Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Myths Untold: Faery Anthology featuring Gus Li, Brandon Witt, J.Scott Coatsworth, and Skye Hegyes - Blog Tour with Authors Guest Post and Review

Myths Untold: Faery

Publisher: Wilde City Press
August Li
Brandon Witt
J. Scott Coatsworth
Skye Hegyes
Cover Artist: August Li
Length: 79K
Format: eBook, Paperback
Release Date: 4/13/16
Pairing: MM
Price: eBook $5.99, paperback TBD


Faeries are part of mythology the world over, past, present, and future. Called elves, brownies, the fae, and more, they evoke a sense of wonder and a little danger. Faery has its own rules, and humans enter at their peril.

In this spirit, we bring you the first book in the Myths Untold anthology series—four stories from the land of the Fae: a homeless man in Cardiff and the luck that could destroy him; the trans man in future San Francisco who falls for an elf; the village boy who has always been a little different; and a faery prince whose birthright was stolen from him.

Welcome to Faery.

The Pwcca and the Persian Boy, by Gus Li

Despite beauty and luck, something about Glyn makes everyone uncomfortable. Homeless on the streets of Cardiff, he has nothing to keep him going but his friendship with Farrokh. Through stealing and fortune’s occasional favor, Glyn keeps them alive. But then homeless youths begin to disappear, and when Farrokh goes missing, Glyn begins to discover the reasons behind both his luck and the way people react to him. Determined to save his friend from a danger he never imagined, he enlists the help of Lleu, who might be an ally, or might be manipulating Glyn to achieve his own goals.

The Other Side of the Chrysalis, by Brandon Witt

In a species that values beauty above all else, Quay looses both his freedom and his birthright as prince of the fairies.  Lower than an outcast, he watches over his younger brother, hoping against hope that Xenith’s rebirth will provide safety and positions that has slipped through Quay’s grasp.  Though he expected kindness from no one, Quay gradually starts to trust that there is more to life, even for the likes of him, as sexual encounters with Flesser, a fairy barely accepted himself, turn from lust to love.  Quay knows having forbidden relationships will be his undoing,  but he is powerless to turn away.

Changeling, by Skye Hegyes

With his pointed ears and a tail, Tyler’s always been different than the other children, but until Marsh, a brownie tells him he’s a changeling, he never thought he wasn’t human. Now he will discover what faery life is like, and just how being a changeling could change his life. On the way, his ties with his mother will be pushed and prodded even as his friendships grow and his love life blossoms.  However, in a village of God-fearing people, those who are different are spurned and Tyler will discover how much trouble a fledgling changeling can get into.

Through the Veil, by J. Scott Coatsworth

In the not-too-distant future, San Francisco has been swamped by rising sea levels caused by global warming, and has only survived by building a wall to keep the water out of the heart of the City. Colton is a trans man barely getting by on the canals outside the wall. Tris is an elf who has come to the human world on his journey to become a man. Fate brings them together, and everything changes for Colton when he sets out with Tris to find the elf's missing brother, taking Colton behind the Wall for the first time.

Buy Links

Available at the Wilde City website 4/13/16; other sites one week later.

4.5 out of 5 stars

Myths Untold: Faery is an anthology featuring 4 stories all featuring some version of Fae-kind. I warn you now once you pick up this book, you will NOT willingly put it down. I would have eagerly foregone sleep if I didn't have to work to finish this book the night I was reading it. Even though all the stories feature different types of Fae, different settings, and very different writing styles they are going to grab you and not let go! 

We start off with The Pwcca and The Persian by Gus Li. This is the story of two young men, Glyn and Farrokh fighting for survival on the streets of modern day Cardiff. Glyn takes on the role of protector mostly because he has insanely good luck with being able to liberate food and money that they need to survive day to day. While he doesn't see anything wrong with being able to provide for both of them, Farrokh feels that it makes him less than Glyn. In his mind and from his culture he equates it to being the weaker person in their relationship and the shame it causes is almost as bad as him being gay. 

At night the boys idly talk about some others that have disappeared over the past months. As life on the streets is transient they don't necessarily worry but keep it in mind until Farrokh is the one missing. Through out searching for Farrokh, Glyn beings to realize things aren't always what they seem and neither is he. 

This was a magical story with a touch of fairy tale ala The Brothers Grimm. It also showed a touch of sweetness between Glyn and Farrokh even through the worst life has to offer. 

Next is Brandon Witt's The Other Side of the Chrysalis and this one is either going to shred your emotions or make you want to hurt someone. Quay was once the eldest child of the ruling Fae in their homeland until he went through his chrysalis. When he goes through his rebirth he becomes an outcast due to his appearance. While his majestic white feathered wings set him apart from the moth and butterfly opacity of others, his face was damaged during his rebirth so badly that his mother cast him out. From Quay's internal comments there is more to what his mother did that he does not say. He remains secretly in contact with his younger brother who he loves beyond words and wants to protect like he did when they were growing up. 

The emotions and things unsaid in this story drive the depth of Quay's loneliness right into your heart. He knows that those that have professed to love him don't really feel that emotion toward him. Now I don't think that includes his brother because there is still a very strong bond there still. Unfortunately that bond is Quay's Achilles heel and in the end causes him to rethink his current situation. 

This isn't a happy ending story because throughout you can feel Quay's pain and the depth of betrayal he feels from his mother in particular. Don't get me wrong though this story has the most power to it's emotions and makes you think the most out of this anthology. It's well worth the read!

The Changeling by Skye Hegyes is what I would call your typical Faery tale. At the heart of the story is a simple wish from a woman for a child. She offers a tithe to the faeries of honey and milk once a moon tide and is granted her wish at it's simplest form. She's given a child with pointed ears, and an agile, tufted tail who doesn't quite fit in because he's different. Her fondest desire is for her son, Tyler, to fit in with the others in their village. He tries but his differences are too much for the close-minded towns folk who only see the outside and not the sweet young man that he is on the inside. 

Tyler's life changes after his mother confesses that he was a gift to her from the faeries. Following her to their circle one night he meets Marsh, a young man just like himself! This changes things for Tyler because now he knows what he is...and Marsh helps him to find out WHO he is. 

This is what fairy tales were meant to be,which is a cautionary tale. One that while it gives you your deepest wish also doesn't just give it lightly or without consequences. In the end Tyler and Marsh both give up something in order to be with the other which gives the story it's traditional happy ending. The boys were sweet and I could have easily read a full book with their story inside it's pages.

The final story, and my absolute favorite of the anthology is Through The Veil by J. Scott Coatsworth. The story is set in a dystopian version of the contemporary world that humans have destroyed through their ignorance. There are those that live on the outskirts and those that live in the inner city where life goes on almost as it did pre-Tsunami times. Colton lives day to day trying to survive the best way he can on what little there is left.  Colton is a  pre-trans man living in the female body he was born in, making him feel even more fractured then the world around him. Part of his existence is earning enough to visit The Pharmacist to obtain T for injections to help his body change. 

On his last visit to her she gives him more T, but also hands him a sword and sends him on a mission to be at Alcatraz. Little does he know how much this is going to change his life. I was hooked on this story within the first paragraph and by the end of the story was wanting a full version so I could get more details and more Colton and Tris. This story didn't read like a short it had full world building, the typical info-dump you get in the best kind of sci-fi books, and strong main and secondary characters. This story melded all the elements you like in sci-fi books - the tech, the adversity to overcome- with the story-telling elements, and monsters in plain sight that you get in the best urban fantasy books. In other words a really good, solid read. 

This entire anthology was one good, solid read from start to finish. There was nothing lacking in any of the stories, other than of course being too short. I'm a character driven reader for the most part having grown up on science fiction and fantasy. I expect specific elements, and depth and growth to my characters based on those types of books. This anthology met all of those expectations and surpassed them even. You definitely don't want to pass up this anthology because it's well worth the read! 

When did you start writing, and what was the first thing you ever got published?

Brandon Witt: 

I started writing my sophomore year in high school. And it was all due to Ms. Hungerford. I was always an A/B student, most often A, but only because I worked my ass off and got lots of tutoring, and cried a lot. However, with that class, under that wonderful teacher, I fell in love with writing. She was always so encouraging and gave hopeful feedback. She acted like she really enjoyed my writing. Her assignments were the ONLY homework I ever looked forward to doing!

The first book I had published was The Shattered Door:

Some of it is based on family and my own life, set in the town where I grew up, but all fictionalized. It’s one of those books people seem to love or hate. There’s a lot of family drama and struggle with religion in that novel.

Skye Hegyes: 

I honestly don't remember when I started writing stories. This is partially because I was telling stories long before I actually wrote them down, and even once I was writing them, I was doing a combination of storytelling and writing for years before I switched to just writing.

The first piece I ever had published was a personal narrative for a teenage magazine called TEEN INK, written by kids for kids. The piece was called "The Way of the Cherokee" and was about my grandfather who'd recently passed away.

J. Scott Coatsworth:

In 1988, I was a co-author of a book written for teens and parents called "Raising Each Other". It was a book drawn from essays we wrote as teenagers in Jeanne Brondino's Junior year English class, about families and parents and being a teenager.

But my fiction publication debut would have to wait until 2014, when the amazing BG Thomas and Anne Regan at Dreamspinner plucked me from obscurity and published "The Bear at the Bar" in the "A Taste of Honey" anthology.

I had jumped back into writing in late 2013 after a long hiatus, and I was prowling the Dreamspinner anthology calls when I came across a call for stories for a bear anthology. I'd never written bears, but it sounded fun, and so I put together a little story about a guy who is a gym god who one day wakes to find he's in the body of a bear.

Ben Thomas told me later that he didn't plan on including any fantasy stories in the antho, but that my little tale won him over.

For me, it was a validation. The pay wasn't huge, but it didn't matter. Someone out there wanted to pay me for a story I had written. I was over the moon.

I am still thankful to Ben and Anne for giving me the chance - it's what has led to everything since, including my story in this new book, which I hope you will all love reading as much as I enjoyed writing it.

August Li: 

The first publication I count is this one, from Dreamspinner Press:

I originally submitted it for their Advent Calendar, which is a collection of holiday themed stories they put out every year. However, because of the level of graphic violence and death, and the bittersweet ending, it was obviously not a good fit for the holiday anthology. Luckily for me, someone there liked it and offered to publish it as a standalone. It's not my biggest seller--probably because of the things I mentioned--but it will always be special to me. There are elves in it (the Norse mythological kind) so it's appropriate.

Author Bios

Gus Li

August (Gus) Li is a creator of fantasy worlds. When not writing, he enjoys drawing, illustration, costuming and cosplay, and making things in general. He lives near Philadelphia with two cats and too many ball-jointed dolls.

He loves to travel and is trying to see as much of the world as possible. Other hobbies include reading (of course), tattoos, and playing video games.

Brandon Witt’s outlook on life is greatly impacted by his first eighteen years of growing up gay in a small town in the Ozarks, as well as fifteen years as a counselor and special education teacher for students with severe emotional disabilities.

Add to that his obsession with corgis and mermaids, then factor in an unhealthy love affair with cheeseburgers, and you realize that with all those issues, he’s got plenty to write about…

Skye Hegyes

Dragons, wolves, and sharp objects are commonplace in Skye Hegyes’s home in North Carolina. She spends most of her time between writing and working. When not doing either of these things, you may find her making crafts or adventuring with her family, which consists of her husband, two daughters, two birds, and three cats… and a partridge in a pear tree…

J. Scott Coatsworth

Scott has been writing since elementary school, when he and won a University of Arizona writing contest in 4th grade for his first sci fi story (with illustrations!). He finished his first novel in his mid twenties, but after seeing it rejected by ten publishers, he gave up on writing for a while.

Over the ensuing years, he came back to it periodically, but it never stuck. Then one day, he was complaining to Mark, his husband, early last year about how he had been derailed yet again by the death of a family member, and Mark said to him “the only one stopping you from writing is you.”

Since then, Scott has gone back to writing in a big way, finishing more than a dozen short stories – some new, some that he had started years before – and seeing his first sale. He’s embarking on a new trilogy, and also runs the Queer Sci Fi ( site, a support group for writers of gay sci fi, fantasy, and supernatural fiction.

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