Our Reading list has updated!

Do you own all of our catalog?

Also keep an eye on the list over the next few months…We have a busy calendar through June. Including the first release of NK Xero’s Poetry volume Valley of Thoughts, Ruan Bradford Wright’s Novel Toe Rag, Raz T Slasher’s Riverside Chronicles, Ashira Dayta’s first book in her Life Trilogy, DW Storer’s 2nd book of the through the mirror darkly series…and possibly a few more…


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So we have a board set up(It’s on Patti’s Pinterest) That has all of our authors books, even the ones that are put out by other publishers. Go Check it out. We hope to keep adding to it.

Award winning author

Our author Vonnie Winslow Crist recently won an award for her book Beneath Raven’s Wing. We are extremely proud of the book and of her for winning the award! Please let her know how wonderful this is!

Talking Victorian Bouquets: Tussie Mussiesby Vonnie Winslow Crist

Long before the birth of Great Britain’s Queen Victoria, bunches of flowers were given as gifts
to friends and sweethearts. The bright colors, perfumed foliage, and earthy feel of a spray of blooms
and leaf fronds were a way of connecting with someone special. But during the Victorian Era, interest in
floriography or the language of flowers turned Tussie-Mussies from loving gestures into an art form.
Originally, a Tussie Mussie was a small nosegay or posy of blossoms and greenery. Sometimes
spelled tuzzy-muzzy, the term is a combination of two words. The first, tuzzy, is the Old English word
for the knot of flowers. The second, muzzy, is a name for the damp moss wrapped around the stems of
flowers to keep the blooms fresh.
During medieval times, small bouquets of fragrant herbs wrapped in swatches of cloth were
carried by both men and women to combat the odors of open sewers, farm animals, and a population
that bathed infrequently. Held in the hand and pressed to the nose when needed, these aromatic
nosegays were also believed to act as disinfectants. Posies of hyssop, rue, wormwood and other
odoriferous plants were even thought to ward off the Plague. Little bundles of herbs were also placed
near judges in courtrooms to protect them from the diseases carried by the prisoners.
Many people of the Middle Ages thought if they carried sweet-smelling posies, they would
remain healthy. They strewed boughs of pungent herbs upon the floors of their homes for the same
reason. To satisfy the demand for healthful herbs, the woodland fairies of that era must have worked overtime to bless enough leafage and florets.
But Victorian Tussie-Mussies weren’t just attractive nosegays, they were living letters. Each
piece of plant material included in a Victorian posy conveyed a message. And these messages were
based on complex symbolism from the mythology, religion, folklore, and medicinal uses of plants from
many cultures.
A glance at Greek and Roman myths reveals a wide assortment of flora associated with their
gods, goddess, and heroes. One story tells of the Greek youth Narcissus who spurned the love of the
beautiful nymph, Echo. He was so enamored with his own reflection that he fell into a pond and
drowned. A narcissus plant sprang up where he died. Therefore, it’s no surprise that in floriography,
yellow narcissus blooms represent egotism.
But many plants broadcast multiple messages. For example, lavender sometimes represents
distrust. Why would such an unhappy word be associated with an herb used to revive those who’ve
fainted? Perhaps it’s because a scrap of Mediterranean folklore says fairies disguised as tiny snakes
hide in lavender plants. The other meanings of this herb, love, and devotion, spring from a different folk
belief which claims lavender sprinkled on the head encourages chastity.
Mistletoe, sacred to the Druids, grows high above the ground in trees. This is one explanation
for why it symbolizes surmounting difficulties. Another possible reason: several ancient cultures and
later the Gypsies (or Travelers) used mistletoe as protection against negative spells. In contrast, Norse
legend tells of Baldur, son of Frigga, murdered by an assailant using a bow of mistletoe. When Baldur
is restored to life, his mother is so delighted that she makes mistletoe a symbol of love and promises a
kiss to anyone who passes beneath it. Thus, kiss me and affection are two alternate meanings for a
branchlet of mistletoe in a Tussie-Mussie. In the Elizabethan Era, William Shakespeare included plants in his writing. Their placement in his plays and poems both utilized and added to the rich language of flowers that had developed in England. Cowslips or Fairies’-cups, wild thyme (another fairy favorite), violets, woodbine or honeysuckle, musk-roses, eglantine or sweet briar, and other plants appear in A Midsummer’s Night Dream. The hidden meanings of these herbs and blossoms are as magical as one of the play’s main characters, the beautiful Titania.
But it took the Turkish language of plants and objects known as Selam, to spark Europe’s
infatuation with floriography. When King Charles XII returned to Sweden in 1714 after five years in
exile in Turkey, he brought Selam back to his court. Seigneur Aubry de la Mottraye, a writer and world
traveler, journeyed to the court of the Swedish king. His account of the visit and the Turkish language
of flowers used by Charles XII’s courtiers was published in French in 1727. Shortly after publication,
Mottraye’s work was translated into English.
Meanwhile, in 1716, Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, wife of the British ambassador, went with
her husband to his post in Constantinople. A collection of her letters about the life and customs of the
women of Turkey was published in 1763. These letters included a long list from the Selam of flowers
and their meanings.
Suddenly, Europe in general and England, in particular, were in love with floriography. By the
early 1800s, there were hundreds of books listing plants and their meanings. So when Queen Victoria
began her reign in 1837, bringing in an era of high morals, modesty, proper decorum, and an interest in
botany, the time was right for secret flower messages.
But one had to be careful when sending a Tussie-Mussie to a friend or potential spouse.
Floriography was not a universal language. The symbolism of flowers varied from book to book and
area to area. The only sure way of avoiding a misunderstanding was to send a note or calling card
clearly stating the intended meanings of each included bud and leaf.
Even how a Tussie-Mussie was presented was important. If a posy was handed to someone
right-side-up, it sent a positive message. If the same posy were handed to someone upside-down, all
the flowers conveyed the opposite of their usual meanings. A nosegay given with the right hand
whispered, “Yes.” The same bouquet given with the left hand said, “No.”
During Victorian times, flowers were viewed as a more proper accessory than jewelry. Tussie-
Mussies were worn in the hair, pinned to the bodice or at the waist, carried in the hands, attached to
men’s lapels and canes, and displayed in the home in lovely vases. They were carried by brides and
their attendants. They were given as a get-well wish, a declaration of love, an affirmation of friendship,
a token of respect, and a sympathetic gesture.
Today, a Tussie-Mussie with a welcome note propped nearby is a wonderful surprise waiting in
the spare room for a house guest. These knots of flowers also make fun party favors placed on the table
beside each luncheon plate. Just make sure to attach a card with an explanation of the meanings of the
Do fairies like Tussie-Mussies? Why, of course! There’s no better way to communicate with
nature spirits than in the language of flowers. So gather some herbs and flowerets, make a tiny nosegay,
and tie it together with a length of ribbon. Next, write a letter with the meaning of your Tussie-Mussie
clearly stated. Then, leave letter and posy in a sheltered garden spot or nestled amongst the roots of an
oak tree. Nearby fairies, elves, and sprites are sure to send thank you blessings your way.

Fairies, Magic & Monsters by Vonnie Winslow Crist

Some readers raise eyebrows at the idea of science fiction and fantasy being considered
literature. But I believe, if held to the same high standards of writing as more traditional genres,
speculative stories and poems can be literature of the best sort. Not only that, but I believe there
is a need for the fantastical in our lives.
Make-believe is one of childhood’s greatest gifts and, if we’re lucky, an enduring part of
our lives. From daydreaming and wishful thinking to the imagined worlds of books, television,
films, and video games—it is woven into our culture. Make-believe is a large and varied
universe, but there is a special corner where magical beings and miraculous events have
thrived since our ancestors first told stories around a cooking fire while shadows played on the
cave walls. And the reasons for the hold of fairies, magic, and monsters on humankind haven’t
changed much since Homo sapiens stood upright.
Though there are somber messages hidden in the fairy tales of childhood, we often
associate these narratives with warmth and security. Many of us recall snuggling beside a parent,
grandparent, or favorite aunt while she read about a fairy godmother helping the uncomplaining
and overworked Cinderella. Or perhaps we shared a plate of cookies with our siblings as we
heard about the youngest brother who overcomes monstrous creatures and wins the princess
because he is honest and brave. Those stories assured us that if we were virtuous, everything
would work out. We’d live happily ever after.
The Chronicles of Narnia books by C.S. Lewis and the films based on them are examples
of goodness being rewarded with a happy ending. And not only do Peter, Susan, Edmund, and
Lucy saves a distant world from evil, and they return at the end of their adventures, a bit wiser, to the
same wardrobe in a safe English country manor from whence they departed.
Fairy and folk tales also tell us that society needs rules. They’re often cautionary stories
that warn of dire consequences for misbehaving or not listening to your elders. The punishments,
whether magical or commonplace, for unacceptable behavior in the original Brothers Grimm and
Hans Christian Andersen’s tales included death, disfigurement, and banishment. Though these
might be too harsh for modern tastes, we still feel satisfaction when there’s a reckoning. The
world is in balance again.
In J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings trilogy, Middle-earth is filled with turmoil.
Characters are kidnapped, killed, wounded, maimed, and taken over by an ancient evil. But in the
end, each is recompensed for their actions, and peace returns. Even the condemned ghost king
and his soldiers answer the call to save Gondor and finally find peace.
Part of the popularity of these books and films is due to the return to normalcy at the
conclusion of the narrative. On the last page of The Return of the King, when hobbit Samwise
Gamgee approaches The Shire, we read, “And he went on, and there was yellow light, and fire
within, and the evening meal was ready, and he was expected. ” Despite broken rules and terrible
events, Tolkien assures the reader, ordinary life resumes.
As in Tolkien’s imagined world, the land of Faerie and her creatures present an
explanation for our fears. If trolls skulk in the forest, giants sleep in caves, and sea monsters
swim just off-shore, then we aren’t foolish but prudent, to dread such places. J.K. Rowling links
into those phobias in her Harry Potter books. Many of our childhood boogeymen are magnified
and made a part of Hogwarts school and its adjoining lands. Trees can attack the unwary. Armies
of huge spiders lurk in the woods. Graveyards hide malefic beings. Fantastical stories remind us
that even the most courageous men and women need to be aware of monsters crouched in the
Besides suggesting the roots of our fears, fantasy and folktales acknowledge evil does
exist. They offer an explanation for why sinister things happen. If your cow won’t give milk,
witches must be to blame. If your newborn sickens and dies, it must have been a fairy
changeling. If your neighbor is cruel to her children and animals, she must be possessed by a
demon. People need to believe there’s a why and wherefore when dreadful events occur.
In Nancy Werlin’s young adult novel, Impossible, the author offers a Faerie curse as the
genesis of generations of madness and teen pregnancy. To break the pattern, teenage Lucy must
solve the riddle presented in the old folk ballad, “Scarborough Fair.” This scenario not only gives
a reason for wrong but introduces another lasting element of fairy and folk tales: there’s an
answer to every quandary.
Here is where magic frequently appears in fantasy narratives. Whether a handful of magic
beans, a wand, a ring, a cure-all potion, or a bow and arrows that never miss, the characters in the
story are aided by a little hocus-pocus. And why not? When we’ve exhausted all rational options,
how lovely it would be to rely on the benevolence of a compassionate wizard to help us out of a
quagmire. In fairy stories, there is always an antidote, a Rosetta stone, or a password. There is
always hope.
Since things are rarely what they first appear to be, fantasy reminds us to beware of
judging others. Beneath the dirt, rags, and donkey-skin hides a beautiful princess. Within her
monkey guise lives a clever wife. And underneath his beastly exterior, a prince is learning to be a
better man. As Neil Gaiman shows us in his book, Stardust, and in the film of the same name, the
rough opening in a stone wall might lead not to an everyday-world meadow, but to Faerie. And
the concept of inner beauty, a mainstay of fairy stories and folktales, has a ring of truth to it even
in our scientific times. It’s magical indeed to witness the splitting of a geode. The plain exterior
of the rock gives no hint of the sparkling crystals at its center.
Lastly, and most importantly, fantasy allows us to distance ourselves from our day-to-day
lives and worries in order to reflect on complex issues. The version of Arthurian legend
presented by Marion Zimmer Bradley in The Mists of Avalon does its best to make the reader
rethink traditionally held beliefs concerning the roles of women and religion in the Camelot story
and beyond. J.R.R. Tolkien examines industry, the environment, war, and friendship in The Lord
of the Rings. And countless fairy stories, folktales, and Charles Dickens’ ghostly A Christmas
Carol takes a look at miserliness, poverty, and lack of education, through fantasy.
This is fantastical literature’s greatest gift. Through make-believe places, races,
characters, and creatures, the authors of these tales use metaphor to help us examine the
controversial issues of our world. How much easier is it for us to see how the industry is abusing the
environment when Tolkien’s Treebeard surveys the decimated landscape around Isengard? Like
the hobbits and tree-herder, we understand it’s wrong to cut down trees and burn them to fuel the
fires needed to forge weapons for a goblin army. Tolkien holds up a mirror to our own
experiences, and we recognize the waste and destruction of greed, power struggles, and war.
As long as human beings allow themselves to suspend their disbelief and make-believe,
fairy stories, folktales, and legends will exist. Unlike the world we view on the evening news, in
the realms of fantasy decency triumphs over wickedness, people get their just desserts, everyone
can be afraid sometimes without ridicule, and there’s a reason for bad things. Most of us take
comfort in a place where there’s a solution to every problem, things can be beautiful underneath
an unattractive exterior, complex issues can be fairly resolved, and at the end of the story, the
universe is balanced.
And in case you think it’s the books and films of the past that fill the need for the
fantastic, a quick glance at your library and local bookstore shelves and the previews of
upcoming films and television should convince you otherwise. We need fantasy as much today, if
not more so than in the past.
From early childhood, we are exposed to make-believe worlds. No matter how strange the
locale, they are familiar because we recognize a part of ourselves in the characters. Fairies,
magic, and even monsters will continue to be threads running through the human tapestry
because they offer us hope and bring order to chaos.
Let the following excerpt from March Cost’s The Bitter Green of the Willows serve as
your invitation to visit the gossamer-winged, dragon-scaled corner of the make-believe universe,
“And why I’ve told you this is just because we never know what lies in wait for us some
Primrose Eve, for when next the Silent Magician, who lives behind the rain, waves his wand for
you and me, we may wake to find we’ve landed in another, very different world…” (p.73-74)

Book Birthday


Stories By Raz T Slasher, Frederick Pangbourne, Vonnie Winslow Crist, John Tavares, Serena Mossgraves, Meri Benson & Marie Sinadjan, Christine T Kantaraki, Sergio Palumbo, Dmitriy Galkovskiy (Translated by Alexander Sharov)

Art by Vonnie Winslow Crist & Serenity Rose

Poetry by Purbasha Roy, Vonnie Winslow Crist, Patricia Harris

Wonderful Ravens

I don’t write many book reviews, but sometimes I just like the book so much that I want to talk about it. Today the book is Beneath Raven’s Wing. Beneath Raven’s Wing by Vonnie Winslow-Crist Beneath Raven’s Wing is a wonderful assortment of immensely entertaining and satisfying short stories. When you start reading each one, […]

Wonderful Ravens

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