Hey all. Grey Lore is now available on Amazon and Barnes and Noble. Check out the links to buy it (the Kindle got reduced to $2.99; not sure how long it will last; snatch it up).
And as a bonus, Grey Stone is on sale for only $.99 on Kindle (through December 14th). Get it HERE.
To celebrate, I wanted to include an excerpt from the book. There are a lot of nods to fairy tales throughout, as well (of course) some wolf lore woven in. Below you’ll find one of my favorite fairy tales retold by the Ella and Sam’s English teacher, Mr. Witten.
Excerpt from Grey Lore:
David Witten surveyed his collection of candied porcelain houses. You got unusual gifts when you were a folklorist. These houses were some of his favorites. Like all fairytales, Hansel and Gretel had dozens of retellings, some even taking the witch’s side.
But there were none in which both the old woman and the children paired up to fight the evil forces that had thrown them together in the first place. Though surely, when a woman winds up living alone in the middle of the forest, and children are left to wander the woods until they stumble into her, one can assume there are many other malevolent forces at play.
Somewhere in there was an opportunity for an interesting retelling.
Witten sighed. Retellings. He wasn’t sure how healthy it was to have your life’s work focused on changing old stories. But, healthy or not, it was what he had chosen.
He selected a small, bright house, sprinkles and sugar glaze sparkling on the roof, peppermint sticks standing as pillars, gumdrops lining the path to a cinnamon-spiced door. He packaged the ceramic house carefully in a box with tissue paper. Then he took out a dainty pink card and began to write.
My dear Emmaline—
He paused, his pen in the air like a wand, wound up with a spell.
I am still hoping to see you for American Christmas, though your mother is concerned that the timing may not be quite right. In the meantime I’ve written a version of one of your favorite tales, and one I’ve been thinking about these last few weeks. I hope you enjoy it.
Once… He glanced out the window at the dark clouds that were gathering in the distance. …in the dark of the wood lived a very old woman in a very old house. Both had stood in the forest for much longer than such things should; and both had grown old and crooked from time. The woman, as you can guess, was possibly the loneliest creature in the entire world, having only her gardens and the animals for company.
To soothe this ache, she spent hours each day baking cake and boiling confections of every kind—things that reminded her of times long past. She baked so much and so often that soon the little house was overflowing with sweet treats. The woman began to pile pound cakes against walls like bricks, filling in the cracks of her old, aching house with frosting, spinning hot sugar through the floorboards, and plastering the walls in crisp chocolate.
As the years went on, the house became more and more solid while the woman continued to stoop and crumble.
And then one day a flock of birds flew over her house, cackling and pecking at the shortbread shingles of her roof. “You’re lucky, old crone,” a fat bird chittered, “that we’re not hungrier. For we’ve just devoured an entire path of sweet, white breadcrumbs, and don’t have room for your roof today.”
The old woman shooed the crows away just as two small children came into the clearing, the youngest one crying as the older pulled on her hand, begging her to keep moving. They stopped when they saw the house, and the old woman tucked herself behind the poppy seed door, watching.
Now, in many a tale you’ve heard, that old woman tricked those poor children into her house, and tried to eat them.
But the truth is that there are many things about children that are sweet beyond what lips can taste and sustaining beyond what bellies can feel.
For many moons the children stayed with the old woman, drinking her tea and patching her old bones in a way only bright, young creatures can.
But both witch and children possessed things that powerful people sought. And, in time, the birds brought news of a stepmother’s hunger and an old mayor’s greed.
Digging into her speculoos cellar, the woman brought out several bright rubies and a pair of diamonds. “Take these, my sweets,” she said. “And tell them you’ve pushed the old hag into the fire. In this way, we might both remain safe.”
The woman sent the now-rich children back into the dark wood.
The jewels, she knew, would buy the children some freedom. And the story would buy her some time. But there were those in this world who would not be quick to be satiated. And so she watched through her butterscotch windows. And waited.