One of the Fairy Queen's great loves is art of all kind and she regards photography as another element to this.
She does not take pictures herself but happily buys (with herself being suitably disguised) photographs from art collections etc that take her fancy and she is quite content to cross dimensions to get the latest picture she wants. Sometimes she will send a trusted lady in waiting to buy the picture.
Reproductions of some of Her Majesty's latest acquisitions are included in this post. For all her faults, Roxannadrell does have good taste!
I'll be looking at my favourite fairytales on my next Chandler's Ford Today post, which is due next Friday, 31st July. 2015, but I thought for this blog I'd have a brief look at just why I love fairytales in the first place. The general principles in fairytales I like the most can be summarised below.
There are tell tale signs that trouble is imminent in the magical realm. Some of these are:-
This is not as easy as it sounds given there isn't much that is mundane in the Fairy Kingdom!
A quiet day in the realm for Eileen in her fight-foul-fiends days would be where she only killed one dragon, two ogres and changed one ruffian into something of a more amphibious nature!
For Hanastrew, it is getting out in the fresh air where she is not fighting something and, at the same time, escaping all the paperwork that goes with being the head of the fairy squad.
For the Queen escaping the mundane means having an unargumentative Council where legislation goes straight through. The Queen does not like arguing and just wants government to run as smoothly as possible.
Roxannadrell would be wary about getting involved in social media until she realised she could use it to show her side of things (and she would see that as useful to counteract Eileen's "rubbish").
The Queen would also use plenty of images, mainly of her art collection and some of her favourite photographs from that collection. She thinks photography, alcohol and chocolate are some of the best things the Fairy Kingdom has imported from Earth. (Hanastrew and Eileen believe they are very good ingredients for a decent night out but that's another story...!)
The Queen would also have her ancestral lineage somewhere on her page plus her favourite historical stories (mainly of her and/or her ancestors keeping the witches in line). She would also share her favoured fairytales. She would also share some of her working day so people know what she does do and the odd acid comment about her Council would undoubtedly slip in to keep them on their toes.
My rebellious fairy godmother, Eileen, would need someone else to manage her social media for given she isn't very social! She would see the point of having a Facebook page as a good way of showing her side of things but would be wary of it in case it gave her enemies an undue advantage. (She would use their social media pages to undermine them if she could so would be well aware of the possibility others would do this to her).
Eileen would not show off her royal connections in the Family and Friends section, mainly because she is embarrassed at some of the things Roxannadrell has done in the name of Fairy Kingdom security. Eileen also wouldn't mention her link to the Chief Witch because of what she has done to destroy Fairy Kingdom security! And Jenny would not want her mother to link to her either given the girl's continuing wish to pretend her mother's background is not what Eileen has told her.
The only one Eileen would be really happy to link to, and would equally happily return the compliment, is Hanastrew, current fairy squad leader.
Eileen would reveal her written works, telling her version of Fairy Kingdom history, and scupper every attempt by the Queen and her Council to censor or remove this information. Given Eileen is perfectly capable of causing riots on her own, the Council would urge the Queen to let the material remain up given it would cause less trouble though Roxannadrell would be unhappy about this. (Eileen would take a great deal of pleasure from that, feeling Kingdom history should be honestly written and since nobody else has done so, she has!).
The Queen escapes to her coastal holiday resort for three months and spends her time walking along the glamorous expanse of beach that truly is hers. She does not swim (mainly because she feels it lacks dignity rather than because she can't do so). She reads and towards the end of the day loves sitting in her study which has picture windows overlooking the sea.
There is a strong bias towards fish dishes while she stays in her holiday estate. (One of the things she admires about the British on Earth is our love of fish and chips. The Queen feels there is little to beat a really good piece of battered fish).
The Queen enjoys practising her flying skills here too as she loves flying above the sea and finds a degree of freedom in doing this.
Eileen, when she was in the realm and stayed here, enjoyed much of the same though she would swim a lot. She saw it then (and still does on Earth) as an excellent form of exercise. Eileen has a strong claim to being the most health conscious and exercise aware fairy godmother ever (Hanastrew's addiction to chocolate lets her down here!).
In my novels and short stories, fairy godmothers are appointed to that role by Roxannadrell after a vigorous training scheme. This culminates in the candidate having to hunt down and destroy dragons, foul fiends etc. There is also a written exam based on knowledge of the classic fairy tales and what is thought to be best magical practice.
The whole process takes years but fairy godmothers are some of the finest magically talented beings the Fairy Kingdom has and, when the realm has been faced with external threats, have been amongst the first to come to its defence.
You tackle a fairy godmother at (a) your own risk, (b) you are wicked, mad, drunk or any combination of these and (c) you are the Witch for whom this is a requirement.
The Queen likes to get to her holiday estate for this.
Eileen defied all expectations by leaving her complete world behind to marry a mere human male and live an ordinary life on Earth. Who is the happiest? Eileen by a very long margin. As ever, she has been true to herself, which I think is her greatest quality. Not that her regal cousin agrees with that. To Roxannadrell, Eileen has always been awkward and always will be. Eileen sees that as a compliment...
Hanastrew tends to visit the country for rest and respite in some of the realm's nicest villages (those are the ones that welcome visitors, very few dare visit an orc settlement). Fresdian explores the entire realm and doesn't separate work from leisure. Wes and Stan got away from it all by fighting so much they were exiled to Earth.
L'Evallier and Melanbury escape to his country estate during the holiday season and one weekend a month.
Most of the Council return to their estates/constituencies though the most diligent was the late, lamented Rodish who went back home every weekend. That was appreciated by his fellow dwarves and they continue to honour his memory.
I plan to catch up on my reading during the holidays (it's the same ambition I have every year!). I also hope to work on a short story collection I hope to bring out later in the year. I've chosen the stories but they need a good edit.
As for my characters, the Queen catches up on her light romance reading. She does not go public with this, indeed is rather embarrassed by her addiction to these books but she collects them from around the universes. She sees it as a kind of research as to how different species and worlds conduct themselves in matters of the heart. She is certainly happier reading about that rather than joining in. The Queen's writing continues to be the daily business of government though she does enjoy keeping a journal of her time on her holiday estate. She also draws pictures for this.
Eileen likes to read historical works, fiction and non-fiction. Her writing is business like, both when she was still on active service for the Queen, and now she lives on Earth with Derek. Eileen also likes reading books of letters by well known people. She sees this as a licence to be nosy (and Eileen always likes that).
Naturally, the Queen, Eileen, Hanastrew and the squad clock up the most travel miles as part of their daily routine.
Eileen especially likes to mix up how she travels around so her enemies can't second guess her. She's successful here. Her favourite form of transport is still the instant transport charm and she has got precision landing down to an art form (unlike Hanastrew who has often ended up head first in the Palace lakes).
Hanastrew prefers to use the transporter trees where you program in where you want to go. It is much slower than the instant transport charm but has no risk whatsoever of all your bits and pieces re-materializing in the wrong place. For Hanastrew, that means a great deal.
The Queen uses both of the above spells but, when she wants to arrive with style she will use her horses and carriages. She does believe in the look of the thing.
The joys of writing fairytales for me are:-
It's not always that easy to spot the magically talented. The wiser ones, including Eileen and Hanastrew, realised many moons ago that it is not always a good idea to draw attention to their talents. But there are clues nevertheless which the wisest visitor to the Fairy Kingdom use to ensure their behaviour can't offend. There's only one thing worse than offending the magically evil and that's to offend the magically good. They will let you have it with both barrels...
Signs to watch out for are:-
Mistaken identities do not usually happen in the magical realm. Each magical being has a unique signautre which is hard to forge and which can be picked up even by those with all the talent of a louse on a bad day.
Witches are known to like to disguise themselves. The Chief Witch always liked to look uglier than she actually was as she had no time for vanity and liked to be different from the norm. Where the stepmother in Snow White disguised herself as a crone, the Chief Witch saw the crone as being useful place to start from.
Despite that, each magical being has a unique code they are born with and which cannot be changed. Magical codes can be read (and therefore people identified) with the aid of a wand or a crystal ball. The sprite communities moan about this as they don't use wands or crystal balls. The rest of the realm is not sympathetic. They've taken the chance to either use wands/crystal balls themselves or are on good terms with others who use them and see no reason why the sprites shouldn't do the same. Sprites are inherently lazy and the rest of the realm sees their vulnerability at not being able to read codes (and therefore take action to avoid those who threaten them) as the price they pay for that laziness.
A fairy godmother's work is never done as both Eileen and Hanastrew can testify. The latter is kept busy organizing the fairy squad, the Queen's specialist magical fighting unit. Eileen is happily kept busy at home and, like her beloved Derek, is more than happy to have gardening as a hobby. She would love to use magic to assist here but knows Derek would probably spot something was up and Eileen really has no wish to explain herself here.
However, Eileen is very well aware her old world could call on her services at any time and is likely to do so. Hanastrew is aware of this too and while she wouldn't mind seeing her old mentor again, gets on with the business of protecting the realm and so will answer any queries the Queen is thinking of calling Eilen back for. So far Hanastrew has prevented Eileen's recall a dozen times.
The magically abusive can be spotted by anyone with reasonable intelligence and who is prepared to ask awkward questions. Eileen's definitive list, which she produced when set up the fairy squad, is below.
Inter-species relationships in the Fairy Kingdom focus mainly on how the different groups get on with one another. There are some cross-species relationships - the odd dwarf will marry or live with the odd elf but both tend to be shunned by their respective species and the other one. Some go on to make this relationship work and get a certain amount of pleasure out of knowing how much this irritates the majority but most buckle down and get back to their "proper" kind.
Eileen has no time for this nonsense and thinks cross-species relationships are a good thing. The Queen keeps a discreet silence on this issue, believing this is for her subjects to work out for themselves.
Generally speaking, the fairy royals spent centuries in trying to bring an end to fighting between the species (and succeeded). They also went on to try to improve relationships between the magical groups. Elves are no longer permanently at war with the dwarves but there is nothing the fairy royals can do to make either side like the other (bar those oddballs mentioned above).
But given many areas in the Fairy Kingdom have been made barren by magical fighting damaging the environment, this kind of tolerance ("we'll put up with you as it is better than war") prevails and most accept it is the best the magical realm will ever achieve. It has been known for ages magic is no way to resolve relationship difficulties as certain spells wear off after time, others can backfire if misused and magic was never meant to be used for that.
The Queen would like genuine tolerance to emerge and tries to encourage it when she goes touring but accepts this is a very long term task and she probably won't succeed in achieving this in her lifetime. Still that's no reason not to give it a go...
The joys of the magical life
Are to avoid most kinds of strife
With a wave of the wand
Of which all are so fond
And a zap that cuts like a knife.
Never argue with Eileen
That godmother is just not keen
On querying her work
She will think you're a berk
Your remains will not be seen.
I'm Allison Symes and I write novels, short stories as well as some scripts and poems. I love setting my work in my magical world, the Fairy Kingdom, and my favourite character is Eileen, who believes hypocrisy is something that happens to other people without caring that statement is hypocritical in itself! Eileen is huge fun to write for and about.