Jonet and the Bear

Woodcut from History of the Northern Peoples by Olaus Magnus, 1555

I thought that given the current state of things, with all of us confined and waiting, It might be more useful to have a sort of bedtime story.  During this time of uncertainty those of us who are self employed and who also have multiple chronic illnesses are really feeling the potential stress of the Stay at Home order.  In response, I have written a fairy tale for my patrons based on the traditional Shetland tale, Jan and the Bear. You can hear me read this story and have a copy of it to read at your leisure by joining my Patreon here at any level.

There are many strange stories of bears in the North of Scotland where they are not native. These stories involve mostly polar bears captured and brought in on whaling ships and they are as disturbing as the witch trials. One story is as recent as the 70s. Locals in Banff, the village where I live, have told me about a man who would perform wrestling matches with a trained bear. He would even perform in local schools, and this is something those in their fifties remember seeing as children. In one version I have heard, the bear eats the man. In my imagination, these captive bears started to take on a certain kinship with the women I have been researching. Maybe this was the force driving this version of Jan and the Bear. I have changed it up, removing the animal cruelty and switching out the stubborn man Jan for an old woman. Her smeddum, or hard-headed common sense, is central to the tale.

 

“Gald” in the 10th Anniversary Issue of Luna Station Quarterly

I’m excited to have my short story “Gald” included in this magnificent anniversary issue of Luna Station Quarterly. The beautiful cover is by Anna Steinbauer. “Gald” is about a mysterious Pictish potion and its use in a dystopian future on the north coast of Scotland.

This issue is packed with brilliant stories of potions and makes great holiday reading–curl up with your animals and a cup of mulled wine and these magical stories!  Find myriad ways to purchase the ebook or paper issue here: http://lunastationquarterly.com/issue/issue-040/  and support an exceptional journal that has published women writers for TEN YEARS.  We have long been out locked of genre, and Luna Station Quarterly is one of those game changers that is making the landscape easier for our voices to be heard. LSQ has always been on my A list in terms of publishers for my stories, and I’m so honoured to be included in this benchmark issue.