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Fairy Tale Illustrators - Anne Anderson


Anne Anderson (1874—26 May 1952)

Anne (Annie) Anderson was a Scottish illustrator known primarily for art nouveau style children’s book illustrations. She was also an etcher, designer of greetings cards and a watercolour painter.

Born in Scotland in 1874, Anne spent her childhood in Argentina with her parents, James and Grace, and her four brothers and one sister. She left Argentina on reaching adulthood and found work in England. In 1910 she was able to afford to buy her a cottage 
with her earnings in Burghfield Common, Berkshire. She married the artist Alan Wright in June 1912. They collaborated on many of the books she illustrated; he would draw the birds and animals. 

There is some debate as to the date of her death. Some sources list her death in the 1930, while there are those that state she died in 1936. Yet there are others that claim she was still alive after the Second World War. However, there is an entry in the Berkshire Burial index for a married artist named Annie Wright aged 76, on 29th May 1952. It states she had resided in Burghfield Common.

Amongst the many children’s books she illustrated were the following fairy tale books:
    • Briar Rose Book Of Old Old Fairy Tales -London. T.C. & E.C. Jack Ltd. Approx. 1920
    • Anderson Fairy-Tale Book - London: T. Nelson & Sons, 1923
    • Hans Andersen's Fairy Tales - London; Glasgow: Collins Clear-Type Press 1924
    • A Series of Fairy Tales - Nelson 1928
    • The Fairy Tale Omnibus - Collins 1929
    • Old, Old Fairy Tales - New York, Thomas Nelson & Sons, n.d

If you are interested in taking a look or even purchasing art prints of Anne Anderson’s illustrations there’s a charming website here:

Please note I have no affiliation with the website.

Anne Anderson images (Public Domain) courtesy of Wikipedia/

© Paula M. Hunter

Snow White's Origins

 Public Domain

Snow White is a German fairy tale which was known across much of Europe. Now it is one of the most famous fairy tales worldwide. It was published by the Brothers Grimm in 1812 in the first edition of their collection, simply titled: Grimms’ Fairy Tales. In German the tale was titled Sneewittchen. Sneewittchen went through various revisions until 1854. At first it had been regarded as a fictional tale, until research suggested otherwise. 

Image : Schneewittchen Franz Juttner - 1910 Public Domain image wikimedia commons

Margaretha von Waldeck

BergfreiheitAxelHH at German Wikipedia / Public domain:

The story of Margaretha von Waldeck is first real life story that may have inspired the tale of Snow White. In 1994, the German historian Eckhard Sander published Snow White: Fairy Tale or True Story? He claimed he had uncovered an account that may have inspired the Grimm fairy tale. 

Mararetha von Waldeck was the daughter of Philip IV, Count of Waldeck-Wildungen, born 1493 and died 1574, and his first wife, Margaret Cirksena, born 1500 and died 1537, daughter of Edzard I, Count of East Frisia. According to the Bad Wildungen city documents, she was a famous beauty. From the year 1539 she had a very strict stepmother, Katharina von Hatzfeld (1510 -1546). At that time Margaretha lived in Weilburg at the court of Philip III, Count of Nassau-Weilburg. In 1545, she travelled through Siebengebirge (seven hills) to live with her mother’s brother Johann Cirksena at Valkenburg castle, which is now known as Limburg in the Netherlands. Later in 1549 she was sent by her father to the Brussels court of Mary of Hungary, to the governor of the Habsburg Netherlands and sister of Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor. Margaretha’s presence at court was meant to improve the relations with the emperor and help secure the release of Philip I, Landgrave of Hesse, who had been imprisoned in Brussels for his role in the Schmalkaldic War.

However, the situation in court became complicated as several high ranking men sought the hand of  Margaretha, including Lamoral, Count of Egmont. He arrived in court from Spain in 1549.  As she was Lutheran and Lamoral Catholic her parents refused his request to marry Margaretha. However, as most of Netherlands was Catholic at that time it wasn’t a viable excuse. It would seem that her father wished for her to marry for political connections in Netherlands. A move to Spain with Lamoral, would not suit his political agenda.

Margaretha died at the age of 21 in March 1554. The three surviving letter she sent to her father show that her health had steadily declined over the time. In the Waldeck chronicles it was suggested that she had been poisoned. Around the time of her death, an old man had been caught giving out apples laced with poisonous nightshade to children. However, since her father’s second wife died in 1546 and he only remarried again in October 1554, her stepmother was never suspected in the alleged poisoning.

Margaretha’s  father owned several copper minds, many of the workers were children, giving reference to the seven dwarfs. The child workers lived in groups of about 20 in a single room house. The residence of the dwarfs has been suggested to be the former mining village of Bergfreiheit, which is now a district of Bad Wildungen, which calls itself the Snow White Village. 



Maria Sophia von Erthal

Another real life tale is that of Maria of Maria Sophia von Erthal, who was born on the 15th June 1729 in Lohr am Main in Bavaria, Germany.  She was the daughter of Prince Philipp Christoph von Erthal, a landowner and his wife, Baroness von Bettendorff. After the death of his wife the prince married Claudia Elisabeth Maria von Venningen, Countess of Rechenstein. It was said that she disliked her stepchildren. The castle where they lived, which is now a museum, was home to a mirror that was famous for its smooth and even surface. Apparently this is something that was uncommon in that period. They referred to it as the “talking mirror,” because “it always spoke the truth” (this mirror is also in the museum). The mirror was manufactured in 1720 in Lohr. The left side of the mirror has the words “self love” etched into it. It had been in the house at the time Maria’s stepmother lived there.

The dwarfs are again linked to a mining town, Bieber, located west of Lohr and lays amongst seven mountains. The mine tunnels could only be accessed by short miners, they often wore bright red hoods. The glass coffin may be linked to the regions famous glassworks and the poisoned apple’s association may be with the deadly nightshade poison that grows in abundance in the Lohr.

Greek and Roman Mythology

KHIONE (Chione) was a nymph of Mount Haimos (Haemus) in Thrake (north of Greece). She was a daughter of Boreas, god of the north-wind, and Oreithyia, the lady of mountain gales. Khione is thought to be the goddess of snow (khiôn).She became by Poseidon the mother of Eumolpus, and in order to conceal the event, she threw the boy into the sea; but the child was saved by Poseidon

Scholar Graham Anderson compares the story of Snow White to the Roman legend of Chione, recorded in Ovid's Metamorphoses. The name Chione means "Snow" in Greek and, in the story, she is described as the most beautiful woman in the land, so beautiful that the gods Apollo and Mercy both fell in love with her. Mercury put her to sleep with the touch of his caduceus.

All uncredited  images are licensed purchased stock photos. 

© Paula M. Hunter

What is a Fairy Tale?


A fairy tale/faerie tale is a short story, in oral or literary form, mainly with origins in European traditions, although many of today’s fairy tales have evolved from centuries old stories, from multiple cultures, with variations dating back thousands of years. The tales vary from legends and fables. Legends are perceived as real, but are unauthentic traditional stories which are regarded as historical i.e. the legend of King Arthur. Conversely, fables are stories used to convey a moral and usually contain an inanimate object or animals e.g. the tortoise and the hare, from Aesop’s fables. Fairy tales fall within the genre of folklore and often include mythical creature such as: dwarfs, dragons, elves, fairies, giants, gnomes, goblins, griffins, mermaids, talking animals, trolls, unicorns, or witches, and usually magic or enchantments.

Gerda and the Ravens by Anne Anderson
Public Domain
The tales were first described as “fairy tales,” by Madame d'Aulnoy in the late 17th century. The Brothers Grimm were among the first to collect fairy stories from their oral origins, which had been handed down from generation to generation and perhaps over the years had changed somewhat from the original. The Grimm brothers German fairy tales published in 1812 and 1815, were far removed from the “sanitised” Grimm fairy tales we see today. They were quite grim and gruesome and not the kind of stories you would want to read to your children at bedtime. They rewrote the tales to make them more acceptable, increasing their popularity and sales. Later Hans Christan Andersen’s work would draw heavily from folklore and included fairy tale elements in his original tales.

Until the 19th and 20th century, adults were the original intended audience of a fairy tale, particularly in literary works of Madame d’ Aulnoy and Charles Perrault. Fairy tales were often used to teach children important lessons. Famous people commented on the importance of fairy tales, especially for children. Albert Einstein showed how important he believed fairy tales were for children’s intelligence in the quote “If you want your children to be intelligent, read them fairy tales. If you want them to be more intelligent, read them more fairy tales.”

©Paula M. Hunter

Watch this blog post's YouTube video. 

The Perils of Publishing - Part Two

 The Zero-Sum Game

Photo by Caio Resende 

When you imagine the life of an author what springs to mind? In my experience, there are those that imagine authors are making huge amounts of money for every book they publish and are living the high-life. Others imagine a struggling artist living on nothing but their imagination and despising the vulgar notion of receiving money for their art. OK, they may be extremes, but there are some truths here. Yes, there are bestselling authors that do rake in the income; however, they are in a tiny minority. There are hobbyists, who do consider their work as non-commercial art. When you consider the number of books published every year. I'm sure it will come as no surprise to learn that it is difficult to make sales. An article from Ebook Friendly (written in 2017) lists the figures by country. I expect in the years since those numbers will have increased exponentially. (Click on the button link below)
There cannot have been many authors that haven’t toyed with the idea of quitting writing at some point in their career. Low sales figures gloom and doom predictions and the closure of publishing houses don’t help matters. Selling anything in a competitive market is certainly not as easy as falling off a log, as hinted by some of the dubious advice that can be found out there. It’s a big learning curve for new authors and particularly those who self publish. When I first self-published I made a lot of mistakes, hopefully, I have learned from them. I am still learning, in particular how to market my books.

It is a bitter pill to swallow to learn that the manuscripts that you have lovingly slaved over, edited, re-edited, lost sleep over and cost money to produce and market, may only make enough royalties to pay for its production costs. Like me, many authors have a day job. Without it, we wouldn’t be able to afford to write or pay our bills. The same can be said for traditional published authors, their advances have to be covered. Only when a book surpasses the advance given, will they then be paid more royalties. Those six-figure advances you have read about…they rarely, if at all happen.

After paying for editing, formatting, book covers, and marketing cost, which consists of book promotion sites, Amazon, and Facebook advertising etc, a book already starts out in the red and in some cases may never recoup those costs. Even a free ebook comes at a cost to the author. Many authors do much of the work themselves and although there are a few ways to promote your book for free, promotional services like BookBub charge a hefty fee. I prefer to format and make my own covers, although I still have to purchase stock photos and I prefer not to edit my own work.

Since Amazon opened up their AMS – Amazon Marketing Services, to self-publishers the promotional playing field changed. Authors are pitted against each other in bidding for the best advertising spots and more often than not the ones with the deepest pockets will win those prized spots. I have tried AMS advertising, albeit on a small budget. I have either broke even or made a loss. I have come to the conclusion that the only one winning here is Amazon. It is said that books were always going to be a loss leader for them. Hence, the reason why they encourage free and rock bottom priced ebooks. That $0.99 ebook only nets the author a 35% royalty payment.

There are other outgoings too: email-marking providers like Mailchimp etc are free to use if you have a small list. Those with lists over 1500 – 2000 are charged a monthly fee. Instafreebie and BookFunnel provide ways for you to gain subscribers by giving your book away in exchange for a free ebook. If you wish to use them to in promotions to add subscribers to your mail list, this comes with a monthly fee. There are also other useful extras that come with the fee-paying plans. Then there’s the cost of running a website. Google is now recommending website owners purchase/provide an SSL certificate otherwise their websites will be flagged as unsafe. This is of concern to those who have eCommerce merchandise shops on their sites.

If I was cynical I would think of self-publishing like the nineteenth century gold rush, the ones making the money were those selling prospectors equipment. For many self-published authors, it really is a zero-sum game.

©Paula M. Hunter

The Perils of Publishing - Part One


Author Services

After seeing a discussion in one of my Facebook author groups, I thought it would be a good idea to make a post about the topic being discussed. If this post can help just one person or save them from falling into the trap of rip off author services, it will have served its purpose.

There are many out there who aspire to be a published author. Two ways you can achieve this are traditional publishing or self-publishing. Self-publishing may seem the easier and simpler option, but believe me, it is far from simple. The path to becoming a self-published author or indie author is not easy. There is much to learn, do your research, practice your writing and get feedback from others. This could be by starting a blog or joining a writer's group. Listen and take advice from those you can trust.

Even after you have invested much time and great effort into your work, there is no guarantee of success. Which brings me now to the heart of the matter. Since the advent of self-publishing more and more author services have appeared, all competing to part you from your hard-earned cash. There are legitimate services and many that are not. There are those that are not scams, however, some may make you promises they cannot keep or behave in a predatory manner. They promise to make you: the best selling author, a great writer, offer to promote your book to bestseller status and even those who provide you with a shortcut to becoming a writer by doing the work for you, but at an exorbitant price. You can find editors, developmental editors, proofreaders and ready-made book covers at reasonable prices. Again do your research or ask for recommendations. You could do these things yourself if you have the ability to do so, or find a friend or relative who can. Please be aware that whatever you put out there has got to be of a decent standard. Readers will not forgive you for publishing a bad quality book.

The most shocking thing about some of these services is the fact that they are run by authors. I am not in any way insinuating that they are doing anything illegal. It is in my opinion that they are motivated by making money for themselves and not giving their customers true value for their money. They are selling an illusion to aspiring authors. Believe me, when I say, there are NO shortcuts to success.

If you are interested in using a service, use one tried and tested. Perhaps one that comes recommended by someone you can trust. Research the companies online, check their feedback and ratings. Always err on the side of caution.

    Image: Skitterphoto 
©Paula M. Hunter

Book Reviews - Fact and Fiction

Book Reviews - Fact & Fiction

Many would think that the subject of Book Reviews would not be controversial. But far from it, the deeper you dig the more you find. Do I take book reviews seriously? Yes and no, much depends on who is reviewing and by what means.

There are many websites where you can buy books or dedicated websites about books where people can leave reviews or comment about books they have read.  The two biggest are Amazon and Goodreads; which incidentally was bought by Amazon in 2013. 

Many of you have probably left a product review on Amazon. This has been our privilege since the site started. The idea behind a review is to inform potential purchasers about the book, video, game, etc, you have purchased. The major flaw with this is a person's review is subjective. What someone may think is a great book or film, another may be of an opinion that is the complete opposite. You may argue it is the same case with film, theatre and restaurant critics, their reviews vary too. 

At one time the only place you could find a review for a book would be in a newspaper or magazine. Times have certainly changed, anyone and everyone can now have their say. This may not be a bad thing.  But, yes there is a big but, some will inevitably want to play God. This is where things can start to get out of hand. Should readers leave scathing or one-star reviews for books just because they: don't like the author, don't like the book cover, don't like the book genre or just for the sheer hell of it. In some cases they are just, sometimes the reviewer has never even purchased or read the book.

Our buying choices on sites like Amazon are influenced by reviews, if you find a product with many one or two-star reviews, you will more than likely not consider buying it. The opposite of a product with many five-star reviews. But are all these good or bad reviews genuine and honest reviews? The answer to that is No. There has been a lot of bad press over the years, particularly with book reviews.

As far back as 2012, a best-selling British crime author was exposed. He had several fake Amazon accounts. He left glowing reviews for himself but trashed his rivals. You can read more about it here:  

This practice is known as sock puppets, other authors have been suspected of doing it to create an interest in their work. One offender is an author who spent $6000 paying a company to leave reviews for his books. They also threw in a few one-star reviews to make them look legitimate. He even wrote a book called: "How I sold One Million Ebooks in Five Months. "Neglecting to tell readers about how he really managed to sell one million ebooks in five months. He claimed the reviews didn't affect his sales.

Does a review with a "Verified Purchaser" status prevent fraud? No, even though this is flawed, the above author also arranged for the fake reviewers to purchase his books from Amazon. So you can even pay someone to buy your books, seems like defeating the object, but with the kind of sales he was getting...

It has been known for dishonest reviewers to purchase a kindle book just to get the Amazon Verified Purchaser tag. They then proceed in giving the book a scathing 1-star review. They often use an ad hominem attack as their review and then promptly return the book for a refund.

I am very grateful to readers for reviews, and as long as reviews are honest and give positive feedback, and or constructive criticism authors welcome them. 


Once Upon a Time Promotion

Once Upon a Time Promotion :

 Fantasy & Science Fiction with Classical References

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The Mystery of Saint Valentine

Valentine's Day, Saint Valentine's Day or The Feast of Saint Valentine is celebrated on the 14th February. It is a day to celebrate love and is observed by giving flowers; particularly roses, chocolates, gifts, and cards. According to the Greeting Card Association nearly 160 million Valentines cards are sent every year.  

But who was Saint Valentine? What is the mystery surrounding Saint Valentine? Why is he the Patron Saint of love? 

All will be revealed.

Image: Flower Heart by Bartosz Szamborski - Creative Commons  Via Wikimedia commons.

There is More Than One Saint Valentine

The name Valentine derives from the word Valens which in Latin means Strong, healthy, vigorous.

There are three Saint Valentines or rather Valentinus, that have connections with the 14th February. One a Roman priest, one the Bishop of Iteramna, now know as Terni in Italy and another who was martyred in the Roman Province of Africa; now known as Tunisia. Very little is known about this St.Valentine.

Who is the Real Saint Valentine?

Two Saints two stories - Part 1

Saint Valentine lived and was martyred in the third century. However there are two conflicting stories; who is the Saint Valentine that is celebrated by the Feast of Saint Valentine?
The most popular belief is that Saint Valentine was a Roman priest; he was executed during the reign of the Roman Emperor Claudius II.  
Claudius II was fighting many wars and considered single men the best soldiers. He thought that
by being married the men would not fight well; they would be afraid to die as they would be considering their wives and children. Polygamy (from the Greek words Many and Wedding) was very commonplace in Roman times, some of Claudius's soldier had more than one wife. He passed a law forbidding all marriages.

Many Romans were not happy with being forbidden to marry, and there were also those who were attracted to becoming Christians. The Christians were persecuted by Claudius at this time and helping them was also a crime.
In secret Valentine carried out Christian ceremonies, including marriages of Christians and Romans, including Soldiers. This however did not stay a secret; he was discovered conducting a marriage ceremony and was arrested and imprisoned.

Emperor Claudius was said to have taken a liking to Valentine and tried to persuade him to become a Pagan. Valentine refused and tried to convert the emperor to Christianity this was not taken very lightly, Valentine was sentenced to death. He was beaten with stones and clubs which failed to kill him, and so he was beheaded on the 14th February by the Via Flaminius near Rome.

Image:St-Valentine-Kneeling-In-Supplicationby David Teniers III [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Part 2

Another story involves another Saint Valentine the Bishop of Interamna (Terni) He was under the house arrest of Judge Asterius for practicing Christianity. The Judge was drawn into a conversation by the the Bishop about the validity of Christianity. The Judge decided to test Valentine and stated that if he could restore the sight of his adopted daughter he would do anything Valentine asked of him.

The Judge's daughter was brought before Valentine he laid his hands upon her and prayed, and her sight was restored. Judge Asterius kept his word; he would do anything Valentine asked of him. Valentine asked him to fast for three days and be baptised a Christian. Judge Asterius became a Christian along with the rest of his family; he also freed all of the Christians imprisoned by his authority.  

Valentine was arrested at a later date, and sent Rome for continuing to convert Romans to Christians and was brought before the Roman Emperor Aurelia. Valentine refused to renounce his faith and was sentenced to death by beheading. The night before Valentine was to be beheaded, he was rumoured to have sent a note to the daughter of Judge Asterius who he loved. He asked her to remain near to God and to be thankful for the healing miracle of her restored sight. The note was signed "By Your Valentine"

This Saint Valentine was also executed on the 14th February by the Via Flaminia.
Both of stories could be about the same Saint Valentine, but they were at different times and they were buried in difference locations along the Via Flaminia. 

ImageSaint Valentine byJacopo Bassano [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

The Festival of Lupercalia

The annual Festival of Lupercalia was celebrated in Rome between the 13th - 15th February and was connected to fertility. The 14th February was also a day of celebration of the Roman Goddess Juno, the Goddess of women and marriage. The pagan tradition was for men to draw the names of women from a jar. Whoever was chosen would be their partner for the rest of the festival; other accounts state the woman would the man's sexual companion for the rest of the year.

By the fifth century Christian Rome banned the performance of pagan rites. Pope Gelasius I was reputed to have replaced the pagan festival of Lupercalia with the Feast of Saint Valentine. Young men and women would draw out the names of saints from a jar; they would try to emulate them for the rest of the year.  

The middle of February in the middle ages was associated with "Spring Fever" were birds would choose there mates and romantic feeling were not just for birds but humans too. Thus the 14th February became dedicated to love, and love letters and gifts were given to the object of ones affection. Saint Valentine was then associated as the Patron Saint of Love and Valentine's Day was born. 

In the 19th century mass produced cards replaced the hand written notes. Then began the tradition of giving flowers and chocolates, and Valentines candy along with other gifts.
The 20th century saw the advent of sending Valentine's e cards, and who knows how it will be celebrated in years to come.

Image - Valentine Card from 1862 - Public domain image courtesy of Wikimedia commons