Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Early Literary Influences - A Guest Post by Chris

Today's post is from well known reader, reviewer, blogger, and beta extraordinaire, Chris, of Stumbling Over Chaos. I've actually written a story dedicated to her two cats, Chaos and Mayhem.

When I asked her about a book that had a profound impact on her life, she directed me to a post on her site,  from May of 2010, reposted here by permission. Click this link to visit her site and read the original post.  Chris's appreciation for the work of Charles de Lint took the form of a letter to the author.

Dear Charles de Lint,
Back in the mid-90s, I discovered your short story collection Dreams Underfoot, which was my introduction not only to your writing and to the fantastical, fictional Canadian city of Newford that you created, but also to the world of urban fantasy. I was both enchanted and transported by the stories in that book, and I picked up everything you’d written that I could get my hands on.
You’ve written many more books since then, but the Newford books remain my favorites. I love that the city is as much a character as any other, making this some of the most truly urban fantasy I’ve read. I love how you skillfully weave European and Native American mythology together, so effectively that when I’ve finished reading one of your books, I’m more than half-convinced I can see hints of the magical out of the corner of my eye. I love how real your characters feel, and how effortlessly you have me caring and worrying about them. I love that the main characters from one book will show up as background characters in other books. I love that you see both the darkness and the light in people, yet your books leave me hopeful.
Often, when I read your books, I find myself jotting down sentences that particularly move me. Here are just a few that I’ve saved over the years:
Look inside yourself for the answers – you’re the only one who knows what’s best for you. Everybody else is only guessing. – Trader
Magic’s never what you expect it to be, but it’s often what you need. – Moonlight and Vines
Tattoos…are the stories in your heart, written on your skin. – The Mystery of Grace
“Well, I may not be so good at interacting with the world at large,” Suzi said, “but I’m sure about this much: It doesn’t matter where any of us come from, or even what we look like. The only thing that matters is who we are now.”
“That’s pretty good,” [Christiana] said finally, looking back at Suzi. “It puts the onus on yourself, instead of on where you came from. It suits what I like to think of as my independent temperament with the added bonus of making good sense. How can your genetic history or even your past ever begin to compete with who you are today?”
Suzi took that as a rhetorical question, so she didn’t worry about an answer. – Spirits in the Wires
Thank you for introducing me to urban fantasy – your books helped me discover that I wasn’t completely burned out on reading fantasy; I was just burned out on reading the traditional stuff. I hope that I can always hold on to the sense of wonder and hope you helped me rediscover.
P.S. And, um, I really wish I was one of the Crow Girls:)
Be sure to visit Chris at Stumbling Over Chaos often. Not only does she host frequent ebook giveaways but she's the mastermind behind the hilarious Misadventures in Stock Photography. She posts plenty of pictures of her adorable felines, and offers a host of worthy information with her "Linkety Posts." Chris will also help you select your next favorite book with her insightful reviews. 


  1. *blushing at Eden's kind words*

    1. Thanks for the post! I'd not heard of this author, which I guess is the reason for the series to begin with. To help someone else discover great books!

    2. He was one of the authors who defined urban fantasy in the 80s - when urban fantasy was simply contemporary fantasy in an urban setting and NOT paranormally stuff.

      Someplace To Be Flying is perhaps my favorite of his - whenever I find a copy used, I buy it to gift to someone. I've just mailed off the copy I had on hand, actually! :)

  2. Two of my fave people together in one place this morning. Love you, Eden! Love you, Chris! ~smooches~

    1. Awww... Love you too, Jason! And remember, if you have a favorite book from your younger years you'd like to post about, I'd love your input!

  3. Replies
    1. Me too! Hey, Cole, I'd love to have a post from you on a great book that means a lot to you from your younger days.

  4. I did too! I've got more books in my TBR pile now!

  5. The Newford books are my absolute favorite books of all time! They are an amazing mix of joy, pain, and wonder. I so wanted to be a friend of the Crow Girls and Meran.