Books, Fairy Tale

Preview Chapter of The Flight of The Starling

Get a taste of the funny, romantic, high-flying fairy tale, The Flight of The Starling, by reading Part One, where we meet our heroine on a hunt for forbidden fairies using magical detecting gear.

Princess Lily thought of fairies the way some girls think of “bad boys.” If a fairy had shown up at Castle Starling wearing a motorcycle jacket and a disrespect for authority, Princess Lily would have been head over heels before he spoke a word with his pouty, mutinous mouth.
So when two fairies ask for help escaping their master, Prince Alexander, who has come to court her, Lily is forced to rescue herself along with them. Fleeing to Queen Persephone’s halfway castle for Lost Girls, Lily follows the cryptic advice of a magical Book, befriends a dragon with a knight bodyguard, and hides from the bounty-hunting gang of princes chasing her hand in marriage.
As The Knightly Times’ coverage of her flight gets more and more sensational, Lily starts to doubt her choices. How can she sort out her own opinion from the tabloids, gossip, and fairy tales?

Paperback and e-book available now.

Part One, In Which We Meet a Beautiful Princess with an Interest in Fairies

Once upon a time, there lived a beautiful princess with the most amazing collection of magical artifacts ever assembled this side of Merlin’s boot closet (which historians have never been able to locate and therefore never catalog, but we can assume some pretty terrific magical thingamajigs were in it, so I’m sure you get what I mean).

This princess (whose name, if you want to know, was Lily) had long flowing locks of chestnut hair, and eyes that were, depending on her mood and the weather outside, sometimes green, sometimes brown, and, occasionally, golden. They were always fiery. Her eyebrows seemed always to be asking a question, and her lips looked like they knew the answer. Her nose, I’m afraid, was remarkably dull, but overall the people of her kingdom of Starling found her “radiant” and “stunning – a royal gem!” (Sir Scandalot of the Knightly Times).

Princess Lily had a magical mirror with one side that showed you the person you always hoped you might be, and the other showed your inner, true, undeniable self. Princess Lily liked to use this device to look under her bed. Mostly she saw dust bunnies munching around, and one or two home gnomes who must not have liked themselves much, based on what the mirror showed her.

She had a magical key ring that always came when you called it, only it happened to have a name that was hard to pronounce (try to say “ghoti” while sneezing). If Princess Lily didn’t get the inflection just right, the key ring’s feelings were hurt, and it would sulk for days and not come out. She’d given up locking her lavatory, rather than risk never seeing daylight again.

Princess Lily had scads and scores of these kinds of magical artifacts. Little dolls that danced the tarantella. Crystals that sang, only slightly off-key, when the sun shone on them. A hat that always made your hair look better, instead of worse. They coated the shelves in her bed chamber. They dripped off the end tables onto the floor. They made sweeping under the bed nearly impossible, much to the delight of the dust bunnies.

On the day of the Grand Duke’s son’s bris, Princess Lily and her friend, Alistrina, were out in the kitchen garden using magical artifacts to hunt for fairies. The princess knew fairies existed, but she’d never personally seen one, the way you know grizzly bears are real but haven’t run into any on your way to the pickle emporium. The Grand Duke was rumored to keep fairy servants, and since baby-related ceremonies are favorable times to have Little Folk around, he might have brought them to Castle Starling. Princess Lily hoped so, anyway.

“Anything yet?” Princess Lily asked her friend.

“I’m afraid not.” Alistrina, a blonde, solid girl whose only true beauty was the perfect orderliness of her teeth, waved her hand around in slow circles in front of her. She turned toward different parts of the late-spring garden, the green vines climbing trellises, neat rows of vegetables, and sunshine filtering through the fruit trees near the sandstone courtyard wall. “Not a flicker on this Fairy Ring.” The large gem in the Ring she wore – magicked to change color in the presence of fairy folk – was a soft and resolute blue. “What about you, see anything special?”

Princess Lily adjusted the large pink spectacles she wore over her amazing eyes. “Well, that goat over there should really be chased out of the turnip patch.” She pointed to a male gardener pulling turnips up by the root. He sat back and stroked his rather pointy beard, and laughed. Lily waved a hand at him and said, “Shoo!”

Alistrina rolled her eyes, deciding not to explain this to the princess, who began collecting magical artifacts because of her obsession with fairies. In the Enlightened Kingdoms, an average family might have two or three treasured magical items, passed down as precious heirlooms, and royalty like the Starlings had a few dozen amusing trinkets, but still needed servants to sweep and cook and garden in a most un-magical manner. “Perhaps the Rose-Colored Glasses aren’t working,” suggested Alistrina. “Shouldn’t they be showing the magical creatures around you, not goats?”

“They’re supposed to see through magical enchantments, so if a fairy is disguised behind a glamour, I should be able to see it,” said the princess. “Come on, there’s nothing out here. Let’s try the kitchen.”

Cooks were pulling copper pots off racks, chopping vegetables and lamb on different ends of the chopping blocks in the castle’s large kitchen, and otherwise stirring, baking, or bustling around to make the feast.

“I don’t understand why your father doesn’t just get you a fairy. Can’t the king get you anything you want?” Alistrina nicked a pastry from a basket and shared a smile with the baker.

Alistrina was from the neighboring realm of Lualdath, so the ways of Starling and King William were foreign to her. “My father banned fairies from the kingdom,” explained Princess Lily, leaning back against the wooden counter. “When my father was a prince, my grandfather tried to give him a fairy companion, but granddad didn’t know much about fairies. He ended up getting a changeling, which was just a boy with slightly pointy ears. My dad got along with ‘Fred the fairy’ for a while, but when he started refusing to eat his special diet of green leaves and sunshine, and wanted to share the prince’s human food, people figured it out. My father always says this fascination with fairies is nonsense liable to lead to disappointment and a smaller share of cake. When he became king, he fired all the fairy servants. Only really special guests like the Grand Duke are even allowed to bring them in, and only if my father doesn’t have to feed them.”

“But you were telling me about home gnomes who stole your keys. Don’t they count?”

“Other fae-kind are still allowed. Ever since last fall’s Curdled Custard Fiasco, I’ve suspected trolls of haunting the castle. But fairies aren’t welcome, and it’s been so many years, now they mostly stay away.”

“Not that it keeps her highness from looking for them,” piped in a baker, vigorously kneading dough nearby. “We all know what you’re looking for, highness, with them rosy specs.” The large woman nodded her head knowingly.

“I’ve never actually seen a fairy,” Lily finished wistfully.

Many girls love stories about pixies, nixies, and sprites, but Lily’s obsession went beyond the typical, in spite of, and perhaps because, her father was the one who had pushed them out of her reach. Princess Lily thought of fairies the way some girls think of “bad boys.” She knew very well that they could be mischievous, sly, and selfish, but they were also dashing, mysterious, forbidden, and incredibly romantic. If a fairy had shown up at Castle Starling wearing a motorcycle jacket and a disrespect for authority, you can be sure Princess Lily would have been head over heels before he spoke a word with his pouty, mutinous mouth.

Alistrina had more ordinary interests for a teenage girl. “How long are we going to keep looking? I saw the courtiers as they came in, and some of them were unbelievably cute. I don’t want to miss our chance to … bump into them.” Alistrina raised her eyebrows, implying many possibilities.

The princess resettled the Glasses on her nose. “We haven’t even finished this room yet. We’ll make it in time it to the feast after the ceremony.”

Alistrina sighed. “Alright but if the boy with the blue leaf doublet is talking to some other maiden by the time we get there, I may never forgive you.”

The search of the kitchen turned up bupkus — which is to say no fairies — as did the scullery, the servants’ quarters, the Tower Of The Moon and the one Of The Sun. Several times Alistrina reminded Princess Lily of her promise to get to the party. The princess reminded Alistrina whose castle she was in, then, feeling a twinge of remorse, repeated her promise that they could go soon.

Finally in the guest wing, they began to get results with their fairy detecting gear. Lily knew the bedspread on the large four-poster bed to be green, but it looked an awful mustard color with her pink Glasses. The person lodging in this room must’ve had some kind of pet, for a small iron cage lay on the floor in one corner, with a soft pillow inside and two small dishes for food and water. 

“The Fairy Ring is flickering! I think it’s changing color,” Alistrina said. “Oh, good goblins, it was but only for a second.”

“Don’t swear, it’s un-lady-like,” shushed Princess Lily.

“And sneaking into guest’s rooms isn’t?”

Lily hesitated. It wasn’t proper to sneak into people’s rooms, even in her own castle, but she couldn’t think of a better chance to see a fairy in person, something she had yearned for all her life. She knew better than to ask straight out about the Grand Duke’s fairies – her father would surely make her sit through the hours-long “fairy nonsense” lecture again.

Finally she said, a high justifying tone slipping into her voice, “It’s not as if we’re snooping for people’s secrets. We’re only looking for fairies.”

Alistrina laughed. “It’s never ‘only’ with you, highness. Not when it’s anything to do with fairies.”

Princess Lily looked around the guest room with her Rose-Colored Glasses. Everything in the room looked ordinary, though pinkish. “Maybe we should stop now and just go to the par–“

She stopped abruptly, and pointed under a small table near the open door.

“Over there!” the princess whispered. “I see this faint trail of glitter. Try the Ring.”

Alistrina held her hand up where Lily pointed, as both girls took a silent step closer.

“I think it’s … yes … it’s changing to green.” They looked at the Ring as its neutral blue faded and transformed slowly to a swirling green, that meant a fairy had at long last been found.

They squealed in excitement and clasped each other’s hands. When they looked back at the Ring, the green was fading back to blue again. “What’s happening?” asked Alistrina.

The trail of glitter led from the original spot through the open door. “It’s on the run,” said Lily. “Quick!”

They ran out into the hallway which was lined with floor-to-ceiling tapestries. Quickly they figured out the fairy was heading in the direction of the Second Most Grand Hall. Though they couldn’t see the creature itself, they saw where it rippled the thick tapestries as it ran. The Fairy Ring kept detecting, flashing various colors as they chased it. The glittery shine the princess could see was strongest at the head of the trail, fading behind the fairy like the tail of a comet. 

It was incredibly fast. Even as the girls ran down the hallway, the fairy was several yards ahead of them and they barely gained on it. Before they could get within a yard of it, they were all running into the Second Most Grand Hall and the crowded court.

The hall was a series of white plaster arches which intersected in three connected domes high overhead, with a delicate sandy yellow on the rounded walls in between. A plinth at the base of each arch held a potted ivy plant, which climbed and clung to the walls as the only decoration. Right then the hall was standing room only, with a rabbi, the duke’s family, and the king and queen on a little dais in front of a few hundred courtiers. The guest of honor was fussing and wondering when someone would change his diaper.

The princess and her friend looked anxiously over the heads of the throng, along the floor between noble knees, and then they began weaving through the crowd.

“A wing, I saw a wing! Just there, over that man’s shoulder!” Lily pointed.

“Yes, there’s green in that direction! Get closer!”

Anxious not to lose it, the maidens moved quickly, brushing and bumping past people to reach a short man with the most beautiful head of hair the princess had ever seen. On one shoulder of his gold jacket, peeking out from behind his collar, was a slender shimmering wing with purple tracings and an iridescent shine.

Behind her Glasses the princess’s eyes blinked from brown to green as a thrill swept through her chest. Lily pointed with her naked finger. Alistrina pointed with her ring finger. They nodded, and stepped toward the man.

He wasn’t much taller than Princess Lily. Turning toward Lily, he gave them a smile in silent greeting, which turned a little confused with an uplift of his brow, then downright alarmed as the brow flipped a U-ey when he realized their intense gaze was targeting him. He shifted his weight nervously from one foot to the other, and took a step backward.

The princess stared intently at his shoulder. Alistrina strained on tiptoe a little as the shoulder in question was turned away from her. As they approached, the Fairy Ring flickered green/blue/green/red/blue, and the Rose-Colored Glasses showed the gossamer wing slip out of sight around the man’s tall collar.

Princess Lily circled around to see the fairy. The small, glittering winged person looked up at her with knowing black eyes. By this point the little man was so perplexed and disquieted that when she reached for the fairy, he could do nothing but throw up his hands and emit a little shriek of terror.

Fortunately for our princess, at that same moment the ceremony concluded and everyone in the crowd was throwing up their hands and cheering. With the man’s sudden movement, the dainty creature clutched at his jacket with its tiny fingers, then fell. The man’s arm bumped Lily and her Glasses flew off, her eyes flashing bright green. The fairy fell into her waiting hands as Lily held her breath in elation and wonder at her first real fairy encounter.

But what landed in her hands, and what she saw with her unmagical, fiery eyes, wasn’t a fairy at all. It was long, furry, and weasel-like, with small rounded ears, a pointy pleasant face, short legs and a skinny tail. The animal was soft and white and looked up at her with knowing black eyes.

“Oh your highness, you gave me such a fright,” said the little man. Without the Glasses, Lily could see his coat was a light brown, not cloth-of-gold at all. His hair was as far from beautiful as a grown man can wear: streaks of greasy hair combed over a freckled bald spot.

“If only I had known your highness was interested in ferrets, I would have gladly shown you Stanley when the bris was over. But there, I see he likes you.”

“Stanley?” said Alistrina, in wonderment, finally getting a look at the creature.

“Ferret?” squeaked Princess Lily in disbelief. She looked down to see Stanley the Ferret chewing experimentally on the lace of her cuff, then give it up for a bad job and climb inside her wide bell sleeve. His tiny claws dug into the flesh of her arm.

She tried to grab him inside the sleeve without success, and Alistrina touched the outside of the dress to guide him out. Her Ring pulsed a most excited shade of green where her hand lay over the ferret. She and the princess locked eyes.

“Alistrina, are you absolutely sure that’s a Fairy Ring?” Her voice dropped to a dead-serious tone, or at least as serious as she could manage while trying to wrestle the ferret out of her dress.

“My maid said it was when she opened my birthday gifts and read me the cards.” Alistrina’s face contorted in remorse and confusion. “I suppose it’s possible I didn’t hear her right….”

“Are these yours, my dear?” The combed-over man handed the pink spectacles back to Princess Lily. “My brother has a pair of those. Magic shows you what you want to see most in the world. He married the ugliest girl I ever seen in my life, and lived happily with her these 20 years.

“And I see you’ve got a Ferret Ring!” He amiably brought up his hand to show Alistrina a ring the exact copy of her own. “No wonder you were both so keen on meeting Stanley. I never take mine off when I travel with him, makes no end of difference when trying to find him behind the couch cushions.”

Lily took one last hopeful jab for the day at her lifelong wish. “I don’t suppose you know whether the Grand Duke brought his fairy servants to the castle, do you?”

“No, his manservant was complaining to my manservant that he had ever so much more work because they left the fairies at home. Wouldn’t do to upset the king when he’s your host,” the ferret owner said with a smile.

By now Stanley had emerged from Lily’s sleeve onto her collarbone, where he was licking her neck and earlobe. It was a warm, cuddly sort of a thing, and it tickled. Lily was no longer startled by the ferret, and despite her disappointment over her failed fairy hunt, she couldn’t help laughing.

The Flight of The Starling, A Fairy Tale is available for pre-order on Amazon and IngramSpark now, for the release on November 1.

All the best,

Ella Arrow Author

Lightning Hunting

I haven’t been writing as much as I intended on this blog dedicated to finding magic and wonder when life is hard. I keep having ideas and then rejecting them as not inspired enough. Feels like everything on the internet must be Pinterest-worthy these days. I realized I’ve been thinking about it wrong. It’s not that I need the answer, to offer tasty tidbits that will teach readers how to live a magical life. I mean, sometimes, if I’m lucky and lightning strikes, yes. But I don’t want this blog to turn too sweet, too optimistic, poisonous positivity. It’s about the struggle, right?

Yesterday was a struggle. For one reason or another I was cranky. I was feeling mildly unwell, like you do in early March/late winter, when the sky is grey, the snow is grey, and the people are grey from lack of vitamin D and too much worry about the latest flu virus. Yesterday I was Neville who died from ennui.

Neville Ennui
Gashleycrumb Tinies by Edward Gorey, copyright Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 1997

My mental to-do list is always bigger than my time or energy, especially when I’m forced to do something unavoidable, like work or cook. That’s when the to-do list balloons, taking over the margins of my brain beside meeting notes or vegetables. And when work is done, the couch beckons, Gardenscapes or a word game on my phone rots my brain and then before I know it I’ve whittled away my afternoon, and my son is late for karate. 

Obviously I’m a terrible mother. No other mother in the history of karate lessons has ever taken her son to a 30-minute class 10 minutes late. The shame. The horror. How will I ever make it up to him?!? This is my inner voice until every little thing my daughter did evoked a snarl while we sat for 20 whole minutes in the viewing chairs at the dojo.

I tried to reset, sitting there taking deep breaths among the chatting parents and the shouting uniformed child army. I wonder why it didn’t work?

I tried to reset at home, making dinner, moving about in tedious tidying, feeding one animal after another. I wonder why it didn’t work??

I’ve been reading my book (shameless plug) to my children at bedtime. This is a one-of-a-kind joy, something I can never do for the first time again, and it makes me want to write 10 more children’s books before they grow up, just so I could read them aloud to them. But lately, when they’re upstairs alone to get pajamas on, they’ve been playing together happily, sometimes for the first time all day. 

So there was no time for stories before lights out.

I sat on my gray couch in my blue living room feeling sorry that I’d wasted my afternoon instead of writing, wondering how I could chase the clouds away while also staying relaxed enough as I wound down toward my own sleep. And that’s when I remembered sometimes it is a struggle. Sometimes you must seek out that spark of joy, not try to will the dark clouds away but run towards the sun. I looked through my library, where I’d recently fluffed my books, rearranging them, and grabbed a tall heavy tome on Michelangelo. I’d inherited this book and didn’t know it well. I was disappointed to see such an abundance of text, academic for sure (though I didn’t read it) and far too many sketches to my non-art-student eyes.

But then there he was, floating on a parchment-colored page: a man’s face in profile. Sketched in red pencil, the lines of his stroke are clearly visible. His face was so clear, so detailed, so specific. I would know this person if I passed him on the street. A weight lifted from my shoulders. A lightness entered me.

Copyright Art Grafiche Ricordi S.p.A. Milan, 1964

Sometimes when I look on great works, I feel I’ve wasted my life. Like Alexander Hamilton, I used to write like I’m running out of time, but job and kids and house and friends and TV and Facebook, and, you know, life, take all my creative energy, and I let them.

But this wasn’t that feeling. What I felt was pure awe.

This was no masterpiece looking down on me from a chapel ceiling, distant and untouchable in its perfection. It was just a sketch. A human brain conceived it, a human hand had drawn it. I could easily imagine Michelangelo scratching this at his kitchen table, planning a masterpiece (Did he even have a kitchen table? Guess I should try reading that book.), but even in that incomplete sketch, he had captured the essence of the real human in the drawing. 

Artists can turn ink into blood, so their creations pulse with life.

Writers, too, when lightning strikes. 

Sometimes you have to go lightning hunting.

All the best,

Ella Arrow Author
Photography, Tiny Stories

Dive In

My toes curled over the pier and gripped the underside of the platform. The wind rippled along my dorsal fin. This was it. If I retrieved the Pearl of Onakai from the Cave of Tears, I would be queen. Assuming I survived the Gauntlet of Terrors first. My knees wobbled. My fingers gripped my mother’s knife. My second stomach churned, but my brain whispered, “Dive in.”

All the best,

Ella Arrow Author
Books, Fairy Tale

Becoming Real

I got my proof copies of my book, The Flight of The Starling, in the mail yesterday. I don’t know why I ordered 5 of them, the max Amazon allowed, when I can get author copies for the same price in a few days. I was excited, I guess, to hold it in my hands, and I’m more likely to walk into book stores with a real product to pitch than an ephemeral web link.

I keep picking the book up. Stroking the cover. Flipping it over to confirm the presence of my photo on the back. Feeling its weight. Opening to a random page and reading till something makes me laugh. There are so many little jokes in it that I have forgotten.

I want to sleep with it under my pillow. I want to wear it inside my shirt over my heart.

Every time I got through a new gate, over a new hurdle, in this publishing journey, I would say to myself, “It’s starting to look like a real book.” The cover. The pre-sale listing. The author web page. “It’s almost like a real book.”

So today as I hold the book, I think, “Is it a real book yet? When is the moment it becomes a real book? When I get the final print? When I see it on a shelf in a store? When a stranger buys and reads it? Is there one moment?”

I am Pinocchio. I am the Velveteen Rabbit. I am waiting to be loved enough to become real.

It feels oddly similar to how I felt before giving birth. I remember being 5 or 6 months pregnant with my first child when I got my first gift of baby clothes. I held up the onesie, sized for a 7-pound newborn human. Tiny for clothes, but huge it seemed to me, with the baby still part of my body. I also had certain, specific expectations of how I would feel when giving birth, and was disappointed when the experience delivered something else. Something more complicated than those glossy narratives of new motherhood.

So I’m trying not to manage my expectations too much. I want to feel however I feel about publishing my first book without telling myself a story of how I should be feeling at this or that milestone. I don’t want to create a story of what my experience will be, because I know now that can set up its own kind of disappointment. I’ve loved this book a long time and it is so scary to think of people possibly hating it. Not getting it. Thinking it doesn’t work or isn’t worth the effort. If there is a point where it becomes a “real” book, does that armor me against the opinions of people who don’t think it should be?

I don’t know. I think it was a real book long ago. I’ve just been waiting to finally put it into newborn clothes.

All the best,

Ella Arrow Author

Magic in Nature

October Snow

Snow on the ground this morning, the first of the season. And not a little snow – 2 or 3 inches. An impressive amount for October in southern Wisconsin.

Grr, said my son to the too-pretty trees.

I’d gone to bed in a foul mood after an up and down day. I got the first proof copies of my book, The Flight of The Starling, in the mail, which was thrilling, but I also spent half the day fighting with Microsoft Word and Adobe Acrobat over an embedded fonts problem. A stupid technical glitch that I have to fix in order to publish this book. So close and yet so far.

Plus the kids didn’t want to get out of bed, and for some reason, my son, who’s ten, decided that snow was the worst thing that could’ve happened to him. Oh what a hassle. We’ll have to find all our snow gear. (Nevermind that I did that while they ate breakfast.) Why oh why does the school make us put on snow pants to play outside?  On and on. His grumpiness infected me. By the time I was driving them to school – late out the door, plus extra minutes scraping the car – I was as pissed at the October snow as he was.

When I got back home, I realized I needed to reset. First snows are magical, and that is my quest: to seek out the magical aspects of life, to acknowledge that awe can be found every day if only we look. More troubleshooting is still ahead of me today, and I didn’t want to give in to the dark clouds so early in the day. I decided I would try my best to appreciate the first snow, to look with new eyes and see the wonder in it, dammit.

All it took was a walk around my block. The first thing I noticed was the sounds, a shushing and a plopping as the trees threw snowballs with their leaves. (Yes, I got hit, once. Yes, I shrieked.)

Octoplant creeps up toward the jacks.

The neighbors’ potted plant, long leaves thickened with snow, became a tentacled monster. Halloween decorations turned cartoonish, plastic skeletons grinning at their foolishness in the extra bright light. A huge rope spiderweb tied to porch rails sparkled with frost.

Now don’t you feel silly.

The trees dropped spontaneous snow-showers, flash flurries that glittered in the morning sun, silver and gold. The orange and red leaves on the sidewalk stood out more sharply, a last flame of fall before the black and white of winter.

It wasn’t just the snow itself that seemed beautiful – it was the autumn snow. The October snow. And of course, bare black trees outlined in clinging white are pretty hard to growl at. My cheeks grew pleasantly chilled in one block, and the warmth inside my front door was welcoming and soft.

The hardest part of finding the magic was deciding that I could.

All the best,

Ella Arrow Author
Books, Fairy Tale

Beloit and Milwaukee: A Pixie and A Horse

I live in Wisconsin, in one of the many small towns that ring Madison by about ten miles. I figure it’s the distance a horse could ride in a day and that’s why all these towns sprung up, like a fairy ring of mushrooms. In my book, The Flight of The Starling, one of the two fairies is named Beloit. Beloit and his sister meet Princess Lily and convince her Prince Alexander is a horrible guy who likes to cut wings off fairies who annoy him, which makes the princess determined to rescue them.

Flag of Beloit

Beloit, Wisconsin, is about an hour away from my house. I drive past it to visit my friends in Chicago. I’ve never spent any time there. I’ve never had any reason to.

So why is an important character in my novel named Beloit?

Simple: Frank Zappa. And my mother.

Beloit on the cover. I picture him in lederhosen.

I grew up in the Midwest, and once on a road trip to Wisconsin, my mom recalled a funny quote when we passed Beloit. It wasn’t till years later that I learned it was something Zappa said in a concert in Wisconsin: “I can never hear the name ‘Beloit’ without thinking of the sound of a marble being dropped into a toilet bowl. Beloit!”

I’m probably butchering the quote, and I could not find an official reference to it. But my brother and I were in grade school at the time and we knew comedy gold when we heard it. A family running joke was born. We could never hear of Beloit without saying this, and sometimes we would just intone the word – low on the “bell” with a long L, a lilt and emphasis on the “oi” – and bust out laughing.

I don’t know why my brain picked Beloit as the name for a fairy. Marzipan’s name came first – a light and crunchy confection somewhere between candy and cookie. She’s Beloit’s sister, the other fairy in the fairy tale, and she is distinctly more salty than sweet. But she means well and would never try to hurt anyone with her mischief. Beloit is less practical than Marzipan, more silly, but together they make a perfect pair of pixies, finishing each other’s sentences and schemes.

Marzipan flies circles around your logic.

“Marzipan and Beloit” had a nice ring to it. I was definitely thinking of the marble in the toilet bowl when I named him. To me, Beloit will always be funny. The horse’s name, Milwaukee, was just a continuation of the joke. I don’t know why but I thought the random Wisconsin references got funnier the more I did it.

When I wrote The Flight of The Starling, I lived in Montana. I had no thought of moving closer to Beloit. Now that I am a Wisconsinite, I have to say, I think naming a fairy Beloit is even funnier than it was when I wrote it. I apologize to any Beloitites (Beloiters? Beloitians?) who don’t agree, or who think the splooshing onomatopoeia is an insult. What can I say, I was a child, and it stuck in my head. You’ll have to take it up with Frank Zappa.

What would you name a fairy and why? Leave me a comment.

All the best,

Ella Arrow Author

The Flight of The Starling, A Fairy Tale, is available for pre-order on Amazon and IngramSpark now, for release on November 1.

Fairy Tale, Photography, Tiny Stories

Snow Apples

It was the snow that made the apples irresistable. The icy glaze obscured any hint of discoloring poison, and heightened the longing for the last sweets before true winter gripped the forest. Now a sprinkle of magic to make the crabapples grow. There. Three of them in an old woman’s basket. White as her skin, red as her lips indeed. The girl would never suspect a gift so perfect, so like her fable.

Visit my store at to find art prints, canvases, and other cool stuff made from my art.

All the best,

Ella Arrow Author