My latest short story, “The Wishing Thorn,” is now available in the Once Upon a Wish anthology! Anthea Sharp put together this wonderful collection. And I love the cover, which was designed by Christine Pope.
I based my story on the folklore of the blackthorn, the tree known as the “wishing thorn.” There are many tales about wishing trees around the world—from Scotland, to Hong Kong, to Argentina. After doing more research than I probably should have, I decided to focus on the Ogham trees in Irish mythology. I know what you’re thinking: what on earth is an Ogham tree?!? I didn’t know either, until I spent hours reading about mythology. 🙂
Ogham is an ancient Irish alphabet where the letters are named after trees or shrubs. The more I read about this topic, the more I realize there is to learn—so I’m definitely not an Ogham expert. But I’ve really enjoyed reading about how the different trees are assigned different days/months on the moon calendar, or which are associated with the solstices and equinoxes.
One of the folk names for the blackthorn is ‘the wishing thorn.’ The Lunantisidhe, thin, wizened fairies with pointed ears and teeth, inhabit blackthorn trees and are bound to protect them. These fairies do not like people at all, and will curse anyone who disturbs their trees at Samhain or Beltaine.
The blackthorn is associated with warfare, death, and malevolence…but also with protection, purification, and hope. I love the complexity in the mythology, and incorporated that in my story. And yes, the Lunantisidhe are in my story as well. 🙂 Here’s a snippet
At first it just looked like a bundle of twigs, but as it grew closer I realized it was a thin, wizened, human-like creature maybe a foot and a half tall. Its skin looked as if it were made from bark. Tiny spikes, like miniature versions of the thorns on the tree in front of me, jutted out from its head. Its ears were long and pointed, and its arms and legs were narrow and looked more like branches than limbs. Black, beady eyes were framed with eyebrows that looked almost like they were made of very small leaves.
It was one of the Lunantisidhe, the moon fairies who guarded the blackthorn.
Gram’s stories had been real after all.
Between my day job (where I’m averaging about 10 meetings/day…seriously) and catching up on anthology projects, I haven’t done any writing in the past month…but that’s all about to change! I’m finally caught up from 2020 (or at least “caught up enough”), and am about to start editing my third novel. I finished the first draft in the summer, and the first draft is always the hardest part for me…so this should be fun!
I’ve been so busy lately that my brain has been extra full, so I’ve been working on a steady stream of jigsaw puzzles. Here’s the latest puzzle, with my two puzzle assistants. 🙂 Notice the lovely illustrations—both images in this puzzle were illustrated by Kay Nielson in the 1914 book East of the Sun & West of the Moon.