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Fairies, Magic, and Monsters - an Essay by Vonnie Winslow Crist.doc

"Fairies, Magic, and Monsters" is an essay I wrote that was published in "The Little Patuxent Review," which addresses what I see as the need for fantastical stories.

Microsoft Office document icon Fairies, Magic, and Monsters - an Essay by Vonnie Winslow Crist.doc

A Selection of Poems by Vonnie Winslow Crist.doc

A selection of 6 poems by Vonnie Winslow Crist from her award-winning books, "The Greener Forest" and "Owl Light." Also, a brief discussion of poetry by Vonnie.

Microsoft Office document icon A Selection of Poems by Vonnie Winslow Crist.doc

An Excerpt from The Enchanted Dagger by Vonnie Winslow Crist.doc

This is a brief excerpt from "The Enchanted Dagger," which should give readers an idea of the storytelling technique I used to build the fantasy world, Lifthrasir. In my comments at the beginning, I've included a link to a free 3-Chapter excerpt for those who would like to read more of this epic fantasy novel.

Microsoft Office document icon An Excerpt from The Enchanted Dagger by Vonnie Winslow Crist.doc

Henkies Fiddle a Fantasy Story by Vonnie Winslow Crist

"Henkie's Fiddle" is an example of my folklore-based dark fantasy stories. It was first published in the anthology, "Potter's Field 4." I have included a link to a wonderful free podcast of the story from "Cast of Wonders."

Microsoft Office document icon Henkies Fiddle a Fantasy Story by Vonnie Winslow Crist

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About Vonnie

Harford County

Vonnie Crist's picture
​     Vonnie Winslow Crist (Masters in Professional Writing, Towson University), is author of The Enchanted Dagger (Compton Crook Award Finalist, Maryland Writers Association Book Award Winner), Dragon Rain, Beneath Raven's Wing, The Greener Forest ​(eFestival of Words Short Story Collection Award Winner 2017), ​Owl Light (eFestival of Words Short Story Collection Award Winner 2017), Murder on Marawa Prime, Leprechaun Cake & Other Tales, River of Stars, Essential... more

Beneath Raven's Wing

Believing stories help us learn from the past, embrace the complexities of the present, and prepare for the future, I write lots of stories. Believing myths, legends, folklore, and fairy tales are important in understanding people and their fears, familiar network, societal structure, and core values, I use them as inspiration. This is the beginning place for all of my fiction.

Beneath Raven's Wing is my third collection of short stories. As I reviewed my stories, both published and unpublished, I noticed ravens appearing in many tales as either an intrical part of the narrative or as a watchful presence. After deciding to build my collection around ravens, I thought back to my poem, "Raven," include in my Maryland State Arts Council Individual Artist Award-winning collection, River of Stars. I begin Beneath Raven's Wing with an excerpt from "Raven," and draw my title from its lines:
"Raven holds the secrets of night
   beneath her wings,
   guards that knowledge
   with claws and blood."

Once the stories I wanted to use were selected, I revised each one in an attempt to eliminate any repetative phrases, similes, or metaphors. As I edited, I realized I have a few similes I favor! I was surprised, and did some rewriting to vary the imagery. I also wrote an extra story to help with the ordering. Ordering in a story collection is important. You need to think of the book as one narrative made up of a series of smaller narratives. I tried to start with a strong story, then build to a satisfying concluding tale. The first story and the last act as "bookends" supporting the rest of the collection. They are, in some ways, reflections of each other.

Upon hearing of a publisher looking for a story collection from an author they'd published in one of their previous anthologies, I queried them, and when invited to do so, sent Fae Corps Publishing the manuscript for Beneath Raven's Wing. They offered me a contract, and we began the journey to publication.

While the editors at Fae Corps Publishing reviewed and edited the manuscript and designed a cover, I sent the manuscript to several writers I respect for cover comments. Awaiting the cover comments, I wrote the back cover blurb, acknowledgements, and author biography for Beneath Raven's Wing. My blurb was not used, but I'm using it for publicity.

It's been an exciting journey, and I'm delighted the book will release in late January 2021 -- just after Edgar Allan Poe's birthday and the January date of the first appearance of his poem, "The Raven." But the Poe connection is more than release date. The stories included in Beneath Raven's Wing are dark with a pinch of horror, though still maintaining a Young Adult friendly vibe. Also, one of the stories, "An Unkindness," is rich with Poe references, set in old Baltimore, and takes place in several of Baltimore's long-standing cemeteries, warehouses, and Victorian homes.

Here are the original back cover blurb and cover comments:
In Beneath Raven's Wing, mystery, magic, and miracles weave through 16 reaven-filled stories. Whether set in Edgar Allan Poe's Baltimore, the forests of Scandinavia, a long ago battlefield, the mountains of Appalachia, or a suburban neighborhood, these tales take readers on a dark-winged journey. But be warned, more than an unkindness of ravens haunts these stories.

"top-notch story telling" -- Richard Chizmar, New York Times Bestselling Author

"spooky and fantastic" -- Claire Davon, USA Today Bestselling Author

"an epic journey spanning time and tide" -- H. R. Boldwood, author of the Corpse Whisperer series and 2019 Imadjinn Award Finalist

"dark, intelligent, and sinister" -- Gustavo Bondoni, author of Off the Beaten Path, Ice Station Death, Siege, Outside, Love & Death, and other books.

Many of the stories in Beneath Raven's Wing have been previously published. I've include the covers of some of these anthologies so readers can see the wide array of venues where my short fiction can be found.

  • BRW cover.jpg

    "Beneath Raven's Wing" by Vonnie Winslow Crist
    "Beneath Raven's Wing" is a collection of 16 raven filled stories by Vonnie Winslow Crist. Some are inspired by the writings of Edgar Allan Poe. Other stories are inspired by myth and folklore.
  • Blood and Beetles.jpg

    "Blood & Beetles" contains Vonnie's story, "Deathwatch."
    "Beneath Raven's Wing" story, "Deathwatch," appears in the 2020 anthology, "Blood & Beetles." Set in rural USA, the story is filled with folklore and inspired by the lore about the Deathwatch Beetle.
  • Wishes of Illusion.jpg

    "Wishes of Illusions" contains Vonnie's story, "The Brass Fly."
    "Beneath Raven's Wing" story, "The Brass Fly," is included in the 2020 anthology, "Wishes of Illusions." Inspired by letters, brass knickknacks, and the role of ravens in Celtic legend as war goddesses, this story references World War II experiences in Europe and North Africa.
  • Poe-ish Tales Forevermore.jpg

    "Poe-ish Tales Forevermore" contains Vonnie's story, "An Unkindness."
    "Beneath Raven's Wing" story, "An Unkindness," is included in the 2020 anthology, "Poe-ish Tales Forevermore." Set in the Baltimore of more than a century ago, the story is filled with Edgar Allan Poe references. It was inspired by an actual grave-robbing scheme written about in "The Smithsonian" in which the author's great-grandfather played a part. The headstone photo used on the book's cover was taken by Vonnie of Poe's first grave's headstone.
  • Divinity.jpg

    "Divinity" contains Vonnie's story, "Kalma."
    "Beneath Raven's Wing" story, "Kalma," is included in the 2019 Australian anthology, "Divinity." Set in a Midwestern USA graveyard, it draws its inspiration from the Finnish deity, Kalma, goddess of death and decay.
  • Blood Crown.jpg

    "Blood Crown" contains Vonnie's story, "Blood-Soaked Biscuits."
    "Beneath Raven's Wing" story, "Blood-Soaked Biscuits," is included in the 2020 anthology, "Blood Crown." The story was inspired by a visit to the Tower of London and its legends and ravens. Set in an imaginary European location, the ravens and their keeper are at the center of the story.
  • SLAY.jpg

    "SLAY: Stories of the Vampire Noire" contains Vonnie's story, "In Egypt's Shadows."
    "Beneath Raven's Wing" story, "In Egypt's Shadows," is included in the 2020 anthology, "SLAY: Stories of the Vampire Noire." All stories in the anthology had to feature vampires from the African diaspora. "In Egypt's Shadows" is set in the Egypt of past and present.
  • Horror for Hire First Shift.jpg

    "Horror for Hire: First Shift" contains Vonnie's story, "Nails"
    "Beneath Raven's Wing" story, "Nails," is included in the 2020 anthology, "Horror for Hire: First Shift." It is set in Appalachia, and was inspired by Norse Mythology and local folkways.
  • Hexed cover.jpg

    "Hexed" contains Vonnie's story "Lady Crow" - beginning place for "Lady Raven."
    Vonnie Winslow Crist's story "Lady Raven," began as "Lady Crow," published in 2020 in "Hexed."
  • Fake News.jpg

    "Fake News" contains Vonnie's story, "The Walrus."
    "Beneath Raven's Wing" story, "The Walrus," is included in the 2020 anthology, "Fake News." It's set in a village in the UK, and was inspred by a conspiracy involving The Beatles.

Dragon Rain

Believing stories help us learn from the past, embrace the complexities of the present, and prepare for the future, I write lots of stories. Believing myths, legends, folklore, and fairy tales are important in understanding people and their fears, familiar networks, societal structures, and core values, I use them as inspiration. This is the beginning place for all of my fiction.

Before my third collection of stories, Beneath Raven's Wing, was edited, it became clear I needed to collect my dragon stories. Dragons and their kin are present in almost all mythologies. Whether they're portrayed as good, evil, or an ambiguous symbal for nature, dragons usually represent power, wisdom, and strength. The dragon tales I'd already written celebrated an array of cultures, and to them I added a half a dozen more stories often set far from the typical Medieval European dragon locale.

The title of the collection, Dragon Rain, comes from two different concepts of the relationship between dragons and rain. In Chinese myths, dragons can bring rain to drought stricken areas; while in other cultures, dragon tears can cause rain. I introduce the stories in Dragon Rain with an excerpt from "Dragons," a poem from my poetry collection, Essential Fables, called by Mary Oliver: "sharply focused, pithy, and memorable."
"If you are out/ on a bring-the-dog-in night/ when even the moon/ has hidden her face/ and dragon's breath/ billows over the land--/ take a few steps/ into the blinding smoke/and reach out--/ you might stroke slick scales/ stare--/ you might see flashing eyes./ But don't step, don't reach, don't look/ unless you want to believe/ in dragons."

I'm delighted to announce Dragon Rain is now available from Indie publisher, Mocha Memoirs Press.

Among the cultures celebrated in Dragon Rain are: Japanese, Chinese, Norse, Appalachian, Southern USA Bayou, Alternate Middle Eastern History, Ancient Greek, Medieval European, contemporary USA, British, and Native American. (My 7th great-grandmother was Shinnecock). I hope the collection demonstrates though people are different, we share common challenges, emotions, aspirations, and desires.

Many of the stories in Dragon Rain have been published. I've include the covers of some of these publications, so readers can see the wide array of places to find my fiction.

  • 1 dragon cover with quote.jpg

    "Dragon Rain" by Vonnie Winslow Crist is a collection of 18 dragon stories.
    "Dragon Rain" by Vonnie Winslow Crist is a collection of 18 dragons stories brimming with magic, mystery, and miracles.
  • Villians.jpg

    "Villains" contains Vonnie's story, "Riches."
    "Dragon Rain" story, "Riches," is included in the 2020 anthology, "Villains," published in Perth, Australia. The story is a cautionary tale set in Japan. The dragon in the story is a shape-changing young woman who finds love with a man eager for riches.
  • Curse of the Greek Gods.jpg

    "Curse of the Gods: A Greek Myth Anthology" contains Vonnie's story, "Motherhood."
    "Dragon Rain" story, "Motherhood," is included in "Curse of the Gods: A Greek Myth Anthology." The dragon in this story is Python, a traditional character from Greek Mythology. She's been rethought, though the story remains true to her myth.
  • Insignia 2020 Best Asian Speculative Fiction.jpg

    "Insignia 2020: Best Asian Speculative Fiction" contains Vonnie's story, "Kindness."
    "Dragon Rain" story, "Kindness," is included in "Insignia 2020: Best Asian Speculative Fiction." "Kindness" also appeared in "Of Kami & Yokai: A Japanese Myth Anthology." Based on an ancient legend, it celebrate a poor man's kindness.
  • Witches, Warriors and Wyverns.jpg

    "Witches, Warriors, and Wyverns" contains Vonnie's story, "Princess Rina's Execution Day."
    "Dragon Rain" story, "Princess Rina's Execution Day," is included in "Witches, Warriors, and Wyverns." Set in a high fantasy world where Eastern meets Western cultures, the idea of sacrificing a virgin to a dragon is turned on its head by empowering the young woman at the center of the story. It is told as a conversation between the princess and her executioner.
  • sea of secrets.jpg

    "Sea of Secrets" contains Vonnie's story, "What Lies Below."
    "Dragon Rain" story, "What Lies Below," is included in the 2019 anthology, "Sea of Secrets." It is a contemporary fantasy set in the waters and on the land of Baltimore's Loch Raven Reservoir. One of the real towns drowned by the Gunpowder River when the dam was constructed plays a vital role.
  • outposts of beyond jul2016.jpg

    "Outposts of Beyond" July 2016 contains Vonnie's story, "Bloodguiltless."
    "Dragon Rain" story, "Bloodguiltless," is included in "Outposts of Beyond" July 2016. A Writers of the Future Silver Honorable Mention, "Bloodguiltless" is set on a distant planet in the far future. It features the folkways and myths of Indigenous Peoples sprinkled with the superstitions of bird nest harvesters from Borneo. It is a tale about ecological consequences when nature is abused.
  • coffins and dragons cover.jpg

    "Coffins & Dragons" contains Vonnie's story, "The Hearth Dragon."
    "Dragon Rain" story, "The Hearth Dragon," is included in the 2019 anthology, "Coffins & Dragons." Set in a mythic Eastern European world, the dragon at its center is being abused. "The Hearth Dragon" is about the price for doing what's right.
  • Samhain Secrets.jpg

    "Samhain Secrets" contains Vonnie's story, "Balancing the Scales."
    "Dragon Rain" story, "Balancing the Scales," is included in the 2019 anthology, "Samhain Secrets." The dragon in this Appalachian story plays on the folk belief of "painters" or "panthers" lurking in the mountains. Rich in funeral folkways, the story is told mostly through journal entries, letters, newspaper clippings, and other printed sources.
  • Insignia; Castles & Kimono.jpg

    "Insignia: Castles & Kimono" contains Vonnie's story, "Beneath the Cherry Blossoms."
    "Dragon Rain" story, "Beneath the Cherry Blossoms," is included in the 2020 anthology, "Insignia: Castles & Kimono," published in Japan. The dragon at the center of the story is a serpentine water-dweller living in the waters of a Japanese castle (much different than our Western idea of a castle).

The Greener Forest

Believing stories help us to learn from the past, embrace the complexities of the present, and prepare for future, I write lots of stories. Believing myths, legends, folklore, and fairy tales are important in understanding people and their fears, familiar networks, societal structure, and core values. I use them as inspiration. This is the beginning place for all my fiction and most of my poems.

The Greener Forest is a collection of short stories and poems. The title refers to that magical place where Faerie and the everyday world collide. There is dark and light, evil and good, and uncertain dusky gray lurking in the stories and poems that inhabit the book's pages. Readers will discover all is not what it seems at first glance, and wondrous things still happen in The Greener Forest. ​While written for adults, the collection is Young Adult friendly.  ​The Greener Forest won the eFestival of Books Short Story Collection Award.

I've always been fascinated by the creatures of Faerie, from lovely winged sprites to goblins, Brown Men, gremlers, spriggans, giants, and other lesser-known residents. These stories and the linking poems were written over a period of years, but when it came time to put together a collection of my short fiction, I noticed a reoccurring theme of trees and magic in my writing. Plus, I found my magical beings longed to interact with the workaday world we humans live in--including the Baltimore Zoo and its visitors!

The Greener Forest​ has been called:
"A wonderful, imaginative, multifaceted collection" by author EJ Stevens
"Magikal, enchanting, and so enticing" by young adult novelist, TJ Perkins
Speculative author Robert E. Waters wrote: "Read this collection. You won't be disappointed."
Award-winning Maryland author, Laura Shovan, says of The Greener Forest:  "For Grimm lovers, a darkly imaginative book of modern fairy tales." Many additional positive reviews can be found on Amazon and elsewhere.

The challenge for me as a writer was to bring a newness to old tales and create new fairy stories set in our modern world. Since I believe the world around us still is filled with mystery, magic, and miracles--it was up to me to share that wonder with readers.

Many of the stories and poems in The Greener Forest​ have been published in magazines and books. I've included the covers of some of these publications, so readers can see the wide array of places to find my short fiction.

  • The Greener Forest.jpg

    "The Greener Forest," a collection of stories and poems by Vonnie Winslow Crist.
  • les cabinest des polytheistes.jpg

    "Les Cabinest des Polytheistes" contains Vonnie's story, "Appleheads."
    "The Greener Forest" story, "Appleheads," is included in the anthology, "Les Cabinets des Polytheistes." The story also appears in the 2019 anthology, "Summer's Splash." It was inspired by a day spent in the West Virginia mountains carving apples for applehead dolls.
  • Unreal Anthology.jpg

    "Unreal" contains Vonnie's story, "Blood of the Swan."
    "The Greener Forest" story, "Blood of the Swan," is included in the 2020 anthology, "Unreal." A Writers of the Future Semi-Finalist, "Blood of the Swan" also appears in the "While the Morning Stars Sing" anthology. The story was inspired by swan-maiden legends and Scandinavian folklore.
  • Chilling Ghost Short Stories.jpg

    "Chilling Ghost Short Stories" contains Vonnie's story, "The Return of Gunnar Kettilson."
    "The Greener Forest" story, "The Return of Gunnar Kettilson," is included in the Flame Tree Press (UK) hardback anthology, "Chilling Ghost Short Stories." The story is also included in the anthologies "Twilight Tales" (Hemelein Publ., 2021), "Creep: Anthology of Horror Stories" (India, 2019) "Zombies for a Cure" (cancer charity anthology), and in issues of "Cemetery Moon" and "Weird Mask." The story was inspired by the lore surrounding the Norse undead creature, draugr.
  • Unity 2020 Antho.jpg

    "Unity" contains Vonnie's story, "Shoreside."
    "The Greener Forest" story, "Shoreside," is included in the 2020 "Unity" anthology. An eFestival of Words 2017 Best Short Story Award winner, "Shoreside," is also included in "Memories of the Past: 2016 Best of Fantasia Divinity" and the November 2016 issue of "Fantasia Divinity Magazine." Inspired by the Japanese mermaid, a ningyo, it's set on an USA Eastcoast beach.
  • Faerie Magazine 22.jpg

    "Faerie Magazine" number 22, contains Vonnie's story, "Birdling."
    "The Greener Forest" story, "The Café at the End of the Lane," began as the story, "Birdling," which was published in "Faerie Magazine" number 22 and again in the anthology "Spring's Blessings" in 2019. The story is filled with creatures from Faerie and mingles the charm of the fay with their dangerous nature. It's set in a Baltimore suburb.
  • Gardens of Enchantment.jpg

    "Gardens of Enchantment" contains Vonnie's story, "Balming the Thorn."
    "The Greener Forest" story, "Balming the Thorn," is included in "Gardens of Enchantment," (2019). It is also included in "Magical - An Anthology of Fantasy, Fairy Tales, and Other Magical Fiction" and the May 2016 issue of "FrostFire Worlds." Set in a rowhouse neighborhood in Baltimore, the story was inspired by the ancient British custom of Balming the Thorn.
  • Fae Wings and Hidden Things.jpg

    "Fae Wings and Hidden Things" contains Vonnie's story, "The Cafe at the End of the Lane."
    "The Greener Forest" story, "The Café at the End of the Lane," is included in the 2017 anthology, "Fae Wings and Hidden Things" as well at the anthology, "The Night Cafe." The story was inspired by the capricious nature of fairies.
  • Echoes of the Past.jpg

    "Echoes of the Pat: 2018 Best of Anthology" contains Vonnie's story, "Angels."
    "The Greener Forest" story, "Angels," is included in the anthology, "Echoes of the Past: 2018 Best of Anthology." The story is also included in "Fantasia Divinity Magazine, Aug. 2018." It was electronically published in "Aoife's Kiss" and "Ensorcelled Magazine," both now gone. The story was inspired by an actual woodcarver from West Virginia who when asked how he knew what to carve responded, "The wood tells my hands." It was also inspired by beekeeper folklore.
  • Killing It Softly 2.jpg

    "Killing It Softly 2" contains Vonnie's story "Scarecrow."
    "The Greener Forest" story, "Scarecrow," is included in the 2017 Canadian anthology, "Killing It Softly 2," which features the best horror and dark fantasy writing by women. "Scarecrow" is also in the August 2015 issue of "Trysts of Fate." Set in rural USA, this lovestory was inspired by the science of evolution and the folkways of the Appalachian Mountains.

Owl Light

Believing stories help us learn from the past, embrace the complexities of the present, and prepare for the future, I write lots of stories. Believing myths, legends, folklore, and fairy tales are important in understanding people and their fears, familiar networks, societal structure, and core values, I use them as imspiration. This is the beginning place for all of my fiction and most of my poems.

Owl Light​ is a collection of short stories and poems where early stars flicker, owls wake from slumber, and shadows appear where shadows ought not be. In the prose and poems, Owl Light​ ​dims to darkness, dreams change to nightmares, and dawn in more distant than you know.  Again, while written for adults, these stories are Young Adult friendly.

Owl Light​ represents my second try at pulling together a collection of short fiction. As in my first collection, I needed to discover a thematic thread which ran through the stories. This time, it became clear that owls, owl light (from dusk to dawn), and a sense of wonder were what the stories had in common. Though there are some fantasy stories in ​Owl Light,​ this time, I had science fiction tales to include, also. Specifically, stories set on other worlds or at other times.

No matter how fantastical the setting or characters, I wanted to make sure my readers could connect with each tale, and recognize themselves and their lives in the drama.

Positively reviewed on Amazon, Guardian Liberty Voice ​says of ​Owl Light: "a spellbinding collection," and January Gray Reviews says: "This book will keep you thinking long after you have read it." Other comments about Owl Light ​include: "a wonderful collection of short stories and poems that transport the reader from the past and into the future...Highly recommended" - speculative author, David Lee Summers; "Fairy tales new and re-imagined, modern myth and ancient ritual. Her stories span galaxies and eons. There is something to resonate with all readers within its pages" - author, Rie Sheridan Rose; "A quiet darkness pervades Crist's stories and poems...If you let the tales lull you to sleep, expect shining eyes to peer into the forest of your dreams"- author Anne E. Johnson; and "...a rich tapestry of magic and ritual. What delights the reader...is the way Crist can apply fresh eyes to a familiar situation and conversely, can present the unfamiliar as if it were an old friend" - award-winning writer, Jonathan Shipley.

I have included the covers of some of the magazines and books where the stories included in Owl Light​ have been published, so readers can see the wide array of short fiction publications available.

  • Owl Light by Vonnie Winslow Crist.jpg

    "Owl Light" by Vonnie Winslow Crist
    "Owl Light" by Vonnie Winslow Crist is a collection of short stories and poems which occur during "owl light," the time between dusk and dawn. Most of the stories and poems contain owls as well. An eFestival of Words 2018 Short Story Collection Award winner, "Owl Light" includes science fiction stories as well as fantasy tales.
  • Merrow anthology.jpg

    "Merrow," contains Vonnie's story, "By the Sea."
    "Owl Light" story, "By the Sea," is included inthe 2020 anthology, "Merrow." This Writers of the Future Honorable Mention story was also published in "Tales of the Talisman," 5-3. This story was inspired by carnival and sideshow folkways and sea mythology. It's set on a boardwalk amusement park area, not unlike Ocean City, Maryland.
  • Neptune Planetary Antho.jpg

    "Neptune" contains Vonnie's story, "The Burryman."
    "Owl Light" story, "The Burryman," is included in the 2020 anthology, "Neptune - Planetary Anthology Series." "The Burryman" is also included in "The Great Tome of Cryptids and Legendary Creatures" and "Ocean Stories." Inspired by the British custom of the Burryman's Parade and Greek mythology, this story is set in an unnamed seaside town which relies on fishing to survive.
  • Chrysalis antho.jpg

    "Chrysalis" includes Vonnie's story, "Feathers."
    "Owl Light" story, "Feathers," is included in the 2020 "Chrysalis" anthology. The story appears as well in "Trysts of Fate," August 2016. Inspired by the story, "Rumplestiltskin," it's told from the point of view of the dwarf. Also included are pottery and owl lore. It is set in a European-like locale.
  • Ghosts of the Past.jpg

    "Ghosts of the Past: Best of 2019 Anthology" contains Vonnie's story, "Pawprints of the Margay."
    "Owl Light" story, "Pawprints of the Margay," is included in the anthology, "Ghosts of the Past: Best of 2019 Anthology." The story is also included in "The Great Tome of Fantastic and Wondrous Places" and "Galactic Goddesses." Inspired by folkways of various African tribes and the concept of 1st contact and its adverse effects, the story is set in the distant future on a planet far from Earth. At its core, it's a story about the power of women.
  • great tome magicians, necromancers, and mystics.jpg

    "The Great Tome of Magicians, Necromancers, and Mystics" contains Vonnie's story, "A Salem Town Great-Granddaughter."
    "Owl Light" story, "A Salem Town Great-Granddaughter," is included in the anthology, "The Great Tome of Magicians, Necromancers, and Mystics." This story was inspired by the Salem witch trial lore and Faerie lore. It is set in a small town on Halloween.
  • alternate facts digital science fiction antho.jpg

    "Alternate Facts: Digital Science Fiction Anthology" contains Vonnie's story, "Gifts in the Dark."
    "Owl Light" story, "Gifts in the Dark," is included in the book, "Alternate Facts: Digital Science Fiction Anthology" (Canada). Also published as a stand-alone eShort by Digital Fiction Corp., it was included in the book, "Dia de los Muertos - A Day of the Dead Anthology," and is forthcoming in 2021 in "Lockdown Science Fiction" from Australian press, Black Hare Publishing.
  • frostfire worlds aug2016.jpg

    "FrostFire Worlds, Aug. 2016" contains Vonnie's story, "The Monks' Fosterling."
    "Owl Light" story, "The Monk's Fosterling," was published in the 4th Anniversary Issue of "FrostFire Worlds." This story was inspired by the selkie mythology. It shows the complex relationship between Christian monks and ancient myth.
  • potter's field 4.jpg

    "Potter's Field 4" contains Vonnie's story, "Henkie's Fiddle."
    "Owl Light" story, "Henkie's Fiddle," is included in the anthology, "Potter's Field 4." It was also published as both a podcast and an online story by "Cast of Wonders" (UK), and is due to appear in 2021 in the "Lockdown Fantasy" anthology (Australia). Inspired by several dark creatures of Faerie, it is a story of consequences for behavior both bad and good. It is set in a village and cemetery typical of many areas of the USA.
  • outposts of beyond apr2017.jpg

    "Outposts of Beyond," April 2017, contains Vonnie's story, "For the Good of the Settlement."
    "Owl Light" story, "For the Good of the Settlement," is included in the April 2017 issue of "Outposts of Beyond." The story was inspired by folkways of country and mountain people of the USA. Rather than try to go back in time to capture the customs, the story leaps to the far future on a distant planet where life will be much like the frontier days. At its core, it's about whether there's any good reason for bad behavior.

Editing for Pole to Pole Publishing

​I began editing science fiction and dark fantasy anthologies for Pole to Pole Publishing, a Maryland-based publisher of speculative fiction in 2015. The initial anthology in the Dark Stories SeriesHides the Dark Tower, ​required me to not only read hundreds of stories, but to select and edit the fiction, then piece together a cohesive book. Thankfully, I co-edit with another Marylander, Kelly A. Harmon, whose editorial skills complement my own.

Since then, we have edited (and Pole to Pole Publishing has published) three more Dark Stories Series anthologies, In a Cat's Eye, ​Dark Luminous Wings, and Not Far From Roswell.​  In addition, Pole to Pole Publishing establised a new reprint anthology series, the Re-Imagine Series. The reprint nature of the Re-Imagine Series means most of the submitted pieces of short fiction are solid stories. This abundant good quality pool presents a new challenge -- to select the best of a well-written group of stories which will piece together to form a collection of work that adheres to the theme, but also expands that theme in unexpected ways. To date, I've edited (with Kelly Harmon) 5 Re-Imagine anthologyies: Re-Launch, Re-Enchant, Re-Quest, Re-Terrify, ​and Re-Haunt.

Editing is a wonderful way to improve my writing! When I read the work of other writers, it is much easier to spot both strengths and weaknesses in other people's fiction, which I might not recognize in my own prose. I find by working with writers (and my co-editor) to make a book as well-written as possible, I improve my own writing skills. ​Collaboration has proven, in my case, to be a wonderful thing, and I hope to continue editing for Pole to Pole Publishing in the years to come.

  • hides the dark tower cover.jpg

    "Hides the Dark Tower" from Pole to Pole Publishing edited by Vonnie Winslow Crist and Kelly Harmon.
    "Hides the Dark Tower" is the 1st Dark Stories series short story anthology edited by Vonnie Winslow Crist and Kelly Harmon for Pole to Pole Publishing.
  • cats eye cover.jpg

    "In a Cat's Eye" edited by Vonnie Winslow Crist and Kelly Harmon.
    "In a Cat's Eye" is the 2nd anthology in the Dark Stories series published by Pole to Pole Publishing edited by Vonnie Winslow Crist and Kelly Harmon.
  • dark luminous wings cover.jpg

    "Dark Luminous Wings" edited by Vonnie Winslow Crist and Kelly Harmon.
    "Dark Luminous Wings" is the 3rd story anthology is the Dark Stories series published by Pole to Pole Publishing and edited by Vonnie Winslow Crist and Kelly Harmon.
  • not far from roswell cover.jpg

    "Not Far From Roswell" from Pole to Pole Publishing was edited by Vonnie Winslow Crist and Kelly A. Harmon.
    "Not Far From Roswell" is the 4th Dark Stories story collection from Pole to Pole Publishing edited by Vonnie Winslow Crist and Kelly Harmon.
  • re-launch cover.jpg

    "Re-Launch: Science Fiction Stories of New Beginnings" edited by Vonnie Winslow Crist and Kelly A. Harmon.
    "Re-Launch: Science Fiction Stories of New Beginnings" is a Re-Imagine series anthology edited by Vonnie Winslow Crist and Kelly Harmon for Pole to Pole Publishing.
  • re-enchant cover.jpg

    "Re-Enchant: Dark Stories of Magic and Fae" edited by Vonnie Winslow Crist and Kelly A. Harmon.
    "Re-Enchant: Dark Stories of Magic and Fae" is a Re-Imagined Series anthology edited by Vonnie Winslow Crist and Kelly Harmon for Pole to Pole Publishing.
  • re-quest cover.jpg

    "Re-Quest: Dark Fantasy Stories of Quests and Searches" edited by Vonnie Winslow Crist and Kelly A. Harmon.
    "Re-Quest: Dark Fantasy Stories of Quests and Searches" is a Re-Imagined series anthology edited by Vonnie Winslow Crist and Kelly Harmon for Pole to Pole Publishing.
  • re-terrify cover.jpg

    "Re-Terrify: Horrifying Stories of Monsters and More" edited by Vonnie Winslow Crist and Kelly A. Harmon.
    "Re-Terrify: Horrifying Stories of Monsters and More" is a Re-Imagine series anthology edited by Vonnie Winslow Crist and Kelly Harmon for Pole to Pole Publishing.
  • re-haunt cover.jpg

    "Re-Haunt: Chilling Stories of Ghosts and Other Haunts" edited by Vonnie Winslow Crist and Kelly A. Harmon.
    "Re-Haunt: Chilling Stories of Ghosts and Other Haunts" is an anthology in the Re-Imagined series edited by Vonnie Winslow Crist and Kelly Harmon for Pole to Pole Publishing.

The Chronicles of Lifthrasir

Believing stories help us learn from the past, embrace the complexities of the present, and prepare us for the future, I write lots of stories. Believing myths, legends, folklore, and fairy tales are important to understanding people and their fears, fmailiar networks, societal structures, and core values, I use them for inspiration. This is the beginning place for all of my fiction.

The world-building to create Lifthrasir, the setting of The Enchanted Dagger, Beyond the Sheercliffs, and any future books in The chronicles of Lifthrasir, ​was both fun and daunting. Lifthrasir is the name of the woman who survives Ragnarok, and means one who clings to and celebrates life - so it is an apt name for a work where characters must make the right choices or face dire consequences. I've tried to not only incorporate pieces of known mythology, but invent my own to give the book and its universe a rich tapestry of  legends, myths, and lore.

The Enchanted Dagger​ is an epic fantasy novel, that while written for adults, is Young Adult friendly. It is the first book in The Chronicles of Lifthrasir. The protagonist, Beck Conleth, begins the book living a quiet life in a seaside town with his grandmother. She sends him to retrieve his father's bones and a family dagger, and the adventure ensues. In addressing this genre, I've tried to bring my own style and creativity to not only the setting, characters, and conflicts, but to the overall battle between good and evil--which is at the core of every epic fantasy.

​The novel was a Compton Crook Award Finalist and Maryland Writers Association Book Award Winner. It has been called:
"a strong tale set in a world intricately woven through with magic" by award-winning author, Jody Lynn Nye
An absorbing tale...finely crafted" by novelist, Roxanne Bland
"capably-written, energetic, and entertaining" by prolific short story writer, Jim Lee.

A sample of the positive reviews:
"Adventure, magical creatures, enchantment, and evil lurking around every corner...a very enjoyable read" from Getting Your Read On​ (Aimee Brown, reviewer)
"A thrilling story...recommended to all readers of fantasy adventure. Five stars and a thumbs-up to an excellent book" from Books 4 Tomorrow (Ellen Fritz, reviewer).

Beyond the Sheercliffs is the next book in ​The Chronicles of Lifthrasir​, of which The Enchanted Skean​ is the first in the series. Rather than a traditionally told novel, ​Beyond the Sheercliffs ​is told via novellas which meet at the end of the narrative. Each of the cast of characters and protagonists in the tales has a role to play in the next novel in the series. While the storytelling technique is new to me, I've found it both challenging and rewarding to write the tale from multiple points of view.

​The novellas did not originally begin as parts of a book-length manuscript, but as episodes I wanted to expand into four separate books. Once I began the writing process, I realized these narratives added together gave a more complete look at the same time in the larger story of Lifthrasir. Once again, while written for adults, ​Beyond the Sheercliffs​ is Young Adult friendly.

Scheduled for publication by Pole to Pole Publishing, ​Beyond the Sheercliffs ​is under contract, and has a cover already available from the publisher. 

Murder on Marawa Prime

Believing stories help us learn from the past, embrace the complexities of the present, and prepare for the future, I write lots of stories. Believing myths, legends, folklore, and fairy tales are important in understanding pepole and their fears, familiar networks, societal structures, and core values, I use them for inspiration. This is the beginning place for all of my fiction.

Murder on Marawa Prime ​is a science fiction murder mystery. Murder, romance, and flawed science experiments make for a life and death race across Marawa Prime. Two people end up dead by the end of the journey. But just who are the assassins and who are the victims? 

I had fun writing a murder mystery set on a distant planet. The location may be different than earth, but people are people with motives aplenty to commit murder. The challenge with this book was for the reader to identify with the locale and characters even though they are on a different world. The animal side-kick was especially fun - no cat or dog - instead I chose a singing opossum! Again, though written for adults, ​Murder on Marawa Prime ​is Young Adult friendly.

Reviewed in Analog - Science Fiction And Fact magazine, Don Sakers had this to say: "​Murder on Marawa Prime is a SF story and a noir mystery, set on a fascinating and well-drawn planet, all packed into a novelette that will leave you wanting more...The story's tightly plotted, and author Crist does an excellent job of keeping multiple balls in the air while revealing the unique and deadly secrets that have brought murder to Marawa Prime."

Award-winning Science Fiction author, Charles E. Gannon wrote: "Vonnie Crist serves up some deliciously dangerous interstellar noir in Murder on Marawa Prime. ​One part Raymond Chandler, one part Agatha Christie, and a huge dose of her own exceptionally clean prose and understated worldbuilding, this is a fast-moving nail-biter on a planet at once iconic and alien."
Science Fiction author Gail Z. Martin says about the book: "Inventive and entertaining--a real thrill-ride!"
And award-winning writer, Deborah Walker writes, "A fast-paced story of assassins, genetic engineering, singing opossums and betrayal, Vonnie Winslow Crist writes the future fantastic."

The response to this book has been so positive, I think I will be writing a series of linked stories set on Marawa Prime. I'm just not certain they will ALL involve murder and intrigue.

Science Fiction Short Story Collection

Believing stories help us learn from the past, embrace the complexities of the present, and prepare for the future, I write lots of stories. Believing myths, legends, folklore, and fairy tales are important to understanding people and their fears, familiar networks, societal structures, and core values, I use them as inspiration. This is the beginning place for all of my fiction.

Even though I have four story collections at various stages of publication, I continue to write stories. Many of these pieces of writing are science fiction. Science fiction is a summary term for lots of various sub-genres. Many of the stories I have had published fall into the far-future, away from earth category. Even though the narratives take place far from our home planet, the characters face similar choices and consequences to those they would face should the stories be played out on today's Earth. The challenges (and dangers) are just as real as the ones faced by you and me.

Title to be determined later, I've begun to collect and order these tales which occur beneath skies very different from our skies. 
​I have attached a few of the covers of the publications in which the science fiction stories I'm putting in a science fiction story collection and offering to a publisher have already been published.

  • Amazing Stories.jpg

    "Amazing Stories" Winter 2018 contains Vonnie's story, "A Horse and he Boy."
    My science fiction story, "A Horse and her Boy," is included in "Amazing Stories" Winter 2018. It is told from the point of view of an automaton horse. "A Horse and her Boy" examines what it means to be "real." The story also appears in "The Fifth Di..." June 2020.
  • Chuck Gannon Antho.jpg

    "Lost Signals of the Terran Republic" contains Vonnie's story, "From the Stars."
    My science fiction story, "From the Stars," is included in the anthology, "Lost Signals of the Terran Republic." Faced with the realization that humanity is not only not alone, but seeded elsewhere in the universe when she examines ruins on a faraway planet, the protagonist decides to smuggle the information back to Earth even though the consequences could prove deadly.
  • Of Gods and Globes 2.jpg

    "Of Gods & Globes II" contains Vonnie's story, "Asteria."
    My science fiction story, "Asteria," is included in the 2020 anthology, "Of Gods & Globes II." Combining Greek mythology and astronomy while referencing Lovecraft's Cthulhu myth, the story examines if two very different species can develop a friendship.
  • Fantasy Short Stories anthology.jpg

    "Fantasy Short Stories: Anthology Series Book One" contains Vonnie's story, "Travelogue."
    My science fiction story, "Travelogue," is included in "Fantasy Short Stories: Anthology Series Book One," published in Australia. The story was also published in "The Fifth Di..." September 2020. Set in the far-future, a group of middle-aged Earthers visit a wilderness planet for site-seeing and adventure. "Travelogue" examines an alien indigenous society and its compassion -- or lack thereof when a woman tumbles into their lives.
  • Breathe.jpg

    "Breathe: Anthology of Science Fiction" contains Vonnie's story, "The Drowning Pool."
    My science fiction story, "The Drowning Pool," is included in the 2020 book, "Breathe: Anthology of Science Fiction," published in India. "The Drowning Pool" is also published in the Japanese anthology, "Insignia Stories: Asian Science Fiction." Set on Mars in the future, it is part ghost story and part a nod to Lovecraft.
  • More Future Earth.jpg

    "Sci-Fi Stories: More Future Earth" contains Vonnie's story, "Alone at the End."
    My science fiction story, "Alone at the End," is included in the 2020 anthology, "Sci-Fi Stories: More Future Earth." The tale is about a survivalist who must decide if compassion is more important than potential exposure to a deadly pandemic.
  • Midnight Masquerade.jpg

    "Midnight Masquerade" contains Vonnie's story, "Masks."
    My science fiction story, "Masks," is included in "Midnight Masquerade." The story was also published in the 2020 anthology, "Future Syndicate II." The central character in "Masks" is an assassin who seems to kill without conscience until she's hired by the authorities on Mars to kill a child.
  • Bad-Romance-636x1030.jpg

    "Bad Romance" contains Vonnie's story, "City of the Hungry Coyote."
    My science fiction story, "City of the Hungry Coyote," is included in the 2020 anthology, "Bad Romance," from an Australian publisher. A tale of madness and the consequences of chemical poisoning, it's set on Mars.
  • dogs of war.jpg

    "Dogs of War" contains Vonnie's story, "Tower Farm."
    "Defending the Future's "Dogs of War" includes my dog story, "Tower Farm." A hard look at war, its consequences, and wounded warriors who still want to remain useful, "Tower Farm" is also part of "Outposts of Beyond" July 2016 and "Re-Launch."
  • Cirsova sum. 2020.jpg

    "Cirsova Magazine" Summer 2020 contains Vonnie's story, "Sail Safe."
    My science fiction story, "Sail Safe," is included in "Cirsova Magazine" Summer 2020. Set in a mining community on the moon, it's about a man hired to acquire the niece of a Martian settler, destructive secrets, and the price of the truth.

Dark Fantasy Short Story Collection

Believing stories help us learn from the past, embrace the complexities of the present, and prepare for the future, I write lots of stories. Believing myths, legends, folklore, and fairy tales are important to understanding people and their fears, familiar networks, societal structures, and core values, I use them for inspiration. This is the beginning place for all of my fiction.

I have been writing additional dark fantasy stories. Many of them have been published or are scheduled for publication. Again, I've noticed common themes and images weaving through these pieces of fiction. I have begun the process of ordering the stories and discovering where there are gaps in the over-arching narrative -- which a short story collection must have in order for the reader to feel a sense of cohesiveness.

​I cannot be certain when I will have a completed, publishable manuscript, because of exclusivity clauses with many of the anthologies and magazines. I have a publisher interested in the book once it is completed and free from contractual issues. I've attached covers of some of the places where these stories have been published.

  • Ethereal Tales Special Issue.jpg

    "Morpheus Tales: The Ethereal Tales Special Issue" contains Vonnie's story, "Black Bear."
    My dark fantasy story, "Black Bear, is included in "Morpheus Tales" (UK) presents "The Ethereal Tales Special Issue." This transformation tale also appears in the 2020 "Lockdown Paranormal Romance #1" anthology (Australia) and "Manawaker's Flash Fiction Podcast" (Germany).
  • Fantasia Divinity Mag Aug 2018.jpg

    "Fantasia Divinity Magazine" Aug. 2018 contains Vonnie's story, "Battlefields."
    Vonnie's story featuring Antietam and other battle sites, "Battlefields" was first published in "Fantasia Divinity Magazine," August 2018. "Battlefields" was reprinted in "Re-Haunt."
  • Faerie.jpg

    "Faerie" contains Vonnie's story, "Pixie-Led."
    My fantasy story, "Pixie-Led" is included in the 2020 anthology, "Faerie," published in Australia. Inspired by stray-sod pixies and their ability to get people lost, it's set on the Appalachian trail.
  • Ghostlight 2020.jpg

    "Ghostlight: The Magazine of Terror" Fall 2020 contains Vonnie's story, "The Wondercade."
    My dark fantasy story, "The Wondercade," is included in "Ghostlight: The Magazine of Terror" Fall 2020. Set in a roadside circus and amusement part, the story is told from the point of view of The Wondercade's owner.
  • Mythica.jpg

    "Mythica" contains Vonnie's story, "Biast Na Srognig."
    My fantasy story, "Biast Na Srognig" is included in the 2020 Australian anthology, "Mythica." Set on the Isle of Skye, it features a mythic creature more easily described as a water unicorn.
  • devolution z jan 2017.jpg

    "Devolution Z Horror Magazine" January 2017 contains Vonnie's story "Justice."
    My dark fantasy story, "Justice," is included in the Canadian magazine, "Devolution Z Horror Magazine" January 2017. Also published in "Re-Enchant," this tale is based on an obscure vengeful fairy who protects children.
  • Haunted Hallows.jpg

    "Haunted Hallows: Fright Fest" contains Vonnie's story, "Death and Thyme."
    My dark fantasy story, "Death and Thyme," is included in "Haunted Hallows: Fright Fest." Set in the Southern USA, the story features a woman who doesn't want to leave with Death when he shows up in her kitchen.

Magical Horses Short Story Collection

Again, I've found a group of my stories has a theme--magical horses. The horses in my fiction are fleet-footed, winged, horned, web-footed, mechanical, and more. Each equine is wondrous and its connection to a human is at the core of the narrative. While some of the stories are still being written, several have been published.
A publisher has already been found for this collection, though the contract isn't signed yet. I look forward to sharing more information as it becomes available. At this time, the book is scheduled for a summer 2022 publication.

  • hoofbeats flying with magical horses.jpg

    "Beneath the Summer Moon" by Vonnie Winslow Crist was included in "Hoofbeats: Flying with Magical Horses"
    "Beneath the Summer Moon" by Vonnie Winslow Crist was included in "Hoofbeats: Flying with Magical Horses" and "Best Indie Speculative Fiction: 2018."
  • something wicked this way rides.jpg

    "Pony Express" by Vonnie Winslow Crist is included in "Something Wicked This Way Rides."
    "Pony Express" by Vonnie Winslow Crist is included in "Something Wicked This Way Rides," a collection of Weird West tales from Dark Owl Press.
  • New Tales of Old cover.jpg

    "Jimmy Lynan's Horse" by Vonnie Winslow Crist is included in "New Tales of Old"
    "Jimmy Lynan's Horse" by Vonnie Winslow Crist is included in "New Tales of Old," a collection of stories based on old folktales and fairy tales.
  • best of iron faerie 2020.jpg

    "Biast Na Srognig" by Vonnie Winslow Crist is included in "The Best of Iron Faerie Publishing 2020"
    "Biast Na Srognig" by Vonnie Winslow Crist is included in "Mythica" and "The Best of Iron Faerie Publishing 2020."
  • Candy Capers.jpg

    "Fairy Floss" by Vonnie Winslow Crist is included in "Candy Capers"
    "Fairy Floss" by Vonnie Winslow Crist is included in "Candy Capers," from Raven & Drake Publishing.

Vonnie's Curated Collection

This artist has not yet created a curated collection.