wolves-and-witches-cover_fullAmanda C. Davis and Megan Engelhardt are sisters. Their stories and poems have appeared in magazines and anthologies from around the world. They wrote Wolves and Witches to collect their fairy-tale retellings and because they wanted to create something together. The volume sold to World Weaver Press and the book was released in 2013. So far their stories have been performed in competition, adapted for podcasts, read aloud at conferences, and discussed in book clubs. Wow!

Wolves and Witches contains retellings of Little Red Riding Hood, Hansel and Gretel, Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, Diamonds and Toads, the Twelve Dancing Princesses, the Little Mermaid, Rumpelstiltskin, Rapunzel, the Pied Piper of Hamelin. The new edition contains interviews with the authors and a set of discussion questions for book clubs or classrooms.

Here are ten short stories and poems

from Amanda C. Davis and Megan Engelhardt

that you can read right now for free!

1. The Instructions by Amanda C. Davis

Elves never work for free. A darkly funny modern take on The Elves and the Shoemaker.

Read it: The Instructions at Daily Science Fiction

2. Untruths About the Desirability of Wolves by Megan Engelhardt

Traumatic experiences in your childhood can really mess with your head, but Little Red Riding Hood swears she’s fine.

Read it: Untruths About the Desirability of Wolves at Enchanted Conversation

3. Crown of Bells by Amanda C. Davis

The Disney version of Beauty and the Beast turns the servants into objects, but some tellings curse the servants with invisibility. In this poem, a servant learns to be invisible.

Read it: Crown of Bells at Mirror Dance

4. The Witch of the Wolfwoods by Amanda C. Davis

Granny is hiding something. What big teeth she has! A poem twisting the intentions of an underestimated character in Little Red Riding Hood.

Read it: The Witch of the Wolfwoods at Enchanted Conversation

5. The Long Con by Megan Engelhardt

This sly story wonders why an accomplished magician like Rumpelstiltskin even wanted someone else’s child. And he’s not the only one who wonders.

Read it: The Long Con at Daily Science Fiction

6. Song of Snow by Amanda C. Davis

Before Snow White and her Prince start a new life together, they have business to take care of. A juicy, sweet love poem with poison at the core.

Read it: Song of Snow at Enchanted Conversation

7. A Shining Spindle Can Still Be Poisoned by Amanda C. Davis

What do princes expect to find, when they awaken princesses who haven’t been seen for a hundred years? This poem retelling of Sleeping Beauty has bite.

Read it: A Shining Spindle Can Still Be Poisoned at Goblin Fruit

8. The Peril of Stories by Amanda C. Davis

The witch who kidnapped Rapunzel (Mother Gothel, in some tellings) truly wanted a child. A beautiful, talented, and most of all, obedient child. A story about stories.

Read it: The Peril of Stories at Enchanted Conversation

9. Her Dark Materials by Amanda C. Davis

Cinderella’s fairy godmother isn’t afraid to get her hands dirty. A poem about magic.

Read it: Her Dark Materials at Enchanted Conversation

10. The Best Boy, the Brightest Boy

The Pied Piper of Hamelin kidnaps a village full of children–and oh, they have such fun–but he only really needs one. A wicked story about wild, enchanting music.

Listen to it: The Best Boy, the Brightest Boy at Drabblecast

Get more fairy tale retellings in Wolves and Witches at your favorite online bookseller!

Witches have stories too. So do mermaids, millers’ daughters, princes (charming or otherwise), even big bad wolves. They may be a bit darker—fewer enchanted ball gowns, more iron shoes. Happily-ever-after? Depends on who you ask. In Wolves and Witches, sisters Amanda C. Davis and Megan Engelhardt weave sixteen stories and poems out of familiar fairy tales, letting them show their teeth.

We read all our stories aloud before submitting them–they’re meant to be fun to read and easy on the tongue. Try them out as prose and poetry pieces for competition, oral interpretation pieces, or readings for class–or just because reading aloud is fun!

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Buy me a coffee at ko-fi.com

Craving something longer? The Lair of the Twelve Princesses is a 9000-word sword-and-sorcery novelette, retelling the tale of the twelve dancing princesses featuring a soldier, her genie, and a castle full of treachery, available now at Smashwords or Amazon.

 

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First appeared in Phobos Magazine #3, 02/08/2015.

When I Am Eighty-Three
Amanda C. Davis

The autumn after I turn eighty-three,
If I am still sound of tooth and knee,
I shall move to a town where they don’t know me,
To the creepiest house, where the witch lives.

I will eat fish and onions and greasy meat
Cooked all day long, so it smells in the street,
And keep forty black cats on my porch and beneath
And teach them to glare into windows.

I will make my own clothing from vintage gowns
And have three dozen hats with tattered crowns.
I will take slow walks when the sun goes down
And mutter at children, and hiss.

I will stay until Halloween. The following dawn,
I’ll pack my car until the trunk space is gone
With hats and cats and footballs that fell on my lawn
And drive back to Florida, where my friends live.

There I will drink cocktails as much as I can
And stroll with my childhood friends in the sand
And find my cats good homes and get a dog and get tan
And live forever, a legend, a witch.

*

More witchy poems, here: Wolves and Witches: A Fairy Tale Anthology

Craving something longer? The Lair of the Twelve Princesses is a 9000-word sword-and-sorcery novelette, available now at Smashwords or Amazon.

My excellent sister, Megan Engelhardt, sold an excellent short story to the excellent Rhonda Parrish, who today revealed the excellent cover that will go on top of it:

CORVIDAE-cover-resizedI love it, and I love her story specifically, about an odd couple of globetrotting monster-hunting ladies and their adventures with an expanding entourage of charming weirdos.

Watch for it on July 7.

My premade ebook covers are designed to get your novel out the door with a dynamic cover quickly and seamlessly. Each cover is unique and sold only once.* I’m initially focusing on romance, young adult contemporary, new adult, and women’s fiction, but check back often for new covers. (If you don’t see exactly what you want, I’m also available for custom coverscontact me for a quote.)

How It Works:

  1. Fill in the form below with the required information.
  2. I’ll add your information to the cover you chose and email you a low-res proof copy.
  3. After you approve the cover and send payment (PayPal or check accepted), I’ll email you the final 1400 x 2100 pixel version in the format of your choice.
  4. Questions? Don’t hesitate to ask!

#2
– $35
girlinfield
#3
– $35
brickgirl
#5
– $35
guy
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– $35
kissyface
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– $35
wedding
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bed
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34 roadrage
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35 secret
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36 kingdomcome
#36
– $40
benchcouple
#13
– $35
guitarcouple
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– $35
bridgecouple
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– $35
cargirl
#16
– $40

#17
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– $35
19 tulip
#19 – $35
20 littlehouse
#20 – $35
21 couplekissing2
#21 – $35
22 poppies2
#22 – $35
23 scarytree
#23 – $50
24 suitman4
#24SOLD!
25 snowyroad
#25
– $35
26 purplecorn
#26
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27 bluetrees2
#27
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28 pinkclouds
#28
– $40
29 yellowswamp
#29
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30 staircase
#30
– $50
31 suitman3
#31
– $40
32 bluesky
#32
– $35

*I use stock photos**, so I can’t promise the image is exclusive to your book, but I won’t resell my designs. After they’re claimed, they’re gone!

**Right now all of my source photos come from CC0 sites like Gratisography, Skitterphoto, Unsplash, and the like. I’ll send you information about the specific images used on request at purchase. I suppose that means you could hunt down these photos and create your own versions, but my typography is ace, and you don’t want to miss out. ^_^

For this week’s weekend book cover, Rhonda Parrish asked me for a cover for a collection of her late mother’s poetry.

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I liked the idea of snowy owl imagery. Unexpected difficulty: owl faces are hilarious. I couldn’t build a contemplative poetry cover out of this guy. To get around that, I went looking for an image of a snowy owl flying away. I thought that included some relevant symbolism as well.

Then: background. Turns out Rhonda (editor, author, doer of all the things) is also a great photographer. Her Flickr account gave me plenty to work with. I really liked this lonely mailbox, and I like the imagery, that this book would be stuffed with messages the author left behind for her loved ones.

snowy-owl-12893020 mailbox_sm

For the font, I wanted a script that was neither too flowery nor too grungy. One called “Chemist” seemed to fill the bill. I put a shadow behind it to help bring out the words. For the subtitle and author name, I’m just a perpetual sucker for Century Gothic and its variants.

I colorized the owl and mailbox, then eventually the post, then put a gradient behind the author name, then desaturated things a bit.

trials

I like it! The author and her daughter didn’t love the owl element, so I made two variations: no owl, and extra owl.

lovesandra4 lovesandra5

They preferred the one with no owl, so that’s the final. Huzzah!

lovesandra4

This one came together so smoothly, it was awesome. If I could change one thing, I’d put something across the top or in the top right corner. Maybe part of a representative poem?

What do you think? How’s the composition? Does the cover seem to match the contents of the book? What tweaks would you make?

FONTS, TOP TO BOTTOM

  • Chemist
  • Century Gothic
  • Century Gothic Bold

IMAGE SOURCES

TIME TO CREATE

  • All of two and a half hours including image searches and final tweaks.

See all my book cover designs here. Inquiries accepted.

I write fiction too!

This week’s entry in my weekend book cover experiment is a fantasy novel by Denice J.D. The book is still in concept form. She sent me a synopsis and several photographs.

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These are good vacation pics, but not useful cover images, especially for the story described. They may not scream “Atlantic City” but they don’t look much like the Mediterranean, either, which is largely surrounded by cliffs and richly blue-green. They don’t contain any information except “on the beach”. Alas, I can’t use them for this cover.

This is a problem, because: what CAN I use?

I ask about the “twin beasts of night and day”, which is the most intriguing part of the synopsis to me. I work up several concepts based on this. Since I cannot art, they are terrible.

twinbeasts

I set it aside for weeks. Eventually I decide to make a very general “royalty-themed fantasy” cover. It’s better than nothing!

I use a parchment-ish background texture and find a free image of an amulet, because nothing says “royalty” like big crazy jewelry and a parchment will tilt the feel toward a medieval setting. (Thank goodness for that texture pack; it’s much better than the two attempts above.) I’ve been wanting to use this font for a while, so I grab the chance.

white

That’s not terrible. I start tweaking the font colors and sizes. I match the title to different colors within the amulet.

There’s not enough going on, so I decide to add two overlays: a seal, hopefully invoking things like trade, wealth, and official deals, and a seagull shadow, which I hope brings in something of the sea. Also free images of dragons are hard to find.

 

late_tries

The bottom one wins out, but I still have to make a final version because I’ve been spelling her name wrong this entire time, because I am the absolute worst.

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Man oh man this was difficult. The ability to create (or commission) original art would have come in extremely handy. But this synopsis was also difficult to pull specific imagery from. I’m guessing that a synopsis written after the book was done would have a lot more hooks for a designer to start with.

What do you think? Can you guess something of the book’s contents by the cover? Does it look professional? What tweaks would you make?

FONTS, TOP TO BOTTOM

  • Colonna MT

IMAGE SOURCES

TIME TO CREATE

  • Ugh, like eight hours fiddling with my original concept and maybe two to create and complete the final one

See all my book cover designs here. Inquiries accepted.

I write fiction too!

This week my weekend book cover experiment is a personal one: I made an alternate book cover for my collection of funny horror, Suddenly, Zombies. Below are the original cover and the jacket copy.

SuddenlyZombies300 Zombies in space! Giant zombie gorillas! When life gets weird, all you can do is stick by your friends and hang on to your brains. Amanda C. Davis dishes out two short stories (and a bonus drabble) from the lighter side of the zombocalypse.

Stories first appeared in Zombonauts (Library of the Living Dead Press), Zombie Kong (Books of the Dead Press), and Necrotic Tissue (Stygian Publications).

 

This is one of the first covers I made, and I wanted it to be clear that this was lighthearted horror. I also had far fewer tools and way less experience back then, so I drew the elements myself from the two main stories in the collection. Here’s my rough iterative process on this one.

tests

I like it, but I wanted to try a cover that would look more at home in the horror section while still conveying that lighthearted element. I decide the image of a zombie hand poking out of the ground making a thumbs-up symbol covers a lot of the imagery I want, so I go ahead and mock up something.

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This is terrible.

There’s a lot of value in making terrible things, though, because it prepares you for the trouble you’ll run across in making decent things. I scrap every element in this version and start looking for better ways to do what I have in mind.

I need a decent thumbs-up. This is surprisingly hard to find for free, especially held aloft like I want. I decide I’ll settle for an OK symbol. Wikimedia commons has one. The arm’s not long enough, so I extend it a bit. (Amanda C. Davis: Arm Extender.)

It’s also surprisingly hard to find a free image of the kind of graveyard I want. I’d go out and take my own photo if they all weren’t covered in snow at the moment. This one is nice and crowded. All the tombstones are in Hebrew, which I enjoy because some of the earliest recorded walking dead are Jewish.

I use a green grunge texture to zombie up the hand, put shadows around the graveyard, hide the wrist stub behind some moss, and use a stains brush to discolor the “Suddenly”. This is exciting. I use very few brushes normally.

first_tries

I check up on alternate meanings for the OK symbol, and swap out the cemetery to avoid Unfortunate Implications. This changes my color palette to include orange, which is fine with me. My sister encourages me to make the word “Zombies” less stark white, which I do. And that’s my final version.

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I’m not sure whether it meets its goal and I don’t have sales numbers yet to show how it’s doing, but the new cover is up on Smashwords and Amazon now–and it’s discounted at the moment.

Do you think this is a better cover than the previous? In what way? What would you change if you could?

FONTS, TOP TO BOTTOM

  • Dosis Bold
  • Scratched Letters
  • Dosis Medium
  • Dosis Bold

IMAGE SOURCES

TIME TO CREATE

  • 5 hours, give or take.

See all my book cover designs here. Inquiries accepted.

I write fiction too!