#MothersDay and a #Top20 #Countdown with #DianaWynneJones’ #Fantasy #Writing to #Celebrate #WyrdandWonder!

To all Moms and Those Who Mother: A Blessed Mother’s Day to You!

So you may think that as a mother, I would spend this post gushing about my kids.

Erm…nah.

I talk about those little hoodlums enough. Besides, Blondie turns 10 in a few weeks, and I’m bound to get her on around then to talk about fantasy adventures she loves.

So let’s shove the kids into a room with trucks, dragons, and “cutelys” (Biff’s latest stuffie animal crew, of which he’s the zookeeper and it’s all undeniably adorable) so that you and I can take a moment to realize it’s the month of Wyrd and Wonder. Huzzah!

Once I discovered this amazing celebration of all fantasy reads, I just had to jump in. Before this month, my kids’ only knowledge of Diana Wynne Jones was the Ghibli adaptation of her beloved Howl’s Moving Castle. When I finished reading the lovely little mystery Basil of Baker Street, I asked them what they’d like me to read next for lunchtime. They gave answers involving puppies, robots, and spaceship schematics.

Nnnnope! Time to visit the Queen of the Fantastic. Not with Charmed Life–I don’t need the boys accusing Blondie of draining their life force (or vice versa). And no, I didn’t take them to Howl’s castle. I’ll share an analysis of the chosen story later this month. 🙂

In the meantime, I thought it’d be fun to celebrate Wyrd and Wonder with favorite snippets of Jones that highlight her craft and humor. I love love LOVE Reflections on the Magic of Writing and The Tough Guide to Fantasyland, so I’ll be sharing highlights from these books every day over the next…hmmm…let’s say for twenty days or until I finish the chosen story with my kids, whichever comes first. Shall we start with a fitting entry for Mother’s Day? Indeed! Yes, one that instructs Tourists of Fantasyland to be wary of those mothers of fantastical nations, the Queens.

Queens ruling in their own right are rare, but they do occur. When they do they are:

  1. Totally useless because dominated by a male lover or COUNCILLORS, or both.
  2. GOOD, but incapacitated by MAGIC or scruples or both, in the most extreme cases, this Queen will sit on her throne perpetually in a state of blanched preservation. Tourists requiring favours of her will need only one look to know that here is something else they have to put right before they can get on with the real business of the Tour. When rescued such Queens can put things in order with commendable briskness.
  3. Good. This Queen will be a MAGIC USER and terribly conscientious. In her case the Tour will reveal something highly amiss with either her COUNTRY or the whole continent. The Queen will often have to join the Tour to put this right (see SAVING THE WORLD). You will have to spend the Tour worrying about the Queen’s safety.
  4. Old-fashioned bad. This kind of Queen is totally in control. She has everybody terrified of her, possibly through Magic. And, again possibly through Magic, she will be beautiful…Her Country will be the most abject and oppressed of any on the Tour. Since she is very cruel, this will not bother her at all.
  5. A bad mother. This Queen is really ruling for her young son (see CHILDREN), but she will be so anxious to go on ruling that she will be bringing the lad up to be wholly dependent on her. This Queen is a dangerous sentimental bitch, because she will claim that everything she does is for the sake of her Child. She will try to POISON anyone who gets in her way. Only a powerful AMULET will help you here. Naturally no Tourist will want to have anything to do with this Queen, but it will usually be necessary to release the young KING from her clutches before you can proceed on the Tour. The local God may well insist on it.

Oh, it is going to be sooooooo fun sharing these! I hope you find Jones’ words a source of fun and inspiration as you create your own story-worlds.

Speaking of story-worlds, I’ve thrown my own tales into the Wyrd and Wonder celebration!

My Historical Fantasy novella Night’s Tooth will be FREE May 15th-18th, and my YA Fantasy Novel Fallen Princeborn: Stolen will be just 99 cents over May 22nd-25th

Night’s Tooth is about as about as gritty a story as you can get and Jean Lee is just the woman to deliver it. Her world building and sense of timing deliver a heightened sense of tension and you’ll find yourself holding your breath page after page. For those with a low suspense threshold, I recommend reading Night’s Tooth with all the lights on!

Thanks for the awesome review, P.J. Lazos!
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I typically read any kind of genre if the writing flows. But my favorite tends to be the YA fantasy and YA paranormal. Because of what I do for a living (oncology nurse), it is refreshing to read something that takes me far from this reality and into an alternate, believable time and place.

The heroine, Charlotte Aegir, is perfectly flawed. So, while the storyline and the world-building is so creative and imaginative, and steeped in faerie, Charlotte’s flaws and rough edges are also so true and…well, real, giving this dark fantasy novel a genuine emotional core—a beating heart—that we humans can relate to.

Amazon Review

Thanks so much for reading this slapdash post written while Bo and the boys race along with Bandit down the highway with Smokey on their tails. I hope you’ll come back for the upcoming journey through craft and Fantasyland–be sure to share your own celebration of all things fantastic in the comments below, too. Let’s spread the word that spring’s the time for Wyrd and Wonder!

Read on, share on, and write on, my friends!

33 thoughts on “#MothersDay and a #Top20 #Countdown with #DianaWynneJones’ #Fantasy #Writing to #Celebrate #WyrdandWonder!

  1. Introduced son to Flash Gordon last night. Today the rooms are filled with dystopian worlds with increasingly corny catchphrases. His reading has progressed that I often find him opening one of my old Pratchett, Tolkien and Moorcock books – try to read one random page and let the dreams form . If we had a hard copy of one of your books then he would include you in that list. But tonight I will fire up the kindle and I will reread Nights Tooth. Keep smiling. xxxx

    Liked by 2 people

    • Aw, shucks, you’re so kind! That Flash Gordon movie was a unique creature, to be sure, and you can’t go wrong with a Queen soundtrack! And I love that he’s finding fun escapes in your books–that’s as it should be. We need to let our kids escape the humdrum in their own way, and if we’re very lucky, they’ll invite us along for the ride. Hope your day’s a lovely one! xxxxxx

      Liked by 1 person

  2. It always comes as a surprise when Americans celebrate Mother’s Day in May when the UK has already done so in March! Why so? Mothering Sunday is usually close to March 25th, the Feast of the Annunciation, the date chosen because it’s nine months before Christmas day. And of course March 25th is close to the spring equinox, that time of hope, burgeoning nature and increased hours of sunshine. It also happens to be around the earliest dates possible for Easter with symbols like lambs, eggs and daffodils abounding.

    I’m guessing the May date was chosen mostly for the convenience of greetings card manufacturers, but coincidentally (or maybe not so coincidentally) the month of May has always been dubbed the month of Mary in English tradition. Of course you’re aware I’m not in the least religious but I love the way all these aspects coalesce so that the respective months seem to become the most appropriate for celebrating mothers.

    And I should get another reread of DWJ under my belt this month…

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Pingback: My #Top20 #Countdown with #DianaWynneJones’ #Fantasy #Writing to #Celebrate #WyrdandWonder Continues…with #Clothing | Jean Lee's World

  4. You had me confused…moreso than usual…with this post, Ms Lee. A time-warp feeling, for in the UK it wasn’t Mother’s Day. I think…possibly not accurate…we have this in March. What with the ‘lockdown’ I lose a few days here and there, but to get my months wrong would suggest the time had come to send me off to a home for the termanally bewildered! Regardless, I trust you had a fine day. Regards, The Old Fool

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Pingback: My #Top20 #Countdown with #DianaWynneJones’ #Fantasy #Writing to #Celebrate #WyrdandWonder Continues…with a #map for a #journey to #adventure | Jean Lee's World

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