**Visit Tynga’s Reviews today for her Three Little Pigs Fantastic Fable from Dianne Sylvan & a chance to win SHADOWFLAME**
We’re in for a real treat for today’s Fantastic Fables thanks to Nina Malkin’s Sinclair Youngblood Powers from both SWOON (already available) and SWEAR (available on October 18, 2011 from Simon Pulse), the second book in the Swoon series. Sin has a great take on Edgar Allan Poe’s The Raven. Thanks to the amazing team at Simon & Schuster/Simon Pulse , five of you who comment on this post will win a copy of the latest book! See details below
Enormous thanks to Dark Faerie Tales for this ingenious opportunity to place one of my characters into a classic. Although faerie tales, per se, weren’t a huge part of my upbringing. Forget Cinderella; forget Sleeping Beauty—my dad’s idea of bedtime stories was Edgar Allan Poe. I’d sit rapt at his feet while he read aloud his favorites: “The Tell-Tale Heart,” “The Pit and the Pendulum,” “The Fall of the House of Usher.” In comparison to the tales, Poe’s poetry was a glass of warm milk. So it’s with admiration for, inspiration from and apologies to Poe—plus major thanks to Ted Malkin, for stoking my strange imagination from the get—I present…
The Raven, Revisited
Once upon a midnight fair, a poet slumping in his chair
Read from a weighty volume he had come to find a snore.
While he nodded, clock tick-tocking, their came (as usual) a knocking,
Like a cruel tormenter’s mocking, knocking at his chamber door.
“’Tis that visitor,” he muttered, “always lurking at my chamber door —
Only him, and nothing more.”
A visitor was quite familiar, yet the poet found peculiar
How the timbre of the summons had a very different tone.
Still he thought he might not heed it, indeed he didn’t need it,
Cursed, in fact, the caller from his lumpy thrift shop throne
Since all he ever wanted since his love had left him haunted was to be alone
To stoke his heartache’s moan.
Yet the knocking was confounding, since it truly was resounding,
More commanding and demanding than he’d ever heard before.
The creature he had been expecting (gladly as a germ infecting)
Couldn’t come like startled cattle or an army gone to battle.
Make a racket to the rafter, raucous, rumbling laughter to raise the dead of yore.
Oh, it chilled him to the core.
Yet with false bravado’s chuckles, hollered, “Bird, have you grown knuckles?
Or somehow forced a boxing glove upon your pointed claw
That would allow you to persist with all the fury of a fist?
So repellent is your rapping when I might be napping, I find the act pure
Impudence! Plus my head is pounding!” Here he opened wide the door
And nearly fell down on the floor.
On threshold of marble stone there stood a man of flesh and bone,
Tall and strapping, skin like honey, onyx eyes that deeply bore
Into the poet meekly cringing where inside and out were hinging.
Asked this stranger, his voice singeing, his eyes straining, spent and sore,
“Why’d you do it? Why and how? Tell me quick and tell me now
What witchcraft brought me to this door?”
Cried the poet, “Foul damnation! You’re a wild hallucination,
Surely some devil’s deviation. It wasn’t I who led you to this door.
Nearly on a double century I have been both slave and sentry
To the subject of my poetry, my soul’s only nobility—the lady named Lenore
And her evil avian agent, that dreaded fetid feathered bore
Who came nightly to my door.”
“Neither figment nor delusion,” claimed the stranger with confusion,
“I am sort of…kind of…human, albeit with a fatal flaw.
I am Sinclair Youngblood Powers and for the last amazing hours
I was with my own dear lady, in whose love I dared explore,
In whose grace I tumbled, humbled, happy—so again I must implore
Why you willed me to this door!”
“My name is Edgar Allan Poe, and in truth I do not know
How the fates have been conspiring, nor what else they have in store.
But now, young sir, you must be leaving; I’m in no shape to be receiving—
Not to say that I’m believing in—uninvited vagrants who show up at my door.”
And with that, suddenly terse, no longer willing to converse or
Remain there at the chamber door
Poe the poet meant to shut it; hand to knob maneuvered but it
Wouldn’t latch or even close. “Reluctantly, I must impose,”
Said Powers, boot obstructing. “As you may have been deducting
I’ve got a problem with this place; I want to leave, and leave apace.
But call me villain, call me brute—divulge the return route to woman I adore
Or I’ll stay rooted at your door.”
At an impasse, they stood their ground, stood until they heard a sound.
A hell-spat blight upon the night, noise between whisper and roar,
Fervent flutter, urgent thrumming, the sound of something, something coming.
Treetops tattered, storm clouds battered, hurried flurry and piercing caw.
Then, plunging earthward, weird, unconquered, some awful alien meteor,
Landed lightly by the door.
Poe and Powers, stricken, stirred, leapt further back when this large bird
Said, “I felt need for corn and seed and then to rest upon my nest before
Venturing out.” Preening tufts around his ruff, added, “Spare me your rebuff.
I’ve arrived, no worse for wear; I’ve come to shriek, to share, to pour,
Illuminate and edify, in plain terms I have come to tell you gentlemen the score.”
Quoth the raven: “Nevermore!”
The poet clutched his ruffled shirt and staggering back began to blurt,
“Damn you, fiendish demon bird, for years you’d come and speak one word—no more.
And yet tonight, abomination, you’re full of sparkling conversation.
You know full well that in my hell, silence and solitude are law.
Two visitors this evening! Argument and repartee! Atrocities I can’t endure!”
Quoth the raven: “Nevermore!”
At which point Sin, the lover lost, sought to make his will enforced.
“Strange beast, you know the woe that ails me—that’s a fact of which I’m sure.
Spare me your raven’s spite and wrath; send me back upon the path
To lips and limbs, heart and soul, wit, wisdom and whims galore,
She who makes sense of my existence, the only woman I yearn for.”
Quoth the raven: “Nevermore!”
“Forget about it,” said the poet. “Your pleas won’t stanch evil but grow it.
This plague of plumage does only damage, and how he loves the chore.”
Then with nonchalant deportment Poe stepped into his apartment.
“You may as well take it in stride. Join me inside, and tell me more
About your passion and your romance. Perchance I’ll turn it into lore,
Fodder for yonder bookstore.”
“Reside? Inside? With you? No way!” Sin spewed, aghast, his voice a bray,
Then to the bird meant to be heard, “Magic monster, please, torture me no more!”
The bird replied, “Alas, it will unnerve you but that’s simply not within my purview.”
He stood with glittering wings akimbo. “Enter! Enter! Accept your limbo!
The prison of Poe’s invitation is your fate, not my creation. It is your
Deeds that brought you to this door.
“Your stars, your moon, your town of Swoon—I know full well your sordid tune,
The wrongs you wrought. What’s done is done, no matter how much you abhor
You can’t escape your wicked past. That love you made? Her first—your last!
She’ll mourn you, miss you, crave to kiss you, but this is the abyss you
Came to. This room? Your doom! Repentance? Please! This sentence is sealed and sure.”
Quoth the raven, “Evermore!”
With demeanor cool and sinister the raven perched atop the banister,
To cry that oath, his constant quoth, and bobbing, beckoned toward the door.
Inside, Poe the poet puttered. Tea was sugared. Toast was buttered.
Marmalade? Strawberry jam? Such was his major either or.
While Sin stood frozen, choice unchosen, going nowhere like a boat without an oar
To defy that gaping maw.
Will Sin become the raven’s minion? Pass from panic to oblivion?
Or fight against the destiny the feathery fiend forswore?
Will he remain constrained and languishing, or by the fickle gods of publishing
Reclaim his love, a love with greater worth than any miner’s precious ore?
Seeds have been sown, all will be known when comes October’s chilly hoar—
Since that’s what sequels are for!
Nina Malkin is the author of five YA novels, one novella, and an adult memoir. Before turning to books, Nina was a journalist specializing in entertainment, pop culture, and lifestyles. She has held executive positions as an editor and writer at Cosmopolitan, Elle, and Teen People, and her work has appeared in Entertainment Weekly, The New York Times, Seventeen, Real Simple, In Style, and numerous other publications. A New York native, Nina lives in Brooklyn with her musician husband and assorted felines.
Want to read more from Nina Malkin?
This giveaway is provided by Simon & Schuster/Simon Pulse
Five winners will each receive a copy of Swear by Nina Malkin
Available on October 18, 2011 from Simon & Schuster/Simon Pulse
About the Book:
A promise broken. A bond betrayed. It’s been six months since ghost-turned golem Sinclair Youngblood Powers confessed his love, stole Dice’s heart, and disappeared from Swoon, perhaps from existence. Despite the hurt, Dice has been moving steadily toward ordinary. Dreams of Sin still plague and pleasure her sleep, and the mark of Sin’s love remains on her skin, still sore. But Dice has been throwing herself into music, finding solace in song and sometimes even in the arms of her band mate, Tosh. Life seems almost…normal. The last thing Dice wants is to mess with anything remotely supernatural. But when her best friend’s boyfriend goes missing, Dice has no choice but to become very much involved. She knows that his disappearance was no accident, and it somehow has everything to do with Sin. Because Dice can feel it: Sin is back. And the promises and deceptions he left in his wake have returned to haunt him.
What do you do when an oath of devotion threatens to destroy the one you love?
1. Leave a comment for Nina, 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.
You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.