Linda Madl’s Favorite Story
One of the Frequently Asked Questions asked of me is “Of all your stories, which is your favorite?” Of course, this is hard to answer because when you’re working on a tale, IT is your favorite. I like all my stories, but one of the ones I enjoyed most (and I often hear about from fans) and that I always think of in the spring is “The Orange Tree” in MAGICALLY DELICIOUS KISSES. It’s a medieval tale about the healing nature of gardens—and love. It has to do with my own curiosity about how the British came to enjoy marmalade, which I have developed a taste for since my first visit to the UK many years ago. After much research I came up with this story, which may or may not have happened. But I am certain that some Bristisher, some gardener at heart, made the long journey from east to west with orange trees on the back of pack animals or the deck of a ship so that the British could serve breakfast every morning with tasty bittersweet marmalade. Yum.
Look for “The Orange Tree” in MAGICALLY DELICOUS KISSES. It probably can be found in a used bookstore or online as a preowned copy. Enjoy.
From Zebra, November 2002, ISBN 0-8217-7348-8
This month I've been musing about dragons. What is it about them that has fascinated us throughout history and continue to fascinate us to this day? And, what exactly is a dragon, and how did their legend get born?
There are wingless dragons called wyrms, or wurms, or even worms, great serpents that are said to resemble snakes. There are horned dragons, dragons with wings, those who spew fire, and those whose breath freezes the world. At one time, dragons were associated with the gods, said to be creatures of the elements: water, air, fire, and earth, and endowed with the power to do great good or terrible ill.
We have tales of dragon magic and dragon gold, dragon lairs that are sometimes deep within the bowels of the earth, sometimes high upon a mountain peak. We have stories of dragon tears (rain) and dragon's breath (mist), and dragon's that guard the secrets of time. There are dragons that shift to human form and walk amongst us, and dragons that are so old that they have simply lost interest in our world and have lain down and allowed the countless dust of countless ages to cover them whole until they resemble nothing more than hillsides that occasionally rumble and shake, but never truly awake. Dragons fly, they crawl, they burrow and nest, they lounge around on a bed of gold or as some cultures suggest, are the real source of those mysterious fairy rings.
The notion of dragons is almost universal in ancient cultures, with stories and depictions of them appearing all over the world. I'm fond of the gallant knight battling the great fire-breathing monster to save the fair damsel in distress. Now mind you, she's only in distress because her village has decided to sacrifice her to an angry beast to save their own hides, but I like the legend anyway.
We write of dragons, whisper of them, dream of them, and immortalize them in song and art. Even the Greek historian Herodotus wrote of flying serpents in both ancient Arabia and Egypt. Did he see these beings and record them for all of prosperity? I don't know, but the practical part of me supposes that dragons where born, and then given life in countless song and story as a way for ancient cultures to explain the very real bones they might and probably did encounter. Bones, you say? Dragon bones? Possibly, but I suspect they encountered dinosaur bones and their imaginations filled in the rest.
Now, having said that, the child in me says maybe, and maybe not. I think we need dragons, in all their glory, and in all their many forms, because we need the fantastical in our lives, we need to believe in the impossible–we need to dream.
Until next time, Sheri
This month, in honor of the Winter Solstice, I've spent the day musing or rather reflecting over the past year and how glad I will be to see 2007 fade into the twilight memories of the past. It was a hard year for me. 2007 started with medical issues that plagued me throughout the year and climaxed with the loss of beloved family members and friends to either sickness or old age.
No, I won't be sorry to say goodbye to 2007 and hello to 2008.
Though, I will admit, out of the pain of enduring one can find unexpected strength and be moved to unexpected actions. From reflection comes renewal. Out of the ashes, rise the flames of the future. Sorrow can give way to joy and an ordinary person can suddenly become a champion of hope.
I truly believe this.
Jamie Hill's Christmas story, Stocking Stuffers, was selected as a February Recommended Read from Joyfully Reviewed. Read the review here.