‘The Forgotten and the Fantastical 3’ collective view of illustrations. I was asked last year by Dr. Bellamy of Mother’s Milk Books whether I would like to create a series of illustrations for modern fairytales. Having been more engrossed with lengthy novels of science fiction and dark dystopian futures, I wasn’t sure that I could fully appreciate, let alone illustrate these short stories while still capturing their essence and morals all within a few inches of white paper. However, these individual tales captivated me from the moment I started reading and the imagery flowed through my mind like living beings. The final illustrations are barely any different to the first rough jottings I scribbled down – the stories knew who they were, what they wanted to be, and how they wanted to be portrayed. They really do have a life of their own. So when the chance came again this year to illustrate the third anthology of the series, I couldn’t wait to get started, and here’s the result :).
The characters in these tales can’t wait to meet you and I’m sure there are any more that want to share their stories. Visit the Mother’s Milk Books facebook page for news of upcoming events, new publications and updates on the independent press’ activities.
And of course, visit their website to delve into their literary works.
As ‘The Forgotten and the Fantastical 3’ draws to a close we begin the final story and join the flight of a young girl and her horse. Racing desperately from the clawing darkness, searching restlessly for the first rays of dawn, we begin to wonder… Who is this child and why does her pursuer give chase with such ferocity? Is she a threat or might she just bring a whisper of promise to us all…?
‘Girl on a Pied Horse’ by Sarah Hindmarsh is the seventeeth and final story in ‘The Forgotten and the Fantastical 3’, published by Mother’s Milk Books. Visit their website to support and learn more about this Nottingham-based independent publisher:
Life. The winding path of enlightenment that we all must tread. A trail of discovery full of meetings and partings, self-discovery and a realisation of the world around us that will inevitably lead us to the place we call home. Rachel Rivett summarises this journey beautifully in ‘The Salt Child’ as a young salt girl endeavors to find her place in the world.
‘The Salt Child’ by Rachel Rivett is the fifteenth short story in ‘The Forgotten and the Fantastical 3’, published by Mother’s Milk Books. Visit their website for a copy of TFATF3 and a peruse of their other literary works.
In the world of fairytales, not every character has their dream ending. ‘Crossing the Victoria Line’ by Marie Gethins, a beautifully-written modern re-imagining of ‘The Little Match Girl’, reveals how an impoverished young woman, abused by her father and mournful at the loss of her mother, is as familiar a story today as it has been for centuries past. And as most of society ignores the destitute, there are those that bring a tiny glimmer of kindness into their worlds.
‘Crossing the Victoria Line’ by Marie Gethins is the fourteenth story in ‘The Forgotten and the Fantastical 3’, pub. by Mother’s Milk Books.
Have you ever wished you were something other than human? Wished to experience the soaring bliss of the eagle? The soft midnight hunt of the wolf? The gentle, ferocious power of the bear?
When infant Ursula gains unlikely foster-sister Bernarda, a brown bear-cub, the pair form a relationship closer and deeper than any human siblings could. A relationship that the villagers are unwilling to accept. As prejudice boils over into violence, the sisters’ world is torn apart, and they are separated in the chaos. Thus begins Ursula’s journey, to find her lost sister and discover her true self.
‘Bearskin and Bare-skin’ by Carys Crossen is the thirteenth short story in ‘The Forgotten and the Fantastical 3’, published by Nottingham-based independent press Mother’s Milk Books. Visit their website for more information, a copy of TFATF3 and a peruse of their other works.
Expectations of pregnancy and motherhood usually carry a rosy sheen in society. Upon receiving the news, one conjures up images of doting grandparents, a pastel nursery, newly-knitted bootees. The reality, however, is far more worrying, messy and uncertain. Inevitable questions arise – Am I ready to support another life? Will I make a good mother? Will I love my baby?… Will my baby love me? All concerning questions, the answers made all the more uncertain when a fairytale is thrown into the mix…
‘Spawned’ by Clair Wright, is the twelfth short story in ‘The Forgotten and the Fantastical 3’, published by Mother’s Milk Books. Visit their website for a browse of their literary repertoire.
Time is our greatest enemy. It stalks us constantly, waxing the health from our bodies, buffing up ailments lying in wait and dusting away our memories as we try desperately to cling on to our youth. But what if you could break this eternal spell? What if you had the miracle-cure to be forever young? Would you use it? Even if it condemned another…?
‘Iron Man’ by Claire Stephenson is the eighth short story in ‘The Forgotten and the Fantastical 3’ published by Mother’s Milk Books. Visit their website for a copy.
Forests. Ancient twining havens for all manner of fantastical beings, from tiny imps hidden in the lichen to long-forgotten gods slumbering between the roots of a giant oak. Forests have a curious pull over all of us but no more so than the Lorenwald. Child after child has been lost to it’s beckoning depths. Now it is a forbidden place, shunned by the local villagers for fear of the unknown. Can a wandering songwriter unravel the mysteries of the Lorenwald and discover the fate of the lost or will she too be claimed by the trees?
‘The Lost Children of Lorenwald’ by Elizabeth Hopkinson is the seventh short story in ‘The Forgotten and the Fantastical 3’ published by Mother’s Milk Books. Visit their website for a browse of their published works.
The internet can be an extremely useful tool. It can increase awareness of injustice, raise support for charitable endeavors and teach us anything that we wish to know. But while the internet is our Eden of information, our electronic Tree of Knowledge, social media can often take the form of the coiled serpent at its roots. Sophie Sellars short story ‘The Narclops’, examines how social media can inspire our most negative passions, making us both envious and vain, and how our narcissism could mask distract from the progression of our downfall. We struggle to identify with the rituals and routines of older, more primitive civilizations but will our way of life be any more understandable to generations of the future?
‘The Narclops’ s the sixth short story to feature in ‘The Forgotten and the Fantastical 3’, published by Mother’s Milk Books. Visit their website for your own copy 🙂
Man’s greatest weakness is perhaps the yearn to possess, to covet. To ensnare something beautiful and free and imprison it in a cage of misguided affection and false protection, whilst turning a blind eye to the consequences. Lynden Wade’s ‘The Web and the Wildwood’ follows a Lord’s hunt for the most elusive and prized fairytale beast of them all, the unicorn. But as it’s fate is woven through tapestries and attempts at capturing the creature are foiled by a literal cheeky monkey, we learn that even love and the purest intentions can build a prison as strong as stone walls.
‘The Web and the Wildwood’ is the third story to feature in ‘The Forgotten and the Fantastical 3’ published by Mother’s Milk Books. Pick up your copy here.