a collection of fantasy short stories spanning the forty-year career of author Nancy Springer, showcases tales ranging from the quirky to the transcendent. Including mythic tales of long ago and far away such as award-winner The Boy Who Plaited Manes, this collection also contains wry, sometimes humorous contemporary fantasy stories such as Rumple What? and Snow Spawn, plus mystic magical realism in which cabbage roses grow down from the ceiling (Mariposa) and hard-edged future fantasy stories such as We Don’t Know Why, a tale of failing “angels.” Like our lives, the stories in ECCENTRIC SYMMETRIES are mostly off-kilter, even laughable, but sometimes achieve a luminous moment of perfect balance, an epiphany. In this carefully selected collection, every fantasy reader should find something to love.
First of all, gorgeous graphic novels about her are being published in France.THE CASE OF THE MISSING MARQUESS and THE CASE OF THE LEFT-HANDED LADY are already in print. Forthcoming in 2017 will be THE CASE OF THE BIZARRE BOUQUETS andTHE CASE OF THE PECULIAR PINK FAN.
Nancy Springer wholeheartedly thanks the artist, Serena Blasco, pictured above left with THE CASE OF THE MISSING MARQUESS.
“Wonderful.” —Fantasy & Science Fiction
“The finest fantasy writer of this or any decade.” —Marion Summer Bradley
“Ms. Springer’s work is outstanding in the field.” —Andrew Norton
“Nancy Springer writes like a dream.” —St. Louis Post-Dispatch
“Nancy Springer’s kind of writing is the kind that makes you want to run out, grab people on the street, and tell them to go find her book immediately and read them, all of them.” —The News (Salem, Ak)
Praise for Fair Peril
“Rollicking, outrangeous…eccentric, charming…Springer has created a hilarious blend of feminism and fantasy in this heartfelt story of the power of a mother’s love.” —Publishers Weekly
“Witty, Whimsical, and enormously appealing.” —Kirkus Reviews
“A delightful romp of a book…an exuberant and funny feminist fairy tale.” —Lambda Book Report
“Moving, eloquent…often hilarious, but…beneath the laughter, Springer has utterly serious insights into life, and her own art…Fair Peril is modern/timeless storytelling at its best, both enchanting and very down-to-earth. Once again, brava!” —Locus
Larque On The Wing
“Satisfying and illuminating…scathing…nightmarish…uproariously funny…an off-the-wall contemporary fantasy that refuses to fit any of the normal boxes.” —Asimov’s Science Fiction
“Irresistible…charming, eccentric…thoughtful and significany…a winning, precisely rendered foray into magic realism.” —Kirkus Reviews
Praise for Chains of Gold
“Fantasy as its finest.” —Romantic Times
“Her fantastic images are telling, sharp and impressive; her poetic imagination unparalleled.” —Marion Zimmer Bradley
“Nancy Springer is a writer possessed of a uniquely individual vision. The story in Chains of Gold is borrowed from no one. It has a small, neat scope rare in a book of this genre, and it is a little jewel.” —News Journal (Mansfield, OH)
“Springer writes with depth and subtlety; her characters have failings as well as strengths, and the topography is as vivid as the lands of dreams and nightmares. Cerilla is a worth heroine, her story richly mythic.” —Publishers Weekly
The Hex Witch of Seldom
“Springer has turned her considerable talents to contemporary fantasy with a large degree of success.” —Booklist“Nimble and quite charming…with lots of appeal.” —Kirkus Reviews
"Budgies and a midlife crisis catapult a sorrowful heroine into a magical world of self-discovery and love, as the prolific Springer (Fair Peril) continues her theme of feminist-inspired fantasy. The aptly named Sassy Hummel gains some much needed spunk when she learns to take a bird's-eye view of life. Sassy's husband of 27 years has just run off with a sweet young thing, her mother has Alzheimer's, she's lost her house, been forced to sell her jewelry, and now the only job she's qualified for is maid at the posh Sylvan Tower Hotel. To make matters worse, a bird in the hotel atrium just pooped on her head. After the statuesque, brightly festooned Racquel (owner of the hotel's upscale boutique, Plumage) cleans her up, Sassy takes a peek in the mirror to assess the damage. Instead of her own reflection, she sees a little blue budgie. As a matter of fact, Sassy begins seeing birds everywhere:"...click for more of this review from Publisher's Weekly.com
And from Tallahassee Writer's Association: "Dorrie and Sam White appear to have a normal if somewhat boring life, but (Dorrie) whose given name is Candor Verity, has a dark secret she has hidden for 16 years. At thirty-something her once lovely face has been scarred by lupus and her balletically slender body ravaged by the side effects of the steroid treatments for her condition, giving her “chipmunk cheeks and hippopotamus hips.”
Unable to have children with her husband Sam, she fanaticizes about the baby girl taken from her at birth and of Blake Roman, the older boy with the romantic name, transfixing voice, and hypnotic eyes who called her “Candy.” In Dorrie’s memory he is her “miracle prince:” the one who turned her virginal self into “Cinderella and Snow White and Sleeping Beauty, all awakening as one” years before in the basement of her hometown school library.
A bureaucratic snafu reveals that, contrary to what her parents told her, the baby was not spirited away to California or beyond, by an adoption agency. Instead, Dorrie learns that the child was privately placed with the prominent District Attorney in Fulcrum, Ohio, the same town, where her Bible thumping parents moved after uncovering her shameful secret. After uncovering this information,"...Click to be taken to Tallahassee.com's site for more of this review.
"My 12-year-old daughter borrowed this book from her school library and she loved it so much, she asked me for her own copy. She loves to read, and she's really into anything with a lot of drama, emotion, excitement, action or fantasy. She reads a lot of books, but she has only asked me to actually buy her a few: Harry Potter, Series of Unfortunate Events, and I Am Morgan le Fay. She was thrilled to open it on Christmas! I haven't read this book myself yet, but I'm reviewing it based on my daughter's high opinion of it. I'm sure she'll enjoy the author's other titles as well." (From Amazon.com, click for review.)
"My laundry and dishes suffered because of this book. I really couldn't wait to get back to it. I knew it would end tragically with Morgan le Fay as the protag., but I had to know what happened next! The writing style drew me in. I found myself re-reading sentences because they were so artfully written. This is a keeper. I will re-read it because it was such a beautiful, heartbreaking story." (From Amazon.com, click here for permalink.)
Night Owl Reviews Jan, 2013 - "In this gripping psychological (Dark Lie) thriller--smart, chilling, and unrelenting--Nancy Springer establishes herself as an exciting new suspense writer with a distinctive voice and some surprises up her sleeve. To their neighbors, Dorrie and Sam Whiteare a contented couple in America’s heartland, with steady jobs, a suburban home, and plenty of community activities to keep them busy. But they’re not quite what they seem. For plain, hard-working Sam hides a depth of devotion for his wife that no one would suspect. And Dorrie is living a lie--beset by physical ailments, alone within herself...and secretly following the comings and goings of the sixteen-year-old daughter, Juliet, she gave up for adoption when she was hardly more than a child herself. Then one day at the mall, Dorrie watches horror-stricken as Juliet is abducted, forced into a van that drives away. Instinctively, Dorrie sends her own car speeding after it--an act of reckless courage that puts her on a collision course with a depraved killer...and draws Sam into a dogged, desperate search to save his wife. As mother and daughter unite in a terrifying struggle to survive, to what extremes will Dorrie go in overcoming her own limitations...and in confronting her dark, tormented past?"
"Nancy Springer's first foray into suspense is a darkly riveting read, featuring a scarred heroine whose past is shrouded in a shameful secret she would kill--or die--to protect. The pages swiftly fall away, along with layers of secrets and lies to reveal the pulsing heart of this compelling thriller: the primal bonds between parent and child, between man and woman--and the fine line between love and hate." ~Wendy Corsi Staub, New York Times Bestselling Author
As a child, I lived in Eden. I explored every inch of the fascinating brook that meandered crystalline amid wildflowers and willows to the swamp along the Passaic river where I discovered herons, hawks, muskrats, snapping turtles.
Coming home from school feeling bruised, I turned to the brook, the swamp, the fields of farmland and the deep forest on Riker's Hill to comfort me. Until I was thirteen I ran like a freckled fawn where the owls lived, where the wild phlox grew, where sometimes frogs could be caught.
Then my family moved away. The place we left must have been the last remaining rural spot in Livingston, New Jersey. A year later we came back and I saw the trees bulldozed, the wetlands drained and the brook banished to a culvert, all for the sake of a housing development. I have grieved for Eden lost ever since.
Writing this, I realize for the first it might seem odd that, bullied in school, I turned to Mother Nature instead of my mother. I can say only that Mom and Dad were good people, but theirs was the old-fashioned farmhouse style of parenting. Dad worked to "bring home the bacon"; Mom painted pet portraits. They fed me, clothed me, and let me grow. Daily I did my chores, which included collecting warm brown eggs. Whenever a broody hen pecked my hand, I told my father, pointed out the culprit, then held her down while he chopped her head off. I watched her flap around, helped to pluck her feathers, and then my mother, gutting her in order to cook her, would show me the sand in her gizzard and the transparent egg she had not yet laid. We were matter-of-fact. No one cared about feelings, Education, yes.(click for more of Nancy's Bio)
I read at will from my parents' large library, so that even when I was not outside I was still running wild -- in the world of words. But no Disney for me. A television set arrived in the house when I was six, but I never turned it on; that was for my father to do when, nightly, we gathered as a family to watch for an hour. Aside from beautiful horses, nearly everything about cowboys and Indians traumatized me. I hated TV. Still don't like it much. But, as I have said, when I was thirteen, we moved -- to Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, where there was no more time for TV because my parents had acquired a small motel. The guidance counselor at my new school informed me, to my astonishment, that I was very bright. And wonder of wonders, my new classmates did not torment me. Overnight I transformed from an underachiever into a straight-A student. I still went outside every day after school, through farm fields down to a creek, but now I did it to walk Mom's Sheltie dogs--mostly.
Still, I kept to myself. I skipped being a teenager -- all those messy emotions; my parents wouldn't have liked it. Instead, I cleaned motel rooms with them, read Steinbeck and Hemingway, drew wistful pictures of horses, taught myself to play guitar, practiced my violin. Also, I began to daydream so much, so graphically and so vividly that I worried about myself.
The daydreams continued right through college, although by then I was having some fun. Thanks to Twiggy I was no longer a joke, and I shocked my parents (about time) by becoming a fashionably long-haired, raccoon-eyed hippie. But beneath my ponchos and beads I had no beliefs, no causes, no clue as to life goals or emotions or love. So when a nice-enough boy named Joel Springer asked me to marry him, I said yes. That was what smart girls went to college for in the sixties, to be teachers or get married. I didn't want to be a teacher so I got married.
Very shortly I discovered that marriage was not a cure-all. Those shivery-strong daydreams were still with me, so in an attempt to offload them I wrote my first fantasy novel. I had no ambition to be a writer; in fact I felt no authority to write -- in English Lit we had studied only male novelists -- but I couldn't help it. Meanwhile, I had my first baby, Jonathan Paul, and upon making his acquaintance I experienced, to my bone-deep astonishment, an overwhelming emotion: love. Finally growing up, I admitted I might want to be a writer, sent out my first novel, and was published. For a little while I became my own world's wonder. Over the moon. And pregnant again. This time a girl -- perfect! -- Nora Lynn.
But after the second baby's birth, I had postpartum depression which escalated -- let me put it this way: all the tantrums I had never thrown as a child, all the rebellions I had never rebelled as a teen, all the doors never slammed, angers never shouted, grudges never spoken, all detonated at once, attacking the only permissible target: myself. I wanted me dead.
I scared me sleepless.
It's called clinical depression. The less said about the next several years, the better. Ultimately my writing saved me. Looking back, I can see myself gaining a little strength in each book. First, in the Isle fantasies, working out the yang and yin of good and evil. Then, starting in Wings of Flame, realizing that I was female, and later claiming power as a woman -- in The Hex Witch of Seldom,
Fair Peril, Larque on the Wing. Less depressed, I grew less interested the inner world of my psyche; I wanted to turn my vision outward, to the real world. I bought a horse. A horse! The childhood dream. And I started writing children's books about horses, taking a break from fantasy.
My wonderful, thriving son and daughter, plus horseback riding, plus allowing myself to be human, plus the amazing and incomprehensible fact that people wanted to read what I wrote -- all of this made me feel a whole lot better.
I kept growing more and more, not only as a self branching out socially but as a writer branching out into different topics and genres, now that I was writing for the love of it rather than out of desperation. In 1994 I had five different books released by five different publishers. In 1995 I won my first Edgar.
In 1996 my husband left me.
Stupid old story; I'd always sworn it wasn't going to happen to me. Once I'd learned love from my firstborn, I worked hard at putting some into my marriage. For a while it seemed to work. But I had become a real person, no longer the passive waif my husband wanted, so a few weeks after my daughter started college I found myself completely alone in the empty nest. Then (honestly, a horror writer couldn't have plotted it better) along came menopause.
Which dumped me into depression almost as awful as before. Again, the less said of the next few years, the better. Yet, during this ridiculously difficult time I wrote the best work I had done so far. With the encouragement of my wonderful agent, Jean Naggar, and the coaching of a brilliant editor, Michael Green, I completed I Am Mordred: A Tale of Camelot, then went on to write I am Morgan Le Fay.
I sound terribly professional. It wasn't like that. I still needed the comfort of my mother (Mother Nature; my real mother had Alzheimer's), but my beloved Morgan mare had been struck by lightning and killed (Honestly! I couldn't make this stuff up.) so rather than trail riding, I walked a lot. When I couldn't be outside, I did things my ex wouldn't have liked, such as painting flowers on the walls. I even took a life-sized ceramic woodchuck, put a daisy-decked straw hat on it, and painted its portrait. My friends told me I needed to get a life.
I was trying to do so, working at a no-kill animal shelter while taking in stray cats on my own. Then one day in late 1999, I met a man who wanted a Chihuahua.
His name was Jaime Fernando Pinto, and he's been around ever since. He loves me out loud. No more obsessive daydreams for me. No need.
It was Jaime who gave me the encouragement and support I needed to get out of the house where the ghosts of husband and children haunted me. I fell in love with a chalet-style home by a lake, moved there, married Jaime, and rediscovered my childhood joy of fishing. Several years later, so that Jaime could retire into a dream of aviation, we moved again, to the Florida panhandle, where we spent a year in a hangar at an airport located in an absolute paradise of a swamp. Every day I watched the wading birds, the long-winged tropical butterflies, the lizards basking. Every night I went out to see the tree frogs, toads, huge silk moths, and snakes. A small (5-foot) alligator attended my 59th birthday party, and 911 had to be called to escort him away! The only thing better would have been if someone had given me a pony.
Jaime and I now live in a real house just down the road from the airport where I still ride my bike, looking for trouble to get into. Other than that, I write, I feed feral cats, I do face-painting for public library fund-raisers, I read, I fly with Jaime over this Edenic place where two of my favorite things, water and forest, come together, and I write some more. Every day is a new story.
Nancy Springer is an award winning author who has written more than 50 books. Her works include children's, young adult and adult writings and she has won a collection of awards including: