortunately, your average fairy seems to have a pretty good sense of humor), but many if not most were brought to the page just as they were. And when it came time to slap a namenames being, as we all know, extremely powerful thingson my fairyland, it didn’t make much sense to call it anything other than what the Scots have always called it: Elfame.

Now I know at the beginning of this post I highlighted my early love of the more sanguine elements of traditional fairy and folk tales, which, if you are kind enough to read my little book, you’ll no doubt notice are largely absent (it is a comedy for kids, after all, so you’ll forgive me if I don’t do a Game of Thrones-esque culling of my characters). That wasn’t what left the greatest impression on me as a child. It was the morality of fairy tales. Granted, I never much cared for the ones that stressed obedience to one’s elders (and care even less for those now!) and always thought those maidens would be a great deal better off if they could—or, more accurately, were allowed to—save themselves a little more often (perhaps fencing lessons and self-esteem workshops are in order), but the others? Stories where wickedness is always revealed and punished? Stories where acts of kindness and mercy are always rewarded? Stories where being clever always trumps being big and strong and cruel? Those are the stories I loved, still love,always will love, and it’s those stories that I like to think are embedded deep in the DNA of my book.
For all the fun that it pokes, I really believe that A Dreadful Fairy Book is more of a traditional fairy story than not. If it breaks completely from any traditions, it would be from more modern ones that call for children’s stories to be simple and bland and as safe as an unloaded Nerf gun bundled up in bubble wrap. Those traditions I would kindly ask to go see if the oven is hot enough. Gretel there would be delighted to give you a hand…



Enter to win a copy of A Dreadful Fairy Book by Jon Etter!

Ten (10) winners receive:

  • A bound galley copy of A Dreadful Fairy Book

Giveaway begins November 13, 2018, at 12:01 A.M. PST and ends December , 2018, at 11:59 P.M. PST.
Giveaway open to residents of the fifty United States and the District of Columbia who are 13 and older.
Amberjack Publishing is responsible for prize fulfillment.
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