I must confess that sometimes I regret taking the self-publishing route, as I have much to learn about being market savvy and I find it difficult to find reviewers for self-published works. So I was absolutely thrilled when Fairy Tale Central decided to interview me and review my latest novel, A Fair Account of the Traitors Snow White and Rose Red. I am very grateful for this opportunity, and amazed by the in-depth analysis of the book's strengths and weaknesses. Here are seven of my favorite snippets from Christine's review, with my emoticon-enhanced commentary:
*"An intricate plot, a
gorgeous fairy tale setting, beautiful writing, compelling characters—this
novel was everything I want in a fairy tale retelling…and more!" (Aww, this scintillating snippet calls for sparklestars! 🌟⭐🌟)
*"S.E. Page can paint
words like no other. Her description and prose is like stepping into a field of
flowers, you just want to breathe it in and soak up the sights. I couldn’t get
enough of it."(Not going to lie…totally crying
English major tears of joy here. ⚘⚘⚘😭⚘⚘⚘ I am always getting into trouble for my efflorescent scribbles, so it is nice to get them right sometimes.)
*"I gotta say, though,
my favorite character was probably Jack. Not only is he a magical elf (which,
ya know, is the BEST) he’s also a total sass master. I do so love the snarky
ones." (Everyone keeps telling me Jack is their
favorite character!😎 Heh 😄 heh 😅 I guess I need to write him his own book).
*"It was one of those
novels that made me want to ART. If you’re a writer (or an artist!) you
probably know what I’m talking about. It was just so inspirational. It filled
up my creative soul." (It is my secret wish in life to write tales that take over people's imaginations🎨 and make them wonder up new futures, new art, and new paths for my characters. I just start the story. The readers do the rest.)
*"If you’re looking for
a fluffy, romantic fairy tale…this isn’t it. This is the dark, creepy,
dangerous kind." (Yay!
I had to work hard for the danger vibe as my ink naturally tends towards the
fluffy. 😆 Thanks, pesky little editorial sister for insisting on all those grueling revisions. I guess I owe you chocolate or something for putting up with all my griping! So much chocolate . . . . )
*"This was truly one of
the most beautiful books I’ve ever read in my life. I felt like it took the
meaning of a fairy tale to its core and brought it to life in such a vibrant
way. I could seriously fangirl forever. Just…just read it, guys!
The plot had me
enraptured, the world was so complex and fascinating, the characters’ emotions
were tangible, the stakes were high, the writing style blew me away. It was a
masterpiece of a novel."
(Thank you for taking the
time and effort for such an incredibly in-depth review!😁 Insert: squees of happiness☆★☆★☆)
When I begin a new novel, I feel like I start with a twig hut and painstakingly build up towards the dream of a cathedral. But no matter how grand or palatial the narrative, in the end, it is only the reader's imagination that lights up the jewel fire in the story's stained-glass windows.
I am so glad you decided to take a chance on Snow White and Rosavere's (and Jack's😊) misadventures, Fairy Tale Central.
And to top off this amazing week of wonderful surprises, artist Hannah S. J. Williams created a gorgeous fan-made cover of the book. I've been extravagantly lucky to have artist Audrey Bagley illustrate my work, but I've also always hoped that one day, a reader would love one of my stories enough to create fan art. Writer wish unlocked!🌟
And one last cherry on the random happy things sundae: Audrey found this gorgeous music video "Snow White and Rose Red (featuring Ulli Perhonen)" by Blackbriar. It could totally be the main theme song for my story! Not telling how many times I have hit the replay button already . . . .
After I finished Iffy Magic, I intended to write a prequel covering the notorious rise and fall of Zenaides from respectable Goodwing godmother to wicked fairy. Other stories got in the way and I never got past the first chapter. But . . . for all you loyal Iffy Magic readers, I present the glorious character art by Audrey Bagley, and the rough draft of the beginning to Ace of Jinx: Confessions of a Pernicious Pixie! I hope to finish the story one day . . . .
Rosebud spent the last sixteen years of her life avoiding her birthright to join the prestigious Goodwing rank of fairy godmothers. She has no desire to ever enter the dangerous Mortal Vale after both her parents were murdered there. All that changes when she learns that whoever serves as Princess Elspeth's fairy godmother for ten years will receive a rare Asterix wand.
But Rosebud soon discovers that Elspeth toys with her subjects' lives and is utterly undeserving of her magical services. Yet when she reveals her princess's treachery to her superiors, Rosebud is ordered to overlook her behavior in order to preserve a trade agreement that gives the Goodwing family exclusive rights to a powerful cache of Asterix gems.
When the mysterious Granny Toad offers Rosebud an Ace of Jinx, the calling card of wicked fairies, Rosebud accepts the challenge. Defying orders, Rosebud pairs up with a rakish outlaw, the half-dragon Oriole, and begins secretly marauding as the wicked fairy "Zenaides" in order to disrupt Elspeth's corruption. Too bad her alter ego Zenaides attracts the attention of officers of the Fairy Court, including her fiancé Captain Florian Sorrel. Rosebud must make a choice: to bow to tradition or write her own fairy tale.
Discover the notorious rise and fall of a promising young fairy godmother who sacrifices everything in order to save mortals and monsters deemed unworthy of magic's help!
if You Dare
A name carries a fate no blade can cut.
Mine? Unfortunately Rosebud.
The secret of that cloying flower was
kept hidden from me until I suddenly found myself without parents at the tender
age of five. Now, being orphaned in the Faerie Vale is hardly a misfortune when
there are plenty of kind forest hags and neighborly bridge trolls willing to
adopt stray waifs. But alas, in a tidy twist of luck, I already had family
waiting to scoop me up—
Hordes of well-meaning Goodwings.
My mother’s ilk was a
special breed of pixie: all of them started with some sort of “Rose” name at
birth and ended up a renowned fairy godmother. I told you my name would come
back to haunt me! While my kin must’ve been perfectly scandalized when Rosinnia
Goodwing broke with tradition to waste her magic exploring the Mortal Vale
instead of chaperoning worthy human ventures to a happily ever after, inheriting
me seemed to smooth over many ruffled
feathers. Great Aunt Rose Damask, the matriarch of the flock, vowed to make me
a prim and proper fairy godmother by my sixteenth birthday or toad herself
was an admirable goal. But if cousin Rosebay caught me today, I had a
suspicious feeling she would hex me
into something quite small, likely warty, and very—squashable.
“Rosebud, darling sprig,
won’t you trade acorns with me?” my cousin called.
Her voice fell
candy-sweet as ambrosia tarts bursting with honey at the corners, but I knew
better then to take the bait. Rosebay glided into the linden grove with hardly
a flutter. My own wings hunched tight against my back as I scrunched low inside
my tree hollow.
“Don’t make me wait, I know you’re here,” she said in a sing-song tone. “Come out, come
out wherever you are—Sweet. Little. Rosebud.”
teeth ground together even though I knew that tiny noise might betray my hiding
spot. But I simply hated how she said
my name; always thudding her tongue on the “d” so it came out in a “duh.” Our
names were so similar, Rosebay, Rosebud; just two syllables, and yet mine had
to end in such a ridiculous manner. Why couldn’t my parents have chosen
something more grandiose, like “Rosavere”? Sweet little “Rosebud” betrayed an
utter lack of imagination! I shook aside the petty injustice of syllables to
concentrate on my present predicament: imminent transformation into a green
Peeking through the screen of heart-shaped
leaves, I winced as my cousin’s wings sparkled with impatience as she hovered
in the center of the grove.
“The Aunties will understand why you
changed your mind,” Rosebay said. “We both know the golden acorn was never
meant to go to you.” Her voice
hardened. “Nasty little thief, it’s mine!”
I strangled the shout in the back of my throat. I’d earned the golden acorn
fair and square by acing the FGT, the official Fairy Godmother Test given only
once each summer. The first prize nut squirmed in my left fist, the cap
vibrating with highly pressurized praise.
“You are astronomically astounding,
absolutely ace-wing!” the nut crooned.
I smothered its
swooning in a kerchief, my embarrassment rising. The compliments were far too
fair for someone who only yesterday had planned on failing the FGT . . . .
“Gotcha!” A burst of menacing
green light filled the hollow.
I dove through a hail
of splinters as my hiding spot fossilized into polished glass. Much too
suddenly, I hovered face-to-face with my tormentor. While we were both the same
age and shared the heather pink locks and teal eyes of the Goodwing flock, at
sixteen my cousin was all curves and sumptuous ringlets while I was uncommonly
short even for a pixie and had hair straighter than a ruler.
Rosebay tapped the
emerald coregem crowning her wand against her palm. “Don’t make things hard for
yourself, cousin—you know I always get what I want.”
Oh yes, I’d become acutely aware of her
exalted station from the first day I was dragged back to the Goodwing manor. Rosebay
made a great show of fawning and cooing over her wee orphan cousin in the
presence of our aunties . . . until we got to the bedroom we shared. The
tinkling chime of my mother’s jewel box emptying onto the floor so that Rosebay
could pick out the finest trinkets is not a sound I will ever forget.
I refused to surrender the shiny promise
of the golden acorn so easily!
“No,” I said. “It’s my turn.”All my
life, I’d ducked low to let the rising star of the next generation of Goodwing
godmothers claim her fame—but not today.
“Bothering bluebells!” Rosebay
pouted into a lovely little frown that somehow subtracted none of the beauty
from her glossy lips. “I’m only trying to help you, cuz.” She held up a silver
acorn between her fingers with distaste as if it were a squirming beetle.
“Why, aren’t you just suitably
stelliferous?” the silver nut droned, “Dare I say, of satisfactory splendor, a
sufficient cut above standard. Look who’s got all their sparkles squared—”
Rosebay commanded as she crushed the nut’s snide mutterings in her fist. “Be
sensible now; if you don’t trade acorns with me, you’ll have to go the Mortal
Vale—that dangerous realm is no place
for a scrawny pipkin like you,” she chided. “Why, you might lose your wings on
the first day. Do you think the White Gryphon tore your parent’s wings off
before he killed them? The beast’s part cat, after all, and they do so like to
play with their prey . . . .”
How. Dare she!
hands trembled as the familiar panic at my parents’ death rose inside me,
twisting serpent tight in my throat until it was all I could do not to retch. Rosinnia
and Hedgthorne were careless nitwings who’d played games with the misbehaved
magic of the human realm and lost, but I was nothing like them. The Mortal Vale wouldn’t trick me with its
wiles. Resolve hardened inside me as the annoying trembling quit my fingers.
“Not one word more.” I swung my own
wand an inch from Rosebay’s charmingly proportioned button nose and the dull
facets of the garnet cabochon lit up with a red warning. “I won the right to both wand and princess, so get out of my way. Don’t
make me hex you.”
It was an idle threat—when it came
from well-behaved pixies. But I was done playing nice fairy.
“You don’t even like humans, what do you want with Princess Elspeth?” Rosebay
demanded as she tapped her coregem against mine and dueling sparks sizzled hot
“Nothing,” I admitted. “Just the
wand that comes with serving her for fifty years.”
“Greedy cheat,” Rosebay said. “You
barely even studied your Pixie Pocketbook
of Magical Mandates, and you think you can just waltz into Elspeth’s castle
and whip her up a fine batch of eternal felicity?”
“I don’t need an
outdated rulebook to tell me how to play godmother,” I retorted.
“Shut your pigweed
mouth!” Rosebay hissed. “You disgrace the Goodwing name.” Her calculating teal
gaze reflected a puzzled fascination at my sudden stubborn streak, but also
something new—fear, perhaps? She didn’t know what I would do next . . . alas, neither
as I reached into the pocket of my gossamer shift to grasp the golden acorn, my
fingers brushed against the crystal cold spikes of a dragon. I grinned as a
crazy idea sparkled into shape. Pulling the dragon figurine out, I
balanced the clear glass wyrm on my palm.
“If I am such a
disgrace, then you should have no trouble outracing my dragon to the Faerie
Queen’s barge,” I said.
“You won’t get close enough to count
Titania’s toes,” Rosebay said, but her taunt rang hollow. She knew she was
about to lose to me—again.
final glamour project of the FGT this year had been all too easy: create a dragon
strong enough to vanquish one hundred knights in under an hour. It was a
standard protective beast for any princess sequestered during a quest to stave
off warriors that failed to measure up. Mine
ate all the illusion knights thrown into the testing ring in under five minutes
because I didn’t bother wasting magic on diamond pavé scales and pretty white fangs, like Rosebay.
“Soar!” I commanded as I tossed my spell
construct into the air and hit the dragon with a single spark. A thunderclap slammed
over the linden glade as a storm of leaves tore free and the figurine magnified
into a sixty-foot serpent. Its lean body shimmered with translucent scales and
undulating crystal ribs, fierce and raw like the wish I made last night on a
star in a stone—
supper crumpets, Great Aunt Rose Damask had announced that whoever won the
golden acorn this testing round would also earn the right to an Asterix wand. Nothing
special—only a star sapphire capable of funneling a hundred times more magic
than the average coregem. With an Asterix wand, I’d never need to fear
Rosebay’s threats, or any enchantment or monster on either side of the Vale, ever. And if winning the prize meant serving
some grubby human girl for half a century, so be it! I’d spell up Princess
Elspeth a happily ever after so obscenely sparklesome that it would make all
the other Goodwings eat their pixie
Swooping high, I settled between the
razor head spikes of my dragon. Air screamed through my ears as the serpent
shot westwards towards a glittering blue dot in the distance. Queen Titania
always resided in the Quartz Dome. Normally, the dome spread its crystal panes
over the thirteenth mountain terrace of Carolai, but at the tail end of summer,
the Queen still kept court at the Lake of Lappingpearl.
“I’m warning you, this is your last
chance,” Rosebay shouted as her own ruby-scaled monster gnashed its fangs
inches from my dragon’s tail.
“I know,” I said. And I wasn’t going
to waste it. Raising my wand into the wind, I funneled opal currents of magic
that were floating freely in the rich airs of the Faerie Vale into my coregem. Then
I channeled the fat ribbons back into the glamour construct of my dragon. Glass
scales vibrated and cracked with the sudden influx of magic, but my spell held—the
beast shot forward at breakwing speed.
Rosebay tried to copy me, but it took
more than a fancy wand twirl to hold raw magic in check. Her decorative dragon
was simply too frail to contain the massive intake and exploded into an artful
puff of ruby motes and diamond dust.
won’t last!” Rosebay shouted as she tumbled through the air. “The Mortal Vale
will break you, and then that Asterix wand will be m—oofff!”
A mouthful of mud cut
off the end of my cousin’s taunt in an ignominious squelch. I probably
shouldn’t be quite so pleased that the force of Rosebay’s unraveling spell
deposited her into a particularly marshy section of the lake. But I couldn’t
resist urging my dragon into a wild loop of victory as the barge of the Faerie
Queen shone at the heart of the Lappingpearl barely a wind gust away. Thin panes
of quartz overlaid the white birch wood in a lattice of silicate stars, with
shoots of amethysts, chrysoberyls and other assorted crystals sprouting in
random nosegays of mineral flowers from the planks.
pity there was no time for admiration as a sharp twang cut my ears and a wave
of black arrows arced up from the barge. Oops. My over-enthusiastic approach
did come off as rather…like an attack on her Very Royal Highness. The anti-magic coating on the arrowheads
swiftly dispelled my poor dragon in a flash of lightning; oh, and paralyzed me
from toe to gossamer wing tip. I spiraled towards the water below in a dizzy
flutter. Bother! This was not how I
pictured making my triumphant entrance.
Two arms encircled me from behind
and I found myself captured in the firm embrace of Sorrell Blazewright, Captain
of the Queen’s Guards. He spun me around to face him and I must admit I basked
in his kaleidoscopic beauty for a guilty breath; an autumn pixie, his skin and
hair constantly shifted between subtle hues of brown, red, and yellow like a
wind-tumbled leaf. Only his eyes remained the steady warm amber of a fall
afternoon. Unfortunately, they regarded me now with the bite of winter frost.
“Approaching Her Majesty on a
teratoid-class creature is strictly prohibited,” he barked, and then paused as
he took measure of his skinny armful of law-breaking pixie. “Rosebud?”
“Hello, Sori my—mmm—beloved,” I
said, and then instantly regretted my slip of the tongue; now was not the appropriate time to play the
sweetheart card. Since my mother ditched Sorrell’s father to marry mine, her
marriage contract had skipped a generation and Sorrell and I’d been officially
betrothed from the cradle. Neither of us had ever particularly minded this
arrangement before, though, as we found each other generally amiable and
reliable partners. But I wouldn’t blame Sorrell for changing his mind after
today. “Please pardon my lack of manners,” I murmured, cringing as a blush
crept through my wings in a pink rush of sparkles.
very lucky I only ordered the guards to fire a warning shot,” Sorrell chided as
he landed on the barge’s deck and gently set me down.
Wait, the lightning
attack that had nearly incinerated me was just a warning shot? “Quite serendipitous,”
I squeaked as my feet prickled with sensation again.
“Why are you here?” he asked.
pang of regret hit me as I realized that any way I phrased my answer now would
be exceedingly awkward. I didn’t have time last night to inform Sorrell about
my sudden burning desire to take the Fairy Godmother Test and ditch him for
half a century in pursuit of an ultra rare wand. No, no matter how I sliced the
truth, that wasn’t the apple’s core; it simply never occurred to me to tell him
right away. I pulled the mumbling nut from my pocket.
“I believe I am
expected.” I opened my hand to reveal the golden acorn and let it do the
talking for me.
abound!” it crooned. “Ahhh! How you astonish and amaze—”
placed his hand over mine and mercifully muted the golden acorn’s praise. “It
appears congratulations are in order.” His tone was crisp and betrayed nothing,
but he turned wing on me so quickly then that I could only guess at the shock my
abrupt announcement had dealt him. “Follow me to Her Majesty’s chambers,” he
be upset—I’ll explain later, I promise,” I whispered as I followed Sorrell past
a line of frowning guards in gold and green livery; obviously they hadn’t
forgiven me for the little dragon debacle. But I reeled to a sudden stop as
Sorrell twisted around and placed a single finger against my lips.
I have never asked you to justify
your choices to me; our hearts may have been twined at birth, but our lives
have always been our own.” His finger glided above my lips, trailing gingerly
across my cheek before tucking a wayward strand of hair behind my ear. “Don’t
you know that I trust you?”
course!” I nodded, wounded by the genuine concern in his voice. Why did I
always underestimate Sorrell? His attentiveness put me to shame. Poor handsome captain—I
made a terrible betrothal pair!
what kind of a fairy godmother would I be? There was only one way to find out. I
repressed a wing quiver as Sorrell stopped before two tall silver doors leading
into the barge’s inner compartments.
you’re ready, tell me everything,” Sorrel said. His eyes narrowed as he gazed past
me over the waters. “There seems to be a mysterious mud blob thrashing among
the cattails. I must investigate this menace further.”
“Be careful, it might bite,” I
warned, stifling a snicker as he flitted off deck. Oh, Rosebud was most
definitely going to toad me later . . . but for now, the prize, the princess,
and the happily ever after was all mine, and I was going to savor every moment.
Pushing the double doors wide open,
I entered with my chin held high—well, as high as my meager four inches and
eleven centimeters allowed. I’d never been inside the Quartz Dome of the Faerie
Court before, and it took all my will not to stumble to an awestruck-stop and gawp
at the wondrous artistry of the mineral magic. Though miniaturized to fit the
barge’s smaller dimensions, the dome had crystallized overhead into a series of
curved window panes etched with trees replicating the famed groves of Avalon.
Citrine jewels in the shape of luscious apples gleamed like daystars on the
beneath these lesser lights glowed the greatest star of all; Queen Titania, the
sovereign ruler of the Faerie Vale. Disdaining jewels, only silver braids
crowned her head with an intricate plaited tiara. Seated on a lily-shaped
throne of white chalcedony, her wings cascaded behind her in a magnificent
trail of translucent gossamer. The edges were brittle with age and ragged as
fangs, but still glimmered with the purity of dawn mist.
“Welcome, child,” Titania said in a
soft whisper that echoed throughout the dome like a clear bell. “Come! Present
the fruit of your labor before me.”
Technically, it was a nut, but I
wasn’t about to disagree with her Queenship. “Yes, Your Majesty,” I replied,
dutifully stepping forward. But my pace couldn’t help but slow a little as I
saw the pixie standing to the right of the throne—Great Aunt Rose Damask!
“What a delightful surprise,” she said as her teal eyes fastened onto
me, cold and hard as coins. How
disappointing the careful twist of her lips betrayed. Clearly, I wasn’t the pixie she was waiting for.
Dear Auntie,I could hardly blame her—no one had ever known what to do with me.
Too young to accompany Hedge and Rosinnia on their forays to the Mortal Vale, I’d
often been locked inside an enchanted tower for safekeeping. This habit had
worked well until my parents’ murder left me slowly starving to death as the
tower’s hospitality charms unraveled. But I was not the same dirty runtwing Great Aunt Damask had found shivering
in the dark and damp rot!
Kneeling before the Queen, I raised
the golden nut defiantly. “I come to claim the fairy godmother contract with
Princess Elspeth Munroe.”
Queen Titania was well into her elderly
millennium, and yet as her clouded violet gaze fell on me I instantly felt cut
to the quick.
“Claim it you may, Rosebud, Goodwing’s
daughter,” she said. “But fulfilling the contract is another test altogether.
Are you ready for the greatest challenge our kind has ever known?” Her
moon-pale fingers closed in a delicate cage over the acorn. “Mortal happiness .
. . it is a game no wand has ever mastered without equal measure of heart and
Hah! A boring game, but chaperoning a mortal girl to a happily ever after
of convenient proportions seemed a small price to pay to purchase my own new
beginning. “I am a Goodwing,” I responded without hesitation. It was the
easiest logical answer and also the one most likely to please Great Aunt Rose
Damask. “I am not afraid of my duty.”
Queen Titania paused, and for a second a
deadly fear pricked me that she could see right through me, glimpse deep into
my heart where my true intent beat, selfish and wild. But then metal crackled
as she crushed the golden acorn in her fist.
“Bold words, Fairy Godmother.” Opening
her hand, Titania blew a storm of gold glitter at my face. “May you honor them
well or burn in their judgment.”
I gasped as I felt the shining dust
settle into my pores with her invocation, each mote containing a speck of magic
that bound the Munroe Contract to my blood and bone. I was now officially
Princess Elspeth’s fairy godmother!
I rose, casting an expectant glance Her
Majesty which quickly deteriorated into an awkward wing blush. “Umm . . . where
do I claim my new wand?” I asked.
“The Mortal Vale, where else?” Great
Aunt Rose Damask murmured as she stepped forward. Curtsying, she steered me out
of the Quartz Dome with a soft hand on my shoulder that somehow still rested
heavy as iron.
“You’ve always been such a quiet,
peaceable child, Rosebud,” she said, never glancing at me once as we flitted off
the deck and took wing to the sky. “I underestimated you—you’re allowed to
dream, of course. But don’t disrespect
our family with a passing breeze of desire. Finish what you start with proper
Goodwing flare and dignity.”
The blue of the
Lappingpearl rippled in dazzling wavelets below me, each tiny crash of water
and foam strengthening my resolve as we sped farther from the Fairy Queen’s
barge. “I won’t, Auntie,” I promised. Of course, I knew what she really meant,
but she needn’t have worried—for Rosinnia’s shame—my mother’s wild, reckless
heart—she never passed that curse to me.