Rum Paul Stillskin by Laura Strickland belongs in Sorchia’s Universe like ghosts belong in castles. Read about her fairytale retellings and enter the giveaway to WIN two magical tales.
by Laura Strickland
Our ancestors, bless them, believed there were other worlds existing alongside our own. The way the old stories have it, there could be hobgoblins dancing or kelpies splashing just beyond the reach of our senses. Faeries might live at the bottom of the garden, or beneath that shaggy mound you thought was just a hill. And when conditions become exactly right—if the moon is full, or the year both ends and begins in one night—you might be able to slip across the thin divide. Or…something could possibly slip into our world, unseen.
I’ve always loved fairy tales, even though the shanachies are quick to inform us fairies aren’t to be trusted. Sure, they look beautiful, but appearances can be deceiving. Just consider the things they do in those stories. Set mortals impossible tasks, like spinning straw into gold. Deceive gullible lasses and kings. And why, oh why, are they always demanding somebody’s first-born child?
I also love to twist things around, both words and ideas. What, I wondered, if the tellers of the old tales had it wrong? What if the fairies weren’t always the deceivers? Why not retell one of their stories from another point of view, and make sense of those seemingly-inexplicable demands?
Rum Paul Stillskin is the second fairy tale I’ve retold. (Cinder-Ugly was the first.) In my version, young Rum—abandoned as a changeling infant—starts out not knowing who, or quite what he is. His one refuge is the wild expanse of Dartmoor, near the humble cottage where he lives. He’s been told, and believes, he doesn’t deserve love, but it’s the one thing he truly craves. And, pursuing it, he finds he’s the one cheated, lied to and deceived.
Oh yes, our ancestors believed there were other worlds existing alongside our own. I find I still do.
Rum Paul Stillskin
Abandoned as an infant at the edge of Dartmoor, Rum Paul Stillskin does not know his true name or parentage, but it’s clear he’s not completely human. The old man who raises him calls him evil. The village children, who throw stones, whisper the word faery. Shunned by all, he finds comfort in his rude, native magic, and tells himself he doesn’t need love. Until he meets Mallie Goodman, who sees in him a wild beauty he cannot see in himself.
As they grow into adulthood, the bond between Mallie and Rum Paul deepens. When a cruel fate separates them, Mallie promises she will return to him, however long it takes. Twisted by loss, his long wait turns Rum Paul into someone Mallie never knew.
When Mallie returns, will lies and betrayal keep him from recognizing her? Will he ever believe he deserves love?
A Magically Delicious Taste of Rum Paul Stillskin
“You don’t know me,” I said.
“Aye, and we don’t want to,” The tall boy declared. “It’s your sort come and turn the milk, make the dogs howl all night and the mare miscarry, so my dad says.”
I’d never met this boy’s dad and already I disliked him.
By now, I was on my feet and weighing my chances of breaking free. The tall boy might be bigger than me, but life with Sir had made me tough. If I could break through their circle, I thought I could outrun them.
A big if.
“How do you know it’s a faerie, George?”
“Look at it. Too tall for a pixie, too pale for a brownie, and those ears, like Agnes says. Those ears are a dead giveaway.”
The other girl whispered, “Might be an elf.”
Something in her voice swiveled my head so I could look at her—she stood nearly behind me. Her voice sounded beautiful, like the wind over the moor when it’s feeling playful, or like one of the songs I sang to myself.
And I saw she was beautiful, with light brown hair streaked blonde by the summer sun, and gentle eyes.
But George denied it. “Nay—elves are pleasant-looking. Does that look pleasant to you, Mallie?”
Mallie. I tucked her name away in my heart.
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Meet Laura Strickland
Multi award-winning author Laura Strickland delights in time traveling to the past and searching out settings for her books, be they Historical Romance, Steampunk or something in between. Born and raised in Western New York, she’s pursued lifelong interests in lore, legend, magic and music, all reflected in her writing. Although she enjoys travel, she’s usually happiest at home not far from Lake Ontario, with her husband. Author of numerous Historical and Contemporary Romances, she is the creator of the Buffalo Steampunk Adventure series set in her native city.
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Win TWO Magical Tales
Laura is giving away her first fairy tale retelling–Cinder-Ugly.
Contest runs from Midnight CST Sept. 22 to Midnight Sept. 28.
One winner will receive Two books. To enter, Select the link and follow the instructions–(you’ll need to leave a comment on the post.) Winner will be chose randomly and contacted via the email address entered here. The Winner will also be posted in Sorchia’s Universe at the end of the giveaway. Unless the winner provides additional info, we will send prizes to the email address we have. No additional winner will be chosen.