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Fantastic Fables day three gives us a twist on the Rapunzel fable. Kelly Meding’s Phineas el Chimal, is a were-osprey. He’s here today to give us an original shape-shifter’s bedtime story. ANOTHER KIND OF DEAD (available now) is the third book in the Dreg City urban fantasy series, followed by WRONG SIDE OF DEAD on January 31, 2012. Thanks to Kelly and the wonderful team at Random House/Bantam, four of you who comment on this post will win a copy of the book! See details below
Fantastic Fables – A Shape-Shifter’s Bedtime Story
I’m so excited to be included in this event! I think it’s a fantastic idea. The story below features a recurring character from both AS LIE THE DEAD and ANOTHER KIND OF DEAD (Dreg City 2 & 3), Phineas el Chimal. Phin is a were-osprey, and the first time series heroine Evangeline Stone meets him she isn’t sure what to think of him. All but three members of his shape-shifter Clan are dead and it’s partly Evy’s fault, but he asks her for her help. So is he a threat? Is he an ally? In some ways, just might be both….
And so, onto the story!
“If she gets fussy, just tell her a story.”
Those had been Aurora’s departing words thirty minutes ago, spoken over her shoulder as she rushed out of the condo, leaving her infant daughter Ava behind. Behind in Phineas’s arms, a squirming bundle of energy who alternated between perfect calm and wriggling worm. Phin wasn’t very good with children, having never had any of his own, but Ava was his goddaughter and he’d do anything for her.
Even try to tell a blessed story, if that’s what it took to tame her excitability. As a shape-shifter, Ava grew four times faster than a human child, and in their first year they rarely stayed still long enough to sleep for a few hours at a time. Phin didn’t know how Aurora managed her daughter full-time, and his respect for the young were-kestrel compounded with each passing minute.
This was his first time babysitting Ava alone since she was born. If a story calmed her, he’d tell her something. Bouncing the squirming bundle of curly hair and blue eyes gently in his arms, Phin searched his memory for something. Anything.
“Once upon a time,” he began, drawing on the oldest of beginnings, “there was a young princess named, um, Evy.” She was the first name he’d thought of—a human friend who’d saved his life by nearly sacrificing her own. Yes, she was certainly a heroine in her own right. “Evy lived in a Faraway Land, and she was very beautiful. So beautiful, in fact, that the Queen of the Faraway Land, um….” He thought hard for a female name he wouldn’t mind associating with the villain of his story. “Kelsa. Yes, Queen Kelsa, who was also Evy’s step-mother, was very jealous of Evy’s beauty, so she ordered her henchmen to kidnap Evy and lock her away in a tower.”
Ava had settled a bit in his arms, and she watched him with wide eyes, listening to the gentle cadence of his voice, soothing her even if she didn’t completely understand his words.
“Evy lived in the tower for many years, locked away and forgotten by everyone except the forest creatures. Deer and bears and birds and cats all came to hear her sing with her lovely voice.” The image made Phin smile; he had no idea if his Evy could sing or not, but the visual was amusing. “Until one day, a traveling prince from an Even Farther Away Faraway Land came through the forest and heard someone singing. The prince followed the sound of singing to the tower were Evy was locked away. He called out to her, and when she leaned out the window of her tower and he saw her beauty, he fell in love.
“‘Come down, fair maiden,’ the prince said, ‘so that we may be married.’ This saddened Evy, and she said, ‘I am locked in this tower, and I cannot get down.’ The door to the tower was locked from the outside, and she had no key. ‘Can you not make a rope and climb down?’ the prince asked. ‘I have only one small blanket, and nothing else with which to fashion a rope long enough to reach the bottom.'”
Phin shifted Ava to his other arm, happy to see the child settling in, her eyelids drooping.
“The prince examined the lock and snapped his fingers with delight. ‘I know a trick taught to me by an elf wizard. I can remove the lock.’ The prince closed his eyes and used a magical trick that had been gifted to him many years ago. The lock disappeared from the tower door and reappeared whole in his hand. The door was open. The lovely maiden was free.
“Evy came down the stairs, and the prince went up. They met in the middle, and the prince promised her his kingdom if she married him. She told him about her wicked step-mother, Queen Kelsa, and the prince promised to protect Evy from her for the rest of their lives. ‘But I don’t even know your name,’ Evy said. The prince smiled and replied, ‘My name is Wyatt. Will you be mine?’
“‘Yes, yes, I will.’ They kissed there on the stairs, pledging their love to one another. And then Prince Wyatt whisked Princess Evy off to his Even Farther Away Faraway Land, where they were soon married, and they lived happily ever after.”
Ava’s eyes were closed. She burbled and made a soft, cooing sound. Phin sat down on the sofa and held her as she slept, her very existence a precious gift to their people. He wished for Ava to have her prince, and to one day find her own happily ever after. And he wished the very same for his human friend Evy.
A native of the Delaware seashore, Kelly Meding briefly attempted life in the bustle of the Northern Virginia/DC Metro area, before retreating back to the relative quiet of the Eastern Shore. She lives in a small town near the beach, with a neurotic cat who occasionally meows at ghosts. Kelly received her Bachelor’s Degree in Communication in 2002 and she hasn’t used it since, preferring instead to wile away her non-writing hours on the sales floor of a national retail chain. After discovering Freddy Krueger at a very young age, Kelly began a lifelong obsession with horror, science fiction, and fantasy, on which she blames her interest in vampires, psychic powers, superheroes, and all things paranormal. When not writing, she can be found crafting jewelry, enjoying a good cup of coffee, or scouring the Internet for gossip on her favorite television shows.
Want to read more from Kelly Meding?
This giveaway is provided by Kelly and Random House/Bantam
Four winners will each receive a copy of Another Kind of Dead by Kelly Meding
Available on August 2, 2011 from Random House/Bantam
About the Book:
She can heal her own wounds. She can nail a monster to a wall. But there’s one danger Evangeline Stone never saw coming.
Been there. Done that. Evy Stone is a former Dreg Bounty Hunter who died and came back to life with some extraordinary powers. Now all but five people in the world think she is dead again, this time for good—immolated in a factory fire set specifically for her. Evy and Wyatt, her partner/lover/friend, can no longer trust their former allies, or even the highest echelons of the Triads—the army of fighters holding back from an unsuspecting public a tide of quarreling, otherworldly creatures—they can trust only each other. Because when the Triads raided a macabre, monster-filled lab of science experiments and hauled away the remnants, they failed to capture their creator: a brilliant, vampire-obsessed scientist with a wealth of powerful, anti-Dreg weaponry to trade for what he desires most of all—Evy Stone: alive and well, and the key to his ultimate experiment in mad science.
Click HERE to read an excerpt
1. Leave a comment for Kelly, let us know what you think of this fable, book or series.
2. +1 entries for tweeting about this contest, blogging about it, linking via your sidebar etc…(please tell me where!).
3. Giveaway is open to U.S. only.
4. Please include your email address in your comment.
5. All Fantastic Fables winners will be announced on September 7th.
6. The winner will be picked with the help of Random.org.
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