Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Dreamtime Fantasy Authors Presents: 10 Facts about "Count Vlasko's Curse" by Paul Jennings, and 12 Facts About "Mulo" by Penny Blake

"Count Vlasko's Curse" Fun Facts

1) Miss Henderson is a character from my stories about Victorian husband and wife team called “Jennings and Jennings Paranormal Investigations”.

2) They are, as this story is, gothic comedies.

3) More of Miss Hendrson and her employer's adventures can be found in The Benthic Times. (

4) Her male friend is a police detective, which is unfortunate as she is the daughter of a renowned London villain.
5) She is prone to malapropisms.

6) She started life in the stories as a minor character for one story, and literally fought her way to be a major character.

7) The story seemed a nice way to put her in the spotlight.

8) "Count Vlasko's Curse" was mostly written in one long session after several days of musing.

9) The story is something of a homage to Hammer House of Horror movies, but with our usual comedic twist.

10) Dreamtime Damsels and Fatal Femmes is a charity anthology! As with Dreamtime Dragons, the Dreamtime Fantasy Authors continue to support the Abbington Ferret Refuge in Northamptonshire, England.

"Mulo" Fun Facts
  1. I'm a Romani writer who writes steampunk and mythpunk inspired by my Romanichal and Kalderash cultural heritage.
  2. Mulo is the Romani word for the spirits of our own dead but it actually translates as 'the wind people'. Folki means 'the people in our family'.
  3. The story is set in a post-apocalyptic era where workable land and water are scarce and focuses on an exclusively Roma community which has the same class/ caste system as other settled communities.
  4. I thought it would be interesting to explore the interplay of power and prejudice without bringing the issue of race into it.
  5. All the names in the story have a certain significance. Ndrita means to shine like a small, bright glittering light, to twinkle like a far off star. Ndrita embodies this – a small light that brings hope and then is gone again. Kejda, Lilibet, Dragan, Anika and Aleksa are the names of people who are very special to me. Sihana means like the moon. The moon reflects light, it isn't a true light itself, it reflects the power of the sun but it doesn't have it's own source of power. It can also seem like a cold light, illuminating without aiding life or growth. All this seemed to embody the character of Sihana. Baba means grandmother but it can refer to any older female care giver.
  6. The marsh lights are a real phenomenon here in Britain – and perhaps elsewhere. They are really caused by marsh gas igniting or sometimes by the glowing fungus known as fox fire. Marsh lights have also been called Death Lights, Jack of the Lantern and Peggy of the Lantern and were thought to be malevolent spirits who had drowned trying to lead travelers astray off the path and into the marshes. I first encountered marsh lights in Bleaklow, Derbyshire and have been obsessed with their lore ever since.
  7. I wanted the story to be gritty and realistic but also carry a thread of hope – to explore power imbalances that are inherent in all social constructs regardless of race or culture but also to highlight the notion of choice as a facilitating vehicle for change. Nothing actually changes in the story on a societal level, but the two main characters, Ndrita and Anika, both changed a little for a moment – they put aside their prejudices to save the life of someone they would normally abhor, and who would normally detest them. They took back the power of choice.
  8. The story was written in about three hours but the themes had been brewing under the surface for over a year so it would be more honest to say it took a year to write!
  9. Writing is never a clean process and I had some initial problems with keeping the tense and perspective consistent between the characters' different scenes – something I wouldn't have picked up on if not for the fantastic editing team so I owe a lot to them for helping me get that straight!
  10. This is the third short story I have had included in a print anthology, although I've had several published in online magazines like Quail Bell, so it's very exciting!
  11. My own favourite character is Anika's Ma. She is so like a lot of my own older relatives – stuck in their ways and clinging to superstitions so ancient they barely understand their meaning themselves, wise in so very many ways but powerless against the problems of modern times for which all their handed down wisdom couldn't possibly have prepared them.
  12. I don't tend to write stories with a message or a moral, instead I hope my writing opens doors and then leaves them open in case others want to come in and explore what I'm exploring.

If you found these facts interesting, don't miss "Count Vlasko's Curse" and "Mulo" within the covers of Dreamtime Damsels and Fatal Femmes, by the Dreamtime Fantasy Authors!
More "Fun Facts":
-"A Wizard's Quandary"/"Muliebral The Bold"
-"Nicole Falling: A Southwestern Horror Story"
-"Red, The Wolf"

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